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Category: Producers

Oscars 2012: Studio nominations by the numbers

January 24, 2012 | 12:07 pm


Click for photos of reactions from the top nominees

Sony Pictures emerged as the studio with the most Oscar nominations on Tuesday morning, tallying 21 in all. Eleven of those were attached to a pair of films associated with heavyweight producer Scott Rudin: six for the Brad Pitt vehicle "Moneyball," on which Rudin was a producer, and five for the David Fincher adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," on which Rudin was an executive producer.

Eight of Sony's nominations came from its Sony Pictures Classics label, home to the Woody Allen film "Midnight in Paris" (four nominations) and the Iranian film "A Separation" (two), among others.

Paramount followed Sony with 18 nominations, 11 of which were for "Hugo," which led all films. Three of Paramount's nominations came from an unlikely source, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects), and two were courtesy of DreamWorks Animation, with whom Paramount has a distribution deal set to expire this year.

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

The Weinstein Co. nabbed 16 nominations, largely on the strength of the near-silent film "The Artist" and its 10 noms, as well as the biopics "The Iron Lady" and "My Week With Marilyn," which earned two apiece.

Disney received 13 nominations, though it has DreamWorks to thank for 11 of them, having distributed the DreamWorks pictures "The Help" (four nominations), "War Horse" (six) and "Real Steel" (one) under its Touchstone Pictures label. Disney's two other nominations were for animated short and original song.

Fox came away with 10 nominations in all (eight under its Fox Searchlight division), while Universal had seven (five from its Focus Features division), and Warner Bros. had five.

At the 2011 Oscars, two big-name producers, Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin, battled in the best-picture race, with Weinstein backing "The King's Speech" and Rudin behind "The Social Network" as well as "True Grit." This year, it's the same situation, with Weinstein pushing "The Artist" and Rudin  behind "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (via Warner Bros.) and "Moneyball."


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Actress Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announce the nominees for best picture. Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images

'The Artist,' 'Bridesmaids' among Producers Guild award nominees

January 3, 2012 | 10:14 am

  Hollywood's complicated movie awards season didn't get any clearer Tuesday morning as the Producers Guild of America announced its 10 nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck producer of the year award in theatrical motion pictures
Hollywood's complicated movie awards season didn't get any clearer Tuesday morning as the Producers Guild of America announced its 10 nominees for the Darryl F. Zanuck producer of the year award in theatrical motion pictures.

Some of the nominees were expected, including "The Artist," "The Descendants," "Hugo," "Moneyball" and "War Horse," but there were some mild surprises in the mix, such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Ides of March" and "Bridesmaids."

Rounding out the nominees were "The Help" and "Midnight in Paris."  

The PGA award is seen as a bellwether for the best picture Academy Award. The last time the two didn't see eye to eye was five years ago when "Little Miss Sunshine" won the PGA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose "The Departed" as best film.

Nominated for the producer of the year award in animated theatrical motion pictures are "The Adventures of Tintin," "Cars 2," "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Puss in Boots" and "Rango."

Vying for the David L. Wolper producer of the year award in long-form TV are "Cinema Verite," "Downton Abby," "The Kennedys," "Mildred Pierce" and "Too Big to Fail."

In contention for producer of the year in documentary theatrical motion pictures are "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest," "Bill Cunningham New York," "Project Nim," "Senna" and "The Union."

Nominated for the Danny Thomas award for outstanding producer of episodic television, comedy, are "30 Rock," "The Big Bang Theory," "Glee," "Modern Family" and "Parks and Recreation."

The nominees for the Norman Felton Award for outstanding producer of episodic TV, drama, are "Boardwalk Empire," "Dexter," "Game of Thrones," "The Good Wife" and "Mad Men."

Nominated for the award for outstanding producer of live entertainment and talk television are "The Colbert Report," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Saturday Night Live" and "The 64th Annual Tony Awards."

The nominees for the outstanding producer of competition television are "The Amazing Race," "American Idol," "Dancing With the Stars," "Project Runaway" and "Top Chef."

The PGA Awards will be handed out Jan. 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. For a full list of the nominees, as provided by the PGA, click ahead.

Continue reading »

Producers Guild announces documentary nominations

December 2, 2011 | 10:53 am

A Tribe Called Quest
The Producers Guild of America announced Friday morning the documentary theatrical motion picture nominees that have advanced in the voting process for the 23rd annual Producers Guild of America Awards.

The nominated films are "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest," Michael Rapaport's documentary on the seminal New York hip-hop group; "Bill Cunningham New York," Richard Press' portrait of the New York Times photographer; "Project Nim," James Marsh's chronicle of a chimp taken from his mother at birth and raised like a human in New York City in the 1970s; "Senna," Asif Kapadia's documentary on the late Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna; and "The Union," Cameron Crowe's look at Elton John and Leon Russell's album "The Union."

TV series nominations for the 2012 Producers Guild Awards will be announced Dec. 7. All other nominations for the PGA Awards will take place Jan. 3. The winners will be announced Jan. 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.


National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

New York critics picks: Will the academy get behind 'The Artist' too?

-- Susan King

Photo: Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, featured in "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest." Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Laura Ziskin, 'Spider-Man' producer and Hollywood trailblazer, dies at 61

June 12, 2011 | 10:55 pm

Laura Ziskin, a veteran film producer who counted the "Spider-Man" franchise among her many credits and was one of the most influential women in recent Hollywood history, has died at 61.

