Review: ‘Dolittle,’ starring Robert Downey Jr.

January 17, 2020

by Carla Hay

Robert Downey Jr.  and parrot Polynesia (voiced by Emma Thompson) in “Dolittle” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Dolittle”

Directed by Stephen Gaghan

Culture Representation: Set primarily in the United Kingdom, this dramatic adventure movie’s live-action characters are nearly all white; the voice actors portraying the animated animals are a racially mixed cast; and the social classes range from working-class to royalty.

Culture Clash: A reclusive doctor with the special power to talk to animals reluctantly goes on a journey to find a rare medical cure, and faces obstacles that include more than one villain.

Culture Audience: “Dolittle” will appeal primarily to fans of children-oriented entertainment who don’t mind if the visuals are much better than the storytelling.

Dab-Dab the duck (voiced by Octavia Spencer), polar bear Yoshi (voiced by John Cena), parrot Polynesia (voiced by Emma Thompson), Dr. John Dolittle (played by Robert Downey Jr.), ostrich Plimpton (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani), Tommy Stubbins (played by Harry Collett) and gorilla Chee-Chee (voiced by Rami Malek) in “Dolittle” (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

It’s not really a good sign when a major-studio film headlined by an A-list movie star is released in January, the month that’s a notorious dumping ground for bad movies. Universal Pictures must have known that “Dolittle” was going to be a dud, even with star Robert Downey Jr. coming off his major hot streak in the blockbuster superhero “Avengers” and “Iron Man” movies. (“Avengers: Endgame,” Downey’s 2019 movie that was released before “Dolittle,” now holds the record as the world’s biggest box-office movie hit of all time, ending the 10-year reign at the top held by “Avatar.”) “Dolittle” isn’t a terrible film. It’s just a terribly generic film in an era when we’ve been bombarded with kids-oriented movies that have talking animals.

By making “Dolittle” an action-adventure film, “Dolittle” director Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay with Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, tried to do something different from previous “Dolittle” movies. The original 1967 “Dr. Dolittle” film, starring Rex Harrison and a cast of other Brits, was a musical adapted from Hugh Lofting’s “Dr. Dolittle” book series. The three “Dr. Dolittle” movies from 1998, 2000 and 2006 were slapstick American comedies—the first two starred Eddie Murphy as the title character, and a third film was an ill-conceived flop starring Kyla Pratt, who played Dolittle’s daughter in the first two Murphy-starring films.

Gaghan’s “Dolittle” goes back to the original United Kingdom location, during the mid-1800s era of a young Queen Victoria (played by Jessie Buckley), who has come down with a mysterious illness. During the film’s animated opening sequence, viewers see that veterinarian John Dolittle once led a happy life taking care of animals with his beloved wife Lily (played by Kasia Smutniak), who died tragically.

Fast forward seven years later, and Dr. Dolittle has become a cranky hermit who has neglected his hygiene (he’s so unkempt that a mouse has been living in his beard), as he lives with his animals on his estate that’s essentially an animal sanctuary. The filmmakers have made Dolittle a Welshman, so it might take a while for some viewers to getting used to hearing Downey speak in a Welsh accent that sounds a little too pretentious for a movie where most of his co-stars are animated talking animals. This is a kids’ movie, not Shakespeare.

Tommy Stubbins (played by Harry Collett), a boy from the small village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, is an orphaned misfit who lives with his aunt and uncle. Tommy loves animals, and is therefore uncomfortable when he’s forced to go hunting with his uncle. When Tommy accidentally shoots a squirrel while hunting, he decides to take the injured animal to the mysterious Dr. Dolittle, even though the doctor has a reputation for being a curmudgeon. Instead of being afraid of Dolittle’s menagerie of wild animals, Tommy is fascinated and finds out that he has a knack for communicating with animals too. Affected by Tommy’s presence, Dolittle cleans himself up, as he notices that Tommy sees him as a role model and possible mentor.

It isn’t long before Dolittle gets another visitor: Queen Victoria’s attendant Lady Rose (played Carmel Laniado), who arrives with orders to bring Dolittle to Buckingham Palace to give medical aid to the queen. Dolittle has a big incentive to save the queen’s life, because his property has been loaned to him by the queen, and if she dies, he will lose the property.

While at the palace, Dolittle has an awkward reunion with a former school rival: royal physician Dr. Blair Müdfly (played by Michael Sheen), who is jealous of Dolittle’s talent and acclaim. Müdfly is such an over-the-top villain that he practically twirls his moustache and gnashes his teeth. And there’s another antagonist in the story: the ambitious Lord Thomas Badgley (played by Jim Broadbent), who will inherit the throne if Queen Victoria dies. (At this point in her life, Victoria is not married and has no children.)

Dolittle determines that the best cure for the queen’s life-threatening illness is fruit from the Eden Tree on Eden Tree Island, because this fruit is said to have magical powers. (How biblical.) Tommy has essentially decided that he doesn’t really want to go home, so he tags along on Dolittle’s voyage, with Dolittle’s numerous animals in tow as they set sail on a ship called the Water Lily.

