2021 Academy Awards: presenters and performers announced

April 23, 2021

The following is a combination of press releases from ABC:

Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun will join the ensemble cast slated to present at the 93rd Oscars®, show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh announced today. “The Oscars” will air live on Sunday, April 25, 2021, on ABC.

“Surprise! We’re so excited to welcome Steven to the crew, and he completes our Oscars cast. No, really, this is it,” said Collins, Sher and Soderbergh.

The previously announced lineup includes Riz Ahmed, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Bong Joon Ho, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya.

Celeste, H.E.R., Leslie Odom Jr., Laura Pausini, Daniel Pemberton, Molly Sandén and Diane Warren will perform the five nominated original songs in their entirety for “Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” the lead-in to the 93rd Oscars. One performance will be recorded in Húsavík, Iceland, and four at the Dolby Family Terrace of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose (“Hamilton”) and Lil Rel Howery (“Bad Trip”), the 90-minute “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will highlight the nominees’ journey to Hollywood’s biggest night, give fans around the world the ultimate insiders’ sneak peek to the party and, for the first time, bring Oscar music to the festivities. The show will feature a special appearance by DJ Tara. “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will air Oscar Sunday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT.  

The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite.  “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will air live on ABC at 6:30 p.m. EDT/3:30 p.m. PDT. “The Oscars” will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT and in more than 200 territories worldwide.  “Oscars: After Dark” will immediately follow the Oscars show.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

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 New York Film Festival: ‘Marriage Story’ is the centerpiece film

July 30, 2019

Scarlett Johansson, Azhy Robertson and Adam Driver in “Marriage Story” (Photo by Wilson Webb)

The following is a press release from Film at Lincoln Center:

Film at Lincoln Center announces Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” as Centerpiece of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13), making its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 4, 2019. “Marriage Story” will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

Noah Baumbach’s new film is about the rapid tangling and gradual untangling of impetuosity, resentment, and abiding love between a married couple negotiating their divorce and the custody of their son. Adam Driver is Charlie, a 100-percent New York experimental theater director; Scarlett Johansson is Nicole, his principal actress and soon-to-be L.A.-based ex-wife. Their “amicable” breakup devolves, one painful rash response and hostile counter-response at a time, into a legal battlefield, led on Nicole’s side by Laura Dern and on Charlie’s side by “nice” Alan Alda and “not-so-nice” Ray Liotta. What is so remarkable about “Marriage Story” is its frank understanding of the emotional fluctuations between Charlie and Nicole: they are both short-sighted, both occasionally petty, both vindictive, and both loving. The film is as harrowing as it is hilarious as it is deeply moving. With Merritt Wever and Julie Hagerty as Nicole’s sister and mom, and Azhy Robertson as their beloved son, Henry.

“What amazed me about ‘Marriage Story’ is the way that Noah keeps the many conflicting emotions between his characters flowing into and around and under and over each other, so beautifully that the film achieves the condition of music,” said New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. “In fact, it actually flowers into song in two of the film’s loveliest and most surprising moments. ‘Marriage Story’ is a heartbreaker, it’s very funny, and it has an emotional complexity that’s worthy of Bergman.”

“I grew up coming to the New York Film Festival with my parents. And it’s where my first film ‘Kicking and Screaming’ premiered 24 years ago,” said Baumbach. “I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud that ‘Marriage Story’ has been selected as Centerpiece of the NYFF. The 14-year-old me’s mind is blown; the 49-year-old me’s mind is also blown.”

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Centerpiece. Support for the Centerpiece of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its non-profit mission to support the art and craft of cinema.

 

FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER
Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; the presentation of podcasts, talks, and special events; the creation and implementation of Artist Initiatives; and our Film in Education curriculum and screenings. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience, and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Support for the New York Film Festival is generously provided by Official Partners HBO, Campari, and The New York Times, Benefactor Partners Netflix, illy caffè, and Dolby, Supporting Partner Warby Parker, and Contributing Partners Hudson New York-an SBE Hotel and IMDbPro. JCDecaux, Variety, Deadline Hollywood, WNET New York Public Media and Shutterstock serve as Media Sponsors. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film at Lincoln Center.

Film at Lincoln Center receives generous, year-round support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter and Instagram.

