Tag Archives: Steve McQueen

McQueen’s next job is Paul Robeson biopic

Written by Graeme Wood
28.11.14

 

mcqueen1Hot on the news of 12 Years A Slave Director Steve McQueen’s US HBO Pilot has come confirmation of his next film projects. The Award Winning Director will helm a biopic of the legendary singer and activist Paul Robeson. The legendary Harry Belfonte has been lined up to take the title role. McQueen described the Robeson movie as his dream project, something that he had longed to do, but until now had not had the power to realize; “his life and legacy was the film I wanted to make the second after Hunger…but I didn’t have the power; I didn’t have the juice…”

paul_robeson_1Robeson, who died in 1976, trained as a lawyer but left the profession after facing racism, He went on to become a well regarded actor, singer and civil rights activist who was tarred with the anti-Communist hysteria and persecution trials that swept America in the late 1940’s & 1950’s. He went on to achieve worldwide fame and particularly made an big impact in the UK, campaigning for better pay and conditions for the miners of South Wales.

McQueen will also helm ‘Widows’ a female led heist film based on the 1980s TV series for New Regency though its likely to be McQueen’s own version ‘a contemporary, hard-hitting grounded gangster movie’ rather than a straight adaptation of the television series. The film will be produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of New Regency alongside McQueen. The ITV six part television series aired in 1983 and was penned by Prime Suspect writer Lynda La Plante, it spawned a sequel series two years later.

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Paul Robeson in Showboat

News & Gossip: Quick Read

 

 

Once again we have searched the web for interesting news and thought these articles would be of interest to you. its a mixture of awards news, Steve McQueen’s new American TV show, diversity in American TV and new film releases.

We hope you enjoy this quick read:

 

Gotham-awards 2014Nominations for the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Awards have been announced with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood getting four nominations, including one for best feature.

Also among the nominations are Justine Simien (Dear White People) for Breakthrough Director, the UK’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights) for Best Actress and Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) for Breakthrough Actor.

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson

Birdman and Boyhood have both been nominated for best feature, along with Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ira Sachs’ Love is Strange and Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin.

This year’s Gotham’s audience award will be determined by online voting from members of the independent Filmmaker Project, the organisation that presents the annual awards. The award ceremony itself will take place on December 1st at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, British actress Tilda Swinton will also be honoured at the Ceremony.
Read more and a full list of nominees here at Indie Wire:
http://www.indiewire.com/article/boyhood-leads-gotham-awards-nominations-20141023

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MCQUEEN PILOT SHOW HEADS TO HBO
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12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen has a new project underway and it’s heading to America’s premium cable network HBO.

McQueen co-wrote the pilot script alongside Matthew Michael Carnaham writer of futuristic zombie film World War Z. Both will exec-produce alongside See-Saw Films’ Iain Canning and Emile Sherman and HBO’s Russell Simmons.

The pilot titled “Codes of Conduct” is described as a provocative exploration of a young African-American man’s experience on entering New York high society, with a past that may not be all it seems. The lead character is Beverly Snow; a young man from Queens who is as talented as his is ambiguous. His self-confidence will enable him to break into the social circles of Manhattan’s elite, testing the boundaries of access and social mobility. The series will follow Beverly’s ability to grant him access to a life larger in every way than the one he was born into. His chameleon-like approach to life will test his nerve and allow him to take his future into his own hands.

McQueen has cast an unknown actor as the lead in the project, Devon Terrell, McQueen who will direct the pilot said of Terrell; “I needed to find an extraordinary actor. Although you’re trying to find devon-terrellsomething you recognise, it’s more about finding something you’re surprised by. Devon has this quality. It was no easy task casting the lead character of Beverly Snow and, with the help of HBO, we left no stone unturned. This was a 10 month intense process in which we came across many talented actors, but only one Beverly!”

