Culture Representation: Taking place in primarily in Bali and briefly in the United States, the comedy film “Ticket to Paradise” features a cast of white and Asian characters representing the working-class and middle-class.
Culture Clash: A bickering, divorced American couple will go to great lengths to sabotage the wedding of their young adult daughter, who has decided to abandon plans for a law career in the U.S., so that she can marry a seaweed farmer in Bali, after a whirlwind courtship.
Culture Audience: “Ticket to Paradise” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, because their chemistry on screen and skillful comedic performances are the best things about the movie.
“Ticket to Paradise” is every bit the predictable romantic comedy that it appears to be, but the on-screen chemistry and talent of stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts bring a lot of charm and appeal. The movie’s snappy banter enlivens the story. Having a skilled ensemble goes a long way in making “Ticket to Paradise” entertaining for viewers looking for a comedy that’s mostly lightweight but offers some emotional gravitas in addressing issues about family and forgiveness.
Directed by Ol Parker (who co-wrote the “The Ticket to Paradise” screenplay with Daniel Pipski), “Ticket to Paradise” gets straight to the bickering between ex-spouses David Cotton (played by Clooney) and Georgia Cotton (played by Roberts), who have been divorced for about 20 years. The movie’s opening scene shows David and Georgia explaining their bitter marital breakup, as they board separately on a plane flight to go to their daughter’s graduation from law school at an unnamed university in the United States.
David and Georgia got married 25 years ago, and their marriage lasted only five years. Their only child is a daughter named Lily (played by Kaitlyn Dever), who is now in her mid-20s. Because Lily’s parents divorced when she was too young to ever remember when her parents were happy together, all she has known is that her parents can’t stand to be in the same room together. Therefore, this family reunion is filled with tension, especially when David and Georgia are forced to sit together at events such as this graduation ceremony.
Of course, people who’ve seen enough romantic comedies already know that David and Georgia’s arguments and insults are indications that they have a love/hate relationship with a lot of unresolved issues. Those issues are eventually revealed in the movie in moments when David and Georgia show some emotional vulnerability. But in the meantime, they act like jealous and competing ex-spouses for most of the story.
After graduating from law school, Lily and her best friend Wren Butler (played by Billie Lourd), who was in the same law school graduating class, take a vacation together in Bali. (“Ticket to Paradise” was actually filmed in Australia.) Wren is a party-loving bachelorette who is loyal to Lily and has very wry observations about life. While swimming in the ocean one day, Lily and Wren find out that they swam too far away from the shore and are stranded.
But lo and behold, a handsome young man suddenly appears in a boat and comes to their rescue. He is a seaweed farmer named Gede, pronounced “ga-day” (played by Maxime Bouttier), and he’s about the same age as Lily and Wren. Gede and Lily lock eyes immediately in the way that future couples do in movies where two people are experiencing infatuation at first sight. Lily, Gede and Wren then hang out at a local bar. And the next you know, Lily has spent the night at Gede’s place.
During this fateful vacation, Gede shows Lily what he does for a living. The simplicity of his lifestyle, the beauty of Bali, and Gede being in tune with nature all have a profound impact on Lily. Lily says to Gede, “I am so out of balance.” He gazes at her lovingly and replies, “I’ll help you find it.” Yes, it’s that kind of movie.
“Ticket to Paradise” then fast-forwards to an unspecified time, which appears to be just a few months later. David and Georgia are shocked to find out that Lily is getting married in Bali to a seaweed farmer whom Georgia and David never met. Lily has also announced that she’s given up her plans to become a lawyer and will live permanently in Bali with her future husband. The wedding date has already been set.
David and Georgia might not agree on many things, but they do agree that Lily is making a huge mistake by getting married to someone she’s known for a short time and by giving up a law career. Georgia and David decide to sabotage the wedding. And somehow, David and Georgia think they might be able to convince Lily to stay in the United States and not to give up her law career too.
But on the plane flight to Bali, more discord happens when David and Georgia are dismayed to find out they have seats next to each other. It’s a problem that is temporarily resolved when a chatty and lonely passenger named Beth-Ann (played by Genevieve Lemon) offers to switch her seat so that she can sit between David and Georgia. And what a coincidence: The flight’s pilot captain just happens to be Georgia’s good-looking and very attentive French boyfriend Paul (played by Lucas Bravo), who’s about 20 years younger than she is.
