Welcome to the Golden Globes results edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report. Here’s what’s topping today!
3 was definitely the charm at the Golden Globes on Sunday as award season got underway. Birdman was the favorite with 7 Globes, but 2 films managed to stop him from getting the most of them. Which 2 films reigned triumphantly Danny?
Danny Angelfish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Boyhood, the unassuming story of a boy’s passage through 12 years of life, was the big winner at the 2015 Golden Globe Awards, taking home three trophies, including best drama. The film also earned awards for its director Richard Linklater and supporting actress Patricia Arquette.
Linklater, who gambled with the unusual film, filming three to four days a year for more than a decade, was rewarded for that long effort when he was named best director. “The bottom line,” he said as he accepted that prize, “is that we’re all flawed in this world. No one’s perfect. And I just want to dedicate this to my parents, who gave so much love and support, and to parents who are evolving everywhere and families who are just passing through this world and doing their best.” When he returned to the stage to accept best picture honors, he turned the microphone over IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring, who also served as one of the movie’ producers, who said that when Linklater first proposed the project more than a dozen years ago, “We said yes because the man has such humanity. He’s so humble. He put so much of his life in this movie.”
The 72nd annual Golden Globes, held at the Beverly Hilton and broadcast by NBC, could easily have been mistaken for the Film Independent Spirit Awards as small indie and specialty films walked off with the bulk of the night’s hardware. Although it didn’t prevail in any of the other three categories in which it was nominated, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a quirky tale about the concierge of a European hotel on the eve of World War II, won when it mattered, collecting the prize for best motion picture, comedy or musical. And true to his sometimes eccentric ways, director Wes Anderson turned his acceptance speech into a bit of a comedy routine by thanking many members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which doles out the awards, by their first names.
The trophy for best dramatic actress was presented to Julianne Moore for playing a woman confronting early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice, while Eddie Redmayne was named best dramatic actor for portraying physicist Stephen Hawking as he succumbs to ALS disease in The Theory of Everything.
Moore thanked Alice directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Glatzer is living with ALS, and Moore praised the two, who are professional and personal partners, for deciding to make the movie “in the middle of their own crisis with degenerative disease,” adding, “I want to thank Rich and Wash for this extraordinary opportunity to work.”
For his part, Redmayne spoke of the “huge privilege” of appearing onscreen as Hawking, whom he came to know in the course of making Everything. He heaped praise on the movie’s cast, especially his co-lead Felicity Jones. And he acknowledged his new wife, Hannah Bagshawe. “We had to cut our honeymoon short to come to Los Angeles,” he confessed, thanking everyone for “giving us a night at the end of our honeymoon that we will always remember.”
Amy Adams could be excused if she experienced a moment of deja vu. The actress, who was named best actress in a comedy or musical last year for American Hustle, was called up to the stage again this year, winning the same award for her performance in Big Eyes. “I didn’t even reapply my lip gloss,” the actress exclaimed, insisting she hadn’t prepared remarks, although she then found time to pay tribute to Margaret Keane, the painter she plays in the film, and also to express her gratitude to “all the women in this room who have such a lovely and beautiful voice.” Adams became the first actress to pull off back-to-back wins in the category since Kathleen Turner, who took home the honors in 1984 and 1985 for Romancing the Stone and Prizzi’s Honor.
Birdman’s Michael Keaton was singled out as best actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical, for his turn as a movie actor trying to win respect by turning to Broadway. After praising his director, Alejandro G. Inarritu, he paid loving tribute to his own family — father, mother, six siblings and, as he started to choke up, his best friend, his son Sean, saying, “I love you with all my heart, buddy.”
Inarritu had his own moment onstage earlier in the evening when Birdman took screenplay honors. Inarritu, who wrote the film along with Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, said, “Whatever we have written,” without the film’s actors, the “words have no meaning,” as he offered a shout-out of his own to Keaton and the others in the movie’s cast.
The award for best supporting actress was given to Arquette, who plays a single mom in Boyhood. She took a moment to recognize her fellow nominees, including Meryl Streep, adding, “Meryl, thank you for giving me a hug — I hope your DNA transferred to me”; she hailed “our visionary director Richard Linklater” and said the movie also allowed her “to honor my own mother.”
