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Casting Net: Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson in talks to star in 'The Jungle Book'; Plus, Zooey Deschanel, more

12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and The Avengers‘s Scarlett Johansson are both in talks to lend their voices to Disney’s upcoming live-action/CG adaption of The Jungle Book. Nyong’o is currently in talks to play Rakcha, the mother wolf who adopts Mowgli, while Johansson is in early negotiations to lend her voice to the character of Kaa, a python who eats its victims by hypnotizing them. Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau is set to direct the film based on the classic novel by Rudyard Kipling which will also star Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s Idris Elba as the voice of Shere Khan the tiger. [The Hollywood Reporter]
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Oscars 2014 backstage: What the winners didn't say on TV

Sunday night’s Oscar winners had plenty to say onstage (Best Actor champ Matthew McConaughey even snuck in an “Alright, alright, alright”), but there’s always more to express after winning the biggest award in film. That’s where the backstage press room comes in, and EW was there to collect all the best moments and bons mots you didn’t see on TV.

For some, holding a golden statuette put them in a playful mood, including Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club), who passed his new hardware around the press room so everyone could share in his victory, and Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), who joked that she was being auctioned off to the highest bidder in the room (“Only 86? I’m worth a little bit more than that!”). Others were reflective, including Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave): “What I’ve learned from myself is I don’t have to be anybody else. Myself is good enough.”

Read on for more from behind the scenes: READ FULL STORY

Critical Mass: Does Liam Neeson's 'Non-Stop' crash or soar?

January and February are traditionally regarded as dumping grounds for Hollywood’s lesser movies — the time when studios release the films not good enough for Oscar season and not promising enough for the summer box office. But with a surprising string of winter action hits, beginning with 2009′s Taken, that window might also be termed Neeson Season. “Neeson’s imposing 6’4” frame, haunted eyes, and knack for snapping limbs like celery stalks have elevated throwaways such as Unknown, The Grey, and Taken 2 into something more than the sum of their parts,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “They may not all be memorable films, but they’d be utterly forgettable without the high-gloss patina of a class that he gives them.” Twenty years after playing Oskar Schindler, the 61-year-old Irish actor is the star of his own B-movie sub-genre, and in Non-Stop, he gets to take the gimmick to new heights.

Neeson plays Bill Marks, a sad air marshal whose transatlantic flight from New York to London is interrupted by a text message threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes unless $150 million is wired to an offshore account. Everyone is a suspect, including Marks. Might it be the pretty businesswoman with the window seat, played by Julianne Moore? The macho NYPD cop played by House of Cards‘ Corey Stoll? The other air-marshal on board, played by Anson Mount? Or is it one of the other dozen or so possible suspects? Suspense!

Reuniting Neeson with his Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra, the film also stars Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery as a skeptical flight attendant, with 12 Years a Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o also making a before-she-was-famous appearance.

Click below to see what some of the nation’s leading film critics are saying about Non-Stop before buckling in for Neeson’s latest.

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Lupita Nyong'o: Oscar nominee talks about her wild ride in the spotlight -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Going from unknown struggling drama school grad to Oscar front-runner in a year and a half would be a tempestuous experience for anyone. But for Lupita Nyong’o, who is nominated in the supporting actress category for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, her Oscar campaign run has been an example of grace and gratitude. From the endless screenings and press events to the numerous awards shows and appearances, the Mexico-born Kenyan is an equal measure of confidence and humility.

“I didn’t know there was an awards season before I started this thing,” says Nyong’o during a candid chat with fellow nominee and Oscar veteran Cate Blanchett. “All of it is a first for me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s got a culture of its own.”

For Nyong’o, who happily shared a plate of sushi with Blanchett following an energetic cover shoot for this week’s Entertainment Weekly, stepping onto the set of Steve McQueen’s harrowing slave drama was an exercise in self-confidence. The actress, chosen after the British director looked at close to 1,000 women, had experience on the stage and even writing and directing her own documentary but had never worked on a movie set, except as a production assistant on the 2005 drama The Constant Gardener.

“It was very stressful,” says Nyong’o of her long days on the southern plantation. “Acting is an exercise of deep trust in yourself and an exercise in letting go: Do [all of your preparation] and then trust that when the [filming] day comes, and you’re in the room with Michael Fassbender, what you need will come through. That’s what’s magical about acting — it’s something you never do on your own.”

Nyong’o has a small role in the upcoming Liam Neeson actioner Non-Stop, but the actress is interested in creating her own destiny going forward. “I’m interested in generating work for myself,” she says. “I have trouble with this waiting-for-the-phone-to-ring lifestyle, especially after drama school, which was so creatively fulfilling.”

To read the full interview with Nyong’o and Blanchett pick up this week’s issue of EW. And for more on the actress’ head-turning role check out this exclusive clip below. READ FULL STORY

Liam Neeson is an airborne badass in new 'Non-Stop' clip -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Liam Neeson is back to kicking butt in his latest action flick, Non-Stop. This time, the actor plays an air marshal aboard a transatlantic flight who must spring into action after an unknown terrorist threatens to kill one passenger every 20 minutes unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account. Things get a little tricky, however, when the passengers begin to turn on him.

Watch Neeson attempt to convince passengers aboard the flight that he’s not trying to hijack their plane in an exclusive clip from Non-Stop below:

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Oscars 2014: Lupita Nyong'o is living in a heightened reality

To watch or not to watch? That was the question plaguing 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o on Wednesday night when she and her best friend were debating whether to watch Thursday’s Oscar nominations when they were scheduled to broadcast early Thursday morning.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it live,” said the actress, who is staying in Los Angeles for the slew of award shows happening in the next week. “We weighed the pros and cons of waking up so early, but we decided it was better to hear it from the horse’s mouth. I knew I would hear about it anyway, so I might as well hear it along with everyone else.”