The hijinks that happen in the movie are pure rom-com fluff that rely on a lot of convenient coincidences that force Georgia and David to spend as much time together as possible. Gede’s large family is very welcoming to Lily and her family, but “Ticket to Paradise” doesn’t give much realistic insight into the dynamics between Gede’s family members, who are all presented as happy people who all get along with each other. Gede’s father Wayan (played by Agung Pindha) is a bit of a jolly prankster, while Gede’s mother Suli (played by Ifa Barry) and sister Losi (played by Cintya Dharmayanti) are very pleasantly generic characters.
Even though Gede and Lily’s wedding is the main event in “Ticket to Paradise,” and the movie shows some aspects of Balinese culture, the story really isn’t about Lily, Gede or life in Bali. It’s about the antics of David and Georgia, who both can sometimes be selfish and cruel when it comes to getting what they want. Georgia and David have some zinger insults that they verbally hurl at each other and sometimes at other people, as well as some slapstick moments that will make people chuckle out loud when David and/or Georgia make fools out of themselves.
Even though some of the movie’s plot developments are a bit gimmicky, one of the most naturalistic-looking and best scenes is when David and Georgia get drunk while playing beer pong with Gede, Lily and Wren. Lily is embarrassed by her parents, of course, but it’s a scene where you can tell that the cast members genuinely had a fun time filming it. The mega-watt smiles and laughter of Roberts and Clooney have a joy that’s very infectious when watching this scene. It’s an example of how good choices in casting can make all the difference in getting a scene to shine in all the right ways.
Dever and Lourd also have believable chemistry together as best friends, even though the movie doesn’t give Wren much to do but react to a lot of zaniness that happens with Lily and her parents. Bouttier is perfectly fine as Gede, who has a few good scenes in showing that he’s smarter than David thinks he is. Bravo has a few well-performed comedic moments as Georgia’s devoted lover Paul. Predictably, David is jealous of Paul, but David tries not to let it show. Meanwhile, Georgia is jealous of David because she thinks that “daddy’s girl” Lily loves David more than Lily loves Georgia.
“Ticket to Paradise” has a breezy tone to it that never lets viewers forget that even with some emotional family baggage that’s brought up in the story, this movie is a romantic comedy, through and through. The movie’s ending will either make people roll their eyes in disbelief or smile with delight. And, if nothing else, even if some viewers don’t like the story presented in “Ticket to Paradise,” they can at least appreciate the gorgeous cinematography of the tropical settings showcased in the movie, which lives up to the “paradise” part of the title.
Clooney has played lovable grouches many times before, while Roberts is doing another version of the sassy cynicism that she’s done for many of her movie characters. But that’s what audiences want to see in this movie, and “Ticket to Paradise” delivers in that regard. Whether people like or dislike this type of romantic comedy, it’s hard to deny that Clooney and Roberts tap into some realistic mixed emotions about ex-spouses who mishandle their unresolved feelings, resulting in some cringeworthy moments intended to make people laugh.
Universal Pictures will release “Ticket to Paradise” in U.S. cinemas on October 21, 2022. The movie was released in Australia and several countries in Europe, Asia and South America in September 2022.
Culture Representation: Taking place in Bethesda, Maryland, the musical film “Dear Evan Hansen” features a cast of predominantly white characters (with some African Americans and Asians) representing the middle-class.
Culture Clash: Due to a misunderstanding over a typed letter, a lonely teenager in his last year of high school pretends that he was the secret best friend of a fellow student who committed suicide.
Culture Audience: “Dear Evan Hansen” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the Tony-winning musical on which this movie is based, but the movie fails to capture the spirit of the stage version.
On paper, the movie musical “Dear Evan Hansen” seems like it would be guaranteed to have the same appeal as the Tony-winning musical on which it’s based. However, the movie’s talented cast can’t redeem this misguided mush that clumsily handles serious issues such as mental illness and suicide. Sometimes, it isn’t enough to have members of a Broadway musical’s Tony-winning team reprise the same roles for the movie. The “Dear Evan Hansen” movie had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival.
