Tag Archives: Denzil Washington

Spike Lee receives Honorary Award at the 2015 Governors Awards

Courtesy of: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact
Written by Tambay A Obenson
15th Nov 2015

 

 

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Last night, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Honorary Oscars to Spike Lee and Gena Rowlands, as well as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Debbie Reynolds.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

“The Board is proud to recognize our honorees’ remarkable contributions at this year’s Governors Awards,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We’ll be celebrating their achievements with the knowledge that the work they have accomplished – with passion, dedication and a desire to make a positive difference – will also enrich future generations.”

All three awards were presented at the Academy’s 7th Annual Governors Awards last night, Saturday, November 14 – an event that apparently wasn’t nationally televised.

Thankfully the Academy has already made footage of the night’s highlights available online via YouTube, and I’ve embedded the tribute to Spike (which included Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, and Denzel Washington, and was 12 minutes long) as well as Spike’s lengthy (18 minutes long), poignant, and at times hilarious acceptance speech. He took his time and it was great, getting all his industry hooks and jabs in. This was his long-coming Oscar moment (albeit an honorary Oscar) and he was going to make the absolute most of it, and I don’t blame him!

Spike joins a growing list of other talents who have never been recognized by Oscar for individual performances, and were later given Honorary Awards – James Earl Jones being one of them (nominated for Best Actor in 1970 for “The Great White Hope” but didn’t win; and in 2012, a long 42 years later, was celebrated with an Honorary Award).

So first watch the rollicking tribute with Snipes, Jackson and Washington; and then, underneath it, watch Spike’s acceptance speech. Good stuff all-around!

Denzil Washingtion, Samuel Jackson and Wesley Snipes honour Spike Lee (hilarious!)

Spike Lee acceptance speech:

Director Antoine Fuqua directs Gyllenhaall in Southpaw

Written by Graeme Wood
11.05.15

Southpaw_Jake_Gyllenhaall

Director Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Southpaw’ opens in the UK this July, the drama stars Jake Gyllenhaall as a boxer fighting his way to the top of his profession only to have his personal life fall apart around him.

Fuqua’s previous films include Training Day, The Replacement Killers, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer. In ‘Southpaw’ Gyllenhaall plays Billy ‘The Great’ Hope a Junior Middleweight Champion whose fighting stance, the ‘Southpaw’, is an ineloquent and brutal display of offensive fighting. Billy Hope has it all; a beautiful home, family and financial security but when a tragic accident leaves his wife dead it sends him on a downward spiral of self destruction. His days become drug and alcohol fuelled, his home is reposed and his daughter taken by Child Services. All seems lost until a washed up former boxer Tick (Forest Whitaker) agrees to take Billy under his wing and train him to mount a comeback in the ring. Billy must become a new man, fight to regain his title and to take back custody of his daughter.

Fuqua has been nominated for several awards previously and won the ‘Black Reel’ Best Director Antoine_Fuquaprize in 2002 for Training Day, though he has not been nominated for an Academy Award even though Training Day’s lead actor Denzel Washington was nominated and won Best Actor in 2002.

The screenplay for ‘Southpaw’ comes from Kurt Sutter who says he was inspired by the struggles of Marshall Mathers, “He shared so much of his personal struggle in this raw and very honest rap album, one that I connected with on a lot of levels. He is very interested in the boxing genre and it seemed like an apt metaphor, because his own life has been a brawl. In a way, this is a continuation of the 8 Mile story, but we are doing a metaphorical narrative of the second chapter of his life. He’ll play a world champion boxer who really hits rock bottom, and has to fight to win back his life for his young daughter”.

Eminem was originally in line to play the lead role when the film was at Dreamworks, they later dropped the project and then everything was put on hold when Eminem decided to focus on his music career. Antoine Fuqua came on board to direct in 2014 with The Weinstein Company taking over distribution of the movie. The stellar cast also includes Rachel McAdams, Rita Ora, Naomie Harries, Forest Whitaker and 50 Cent.

Gyllenhaall fresh from his acclaimed performance in ‘Nightcrawler’ has undertaken a stunning physical transformation for the role. The 33 year old method actor, who lost 30lbs to play Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler, added 15lb of muscles to his usual weight to play Billy Hope. Fuqua told Deadline; “Jake is going to change how people see him. I had him training twice a day in the boxing ring, seven days a week. I pretty much had him with me and my trainer every day. He’s a very electric, powerful fighter in this movie.”

Southpaw opens in July in the US and the UK and Fuqua’s next project will be a remake of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ with his Training Day/Equalizer star Denzil Washington, the pair are also in talks regarding a sequel to 2014’s The Equalizer.

View the Southpaw trailer here:

For The Love of Oscar: Our 2015 Report

Written by Graeme Wood
24.02.15

 

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As the year’s major award ceremonies draw to a close it’s easy to see which films have been the clear winners and the losers. This year more than any other it seems the glitz and glamour of our awards ceremonies have been under attack for their lack of recognition and prize-giving to a slew of actors and films that appear to have been snubbed. While you could usually rely on BAFTA to recognize its home grown talent this year it bizarrely missed out on nominating Selma or its British star David Oyelowo but there was also a distinct lack of recognition for black and ethnic minority based talent from the UK.

As Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris ribbed in his opening monologue “Tonight we honour Hollywood’s Neil_Patrick_Harris_at_the_best and whitest. Sorry, brightest!” The host drawing attention to the controversy that has dogged this year’s nominations and awards, so concerned were the ceremony organisers that it seems they were anxious to fill the presenter’s roles with as may non-Caucasian faces as possible. Drafting in a number of more ethnically mixed presenters including; Kerry Washington, Eddie Murphy, David Oyeleow, Zoe Saldana and Viola Davis, in what appeared to be an effort to dampen the cries of a lack of diversity and snubbing.

While the Independent Spirit Awards earlier in the week had mirrored many of this year’s other award ceremonies; Birdman taking Best Picture, Richard Linklater taking Best Director, Michael Keaton taking Best Actor, Julianne Moore winning Best Actress, JK Simmons holding onto Best Supporting Actor and Patricia Arquette taking home Best Supporting Actress. They did however gift the Best First Screenplay Award to Justin Simien for Dear White People. Would Oscar go further and do the unexpected to surprise us with some new winners?

Well yes and no, Birdman led the evening taking home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Cinematography awards. The Grand Budapest Hotel took home a clutch of technical awards including Costume Design, Production Design, Best Original Score, Make Up & Hairstyling and Costume. The hotly contested Best Actor category was won by the UK’s Eddie Redmayne forEddieRedmayne The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore continued her winning streak taking home Best Actress for Alzheimer’s drama Still Alice (due in the UK in March), JK Simmons deservedly took away Best Supporting Actor and Patricia Arquette walked away with another Best Supporting Actress win. Arquette won over the audience with her speech addressing it to ‘every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation”. “We have fought for everybody’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America”. It was the only win of the evening for Boyhood, a big award winner elsewhere, having been nominated in six categories. The other biggest losers of the evening were The Imitation Game picking up only 1 award out of 8 nominations and American Sniper picking up 1 award out of six nominations.

As was expected Big Hero 6 took home the Best Animated Feature award (The Lego Movie having cruelly been overlooked for nomination). And what of Selma, nominated in only two categories, Best Selma_CorineScott_MLKPicture and Best Song, the official excuse being the film had been released too late to be campaigned for successfully. Selma’s Glory written by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn – better known as John Legend and Common- walked away with the Oscar for Best Song, also performing the track captivatingly live at the ceremony. During the intense, powerful performance Selma star David Oyelowo was visibly moved to tears and at the finale many of the Academy were on the feet in appreciation. Collecting his award Legend said; “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world…people are marching with our song, we are with you…March on!” Some were less impressed with Lady Gaga’s Sound of Music tribute however, Shonda Rhimes tweeting; ‘That was not okay. I mean, Idina is there. She is right there. RIGHT THERE. And oh dear God, Julie had to hear that,” The Scandal showwriter referencing both Julie Andrews and Idina Menzel who were in the audience. Billboard however, thought it was the second best performance of the night.

The Academy Awards are no stranger to controversy its perceived snubs dating all the way back to a lack of recognition for Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights and Modern Times films. Each year brings a new list of should have beens like Shawshank Redemption, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland, Spike Lee, Jack Nicholson, Ben Afleck and many more. Many, like myself, wonder how a film can be nominated in the Best Film category and yet the director not be nominated, this has happened many times and again this year with Selma nominated as Best Film but no nomination for its director Ava DuVernay.

So what is the worth of an Oscar Nomination and even a win? Do the awards signal industry recognition of talent and art, or are they a celebration of a critical or box office success? Certainly in terms of getting a nomination the prestige can provide a secondary bout of marketing and see the film resurface into theatres with a guaranteed boost in box office sales. This year’s BAFTA wins for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash and The Theory of Everything helped boost these films at the February UK box office. Similarly last year Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years A Slave also benefited from their BAFTA nominations and wins.

Does the winning of an Oscar guarantee the actor offers of the best available roles and most prestigious films on offer? Well you only have to look at Halle Berry’s career for that answer, following her Academy Award win in 2002 for Monster’s Ball, which was seen as a major break through for black actresses at the time, her roles have consisted of mostly superhero sequels and forgettable horror thrillers. Similarly, Denzel Washington, who also won in 2002 for Training Day, can hardly have noticed any change in his career – although he still turning out an impressive and consistent body of work but not always getting the headline grabbing prestigious roles.

Hattie McDaniel the very first African American actor to win an Academy Award back in 1939 for Gone With The Wind found her career continually consigned to little more than bit parts and maid HattieMcDaniel_kushfilmsroles following her Academy win. McDaniel broke into movies after many years singing in choruses and working as an extra until David O.Selznick cast her as Mammy in the epic but troubled production of Gone With The Wind. She later found herself censured by many of her own race for continuing to play the stereotypical role of a menial in films and for not criticising Hollywood’s portrayal of Negros on the big screen. McDaniel remained ‘in love’ with Hollywood and acting as she later said; though her treatment at the time is now considered something of a scandal, The Awards that year were held at The Cocoanut Grove nightclub, part of the Ambassador Hotel, which then had a strict no-blacks policy, McDaniel was not allowed to sit with the rest of the film’s crew and was placed at a separate table near the far back of the room. Gone With The Wind producer Selznick had to call in a special favour just to have McDaniel allowed into the building. Her win led to her being pigeon-holed in stereotypical roles and the NAACP disowned her for ‘perpetuating negative stereotypes’. Following her death, in 1952, her Oscar which had been left to Howard University was deemed valueless by appraisers and later went missing from the school, her final wish – to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery was denied her because of the colour of her skin. In 1944 she had this to say about her disappointing prospects following the Oscar win, “It was as if I had done something wrong”.

