From Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille to Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris, Hollywood’s brightest stars have been taking center stage to honor the year’s best in film for 87 years. Being offered the role of Oscar host is considered a great honor—or burden—a vote of confidence in a person’s ability to entertain one of TV’s largest live audiences, all while keeping the pace of what some consider a painstakingly long ceremony. The role can make or break an entertainer, accepting both praise and blame in equal measure, depending on the ratings success of the televised ceremony. With so much pressure thrust upon the Oscar host, it’s easy to understand why anyone might turn it down. Popularity and a high profile aren’t enough to ensure success (ask James Franco and Anne Hathaway).
So with the Academy announcing next year’s host in the upcoming months, I thought I’d give it a little nudge. Though some stars could easily feel like a slam-dunk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Short, or even Dwayne Johnson), it’s someone else entirely whom I’d like to see take the reins. I present five reasons Kevin Hart would make the perfect Oscar host.
My go-to movie every 4th of July is Yankee Doodle Dandy, the 1942 biopic about celebrated song-and-dance man George M. Cohan. During his career, Cohan published more than 300 songs, including “Over There,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” and patriotic tunes “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The son of Irish vaudeville performers, Cohan was born in Providence, Rhode Island on July 3 (though he and his family insisted he was “born on the 4th of July”). A proud American patriot, Cohan followed in his parents’ footsteps, entertaining people for years before his death in 1942, only a few months after this film’s release. Aside from the biopic, his life was depicted in the 1968 stage musical George M!.Thanks to Cohan’s contributions to American musical theatre, a statue stands in his honor in the heart of Times Square.
Each year, lovers of film and television debate the quality of that year’s crop of cinematic content channeled into TV and movie screens worldwide. And although opinions will differ, one undeniable fact is that each year ushers in a new crop of breakout talent, both in front of and behind the camera. Yes, some have been mastering their crafts for years, and each person’s journey is uniquely their own, but it’s often not until the artists are able to express their voices in a singular title that causes viewers to take notice.
Now in its seventh year, Limité is proud to announce the 2015 class of one of its longest-running features, “Faces to Watch.”
There were several notable snubs when this year’s Oscar nominations were revealed back in January. Among them was Jake Gyllenhaal, who turned in a career-high performance in the dark, gritty, and disturbing—and, oh so fantastic—Nightcrawler. The long-talented actor took his lumps, but he’s primed to take another shot with Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, 2001) and written by Kurt Sutter (TV’s Sons of Anarchy)
Gyllenhaal stars as Billy Hope, a boxer who struggles to keep his life together following a devastating incident. Based on the official trailer, which was released today, it appears that Gyllenhaal leaves nothing on the mat, delivering a complex and emotional interpretation of his character. And considering his physical transformation and The Weinstein Company as distributor, the film looks to be a contender come Oscar season. Southpaw also stars Rita Ora, Naomie Harris, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, and Rachel McAdams (in a long overdue good role, though it doesn’t appear she lasts long in the film). The film will bow on July 31.
(Read about the entire process of making short film, “In-Kind,” by checking out the “Anatomy of a Short Film” section of this blog.)
1 weekend. 20 hours. That’s how long it took to shoot “In-Kind,” the short film that I wrote and am co-directing, along with Stephanie Dawson. (Check out the “Anatomy of a Short Film” tab above for progress on this project.) This film’s been on my mind for over four years, and I’m excited to say that we’ve wrapped shooting and are looking forward to post-production. Over 20 amazing artists and technicians joined together in a Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment to get it done, not least of which was our terrific cast, composed of Monique Pappas, Makenna Pappas, and Joe Forbrich (SAG-AFTRA).
It’s that time of year again. You’ve watched dozens of movies, you’ve seen plenty of “For Your Consideration” ads, and you’ve heard everyone’s reasons why one film or another deserves to win. There’s a lot going through your mind; maybe you’re confused. No worries. Once again, Limité’s Film Team is ready to step up with its picks in some of the most hotly contested categories. Read below, then mark your ballots with confidence.
This year, Oscar’s always-a-bridesmaid, Julianne Moore, goes for her fifth nomination. And among all of this year’s leading ladies, Moore seems to be a lock for her first—and much overdo—win. In fact, hers is one of the few categories that’s nearly a sure thing at this stage of the Oscar season. (Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it.)
Playing a linguistics professor with early-onset Alzheimer’s, Moore’s performance in Still Aliceis ripe for awards consideration, and, indeed, it has received several positive notices and recognition. Among her accolades, Moore has already won Best Actress from the Gotham Awards and National Board of Review, among others, and she counts a Golden Globe nomination (two, actually—the other for Maps to the Stars) and SAG Award nomination among her accolades.
Still Alice also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, and Kate Bosworth, and opens January 16. Oscar nominations will be announced the morning of January 15.
On the eve of Jennifer Aniston’s dramatic turn in Cake, I thought it would be worth a trip back to 2002 to her previous against-type role in The Good Girl. Aniston plays a depressed, blue-collar, married woman who engages in an affair with a troubled, younger man (Jake Gyllenhaal). This was the first time I had seen Aniston in a dramatic role, and ever since seeing this I “ached” to see her break from her traditional rom-com inclinations and once again prove her versatility in a meaty indie film. We’ll get that later this month with Cake.
In the meantime, here’s a compilation of the scenes between Aniston and Gyllenhaal in The Good Girl.
Directed by Oscar-winning Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (In a Better World, 2010), Serena reunites Silver Linings Playbook players Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Synopsis: North Carolina mountains at the end of the 1920s–George (Cooper) and Serena Pemberton (Lawrence), love-struck newly-weds, begin to build a timber empire. Serena soon proves herself to be equal to any man: overseeing loggers, hunting rattle snakes, even saving a man’s life in the wilderness. With power and influence now in their hands, the Pembertons refuse to let anyone stand in the way of their inflated love and ambitions. However, once Serena discovers George’s hidden past and faces an unchangeable fate of her own, the Pembertons’ passionate marriage begins to unravel, leading toward a dramatic reckoning.
Magnolia Pictures will release Serena on iTunes and VOD on February 26, and in theatres on March 27.
An annual feature, this year’s “Limité Honors” explores the careers and recent projects of 5 innovators and boundary breakers—masters of film and television. Highlights include Idris Elba, Catherine Keener, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Mark Ruffalo. The selection process involved staff members collectively identifying individuals who deserve recognition based on merit of talent, length and success of career, potential to further grow her or his career, cultural influence, and the potential to inspire a younger generation of innovators. From an expanded list of individuals, a final list of 5 honorees was chosen. Tell us who you think deserves a spot on this list.