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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: 2010 MTV Movie Awards

Oscar voters: When the motion picture academy is a family affair

February 23, 2012 |  5:01 pm

Jake and maggie
It's been said that couples shouldn't keep any secrets from each other. But there's one thing that motion picture academy members Francesca Loschiavo and her husband Dante Ferretti claim they never discuss: how they're planning to mark their Oscar ballots.

Maintaining their vows of silence must be tough this year: The couple were nominated for their art direction on Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," one of their numerous collaborations over the years in Hollywood and their native Italy.

They do, however, compare notes after the fact.

Oscar voters study"We are independent, not dependent," Ferretti said in an interview. "She will vote for what she likes, I will vote for what I like. Also, I don’t show her my ballots, and she doesn’t show her ballots, and then we discuss afterward, after we close the envelope.” 

Like Ivy League colleges and Appalachian hollers, the academy contains lots of kinfolk. There are extended families like the Gyllenhaals, a clan that includes director Stephen Gyllenhaal; his ex-wife,  screenwriter Naomi Foner; the couple's actor offspring, Jake and Maggie; and Maggie's husband and fellow thespian Peter Sarsgaard.

There are Significant Others and Signficant Ex-es. There are famous power couples (Brad and Angelina, Warren and Annette), and blood-relative craftspersons who are little-known among moviegoers but highly regarded by their peers, such as sibling cinematographers John and Matthew Leonetti.

Actor Lorenzo Lamas became a member of the academy at age 22 after his parents, actors Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl, endorsed his invitation. The organization had long been a part of the younger Lamas’ life: As a teenager he attended the Oscars and the Governors Ball with his mother, and often accompanied his father to the academy’s headquarters for official screenings.

“It was like the church of show business to me,” Lamas, 54, recalled. “You walk in and see these 10-foot tall gold Oscar statuettes and the names of these huge movie stars and directors who have made such a mark on this industry over the years. I was proud to walk in there with my dad, who was a member in good standing, and watch him shake people’s hands.”

Brother composers Richard and Robert Sherman, the team behind classic movie hits like "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," were signed by Walt Disney in 1960. By 1963, they'd accumulated enough film credits to earn academy membership.

"It’s a beautiful thing, it’s wonderful, we get to meet a lot of our colleagues," said Richard Sherman, a former member of the academy composers branch's executive committee. On two occasions the brothers also wrote the show-opening song number for the Academy Awards telecast.

As far as Oscar voting, Richard said, the brothers take the approach, "You vote  your way and I'll vote my way."

"A lot of the times we agree and sometimes we don’t," he added, "because that’s what makes life interesting."


Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male

Oscar voters aren't always who you might think

Oscar voters: Meet the academy's youngest members

-- Reed Johnson and Amy Kaufman

Photo: Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal at the 82nd Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, March 7, 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


Around Town: Foreign films and Spencer Tracy

January 12, 2012 |  6:00 am


The Aero’s Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Series 2012 continues Thursday evening with the French drama “The Kid With a Bike.” On tap for Friday evening is Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War” with Christian Bale as an American missionary in China.

The day before the Golden Globes’ ceremony Sunday evening, the Egyptian and the Hollywood Foreign Press are co-presenting a Golden Globe Foreign-Language Nominee Panel Discussion featuring Zhang Yimou, Angelina Jolie (“In the Land of Blood and Honey”), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (“The Kid With a Bike”), Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) and Pedro Almodovar (“The Skin I Live In”). The Saturday afternoon event is free but on a first-come first serve basis. http://www.americancinematheque.com

Film Independent at LACMA presents Cassavetes’ Shadow: Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Discussion and Screening on Thursday at the Leo S. Bing Theatre. The evening will feature the nominees for the 2012 John Cassavetes Award, which is given to a filmmaker who has made a film for less than $500,000. After the talk, Cassavetes’ low-budget first project as a filmmaker, 1959’s “Shadows,” will screen.

Continue reading »

'Shame, 'Tinker' lead British Independent Film Award nominations

October 31, 2011 |  7:11 am


Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of John le Carre's spy thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," Steve McQueen's NC-17-rated "Shame" and Paddy Considine's drama "Tyrannosaur" lead the 14th British Independent Film Award nominations Monday morning with seven each.