Now, about the animals. The problem with “Dolittle” is that there are too many of them in this film. If you’re someone with a short attention span, good luck trying to keep track of all the talking animals. The “Madagascar” movies (another animated series with a variety of wild animals that talk) worked so well because the animals were in a relatively small group and their personalities were so distinct. In “Dolittle,” the personalities of most of the animals tend to blend together in a crowded mush, with the notable exception of the parrot Polynesia (voiced by Emma Thompson), a dutifully efficient assistant/caretaker with a whip-smart attitude. Polynesia holds a special place in Dolittle’s heart because the parrot used to be owned by Dolittle’s late wife Lily.

The other animals in this mixed-bag menagerie are Chee-Chee (voiced by Rami Malek), an insecure gorilla; Dab-Dab (voiced by Octavia Spencer), a maternal, scatterbrained American Pekin duck; Plimpton, a nervous osctrich (voiced by Kumail Nanjiani); Yoshi (voiced by John Cena), a polar bear who hates the cold, loves adventure, and often bickers with Plimpton; Betsy (voiced by Selena Gomez), a kind giraffe; Kevin (voiced by Crag Robinson), the injured squirrel that was accidentally shot by Tommy and who has a cheeky sense of humor; Tutu (voiced by Marion Cotillard), a fearless fox with leadership qualities; and Mini (voiced by Nick A. Fisher), a baby sugar glider that’s constantly curious.

Meanwhile, other talking animals include brainy dog Jip (voiced by Tom Holland), a long-haired Lurcher tasked with guarding the queen; Humphrey (voiced by Tim Treloar), a whale that helps navigate the Water Lily; James (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas), a nervous dragonfly; Barry (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), a Bengal tiger with mommy issues and a grudge against Dolittle; Don Carpenterino (voiced by David Sheinkopf), the leader of an ant colony; Army Ant (voiced by Matthew Wolfe), Don’s sidekick; and Dragon (voiced by Frances de la Tour), guardian of the Eden Tree.

As for other human characters, there’s also Pirate King Rassouli (played by Antonio Banderas), who lives on Monteverde Island, one of the stops along the way to Eden Tree Island. Banderas hams it up as yet another adversary to Dolittle and his crew. Large ensembles can work for well-written, live-action films geared to adults. But when it’s a mostly animated film geared to kids, the movie can come across as too cluttered for its own good.

“Dolittle” certainly has an impressive cast of acting talent. It’s too bad that so many of the characters are bland. Furthermore, Chee-Chee (the gorilla that’s a visual standout) is a missed opportunity, since the character was miscast for its voice. Malek sounds more like the minature “Frozen” snowman Olaf than a massive gorilla. The Chee-Chee character needed an actor with a deeper voice to better reflect the gorilla’s intimidating physical presence. Former wrestling champ Cena, who’s the voice of Yoshi the polar bear, would have been better in the role of Chee-Chee.

Although the characters in this movie are very underdeveloped, the compelling visual effects (overseen by visual effects supervisors Nicolas Aithadi and John Dykstra) are the most entertaining aspect of the film. Young children who are dazzled by visuals should enjoy “Dolittle” for the movie’s colorful ambiance, even if they won’t remember most of the movie’s animal characters weeks after seeing this film. (Don’t expect there to be a high demand for “Dolittle” toys.) More mature viewers might get easily bored with this movie, because it wallows in a lot of mediocrity that wastes this talented cast.

Simply put: “Dolittle” is not the kind of movie that people looking for high-quality entertainment will rush to see multiple times while it’s in theaters. We all know how this movie is going to end anyway.

Universal Pictures released “Dolittle” in U.S. cinemas on January 17, 2020.

 

 

 

2020 Golden Globe Awards: presenters announced

January 3, 2020

by Carla Hay

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organization the votes for the Golden Globe Awards) and Dick Clark Productions (which co-produces the Golden Globes telecast) have announced the presenters of the 2020 Golden Globe Awards ceremony, which takes place January 5 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills California. NBC will have the U.S. telecast of the show, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time/5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Here are the presenters in alphabetical order:

  • Tim Allen
  • Jennifer Aniston*
  • Christian Bale*
  • Antonio Banderas*
  • Jason Bateman
  • Annette Bening*
  • Cate Blanchett*
  • Matt Bomer
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Glenn Close
  • Daniel Craig*
  • Ted Danson
  • Ana de Armas*
  • Leonardo DiCaprio*
  • Ansel Elgort
  • Chris Evans
  • Dakota Fanning
  • Will Ferrell
  • Lauren Graham
  • Tiffany Haddish
  • Kit Harington*
  • Salma Hayek
  • Scarlett Johansson*
  • Elton John*
  • Nick Jonas
  • Harvey Keitel
  • Zoe Kravitz
  • Jennifer Lopez*
  • Rami Malek*
  • Kate McKinnon
  • Helen Mirren
  • Jason Momoa
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Amy Poehler
  • Brad Pitt*
  • Da’Vine Joy Randolph
  • Margot Robbie*
  • Paul Rudd*
  • Wesley Snipes
  • Octavia Spencer
  • Bernie Taupin*
  • Charlize Theron*
  • Sofia Vergara
  • Kerry Washington
  • Naomi Watts
  • Rachel Weisz
  • Reese Witherspoon*

*2020 Golden Globe Awards nominee

Ricky Gervais is hosting the show. Tom Hanks will be receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, while Ellen DeGeneres will be getting the Carol Burnett Award, which is given to people who have excelled in comedy. The Carol Burnett Award debuted at the Golden Globes in 2019, and Burnett was the first recipient of the prize. Dylan and Paris Brosnan (sons of Pierce Brosnan) will serve as the 2020 Golden Globe Ambassadors.

