The interview was the latest in a series of Round Table interviews, not necessarily connected with the entertainment industry, pioneered by the association this year.
Thirty members packed the conference room at the HFPA’s West Hollywood offices to question the former Polish politician, trade-union organizer and human rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity, the Soviet bloc’s first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 1995. He is the subject of the new Andrzej Wajda film Walesa: Man of Hope.Read More »
Steve Coogan, Charles Dance, Ruth Wilson, Eddie Redmayne and many other movie and television stars mingled with the guests and the 30 HFPA members who were in London to attend the premiere of Saving Mr. Banks and to interview its star Tom Hanks, among other interviews and set visits.
The party, which was originally intended as a two hour reception but lasted more than four hours, was so successful it is likely to be repeated next year when the HFPA are in London again.
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Philip Berk looks at the 70-year feud between Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine.
There has never been a running feud between two sisters, let alone two Academy Award winning actresses, like the one between Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, who haven’t spoken to each other in over 70 years.
Joan celebrates her 96th birthday today (October 22). Olivia will be 98 next July.
When Rooney Mara was recently asked at a HFPA press conference if there was any sibling rivalry between her and her sister Kate, as there was between Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, Rooney’s response was, “Who are they?”
In the 1940s they were the most famous sister act working in Hollywood.
And they competed with each other not just for the same parts but in successive years for Best Actress accolades.
In 1939 when Olivia was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for Melanie in Gone With the Wind, which Hattie McDaniel ended up winning, Joan was busy filming her most famous role, Mrs. DeWinter in Hitchcock’s Rebecca.
Joan was nominated the following year for that role but lost out to Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle who proved she could act as well as partner Fred Astaire.
A year later in 1941 both Olivia (for Hold back the Dawn) and Joan (for Suspicion) were nominated, Joan emerging the victor. And thus began their celebrated feud.
In 1943 Joan was again nominated for The Constant Nymph but lost to Jennifer Jones who won both the Oscar and our first Golden Globe (for The Song of Bernadette.
In 1946 Olivia finally won her Oscar for To Each His Own, but Rosalind Russell was our Golden Globe winner for Sister Kenny.
Again in 1948 Olivia was nominated for The Snake Pit, but Jane Wyman (for Johnny Belinda) was both the Academy Award and Golden Globe winner.
Finally in 1949, Olivia won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for The Heiress.
Four years later in l953 Olivia won her second Golden Globe nomination for My Cousin Rachel, but it was newcomer Audrey Hepburn who took home both the Golden Globe and the Oscar (for Roman Holiday.)
Almost forty years later Olivia finally won a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe award for a movie made for TV, Anastasia, The Mystery of Anna. That was in 1987, and neither have been nominated since.
Surprisingly, Joan Fontaine has never been nominated nor won a Golden Globe, but only because her period of greatest productivity was before the first Golden Globes were ever presented.
Lurking in the background for both actresses has always been legendary producer David O. Selznick, who gave Olivia her most beloved role in Gone with the Wind and had Joan under contract for seven years, during which time she made only one movie for him; the others were all on loan-out (mostly forgettable) to other studios,
Why these two extraordinarily beautiful and remarkably talented young women remain estranged for over seventy years is a Hollywood mystery that has never been solved.
The presumption was jealousy (sibling rivalry became a popular term decades later) and in fact when Joan was signed by RKO, Olivia insisted she use a different surname. (Fontaine was her stepfather’s surname.)
One reason given is that when they were both nominated in l943 and Joan won, as she walked to the podium,Olivia held out her hand to congratulate her only to be rebuffed. They have never been seen together since.
They were both born de Havillands to British subjects in Tokyo, Japan.
In 1919 the family moved to California.
Both began acting in 1935, Joan appearing on Broadway and Olivia being signed to her “infamous” seven year contract by Warner Bros. Joan was later signed by RKO.
Olivia was the more gutsy, initiating her landmark lawsuit against Warner Bros. challenging the duration of a contract. The studios’ practice at the time was to add intervals when contract players were suspended without pay for refusing roles. Olivia argued seven years was seven years. And she won triumphantly and changed the studios’ despotic control of contract players for all time.
Joan was the more docile.
She was dropped by RKO after playing colorless heroines in Damsel in Distress (opposite Fred Astaire) and Gunga Din (opposite Cary Grant) but a chance encounter with Selznick resulted in Rebecca and a long term contract.