Those three pictures were all nominated for Best British Independent Film, along with the Formula One documentary "Senna" and Lynne Ramsay's "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

The other nominations announced Monday:

Best director: Ben Wheatley for "Kill List," plus McQueen, Alfredson, Considine, and Ramsay.

Douglas Hickox Award for best directorial debut: Joe Cornish, "Attack the Block"; Ralph Fiennes, "Coriolanus"; John Michael McDonagh, "The Guard"; Richard Ayoade, "Submarine" and Considine.

Best actress: Rebecca Hall, "The Awakening"; Mia Wasikowska, "Jane Eyre"; MyAnna Buring, "Kill List"; Olivia Colman, "Tyrannosaur;" Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

Best actor: Brendan Gleeson, "The Guard"; Neil Maskell, "Kill List"; Michael Fassbender, "Shame"; Gary Oldman, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"; Peter Mullan, "Tyrannosaur."

Best achievement in production: "Kill List," "Tyrannosaur," "Weekend," "Wild Bill," "You Instead."

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony on Dec. 4 in London.

See the complete list of nominees.  

 -- Susan King  

Photo: A scene from the movie "Tyrannosaur," with Peter Mullan. Credit: Strand Releasing


An emotional night for Robert Downey Jr.

October 15, 2011 | 12:20 pm

Robert downey
When Robert Downey Jr. urged Hollywood movers and shakers Friday night to forgive his friend  Mel Gibson "his trespasses," it certainly created a lot of buzz at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. But it was hardly the only emotional moment at the the 25th annual American Cinematheque Award gala.

Celebrity after celebrity -- including Jodie Foster, Guy Ritchie, Michael Douglas, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau and Jack Black --- talked about the double Oscar nominee's courage in turning his life around after years of drug addiction that led to him serving time in prison.

The evening also included countless clips of Downey's work over the last quarter century, including his early films "Weird Science," "Back to School" and "Less Than Zero"; his Oscar-nominated turns in "Chaplin" and "Tropic Thunder"; and of course "Sherlock Holmes," "Wonder Boys," "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and both "Iron Man" blockbusters.

But it was his wife, Susan Downey, and his father who provided some of the most poignant moments.

Robert Downey Sr., a director, showed a clip of his son's acting debut at the age of 5 in "Pound," which featured actors playing dogs in a pound. Sporting  longish hair and an impish grin, the younger Downey played the role of a puppy who is adopted. The elder Downey said that he and his wife couldn't afford a babysitter so they brought their son to work that day and a star was born.

Yet the elder Downey said: "The moment you turned your life around was more heroic than any movie. I am proud to be your father."

Susan Downey, who produces the "Sherlock Holmes" films and is expecting the couple's first child early next year, explained that "creativity is in his blood."

Pausing, she touched her belly and added, "no pressure kid."

Her husband beamed.

Robert Downey Jr. revisits his film career

Mel Gibson gets a boost from Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.'s wife is pregnant with their first baby

-- Susan King

Photo: Robert Downey Sr. addresses the audience during the 25th American Cinematheque Award benefit gala honoring his son, actor Robert Downey Jr., on Friday in Beverly Hills. Credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press

Dead-man cop movie 'R.I.P.D.' tries to come alive

August 5, 2010 |  8:01 pm

The Dark Horse comic "R.I.P.D." would seem like perfect movie fodder: It's popular, it involves juicy  crimes and concerns people long dead who are still able to dole out justice. Oh, and Ryan Reynolds, he of rapidly growing fanboy credibility, is attached to star in it.

Universal, which has a deal with the publisher, thinks it's a good idea too, and has been trying fervently to get the movie going. The film, whose title stands for Rest In Peace Department, centers on two dead cops with dark secrets who patrol the underworld.

RipdBut the last few weeks has seen the kind of action befitting, well, a comic book. The entertainment site Pajiba notes today that McG has been circling and could shoot the film after his current romantic comedy, "This Means War."

At one point little more than a week ago, it actually looked like McG could make "R.I.P.D." as his next movie. He liked the property, and he, producers, the studio and Reynolds were all simpatico.

But then the rain turned to a deluge. After weeks of uncertainty, Fox decided to make "This Mean War." McG, who has long made "War" a priority, couldn't put it aside for  "R.I.P.D.," so he went immediately to begin prepping the Sam Worthington-Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy.