Several of the principal team members who won Tony Awards for the “Dear Evan Hansen” stage musical came on board for the movie version of “Dear Evan Hansen.” Ben Platt returns in his starring role as Evan Hansen. Steven Levenson wrote the musical’s book and the movie’s screenplay. Marc Platt (Ben Platt’s father) is a producer. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote the musical score and songs. The movie version has most of the same songs from the stage musical, except for the original songs “A Little Closer” and “The Anonymous Ones,” which were both written for the movie.
Stephen Chbosky, who earned rave reviews for writing and directing his 2012 movie adaptation of his novel “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” misses the mark in directing “Dear Evan Hansen,” another story about a teenage boy who’s struggling with mental illness. (Chobsky was not involved in the “Dear Evan Hansen” stage musical, whose original Broadway production was directed by Michael Greif.) In “Dear Evan Hansen,” Evan Hansen is a socially awkward loner, who is in therapy for anxiety and depression. In the “Dear Evan Hansen” movie, these issues are treated like “disease of the week” plot points. The movie also callously fails, until the last few scenes, to have much regard for the inner life of the person who committed suicide in the story, because the movie is all about Evan Hansen’s angst over keeping secrets about lies that Evan Hansen created.
Unfortunately, the movie missed some opportunities to have more exploration and sensitivity about what led to the suicide that becomes the catalyst for the entire story. Instead, the emphasis is on trying to make viewers feel sorry for a teenager who lies to people about being the suicide victim’s best friend. The movie doesn’t make him an anti-hero but someone who should be admired for coping with his mental health issues while under the stress of concocting elaborate lies.
In the beginning of “Dear Evan Hansen” (which takes place in Bethesda, Maryland), Evan is shown doing a therapy exercise required by his psychiatrist Dr. Sherman: writing a diary-like letter to himself. It’s an assignment that Evan has to do on a regular basis in order to ease some of his anxiety and hopefully boost his confidence. Dr. Sherman is never seen or heard in the movie, which is one of the reasons why parts of this movie look very phony and off-kilter. The self-addressed letter writing becomes the reason why Evan becomes entangled in a misunderstanding and a complicated deception that end up getting out of control.
Evan, who is in his last year at the fictional Westview High School, is the only child of divorcée Heidi Hansen (played by Julianne Moore), a nurse who works the night shift at a local hospital. Evan’s father abandoned Evan and Heidi when Evan was very young and has not been in their lives since then. More recently, Evan has been recovering from a broken left arm, which is in a cast, because he fell out of a tree.
The early scenes of Evan at high school embody a lot stereotypes of teenagers who are social pariahs. He’s ignored in the hallways and in classrooms. No one wants to have lunch with him in the cafeteria. Evan is afraid to talk to people, and when he does, he often stutters and stammers. And people usually don’t talk to him either, because he keeps mostly to himself.
There’s no indication of what type of academic student Evan is because the movie mostly cares about the web of lies that Evan ends up spinning. At home, Evan’s mother Heidi constantly reminds him to write the self-affirming letters, because she doesn’t want him to “go back to how it was last year,” which implies that Evan had some kind of breakdown back then.
As is typical for a story about a male nerd in high school, he has a crush on a girl whom he thinks is out of his league, and he’s too shy to even talk to her. Evan’s crush is Zoe Murphy (played by Kaitlyn Dever), who is two years younger than he is. Zoe, who is artistic and introverted, plays guitar in the school’s marching band.
Evan’s only “friend” at school is someone who often acts embarrassed to be around Evan. His name is Jared Kalvani (played by Nik Dodani), who makes a lot of cruel remarks to Evan, but Jared think he’s being witty and funny when he says these awful things to Evan. For example, Jared tells Evan that they are “not real friends,” because Jared feels obligated to hang out with Evan only because their mothers are friends. Jared also calls Evan a “total disaster” when it comes to dating. Jared tells Evan that he won’t sign Evan’s arm cast because Jared doesn’t want people to think that he and Evan are friends.
It’s the beginning of the school year, and Jared (who is openly gay) brags to Evan that he spent his summer vacation at a camp where he gained muscle weight and hooked up with a Brazilian hunk who’s a model. Jared is a motormouth who seems like the type to exaggerate things about himself in order to boost his own ego. Viewers will get the impression that Jared hangs out with Evan so Jared can feel socially superior to Evan.