Born in California but raised in Perth, Australia Terrell studied drama at Edith Cowan University. He was also accepted into Australia’s prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2011 and has been developing his craft since. A transmission date for the pilot has not yet been set.

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NEW FILM: BEYOND THE LIGHTS
Check out this new clip of the next BET/Relativity Media-backed feature film from writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood, “Beyond the Lights,” which tells the story of Noni Jean, a hot new recording artist who has just won a Grammy and is primed for stardom. But the pressures of success compel her to nearly end her life until she is saved by a young police officer. They fall hard for each other, despite the protests of their parents who want each to focus on their own career ambitions. But he might be the missing piece to unlock her artistic potential.

beyond-the-lightsBythewood’s “Beyond the Lights” stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker, Danny Glover and Minnie Driver co-star.

Renowned black film producer’s Stephanie Allain and Reggie Rock Bythewood co-produce. Relativity president Tucker Tooley is exec producer with Matt Alvarez.

“Beyond the Lights” will be released theatrically in the US by Relativity, with an official release date now set for November 14, 2014. After that, it’ll have an exclusive television premier in the U.S. and South Africa on BET.

Sadly it doesn’t appear this film will get a UK release even though the lead character is supposed to come from London before moving the the states in the film.

Kush director Marlon Palmer met with Stepanie Allain early last year in London to discuss production locations here in the UK and the possibilities of assisting. Unfortunately nothing arose from this and it appears they made the entire film in the states.

This will be Bythewood’s first feature film directorial effort since 2008’s “The Secret Life of Bees”.

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DGA REPORT SHOWS NO IMPROVEMENT IN US DIVERSITY HIRING

The results from the latest survey carried out by the Directors Guild of America have shocked some within the profession while confirming the fears of others. The DGA survey covered more than 3,500 episodes of US Television and revealed that minorities and women haven’t achieved significant progress in directing TV series.

Caucasian directors accounted for 81% of all prime-time episodes while only 14% of female directors where hired during the past season.

The 14% of female directors matches similar numbers for the previous season of American TV. Paris Barclay the DGA president said ‘Unfortunately, it can be shockingly difficult to convince the people who control the hiring to make even a small improvement to their hiring practices. But the end result is something worth fighting for”.

The report showed that some of the top US shows had not employed female or minority directors, these included; Boardwalk Empire, Fargo, Hannibal, Eastbound and Down and Resurrection.

Read the full report on the Directors Guild of America site here:

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SELMA STAR PRAISES PITT’S POWER AND CONSCIENCENESS:
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UK Actor David Oyelowo, star of Selma, The Butler, Interstellar and TV’s Spooks has praised Brad Pitt stating the actor “uses his power to get things done that otherwise wouldn’t” Pitt, previously a producer on ‘12 Years A Slave’ put his weight behind Selma when the project originally stalled and managed to get it fast tracked into production.

Selma follows Martin Luther King’s 1965 landmark voting campaign and was produced by Oprah Winfrey from a script rewritten by Ava DuVernay from an original screenplay by Paul Webb.

Black film advocate and rising star director Ava DuVernay also directs.

Selma is due in UK Cinemas on 6th February 2015 and you can read an interview with David.
Oyelowo on his role as Dr Martin Luther King here:

Lupita and Idris to unite on screen?

 

Written by Lee Pinkerton
29/04/14

 

It just keeps getting better and better for Lupita Nyong’o . With her movie career barely out of nappies, Lupita seems to have turned conventional show-biz wisdom on its head. Until her arrival we know that there were very few roles for Black actresses, and those who did make it through tended to be of the light-skinned or mixed-race variety like Halle Berry or Paula Patton.

But with her supersonic rise to stardom, the Mexican-born, Kenyan actress has Hollywood and the fashion world completely enthralled and shows no sign of slowing down.  Her breakthrough role was in the Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave, with she herself going onto win Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her starring role as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s epic.