More recently Mo’Nique, who picked up Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her performance in ‘Precious’, has complained that she’s lost out on several roles due to not campaigning for her award. She says Precious director Les Daniels has told her that the perception in Hollywood is that she is monique-precious-oscars‘difficult’ ‘tacky’ and as a result has been blackballed, losing out on several key roles that were offered then later withdrawn.

At the 2010 awards ceremony Mo’Nique wore white gardenias in her hair – just as Hattie McDaniel had done in 1940 when she picked up her Oscar. During her acceptance speech the actress thanked McDaniel ‘for enduring all that she had to, so that I would not have to”. In response to the criticism McDaniel faced for taking maid roles Mo’Nique had this to say: “Well tell me what other roles were available, because what she was; was an actress – and at the time, she wasn’t getting the roles that her white counterparts were getting. She was saying,’I’m an actress. When you say ‘cut’ I’m not (a maid anymore). “So I say to those people: know that woman in full before you judge.”

Les Daniels himself offered this statement on Mo’Nique’s interview: “Mo’nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community”.

A recent Los Angeles Times survey of the 6,028 Academy Award voters revealed that 94% of Voters are White, while 77% of those are also Men; only 2% of the voters were Black with another 2% Latino.

This year has seen a more centralised campaign to bring more diversity to the Academy. Black activist organisation ‘Colour of Change’ have launched an online campaign and petition for the Academy to disclose it’s make up of diversity numbers and accused the Academy of marginalizing Black art because the membership is overwhelmingly white. The campaign began largely because of the perceived snubbing of Selma particularly the lack of nominations for its lead actor and director.

The debate has been fuelled also by interviews given to the Hollywood Reporter by members of the Academy, an anonymous Academy member said;” What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there’s no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60 year old white male, I don’t think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. And as far as the accusations about the Academy being racist? Yes, most members are white males, but they are not the cast of Deliverance-they had to get into the Academy to begin with, so they’re not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn’t that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I’ve got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying ‘I can’t breathe’ – I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year of for stirring up shit”. The Academy member went on to praise American Sniper, Birdman and The Imitation Game as being their picks of the year but felt Boyhood was less of a success; “If you told me when I saw Boyhood that it would win best picture-or even be in the running-I would have told you that you were insane. Watching it, I thought it was ambitious and a directorial triumph, but the kid was uneven and Patricia Arquette probably was sorry she agreed to let them film her age over 12 years”.

Another Academy Voter had this to say about this year’s crop of nominations; “Whiplash is offensive – it’s a film about abuse and I don’t find that entertaining at all. The Grand Budapest Hotel is beautifully made but its story just isn’t special. I didn’t think Selma was a particularly good film, apart from the main actor (David Oyelowo) and I think the outcry about the Academy being racist for not nominating it for more awards is offensive – we have a two term president who is a black woman (Cheryl Boone Isaacs) and we give out awards to black people when they deserve them, just like any other group. Birdman I didn’t get at all-I look around and its doing so well and I just don’t get it”. While another Academy member felt American Sniper had been entertaining, Birdman masterful, The Grand Budapest Hotel underrated, of The Imitation Game they said ‘it had it all; Nazis, gays, World War II. Nobody does this sort of movie better than Harvey Weinstein”. Of Selma the anonymous Academy member commented ‘I thought Selma was great but it just came out too late. And if the director (Ava DuVernay) suffered from anything, it was gender discrimination, not racial discrimination. This whole race thing was spun out of control by the press”.

In a recent interview Spike Lee also pitched in on the Selma controversy; “We don’t have to even use Selma as an example. We could use Do The Right Thing versus Driving Miss F*****ing Daisy. But Do The Right Thing wasn’t the only thing the Academy messed up. My point is; it’s not a new problem. And great art is going to prevail. The door (to black filmmakers) is not knocked down. It’s cracked open a little bit. I wish that door was wide open”.