One day in the school hallway, Evan has a run-in with a school bully named Connor Murphy (played by Colton Ryan), who is in Evan’s graduating class. Connor also happens to be Zoe’s older brother. Connor sees Evan looking at Connor while Evan gives a small nervous laugh. Connor’s temper explodes and he yells at Evan for laughing at him.
Zoe is among the people who saw this outburst, so shortly afterward, she approaches Evan and says she’s sorry for the way that Connor was so rude to Evan. Zoe introduces herself, but bashful Evan is tongue-tied and almost having a panic attack. Evan stammers something that Zoe can’t understand and then he runs away from her.
One day, Evan is in the school library, where he has printed out another letter to himself. The letter reads: “Dear Evan Hansen: Turns out this wasn’t an amazing day after all. This isn’t going to be an amazing year because why would it be? Oh, I know, because there’s Zoe, who I don’t even know and who doesn’t know me, but maybe if I talk to her, maybe things will be better. Or maybe nothing will be different at all. I wish everything was different. Would anyone notice if I just disappeared tomorrow? Sincerely, your best and dearest friend. Me.”
Just as he is about to leave the library, Evan runs into Connor again. To Evan’s surprise, Connor is even-tempered and asks to signs Evan’s arm cast. After Connor signs it, he smirks and says, “Now we can pretend to be friends.” However, Connor sees the letter that Evan wrote to himself, Connor reads it, and he has another angry tantrum. Connor is upset about Evan’s letter, which Connor calls a “creepy letter” about Zoe. Connor is so incensed that he takes the letter from Evan.
A few days later, Evan finds out about something tragic that happened the night before: Connor committed suicide. Word quickly spreads throughout the school. Evan is called into the school principal’s office because two people want to talk to Evan: Connor’s mother Cynthia Murphy (played by Amy Adams) and Connor’s stepfather Larry Mora (played by Danny Pino), who helped raise Zoe since she was a 1-year-old and since Connor was 3.
Cynthia and Larry found Evan’s letter among Connor’s possessions and assumed that Connor wrote the letter. Larry and Cynthia are surprised by the letter because they didn’t think Connor had any friends. At first, Evan tries to tell these grieving parents that he didn’t know Connor and he wrote the letter to himself. But when Cynthia and Larry see Connor’s signature on Evan’s arm cast, Cynthia is convinced that Connor and Evan must’ve had a secret friendship.
Cynthia in particular seems desperate to want answers about Connor’s suicide. She’s trying to find anyone who was close to Connor to help her understand things that she didn’t know about Connor. It’s at this point in the story that you have to wonder why Cynthia would think that Connor would write a letter saying that he doesn’t know his own sister Zoe, but the movie wants viewers to think that Cynthia is so overcome with grief that she isn’t thinking logically.
The more Evan tries to explain that he was never Connor’s friend, the more upset Cynthia gets. She thinks that Connor had secret email addresses and fake social media accounts to hide his “friendship” with Evan. Cynthia also asks a lot of leading questions that make it easy for Evan to give answers that she wants to hear. And so, with Evan’s anxiety starting to kick in as he faces these parents who want answers, he makes up a huge lie in this meeting, by saying that he and Connor were secret best friends. (It’s not spoiler information, because it’s in the movie’s trailers.)
The rest of the movie shows how Evan’s lies get more elaborate and how he desperately tries to cover up these lies. First, he tells Jared his secret and convinces computer whiz Jared to create fake email messages to and from Connor, so that Evan can forward these messages to the Murphy family. It makes Jared a willing accomplice to this deceit, but the movie badly handles the consequences that Jared would realistically have to face if the secret is revealed.
Cynthia and Larry want to know more about Connor from Evan. And so, it isn’t long before Evan is invited over to the Murphy home for dinner. During this dinner, Evan finds out that Zoe despised Connor, whom she calls a “bad person.” She has nothing good to say about her dead brother, and it naturally upsets Larry and Cynthia every time they hear Zoe insult Connor.
Later, in a private conversation between Zoe and Evan, she expresses some skepticism that Evan was ever really Connor’s friend. Although she and Connor weren’t close, Zoe finds it hard to believe that Evan and Connor were friends because she never saw them hanging out together. The only time that she saw Evan and Connor interacting with each other was when Connor yelled at Evan in the school hallway. Despite these major doubts, Evan is able to convince Zoe that he and Connor just had a minor argument in that school hallway and that they were really friends.