J.K. Simmons took home the first statuette of the night, earning best supporting actor in a motion picture for Whiplash, in which he plays a tyrannical music teacher. He thanked the movie’s young director, Damien Chazelle, “for the opportunity to be this guy” and the movie’s star Miles Teller, who “inspired me every day to want to scream at him and hit him in the face.”
The award for best score went to composer Johann Johannsson for The Theory of Everything. And John Legend and Common took the prize for best original song for “Glory,” the title tune they wrote for Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Common, who also acts in the film, spoke about the movie’s importance, saying, “Selma has awakened my humanity,” and concluding, “We look to the future, and we want to create a better world. We want to create a better world, and Selma is now.” Legend seconded those thoughts, adding, “We still are in solidarity with those fighting for justice right now.”
The Russian feature Leviathan, which is also on the shortlist for Academy Award consideration, was the victor in the foreign-language film category. Director Andrey Zvyagintsev proclaimed, “We are absolutely happy,” while producer Alexander Rodnyansky observed that the movie about one man who faces off against an indifferent system “is absolutely universal.”
DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2 claimed the award for best animated feature, with director Dean DeBlois and producer Bonnie Arnold — who along with Mireille Soria has just been named a co-president at DWA — accepting the trophy.
Julianna Margulies and Don Cheadle were on hand to introduce George Clooney, this year’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Margulies starred with Clooney in ER, while Cheadle appeared with him in the Ocean’s movies. “In a town and an industry where it’s easy to lose touch with who you are and what really matters, he has never been anything but real,” Margulies testified, adding that Clooney has been “tireless in his efforts to help those in need around the globe.”
In his acceptance, Clooney first joked, “Now, that we’ve seen everyone’s been hacked, it’s a good chance to meet face to face and apologize for all the snarky things we said.” Turning serious, he went on to say that the day, which saw marches around the world in response to the recent deadly attack on the offices of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, had been “an extraordinary day,” and that “they didn’t march in protest, they marched in support of the idea we will not walk in fear, we will not do it. So, je suis Charlie.”
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, as the returning hosts, kicked off the evening, with Fey noting, “Tonight we celebrate all the great TV shows that we know and love as well as all the movies North Korea was OK with,” as Poehler cracked that Into the Woods includes Sleeping Beauty, who “just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby.”
Theo Kingma, president of the HFPA, brought the celebrity-studded crowd to its feet when, alluding to recent news events, he voiced support for freedom of expression, saying, “Together, we will stand united against anyone who would repress free speech anywhere from North Korea to Paris.”
Heading into the evening, Birdman led its competitors with seven nominations, followed closely by Boyhood and The Imitation Game with five each. But while Boyhood ultimately claimed the night’s biggest award, and Birdman got two major consolation prizes, The Imitation Game, the drama about code-breaker Alan Turing, went home empty-handed, as did other such highly touted movies as Gone Girl and Foxcatcher.
No single distributor dominated the awards. IFC Films could claim three awards, thanks to Boyhood’s wins. Fox Searchlight also picked up three — one for Budapest and two for Birdman. And Sony Pictures Classics also was represented by three awards — the acting honors for Still Alice and Whiplash and the foreign film win for Leviathan.
Ouch! Looks like the Globe voters pulled a fast one on Hollywood that time. And the same couldn’t be said for that ratings report on the Globes which missed some factors unlike last year’s Golden Globes. The film companies need to step up their game at the Oscars next month if they can overturn the low turnout.
Back on January 9th, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks, and Disney were slapped with a big lawsuit concerning their animated movies with stunning 3D effects. Now, the 3 animated companies have taken the lawsuit to court as them along with Blue Sky Studios, try to bring back the visual effects writers that other movie studios have taken away from them. What’s the criticism about Jim?
Jim Fish (via The Hollywood Reporter)- On Friday, The Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures and Blue Sky Studios fired heavy legal artillery at a proposed class-action lawsuit that aims to punish the studios for allegedly conspiring to deny workers in the visual effects community better work opportunities. The defendants are demanding a dismissal on new antitrust claims as coming too late and being bereft of necessary factual support.
Arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees were the subject of an investigation and lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department in 2010. Several companies agreed to a prohibition against enforcing anti-poaching pacts for a period of five years, which ended the DOJ review, but in 2011, a class-action lawsuit was brought against Pixar, Lucasfilm, Apple, Google, Adobe and Intuit. The first two companies settled claims for $9 million while the other companies have gone to an appeals court after a federal judge rejected a $325 million settlement as insufficient.
