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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Awards shows

Adam Sandler comedy 'Jack and Jill' sweeps the Razzies

April 1, 2012 |  7:30 pm

Adam Sandler's 'Jack and Jill' sweeps Razzies

Adam Sandler's critically lambasted cross-dressing comedy "Jack and Jill" made history of sorts Sunday at Magicopolis in Santa Monica: It became the first film ever to sweep every category at the 32nd annual Razzie Awards, which honor the year's worst cinematic achievements.

"Jack and Jill" won for worst film of 2011 and worst actor and actress — with both awards going to Sandler. It took the prize in all seven other categories too, including for Al Pacino as worst supporting actor, David Spade as worst supporting actress and Dennis Dugan as worst director.

The directing award for Dugan and the acting award for Sandler also recognized their work on another 2011 comedy, "Just Go With It."

Going into the tongue-in-cheek awards, Sandler had scored a record 11 nominations for himself as an actor, actress, writer and producer.

"Jack and Jill" stars Sandler as both a successful commercial director and his own whiny twin sister. Zaniness ensues when Jill arrives for a Thanksgiving visit with the family that turns into an extended stay. In "Just Go With It," Sandler plays a plastic surgeon who poses as an unhappily married man to woo single women. 

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Oscars 2012: 20,000+ tweets per minute, Meryl Streep on top

March 5, 2012 | 11:00 am

Meryl streep oscars 2012

The 2007 Academy Awards were the first Oscars to be chronicled on Twitter in real time, by the Hollywood gossip blog Defamer. At the time, Twitter was a rather unknown novelty, but today it boasts millions of users and is an ever-updating reflection of the vox populi.

So many Twitter users have expressed opinions about this year’s Academy Awards race that it would be virtually impossible for someone to find and digest them all. That’s why The Times, IBM and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab created the Oscar Senti-meter, an online tool that can catalog a large number of Oscar-related tweets each day and uses language-recognition technology to analyze positive, negative and neutral opinions. It also counts the number of tweets.

Tweets captured by the Senti-meter on Feb. 26, the day of the awards ceremony, showed a massive increase in volume, as huge numbers of people took to Twitter to share their opinions about the show in real time. Check out this chart:


The volume of Oscar-related tweets first spiked at 5:41 p.m., coinciding with the first award of the night, cinematography, which went to “Hugo.” The win, an upset over “The Tree of Life,” sparked chatter on Twitter at a rate approaching 10,000 tweets per minute. In the two months leading up to the Oscars, the film “Hugo” averaged just over 2,500 tweets per day.

One Twitter user wrote, “Best Cinematography goes to HUGO! Over Tree of Life -- very interesting #oscars.”

By the end of the night, “Hugo” would take home five awards and rack up 107,041 total tweets.
The 6-o’clock hour broke the barrier of 10,000 tweets per minute twice, peaking at 6:58 p.m., when Christopher Plummer won the award for supporting actor for his role in “Beginners.” The award capped a season sweep for Plummer, who also won BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe awards for his performance.

One Twitter user’s reaction: “Glad Plummer won. Beginners was better then some of the Best Picture nominees I saw. Looking at you Tree of Life & Moneyball. #Oscars.”

The highest spike of the night, and the only moment to break the barrier of 20,000 tweets per minute, was just after 8:24 p.m., when Meryl Streep won a lead-actress statuette for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” Many people had expected Viola Davis, of the Southern drama “The Help,” to win.

Twitter users reacted to Streep’s win with a mix of approval and disappointment. One user wrote, “I am so excited that Meryl Streep won Best Actress! I can't believe she only won 3 out of 17 times. She deserved so many more.”

Another user felt differently: “Streep is great; an icon; but her performance over Viola Davis in The Help? Really?”

According to the Senti-meter’s analysis, tweets about Davis were more likely to be positive than those about Streep.

All told, Streep was mentioned in 146,470 tweets on Feb. 26, more than 40 times her daily average in the two months leading up to the show, and Davis was mentioned in 27,036 tweets, more than the previous two months combined.

Overall, “The Help” and best-picture winner “The Artist” had the most positive sentiment among all movies.

One thing you can count on every year at the Oscars, no matter who wins, is that they’ll get people talking. Check out theinteractive Senti-meter tool, and read sample tweets, and track tweet volume for the entire awards season by clicking here.   