“Dear Evan Hansen” ignores the larger questions of what kind of emotional support Connor was or was not getting at home. It’s revealed that he was shipped off to rehab on multiple occasions for his substance abuse problems. And it’s obvious that Cynthia doesn’t want to talk about Connor’s worst flaws, so her denial about his problems might have made things worse.
However, viewers are only left to guess what went on inside Connor’s home and what was inside his head to make him commit suicide. To put it bluntly: Evan’s mental health problems are given all the importance in the movie, while the suicide victim’s problems are mostly ignored. This discrepancy defeats the movie’s supposed intention to bring more understanding and compassion for people who have suicidal thoughts.
The movie also goes off on a brief and unnecessary tangent that Jared gleefully participates in Evan’s deception because Jared likes the idea of making people think that Connor and Evan were secret gay lovers. It’s an idea that falls by the wayside when Evan and Zoe become closer and eventually start dating each other. Evan and Zoe becoming romantically involved is not spoiler information either, because it’s shown in the movie’s trailers.
Zoe opens up to Evan about why she and Connor never got along with each other. Connor had a long and troubled history of being a violent bully. For example, when Connor was 7 years old, he threw a printer at a teacher. He was also cruel to Zoe on many occasions. And mental illness apparently runs in the family. Zoe and Connor’s biological father died when she was a 1-year-old. His cause of death will not surprise viewers when it’s eventually revealed in the story.
At school, a concerned student named Alana Beck (played by Amandla Stenberg), who didn’t know Connor, decides to form a support group called the Connor Project to help create student awareness for mental health. She asks for Evan’s help in launching this project, but he avoids going to the student meetings about the project. Alana finds it difficult to get anyone to attend these meetings because Connor was not well-liked, so she’s surprised and disappointed that Connor’s “best friend” doesn’t want to attend these meetings either.
And when Evan tells a lie that Connor was the one who rescued Evan after he fell out of the tree, Alana gets the idea to launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to rebuild the defunct orchard where the tree is located. She wants to name it the Connor Murphy Memorial Orchard. Alana tries to enlist Evan’s help for this campaign too. And so, now Evan knows that this fundraising campaign was created as a direct result of his deceit. Can you say “financial fraud”?
Why is Alana going to all this trouble for Connor, someone she didn’t even know? It turns out that Alana has a personal reason for wanting to launch the Connor Project: Just like Evan, she’s on medication for anxiety and depression. Alana thinks that Connor also had a mental illness that could’ve been better treated if he felt that he had a support system at school. And therefore, Alana has a lot of empathy for anyone who is going through these struggles.
One of the reasons why the “Dear Evan Hansen” movie will turn off some viewers is that the movie tries to make Evan look sympathetic because he’s a social outcast, but he actually comes across as very selfish. Would he have continued lying to the Murphy family if he didn’t think it was a convenient way to get closer to Zoe? Probably not. Would he have kept up the charade of being sympathetic to Connor’s emotional problems if this fake sympathy hadn’t raised his social status at school? Probably not.
Evan also doesn’t seem to care to understand who Connor was as a human being until something happens in the story that forces Evan to look like he’s curious about what Connor’s interests were when Connor was alive. Throughout most of the movie, Alana is more inquisitive about Connor than Evan is. Of course, in real life, this discrepancy would have set off red flags very early on—not just with Connor’s family but also with teachers and students who would know best what the friendship cliques are at the school. It’s a reality that’s mostly ignored in this movie, which makes the students and teachers look extremely gullible in believing Evan’s lies, which aren’t even that clever.
And there’s an icky subtext that Evan is enjoying the attention and approval he’s getting for coming forward as Connor’s “best friend,” even though Evan is supposed to feel guilty about his lies. He does feel guilty, but mainly when he comes close to getting caught and other people get backlash that Evan didn’t expect. This backlash is rushed into the story as a way to force an inevitable plot development.
It’s possible that this movie could’ve been more convincing if it had been set in a time before the Internet and social media existed. However, no one ever asks Evan for more proof that he knew Connor as a best friend, such as things Connor would’ve told a best friend about himself. Everyone just accepts the superficial and vague email as “evidence” of the friendship.
