Sunday, February 28, 2010

'Hurt Locker' Best Picture Chances are Up in the Air | Nicolas Chartier Apologizes for Oscar® Vote Emails

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is considering action against a producer of The Hurt Locker who sent out multiple emails urging academy members to vote for his movie in the Oscar best-picture category and "not a $500 million film," an obvious reference to close-competitor Avatar.

The emails by Nicolas Chartier, one of four nominated producers for The Hurt Locker and who put up the financing to make the front-running film, violated the academy's rule against sending mailings that "attempt to promote any film or achievement by casting a negative light on a competing film or achievement," according to academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger.

The initial email was sent Feb. 19 and obtained by The Associated Press. Subsequent emails, posted by the Los Angeles Times, showed Chartier giving more specific instructions, asking Oscar voters to rank The Hurt Locker at No. 1 and "Avatar" at No. 10 on this year's preferential ballot for the newly expanded best-picture category.

Hurt Locker distributor Summit Pictures said in a statement it was "completely unaware of any emails that were sent until we were alerted by the academy earlier this week."

Chartier, after being confronted by Summit executives, worked with the studio and the academy to craft an apology for his actions, said Summit spokesman Paul Pflug.

"My naivete, ignorance of the rules and plain stupidity as a first-time nominee is not an excuse for this behaviour and I strongly regret it," Chartier wrote in an email obtained by The Associated Press. "Being nominated for an academy Award is the ultimate honour and I should have taken the time to read the rules."

Avatar's distributor, 20th Century Fox, declined comment on the emails, as did director James Cameron or anyone connected with the 3-D sci-fi sensation -- Hollywood's biggest modern blockbuster. Hurt Lockers's director Kathryn Bigelow is the ex-wife of Cameron.

Possible disciplinary measures by AMPAS® include public censure, taking away Chartier's Oscar tickets, and the unlikely option of removing "The Hurt Locker" -- the season's top award-winner so far -- from best picture consideration, according to several academy members familiar with the situation.

It's also possible that if The Hurt Locker wins, the academy won't extend membership to Chartier, like it does to most newly minted Oscar winners, the members said.

With Oscar ballots due Tuesday, the controversy surrounding Chartier's actions may have little effect on the March 7 Academy Awards® because most voters have already mailed in their ballots, said one of the academy members.

In addition to Chartier's emails, The Hurt Locker is also facing complaints -- just now surfacing, though the movie was released last June -- from veterans and active soldiers over the accuracy of its combat scenes.

Nothing like tooting your own horn but one must play by the rules of the road.

Will David or Goliath win Best Picture Oscar® next weekend? Tune into the 82nd Annual Academy Awards® on ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET to find out.

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Source: The Associated Press

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Academy Award® winning director Quentin Tarantino will be honored at the opening of The 5th Annual Los Angeles – Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest, Sun., Feb 28, 9:45 p.m. at The Mann Chinese 6 Theatre. it was announced today by Festival Founder and Executive Producer Pascal Vicedomini.

Singled out for his commitment in promoting world cinema, Tarantino will be presented with ‘The L.A. Award 2010’ by Enzo G. Castellari, director of the original Inglorious Bastards (1978) and the inspiration for his own Inglourious Basterds, the recipient of eight Oscar nominations, including Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

In honoring Tarantino, the presentation of ‘The L.A. Award 2010’ will take place between the 8 p.m. & 10 p.m. screenings of Castellari’s Inglorious Bastards and Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. LA Italia salutes Tarantino as an ‘ambassador to world cinema,’ recognizing his achievement in creating a film whose story is conveyed in three languages, bridging film communities worldwide. Joining Castellari in the ceremony will be actor Franco Nero, the Consul General Nicola Faganello, and the Director of Italian Institute of Culture in Los Angeles, Francesca Valente. LA Italia gives special thanks to Honorary Board members and Inglourious Basterds executive producer Harvey Weinstein and producer Lawrence Bender for their role in creating this memorable evening.

“Quentin Tarantino’s incredible talent, imagination and artistry have been a constant inspiration to filmmakers worldwide,” says producer Pascal Vicedomini. “It is our privilege to present ‘The LA Award 2010’ to Tarantino while also being able to highlight the inspiration provided to him from Italian director Castellari’s work – and with back to back screenings – what a rare treat!”