Oscar Senti-meter: A BAFTA bounce for Dujardin, Oldman, Streep

Oscar Senti-meter: Russell Crowe and Miley Cyrus pump up the volume 

Oscars 2012: Meryl Streep and George Clooney top the Twitter charts, volume-wise

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: Lead-actress winner Meryl Streep with her husband Don Gummer, outside the Governors Ball, following the 84th annual Academy Awards, at the Hollywood & Highland Center. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Oscars 2012: The lobby bar, the show's 'Star Wars' cantina

February 27, 2012 |  8:13 pm

On Sunday night, while some bold-faced names inside the Academy Awards ceremony waited to hear their names called, other bold-faced names decided they needed a drink.
And so it was that, as Billy Crystal presided over the best in this year’s (and many other years’) films,  an assortment of stars and Hollywood power players found themselves standing at two plush bars in the carpeted lobby outside the main theater. It was a place to be approached by someone random, to act silly, to take a breath before re-entering the pressure cooker inside.

On one side stood Michelle Williams, flanked by galpal Busy Phillips and Jonah Hill, the three of them kidding around, throwing  arms around each other and taking photos, prom-style.

PHOTOS: Best & Worst | Quotes | Red carpet arrivals | During the show | Backstage

On the other end of the room was Paramount chief Brad Grey, standing by himself. A Chinese publicist soon walked over to him. “This is Li Bing Bing,” said the woman, introducing the studio executive to the Chinese A-lister, who has been trying to gain traction in Hollywood. “She’s a big movie star in China.”

“I know who you are,” Grey said. The publicist told the actress that Grey ran Paramount.  “I have a job at Paramount,” Grey said.

At the smaller of the two bars, through a partially enclosed archway, the Oscars played on a television, the sound pumped up over the din of the drinkers.  Jason Segel watched a good chunk of the show at that bar, his gangly frame perched on a marble shelf, munching on popcorn handed out by women who were outfitted to look like flight attendants in the ABC series “Pan Am.”

Earlier, Emma Stone had taken a seat on the same shelf, pulling herself up to give her feet a break. Jonah Hill walked up to her and performed, with apparent success, some kind of comedy routine for her. (Hill spent a lot of time in the lobby.)

The side bar got fuller and more animated as the final awards were being handed out. The announcement of Meryl Streep as best actress got some of the biggest gasps, and best-picture winner “The Artist” the loudest cheers, perhaps none louder than Segel's. It was like the Oscar-viewing party you’d have with your friends, if you were friends with some really famous actors.

A little bit earlier, Anna Faris and husband Chris Pratt, who stars as a misfit baseball player in "Moneyball," were sipping their cocktails when the nominees for sound mixing were called out on the television above them. When the nominees from "Moneyball" were read off, Faris let out a loud shout and clapped, startling a few of the hobnobbers nearby.
As the envelope was opened, Faris and Pratt kept their eyes fixed on the screen, their hands clenched together as though watching an extra-inning baseball game. (If that seemed like an intense reaction for a below-the-line award, they're apparently an enthusiastic couple. Plus "Moneyball" wasn't favored in too many categories.)
When "Hugo" was called for the win, Faris' face fell, and she exhaled disappointedly. Pratt made a small gesture with his hand as if to say "that's OK, they were the better team today." Their shoulders sagging, the couple put down their glasses and shuffled out of the bar.


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

'The Artist' is big winner at Academy Awards

Angelina Jolie's right leg and other odd Oscar moments

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jonah Hill arriving at the Oscars. Credit: Joel Ryan/Associated Press


Oscars 2012: What was Billy Crystal's lamest joke? [Poll]

February 27, 2012 |  9:45 am


Billy CrystalThe reviews of pinch-hit Oscar host Billy Crystal, who replaced Eddie Murphy when he bolted with producer Brett Ratner, were mixed. Detractors said a little Borscht Belt schtick went a long way, while supporters thought Crystal brought some sharp wit to the proceedings.

As The Times' Greg Braxton reported, the evening had its share of uncomfortable moments and instances of what appeared to be cultural insensitivity. And Crystal quickly came under fire in social media for a couple of his bits.

Among them:

Crystal appeared in blackface as Sammy Davis Jr. during the show’s opening film montage. Crystal as Davis Jr. — a throwback to his days on “Saturday Night Live” — parodied Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris" with Justin Bieber.

Crystal joked shortly after Octavia Spencer's supporting actress win for “The Help” that he loved the film so much he came out of the theater wanting to hug the first black woman he saw. “Which, from Beverly Hills," he quipped, "is about a 45-minute drive.”

PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals | Quotes | Winners | Best & Worst

Whatever your view, there were any number of Crystal jokes that landed with a thud. What was his biggest miss? Vote in our poll:


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

'The Artist' is big winner at Academy Awards

Angelina Jolie's right leg and other odd Oscar moments

Photo: Billy Crystal hosting the 84th annual Academy Awards. Credit: Associated Press / Mark J. Terrill.

Odd moments at Oscars 2012, such as Angelina Jolie's right leg

February 27, 2012 |  6:01 am

JenniferlopezangelinajolieUnlike the Grammys, which all but throws open the doors for weirdness with its medleys and awkward collaborations, the Oscars is a staid affair, planned and managed to the minute.

With host Billy Crystal helming his ninth telecast, the 84th edition of the Hollywood Huzzahs was especially stiff and self-reverent, resembling a wake for an elderly uncle we never knew more than a celebration of film's passionate spirit.

The Oscars still managed to host its fair share of eye-rolling moments, Twitter mini-scandals involving certain body parts and a Big Upset that really wasn't much of a shocker at all. The highlights of the 2012 Uggies — oops, we mean Oscars:

PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals | Quotes | Winners | Best & Worst

1. Billy Crystal was brought in as a hasty replacement for Eddie Murphy, who was swept out as part of the Brett Ratner anti-gay slur meltdown of 2011. And although we understand the academy's desire to get someone experienced (read: safe) in there, wouldn't it be great if they had taken just a wee bit more of a risk with the host?

Last year everyone complained James Franco seemed stoned and that Anne Hathaway overcompensated, but at least it wasn't reheated jokes that played better in the Catskills, where the last standing comedy clubs were likely recording this on Beta tape for posterity. An early sketch had Crystal meeting with Justin Bieber to pull in the 18-24 crowd — and that's the last moment this age group or any person younger than 50 was seemingly thought about ever again.

2. Are the movies (all of them, everywhere) dying or going away somewhere? There was an oddly funereal vibe to the recorded segments that had actors recollecting their first cinematic memories or somberly intoning about the magic of cinema in general. With actors talking against a black background, we were just waiting for a procession of bagpipers to announce the Death of Film. By the time we got to the In Memoriam montage, things were so gloomy that Esperanza Spaulding rendered "It's a Wonderful World" dangerously close to a dirge rather than a poignant celebration of life.

3. So desperate for entertainment, some viewers of the Oscars manufactured a fake wardrobe malfunction a la Janet Jackson's flash at the Super Bowl. Shortly after Jennifer Lopez sat down from her presenter duties with Cameron Diaz, Twitter lit afire with rumors that Lopez's left nipple slipped out of her dress while she was turning around onstage. Videos of the supposed moment were quickly cut and posted on YouTube; Daily Beast created a poll, asking viewers if they'd indeed caught a view of JLo's assets; and Gawker wondered if we had a true nip slip on our hands or simply a shadow, perhaps from some clothing tape meant to prevent this kind of mishap from occurring in the first place.

Well, we're here to tell you that we have diligently studied the footage and it is our professional opinion that no such slippage happened at all. Sorry. But we thoroughly applaud the person who started the Twitter account called @JLosNipple.

4. Not to be outdone by anyone's nipple, there was Angelina Jolie's lithesome leg. Wearing a black dress with a slit nearly up to her waistline, Jolie thrust out her right gam and cunningly smiled at the resulting wolf whistles. Some said it was an overcooked attempt to generate steam while others said yowza, who cares?

The pose was so striking that when "Descendants" writer and comedian Jim Rash later came on stage to get his trophy for adapted screenplay, he mimicked the actress but with much more fabric involved (stupid tuxedos). Of course, Jolie's leg also has a Twitter account (@AngiesRightLeg), where it has excitedly tweeted sentiments like "I'm a leg, get a load of me!" Fifteen minutes of fame, meet your new competition: five seconds of Internet chuckles.

5. When the Big Upset of the night is Meryl Streep winning for best actress for playing a character from real life, a world leader mind you, this tells you everything you need to know about the surprise element of the show. The shocker is that one of the most lauded actresses of our time actually won?

Although Streep hasn't nabbed the Oscar in nearly 30 years, she has a record 17 nominations. Sooner or later, she was bound to get another one; the academy certainly wasn't about to stop nominating her. And though she looked genuinely surprised when her name was called, her face soon settled into that regal Streep visage that's about as manufactured as Taylor Swift's surprise face. What's next? A movie about movies wins for best picture? Oh, wait, that happened too.