Evan claims that his friendship with Connor was mostly online, by email. However, except for saying that Evan rescued him after the tree fall, Evan never provides the dates and times of when he and Evan supposedly hung out in person together. Viewers are supposed to believe that Evan thinks he can get away with this scam with his mother, who knows pretty much everything about him and is skeptical that he had a secret best friend. But somehow, Evan convinces her too. It’s a very flimsy part of the story.
The cast members capably handle the acting and song performances. However, the way the songs are placed in the movie don’t come off as well on screen as they would on stage. There’s a very cringeworthy fantasy sequence where Evan and Connor frolic, dance and sing in a carefree manner together, as if they were best friends. Ben Platt vacillates between portraying Evan as a pitiful wimp and a troubled opportunist. Dever does quite well in her scenes as Zoe, especially when she depicts Zoe’s conflicting love/hate emotions about Connor.
The songs from the stage musical that are in the movie are “Waving Through a Window,” “Good for You,” “Anybody Have a Map?,” “For Forever,” “Sincerely, Me,” “Requiem,” “If I Could Tell Her,” “Only Us.” “Words Fail,” “So Big, So Small” and the musical’s most well-known anthem “You Will Be Found.” The original songs “A Little Closer” (performed by Ryan) and “The Anonymous Ones” (performed by Stenberg, who co-wrote the music and lyrics) are serviceable but aren’t that outstanding. In addition, the soundtrack has Sam Smith doing a version of “You Will Be Found” and SZA performing “The Anonymous Ones.”
Mostly, the overall cloying tone of the movie is off-putting because it tries so hard to get viewers to root for Evan while he’s doing a lot of despicable lying about someone who committed suicide. Just because Evan has anxiety and depression shouldn’t be used as an excuse, which is what this movie does in a way that’s insulting to people with these mental health issues who would never stoop to the pathetic levels of what Evan does in this movie.
And it’s made even worse when it’s wrapped up in bombastic musical numbers that are intended to make people shed tears for Evan more than anyone else in the story—even though he’s not the one who lost a loved one to suicide and he’s causing more pain with his lies. This gross spectacle of a movie amplifies the deep-rooted flaws of the entire story, which might have been more acceptable to theater audiences who are more accustomed to seeing song-and-dance numbers about suicidal thoughts and other mental health issues. “Dear Evan Hansen” has a lot of deluded worship of Evan, who’s got a bland abyss of a personality and who isn’t even creative with his lies.
Universal Pictures will release “Dear Evan Hansen” in U.S. cinemas on September 24, 2021.
CinemaCon, the annual convention for the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 1 to April 4, 2019, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. About 5,000 people attend the event, which gives movie studios the chance to showcase what they expect to be their biggest hits of the year.
A major change to this year’s event is that Sony Pictures Entertainment and 20th Century Fox will not be giving presentations. Movie studios scheduled to give their presentations at the event are STX Films and Warner Bros. Pictures on April 2; Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures on April 3; and Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate on April 4.
Independent film studio Neon will promote its music-based drama “Wild Rose” with a screening of the movie on April 1 and a “Wild Rose” party on April 2. Other movies that will be screened in their entirety at CinemaCon 2019 will be Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Blinded by the Light” on April 2, Amazon’s “Late Night” on April 3 and Lionsgate’s “Long Shot” on April 4.
CinemaCon culminates with the CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony, which will take place April 4.
Here are the announced winners of the awards:
CinemaCon Icon Award Steve Buscemi
One of the most respected actors in the entertainment industry, Emmy-winning “Boardwalk Empire” star Steve Buscemi has played a wide range of characters in movies and television. His most memorable films include 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs,” 1996’s “Fargo” and 2001’s “Ghost World.” He has also voiced several roles in hit animated movies such as 2017’s “The Boss Baby,” and the “Hotel Transylvania” films. Buscemi’s 2019 film is the horror comedy, co-starring Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton.
CinemaCon Vanguard Award Jamie Lee Curtis
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Jamie Lee Curtis has made her mark in the film industry, beginning with her starring role in her movie debut: the 1978 horror classic “Halloween.” She has starred in multiple “Halloween” sequels, most notably 2018’s “Halloween,” which made her the first woman over the age of 60 to star in a movie that debuted at No. 1 in the United States. Curtis’ other well-known movies include the 1980 horror flick “Prom Night,” the 1988 comedy “A Fish Called Wanda,” the 1994 action film “True Lies” and the 2003 remake of the comedy “Freaky Friday.” Curtis has two films due out in 2019: the crime drama “Knives Out” and the comedy “Senior Entourage.”