The 5th Annual Los Angeles – Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest (Feb. 28-March 6) is a week of screenings, symposia and special musical events at The Mann Chinese Theatre complex at Hollywood & Highland that showcases the best of Italy’s contribution to the arts, with an authentic Italian style and spirit.

Among the many additional Fest highlights include: A salute to Grammy® winning international singing superstar Andrea Bocelli and Grammy winning producer David Foster on Mon., March 1, 6:30 p.m. at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. LA Italia will also celebrate with Bocelli as he receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, March 2, 11:15 a.m.

LA Italia presents ten US and three Los Angeles premieres of Italian feature films and documentaries, including Academy Award winner Gabriele Salvatore’s Happy Family, director/producer/screenwriter Pupi Avati’s The Youngest Son and director Luca Gadagnino’s I Am Love.

In addition to the Tarantino tribute, opening day at LA Italia will also feature the Los Angeles premieres of Enrico Mattei, The Man Who Looked to the Future, directed by Giorgio Capitani and Memories of Anne Frank, Reflections of a Childhood Friend, directed by Alberto Negrin. Enrico Mattei, which tells the story of the first Italian man in the post-war period, to believe his country could play a key rule in world affairs is produced by Lux Vide and Rai Fiction in association with Eni. The film’s star, Massimo Ghini will be in attendance. To be introduced by Oscar-winner Steven Zaillian, Memories of Anne Frank, based on a book by American writer Alison Leslie Gold, chronicles the friendship between Frank and Hanneli Goslar in Amsterdam before WWII. It is an Italian-American co-production by Fulvio Lucisano and Avi Lerner.

LA Italia will also proudly salute this year’s Italian artists who have received Academy Awards nominations, including:

• Mauro Fiore, Best Cinematography for his work on director James Cameron’s worldwide box office phenomenon, Avatar.

• Aldo Signoretti & Vittorio Sodan, Best Makeup for the Italian feature-film Il Divo, directed by Paolo Sorrentino. The two make-up artists previously garnered nominations for Apocalypto (2007) and Moulin Rouge (2002).

• Marco Beltrami, Best Original Score, The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow.

• Alessandro Camon, Best Original Screenplay), a shared credit with Oren Moverman, The Messenger, directed by Moverman.

• Michael Giacchino, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score for Up, directed by Pete Docter

Coinciding with the 82nd Academy Awards, The 5th Los Angeles Italia – Film, Fashion and Art Festival, chaired by Oscar-winner Bobby Moresco (Crash), is produced under the direction of Pascal Vicedomini by The Capri in the World Institute in association with CIM Group-USA, the Consul General of Italy and the Italian Institute of Culture in Los Angeles. It is sponsored and organized in collaboration Eni (the Italian multinational oil and gas company) and Rai Trade with the support of the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Embassy in the USA and the Campania Region of Italy.

Italian-American screenwriter and Oscar winning director Bobby Moresco (Crash) and noted Italian producer Aurelio De Laurentiis serve as Festival Chairmen. Co-Chairs are Marina Cicogna, Franco Nero, Shaul Kuba (CIM Group) and Jack and Leslie Kavanaugh. Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated composer Tony Renis is Festival President. Joining in the festivities will be prominent members of the Los Angeles and International film communities and celebrity friends.

Screenings and programs are offered at no charge to the public – admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, please visit

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

'Hurt Locker,' 'Up in the Air,' and 'The Cove' win WGA film awards

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) announced the winners of the 2010 Writers Guild Awards for outstanding achievement in writing for screen, television, radio, news, promotional, and videogame writing at simultaneous ceremonies last night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles and the Hudson Theatre at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City.

Iraqi war film The Hurt Locker and corporate downsizing drama Up In the Air won honors from screenwriters in the final, major Hollywood awards show leading up to the Oscars.

The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal won best original screenplay from the Writers Guild of America and Up In the Air claimed the prize for best adapted screenplay for co-writers Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman.

Reitman, who also directed "Up in the Air," thanked several people including his father, producer Ivan Reitman, who he said read his first screenplay and said, "you know, you really got the goods."

Boal similarly took to the stage and talked about being honored to be a screenwriter and acknowledged the troops in Iraq with whom he had been embedded as a journalist before he wrote his screenplay about a group of men who defuse bombs.

They were the ones, Boal said, who showed him, "the tragedy and chaos and hellishness they face day in and day out."