Both actresses married numerous times, Olivia to novelist Marcus Goodrich and Paris Match Editor Pierre Galante, although the love of her life was always Errol Flynn. They made eight films together including the classic Adventures of Robin Hood.
Joan married producers. William Dozier, her second husband, ran CBS and produced her last memorable film, Max Ophuls’ Letter from an Unknown Woman. Collier Young, her third husband, was responsible for most of Ida Lupino’s directorial efforts, during their stormy marriage.
Her fourth husband was not in the business.
Joan was married to Brian Aherne, also an RKO contract player, for six years during her RKO years.
Olivia was the stronger actress. She clawed her way to gain roles in both Gone with the Wind and The Snake Pit, arguably her two best performances.
When Joan won her Oscar for Suspicion it was a consolation for not winning the previous year for Rebecca.
Bosley Crowther the New York Times critic, famously wrote thatJoan’s haunched shoulders won her that role.
Ironically her Academy Award for Suspicion is the only acting award ever given to a Hitchcock film.
In a wide-ranging conversation Assange slammed the movie about him, The Fifth Estate, as “opportunistic and hostile,” talked of his work, warned of the dangers posed by the American security complex and revealed that his family had received death threats.
The Skype call —- part of the HFPA’s rapidly expanding Round Table series of interviews—-was arranged between the association’s offices in West Hollywood and the Ecuadorian embassy in London where the 42-year-old Assange has been living since June 2012 when he was granted diplomatic asylum. The British government wants to extradite him to Sweden under a European Arrest Warrant for questioning in relation to a sexual assault investigation. Metropolitan police officers have been stationed outside the embassy since Assange entered the building and have been ordered to arrest him if he attempts to leave.
During the 90-minute Skype call he talked for the first time of his daily life in the Ecuadorian Embassy with the staff he says are “like family.”
“We’ve gone through a lot together and we understand we are all in this together,” he said. “Some staff have been here nearly 20 years. We have lunch together, celebrate people’s birthdays and other details I don’t want to go into because of the security situation.
“Of course the working environment has changed a lot because there are still police surrounding the embassy and it’s a difficult situation for the staff.”
He declined to say whether he had learned to speak Spanish during his stay: “I found in investigative journalism it is always best, if you have any language skills, not to admit them.”
He lives in a small office room converted into living quarters equipped with a bed, telephone, sun lamp, computer with internet connections, shower, treadmill and a small kitchenette.
He receives frequent visits from celebrity supporters including musician Graham Nash —“an unexpected supporter but a good one” —who, he said, stopped by on Friday and who wrote a song about Bradley Manning; Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, actors Peters Sarsgaard, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack and the rapper MIA. “There’s been a wide range,” he said. “It’s interesting to go through this experience and see who walks the walk and who just talks the talk.”
For relaxation he watches the Australian television series Rake about a brilliant but self-destructive Sydney barrister and, he said, he also enjoyed the movie There Will Be Blood. He watches U.S movies such as Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, he said, mainly to see how they affect WikiLeaks.
Looking thin and pale and wearing a blue tracksuit with a Wikileaks logo, he talked in a wide-ranging 90 minute interview of his daily life, his family and his work.
“Of course it’s difficult to wake up for 500 days and see the same walls but on the other hand I am doing good work and I have no time for anything else so it’s a bit counter-productive to trap me here, because what else can I do but work?” he asked.
“I have my heart and soul in this work. I have a very capable and loyal staff and we have a lot of supporters around the world and people who believe in what we do and want to see if it continues. So although I am trapped in these walls, intellectually I am outside with our people today and that to me is important.
“While I am imprisoned here there is a developing prison where you are living as well. It would be pretty bad if when I finally get out of here I find it’s actually better here than outside. At least in here there are no sudden raids by police, there is a rule of law and not an arbitrary breakdown as there is in many countries now.”
The Australian-born Assange burst into public consciousness in 2010 with WikiLeaks release of the Apache helicopter video attack and the subsequent release of U.S. military and diplomatic documents.
WikiLeaks has been involved in the publication of material documenting extra-judicial killings in Kenya, a report on toxic waste dumping on the Ivory Coast, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay detention camp procedures, the July 12 2007 Baghdad air strike video and other documents.