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

TIMELINE: Eight decades of Oscars history

'The Artist' is big winner at Academy Awards

— Margaret Wappler

Photos: Jennifer Lopez, with Cameron Diaz. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times. Angelina Jolie thrusts her leg on stage. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Oscars 2012: Octavia Spencer calls 'Help' ensemble a 'beautiful unit'

February 27, 2012 |  5:47 am

Christian Bale and Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer, who was named best supporting actress at the Oscars for her role as Southern maid Minny Jackson in the civil-rights-era drama "The Help," was not in the mood to appear in the press room after the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday night, asking that she not have to take too many questions.

Indeed Spencer, who cried onstage after her win, seemed exhausted and overwhelmed to the point of being edgy. When asked about her thoughts on the lack of diversity in the motion picture academy, which is largely white and male, the African American actress bristled just a bit.

“I don’t have any thoughts about it; it’s not something I’ve thought about. I wish I could be more eloquent — elegant in answering that question,” she said. “I can’t tell the academy what to do, honey. They just gave me an Oscar.”

PHOTOS: Red carpet arrivals | Quotes | Winners | Best & Worst

A moment later, after she took another question, she seemed to feel bad about her answer.

“I didn’t mean to cut you off, ma’am,” she said to the reporter who asked the diversity question. “I just knew where you were going, and I didn’t want to get on that bus.”

The usually chipper actress’ mood brightened when she was asked about her experience working on “The Help.”

“It’s rare that you have the type of ensemble that we had,” she said. “We left our egos at the door and worked as one beautiful unit.”

But at the end of the day, Spencer said that she felt she was accepting the Oscar on the part of those who lived through the civil rights struggle.

“I’m a benefactor of all of the riches that the real-life Minnys, Aibileens and Celias basically reaped,” said Spencer. “I’m very humble because I get to stand here and accept this award, and I haven’t really done anything.”


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

TIMELINE: Eight decades of Oscars history

'The Artist' is big winner at Academy Awards

— Jessica Gelt

Photo: Octavia Spencer with presenter Christian Bale and her award for supporting actress for "The Help" backstage at the 84th Academy Awards.  Credit: Joel Ryan/Associated Press.

Oscars 2012: 'Undefeated' filmmakers say sorry for the F-bomb

February 26, 2012 |  8:32 pm


The makers of “Undefeated,” which won the Oscar for documentary feature Sunday, may have gotten off to a rocky start when accepting their Academy Awards on stage: They dropped the F-bomb, for starters, were bleeped out and their speech was cut off at 45 seconds. But Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin and Richard Middlemas were charming, if a bit apologetic, backstage.

“It wasn’t the classiest thing,” admitted Martin. “But it did come from the heart.”

Their film about an inner-city football team at Manassas High School in North Memphis, Tenn., had a good deal of heart as well. Lindsay said they’d wanted to dedicate the award, when accepting it, to the community of North Memphis, but they’d gotten cut off prematurely.

Oscars: Red Carpet | Quotes | Key Scenes Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Winners

“It was heartbreaking,” said Lindsay. “Because we wouldn’t be here without them.”

“We can’t thank the community of North Memphis enough,” added Martin.

The team at Manassas High is all black; volunteer coach Bill Courtney is white. Martin said the film wasn’t initially meant to make a pointed political or social statement, but he’s pleased it’s sparked discussion of such issues. “When we got there and saw race and class was not an issue for the coach and volunteer players, for us, it was not our duty to bring that element into it if it wasn’t an element for them. But that said, the whole point of it was to elicit and inspire a conversation about race and class."

Lindsay threw effusive shout-outs to all the other nominated films in the documentary category; backstage, he credited the win in part to current filmmaking technology. “It’s partly because of the technology — you can tell stories you couldn’t tell before,” he said. “And people are clamoring for something genuine. I think we’re sick of manufactured.”


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

Kenneth Turan reviews 'Undefeated'

'Undefeated' is a provocative look at race and class in sports

— Deborah Vankin

Photo: Coach Bill Courtney and star lineman O.C. Brown figure in "Undefeated." Credit: Dan Lindsay/TJ Martin/ The Weinstein Co.