The Writers Guild represents film and television writers in the United States, and their awards are often seen as a key indicator on who will go on to win Oscars, the world's top film honors, because many Writers Guild members also belong to Oscar organizer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

So far this Oscar season, "Hurt Locker" has been honored by guilds of film producers and directors and is considered a favorite for the best film Academy Award along with key rival, box office hit "Avatar," urban drama "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" and "Up In the Air."

Richard O'Barry, 'The Cove'

Elsewhere in film categories, the Writers Guild gave its best documentary screenwriting award to The Cove, which details the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, and a lifetime achievement honor for film to writer/director Barry Levinson.



The Hurt Locker, Written by Mark Boal; Summit Entertainment


Up in the Air, Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner; Based upon the novel by Walter Kirn; Paramount Pictures


The Cove, Written by Mark Monroe; Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions



Mad Men, Written by Lisa Albert, Andrew Colville, Kater Gordon, Cathryn Humphris, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Brett Johnson, Erin Levy, Marti Noxon, Frank Pierson, Robin Veith, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner; AMC


30 Rock, Written by Jack Burditt, Kay Cannon, Robert Carlock, Tom Ceraulo, Vali Chandrasekaran, Tina Fey, Donald Glover, Steve Hely, Matt Hubbard, Dylan Morgan, Paula Pell, Jon Pollack, John Riggi, Tami Sagher, Josh Siegal, Ron Weiner, Tracey Wigfield; NBC


Modern Family, Written by Paul Corrigan, Sameer Gardezi, Joe Lawson, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Dan O'Shannon, Brad Walsh, Caroline Williams, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker; ABC

EPISODIC DRAMA – any length – one airing time

“Broken, Part 1 and Part 2” (House), Written by Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner & David Foster & David Shore; Fox

EPISODIC COMEDY – any length – one airing time (**TIE**)

“Apollo, Apollo” (30 Rock), Written by Robert Carlock; NBC

“Pilot” (Modern Family), Written by Steven Levitan & Christopher Lloyd; ABC

LONG FORM – ORIGINAL – over one hour – one or two parts, one or two airing times

Georgia O’Keeffe, Written by Michael Cristofer; Lifetime

LONG FORM – ADAPTATION – over one hour – one or two parts, one or two airing times

Taking Chance, Teleplay by Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz, Based on the short story by Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.); HBO

ANIMATION – any length – one airing time

“Wedding for Disaster” (The Simpsons), Written by Joel H. Cohen; Fox


Saturday Night Live, Head Writer: Seth Meyers, Writers Doug Abeles, James Anderson, Alex Baze, Jessica Conrad, James Downey, Steve Higgins, Colin Jost, Erik Kenward, Rob Klein, John Lutz, Lorne Michaels, John Mulaney, Paula Pell, Simon Rich, Marika Sawyer, Akiva Schaffer, John Solomon, Emily Spivey, Kent Sublette, Jorma Taccone, Bryan Tucker, Additional Sketch by Adam McKay, Andrew Steele; NBC

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Head Writer: Steve Bodow, Writers Rory Albanese, Kevin Bleyer, Rich Blomquist, Tim Carvell, Wyatt Cenac, Hallie Haglund, JR Havlan, David Javerbaum, Elliott Kalan, Josh Lieb, Sam Means, Jo Miller, John Oliver, Daniel Radosh, Jason Ross, Jon Stewart; Comedy Central


Film Independent’s 2009 Spirit Awards, Written by Billy Kimball, Neil MacLennan; IFC/AMC


The Young and the Restless, Written by Amanda L. Beall, Tom Casiello, Lisa Connor, Janice Ferri Esser, Eric Freiwald, Jay Gibson, Scott Hamner, Marla Kanelos, Beth Milstein, Natalie Minardi Slater, Melissa Salmons, Linda Schreiber, James Stanley, Sandra Weintraub, Teresa Zimmerman; CBS


“Welcome to the Jungle” (The Troop), Written by Max Burnett; Nickelodeon


Another Cinderella Story, Written by Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott; ABC Family


“The Madoff Affair” (Frontline), Written by Marcela Gaviria, Martin Smith; PBS


“The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer” (American Experience), Written by David Grubin; PBS


World News with Charles Gibson, Written by Lee Kamlet, Julia Kathan, Joel Siegel; ABC


“A Private War: Expose: America’s Investigative Reports” (Bill Moyers Journal), Written by Thomas M. Jennings; PBS



