The Hush-Hush News Report: 02.27.13: This Is Jennifer Lawrence’s World, We’re All Just Living In It
This Oscars season has been wild and weird, full of outrage and omissions. I’ve talked and written about this awards season for months leading up to last Sunday’s Oscars. As anyone who follows me on Facebook or Twitter knows, I completely took over their feeds with my thoughts. And I’ve written a word or two about the ceremony themselves, mostly centered on the performance of host Seth MacFarlane. And honestly…I’m tired.
I’ll leave the majority of my thoughts on the night for our post-Oscars staff roundtable, so as not to repeat myself too much. Plus, I’m still gathering my thoughts on the whole thing. I thought MacFarlane was mediocre at best, borderline misogynistic at worst, but I seem to be very much in the minority – especially given my (and 411’s) own demographic. I know humor is subjective…but I have yet to hear a really intelligent, coherent defense of MacFarlane other than “his jokes didn’t bother me and he was better than Hathaway/Franco and Crystal.” I thought the show was better in comparison to the past two years, but that was mostly due to some really great musical performances from Shirley Bassey, Adele, Barbara Streisand, Norah Jones, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of Les Misérables.
As for the awards themselves…the consensus choice won. It is what it is. The Oscars are not the definitive award – or even celebration – of the year’s best movie(s). They are the industry’s night to champion the films they believe best represent them. And that is fine. The fact is that some years’ nominees are better than others and this year the Academy lucked out with an unusually strong slate of nominees. Even the hardest and most prickly of film critics or Oscar haters had to admit that at least a few of the nominees were different from the usual choices and there were some genuinely great movies up for Best Picture. The fact that I would probably have had Argo fifth in my own preferential ballot doesn’t diminish Argo – it simply shows how strong its competitors were. Argo was the safest, most crowd-pleasing consensus choice on the ballot and like so many years – The King’s Speech, The Artist for example – it won. It’s a testament to the strength of the field that you don’t hear a great deal of kvetching about the across-the-board wins for Argo. Everyone likes it.
However, speaking of representing “The Academy,” they do continue to have a problem and it was exemplified by MacFarlane’s performance as emcee (like Adam Sandler’s humor of late in Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy, MacFarlane’s shtick basically revolved around “everybody except people like me – staright, white men – are targets because they’re different). Hollywood and the American film industry has always had a women problem, but it is getting bigger and more noticeable with every passing year. The fact that it is 2013 and we’re still even talking about this is a bad sign. Both actresses honored on Sunday were young, attractive women in supporting roles. The former plays a nympho widow whose purpose in Silver Linings Playbook is to get Bradley Cooper’s character to like her. Both male performances are – and let’s be honest about this – leading performances in movies that portray them as saviors. This country’s most celebrated female director – Kathryn Bigelow – was snubbed for Best Director while her film – and her male screenwriter and editor – were nominated. Yes, Bigelow won three years ago, but many industry experts actually believe that hurt her prospects this year (in addition the orchestrated campaign against it) and that the mostly older, male members of the Academy were basically saying “you already got yours.” Funny, that mentality didn’t seem to apply to Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day-Lewis, etc… Jessica Chastain was nominated for Zero Dark Thirty, but wasn’t seen as a serious threat to win and as MacFarlane put it, she was just like a women, unable to let anything go. Ha…ha.
Ten screenwriters were nominated, none of whom were women or of color. Twenty actors/actresses were nominated, only two of whom were of color (one was French, so there’s that I suppose). Eight of the nine Best Picture nominees won awards; the only film left empty-handed was the one predominately about blacks. Yes, Django Unchained was about slavery, but Jaime Foxx, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson weren’t up for Oscars. These films and winners aren’t really the problem though. The issue is that Hollywood’s issues with gender and race – the same ones they’ve had for decades – continue to be a problem. There weren’t a lot of female and minority winners, because there weren’t a lot of female and minority nominees. There weren’t a lot of female and minority nominees, because there weren’t a lot of films written, directed, produced and starring females and minorities. And there weren’t a lot of those because the industry continues to be a boy’s club, run by old, white men who green-light films written, directed, produced and starring white men.