Lupita red carpet

During the awards season she commanded more than 65 red carpets from September through March and became the darling of designers everywhere as she effortlessly pulled off Prada to Dior. Nyong’o, 31, has consolidated her foray into fashion by landing a coveted contract with Lancôme Paris, joining Julia Roberts, Penélope Cruz and Kate Winslet as a celeb ambassador for the brand. And last week People Magazine named her as the Most Beautiful Woman on the Planet.

Lupita-People-MagazineTo be touted as beautiful is not lost on the actress, who for years thought she didn’t fit the Hollywood mould.

“Beauty was what I saw on television, you know, light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”

You would think it could get no better – but yes it has.  It is now rumoured that Lupita will be starring opposite every woman’s favourite Idris Elba in a new movie adaptation of  The Jungle Book.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the 12 Years A Slave actress is in ‘final negotiations’ to play the role of Rakcha,  the mother wolf who adopts the as yet uncast Mowgli.  Shere Khan, the man-eating tiger who will be voiced by Elba.

idris-elbaDisney is behind the latest adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling fairytale, which will be directed by Jon Favreau and blend live action with CGI.

The meteoric rise of Lupita reminds me of one of my favourite sayings.

“Those who say it can’t be done, should keep out of the way of those busy doing it.”

Lee Pinkerton

 

 

12 Years A Slave – audience reactions

12-years-a-slave

Here is a selection of audience reactions after seeing what some have described as one of the most important movies of the century so far – 12 Years A Slave.

“In my opinion it is a well put together film that covers most of the aspects of the enslavement period, i.e. house, yard and field enslaved African, the good slave master and bad slave master, the transportation, the brutality, the rape, the murder etc. There were also subtle messages played out in the movie and you would have to be in tuned with what is happening in the world today to make those connections.

Because I have studied Trans Atlantic Enslavement and also teach it, the above mentioned aspects of the film we’re very clear and easily recognisable to me, and while the audience were in-tune with the blatant brutality etc, the more subtle aspects I believe went over many of their heads.

To rate this movie I would give it a  8.5 out of 10.”

Mark Simpson

 

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“Film director Steve McQueen has presented such a multi-layer cinematic view of Solomon Northup’s ’12 Years A Slave’ book, that I found myself on second viewing of the film to be overwhelmed with the more subtle touches on show. These were features that were always there to be discovered, but with the sheer terror, violence, and overall inhuman behaviour meted out to Northup and other slaves, such shocking and heart wrenching images dominated one’s thoughts during the first time of watching this film.

A second trip to McQueen’s movie allowed me to fully appreciate the eye-catching quality he brought, the same visual strength that made his name as a world renowned artist with his short film pieces. Using the screen as a canvas, there were shots throughout which resembled a still photograph or indeed a painting. He would leave the camera still and have the characters on screen move very little. One wonderful image was of actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup standing in a plantation field, alongside several other male slaves of different ages, both young and old. Instead of quick cutting to close ups, he allows the camera to linger and have the audience take it all in, fully understanding that saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

Another aspect that struck me was inamongst the savage brutality that was the foreground of the story, we were presented with the absolutely beautiful and gorgeous setting of the American south as its backdrop. Shot and photographed in stunning clarity, it served to compound my inner thoughts as I witnessed human beings being destroyed in such attractive surroundings. This was brought to bear with the scene in which Northup, while on a journey for his master comes across some white men just about to lynch two slaves from trees. The most telling moment comes when after being told to continue on his journey, McQueen chooses to show the hanging in the background as Northup goes on his way, never looking back. The slow determined pace of the film allowed all of the characters to communicate strongly with the audience without words. The mere gestures and facial expressions told their stories even louder the second time around. An outstanding effort which needs to be seen more than once by everybody.

Blessings to you sir!  Keep up the great work!!”

Mr. Eon Irving

 

12yas_still_Patsy

“I’m really feeling the need to express great concern when we as black people are made to feel that these type of films are great!