CinemaCon International Star of the Year Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart is one of the busiest people in showbiz, with starring roles in movies, TV and Web series, in addition to headlining successful arena tours. The year 2019 started out with the dramedy “The Upside” (starring Hart and Bryan Cranston) debuting at No. 1 in the United States. His 2018 comedy film “Night School” was also a hit.
CinemaCon Ensemble Award: The Cast of “Terminator: Dark Fate” – Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna
“Terminator: Dark Fate” is the 2019 entry in the longtime “Terminator” film series. “Terminator: Dark Fate” stands out from the rest of the films in the series because the cast is led by women: Linda Hamilton (who starred in the first two “Terminator” movies), Natalie Reyes and Mackenzie Davis. The movie’s cast also includes Gabriel Luna. Original “Terminator” star Arnold Schwarzenegger is reportedly making a cameo appearance.
CinemaCon Directors of the Year Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Director brothers Joe Russo and Anthony Russo helmed the superhero movie “Avengers: Endgame,” which is expected to be the biggest box-office blockbuster of 2019. The Russo brothers also directed several other Marvel movie blockbusters, including 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” and 2014’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
CinemaCon Action Star of the Year David Harbour
David Harbour might be best-known as a co-star of Netflix’s horror series “Stranger Things,” but he’s aiming to make a big splash in movies by starring as the title character in the 2019 superhero flick “Hellboy.” Harbour takes over the role that was originated by Ron Perlman.
Cinema Spotlight Award Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her breakthrough role in 2011’s “The Help.” She has also has Oscar nominations for her supporting roles in 2016’s “Hidden Figures” and 2017’s “The Shape of Water.” Spencer has branched out into producing films, including the 2019 horror flick “Ma,” where she has a starring role.
CinemaCon Male Star of Tomorrow Henry Golding
Henry Golding made his feature-film debut with a starring role in the 2018 blockbuster romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.” He was also in the 2018 crime thriller “A Simple Favor,” co-starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. Golding has re-teamed with “A Simple Favor” director Paul Feig for the 2019 romantic comedy “Last Christmas,” co-starring Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson (who wrote the movie’s screenplay) and “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Michelle Yeoh.
CinemaCon Female Stars of Tomorrow Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever
Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever co-star in the 2019 comedy “Booksmart,” about two straight-laced best friends who decide to go wild on the day before their high-school graduation. Feldstein is also known for her supporting roles in the 2018 Oscar-nominated comedy film “Lady Bird” and the 2016 comedy film “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” while Dever is a co-star of the comedy series “Last Man Standing.” Dever’s other recent film roles include the 2018 dramas “Beautiful Boy” and “The Front Runner.”
CinemaCon Breakthrough Director of the Year Olivia Wilde
Olivia Wilde made her directorial feature-film debut with the 2019 comedy film “Booksmart,” which got rave reviews when it had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival. Wilde is an accomplished actress who has starred in such films as 2018’s “Life Itself” and 2010’s “Tron: Legacy.” She is also known for her past TV roles in the medical drama “House” and the nighttime soap opera “The O.C.”
CinemaCon Comedy Stars of the Year Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron
Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron play unlikely love interests in the 2019 political comedy film “Long Shot.” Rogen is best known for his comedic roles in movies (such as 2007’s “Knocked Up,” 2008’s “Pineapple Express” and the “Neighbors” films), while Theron does mostly dramatic and action movies, including 2005’s “Monster” (for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress), 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” and 2017’s “Atomic Blonde.”
Other awards that will be given at the ceremony:
CinemaCon International Filmmaker of the Year Award: Graham King, producer of 2018’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”
CinemaCon Passpartout Award: Helen Moss, Paramount Pictures senior vice president of international distribution
NATO Marquee Award: John D. Loeks, Studio C chairman
Career Achievement in Exhibition Award: Jérôme Seydoux, Pathé co-chairman/CEO and Les Cinémas Gaumont Pathé chairman/CEO
Lifetime Achievement Award: Anthony Bloom, Cineworld Group chairman