2019 Academy Awards: performers and presenters announced

February 11, 2019

by Carla Hay

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 6, 2019. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced several entertainers who will be performers and presenters at the 91st Annual Academy Awards ceremony, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. ABC will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which will not have a host. As previously reported, comedian/actor Kevin Hart was going to host the show, but he backed out after the show’s producers demanded that he make a public apology for homophobic remarks that he made several years ago. After getting a  firestorm of backlash for the homophobic remarks, Hart later made several public apologies but remained adamant that he would still not host the Oscars this year.

The celebrities who will be on stage at the Oscars this year are several of those whose songs are nominated for Best Original Song. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will perform their duet “Shallow” from their movie remake of “A Star Is Born.” Jennifer Hudson will perform “I’ll Fight” from the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG.” David Rawlings and Gillian Welch will team up for the duet “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Western film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” It has not yet been announced who will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from the Disney musical sequel “Mary Poppins Returns.”** It also hasn’t been announced yet if Kendrick Lamar and SZA will take the stage for “All the Stars” from the superhero flick “Black Panther.”

Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic do the music for the “In Memoriam” segment, which spotlights notable people in the film industry who have died in the year since the previous Oscar ceremony.

Meanwhile, the following celebrities have been announced as presenters at the ceremony: Whoopi Goldberg (who has hosted the Oscars twice in the past), Awkwafina, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Tessa Thompson Constance Wu, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Emilia Clarke, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephan James, Keegan-Michael Key, KiKi Layne, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Momoa and Sarah Paulson. Goldberg and Bardem are previous Oscar winners.

Other previous Oscar winners taking the stage will be Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney, who won the actor and actress prizes at the 2018 Academy Awards.

Donna Gigliotti (who won an Oscar for Best Picture for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love) and Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss are the producers of the 2019 Academy Awards. This will be the first time that Gigliotti is producing the Oscar ceremony. Weiss has directed several major award shows, including the Oscars and the Tonys. He will direct the Oscar ceremony again in 2019.

**February 18, 2019 UPDATE: Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Los Things Go,” the Oscar-nominated song from “Mary Poppins Returns.” British rock band Queen, whose official biopic is the Oscar-nominated film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” will also perform on the show with lead singer Adam Lambert. It has not been revealed which song(s) Queen will perform at the Oscars.

February 19, 2019 UPDATE: These presenters have been added to the Oscar telecast: Elsie Fisher, Danai Gurira, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Helen Mirren, John Mulaney, Tyler Perry, Pharrell Williams, Krysten Ritter, Paul Rudd and Michelle Yeoh.

February 21, 2019 UPDATE: These celebrities will present the Best Picture nominees: José Andrés, Dana Carvey, Queen Latifah, Congressman John Lewis, Diego Luna, Tom Morello, Mike Myers, Trevor Noah, Amandla Stenberg, Barbra Streisand and Serena Williams.

2018 Toronto International Film Festival: ‘Outlaw King’ is opening film; ‘Jeremiah Terminator Leroy’ is closing film; more gala, special presentations films announced

August 14, 2018

The following are press releases from the Toronto International Film Festival:

TIFF announced today that the World Premiere of “Outlaw King,” David Mackenzie’s anticipated  period drama chronicling the rise of 14th-century Scottish hero Robert the Bruce, will be the Opening Night  Gala Presentation for the 43rd Toronto International Film Festival ®  on Thursday, September 6, at Roy Thomson  Hall.

This epic David-versus-Goliath tale reunites award-winning director David Mackenzie ( “Starred Up,” “Young  Adam”) with his “Hell or High Water” actor Chris Pine, who takes on the starring role of the legendary Scottish  king who leads a band of outlaws to reclaim the throne from the clutches of the English crown and its army.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Florence Pugh, and Billy Howle.

“TIFF’s Opening Night Film,  ‘Outlaw King,’ tells a powerful story that is rich in drama, excitement, romance, and  adventure,”  said Piers Handling, Director & CEO of TIFF. “Audiences are promised a thrilling journey back in  time, as David Mackenzie masterfully unwraps history with taut dramatic flare and brings to life the true story  of Scottish hero Robert the Bruce. Gripping performances led by Chris Pine and Aaron Taylor-Johnson make  this a classic, entertaining, and action-packed Festival opener.

“Thank you, TIFF , for welcoming our film into the world. The Festival is the perfect launch pad for our realistic  epic, and we are delighted to be the first Scottish film ever to open Toronto,” said director David Mackenzie. “I  cannot imagine a better place to have our World Premiere. Scotland and Canada’s histories are bound  together, forged in the crucible of the struggles of history, bringing this day an affinity and sensibility that I  hope will translate to a profound, visceral, and riotously entertaining experience. We have an amazing cast and  crew working at the top of their game, and we are really looking forward to spreading some Scottish goodwill  on the great city of Toronto.”