Click here for a complete list of nominations for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards.

2019 Hollywood Film Awards: recap and photos

November 3, 2019

Al Pacino (left), winner of the Hollywood Supporting Actor Award, and “The Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Dick Clark Productions:

The 23rd Annual “Hollywood Film Awards” brought together Hollywood’s elite to honor the year’s most talked about and highly anticipated actors, actresses and films, and those who helped bring them to life. The awards ceremony, celebrating its 23rd anniversary as the official launch of the awards season, was hosted by actor and comedian Rob Riggle, and took place at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. In its 23-year history, over 340 of the world’s biggest stars and filmmakers have been highlighted at the “Hollywood Film Awards” and more than 140 of the honorees have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and/or wins.

Rob Riggle  at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for HFA)

Host Rob Riggle infused the ceremony with heart and humor, proving to be a steadfast guide through the evening’s many memorable moments. There was no shortage of standing ovations for both presenters and honorees alike, who included some of the most iconic members of the Hollywood community. Al Pacino took time to acknowledge many of his fellow honorees and friends in the room as he accepted the “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award.”

Martin Scorsese at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for HFA)

After a presentation from her mentor Martin Scorsese, “Hollywood Producer Award” recipient Emma Tillinger Koskoff delivered an emotional speech, offering a tear-filled thank you to the legendary director and producer. “Hollywood Filmmaker Award” honoree Bong Joon Ho, spoke in his native tongue to deliver a universal message that “we use only one language of cinema.”

Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for HFA)

In a touching moment between “Hollywood Career Achievement Award” presenter Nicole Kidman and this year’s honoree Charlize Theron, Kidman remarked that “we don’t get to choose our heroes, but through this journey, I got to work with one of mine!”

Antonio Banderas and Dakota Johnson at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Dakota Johnson took the stage to present Antonio Banderas with the “Hollywood Actor Award,” and reflected upon her realization that Banderas has become one of the most influential people in her life. He accepted by dedicating the award to Dakota, and his daughter Stella, who was in the room to share the night with him.

Cynthia Erivo at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for HFA)

Viola Davis presented Cynthia Erivo with the “Hollywood Breakout Actress Award,” calling her “fearlessness personified” as she takes on the role of Harriet Tubman. Ray Romano brought the laughs as he showered praise upon “Hollywood Breakout Actor” honoree Taron Egerton, pointing out how unfair it is that Egerton is not only endlessly talented, but funny as well.

Robert Downey Jr. and Shia LaBeouf at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019 . (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for HFA)

Christian Bale and Matt Damon turned up to honor their “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold, while Robert Downey Jr. was on hand to laud “Honey Boy” actor and screenwriter Shia LeBeouf with the “Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter Award.”  Former co-stars Jennifer Garner and Olivia Wilde celebrated Wilde’s “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award,” each sharing humorous tales of their adventures together on set.

Olivia Wilde at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for HFA)

Kevin Feige and Victoria Alonso joined together to accept the “Hollywood Blockbuster Award,” thanking their amazing writers, directors, and awe-inspiring cast, including presenter Mark Ruffalo. Alicia Keys began her tribute to “Hollywood Song Award” honoree Pharrell Williams by recognizing all of the love in the room, before Williams delivered a powerful speech focusing on the unparalleled contributions made by “The Black Godfather” subject, Clarence Avant. He said that he has opened doors when others would glue them shut and has consistently demanded equality throughout his career.

Finn Wittrock, Renée Zellweger and Jessie Buckley at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

“Judy” co-stars Finn Wittrock and Jessie Buckley were on hand to recognize their leading lady Renée Zellweger with the “Hollywood Actress Award.” She said that the experience of playing Judy Garland was “one of those rare opportunities that essentially make no sense at all, but becomes your greatest accomplishment!”

Laura Dern and Willem Dafoe at the 23rd Annual Hollywood Film Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on November 3, 2019. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for HFA)

After an earnest tribute from Jon Hamm, “Hollywood Screenwriter Award” honoree Anthony McCarten joked about finding success when he strayed from his teacher’s advice to write what he knows. He advised others to write what they want to know, that curiosity is what drove him to this project. Willem Dafoe presented his friend and colleague Laura Dern with the “Hollywood Supporting Actress Award,” praising the inspiring way in which she connects to audiences through her compassion.