As part of the special Round Table series, HFPA members recently met with the man who inspired the making of the upcoming Tom Hank’s film Captain Phillips, merchant mariner Richard Phillips, the former captain of the Maersk Alabama who was captured and held hostage when the ship was hijacked by Somali pirates in April 2009.
After spending five days tied up in a small lifeboat with the hijackers, Capt. Philips ultimately escaped unharmed when US Navy Seals killed the pirates.
Despite the experience Capt. Phillips soon resumed his work.
“For me, it was a pleasure to get back to work; that’s what I am used to.” Phillips told HFPA members. “I have been sailing now for 34 years, and it’s what I know, it’s the life I’ve had.
“I really do not consider myself a hero. I consider the heroes the SEALS and the Navy who put their lives in danger for mine. I was really looking out for myself and my crew and we were working together. My crew did a great job and they were instrumental in the positive outcome for them and I.”
While the experience has changed his life, it has miraculously left few scars.
“Yes, to me it’s really in the past, I have never had another problem, I don’t have daydreams, nightmares, I really don’t think about it, I truly believe I am lucky.
“I have always tried to enjoy my life. A lot of people say, ‘Oh your life must be great now,’ but it was great before, I have always enjoyed my life, so I really put what happened behind me.
Every year thousands of film fans, foodies— and a few HFPA members—head to San Sebastian, drawn by a combination of an eclectic slate of movies at the annual film festival and more Michelin star restaurants per head than anywhere else in the world.
Since moving its opening date to five days after the Toronto festival closes, San Sebastian has been enjoying a new prominence with a high profile selection of films, increased industry activities, stronger ties with Latin America, audience development and a growing presence of U.S. stars and productions.
“It’s been very good to change our policy because we’re achieving a great status as the entrance door to Europe for films that have previously gone to Canada,” said festival director Jose Luis Rebordinos. “Last year we saw the great success of Argo and this year we are happy to have high-profile projects such as Atom Egayon’s Devil’s Knot and Bernard Tavernier’s Quai d’Orsay.”
This year the 61st edition of the San Sebastian Festival kicked off with the opening gala at the Kursaal Auditorium presented by the actors Cayetana Guillén Cuervo and Unax Ugalde.
Some of the notable faces from the international cinema world who visited the festival during an intense week of activities, screenings and events with the focus on film included:
Annette Bening, who presented The Face of Love, the opening film of the Pearls section; Michelle Yeoh, who was guest of honour at the Culinary Zinema as the star of the film to open the section, Final Recipe and Oliver Stone, who brought his documentary series The Untold History of the United States and also presented Alexander: The Ultimate Cut, a newly remastered cut of Alexander.
Terry Gilliam returned to the Festival with his latest film, The Zero Theorem and Roger Michell, director among others of Notting Hill and Enduring Love, presented his new movie, Le Week-end, along with its stars, Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan and the writer Hanif Kureishi, author of the screenplays for My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid.
Hugh Jackman, whose Prisoners was one of the hits with the festival audiences, was presented with the Donestia Award in recognition of his body of work. He follows in the footsteps of Tommy Lee Jones, who received the award last year and previous winner Woody Allen.Read More »
Two HFPA representatives, Yenny Nun-Katz and Meher Tatna, hosted a reception for Chilean filmmakers, festival delegates and executives at the Santiago International Film Festival headquarters in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. President of the Board Catalina Saieh introduced the HFPA members to the attendees at Duke’s Bar.
SANFIC, the Santiago International Film Festival has been in existence since 2004, and is one of the most important film festivals in Latin America and this year screened more than 100 movies in five venues. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to French director Laurent Cantet, and Colombian actress Catalina Sandino received a special recognition. Willem Dafoe, Abel Ferrera and Diego Luna have attended in previous years. and Chilean films like The Nanny and Violeta were first screened in SANFIC, and went on to become world renowned.
Golden Globe winner Sandra Bullock and her Heat co-star Melissa McCarthy have broken through the glass ceiling with the success of their female cop-buddy comedy and cleared the way for more female-driven blockbusters.
Originally Fox’s expectations for Heat were so low that it was planned for a quiet release early in the year. Only after seeing the enthusiastic reactions from test screenings did executives decide to push its opening to the summer to compete
with the major blockbusters.
The box office figures proved them right. The Heat beat a male-buddy actioner White House Down convincingly. Nonetheless, the road to making The Heat was not without challenges, director Paul Feig and his two stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy told the HFPA when they met at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York.