“Outlaw King” follows the untold, true story of Robert the Bruce, who transforms from defeated nobleman to  outlaw hero during the oppressive occupation of medieval Scotland by Edward I of England. Despite grave  consequences, Robert seizes the Scottish crown and rallies an impassioned group of men to fight back against the mighty army of the tyrannical King and his volatile son, the Prince of Wales.

Filmed in Scotland, the project was made with the full support of Creative Scotland and the Scottish  government. The film opens in select theatres and launches globally on Netflix November 9, 2018.

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see  tiff.net/galas.

Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy
Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart in “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy” (Photo courtesy of TIFF)

The Toronto International Festival announced today that the World Premiere of “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy” will close this year’s Festival. From director Justin Kelly,  “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy” is based on one of the most  famous literary gambits in American history. Adapted from the memoir  “Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT LeRoy” by Savannah Knoop,  the film  promises a boundary-breaking Closing Night Gala bursting with intrigue.

“With  ‘Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy,’  Justin Kelly brings to the screen a truly unbelievable story that captivated a  nation,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF. “The storytelling is powerful and the characters are vivid,  really evoking the idea that you have to see it to believe it.”

“I am beyond honored that my film ‘Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy’ will premiere at TIFF as the Closing Night Film,”  said Justin Kelly, director of “Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy.” “I can’t wait for people to see the fascinating true  story behind JT LeRoy, brought to life via incredible performances by a total dream cast.”

This captivating true story goes beyond the headlines to reveal the most compelling literary hoax of our  generation. Laura Albert (Laura Dern) is an author who writes under a fictionalized persona, a disenfranchised  young queer man named JT LeRoy. When her debut novel becomes a bestseller and JT becomes the darling  of the literary world, she comes up with a unique solution to preserve her anonymity while giving life to her nom-de-plume. Enter her boyfriend’s androgynous sister, Savannah Knoop (Kristen Stewart), who connects  with Laura’s punk, feminist, outsider universe and agrees to be JT in the public eye. Together, they embark on a  wild ride of double lives, infiltrating the Hollywood and literary elite — and discovering who they are in the  process.

“Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy” is a film by Elevated Films, The Fyzz Facility, Ingenious Media, Aquarius Content,  Fortitude International, Sobini Films, Thirty Three Productions, LBI Entertainment, and Buffalo Gal Pictures. It  is produced by Patrick Walmsley, Julie Yorn, Thor Bradwell, Gary Pearl, Cassian Elwes, Giri Tharan, Mark Amin,  and Dave Hansen. It stars Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess, Kelvin Harrison Jr.,  Courtney Love, James Jagger, and Dave Brown.

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see tiff.net/galas.

The Toronto International Film Festival ®  today unveiled its second batch of titles premiering in the  Gala and Special Presentations programmes in September. Four Gala Presentations and 22 Special  Presentations have been added to the selection of titles already announced.     “We’re rounding out the lineup of Galas and Special Presentations with some of the most exciting films of the  year,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF. “Audiences won’t want to miss these premieres from a mix of  newcomers and global heavyweights.”    This second announcement brings the total for Galas and Special Presentations to 44 World Premieres, 9  International Premieres, 12 North American Premieres and 11 Canadian Premieres.

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.

The Toronto International Film Festival ® today unveiled its second batch of titles premiering in the  Gala and Special Presentations programmes in September. Four Gala Presentations and 22 Special  Presentations have been added to the selection of titles already announced.     “We’re rounding out the lineup of Galas and Special Presentations with some of the most exciting films of the  year,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of TIFF. “Audiences won’t want to miss these premieres from a mix of  newcomers and global heavyweights.”

This second announcement brings the total for Galas and Special Presentations to 44 World Premieres, 9  International Premieres, 12 North American Premieres and 11 Canadian Premieres.

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16, 2018.