Lee and Low Books recently published an infographic showing the make up of the Academy that proves a troubling lack of diversity, independent filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood prince-bythewood-gina-imagetold Lee & Low; “The numbers do not surprise me because very few Academy Award level films with no white leads are being greenlit. Until this changes the abysmal numbers will not change. The box office drives which films get greenlit. The hope is that with this year’s success of a variety of films with African American leads, Hollywood will be more open to taking chances.” Lee & Low published the infographic as part of their ‘Diversity Gap’ study series and have monitored a lack of diversity across the Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, the NY Times Top 10 Bestseller List, the children’s book industry and politics. “The lack of diversity across these various industries has been ‘disturbingly consistent’, the publisher wrote, “This is not an isolated incident, but a wide reaching social problem”

There is hope that with all the pressure that one day things will change (hopefully soon!)
Hattie_McDaniel_12thOscars

 

 

Read Hattie McDaniel’s 1947 Hollywood Reporter Essay:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hattie-mcdaniel-defies-critics-1947-774493

Read the full Hollywood Reporter interview with comedian/actress Mo’Nique:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/monique-i-was-blackballed-winning-774616?source=gravity

Read the Hollywood Reporter’s interviews with Academy Members here;
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/brutally-honest-oscar-ballot-2015-773902

View and support the Colour of Change petition here:
http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/oscars_diversify/?t=1&akid=4126.747541.gIn_nT

The whitewashed cast of ‘Exodus’ is irresponsible — Another 2014 Movie Once Again Changing History

 

We at Kushfilms.com have been just so annoyed and once again disappointed with Hollywood with their racists discriminatory filmmaking  and in the case of the film ‘Exodus’ the director Ridley Scott and sadly Christian Bale (one of our favourite British actors); that we really didn’t want to give this film any type of exposure at all – Nada – absolutely nothing!

We do also realise the danger of continuing to let Hollywood make these type of films as they have done since the creation of Hollywood without there been a wave of negative feedback and a call to not support box office sales of racists misleading history changing film-crap like Exodus.

But after already speaking out about films like; Noah & Lucy all made this year in 2014, which also blots out the African genesis of mankind from genuine world history, we just felt we shouldn’t give Exodus any type of exposure at all, hoping it will in a counter-intuitive manner help the film to attract low box office sales.

Sadly with all that has been happening recently; Sony Pictures executives personal emails exposed, their producers slagging off black stars like Kevin Hart and doubting the international box-office appeal of Denzil Washington, the lack of diversity here in the UK and the US in both television and film, black films and actors not been given fair opportunity to shine as with the recent UK semi-partial bogus release of the British urban film Montana and not to mention the ever increasingly worrying racial separation currently happening in the United States facilitated by the deaths of numerous young black men and now two New York police officers in a supposed revenge killing.

I have to wonder if there is some kind of agenda by forces unseen to undermine and in some cases to exterminate globally the progress of black people – Yes now in 2014!
Marlon Palmer (Director)
Kush Films

 

Taken from Mashable.com
Written by Yohana Desta
11.12.14

We just love this straight-talking professional article on the film Exodus written by Yohana Desta of mashable.com that we just had to reprint it here for you our readers.

Please feel free to give us some feedback – send comments to: info@kushfilms.com

What a shame — Exodus: Gods and Kings could have been epic.

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Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver, the new Ridley Scott film has already garnered controversy for casting white actors as ancient Egyptians. Some have called for a boycott, but the Academy Award-nominated director has kept fairly quiet on the criticism — until a recent interview with Variety.

Scott explained:
“I can’t mount a film of this budget, where I have to rely on tax rebates in Spain, and say that my lead actor is Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such,” Scott says. “I’m just not going to get it financed. So the question doesn’t even come up.”

There’s a lot to unpack, but it’s worth noting that Scott’s position is not entirely without merit — filmmakers, even those working with major studios, have an incredibly difficult time funding movies. As the industry becomes more reliant on revenue from foreign countries, where top stars are still a critical draw, you need big names on the marquee to get a green light. Period.

However, that doesn’t excuse films from making the same irresponsible casting decisions over and over. While movies are still an art form, filmmakers are increasingly held accountable for working within a system that egregiously ignores minorities. Half of all contemporary films still fail the Bechdel test, despite its growing influence as a measure of gender bias. Ironically, studies show that films with a more diverse cast earn more revenue.

Sure, Exodus is just a movie — but its message surfaces social issues that do more harm than good.

As someone who has seen this film, I can attest to its aggravatingly backward casting. Not only is the main cast aggressively whitewashed, but the decision to degrade actors with dark skin was an utter distraction. Scott’s need to get a movie star may become the film’s own Achilles heel.

What Ridley Scott gets wrong.

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Christian Bale, Ridley Scott and Joel Edgerton – Image: Andy Kropa /Invision/AP/Associated Press

An expensive film has to recoup its budget and race to the top of the box office. Exodus: Gods and Kings is an expensive movie. With an estimated $140 million budget, it makes sense why Scott feels pressure to deliver on the film’s promise. However, that is where all forgiveness of Scott’s racist Biblical epic ends.

The uproar against this film has been dragging on for months on end, initially because of the film’s cast list. The movie stars carrying this film — Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton (if he can be called a “star” yet), Sigourney Weaver and Aaron Paul — are all white, as are most of the male supporting cast with speaking roles (save for Ben Kingsley, who is half-Indian).

In contrast, aside from Weaver, most of the main actresses with speaking roles — Hiam Abbass, Maria Valverde, Golshifteh Farahani and Indira Varma, mainly — are non-white, which might be the film’s only saving grace in terms of racial casting. But let’s go back to Scott’s Variety quote.

His reasoning deliberately places the blame elsewhere, as though it’s completely out of his hands. In the grand scheme of things, what he’s doing in this film is not different from many other Hollywood films — one need only go back as far as Noah to find a jarringly all-white cast in a biblical epic. Exodus carries on the grand tradition of white actors playing…well, everything. Native Americans. Asians. Other Ancient Egyptian people. However, tradition does not make this film’s actions inexcusable.