When Bullock was asked by her producer friend a couple of years ago about the kind of film she wanted to be in, she answered “A two-hander female comedy.” The producer’s reply was “Ok, that doesn’t exist.”
“Well, then let’s get the scripts that have been written for men and haven’t been made, and let’s see if there is a premise that we love, where we can change the names,” she said.
Indeed, in the past such films have been exclusively reserved for male characters in Hollywood, which has invariably eschewed making female-driven blockbuster movies. Every summer, male-led movies, such as The Hangover, Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man and Superman, fill the big screens of multiplexes around the world. The female characters are usually relegated to the superficial roles of the lead’s love interest, or assistant, or even just an object of desire.
But in 2011, the phenomenal success of the female-led ensemble comedy, Golden Globe winner Bridesmaids, which was also directed by Paul Feig, stunned Hollywood and injected a new hope for more female-driven movies. But despite Golden Globe awards, it didn’t
yield a plethora of female movies. In fact, a recent study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has revealed that 2012 was the worst year for representation of women, both onscreen and behind the camera.
Nonetheless, Bullock, who had almost given up on producing due to the lack of projects with strong women -and preoccupation with producing a baby- is upbeat.
“It’s exciting now what you’re able to do,” she enthuses. “You don’t have to fight as much to find material.”
Feig concurs, blaming the term “chick flick” on perpetuating the notion that female movies have only one focus: a woman finding a man or falling in a love.
“We’ve been fed such a steady stream of romantic comedies starring women, which is fine, but I want to see other aspects. I want to see them getting to be tough.”
He gets his wish in Bullock’s latest movie, director Alfonso Cuaron’s space action tale Gravity in which she is on screen much of the time on her own, battling and overcoming all challenges after her space shuttle is destroyed on her first mission and she spirals out into the blackness of space.
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Veteran filmmaker Woody Allen is to receive this year’s Cecil B. De Mille Award for his outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.
“There is no one more worthy of this award than Woody Allen,” said HFPA president Theo Kingma. “His contributions to filmmaking have been phenomenal and he is an international treasure.”
The 77-year-old actor-writer-director-producer-composer-musician is at an age when most filmmakers have long retired but he shows no signs of slowing down.
After a more than 60-year career he is, after 55 films, two Golden Globes wins and 11 nominations, more famous now than ever before, although the benefits of fame are something he confesses he has his doubts about.
“Fame has many drawbacks and many advantages and it’s close, but the advantages just outweigh the drawbacks,” he told HFPA members when he met them recently. “Believe it or not, there are many terrible things about being famous and many wonderful things, too.
“In the end, the good things are better than the bad, so if you have the chance, it’s better to be famous.”
Woody Allen was born on December 1, 1935, as Allen Konigsberg, in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 15, he started selling one-liners to gossip columns. After working as a stand-up comedian, he was hired to write What’s New Pussycat in 1965. He directed his first film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? a year later. That, along with the James Bond spoof Casino Royale in 1967, which he co-wrote and acted in, launched one of the most successful and unusual careers in American filmmaking history.
His subsequent movies included Bananas, Sleeper, Love and Death, Zelig, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose, Mighty Aphrodite, Match Point and, more recently, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and his latest, Blue Jasmine—all of which, along with others too numerous to name, sprung from his fertile imagination and his filmmaking technique of few takes and short working days.
As the latest recipient of the Cecil B. De Mille Award, Woody Allen is following in illustrious footsteps. The first award went to the man it was named after, in 1952, the year his penultimate film, The Greatest Show on Earth, had its premiere.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will honor Woody Allen with a tribute during the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, to be held on Sunday, January 12, 2013.
Screaming fans were standing three deep along the barriers outside the elegant Windsor Arms Hotel as fleets of limousines pulled up with their famous passengers.
The celebrity guests, who were greeted by HFPA president Theo Kingma, included two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Mark Wahlberg,who has just opened a burger restaurant in the city’s Soho Metropolitan Hotel, Keanu Reeves, who grew up in Toronto, Mads Mikkelsen, who is Toronto filming Hannibal, Daniel Bruhl, who is co-starring in both The Fifth Estate and Rush,Game of Thrones’ Emily Clarke, Juliette Lewis and the Australian trio Melissa George, Jai Courtney and Joel Edgerton.
The pictures tell the story of a lively, happy and highly successful party which went on until the early hours of the morning.
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