This year’s award show honored the following:

“Hollywood Career Achievement Award”
Charlize Theron, presented by Nicole Kidman

“Hollywood Actor Award”
Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, presented by Dakota Johnson

“Hollywood Actress Award”
Renée Zellweger for Judy, presented by Finn Wittrock & Jessie Buckley

“Hollywood Supporting Actor Award”
Al Pacino for The Irishman, presented by Francis Ford Coppola

“Hollywood Supporting Actress Award”
Laura Dern for Marriage Story, presented by Willem Dafoe

“Hollywood Producer Award”
Emma Tillinger Koskoff for The Irishman, presented by Martin Scorsese

“Hollywood Director Award”
James Mangold for Ford v Ferrari, presented by Christian Bale & Matt Damon

“Hollywood Filmmaker Award”
Bong Joon Ho for Parasite, presented by Sienna Miller

“Hollywood Screenwriter Award”
Anthony McCarten for The Two Popes, presented by Jon Hamm

“Hollywood Blockbuster Award”
Avengers: Endgame, presented by Mark Ruffalo

“Hollywood Song Award”
Pharrell Williams for Letter To My Godfather, presented by Alicia Keys

“Hollywood Breakout Actor Award”
Taron Egerton for Rocketman, presented by Ray Romano

“Hollywood Breakout Actress Award”
Cynthia Erivo for Harriet, presented by Viola Davis

“Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award”
Olivia Wilde for Booksmart, presented by Jennifer Garner

“Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter Award”
Shia LaBeouf for Honey Boy, presented by Robert Downey Jr.

“Hollywood Animation Award”
Toy Story 4

“Hollywood Cinematography Award”
Mihai Malaimare Jr. for Jojo Rabbit

“Hollywood Film Composer Award”
Randy Newman for Marriage Story

“Hollywood Editor Award”
Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland for Ford v Ferrari

“Hollywood Visual Effects Award”
Pablo Helman for The Irishman

“Hollywood Sound Award”
Donald Sylvester, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, & Steven A. Morrow for Ford v Ferrari

“Hollywood Costume Design Award”
Anna Mary Scott Robbins for Downton Abbey

“Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award”
Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou, Tapio Salmi, & Barrie Gower for Rocketman

“Hollywood Production Design Award”
Ra Vincent for Jojo Rabbit

Honoree Portraits are available on the show’s Twitter and Instagram pages. For all information and highlights, please visit the website for the Hollywood Film Awards.

For the latest news, follow the “Hollywood Film Awards” on social and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #HollywoodAwards.

Twitter: @HollywoodAwards
Facebook: Facebook.com/HollywoodAwards
Instagram: @hollywoodawards

About Dick Clark Productions
Dick Clark Productions (DCP) is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and the “Streamy Awards.” Weekly television programming includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment and DCP. DCP also owns one of the world’s most unique and extensive entertainment archive libraries with over 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances and legendary programming. DCP is a division of Valence Media, a diversified and integrated media company with divisions and strategic investments in television, film, live entertainment, digital media and publishing. For additional information, visit www.dickclark.com.

About the Hollywood Film Awards
The Hollywood Film Awards, founded in 1997, were created to celebrate Hollywood and launch the awards season. The recipients of the awards are selected by an Advisory Team for their body of work and/or a film(s) that is to be released during the calendar year. For additional information, visit www.hollywoodawards.com.

2019 Hollywood Film Awards: Antonio Banderas, Renee Zellweger, Al Pacino, Laura Dern among honorees

October 22, 2019

Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory” (Photo courtesy of El Deseo)

The following is a press release from Dick Clark Productions:

The Hollywood Film Awards announced today that highly-acclaimed artists Antonio Banderas, Renée Zellweger, Al Pacino and Laura Dern will be honored at the 23rd Annual “Hollywood Film Awards.”  Banderas will receive the “Hollywood Actor Award” for his poignant turn in Pedro Almodóvar’s 21st film, “Pain and Glory” and Zellweger will receive the “Hollywood Actress Award” for her powerful portrayal of the iconic Judy Garland in Rupert Goold’s “Judy.”  Pacino will receive the “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award” for his brilliant depiction of the infamous Jimmy Hoffa in Martin Scorsese’s mob masterpiece “The Irishman,” and Dern will receive the “Hollywood Supporting Actress Award” for her commanding performance as a hard-hitting divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.”  Actor and comedian Rob Riggle will host the ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2019 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

ABOUT THE HONOREES
Since his introduction to American cinema, Antonio Banderas is irrefutably one of the leading international actors of his generation.  He has received critical praise for his performances in film, television and theater, as well as behind the scenes as a feature film director. In 2005, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Recently Banderas won Best Actor at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for his compelling portrayal of Salvador Mallo in Pedro Almodóvar’s autobiographical drama “Pain & Glory.”  This is Antonio’s eighth film with Almodóvar in which he is receiving rave reviews from critics for his performance.

In 1982, Banderas was cast by writer/director Pedro Almodóvar in “Labyrinth of Passion.”  It was the first of eight films Banderas would do with Almodóvar, the others being “Matador,” “Law of Desire,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” and “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”. The international success of these films introduced to him to Hollywood.  Banderas can also be seen in “La Piel Que Habito” (“The Skin I Live In”) and “I’m So Excited,” also written and directed by Almodóvar.