That puts Universal and producer Neal Moritz back to the director drawing board (there had been talk of Rawson Marshall Thurber early on, but he's is out of the picture, as is the initial director, David Dobkin, who at most will produce). The studio could still wait until McG frees up and shoot the movie sometime next summer. But we hear it's eager to get moving and could well begin the hunt for a new director now, with the idea of shooting in the winter.

Then again, there's really no need to rush it. From what we hear there may not be a shooting script, and Reynolds' schedule is an issue too. (With "Green Lantern" about to wrap, he looks to shoot buddy comedy "The Change-Up" and Robert Rodriguez's "Deadpool" -- that one is looking very likely -- over the coming months, and also has to go out to promote "Lantern" in the spring.) So he probably will have a quick slot at the beginning of 2011, and then not be free until late spring or summer.

Besides, this isn't exactly easy material -- it's dark but character-driven, and having a star and director get along may be more important than getting it going a few months earlier. Would still be pretty great to see it hit the screen, though, whenever it happens.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: RIPD. Credit: Dark Horse

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Is a Les Grossman movie a good idea?

June 9, 2010 |  7:20 pm

So all those relentless Les Grossman promotions for the MTV Movie Awards finally made (a little more) sense today, as Paramount announced that it was developing a movie with Tom Cruise based on the Grossman character, who of course first appeared two years ago in "Tropic Thunder" and returned at the awards show on Sunday.

There are seemingly a dozen reasons why this wouldn't seem to be a good idea, starting with the fact that the character is based on a single joke that, no matter its satiric value, doesn't seem capable of carrying an entire feature.

Characters based on sketches, no matter how viral or beloved, also tend to make wobbly and unsuccessful features ("MacGruber" studio Universal may be able to share a little wisdom about that). Movies that spin off minor characters from hit comedies aren't faring much better these days (again, Universal can share some insight after the middling performance of "Get Him to the Greek").

And comedies about studio executives, while perhaps an appealing idea to the people who decide whether to make movies -- Paramount president Adam Goodman had fun with it, offering an "Everything I learned in this business, I've learned from Les" statement -- rarely appeal to those who watch it. (Here the producers of "What Just Happened" may have something to add).

Still, you have to at least admire the canny synergy of it all -- trot out a few promos for a cable awards show and, once it goes viral, develop a movie around it. And all of it based on a nearly forgotten scene-stealing cameo. Somewhere, Bronson Pinchot is calling his agent.

There's a faint hope that if it's not just 90 minutes of over-the-top Hollywood caricature -- and say, more of a fleshed-out satire a la "Entourage," with the real entertainment business blurring with the fictitious one -- it may, just may, have some bite. The Grossman movie is also a chance to see Tom Cruise try comedy, something he does with impressive aplomb in the upcoming "Knight & Day." And if nothing else, a Grossman movie will cut a wicked trailer.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Tom Cruise as Les Grossman. Credit: MTV Movie Awards

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Are the MTV Movie Awards self-defeating?

June 7, 2010 |  9:51 am

Last year we wondered whether the predictable populism of the MTV Movie Awards signaled a dark future for the Oscars, what with the latter show feeling the ratings heat and doubling its best-picture nominees. It hasn't (so far), but after Tivo-ing our way through this year's Summit-sponsored "Twilight" commercial -- er, MTV Movie Awards -- we can't help wondering something else: if the show fails even on its own blatantly commercial terms.

Sure, there will always be a YouTube-able moment or two, and the frequent swearing and requisite same-sex kisses (Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, Scarlett Johansson and Sandra Bullock), will keep the Parents Television Council busy for a while. And the revival of Les Grossman, as out of left field as it is, probably will achieve its not-so-hidden goal of unleavening Tom Cruise's image just as he gets set to release a big summer action comedy.

Yet at a certain point it's worth asking what all the shameless plugs and "Twilight" self-congratulation really achieves. We ask this not from a cultural standpont -- though, given how MTV once defined youth culture instead of merely holding up a mirror to it, there's a question to be asked there too -- but in regard to the show's own goals.