It’s 2013 and it’s sad that it’s still so very, very noticeable. Rip me all you want in the comments, but tell me something I said that isn’t true. We’ve come a long, long way in this country (highlighted by First Lady Michelle Obama presenting Best Picture to Argo), but nights like Sunday – and the material used by MacFarlane – highlight we still have a ways to go.
That being said, Jennifer Lawrence wins. Wins the Oscar. Wins the red carpet. Wins at life. She is awesome sauce times a thousand.
Basically the moral of the story is Jennifer Lawrence is the NEW America’s Sweetheart. Sorry Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, but we’ve finally found your heir apparent. J-Law 4 Life. Now, let’s do this thing.
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2013 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts
Now allow me to plug some of our 411 film reviews here including reviews of:
Would You Rather
A Good Day to Die Hard 
A Good Day to Die Hard
John Dies at the End
The Last Stand
We’d still write them if no one was reading, but to be honest it’s better and more worthwhile when people do. Something about a tree falling in a forest. Anyway, on with the news….
Variety reports that Juliette Binoche (The English Patient, Chocolat) is in negotiations to join the cast of Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. The French actress would join Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen for the Legendary Pictures/WB reboot of the monster classic. Not mentioned in Variety’s report, but previously mentioned to be involved in the film was Bryan Cranston.
At first, I believed this story to be some French conspiracy aimed at pranking American entertainment websites in retaliation for Jennifer Lawrence beating Emmanuelle Riva at the Oscars. But Variety seems to be standing by their story, which forces me to accept it as likely. Once I accepted this, I had a mini-freakout because Juliette Binoche is one of my all-time favorite actresses and she rarely does this kind of “big” studio movie. In fact, the only one I can think of in the past 15 years is Dan in Real Life, which is a movie that I am compelled to watch through to the end every time I come across it on TBS (which is like 3-4 times a year). While she’s great in Dan in Real Life, Binoche has had a stellar career with classics such as The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The Lovers on the Bridge, Three Colors: Blue, The English Patient, Caché (Hidden) and the exquisite Certified Copy. Most recently, Binoche was seen by American filmgoers in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and has been getting rave reviews in Camille Claudel, 1915 which just premiered at the most recent Berlinale. So yeah, I’m excited, even if she’s “slumming” it.
Binoche joins what is looking like a very strong groups of actors, all of whom seem sold on the film’s prospects and the involvement of Frank Darabont (who wrote the latest draft of the script) and up-and-coming director Edwards (who was widely praised for his debut film Monsters) Godzilla opens on May 16, 2014, which would seem to indicate they need to start shooting pretty soon.
I suppose, if we’re being fair, Seth Grahame-Smith has nowehere to go but up. The screenwriter – best known as the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – had a rough 2012, penning the scripts for visible bombs Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Dark Shadows, while seeing the big screen version of his popular Jane Austen-meets-Zombies novel stuck in development hell. However, he’s not down for the count yet and Hollywood isn’t giving up on him yet.
According to Heat Vision, Grahame-Smith has been tapped by 20th Century Fox to polish the script for their upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Originally written by newcomer Jeremy Slater, the film has seen Josh Trank (Chronicle) come aboard to direct and Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) get added as a producer.
While we don’t know particulars about the story, the report does state the following:
Sources say that the new reboot is taking a grounded superhero and sci-fi approach to the heroes and will tap deep into the comics mythology, which featured not just the better-known villains such as Doctor Doom and Galactus but also alien races the Kree and the Skrull, and the anti-matter universe known as the Negative Zone.
I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but I did see both AB:VH and Dark Shadows. Needless to say, while Trank and Vaughn are good hires with solid cred among comic book and superhero movie fans, Grahame-Smith’s work is…less so. I get he’s a fan of genre fare, but I have yet to see anything from Grahame-Smith that would lead me to believe this is a good thing. Being heavily involved in making two of the worst films (and bigger bombs) of 2012 tends to raise these kind of questions. That said, Grahame-Smith is evidently a pretty decent guy and script doctors don’t usually revamp the whole script, so it’s unlikely he would be making any major overhauls.