Banderas has worked with some of Hollywood’s best directors and leading actors including Robert Rodriguez’s “Desperado” opposite Salma Hayek and the sequel “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” opposite Johnny Depp; “Original Sin” opposite Angelina Jolie; Alan Parker’s “Evita” opposite Madonna, in which he received his first Best Actor Golden Globe nomination; Martin Campbell’s “The Mask of Zorro” opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones, in which he received his second Best Actor Golden Globe nomination, and the sequel “The Legend of Zorro;” Neil Jordan’s “Interview with a Vampire” with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt; Jonathan Demme’s “Philadelphia” opposite Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington;  Bille August’s “House of the Spirits” with Meryl Streep and Glenn Close; and Brian de Palma’s “Femme Fatale.” He was nominated for his third Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance as the infamous Pancho Villa in HBO’s 2003 release of “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself.”

Banderas can also be seen in National Geographic’s limited series “Genius: Picasso” for which he’s received a Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice and SAG Award nominations for lead actor in a limited series. His upcoming projects include Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat” starring opposite Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman, and “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle” alongside Robert Downey Jr., Emma Thompson and Rami Malek.

This October, Banderas will co-direct and co-star in the Spanish language version of the classic musical “A CHORUS LINE” at his new theater Teatro del Soho Caixabank in Malaga.

Renée Zellweger is one of the most cherished and respected actors in modern cinema. Zellweger can currently be seen starring as the legendary Judy Garland in “Judy” for Pathé Films / Roadside Attractions. She is most notably known for her starring role as the seminal British everywoman in the film “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and its sequel “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” both opposite Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. In the first installment of the franchise, she earned her first Oscar® nomination, also earning Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA nominations, among others. The sequel delivered her another Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.

She earned her second Academy Award nomination as convicted killer Roxie Hart in “Chicago,” the Oscar-winning film version of the Tony-winning musical.  Acting, singing and dancing alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, who portrayed fellow death row inmate Velma Kelly, Zellweger took home a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and others including a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. She later earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain,” the Civil War drama in which she jumped off the screen as feisty farm worker Ruby Thewes. For her work in “Cold Mountain,” Zellweger also garnered a Golden Globe Award and best supporting role honors from the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Zellweger most recently made her television debut in Netflix’s “What/If.” Her recent films include “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” alongside Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey for Universal Pictures, the film adaptation of the book “Same Kind of Different as Me,” opposite Greg Kinnear and Djimon Hounsou, and “The Whole Truth,” opposite Keanu Reeves.

After graduating with an English degree from the University of Texas, Zellweger did some initial film and television work before making her feature debut in Richard Linklater’s seminal coming-of-age film “Dazed and Confused.”  Other film roles quickly followed, including Ben Stiller’s “Reality Bites,” “Love and a .45,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” and “My Boyfriend’s Back.”  Zellweger soon after won the affection of audiences with her breakthrough role opposite Tom Cruise in Cameron Crowe’s “Jerry Maguire.” Subsequent film roles for Zellweger have included the acclaimed “One True Thing” with William Hurt and Meryl Streep, the dark comedy “Nurse Betty” opposite Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman, “Me, Myself & Irene” opposite Jim Carrey, the drama “White Oleander” with Robin Wright and Michelle Pfeiffer, Peyton Reed’s romantic comedy “Down with Love” opposite Ewan McGregor, and director Ron Howard’s Depression-era boxing drama “Cinderella Man” with Russell Crowe. She has also lent her voice to such animated features as DreamWorks’ “Shark Tale,” “Bee Movie “and “Monsters vs. Aliens.”

Al Pacino is an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy winner and one of the most revered actors of our time. In 1972, Francis Ford Coppola selected him to take on the breakthrough role of Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Within the next six years he received another four Academy Award nominations for the films “Serpico,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “…And Justice For All.” Over a rich film career, he has followed with over 45 titles including “Scarface,” “Sea of Love,” “The Insider,” “Donnie Brasco,” “Heat” and “Any Given Sunday.” He garnered additional Academy Award nominations for his performances in “Dick Tracy” and “Glengarry Glen Ross”. In 1992 he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in “Scent of a Woman.”

This November, Pacino will portray true-life teamster Jimmy Hoffa in Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” starring alongside Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. The film premiered at the New York film Festival to high critical acclaim and will release theatrically on November 1st. “The Irishman” is an adaptation of the 2004 memoir “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt and follows organized crime in postwar American, as told by the infamous hitman Frank Sheeran (De Niro).
Pacino has been awarded the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in Motion Pictures, the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award and in 2011 he was received the National Merit of Arts from President Obama. He received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2016.

Laura Dern has touched many audiences and critics alike with her moving and heartfelt performances. In addition to her two Oscar® nominations for “Rambling Rose” and “Wild,” Dern has garnered four Golden Globe Award®- wins, with seven nominations in total, as well as a Primetime Emmy Award®-win and seven nominations in total. In 2019, Dern once again portrayed Renata Klein in the second season of HBO’s “Big Little Lies;” she was also seen in Justin Kelly’s “JT Leroy” and Ed Zwick’s “Trial by Fire.” Later this year, Dern will next be seen in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” for Netflix, in theaters November 6th and streaming on December 6th, as well as “Little Women,” which was written for the screen and directed by Greta Gerwig and will be released by Sony Pictures on December 25th.