Surely we (our ancestors) have been there done it and got the t-shirt! We want to see and hear inspirational films now! Not nigga this, nigga that, white man doing this to us, doing that to us!

I’m finding it quite difficult to understand why all of a sudden these types of films are being made recently, and am sure it’s trying to stir up hatred in us again and even more as they want to label us as savage.

How can we as a nation move on with these types of movies, The Butler, 12 Years Slaves- I dislike them so much- lets move on, please!

I have friends who went to see this awful film who had to walk out! When we go to the cinema it’s so supposed to  fill us with joy and happiness – watch the people’s faces – solemn, unhappy, sad – wow – come on – even if based on a true story – read it! I feel so angry – why would a black person produce this type of film.

I hate it with a passion !

Give us inspirational films- make a film like “Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame” – come on! Let us wake up as a nation. We are such caring, loving people!”

Mandy DaCosta 

 

To read Kush’s take on the film click here

 

 

The Oscars – Kush Looks back

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer
12.03.14

The Oscars has long been the ‘centre piece’ of the awards season. Millions tune in from all over the world to watch the spectacle, and 2014 did not disappoint. Films are often judged and promoted based on how many nominations/wins they’ve received, so the evening itself is always full of shocks, surprises, emotion, and a huge amount of press.

The 2014 Oscars had arguably more talking points than the other Oscars in years gone by, and it was without a doubt the most talked about award show in recent memory. With that in mind, at Kush Films, we will take a look at the highlights of the 86th Academy Awards.

12 Years A Slave Wins Best Film
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Regardless of what happened, it only seems right to start with what will now be considered the best film of 2013/14 as the winner of both the BAFTA and Oscar for the Best Picture 12 Years A Slave.

Directed by 44 year old, British Steve McQueen, some thought that 12 Years A Slave may finish behind Gravity in the running, as it has taken almost seven times as much money at the box office. However, it was 12 Years A Slave that prevailed much to the delight of a star-studded producer and cast list, which included; Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Lupita Nyong’o.

McQueen, who gave the acceptance speech, dedicated the award win to all those who suffered and still suffer slavery today. He said, “everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live,” in a very moving speech that eventually saw him jump into the arms of his cast and crew to celebrate.

Lupita Nyong’o wins best supporting actress for role in 12 Years a Slave
Nyong'o, best supporting actress winner for her role in "12 Years a Slave", racts on stage at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood

Following on from the above, Lupita Nyong’o took the Oscar for best supporting actress beating out strong competition, most notably from Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle). The Mexican born Kenyan had previously won 23 of the 31 ‘major’ awards she had been nominated for in her very first feature film role on 12 Years a Slave.

Lupita Nyong’o took the time to thank the real-life slave who guided her to shape her moving performance as Patsy, and she also thanked Steve McQueen, and fellow cast members, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. She closed with the line “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

Gravity picks up seven academy awards

While the team involved with Gravity would have been disappointed that they did not pick up what could arguably be considered as the biggest awards, the movie did win the most awards of any film of the night, seven in total, including:

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Best Director – Alfonoso Cuaron

Achievement in Visual Effects

Achievement in Sound Mixing

Achievement in Cinematography

Achievement in Sound Editing

Achievement in Film Editing

Best Original Score

With seven Academy Award wins on the night Gravity now sits alongside other films like; Schindler’s List, Shakespeare in Love and Lawrence of Arabia who have also all won seven Oscars.

Dallas Buyers Club wins both major male awards

Dallas Buyers Club also had a night to remember, as it picked up the two main male awards; Matthew McConaughey won best actor, and Jared Leto picked up the award for best supporting actor.

Matthew-McConaughey-reuters

Both winners gave emotional speeches with McConaughey thanking his father, who passed away when he was just 23 years old and Leto, who praised those who had died from AIDS, as his character in Dallas Buyers Club had the condition.

The other antics
The Oscars are known just as much for the red carpet, presenting and skits as it is the awards now, and this year’s 43 million viewers (the most in a decade) were not disappointed with the entertainment.