Ziskin, who was working on the reboot of "The Amazing Spider-Man" at the time of her death, had fought a seven-year battle with breast cancer. In 2008, she founded a nonprofit that has to-date raised more than $200 million to fight the disease.

Although she was not well known among average film fans, Ziskin had a profound impact on what contemporary moviegoers watched at the multiplex. Over a three-decade career, she produced or oversaw a wide range of films, including the 1987 Cold War thriller "No Way Out," the 1990 Richard Gere-Julia Roberts romantic comedy "Pretty Woman" and 1997's James L. Brooks' Oscar-contending dramedy "As Good As It Gets."

By far her most significant filmic legacy is "Spider-Man"; she produced all three released movies in the blockbuster franchise. "The Amazing Spider-Man," a reboot of the comicbook series starring Andrew Garfield that is set to be released next year, was her most recent effort in that vein. One person close to the production noted she was extremely involved even as her cancer began to spread in recent months.

Although Ziskin had been based at the Sony Pictures lot for years, during the 1990s she also headed a division at 20th Century Fox, Fox 2000, that was responsible for the kind of serious dramas Hollywood studios rarely make these days, including "Courage Under Fire," "Fight Club" and "The Thin Red Line."

Ziskin also produced two Oscar telecasts, in 2002 and 2007. Her first effort was notable for landing Woody Allen, famously averse to awards-show hoopla. She was the first woman to produce the telecast on her own.

Outside the film world she was best known for her efforts in helping to found Stand Up to Cancer, a research initiative she founded with Katie Couric, former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing  and others. The organization, which held several high-profile Hollywood telethons (her comments to The Times from the red carpet at last summer's event can be seen here), drew on the star power of the media and entertainment world to raise money for cancer research. (For more on her life and legacy, please see The Times' obituary here.)

At the Producers Guild Awards this past January, Ziskin's voice was weak when she received the group’s visionary award. She spoke about cancer’s destructive effect on families and the importance of encouraging cancer researchers to collaborate on their work. "In my world the hero always defeats the villain, the boy always gets the girl, and cancer is no more," she said.

But perhaps her most lasting impact will lie with how she was able to penetrate the inner circle of A-list producers, for decades considered an all-boys club. In Mollie Gregory's 2002 book about women and Hollywood, "Women Who Run the Show," Ziskin had one of the most memorable quotes.

"Men have built the cities, made and defined the culture, interpreted the world. At no time in recorded history have women been culture-makers," she said. "Movies are arguably the most influential, important medium in the world. They have a tremendous cultural impact. Because women are now making movies, then women's ideas, philosophy, point of view will seep into that culture. And that's never happened in history. Ever, ever, ever. We can't even see the impact of that yet."


Laura Ziskin on the red carpet of the Stand up to Cancer event [Video]

Laura Ziskin will receive Producers Guild of America Visionary award

Photos: Notable deaths of 2011

— Steven Zeitchik and Nicole Sperling

 Photo: Laura Ziskin before the 2007 Academy Awards. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' set for movie, TV series

September 8, 2010 |  3:01 pm

Sking Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" -- comprising seven novels, short stories and comic books -- will come to life in three films and a television series. The unique deal will have Ron Howard directing the first film in the trilogy and the first season of the TV series, Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Akiva Goldsman, perhaps best known for writing "Angels & Demons" and "A Beautiful Mind," will write the first season of the television program and produce the film alongside Imagine Entertainment, which Howard runs with Brian Grazer.

"The Dark Tower" has been wildly successful -- the novels alone have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The story centers upon the sole survivor in a line of knightly gunslingers, Roland Deschain, who has been charged with finding a Dark Tower in order to save humanity.

“We are excited to have found partners at Universal who understand and embrace our approach to King’s remarkable epic,” Howard said in today's release. “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels. It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

The first film will be quickly followed by the television series, which will lead to the second film. The TV series will then resume until the third film is released. No word yet on when production is slated to begin on the first film.

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Stephen King in 2009. Credit: Mark Lennihan / AP

UPDATE: Lohan movie 'Inferno' sets off internal firestorm

May 7, 2010 |  1:38 pm

Lilolovelace We thought Lindsay Lohan's life was full of drama--but it turns out that the people behind her new movie "Inferno" are creating some commotion of their own.

On Tuesday, we reported that Lohan has signed on to play Linda Lovelace in a new movie about the troubled life of the late '70s porn star. The word came from Wali Razaqi, who says he is a producer on the film. Razaqi also told us that Bill Pullman was attached to the project to star as Hugh Hefner, but now says he was "misinformed" and that the actor will not be in the movie after all, which Pullman's manager confirmed.

Ever since our story was published, we've also been bombarded by messages from two other filmmakers, Chris Hanley and Jordan Gertner, who say they've never heard of Razaqi and that they are the rightful producers on the project. Razaqi maintains he is a producer on the film and says his company's name has been on the "Inferno" script that's been sent around town for months.

The film's director, Matthew Wilder, says Razaqi is an old friend who has been involved with the movie, but says Hanley and Gertner are the "bona fide" producers.

This all sounds like a messy producer squabble to us -- one which we'll leave up to the Producers Guild of America to arbitrate down the road -- although it does highlight the chaos of the indie-film world, where even a seemingly innocuous word like producer can be a relative (and loaded) term.

The important point in all of this is that Lohan will star in the project. Perhaps ironically, for once it's her movie -- and not the actress herself -- that's creating a stir.

--Amy Kaufman 

Photo: (From left) "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace and Lindsay Lohan. Credit: AP Photo/File.


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