In addition to her extensive film and television credits, Dern has been prolific in her producing career. In 2017 she established Jaywalker Pictures, a Los Angeles-based production company founded with partner Jayme Lemons with emphasis on great storytelling in film and television.

In 2016, Dern was selected to serve on The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors.

Banderas, Zellweger, Pacino and Dern join previously announced honorees: Shia LaBeouf will receive the “Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter Award,” Taron Egerton will receive the “Hollywood Breakout Actor Award,” Cynthia Erivo will receive the “Hollywood Breakout Actress Award,” Olivia Wilde will receive the “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award,” “Avengers: Endgame” will receive the “Hollywood Blockbuster Award,” Pharrell Williams will receive the “Hollywood Song Award,” Bong Joon Ho will receive the “Hollywood Filmmaker Award,” Emma Tillinger Koskoff will receive the “Hollywood Producer Award,” James Mangold will receive the “Hollywood Director Award,” Anthony McCarten will receive the “Hollywood Screenwriter Award,” “Toy Story 4” will receive the “Hollywood Animation Award,” Mihai Malaimare Jr. will receive the “Hollywood Cinematography Award” for “Jojo Rabbit,” Randy Newman will receive the “Hollywood Film Composer Award” for “Marriage Story,” Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland will receive the “Hollywood Editor Award” for “Ford v Ferrari,” Pablo Helman will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” for “The Irishman,” Donald Sylvester, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, & Steven A. Morrow will receive the “Hollywood Sound Award” for “Ford v Ferrari,” Anna Mary Scott Robbins will receive the “Hollywood Costume Design Award” for “Downton Abbey,” Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou, Tapio Salmi, & Barrie Gower will receive the “Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award” for “Rocketman” and Ra Vincent will receive the “Hollywood Production Design Award” for “Jojo Rabbit.”

Additional honorees for this year’s event will be announced in the coming weeks.

For the latest news, follow the “Hollywood Film Awards” on social and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #HollywoodAwards.

For the latest news, follow the “Hollywood Film Awards” on social and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #HollywoodAwards.

Twitter: @HollywoodAwards
Facebook: Facebook.com/HollywoodAwards
Instagram: @hollywoodawards

October 29, 2019 UPDATE:

Charlize Theron

The Hollywood Film Awards announced today that Oscar-winning actress, producer, and activist Charlize Theron will receive the coveted “Hollywood Career Achievement Award” at the 23rd Annual “Hollywood Film Awards.” Considered a true artist, Theron has been known throughout her career to fully transform into the characters she portrays, impressing critics and audiences alike with her ability to honestly and authentically convey their stories with heart and integrity. She carries this same passion with her behind the camera and beyond, using her voice to speak for others, especially those in need in her home country of South Africa. As busy as ever, this year Theron returns to the screen for her starring role in the highly anticipated film “Bombshell” alongside Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, where she plays real life journalist Megyn Kelly. The “Hollywood Film Awards,” hosted by actor and comedian Rob Riggle, will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2019 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

About the Honoree
South African born and Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron is one of the most celebrated actresses of our time, captivating audiences with her ability to embody a range of characters. Over the years, Charlize has appeared in numerous films including “The Devil’s Advocate,” “The Cider House Rules,” the critically acclaimed “Monster” for which she earned an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, “North Country,” for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Critics Choice Award, “Hancock,” “Young Adult,” for which she garnered a Golden Globe nomination, HBO’s “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” for which she received a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Emmy nominations, “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Dark Places,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “The Fate of The Furious.”

In 2017, Theron produced (under her production company Denver and Delilah’s banner) and starred in the Universal film “Atomic Blonde,” alongside James McAvoy. Denver and Delilah also produced “Mindhunter,” the hit Netflix crime drama that same year. The show has since been renewed for a second season. Theron also produced Netflix’s “Hyperdrive,” which launched this August.

In 2018, Theron produced and starred in Amazon’s “Gringo” alongside Joel Edgerton and Amanda Seyfried. Theron reunited with Diablo Cody on the comedy “Tully” as both an actor and producer. She received a 2019 Golden Globe nomination for her work in the title role. In 2018, she also produced “A Private War,” a film based on the Vanity Fair article “Marie Colvin’s Private War.”

Theron most recently starred opposite Seth Rogen and produced the Lionsgate comedy “Long Shot,” which hit theaters early this May. Theron also voiced Morticia Addams in the animated revival of “The Addams Family,” which hit theaters this October. In December of this year, she will portray Megyn Kelly in Lionsgate’s “Bombshell,” which her production company is producing. Theron has recently wrapped filming on both “Fast & Furious 9” and “The Old Guard,” based on the comic book series by Greg Rucka and illustrator Leandro Fernández, which her production company is also producing.

In addition to Theron’s acting success and principal involvement with her production company Denver & Delilah, Charlize serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace and founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP). CTAOP’s mission is to help keep African youth safe from HIV through its support of on the ground, community-engaged organizations. CTAOP serves as a vehicle for communities to empower themselves and their youth in order to prevent the spread of HIV. Learn more about CTAOP at www.charlizeafricaoutreach.org.

