Diversity was perhaps the biggest winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
For the first time, a film directed by a black filmmaker - Steve McQueen of "12 Years a Slave" - won best picture and a Latino - Alfonso Cuaron of "Gravity" - took home best director in a ceremony presided over by a lesbian host and overseen by the academy's first black president.
It might only be February, but it’s already shaping up to be Matthew McConaughey’s year. There’s been his scene-stealing cameo in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, as well as a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Oscar nomination for his role as a homophobic AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club. He’s the odds-on favorite to take home the gold.
Actor/model Kellan Lutz is not competing in the Olympics, but he’d feel right at home on the top of Mount Olympus. Lutz might look familiar for his roles as Emmett Cullen in the Twilight movies or as Poseidon in 2011’s Immortals. Or you might recognize him as one of the models featured in the 2010 Calvin Klein X underwear campaign.
Hollywood may be hoping for a little less drama in 2014.
2013 was a tale of two cinemas. Intended blockbusters such as “The Lone Ranger” and “After Earth” flopped spectacularly while many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg) bemoaned the increasingly commercial trajectory of the studios. And yet by the end of the year, Hollywood had set a record with nearly $11 billion in revenue, while critics hailed the year’s crop as one of the best in years.
With less than a week to go before the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood is on lockdown. Guards stand at every door, and handlers with walkie-talkies keep a close eye on any visitors.
Early in “Captain Phillips,” the cargo ship captain (Tom Hanks) and his wife (Catherine Keener) drive from their Vermont home to the airport where he’ll take a flight to his next job, one that will bring him face-to-face with the less fortunate on the other side of the globe. Like the chatter of so many couples, their conversation turns to their general feeling of economic uncertainty.
“It just seems like the world’s movin’ so fast,” says Phillips, wondering about the future their kids will inherit. “Big wheels are turning.”
The role that recently won Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe Award and his fourth Oscar nomination is easily the most outrageous in the celebrated actor’s career. In Wolf of Wall Street, the once-innocuous boy who boarded the Titanic delves into the shocking excesses of wealth, greed, sex and drugs that tanked (temporarily) the life of real-life mega stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Fortunately, the 39-year-old actor is much too serious and sober to bask in such extremes in his own life. Although the Oscar-nominated film has been criticized for glamorizing the reckless hedonism of Wall Street while ignoring its victims, DiCaprio condemns the financial power mongers, the “almighty dollar” and the need for altruism.
Exploring deeply conflicted characters who are on a mission to reconceive their unsatisfying circumstances is director David O. Russell’s sweet spot. From his raw 1996 film Flirting with Disaster to last year’s acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook, he effectively unravels the disarray.
On a late morning at a Paris luxury hotel, a production team with Turkish photographer Koray Birand had been busy since the break of dawn. But no one was complaining about the early wake-up time, mainly because of one thing — Cate Blanchett was about to arrive.
Gay filmmaker Darren Stein takes us back to school with his campy and colorful new comedy G.B.F. This is familiar territory for Stein, who also directed Jawbreaker, the classic 1990s Mean Girls precursor.
G.B.F. (“gay best friend, for the uninitiated) cranks up the homo high school hi-jinx with a story about an unintentional outing and the resulting chaos that ensues. Narrator Tanner (Michael J. Willett) transforms from invisible man on campus to the dude in demand as he navigates the choppy waters of the high school shark tank.
And the nominees for Oscars are …
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth announced this year's Oscar nominations on Jan. 16 at 8:38 a.m. EST in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
It’s unlikely that any family dinner of yours will equal the rollicking, vicious one at the heart of August: Osage County, the blistering film adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning Tracy Letts play starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.