2008 Year in Review, Written by Gail Lee; CBS


World News This Week − July 11, 2009, Written by Darren Reynolds; ABC Radio


Paul Harvey: An American Life, Written by Stu Chamberlain; ABC Radio



“Vegas” (Dateline), “The Wanted” Promo, NBC Nightly News Promo, “Iran” (Dateline), “Cheat” (Dateline), Written by Barry Fitzsimmons; NBC


“Hudson Splashdown” (CBS Evening News with Katie Couric), David M. Rosen, Shannon L. Toma; CBS


Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Written by Amy Hennig; Sony Computer Entertainment

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) hosted the West Coast show, which was executive produced by Spike Jones, Jr. Presenters scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles show included: Morgan Freeman, Billy Crystal, Judd Apatow with Jason Segel, Diablo Cody with John Corbett, Ali LeRoi with Chris Rock, David Shore with Hugh Laurie, Jason Alexander, Mila Kunis, Bill Blinn with Billy Dee Williams, Aaron Sorkin with Thomas Schlamme, Sally Sussman Morina with Anthony Morina, Todd J. Greenwald with David Henrie, WGAW President John Wells, and Robin Williams via a special video tribute to Barry Levinson. Host MacFarlane opened the show with a house-rocking production number with back-up singers featuring his version of “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man. Also in attendance at the WGAW’s L.A. ceremony were: Meg Ryan, Danny McBride, Cheryl Hines, Kathryn Bigelow, and Lee Daniels.

Susie Essman of Curb Your Enthusiasm hosted the East Coast show, which was executive produced by Craig Shemin, who was also the head writer. Presenters scheduled to appear at the show in New York included: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Ana Ortiz, Fred Armisen, Fran Brill and Prairie Dawn, Josh Charles, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, Abby Elliott, Chris Elliott, Edie Falco, Nancy Giles, Don Hastings, Bill Irwin, Marc Lawrence, Elizabeth I. McCann, Bob McGrath, Seth Meyers, Mo Rocca, Wallace Shawn, Jeremy Sisto, Harry Smith, WGAE President Michael Winship, and Senator Al Franken in a special video tribute to honorary award recipient Alan Zweibel. Musical entertainment during the ceremony was provided by the Mark Pender Band featuring LaBamba. Also in attendance were: Tina Fey, Anthony Mackie, Nora Ephron, Michael H. Weber, Tom Fontana, and Terry George.

The Writers Guild of America, West presented special honors to: Larry David – Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television for lifetime achievement; Barry Levinson – Screen Laurel Award for lifetime achievement; Anthony Peckham (Invictus) – Paul Selvin Award, recognizing written work which spotlights constitutional rights and civil liberties; Carl Gottlieb – Morgan Cox Award, honoring longtime Guild service.

The Writers Guild of America, East presented special honors to: Alan Zweibel - Ian McLellan Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award; Gary David Goldberg – Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence; Edward Albee – Evelyn F. Burkey Award for contributions bringing honor and dignity to writers everywhere; David Steven Cohen - Jablow Award for devoted service to the Guild, and Philippa Leverman - John Merriman Award for Study of Broadcast Journalism at American University. In addition, the Writers Guild of America, East Foundation presented the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship in Screenwriting to Antal Zambo of Wayne State University.

For more information about the 2010 Writers Guild Awards, please visit or
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Christoph Waltz to Play Scary Paranoid Schizophrenic in "Water for Elephants"

Christoph Waltz, the disarmingly evil Nazi "Jew Hunter" Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's World War II-set fairy tale, Inglourious Basterds delivers an unforgettable performance as one of the great villains of our time, a man who is at once thoroughly likable and unapologetically ruthless. The Oscar and a BAFTA nominee has joined Francis Lawrence’s Water For Elephants. He’ll be working alongside Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in the adaptation of Sara Gruen’s novel.

The story follows a rundown circus during the Depression era, with Pattinson playing a veterinary student who falls in love with the circus' star performer (Witherspoon), wife of a paranoid schizophrenic animal trailer.

Waltz plays the scary paranoid schizophrenic. It’s a reportedly violent role, with the character treating his creatures with as much savagery as he treats his wife.

Previously, Sean Penn had been linked to the role but we're glad Waltz will be sinking his teeth into the part, especially after his great turn in Basterds

Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train—and inadvertently runs away with the circus. So begins Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen’s darkly beautiful tale about the characters who inhabit the less-than-greatest show on earth.