Now, this may be the point where you ask: But isn’t the exact skin color of the ancient Egyptians up for debate anyway? Thanks to the Nile River, ancient Egypt was a blend of many outside cultures. However, as Penn State University anthropology professor Nina Jablonski pointed out, it is safe to surmise that they likely had tan skin, as depicted in ancient artwork of Egyptian royalty.

Egyptian art
Jablonski also wrote in her book Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color: “In ancient Egypt as a whole, people were not designated by color terms, and slavery was not associated with darker skin.”

If you couldn’t tell from my author photo, I’m a dark-skinned black woman. And if you couldn’t tell from my name, I’m of East African descent. When I watched Exodus: Gods and Kings in an early press screening,

joel_ramsesI saw things a little differently than the 18-35-year-old white men Scott’s film is no doubt trying to reach.

When the initial casting for the film ignited uproar, it was because dark-skinned actors were cast as servants, soldiers, assassins — you get the idea. Going into this film, I remained open-minded — perhaps Scott had been unfairly vilified in the film’s early reports. Instead, I was slapped in the face with racist imagery.

— Jaime (@jaimichnew) December 5, 2014

Within the first few minutes of the film, two black actors are shown, but they’re merely servants to the high priestess (played by Varma). The next few times you see dark-skinned people, it’s essentially the same — they’re the ever-present bodyguards of Ramses, the wicked assassin sent to kill Moses. They’re servants who flit in and out of rooms. Dark-skinned people in this film are treated like furniture, scattered in the background like props. They are mute (I can count on one hand how many times a dark-skinned actor speaks, and that’s being generous). It’s a visual representation of the statistic that only 25.9% of speaking characters in 600 films from 2007-2010 and 2012-2013 were minorities. And this is a movie set in Africa. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this film’s imagery — and let’s be clear, this is a popcorn flick for your eyes, not your brain — is that it may as well have been set in the Antebellum South. The brutally callous way with which black actors are relegated wordlessly to the background and white actors in the foreground was incredibly uncomfortable and so distracting I was aghast Scott got away with it. Once I noticed the disturbing trend, I decided to tally in my notebook how many times I saw a prominently featured dark-skinned actor stand in a scene without speaking. By the end of the film, I had 40 marks in my notebook. That’s 40 opportunities to give a black actor a voice. Forty chances to let a dark-skinned person rise above the subservient role he or she has been given. Forty times Scott did not realize how gruesomely ignorant his film had become.

What should have happened.

Christian Bale in a scene from 'Exodus: Gods and Kings.'

Christian Bale in a scene from ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’


Dark-skinned people in this film are treated like furniture, scattered in the background like props.

 

 

In a recent interview, Christian Bale defended Scott’s casting choices, spinning them as opportunities to spotlight lesser-known minority actors. “…We should all look at ourselves and say, ‘Are we supporting wonderful actors in films by North African and Middle Eastern film-makers and actors?’ Because there are some fantastic actors out there,” he says. “If people start supporting those films more and more, then financiers in the market will follow…To me, that would be a day of celebration.” Bale’s comments are the closest thing to a mea culpa offended viewers are going to get. In the same interview;

Scott told the film’s boycotters to “Get a life.”

Bale has a great point — films from those regions deserve attention. However, the Hollywood system, in which Bale is an active participant, largely ignores minorities. A 2011 UCLA study showed that only 10.5% of films starred minorities. Therein lies another problem. There are minority actors who could carry Exodus. If Scott was so determined to secure Bale, fine — but why horribly whitewash the rest? Revered actors like Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor or Djimon Hounsou all possess at least as much gravitas and popularity as Edgerton. An actress like Angela Bassett or Viola Davis could have have tackled Weaver’s surprisingly small role with gusto. (Weaver may be Scott’s golden girl, but her presence was one of the most distracting of all.)

Sigourney Weaver in 'Exodus: Gods and Kings.'

Sigourney Weaver in ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’

Scott’s movie star tactics also haven’t helped reviews. Exodus currently holds a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its real star is the special effects. That $140 million budget was put to good use, particularly with well-orchestrated battle scenes and visually stunning plagues of, well, Biblical proportions. For that reason alone, millions of people will see this film. However, tracking indicates it might make around $29 million opening weekend, which is enough to secure a top spot, but shaky for a film with that kind of budget. Global audiences might eat up its massive scale, and see it because it carries the name of the director who brought us Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator. And yet, I am not entertained.

Aside from Bale, Edgerton also spoke about the film’s casting controversy in an interview with IGN. Though he admits to not keeping up with all the criticism, he wants people to get the film’s true message: “It has one of the most important resonant messages that we really face as a human race, which is: On an ethical standpoint the ideal is that we treat each other with equality, as this story shows the struggle that ensues when one race subjugates another.

” How ironic that this film stands for just the opposite.

Sony US Producer alludes to Black Lead Stars & Racism Encountered with Failing International Box Office

Taken from Buzzfeed.com
Written by: Mary Ann Georgantopoulos18.12.14

Denzil-Washington-The-Equalizer

 

An unnamed producer wrote in an email to Sony chairman Michael Lynton that films with black actors — using Denzel Washington in The Equalizer as an example — don’t perform well because the international audiences are “racist,” according to documents found in the Sony hack.