GALAS 2018  

Green Book
Peter Farrelly | USA
World Premiere

* Closing Night Film *
Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy
Justin Kelly | Canada/USA/United Kingdom
World Premiere

The Lie
Veena Sud | Canada
World Premiere

*Opening Night Film *
Outlaw King
David Mackenzie | USA/United Kingdom
World Premiere

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS 2018

22 July
Paul Greengrass | Norway/Iceland
North American Premiere

American Woman
Jake Scott | USA
World Premiere

Baby ( Bao Bei Er )
Liu Jie | China
World Premiere

Boy Erased
Joel Edgerton | USA
International Premiere

Driven
Nick Hamm | Puerto Rico/United Kingdom/USA
North American Premiere

Duelles (Mothers’ Instinct)
Olivier Masset-Depasse | Belgium/France
World Premiere

A Faithful Man ( L ‘homme fidèle )
Louis Garrel | France
World Premiere

Gloria Bell
Sebastián Lelio | USA/Chile
World Premiere

Hold the Dark
Jeremy Saulnier | USA
World Premiere

Kursk
Thomas Vinterberg | Belgium/Luxembourg
World Premiere

Legend of the Demon Cat – Director’s Cut
Chen Kaige | China/Japan
World Premiere

Mid90s
Jonah Hill | USA
World Premiere

A Million Little Pieces
Sam Taylor-Johnson | USA
World Premiere

Never Look Away ( Werk ohne Autor )
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Germany
North American Premiere

The Quietude ( La Quietud )
Pablo Trapero | Argentina
North American Premiere

Skin
Guy Nattiv | USA
World Premiere

Teen Spirit
Max Minghella | USA
World Premiere

Tell It to the Bees
Annabel Jankel | United Kingdom
World Premiere

Viper Club
Maryam Keshavarz | USA
World Premiere

Vision
Naomi Kawase | Japan/France
International Premiere

Vita & Virginia
Chanya Button | United Kingdom/Ireland
World Premiere

Wild Rose
Tom Harper | United Kingdom
World Premiere

For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see tiff.net/galas and tiff.net/specialpresentations

Festival tickets go on sale September 3 at 10am (TIFF Member pre-sale September 1 from 10am to 4pm). Buy  tickets online at tiff.net , by phone at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or in person at a box office. See box  office locations and hours at tiff.net/tickets .

TIFF prefers Visa.

Social Media:

@TIFF_NET

#TIFF18

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About TIFF

TIFF is a charitable 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.

The Toronto International Film Festival is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC,  L ’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and our Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City  of Toronto.

This film is eligible for the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. Vote for your favourite films at tiff.net/vote .

The Gala programme is made possible through the generous   sponsorship of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts .

August 21, 2018 UPDATE: 

The Toronto International Film Festival ® today announced two new films that will premiere as part  of the Special Presentations programme in September. The World Premiere of Neil Jordan’s “Greta” and the North  American Premiere of Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux” will cap off the Festival’s Special Presentations and bring the total  for the programme up to 24 titles.

“These are two films that explore nuanced narratives with exceptional leading women,” said Kerri Craddock,  Director of Festival Programming at TIFF. “‘Greta’ and ‘Vox Lux’ both offer strong directorial visions, rich  performances, and engaging stories. They complete the package of the Special Presentations programme.”

Neil Jordan’s “Greta” tells the story of a young New York woman named Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) who strikes  up an unlikely friendship with an enigmatic widow named Greta (Isabelle Huppert). The older woman’s motives  are gradually revealed to be sinister and the film quickly descends into an exploration of loneliness, obsession,  and manipulation. “Greta,” co-written by Jordan and Ray Wright, also stars Colm Feore, Maika Monroe, and Stephen Rea.

In musical drama “Vox Lux,” Brady Corbet’s second feature as writer-director tracks its heroine’s path from  childhood tragedy to a life of fame and fortune. Starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law, the film begins with teenage sisters Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) and Eleanor (Stacy Martin) who survive a violent incident that changes  their lives. The film is both a riveting character study and a perceptive survey of the cultural shifts that have  shaped a generation.

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern have dysfunctional fun in ‘Wilson’

March 24, 2017

by Carla Hay

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern at the New York City press junket for "Wilson"
Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern at the New York City press junket for “Wilson” (Photo by Carla Hay)

In the dark comedy “Wilson,” Woody Harrelson plays the neurotic title character, whose “no filter” approach to life can be offensive, amusing or both. Wilson, a divorced curmudgeon who lives alone, is still not quite over his ex-wife Pippi (played by Laura Dern), who left him nearly 17 years earlier and has her own personal issues, along with a big secret: After she left Wilson, she gave birth to their daughter, whom she put up for adoption. When Wilson discovers this secret, after he believed for years that the pregnancy had ended in abortion, he and Pippi have an awkward reunion, which leads to Wilson trying to make up for lost time with their daughter, Claire (played by Isabella Amara), who is a troubled teen outcast. Wilson and Pippi’s attempt to bond with Claire leads to dysfunctional family moments and bridges the gap for the former spouses to come to terms with their past. “Wilson” (directed by Craig Johnson) is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who wrote the movie’s screenplay. Here is what Harrelson and Dern said when they say down for an interview with me and other journalists at the New York City press junket for “Wilson.”