Jacob finds a place tending the circus animals, including a seemingly untrainable elephant named Rosie. He also comes to know Marlena, the star of the equestrian act—and wife of August, a charismatic but cruel animal trainer. Caught between his love for Marlena and his need to belong in the crazy family of travelling performers, Jacob is freed only by a murderous secret that will bring the big top down.

We hope Waltz isn't getting type cast already. Perhaps he will play the lead in a singing, dancing, romcom musical one day. Bingo!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

LOTR: FOTR Event Oct 8 & 9 at Radio City Music Hall NYC | Tickets on Sale Now!

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Live to Film presents Peter Jackson’s theatrical edition of the award-winning motion picture on an enormous projection screen at New York City's Radio City Music Hall while, on stage, Howard Shore’s entire original score is performed live in careful synchronization with the picture. Maestro Ludwig Wicki will lead Switzerland’s 21st Century Orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
Howard Shore

This weekend will be packed with events celebrating the world of J.R.R. Tolkien and the music of Howard Shore. Tickets are available for either the Friday, October 8th or Saturday, October 9th shows. Showtime is 7:30 PM.

Tickets range from $59.00 to $150.00 USD. Get your tickets online now at Ticketmaster! Tickets are selling fast...the $150.00 level is already gone for both days.

Here are some highlights from last year's event...
'Fellowship of the Ring' Screening at Radio City Music Hall with Live Orchestra & Choir Performing Howard Shore's Score!

See you at the show and during the LOTR Big Apple weekend...can hardly wait!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Silver Dark Castle 'Splice' Sundance Deal Going Down

Splice premiered in North America at Sundance earlier this year and garnered rave reviews from industry sci-fi and horror fans. The film is executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (The Hobbit, Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy I & II, Blade II) and directed by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Paris, je t'aime). Natali's Cube is one of the greatest thrillers ever made, it is the Godfather of scifi thriller movies.

According to /Film there's a big Splice deal on the verge of happening. There’s just not much cash in indies these days, so the glory days of massive buys at the fest seem to be gone for the time being. Producer Joel Silver and his Dark Castle label distributed by Warner Bros is in the last stages of closing a distribution deal for the genetic mutation thriller Splice. It will give the film a wide summer release on 3,000 screens, and a P&A commitment north of $25 million, and more likely in the vicinity of $35 million to $40 million.

Compared to the modest $5 million and lower sums paid for films at this year's Sundance, this is a huge bet by Dark Castle that it's found the next Paranormal Activity

Splice is a modern Frankenstein story, starring Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody as genetic scientists who create humanoid life with nightmarish consequences.

A massive summer release is planned for the genre-warping creature feature. Fingers crossed the deal goes through!

Additional links:
'SPLICE' F--KS With Sundance Midnight Screening Audience In A Good Way

Vincenzo Natali & Guillermo del Toro's 'Splice' Premieres at Sitges Today | Watch Clip

Guillermo del Toro 'Spliced': Vincenzo Natali's SPLICE To Premiere In Sitges

Vincenzo Natale's sci-Fi horror film 'SPLICE' opens this fall

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'The Woman in Black' to be Produced by Hammer Films

Jane Goldman, 'The Woman in Black' screenplay adaptation

Hammer Films has optioned feature rights to Susan Hill’s bestselling ghost story The Woman In Black and will produce with Talisman Films.

Jane Goldman, who wrote the screenplay to the eagerly anticipated Kick-Ass, is adapting the novel and James Watkins will direct.

The story is about a young lawyer who is ordered to travel to a remote country village in order to deal with the estate of a client. While there he catches glimpses of a mysterious woman dressed entirely in black, which leads to him uncovering several tragic secrets.

Hammer Films president and CEO Simon Oakes and Richard Jackson of Talisman Films will produce, with EMG co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East serving as executive producers for Hammer.

Roy Lee and Doug Davison’s Vertigo Entertainment are also attached and Lee is taking an executive producer role.

“Woman In Black is an iconic British horror story, and so makes a perfect match for Hammer,” Oakes said. “Jane Goldman has written a terrific screenplay, and with James Watkins at the helm we feel that this feature adaptation of Susan Hill’s classic novel will be both dynamic and terrifying.”

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(Source: Variety)