The producer suggested that the two-time Oscar winner should not star in big-budget films as the international audience will not accept him in a leading role because of his race.

“I believe that the international motion picture audience is racist — in general pictures with an African American lead don’t play well overseas. When Sony made Equalizer they had to know that Denzel opens pics domestically, however the international gross would be somewhat limited,” the producer wrote in an Oct. 27 e-mail.

Lynton wrote back asking if he was saying The Equalizer “shouldn’t have been made or that African American actors should be excluded?”

“No, I am not saying ‘The Equalizer’ should not have been made or that African American actors should not have been used (I personally think Denzel is the best actor of his generation),” the producer responded. “Casting him is saying we’re ok with a double if the picture works,” the producer wrote, using a baseball analogy.

Washington is “reliable at the domestic [box office], safe, but has not had a huge success in years. I believe whenever possible the non event pictures, extra ‘bets’ should have a large inherent upside and be made for the right price. Here there isn’t a large inherent upside,” the producer wrote.

The producer also wrote that he or she hoped the statement wasn’t “inappropriate or provocative.”

The Equalizer grossed about $191 million worldwide. Approximately $90 million was earned overseas. The producer said this figure would have been higher if a black man wasn’t in the lead role.

According to the emails, a sequel to the movie was set for 2017, but would be “a double, with a remote chance of a home run.”

Calls to Denzel Washington’s publicist were not immediately returned.

Sony Pictures Wallows In Their Own Mire!

logo-of-sony-corp

Sony Pictures internal systems hacked by an unknown group of hackers called “GOP” the FBI says are affiliated with the North Korea government, unhappy about the new Seth Rogan comedy film “The Interview”  which in a mock CIA assassination attempt ridicules their leader Kim Jong-un .

Seth-and-Amy

Seth Rogan & Amy Pascal

Wow; what a terrible last two weeks it has been for multi-conglomerate film distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment!

Cyber-terrorism, internal email system hacked, revealing financial information, high-profile star payments, employee’s private details and email communications all released to the world and then on top of all that new film release ‘The Interview’ pulled from theatrical release after national security threats from hackers GOP (Guardians of Peace) supposedly based in rogue totalitarian country North Korea.

As we now know big boss and co-chairwoman Amy Pascal and fellow super-producer Scott Rudlin also regularly sent each emails which can be considered racially insensitive, others where they appeared to mock the taste of none other than the president of America or slandered the standards of high-profile actors like Angela Jolie, Denzil Washington & rising comedic star Kevin Hart amongst others.

Scott-Rubin-Amy-Pascal

Scott Rubin & Amy Pascal

KevinHart

Kevin Hart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sony was last week forced to pull the release of the “The Interview” from cinemas, as more and more cinemas said they would not take the risk and show the film due to threats from GOP to take action (including bomb threats) against any cinema showing the film.

This has all lead to a big furore about filmmakers and ‘creative freedoms’ and Sony Pictures giving in too easy against the GOP cyber-terrorists especially with the government saying there was no real credible threat. For a full view of The Sony hack, exposure of their personal emails and accusations of racism and the President Obama & FBI agency government threat response see the links below – you will also find various other pages here on www.kushfilms.com featuring interesting news relating to African-American stars caught up in Sony Gate.

Kush Promotions & PR Past Dealings With Sony
We ourselves as a leading film Exhibitor & PR/Marketing company working in this industry for 16 years know to well what lies behind the veil of illusion manufactured by multi-conglomerate film distributors under the guise of Hollywood.  We ourselves over the years have encountered many issues of ignorance and the closed doors of a institutionally racist UK film industry.

We also had a serious falling out with Sony Pictures right here in the UK; this happened a few years ago when Kush Promotions & PR CEO Marlon Palmer was asked to support the marketing of theMarlonPalmer2012_Headshot film ‘Step UP 2’ by the then marketing manager (her name is absolutely not worth mentioning – she matters not now!).

This marketing manager asked Marlon Palmer to come up with a concept to promote the film. An idea was developed by Marlon which involved elements of a national dance finals event, but soon thereafter the marketing manager was influenced by Sony Pictures main regular PR company who appeared to be envious of Kush’s involvement. The marketing manager head was turned and she decided to jump into bed with an alternative street dance promoter who was doing his own thing and running his own already established dance competition event. What they didn’t know was that Marlon Palmer had already made contact with this promoter through his research work for the job and was in communication with the promoter. After the marketing manger went ahead and agreed a deal with this new promoter she then in a bear-faced and unprofessional manner completely denied that she had ever engaged Kush (Marlon Palmer) in any work – even though there was plenty of email evidence that she had & there was obviously the actual work that had been already been carried out.

This all ensued into a serious argument where court action was threatened after it was clear this woman would lie,lie & lie even more!

In the end Marlon Palmer decided to walk away as the whole thing became very negative and counter-productive and it would have been too financially costly to take Sony to court and the only other alternative was to turn Schwarzenegger, go down to their offices to confront her and kick the hell out everyone who got in the way, as recently described by Marlon Palmer he honestly felt this way as he had worked hard over many years to get Kush Promotions into the position it was in at that time and he was definitely not used to people taking mind-boggling liberties like that but in the end he thought better of his course of action!