The historical selfie that almost broke Twitter
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When Ellen Degeneres (the host) decided that it would be a good time to take, and post a selfie of her and several of Hollywood’s elite, including; Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Spacey, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt she probably didn’t realise just how popular the post would be.

Until that post on her account, Barack Obama’s Victory Photo was the most re-tweeted tweet ever with over 750,000 retweets. In just a few hours the Ellen selfie surpassed one million, then two and now sits on 3.3 million re-tweets.

Jennifer Lawrence falls over again
After falling over on the way up the stairs to pick up her 2013 best actress Oscar, Jennifer Lawrence was hoping that 2014 wouldn’t bring the same fate. Well, while she avoided an on-stage fall, she did stumble on the red carpet, and it was caught by camera, much to her disappointment.

Leonardo Di Caprio – the man overlooked
With five personal Academy Award nominations and no wins, Leonardo Di Caprio (Wolf of Wall Street) put on a brave face as the best actor award was handed over to Matthew McConaughey. Of course, Twitter blew up with memes and statuses about how Di Caprio would seemingly never win a best actor Academy Award.

While he might have some way to go to overtake the late Peter O’Toole, who was nominated for best actor eight times without winning, those on social media did have some light-hearted fun with Di Caprio’s loss.

The pizza delivery guyellen-degeneres-serves-pizzWhen Ellen says she’s ordering pizza you better expect a few large boxes to turn up, regardless of the timing. Delivering the pizzas to some of Hollywood’s elite, Edgar Martirosyan, who WAS a real deliveryman from a local pizza establishment, seemingly had no idea that he would be delivering to some of the biggest stars in the world.

Martirosyan hand delivered the pizza to stars, including; Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and many others before making his way back to work, sans tip. Ellen collected for him and then gave him $1,000 the next day on her show. What a night for Edgar Martirosyan and Big Mama’s & Papa’s Pizzeria that experts say received up to $10,000,000 worth of free advertising because of their appearance.

The 2014 Oscars was action packed to say the least. Congratulations to all the winners, especially 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o and commiserations to the runners up, as they say the show goes on – hopefully the line-up of films for the 2015 Academy Awards will be just as great as those in 2014.

© Kushfilms.com 2014

12 Years A Slave on the March towards the Oscars

By Marlon Palmer
21 February 2014

The_Bafta_Film_AwardsFacesTo say that 12 years a slave was one of the success stories of the recent BAFTA awards would be an understatement. Nominated for ten of the major awards, the film won arguably the two most competitive; best picture and best actor, awarded to a jubilant Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The BAFTAs was once again a star-studded event with world-famous actors and actresses lining the red carpet. Names like; Angelina Jollie, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio and arguably the most famous of them all, the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Prince William turned out for another memorable evening.

With the nominations released back in early January people had been speculating for a little over a month about what films they thought would win the major awards. With 11 nominations, Gravity, staring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, who missed the awards as she was looking after her ill three-year-old son, was expected to clean up, and with six BAFTAs to its name by the end of the night that was the case.

American Hustle with arguably the most household names in the same film received ten Barkhad Abdinominations and three awards in what many would consider a good night, taking into account the competition. Unfortunately, for the cast and crew, critically acclaimed Captain Philips starring Tom Hanks, which had received nine nominations, picked up just the one award; best supporting actor, which was awarded to Somalian new-comer Barkhad Abdi.

 


A night that belonged to 12 Years a Slave

bafta awardsWhile 12 Years a Slave picked up one less award than American Hustle, many film critics believe that it had a more successful night. The film, which has also been nominated for nine Academy Awards, had been named film of the year by a number of the biggest critics in the British media.

However, quite possibly the most prestigious award Best Picture still came as a shock to the majority of people involved with 12 Years a Slave as Gravity, which broke box-office records, was almost expected to win.