Theron joins previously announced honorees: Antonio Banderas will receive the “Hollywood Actor Award,” Renée Zellweger will receive the “Hollywood Actress Award,” Al Pacino will receive the “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award,” Laura Dern will receive the “Hollywood Supporting Actress Award,” Shia LaBeouf will receive the “Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter Award,” Taron Egerton will receive the “Hollywood Breakout Actor Award,” Cynthia Erivo will receive the “Hollywood Breakout Actress Award,” Olivia Wilde will receive the “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award,” “Avengers: Endgame” will receive the “Hollywood Blockbuster Award,” Pharrell Williams will receive the “Hollywood Song Award,” Bong Joon Ho will receive the “Hollywood Filmmaker Award,” Emma Tillinger Koskoff will receive the “Hollywood Producer Award,” James Mangold will receive the “Hollywood Director Award,” Anthony McCarten will receive the “Hollywood Screenwriter Award,” “Toy Story 4” will receive the “Hollywood Animation Award,” Mihai Malaimare Jr. will receive the “Hollywood Cinematography Award” for “Jojo Rabbit,” Randy Newman will receive the “Hollywood Film Composer Award” for “Marriage Story,” Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland will receive the “Hollywood Editor Award” for “Ford v Ferrari,” Pablo Helman will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” for “The Irishman,” Donald Sylvester, Paul Massey, David Giammarco, & Steven A. Morrow will receive the “Hollywood Sound Award” for “Ford v Ferrari,” Anna Mary Scott Robbins will receive the “Hollywood Costume Design Award” for “Downton Abbey,” Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou, Tapio Salmi, & Barrie Gower will receive the “Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award” for “Rocketman” and Ra Vincent will receive the “Hollywood Production Design Award” for “Jojo Rabbit.”

For the latest news, follow the “Hollywood Film Awards” on social and join the conversation by using the official hashtag for the show, #HollywoodAwards.

Twitter: @HollywoodAwards
Facebook: Facebook.com/HollywoodAwards
Instagram: @hollywoodawards

About Dick Clark Productions
Dick Clark Productions (DCP) is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and the “Streamy Awards.” Weekly television programming includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment and DCP. DCP also owns one of the world’s most unique and extensive entertainment archive libraries with over 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances and legendary programming. DCP is a division of Valence Media, a diversified and integrated media company with divisions and strategic investments in television, film, live entertainment, digital media and publishing. For additional information, visit www.dickclark.com.

About the Hollywood Film Awards
The Hollywood Film Awards, founded in 1997, were created to celebrate Hollywood and launch the awards season. The recipients of the awards are selected by an Advisory Team for their body of work and/or a film(s) that is to be released during the calendar year. For additional information, visit www.hollywoodawards.com.

2019 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘In Conversation With’ celebrities announced

August 20, 2019

TIFF logo

The following is a press release from the Toronto International Film Festival:

The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival​​ unveiled its In Conversation With… slate.  Honoring five remarkable, multi-talented industry heavyweights, this year’s lineup stands out for the richness  and diversity of the experiences that these accomplished artists will share with Festival goers. TIFF audiences  will have the opportunity to hear about the fascinating careers — both in front of and behind the camera — of  Michael B. Jordan & Jamie Foxx, Antonio Banderas, Allison Janney, and Kerry Washington during intimate  onstage conversations at TIFF Bell Lightbox.    “Through our In Conversation With… series, TIFF is proud to give fans and film lovers an opportunity to connect  with and learn from the most talented artists working in film and television today,” said Christoph Straub, Lead  Programmer, In Conversation With… and Senior Manager, Adult Learning, TIFF. “This year’s lineup includes  award-winning creators who have helped shape the discourse in the entertainment industry, moving it forward  and charting new territory on the big and small screens. We are incredibly honoured to have these leaders join  us for a series of empowering and exciting conversations.”    This year’s series will also be more accessible to all audiences, as open-captioning will be offered onscreen in  real time.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.    The In Conversation With… programme includes:

In Conversation With… Michael B. Jordan & Jamie Foxx 

Michael B. Jordan Jamie Foxx (Photo by Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

Hollywood megastars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx are both at the top of their game. They first gained  fame for roles on television: Foxx with ​”In Living Color”​ in 1991 and later ​”The Jamie Foxx Show​,” and Jordan with  his heartbreaking turn as Wallace in HBO’s ​”The Wire​.” In 2013, Jordan made his major feature-film breakthrough  in Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed ​”Fruitvale Station​.” He has collaborated with Coogler on two more game-changers:  “Creed​,” their acclaimed expansion of the ​Rocky​ saga; and the mega-hit ​”Black Panther​.” In 2016 Jordan founded  his production company, Outlier Society, in order to focus on more eclectic and diverse stories and voices.  Outlier Society recently co-produced HBO Films’ Emmy-nominated adaptation of ​”Fahrenheit 451​,” which netted Jordan a Producers Guild Award. Foxx is renowned for powerful lead performances in ​”Ray​,” for which he won an  Academy Award, Michael Mann’s neo-noir ​”Collateral​,” and Quentin Tarantino’s “​Django Unchained​.” TIFF proudly  presents this conversation with two iconic artists and producers about their creative process, their desire to tell  inclusive stories, and ​”Just Mercy​,​” their highly anticipated new film premiering at the Festival.