“Wilson” has a mix of quirkiness and realism. Can you talk about that juxtaposition?

Dern: I think it’s a world we loved to find the tone—and obviously, carefully—but Daniel Clowes’ writing is so flawless in that way—and obviously, his artwork. So that as a template to invite you makes working with someone like Craig [Johnson] and someone like [cinematographer] Fred Elmes and his work, starting with David Lynch. We’ve worked with a lot of filmmakers and have similar journeys in that way. They expect us to make something authentic in a very boundry-less world. It’s a really fun playground, to say the least.

I think we all know that in the world of subversive comedy, you can see much more with deep poignancy than you might get away with another film tonally. So it’s gorgeous. A couple of journalists have quoted some of the things we [as Wilson and Pippi] say to each other. And as they say them, I almost get tears in my eyes, because it’s just so beautiful—the poetry of their longing to be seen and their love of each other and want to be parents and all of that. And it’s so touching because it’s irreverent-seeming.

Woody, is it fun to play someone with “no filter”?

Harrelson: I actually have less filter than I should, but playing him there really is no filter. I don’t think he’s a mean guy, but he’s a very honest guy who doesn’t know the repercussions of what he’s saying a lot of the time, and it comes out as harsh. I did notice that I was doing that quite a bit when we were shooting and even a little while after where I couldn’t shake it. I’d say, “Why did I say that?” And you could feel the uncomfortableness.

According to the production notes for “Wilson,” the set design for Wilson’s apartment included 4,000 books and about 35 crates of magazines. It’s symbolic of how he has a lot of emotional baggage. Is there anything you’ve personally collected that you can’t let go of easily?

Harrelson: I live in Maui now, but I have a place in L.A.  My buddy Owen [Wilson] tells me I should be on an episode of “Celebrity Hoarders.” There are boxes everywhere. It really isn’t that I’m hoarding. It seems like it. But it’s that I have to go through and decide what to keep and what to throw away.

When I go on location, eventually everything that was on location ends up back there in the box. I don’t ever look in the box. Yeah, I think maybe I’m collecting too much stuff, and eventually my day will come when I can’t even walk in the house because I’ve just got to go through those damn boxes.

As actors, what have you learned about letting go of emotional baggage when you dive into a new role or a new character?

Dern: Maybe it’s being confronted with the fact that I should have been thinking about this a long time ago. He’s collecting boxes. I’m collecting parts of my personality that I’ve discovered playing some beautifully complicated people, but complicated nonetheless, so I go, “Oh, wow! Okay, I have to find the part of me that understands this, and then I keep that as a character trait.” So I think that I haven’t done any cleaning house. Maybe I’m just becoming more and more and more complicated because I like to collect all these people somewhere inside me.

Harrelson: Who’s the woman who has 16 personalities? Sybil. So you’re like the Sybil of actors. Sybil Dern. You’ve got all every character you’ve played in there ready to …

Dern: Ready to come out of me. [She laughs.]

Harrelson: Oh my God! What a thought!

So what kind of personality did you bring to Pippi?

Dern: Woody and I worked together years ago [in the 2005 movie “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio”], so my love of Woody, I’ve been carrying all along, and I would love to re-ignite it.

Harrelson: [He says jokingly] This could be the night!

Dern: In addition, I think one thing I felt from Daniel’s artwork and, of course, the script, is that I’ve always been interested in the question of voice. And certainly, as a female actor, that’s very interesting to me. But this idea that as fierce as she is and as in love as she is with someone who has no filter, I feel like in some ways it’s not that she’s trying to understand how to use her voice, but that she ever was even entitled to one in the first place.

And I think that’s why her rage is boiling over, because she’s never been seen or given space—by her family, by anyone, which is where addiction came into her life and now she’s back with the only person who ever gave her room to be all of herself and even loved her for it, which was probably terrifying to her. So that was the through line that was deeply interesting to me. And I think what Daniel intended, and we just tried it together, was to bring that to fruition and make sure that it had a beginning, middle and an end, in a way.

What do you think is the importance of struggle?