As well as best picture, 12 Years A Slave star 36-year-old Chiwetel Ejiofor from Forest Gate won best actor over stiff competition in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips and Christian Bale for American Hustle.

12 Years a Slave was also nominated for the following acting and directing awards, best:

  •      Supporting actor (Michael Fassbender)
  •      Director (Steve McQueen)
  •      Supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o)

12 Years a Slave was undoubtedly one of the biggest success stories of the BAFTAs. With the black historical theme of the film; black director Steve McQueen directing, and a number of very talented black actors in the main leading roles its surprising this film hasn’t been categorised as a black or urban film, as so often happens with other films with that make up of cast and crew conveying the black life experience. 12 YAS could now potentially go on and win a few Oscars.

At Kush Promotions, we are proud of the role that we played in the marketing campaign of a hugely successful film, a film which once again bought back vivid memories of the horrors and inhumane treatment of one branch of the human family, which should never been forgotten and should be once again use to highlight the continued present day trafficking of human life.

12 Years A Slave is still in selected cinemas – go see it if you haven’t!

Hey; spread the word: Kush hopes to confirm soon that we will be working on a new major black film based on an award winning Nigerian book that will be released in the UK entitled “Half of A Yellow HOAYS_Intl_QuadC_Awards_v5BSun” starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and John Boyega (young star of UK urban film “Attack The Block”), this film will be coming to cinemas soon in March 2014.

Oh don’t forget to go see new comedy “Ride Along” starring my favourite comedian Kevin Hart and fellow star Ice Cube in cinemas on general release starting next weekend Friday 28th February.

 

Barkhad Abdi wins Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTAs

Director Steve McQueen & 12 Years a Slave wins Best Film BAFTA

BAFTA Highlights

Two Winners at Producers Guild Association (PGA) – ‘Gravity’ & ’12 Years a Slave’

12-years-a-slave-Lupita

First tie in PGA history

“Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” have wound up in a dead heat as both won the Producers Guild of America’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award for top feature film — the first tie in the PGA’s 25-year history for the trophy.

Ben Affleck announced the awards Sunday night at the Beverly Hilton back-to-back — first to “Gravity” producers Alfonso Cuaron and David Heyman and then to “12 Years a Slave” producers Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner.

The PGA, which has 6,000 members, does not reveal its vote totals. The guild uses the preferential balloting system employed for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Oscars.

Cuaron gave extended thanks and made fun of himself as the director of the cutting-edge space tale — “he can be stubborn, uncompromising.” He also singled out his son and co-writer Jonas Cuaron for energizing him through the film’s lengthy development process.

Brad Pitt said of the searing historical drama “12 Years” represented an opportunity “to contribute brad_pitt_03something to the yearly narrative, to culture, and that is fucking cool.”

An emotional McQueen, who also directed, said, “Thank you so much for opening your hearts and minds to this film.”

The PGA also selected “Frozen” as the top animated film and “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” as the winner of its documentary prize. “Breaking Bad,” “Modern Family” and “Behind the Candelabra” won the key TV awards with “Modern Family” taking the comedy series trophy for the fourth year in a row.

“Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” topped what was regarded as a highly competitive field — “American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The twin wins spread the wealth for the weekend award winners, which saw “American Hustle” win SAG cast ensemble award while “Dallas Buyers Club” took the two male acting awards and “Blue Jasmine” and “12 Years” won the female acting trophies. A week ago, “12 Years a Slave” won the Golden Globe for best drama and “American Hustle” won for best comedy.

The PGA’s Zanuck award has become a strong indicator of Oscar sentiment in recent years, matching the Oscar for best picture in 17 of its 24 years — including the last six, with “Argo,” “The Artist,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country for Old Men.” The PGA winner last diverged from the Oscar best picture for the 2006 award when “Little Miss Sunshine” won while the Academy opted for “The Departed.”