I’m keeping an open mind, especially since I greatly enjoyed both Trank’s and Vaughn’s work and am hoping they have greater footprints on this project than Grahame-Smith or any other studio hack, but it’s not like we haven’t already seen Fox screw this property up. Twice.
The new Fantastic Four will hit theaters on March 6, 2015.
Universal Pictures has just released the first featurette for the highly anticipated sixth installment in its Fast and Furious franchise. The featurette offers a quick behind-the-scenes look, mostly focusing on returning characters and how they fit into this film’s story. Rodriguez herself admits she didn’t know she appeared at the end of Fast Five until she saw the movie herself.
Fast and Furious 6 stars Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Chris Bridges, Elsa Pataky, and Gina Carano. The film opens May 24th. The film’s synopsis is as follows:
Since Dom (Diesel) and Brian’s (Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, our heroes have scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete.
Meanwhile, Hobbs (Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again.
In August of 2011, Sony hired Source Code screenwriter Ben Ripley to pen the script for a remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller Flatliners. The film stars a cavalcade of “before they were famous” stars including Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, and Billy Baldwin. The movie revolves around a group of medical students who willingly induce clinical death in order to find out if there’s anything on the other side. Thus, the term “flatliners.”
Bloody Disgusting now reports that Niels Arden Oplev – the Danish director who helmed the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (starring Noomi Rapace) – is attached to direct this new Flatliners for Columbia Pictures. Oplev has become a hot property these days as his English-language directing debut Dead Man Down (starring Colin Farrell and Rapace) coems out next month. He’ll also helming the pilot for CBS’ adaptation of Under the Dome, based on the popular Stephen King novel.
Total Film talked with Guillermo del Toro, who told them that he is excited about the prospect of pursuing Justice League Dark (apparently also known as Heaven Sent).
For those unfamiliar with the Justice League Dark lineup, the title officially launched in September 2011 with the team being comprised of John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade, Zatanna, Mindwarp, and Enchantress. Del Toro tells Total Film:
“I am going to be presenting my storyline to DC and Warners of where I want to take this universe. We do have a writer, but until that is firmed up, I have to keep it a secret. I hope it happens.”
“It’s going really really well. It’s like meeting old friends. I grew up with Demon Etrigan, with Swamp Thing, with Deadman, so these are characters that are near and dear to my heart.”
“I’d love to use the origins that are proper to each character. I love the idea of Jason Blood as a paladin and a knight…. I love the entire Constantine mythology, the Dead Man mythology, the Alex Holland Swamp Thing mythology. These are really rich things to well, and to dig.”
No word yet on how Warner Bros. will screw it up yet, but to be fair to them, they are currently too busy screwing up Justice League to worry about messing up one of Del Toro’s 50 projects he attaches himself to on a monthly basis. Del Toro himself is busy with Crimson Peak, so while a lot of ink has been written about this supposed Justice League Dark project, the better money is that this goes the way of At The Mountains of Madness and becomes yet another GDT “coulda, shoulda, woulda” project.
The Oscars are over and the studios are getting films back into theaters. After basically taking the weekend off, Hollywood has a slate of new features arriving in multiplexes. The weekend’s main film (and what may be the earliest start to the “Summer Movie Season” ever, Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer is expected to take the box office crown. Joining Jack and the Giants are Project X/Hangover knockoff 21 and Over, horror sequel The Last Exorcism Part II, and Phantom.
Among the numerous films hitting either limited release and/or VOD are The End of Love and one of the year’s most anticipated releases Stoker directed by Park Chan-wook and starring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman and Dermot Mulroney.
What are you planning on seeing this weekend
Red Band Trailer of the Week: Spring Breakers
Funny Video of the Week: “Jennifer Lawrence Backstage At 2013 Oscars”
That’s all for this week. As always, let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT…
…and definitely, “Hush Hush!”