The news couldn’t have been better for the actress who landed her first Oscar nomination Thursday for her first feature film, playing the role of tortured slave Patsey.

Nyong’o, who has a history of performing on stage and directed her own video short, has found the whole campaigning process to be enlightening.

“Everything is so new. It’s really hard to pick out one thing that stands out above the other. It’s all standing out to me,” she says. “I’m living in a very heightened state.”

Living in such an altered state didn’t come as that much of a surprise to Nyong’o, who says that she knew 12 Years was unique from the moment she was hired for the job.

“I always knew that it would be like nothing else, and every day was confirmation of just how awesome this is. Really. This has been an elevated experience from the day I was cast in this film.”

Golden Globes: Party Report! Inside scoop from all the after-ceremony festivities

EW is inside all the Golden Globes parties tonight. Check out our reports from inside all the carousing and celebrating. Check back often for updates and follow us on Twitter at #EWglobes.
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Globes Behind the Scenes: What you WON'T see on television

All night EW reporters are on the scene at the Golden Globes –  in the ballroom, in the press room, on the red carpet and at the after parties — and we will be giving you inside dish on everything happening behind the scenes that you can’t see on TV. Check back often for updates as the night continues.

BEFORE THE SHOW
“Excuse me,” says the young woman in the striking red dress. Sarah Paulson, busy fixing her eyebrows in the bathroom mirror slowing turns her head to see her 12 Years a Slave co-star Lupita Nyong’o standing at the sink next to her. They may have played slave owner’s wife and slave on screen, but these two proved to be thick as thieves in the bathroom, where they began screaming like two young school girls when they saw each other.

DURING THE SHOW

Not every Hollywood star loves their time hobnobbing with other celebs. Spotted: actor Mark Ruffalo hiding in the corner behind the table dominated by press. The actor and activist with a healthy Twitter account was hiding on his phone. “I’ve got to admit I’m a little out of my body tonight,” he told EW. Paula Patton fixed that. Moments later Ruffalo was being chatted up by the vivacious actress Paula Patton, and was clearly entertained by her company.

In the smokers’ lounge: Kate Beckinsdale entertained a gaggle of ladies fawning over her dress. Elizabeth Moss kissed her Globe for a photo, and Joaquin Phoenix chatted up a journalist with a mouth full of crackers that he had carried in his pocket from the buffet table. He said he was considering  using the crackers in a bit should he get called up on stage for his work in Her, but he didn’t return to to the buffet to grab more. Instead he tipped the bartender $20 and wandered off with his director, Golden Globe original screenplay winner Spike Jonze.

Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone, plus Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann, the cast of Modern Family all made a beeline for the exit before the Best Picture winner was announced.

Producer/fiancier Ryan Kavanaugh was holding hands all night with Minnie Driver. Beau Bridges walked out, thanking the security guards as he left.

Spirits were low at the 20th Century Fox/Fox Searchlight viewing party for the Golden Globes most of the night. 12 Years a Slave had lost in every category, and things looked bleak for the movie. When Johnny Depp came out to announce Best Drama, many who had worked on the film, or fought for months campaigning on its behalf, we’re only half-listening. Then, the ultimate shock: Depp read the envelope, and 12 Years a Slave had won. There was a moment, a gasp, had everyone heard that right? Then — pandemonium. It was impossible to hear any of director Steve McQueen’s speech over the cheers.

Meanwhile, the Fox TV network viewing party, with a Brooklyn loft theme under a tent on top of the Beverly Hilton parking garage, was very upbeat. Normally the studio wins awards but the network does not. Tonight there were screams of shock and delight for the Andy Samberg and Brooklyn Nine-Nine wins. EW asked Fox Chairman Kevin Reilly if he feels vindicated for his faith in Brooklyn, which was given a full-season order and a Super Bowl slot, despite the show’s low ratings. “It’s not vindication,” Reilly says. “I’m just really happy. It’s the right timing for a show on the rise. And it’s great when you love a group both personally and creatively.”

Check back for more behind-the-scenes reports and follow us on Twitter at #EWGlobes. (Reporting by Nicole Sperling, Lindsey Bahr and Anthony Breznican)

Dane DeHaan and Lupita Nyong'o nominated for BAFTA Rising Star award

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and Blue is the Warmest Color actress Lea Seydoux are among nominees for the British film academy’s Rising Star award.

Nyong’o made an acclaimed feature film debut in slavery epic 12 Years a Slave, while Seydoux plays half of a young French lesbian couple in the Cannes festival prize-winner.

Other finalists announced Monday include American actor Dane DeHaan, who plays a troubled poetic muse in Beat Generation saga Kill Your Darlings.

Two British actors round out the list — George MacKay, who stars in Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith, and Will Poulter of comedy We’re the Millers.

The winner will be decided by public vote and announced during the British Academy Film Awards — Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars — on Feb. 16.

Golden Globes: Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o on her big day and letting go of Patsey

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In the spring of 2012,  Lupita Nyong’o graduated from the Yale School of Drama. Then she was cast in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave — and her life changed almost overnight.

The Kenyan actress and filmmaker has won numerous accolades for her powerful performance as Patsey, a slave who faces unfathomable cruelty at the hands of both a plantation owner (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Sarah Paulson). And as of this morning, she’s also a Golden Globe nominee for Best Supporting Actress. How does it feel? “I haven’t yet found a suitable word in the English language that captures how it feels,” Nyong’o tells EW. “It’s overwhelming. It’s exciting. It’s humbling. It’s a lot.”
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