In Conversation With… Antonio Banderas 

Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory” (Photo courtesy of El Deseo)

Antonio Banderas is a superstar of international and Hollywood cinema. An alumnus of the famed Cervantes  Theatre in Málaga, Spain, Banderas burst onto the film scene with performances in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Labyrinth of Passion”​ and ​”Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown​,” paving his way to a series of acclaimed  roles in Hollywood films directed by the likes of Jonathan Demme (​”Philadelphia”​), Neil Jordan (“​Interview with the  Vampire”​), and Robert Rodriguez (​”Desperado”​). Deftly moving between blockbuster (“The Mask of Zorro”​; the ​”Shrek” franchise) and independent films (Julie Taymor’s ​”Frida”​), and with his recent portrayal of Picasso in the National Geographic miniseries “​Genius​,” Banderas has cemented his iconic status as one of the most versatile  performers in film and television. TIFF is proud to welcome this award-winning actor, producer, director, and  humanitarian for an inspiring conversation about his career in front of and behind the camera, his numerous  philanthropic efforts, as well as his highly anticipated films at this year’s Festival: Almodóvar’s ​”Pain and Glory​,” for which he won Best Actor at Cannes, and Steven Soderbergh’s ​”The Laundromat​.”

In Conversation With… Allison Janney 

Allison Janney (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC)

Allison Janney swept the 2018 Awards season with an Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Critic’s  Choice Award and SAG Award for her acclaimed portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden in “​I, Tonya​.” Janney will next be seen opposite Hugh Jackman in director Cory Finley’s upcoming film, ​”Bad Education​,” written by Mike Makowsky about the true, twist-filled conspiracy that occurred during his middle  school years in Long Island in the early 2000’s. The film will have its world premiere at this year’s Toronto  International Film Festival. Additionally, Janney stars alongside Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron in Lionsgate’s “Bombshell” film directed by Jay Roach and written by Charles Randolph about the fall of  Roger Ailes at Fox News.  Janney lent her voice to MGM’s animated feature film ​The Addams Family​ with  Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac.  She recently wrapped production for Tate Taylor’s ​”Breaking News in Yuba  County,”​ opposite Mila Kunis, Awkwafina, and Regina Hall. She has previously starred in ​”The Help,”​ based on the  best-selling novel of the same name, where the cast won ensemble awards from the Hollywood Film Awards,  SAG, National Board of Review and Broadcast Film Critics and the film was nominated for an Academy Award  for Best Picture.  She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards in Todd  Solondz’s film, ​”Life During Wartime​.” Janney also delivered outstanding performances in the Oscar nominated  “Juno​,” the movie version of the Tony Award winning play ​”Hairspray​,” “Girl on The Train,​” Tim Burton’s ​”Miss  Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children​,””The Hours​”and ​”American Beauty​.” On television, Janney has won seven  Emmy Awards for her work on CBS’ “​Mom​,” Showtime’s groundbreaking drama ​”Masters of Sex​,” and for her  indelible portrayal of CJ Cregg in Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed series ​”The West Wing​.”

In Conversation With… Kerry Washington 

Kerry Washington (Photo courtesy of BFA)

Award-winning actor, producer, director, and activist Kerry Washington is always charting new territory. Following a number of guest-starring roles in network television and a breakout role in ​”Save the Last Dance​,”  Washington starred opposite Jamie Foxx in ​”Ray”​ (2004), and quickly added a string of notable roles in such  acclaimed features as ​”The Last King of Scotland​,”​”Miracle of St. Anna​,” and 2012’s ​”Django Unchained​.” That same  year, she landed the lead role of Olivia Pope in Shonda Rhimes’ series ​”Scandal​,” on which Washington also went  on to work as a producer and director. When ​”Scandal”​ premiered, Washington became the first Black woman in  nearly four decades to headline a network television drama. A fearless and outspoken advocate for civil rights and liberties, she served on President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and is leading by  example, producing diverse and inclusive content for various platforms through her production company Simpson Street. In this in-depth conversation, Washington will speak about her remarkable career, the Festival  premiere of “​American​ ​Son”​ — in which she reprises her lauded role from the Broadway production — and her  highly anticipated adaptation of Celeste Ng’s ​”Little Fires Everywhere​.”

For synopses, images, and more information, see ​tiff.net/icw

Festival tickets go on sale September 2 at 10am (TIFF Member pre-sale August 31, 10am–4pm). Buy tickets  online at tiff.net, by phone at 416.599.2033 or 1.888.258.8433, or in person at a box office. See box office  locations and hours at ​tiff.net/tickets​.

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Social Media:   @TIFF_NET   #TIFF19  Facebook.com/TIFF

About TIFF 

TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world  through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film  Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and  entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates  an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors  including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the  Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more  information, visit tiff.net.    TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major  Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.