The simple fact of the matter is right now; Kush has no animosity towards Sony (well, may be with “The Liar” if she was to be met somewhere, especially on a cold dark night, LOL!), what actually happened was the great catalyst for Marlon Palmer to go away, re-think life in general and create the path to conquer what he saw as the institutionally racist UK film industry at that time & hey-presto here we are today with Kush as the NO 1 Marketing & PR specialist of black (‘urban’) films in the UK and the go-to-company for most UK distributors for the marketing & PR of so many major black film releases here in the UK.

Its funny how life works out eh!

Sometimes in life its the negative things that happen that teaches you how to deal with aspects of life and helps you to clearly see your path forward. Kush says: Thank you “Liar, Liar” the lesson was appreciated!

Here are some links to some of the recent catastrophic Sony Pictures happenings taking place in America.

Sony Pictures’ Amy Pascal and Scot Rudlin’s Racist emails…
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2869917/I-bet-Obama-likes-Kevin-Hart-Sony-Pictures-chair-Amy-Pascal-producer-Scott-Rudin-s-racist-email-exchange-President-revealed-latest-hacking-leak.html

Sony Hack: Carmike Cinemas Drops ‘The Interview:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sony-hack-carmike-cinemas-drops-758444

The Hollywood Reporter: Sony Hack (a collection of their articles)
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/topic/sony-hack

Kevin Hart Responds To Slam In Sony Email Leak
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/11/kevin-hart-sony-hack_n_6311400.html

Leaked Sony Email Challenges Denzel Washington’s Overseas Box Office Appeal
http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving-leaked-sony-email-challenges-denzel-washingtons-overseas-box-office-appeal-20141217

Sony Hack Fallout Includes Unraveling of Relationships in Hollywood
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/business/media/sony-attack-is-unraveling-relationships-in-hollywood.html?_r=0

Leading Men Age, But Their Love Interests Don’t!

 

Recently, Kristen Stewart fell out of the con-artist comedy Focus after Will Smith replaced Ben Affleck as the male lead; according to Variety, she was nagged by “the feeling that the age difference between the two would be too large a gap.” For the record, Smith is a mere four years older than the 40-year-old Affleck, and if it seems a little odd that either of them would be considered a romantic partner for the 23-year-old Stewart in the first place … well, welcome to Hollywood. It seems like time and time again, male movie stars are allowed to age into their forties, fifties, and even sixties while the ages of their female love interests remain firmly on one side of the big 4-0, but is this a perception borne out of reality? To find out for sure, Vulture has analyzed the data of ten middle-aged leading men and the ages of the women they’ve wooed onscreen; you’ll see the results in the charts below.

How’d we arrive at our conclusions? For each of our leading men, we tried to pick a representative sample of films — usually ten — where that A-lister had a notable love interest or wife, then we plotted the age gaps on our charts over the course of that star’s career. (Because production dates for older movies can be hard to come by, we measured the stars’ ages on the day the film in question was released.) The results confirmed our suspicions: As leading men age, their love interests stay the same, and even the oldest men on our list have had few romantic pairings with a woman their own age (or even one out of her mid-thirties). If our actor was sharing the screen with an A-lister of commensurate star power like Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie, the age difference would drop somewhat, but in movies that relied solely on our guy’s big name, the lesser-known love interests would nearly always be decades younger.

Scroll down to check out our findings in-depth.

Denzel Washington love graph

DENZEL WASHINGTON
Denzel Washington’s pushing 60, but you wouldn’t know it from his love interests, who tend to stay 35 and under. Perhaps that’s because Washington rarely gets to romance an actress as formidable as he is (a fact of life that may owe more to Hollywood’s racial prejudices than gender inequality), because when he went toe-to-toe with Angela Bassett for Malcolm X and Whitney Houston in The Preacher’s Wife, the age differences weren’t quite as egregious. (He did pair with Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie when they were newbie superstars, but those films — The Pelican Brief and The Bone Collector — were cautious and chaste when it came to suggesting a love connection). The older Washington gets, the less it seems to matter to his love interests, as the last three notable ones — Paula Patton, Lymari Nadal, and Kelly Reilly — were all more than twenty years younger than he was.

Harrison Ford love graph
HARRISON FORD
Ford rose to stardom in his late thirties, but the first time he had a notable love interest in her late thirties, it was in 1999’s Random Hearts … when Ford was an age 57 to Kristin Scott Thomas’s 39. The vast majority of Ford’s love interests have been at least fifteen years younger than him, and some were far younger than that: When Six Days Seven Nights came out in 1998, pundits debated whether the sexuality of Ford’s co-star Anne Heche might prove a distraction, paying little mind to the fact that Ford was 26 years older than the woman he was supposed to woo.
Johnny Depp love graph

JOHNNY DEPP
Johnny Depp likes ’em young: Nearly all of his notable love interests have been 25 or under, and a few of them — including Winona Ryder, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and Keira Knightley (who shared a kiss with Depp in the second Pirates film) — would have been carded at the time they swapped spit with the star. In fact, the cradle-robbing Depp has only had two notable love interests in their mid-thirties, and all Juliette Binoche and Angelina Jolie had to do to make that cut is win an Oscar beforehand. Easy!