Harrelson: I don’t know anybody who’s a fan of struggle, but we all struggle in our way. All of us have our quirky little struggles. For a movie, it’s the drama in it that makes the comedy. If it wasn’t dramatic, it wouldn’t be comedic. All the shit that happens with us in this movie, and there’s some terrible stuff, physical violence and all these things go down, it’s struggle, but it’s funny. I’m fascinated by how the whole Buddhist thing where spiritual adepts who are able to take struggle and just flow with it and move through it and don’t even let it wound them emotionally.

Wilson can be considered a man-child. What do you think it means to be a grown-up? Aren’t we always learning?

Dern: I hope that is the case … anyone who wants to feel [their inner child] at 90. I was, thank God, raised by two people [actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd], who vowed to me to be children and said, “Hey, you’re going to teach us how to grow up, like we’re going to try to teach you, but we don’t have all the answers.”

So I feel very lucky to be raised by actors. People are always asking me about being raised by actors, and now we’re actors raising people, who are asking the same questions about us. I think part of it in their honesty and directness is that there is no pretending at a role of being the adult in the house or the adult in the relationship or whatever it is. May we all be all our fierce, child-like selves, to not ever look down on anyone else, as if we’ve figured anything out, but take this struggle and flow through it.

That’s the other thing I love about Wilson and Pippi. Daniel Clowes has created a world that’s not drugged. We go, “These people are impossible,” because they’re not medicated to be apathetic or medicated to be socially appropriate. But the world tells us, “You’re in struggle? You’ve gone through grief, loss, divorce? You know what? You need an antidepressant.” But if everyone is going through this, aren’t we supposed to be moving through this somehow? So I think the more we can allow our filter-less self to find some balance, we’re hopefully going to be a better civilization.

Can you talk about the physical comedy in “Wilson”?

Harrelson: I loved the slugfest that [Laura Dern and Cheryl Hines] had. I loved also that juxtaposed with me and [Isabella Amara] talking about the frog, just having that sweet talk.

Dern: We had so much fun in the mall, too, “beating” on those teenagers! We shot for a while. It was …

Harrelson: Very cathartic.

What can you say about any improvisation that you did for “Wilson”? Is it easier to improvise in a comedy like this one?

Harrelson: I always believe in some improv. It depends on the director. Some of them are not really into it. Even then, we try to, in a subtle way, insist on it. I do feel like there’s sometimes when you catch stuff from an improv—it’s not always right—but it’s more real, more honest. That moment just improved because of that. But [I’m] definitely embracing and getting back to my roots, which is comedy. I just got a little distracted by the drama. It’s so satisfying too because when we went to Sundance, just to hear that whole audience laughing, what a great feeling. You don’t always get that. A lot of movies, I’ve never seen with an audience. It’s a good feeling when you get that.

Dern: And when you capture a moment or a line, and it taps into the zeitgeist. I told Woody that one of my favorite things was my son and a few of his friends [quoting a line from “Wilson”].

How do you think “Wilson” reflects what’s happening in society now?

Dern: It is an incredible time to be playing these characters. It’s really interesting to consider people’s discomfort with the truth and people’s discomfort with a character who will get in their face and want to connect. And yet, there is comfort with con men. That’s really troubling. We’re culturally more comfortable with a lie that somehow we can hang our hope on, rather than the reality of where we are and what we need to do as a community to affect change. “There is no global warming” or “If we all make this an emergency and are in it together, we might actually do something.” Those are two different ways.

Somebody like Wilson would be in our face about it. Even if I have to be shamed, like if I’m at Disneyland throwing away my kids’ plastic drink, I want a Wilson to be like, “What the fuck are you doing? Put that in the recycling bin!” I like that. I don’t want a person to be like, “Ah, don’t worry about it. The more consumerism, the better.” So it’s how you want to live your life, but I think the more Wilsons we get, the better off we may be.

Harrelson: Wilson for President!

Do you think we need more people like Wilson in the world?

Harrelson: I think in politics, it would be nice, because you do get lied to quite a lot, and there does seem to be a certain degree of comfort with this lie. Most people don’t know that in Vietnam, we killed 2 million people—mostly civilians. In Korea, it was 4 million people. Where is our apology for that? Or for the millions of Native Americans when we first conquested this land. Or what we did, in terms of slavery. We built this country on the backs and the blood and the bones of so many dispossessed people. And we’re comfortable with the lie of this beautiful nation.

Well, let’s look at what the underbelly is. Let’s look at how it really formed. I do think we get comfortable with con men. Let’s face it: Politicians are businessmen working for bigger businessmen. And if you don’t have a lot of money, you’re not being represented. So the fact that there are all these people who think our president is representing the common man? I mean, come on!