Affleck, who won the award last year for “Argo” joked when he revealed that two films had won the Zanuck that it was “a legitimate mathematical numerical tie — but it was the producers who told me so.”

The producers branch of AMPAS constitutes about 8 percent of the AMPAS membership.

“Gravity” has grossed $677 million worldwide for Warner Bros. while Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years” has cumed $53 million.

The next major milestone in this year’s awards race comes Saturday when the Directors Guild of America presents its top feature film award. Both Cuaron and McQueen are up for the award along with Paul Greengrass for “Captain Phillips,” David O. Russell for “American Hustle” and Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Kevin Spacey received the top laughs of the night with a dead-on impersonation of the late Johnny Carson before presenting “Modern Family” with its trophy. “Of all the awards shows, this is the one to be at because it’s not on TV,” he said.

“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” tracks the organization founded by Julian Assange, and people involved in the collection and distribution of secret information and media by whistleblowers. Alex Gibney wrote and directed the film, which debuted at Sundance and was released this summer by Focus with a $166,000 gross in the U.S.

Here is the list of PGA winners:

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures:

“GRAVITY” (Warner Bros. Pictures) Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, David Heyman

“12 YEARS A SLAVE” (Fox Searchlight Pictures); Producers: Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

“FROZEN” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures); Producer: Peter Del Vecho WINNER

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures:

“WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS” (Focus Features); Producers: Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, Marc Shmuger

Television Programs:

The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television:

“BEHIND THE CANDELABRA” (HBO); Producers: Susan Ekins, Gregory Jacobs, Michael Polaire, Jerry Weintraub

The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama:

“BREAKING BAD” (AMC); Producers: Melissa Bernstein, Sam Catlin, Bryan Cranston, Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould, Mark Johnson, Stewart Lyons, Michelle MacLaren, George Mastras, Diane Mercer, Thomas Schnauz, Moira Walley-Beckett

The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy:

“MODERN FAMILY” (ABC); Producers: Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Elaine Ko, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeffrey Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:

“ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN” (CNN); Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment and Talk Television:

“THE COLBERT REPORT” (Comedy Central); Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen T. Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television:

“THE VOICE” (NBC); Producers: Stijn Bakkers, Mark Burnett, John de Mol, Chad Hines, Lee Metzger, Audrey Morrissey, Jim Roush, Kyra Thompson, Nicolle Yaron, Mike Yurchuk, Amanda Zucker

The Award for Outstanding Sports Program:

“SPORTSCENTER” (ESPN) WINNER

The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program:

“SESAME STREET” (PBS)

The Award for Outstanding Digital Series:

“WIRED: WHAT’S INSIDE” (http://video.wired.com/series/what-s-inside)

In addition to the competitive awards, the Producers Guild presented special honours to Barbara Broccoli & Michael G. Wilson (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), Robert Iger (Milestone Award), Peter Jackson & Joe Letteri (Vanguard Award), Chuck Lorre (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Chris Meledandri (Visionary Award) and FRUITVALE STATION (Stanley Kramer Award).

Courtesy Varity.com © 2014
http://variety.com/2014/film/awards/two-winners-at-pga-gravity-and-12-years-a-slave-1201065016/

12 Years A Slave: The Interviews

Lupita Nyong’o (Character: Patsy)

Lupita Nyong’o & Alfre Woodard discuss their roles in 12 Years a Slave (Character: Ms Shaw)

Michael Fassbender Interview (Character: Slave Master Epps)

Brad Pitt talking turning 50 and 12 Years A Slave (Character: Canadian Carpenter liberator)

Steve McQueen ITN Interview (Director)

Chiwetel Ejiofor Interview (Lead Character: Solomon Northfolk)

Benedict Cumberbatch Interview (Character: Slave Master William Ford)

Academy Conversations: “12 Years a Slave”

Watch Behind The Scenes Footage of 12 Years A Slave


Director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave won Best Drama at the 2014 Golden Globe awards, but it looks like recognition for the movie won’t end there—critics name Slave as a strong contender for multiple Oscars, including Best Film, Best Actor and Best Director. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look from the studio of McQueen interacting with actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch and others.