Tom Cruise love graph

TOM CRUISE
Tom Cruise has had an interesting romantic trajectory onscreen: At the start of his career, almost all of his love interests were older than him. Shelley Long in Losin’ It, Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business, Kelly McGillis in Top Gun … time and time again, an older woman would seduce the sexually inexperienced Cruise onscreen. It’s no wonder women used to love him! In the nineties, though, Cruise began squiring the five-years-younger Nicole Kidman, and he’s remained the older man in all of his romantic encounters since. From Vanilla Sky on, the closest Cruise will let a woman get to his age is ten years; in the new Oblivion, he’s a full seventeen years older than his female lead, Olga Kurylenko.

George Clooney love graph

GEORGE CLOONEY
Compared to Cruise, the women that George Clooney screen-dates are a smidge more age-appropriate (most of them are only eight or nine years his junior), and twice he even wooed actresses who were three older than him: Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day and Holly Hunter in O Brother, Where Art Thou? When it comes to co-stars, Clooney tends to have his pick of classy actresses in their mid-thirties, though as he gets older — Clooney will turn 52 in May — the age of his love interests still seems to have plateaued.

Richard Gere love graph

RICHARD GERE
Former Sexiest Man Alive winner Richard Gere is a good-looking 63, but his love interests haven’t aged much in the three decades he’s been a star: From Pretty Woman on, Gere’s female co-stars have been 10 to 30 years younger than him, a trend that shows no signs of abating now that he’s in his seventh decade. To be fair, he’s played husband to the three-years-older Susan Sarandon in both Shall We Dance and Arbitrage … but in the former, he spends far more screen time with the much younger Jennifer Lopez, and in the latter, he’s stepping out on Sarandon with supermodel-turned-actress Laetitia Casta, who’s separated in age from Gere by a solid 29 years. At least Gere had the tables turned on him somewhat in Unfaithful, where his fifteen-years-younger screen-wife Diane Lane had an affair with a younger man, Olivier Martinez. How much younger than Lane was Martinez? Well … one measly year, actually.

Steve Carell love graph

STEVE CARELL
When your breakout film is called The 40 Year Old Virgin, it ensures that audiences will forever be aware of your age … even if you were actually 43 when it came out, as Steve Carell was. In that movie, he fell in love with the three-years-older Catherine Keener, and ever since, Carell has looked most at home with romantic partners nearer to his age, like Lauren Graham, Tina Fey, and Julianne Moore. Every so often, though, Hollywood will insist at throwing a twentysomething starlet at Carell, and it’s just awkward: Movies like Get Smart, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone had more than a few problems, but the main issue in all three is how ill at ease Carell seems when romantically paired with an actress who’s twenty years younger. Let’s hope Carell got the memo and will continue to be the rare male star who mostly sticks to love interests in their forties (as his new screen paramour Kristen Wiig will be when Anchorman 2 comes out this winter).

Brad Pitt love graph

BRAD PITT
Brad Pitt began his career as a romantic idol by taking a page straight out of the Tom Cruise playbook: After his roll in the hay with the eight-years-older Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise, he then began screen-dating the much younger women he was seeing in real life, Juliette Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow, who were both around a decade Pitt’s junior. (That’s apparently his sweet spot, as Angelina Jolie would later be able to attest.) The rest of his romantic history runs the gamut, though Pitt did once take a screen-wife his own age: Mary-Louise Parker, who only got a handful of lines in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Liam Neeson love graph

LIAM NEESON
Remember how Depp only allowed a love interest within striking distance of his own age if she was an Oscar-winning actress? The same more than holds true for Liam Neeson, who was partnered with older Oscar winners Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep in the mid-nineties. Aside from that brief moment in time, Neeson usually robs the cradle by wooing actresses around fifteen years younger than him, and ever since Taken re-established his box-office virility, the age of his love interests has dropped precipitously: More than two and a half decades separated Neeson from his screen-wife January Jones in Unknown, and in Paul Haggis’s next film, Third Person, the 61-year-old Neeson will bed 29-year-old Olivia Wilde.

Tom Hanks love graph

TOM HANKS
Well, here’s something novel: an A-lister whose leading ladies actually age alongside him (though they still tend, on the whole, to be a bit younger). There aren’t any egregiously age-inappropriate pairings in Tom Hanks’s portfolio, since Hanks keeps his love interests within at least ten years of him at all times. He also aims high: Most of his female co-stars are Oscar winners or nominees, from Helen Hunt to Halle Berry, and he’ll co-star with two-time nominee Catherine Keener (who’s only three years younger) in this year’s fact-based drama Captain Phillips. Then again, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that Hanks is an A-list aberration in this group: For 25 years, he’s been married to the same woman, actress Rita Wilson … and both Hanks and Wilson are 56.

* The charts for Steve Carell and Tom Hanks have been updated.

Courtesy of:  http://www.vulture.com/2013/04/leading-men-age-but-their-love-interests-dont.html

copyright 2013 www..vulture.com