Oscars 2012: When Woody Allen got funny at Academy Awards

February 26, 2012 |  8:05 pm

Woody allen
Woody Allen didn't show up on Sunday night to collect his Oscar for original screenplay for "Midnight in Paris" — his fourth Academy Award. It was hardly a surprise — Allen has skipped the ceremony in the past, and he even has passed up the chance to join the academy.

So was Allen actually watching when he won the original screenplay Oscar? The executive who distributed Allen's "Midnight in Paris" said he wasn't sure.

"He wouldn't tell me," Sony Pictures Classics co-chief Tom Bernard told The Times at the lobby bar shortly after the win. "I think he probably has some people who keep him updated."

Oscars: Red Carpet | Quotes | Key Scenes Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Winners

As for whether there was any chance the writer-director would have turned up to the Hollywood ceremony to accept a potential award in person, Bernard said he never held out a lot of hope.

"I tried for a little bit to get him to come, but he thinks it's all..." Bernard said. "He thinks the best movie of the year is 'A Separation" and all this awards stuff is..."

So we can only guess what the 76-year-old Allen might have said had he turned up to deliver an acceptance speech. But he did attend in 2002, and delivered a funny segment that has us wishing he had shown up this year. Have a look ....


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

Follow the Oscars live on Twitter

Timeline: Eight decades of Oscar history

— Steven Zeitchik and Julie Makinen

Photo: Woody Allen on the red carpet before the opening ceremony and the screening of "Midnight in Paris"  at the 64th Cannes Film Festival in May 2011. Credit: Francois Guillot / AFP/Getty Images

Oscars: Meryl Streep's 'Iron Lady' makeup was a low-budget affair

February 26, 2012 |  7:21 pm

Iron lady makeup
During his acceptance speech, makeup artist J. Roy Helland thanked Meryl Streep for continuing to work with him after 37 years — through films including "Sophie's Choice," "Out of Africa," "The Bridges of Madison County" and, in 2011, "The Iron Lady."

Backstage after claiming the gold statuette, he elaborated on his longstanding relationship with the two-time Oscar winner (who was up for her own Academy Award on Sunday night). He said he still finds it “fascinating” to watch the 62-year-old’s face change as she ages.

“It’s a great joy, and we have a really good time, which is why we like to do it, still,” Helland said. “It’s fascinating to make [her makeup] look different. A long, long time ago I probably got the best lesson in makeup, which was someone said, ‘Don’t paint what you see; paint what you want.’ So for us — Meryl and I — it’s all about not having it be her but having it be whoever the character is.”

Oscars: Red Carpet | Quotes | Key Scenes Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Winners

Less fun, Helland said, were the budget constraints on the $14-million production of “The Iron Lady.” He said he was under pressure to work fast and felt grateful that Streep was willing to sit still for 2 1/2 hours each morning before heading to set.

“When they budgeted [the film], they didn’t consider that we would be doing that much old age for that amount of time,” he recalled. “I was allowed to have five wigs made, and they were rented, and that was it — covering over 40 years.”

It was the first Oscar for Helland and his co-winner, Mark Coulier.

For more Oscars breaking news and analysis, check back on 24 Frames.


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

Follow the Oscars live on Twitter

Timeline: Eight decades of Oscar history

—-Amy Kaufman


Photo: The Oscar winners for makeup, Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, address the audience onstage at the 84th Academy Awards. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.


Oscars: 'Dragon Tattoo' gets editing win despite no best picture nom

February 26, 2012 |  6:59 pm

At most Oscars, the award for film editing goes to the movie that wins best picture. This year, there's no chance.

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall took the prize, but that film, based on the bestselling Swedish novel, isn't even one of the nine pictures nominated for best picture.

In the prior decade, only three movies have won the best editing prize but didn't win best picture. Only one, "The Bourne Ultimatum," won editing but wasn't even nominated for best picture.

Oscars: Red Carpet | Quotes | Key Scenes Ballot | Cheat Sheet | Winners

The surprise win for "Dragon Tattoo" is early evidence that no matter which movie wins the top prize, this year's Academy Awards won't feature a sweep by a single favorite of the voters.

Also unusual about this year's Oscar for best editing: Baxter and Wall won for the second time in a row. Last year they took home the prize for "The Social Network."


Oscars 2012: Full coverage

Follow the Oscars live on Twitter

Timeline: Eight decades of Oscar history

— Ben Fritz

Photo: Rooney Mara and Yorick van Wageningen in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Merrick Morton / Sony Pictures.


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