The more craven bits, far from selling the films, often just drew attention to how creatively bankrupt they really are. Is someone actually more likely to see "Grown-Ups" after watching Sandler, Spade et al. trot out their lukewarm shtick? (If they are, it's only because an hour later they saw Will Ferrell's "Other Guys" shtick and realized it could be worse.)

Last year, the show flogged such summer hopefuls as "Bruno" and "Land of the Lost," and we saw how much that helped. For all the unabashed marketing, the MTV Movie Awards doesn't seem to get many people to talk about movies. It's probably not an accident that the biggest conversation piece from last night wasn't about a film but about the frequent swearing.

When they weren't failing movies that may be doomed anyway, the plugs were redundant. There's probably no person whopping and hollering at the relentless "Twilight" nods and teases who wouldn't have seen "Eclipse" anyway. (And if MTV and/or studios are trying to show that the next generation is ready for their awards-show moment, they may want to try something else, unless you go for Kristen Stewart acceptance-speech gems like this one: "I guess I agree with you. Twilight is awesome. Woo.")

The few films that could benefit from a boost are the ones least likely to get it. You can almost sense Steve Carell's and Paul Rudd's reluctance at having to turn up to present so younger people will pay attention to "Dinner for Schmucks." They did put on their best game face, but a teen stampede to the box-office we will probably not see as a result of their appearance.

The Academy has long resisted turning it into a plug-fest for movies currently in theaters, for reasons of artistic integrity. But they may be doing those movies a favor. Even typical awards-show sentimentality -- like when Ken Jeong mentioned from the podium that his wife had survived breast cancer -- came off awkwardly.

The one moment that felt uncontrived and in the spirit of MTV's leading-not-following roots was when Rain won the Biggest Bad [Guy] award for "Ninja Assassin" over MTV perennials like Sam Worthington and Angelina Jolie. It passed quickly and unremarkably.

There's no ethical issue in making an awards show a celebration of commerce instead of art. (The Golden Globes does it pretty much every year.) But once you've decided you're going to turn a kudos program into a commercial bazaar, you may want to do a better job selling.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

2010 MTV Movie Awards: Director Todd Phillips talks 'Hangover' sequel (VIDEO)

June 7, 2010 |  6:26 am

It's hard to believe it's been a year since "The Hangover" premiered in theaters -- and at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, director Todd Phillips already was talking about the comedy's sequel.

"We start shooting in the middle of October, and it's coming along great," said the director, dressed in an all-white ensemble. "There's no real movement except we're doing it."

In the meantime, Phillips and cast members such as Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms all keep in touch, the director said.

"Yeah, we've become really close," he said. "We've all gone through this together."

-- Amy Kaufman (Twitter.com/AmyKinLA)

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2010 MTV Movie Awards: Diddy shows off his grill, gives us some love (VIDEO)

June 6, 2010 |  8:50 pm



We recently spent some time with Sean "Diddy" Combs" when we interviewed him about his new role in "Get Him to the Greek," where he plays a zany, maniacal record executive. Apparently Diddy was a fan of the story, because he came over and plopped a wet one right on our cheek in the middle of the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards -- so pardon the sloppy camerawork here!

More important, he showed off his bright gold grill. So why the new teeth bling?

"I have the No. 1 comedy in the world, and my teeth turned to gold!"

-- Amy Kaufman

2010 MTV Movie Awards: Jason Segel 'proud' of 'Get Him to the Greek' (VIDEO)

June 6, 2010 |  8:30 pm

Jason Segal When Jason Segel came down the red carpet at this year's MTV Movie Awards, we weren't sure what to ask him about first. The man's been keeping busy: In addition to his role on "How I Met Your Mother," he'll voice a character in this summer's "Despicable Me" and will co-star in the Jack Black comedy "Gulliver's Travels" later this year.

So how does he spend his coveted down time?

"I just sleep, mostly," he told us on the red carpet.

We were also, of course, curious about his thoughts on "Get Him to the Greek," which was directed by his buddy Nicholas Stoller, who also worked on Segel's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

"It's very exciting, they've been working hard on that. I'm just so proud of everyone involved," the very-tall Segel said. "Nick was at the helm of it, but I wrote some of the music and helped produce it a bit. But between Jonah and Russell and Nick, they didn't need much help."

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Jason Segel arrives at the MTV Movie Awards. Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.


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