Courtesy of: Entertainment Time © 2014
http://entertainment.time.com/2014/01/15/watch-behind-the-scenes-of-12-years-a-slave/

Film Review: 12 Years A Slave

Written by Michael Dequina
Jan 2014

 

Reviewing Steve  McQueen’s: 12 Years A Slave

12yearsaslave_collage

12 YEARS A SLAVE is not the first (and most certainly will not be the last) film to tackle the subject of America’s shameful history of slavery, but it often feels like the first real one. Illustrating that point vividly and succinctly is a scene, roughly before the halfway mark, where an attempted lynching of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) by some especially despicable slave handlers is interrupted by a superior–but just exactly that, interrupted, not freed. Once the would-be killers are chased away, Solomon is left alone to dangle on literal tiptoes, the camera keeping an unflinching, unwavering eye to his second-to-second struggle to maintain something close to steady balance, as intensely focused on him as all those immediately around him intensely turn a wilfully oblivious eye, continuing about their business.

As shown in his previous films HUNGER and SHAME, such is director Steve McQueen’s remote, rather clinical style, where there is no semblance of basic comfort, much less manipulative sentimentality, in evidence, only unadorned observation–all the better to register, in a manner never quite captured on film before, the raw, true horror of the inhumanity of slavery. Supporting the point and compounding the effect is the specific true story of Solomon, a free black man who finds himself captured and sold into slavery in the South. But furthermore, so does the intrinsically outside-looking-in approach that could only come from a non-American (British) director. Not only doesn’t McQueen soften the harsh, cut-too-deep edges of John Ridley’s script, but he grasps how the contrast with the early glimpses of his success and value as a functioning, integrated member of society points up just how needlessly, absurdly counterproductive forced servitude is beyond its shallow, ego-boosting race-based entitlement and power trips (embodied, in various degrees of condescension and/or cruelty, by slave handler/owner characters played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, and, most notably, McQueen’s muse Michael Fassbender).

Similarly contrasting, and rather effectively so, is that between McQueen’s overall cerebral detachment and the warmth and empathy of his actors, who also bring their own fierce intelligence to the plate. Ejiofor’s finely etched portrayal of Solomon is neither a passive victim nor a movie world wish-fulfilment hero but something far more complex, far more realistic, far more relatable. While he does fight back, particularly in the early going, the consequences he inevitably faces and endures force him to take–befitting the educated human being that he is–a more carefully studied, strategic approach, never not looking for any way out but also falling in line just enough to simply survive in order to see another second and with it the possibility of another chance to break free. But even as one can always see the courageous thinking going on behind Ejiofor’s eyes, coming through just as powerfully is his very real fear. Similarly complicated 12yas_still_Patsyare depictions of other slaves Solomon encounters throughout, from Adepero Oduye’s young mother who understandably if too easily gives in to her personal pain and grief to, most especially, newcomer Lupita Nyong’o’s devastating turn as Patsey, whose productivity in the fields and (for lack of a better word, relatively speaking of course) favoured status from the Fassbender character masks her ever-consuming internal existential hell.

So committed–boldly, and perhaps for many too discomfortingly so–is McQueen to his uncompromising vision that not even the closing text cards offer much in the way of simple answers about events that follow the depicted screen time, much less anything passing for comforting words. And that is how it should be, for there should be no solace in how now, centuries down the line, the fallout and lingering issues left from this period are still very much felt–and that they may not be so blatantly obvious and thus too easy and tempting to overlook underscores how necessary McQueen’s cinematic jolt to the system is.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

IN CINEMAS TODAY – FIND YOUR LOCAL CINEMA SHOWING THE FILM HERE:
http://eonetickets.com/gb/12yearsaslave/

Read more audience reactions to the film here 


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http://themoviereport.com
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