In decades of tracking the Academy Awards, I honestly can’t recall any category, in any year, when a race was as fiercely, thrillingly white-hot competitive as this year’s Best Actor race. Just think about it: Not one, not two, not three, but four of the nominees each stands a very real chance of winning. Consider each scenario, and you’ll realize it’s true. When Jennifer Lawrence gets up to present the Best Actor award and tears open that envelope, if she ends up saying, “And the Oscar goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave,” it will not be a shock, because Ejiofor, playing a man who endures the torments of the damned, and must hold in his emotions (even as he shows them to us), and must somehow, on top of all that, figure out a way to keep his faith burning, has been justly acclaimed for being incredible beyond words in that movie. If Lawrence says, “And the Oscar goes to…Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club,” it will not be a shock, because McConaughey, this year, is the official front-runner, and has been justly coronated for giving a tough, sinewy, moving, and anger-singed performance that is widely viewed as the culminating act of his 20-year career in Hollywood. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Leonardo DiCaprio (11-20 of 97)
Andrew Greene, who worked with notorious broker Jordan Belfort at Stratton Oakmont, is suing Paramount Pictures and the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street, including Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way, for $25 million because he claims the Oscar-nominated film defames his reputation. In the film, actor P.J. Byrne plays Nicky “Rugrat” Koskoff, a character with a ridiculous toupee that is portrayed as “a criminal, a drug user, and a degenerate” that Greene claims is falsely based on him.
In Belfort’s 2007 memoir, on which the film is based, Greene’s real name was used, but according to the lawsuit, Greene never gave the filmmakers his consent for his involvement in the film — perhaps explaining the character’s name change. Greene claims that he has been maliciously and willfully defamed “as a criminal and drug user with misogynistic tendencies. Mr. Greene is portrayed as an individual with no moral or ethical values, which is injurious to him in his trade, business, or profession.” READ FULL STORY
One of the downsides of living in a movie landmark with a half-mile long driveway is that obsessed fans who can’t get a satisfactory peek from the road will occasionally think nothing about rolling up to your front door. Jim Lutz and Alex Carrillo have lived in their 100-year old farmhouse in Manor, Texas, since 1977, raising five children, running a jewelry business, and occasionally lending their rustic home to a movie or television production. But the tourists who come knocking aren’t imposing on their hospitality because of Roadie, the 1980 movie starring Art Carney and Meat Loaf that filmed there. And they aren’t snapping pictures because they loved the season of The Simple Life where Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie swept through. Rather, they’ve driven long distances — some come all the way from Europe — because of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, the 1993 movie that starred Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.
In hindsight, perhaps one can understand the allure. Twenty years later, Depp and DiCaprio are huge Hollywood stars — one is Capt. Jack Sparrow and the other was the King of the World in Titanic. But Gilbert Grape barely made a ripple in theaters when it opened in December 1993, grossing only $10 million. Despite positive reviews and a prescient Oscar nomination for DiCaprio’s supporting turn as Gilbert’s mentally challenged brother Arnie, the movie was marginalized as “quirky” and endured a failed platform release and uninspired marketing campaign. “It had a terrible log-line: ‘Life is a terrible thing to sleep through,’” laments Grape’s director Lasse Hallström. “Who wants to go see a movie about someone who is sleeping through life?”
But rather than slip into obscurity, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? has grown over time into a beloved gem, not only for its celebrity leading men, but for its enormous heart — best represented by Darlene Cates, the amateur actress who played the boys’ overweight shut-in mother who never recovered from her husband’s suicide. “Gilbert Grape had its revenge as a DVD and a VHS,” says Hallström. “People found it later on and there was a period when you started picking up on the fact that people had seen it over and over again.” Like the one pilgrim to Manor from Tombstone, Ariz., who saw the movie 40 times, felt compelled to visit the Grape house, and ended up hanging around the Lutz farm for a couple of days. “It’s been a real special movie for a lot of people,” says Lutz. READ FULL STORY
For years, Martin Scorsese’s most famous collaborator was Robert De Niro, who starred in the director’s most iconic movies, including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. In recent years, the director has formed a similar relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio, making five celebrated films. The Departed, their third movie together, finally won Scorsese his elusive Oscar for Best Director, and last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street is currently up for five Oscars, including two each for both men, who also produced the movie.
This Thursday and Friday at New York’s hallowed Ziegfeld Theater, all five Scorsese/DiCaprio films will be screened during a two-day retrospective, anchored by a special panel discussion on Thursday night with DiCaprio, Wolf of Wall Street screenwriter Terence Winter, and the film’s editor, three-time Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker.
