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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Glenn Beck

"Beginners," "Tree of Life" tie for Gotham Film Awards

November 28, 2011 |  8:07 pm

Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical drama "Beginners," about a young man whose widower father comes out of the closet, and Terrence Malick's mystical family epic "Tree of LIfe" tied for best film of 2011 at the 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards given out Monday evening in New York City.

"Beginners," which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, also won for ensemble cast. Felicity Jones took home the breakthrough actor award for her role as a lovestruck British woman in 
"Like Crazy." Breakthrough director honors went to Dee Rees for "Pariah." The documentary prize went to "Better This World."

Other awards given out included:

The Best Film Not Playing At a Theater Near You: "Scenes of a Crime"

Festival Genius Award, which is voted on by filmgoers online: "Girlfriend"

Spotlight on Women Filmmakers "Live the Dream" Grant: Lucy Mulloy, "Una Noche"

The awards are presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project, which is the oldest and largest U.S. organization of indie filmmakers. It is one of two key awards given to independent films. Nominations for the other, Film Independent's Spirit Awards, will be announced Tuesday.

PHOTOS: 21st Gotham Film Awards arrivals

Besides the competitive awards, career achievement awards were given out to actors Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman, director David Cronenberg and co-chair and chief executive of Fox Film Entertainment Tom Rothman.

Last year's top winner, "Winter's Bone," went on to receive four Oscar nominations including for best picture and lead actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The Gotham's 2009 selection, "The Hurt Locker," won the Academy Award for best picture, director and original screenplay.


"Descendants," "Beginners" among Gotham Independent Film nominations

Gotham Awards give top prize to 'Winter's Bone'

— Susan King

Photo: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Photo credit: Andrew Tepper.

Cameron vs. Beck, Round 2: Host addresses fracas, doesn't exactly tell whole story

March 24, 2010 |  6:11 pm

Glenn Beck took the bait -- bait probably understating the appeal; lollipops dangled in front of a toddler are less likely to be grabbed -- after James Cameron knocked down Beck last night for his position on global warming, for calling him the Antichrist and for asserting the talk-show host spread  "poisonous" ideas.

Beck spends most of the three-minute segment on his show today focusing on the Antichrist comment from 2007. Beck would actually seem to have a point in saying that he was joking and Cameron shouldn't take it all seriously. "I did call James Cameron the Antichrist...but only because of the Celine Dion song [from 'Titanic']. Horrific, really."

But what Beck doesn't say is that the context for the original remark wasn't some TiVoed broadcast of the 1998 Oscars. It was Cameron's announcement back in 2007 for a documentary he was producing that the director had uncovered proof that Jesus in fact wasn't resurrected. So Beck wasn't making some harmless "My Heart Will Go On" joke -- he was attacking Cameron's research and beliefs. And Cameron was basically calling Beck out for his hyperbolic name-calling in which he panders, as he so often does, to our more divisive impulses.

In other words, he was calling him out for for being Glenn Beck, a far more understandable diss.

Beck rounded out the segment today with his usual they're-out-to-get-you brand of anxiety-stoking. "He's upset with you because you're a global-warming denier," Beck said, turning to the audience -- as though the guy who's made some of the most popular movies of our time, and whose entire career is built on getting people to see his movies, is some kind of snooty anti-populist.

It's an interesting dynamic. Beck's penchant for incensing viewers by preying on our collective sense of an amorphous enemy is brilliant, but not new. Cameron's mouthiness for the last few months, and especially this week, is, however, more unexpected. Most don't take the bait when Beck dangles it right in front of them. Cameron is either too stupid or too smart -- or maybe just too rich -- to sit back and take it; in fact, he's the one who cast out the line in the first place. That would seem like a dicey move because it does what most of us thought impossible: It makes Glenn Beck a victim. Of course, as today's telecast shows, it doesn't take the host very long to undo that.

--Steven Zeitchik


Glenn Beck to James Cameron: It was a joke, you knucklehead

James Cameron vs. Glenn Beck: Is the director making a bid for a cable-news show?

James Cameron vs. Glenn Beck: Is the director making a bid for a cable-news show?

March 24, 2010 |  6:30 am

James Cameron is starting to sound more and more like Jon Stewart every day. Heck, he's starting to sound more and more like Keith Olbermann every day.

It's rare enough that the director of a hugely successful action movie thrusts himself into the political discussion as much as Cameron has (especially as the filmmakers behind a more overtly political film, "The Hurt Locker," took such pains to shy away from politics). But it's even more anomalous for a director to engage with the rabble of cable news as directly as Cameron has.

According to a story in the Hollywood Reporter, what might have been a very unremarkable DVD-release party for "Avatar" on Tuesday night turned into a very sharp barrage of words from Cameron, in which he spared little quarter for Glenn Beck.

One comment contained an unprintable epithet. Some of the other comments on the Fox News host: "He's dangerous because his ideas are poisonous. I couldn't believe when he was on CNN. I thought, what happened to CNN? Who is this guy? Who is this madman? And then of course he wound up on Fox News, which is where he belongs, I guess." Cameron also challenged Beck to a debate (not a duel, but close).

Camer And he said that "Anybody that is a global-warming denier at this point in time has got their head so deeply up their ... I'm not sure they could hear me."

Wait, is this the same guy who directed "True Lies" and faced criticism by the left for his portrayal of Muslims (and was heralded by some on the right for his patriotism)? Or did some kind of John Connor time-travel thing happen and change everything?

Either way, as someone sympathetic to Cameron's politics (commenters, bring on the backlash) -- and unsympathetic to Beck's brand of, um, journalism -- I'm not sure how to feel about Cameron's outspokenness. On the one hand, it's easy to cringe at Cameron as poster child for populism of any kind; this is a wealthy director who spends a lot of time cocooned in his editing suite and/or Southern California mansion. (Of course Glenn Beck does the same in a TV studio and Connecticut mansion, but no matter.) Every time Cameron speaks out about public policy, it hands another easy point-scoring opportunity to those who paint the Obama administration and its many supporters in Hollywood as out of touch. It's Hanoi Jane all over again.

On the other hand, Cameron has not only earned the right to speak -- but he's also shown that people will listen. This isn't some obscure auteur writing an op-ed column; it's a guy who's proved again and again he can correctly gauge the tastes of the American public (probably better than most politicians, actually).

And besides, after two days of spin and fear-mongering from Republican leaders and their cable-news water carriers on healthcare, it's nice to see someone from the other side firing back, even if it's on a different issue. Democrats may soon start getting out there and selling the healthcare package. But as a plan to minimize the fallout is developed by people who lead the party, it's encouraging in the meantime to hear some candid words from a person who leads the box office.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photos, from top: Glenn Beck. Credit: Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press. James Cameron. Credit: Mustafa Quraishi / Associated Press


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