De Niro and DiCaprio may be the director’s favorite stars, but his greatest collaborator over the years has been behind the scenes. Schoonmaker has cut 18 of Scorsese’s feature films, including every one since Raging Bull, for which she won her first of three Oscars. The pair met at NYU in the early 1960s, where Schoonmaker had signed up for a six-week filmmaking course, and Scorsese desperately needed help to salvage his student film, What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? It was a fortuitous encounter that has led to some of cinema’s most revered films.
Below, Schoonmaker discusses her work with Scorsese and describes the unique bond between the director and DiCaprio. READ FULL STORY
Casting Net: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill set to re-team; Plus, Matthew McConaughey boards Gus Van Sant pic, more
• Wolf of Wall Street co-stars and Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill are reportedly set to re-team for an Atlanta Olympics bombing drama based on the 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad of Richard Jewell.” Fox acquired the rights to the article and planned to develop it for Hill, who would play Jewell, the janitor who reported the suspicious bag and was subsequently accused of being a potential suspect in the bombing. DiCaprio would play the attorney at his side. [Deadline]
Leonardo DiCaprio on Globe-winning 'Wolf of Wall Street' role: 'Thank God' I didn't become Jordan Belfort
Over his decades-long career in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio has had a reputation as a partier and a playboy…but he’s got nothing on Jordan Belfort, the debaucherous role he played in The Wolf of Wall Street. While he loved delving into the part — and even picked up a Golden Globe for his performance on Sunday — he was just as happy to leave Jordan behind.
“I stopped this film and it was like a giant adrenaline dump,” he told reporters backstage at the Beverly Hilton. “I haven’t been able to work since, really. It was a phenomenal experience. I suppose I’ve been doing this for a long period of time. Making movies is an interesting process. You put your entire life on hold. And these characters really do envelop you, for better or for worse. So, thank God none of the attributes of this character rubbed off on my real life, because I probably wouldn’t be standing here today.”
He’s also grateful to Wolf‘s director, the inimitable Martin Scorsese, and his young-at-heart vision. “I’m just thankful that Marty Scorsese is still as punk-rock, still as vital at 71 years old.”
It surprised even Leonardo DiCaprio that he won a Golden Globe in the comedy category, but yes, it happened: The actor took home his second career Globe for The Wolf of Wall Street. It was his tenth acting nomination. He previously won for 2005’s The Aviator.
The National Board of Review announced its 2013 honorees on Dec. 4, with Her, Nebraska, and Fruitvale Station claiming some of the top prizes. That meant the only real suspense last night at the organization’s New York City gala was who would win the crowd and earn the best howls. Rob Reiner nearly stole the show, but it was Meryl Streep who brought down the house at Cipriani’s on 42nd Street. Streep, presenting the Best Actress award to Emma Thompson for Saving Mr. Banks, left her friend “nauseous with gratitude” with a heart-felt introduction that also took swipes at Walt Disney and the Disney brand. READ FULL STORY
In Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, a pre-Quentin Tarantino movie that is turning out to be the post-Tarantino touchstone for how to make a drama about the lethal seductions of bad behavior (Boogie Nights, The Sopranos, and American Hustle are all honorary sons of GoodFellas), Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), the shark/schlub wise-guy antihero, sucks the audience right into his dream of doing whatever the hell he pleases the moment he announces, in that opening voiceover, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” To watch GoodFellas is to think: And who wouldn’t? A quintessential here’s why you want to be a gangster moment is the famous entering-the-restaurant tracking shot, in which Henry and his date, Karen (Lorraine Bracco), get to bypass the crowd by snaking in through the kitchen, only to land at the best table in the house. That’s the Horatio Alger myth compressed into 30 ecstatic Scorsesesque seconds: Being a gangster isn’t just acting like a hoodlum — it’s rising up and flowing past the horde, fulfilling a fantasy of coming out on top. It is, on some level, what all of us crave. GoodFellas has a lot of moments like that, but Scorsese is too great a filmmaker to make the gangster life look easier than it is. To live by violence gets you treated like a king, but it’s also a brutal existence that gradually eats away at you. In the classic “You think I’m funny?” scene, Joe Pesci’s is-he-kidding? tweaking of Henry isn’t just a goof, it’s a sinister preview of what every gangster ultimately faces: the Mob’s violence turning on them. As GoodFellas goes on, the freedom that Henry Hill saw in the gangster life begins to look like a trap, and by the end, when he’s coked to the gills, trying to escape his cronies and the law, no one in his right mind would want to trade places with him. READ FULL STORY
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