Meanwhile, Robert Nitsch Jr., a former visual effects worker at DreamWorks Animation, was one of many who aimed to get another chance to dig into how studios were allegedly colluding with each other. He filed a lawsuit in September, which preceded others in the visual effects community doing the same. Many of these lawsuits were then consolidated.
The studios have now filed their first substantive response to the consolidated lawsuit — pretty much deeming it to be a loser that the court shouldn’t waste much time in disposing. According to a motion to dismiss, the DOJ investigation and 2011 lawsuit got broad press attention, and yet, the plaintiffs decided to wait five years until commencing their own lawsuit.
“In an effort to manufacture new claims not covered by the High-Tech lawsuits, plaintiffs assert that animation studios, other than High-Tech defendants Pixar and Lucasfilm, also participated in the alleged conspiracy. However, plaintiffs’ attempt is futile as a matter of law and comes far too late. The statutes of limitations for their claims expired long ago.”
The motion to dismiss continues by pointing out that much of what was uncovered by the DOJ relates to communications prior to 2009 — which the defendants argue is out of bounds for review as well as activity that the DOJ itself declined to prosecute. If the anti-poaching pacts continued after 2010, within the statute of limitations, they say “it is plaintiffs’ burden to allege specific anticompetitive conduct,” and not only haven’t they done so, continues the motion, the studios say it’s also implausible.
“It is highly improbable, to say the least, that parties under a DOJ investigation of their allegedly unlawful conduct would continue to engage in any such conduct while under that scrutiny,” states the motion.
The visual effects workers who are suing can perhaps beat the clock if they can show fraudulent concealment, or that the studio purposely hid their anti-competitive conduct. The studios say that nothing like this is alleged in the complaint.
But the motion to dismiss isn’t merely an attempt to have a judge reject the lawsuit on procedural grounds. The studios go above and beyond the typical route toward defeating a lawsuit by attacking class-action attorneys at the firm of Cohen Milstein as springing into action upon word that a judge rejected Apple’s $325 million settlement as too low. “As for the named plaintiffs, there is no allegation that any of them ever did anything to investigate his or her claim,” they say.
The studios attempt to pick apart the smoking-gun evidence of an antitrust conspiracy offered up by the plaintiffs.
For example, there’s Blue Sky, the 20th Century Fox-controlled production company behind Rio and Ice Age. The plaintiffs have seized upon a statement from one Blue Sky employee that he did not “want to be starting anything” with DreamWorks over one story guy. That might be an example of Blue Sky’s “unilateral desire” to avoid a wage war with DreamWorks, says the defendant, but not evidence of any agreement that violates antitrust laws.
Similarly, when Chris Meledandri (a former exec at Blue Sky) emails Pixar’s then-CFO Simon Bax and references “our sensitive issue of employee retention,” and quotes an internal Pixar conversation about anti-poaching assurances, he’s not being read correctly, imply the defendants. The lawsuit complaint “omits the portions of this email that make it clear that Meledandri’s concern is simply Blue Sky’s ability to keep certain employees ‘through the completion of ICE 2,'” and further that “not only does this email not suggest Blue Sky’s involvement in some broad anti-solicitation conspiracy, it demonstrates that Pixar frequently hired Blue Sky employees.”
Some of the defendants like Blue Sky might have have refrained from becoming aggressive on the hiring front without any formal agreement — that’s at least the defendants’ read, here — while other studios might have been doing stuff that’s arguably pro-competitive on the hiring front.
“Plaintiffs fail to allege plausibly that Sony Pictures entered into non-solicitation agreements with anyone, let alone that it participated in the purported overarching conspiracy that is described in the [consolidated amended complaint],” states the motion to dismiss. “To the contrary, the picture that emerges from the CAC, and the record it relies upon, is not that Sony Pictures entered into nonsolicitation agreements, but that Sony Pictures consistently engaged in aggressive recruiting practices.”
The basis for asserting that Sony had somehow become part of a conspiracy on the anti-poaching front was a meeting held about a decade ago between Pixar president Ed Catmull and senior executives at Sony Animation for the purpose of reaching some understanding about not soliciting each other’s employees. After the meeting, Pixar human resources employee Lori McAdams is said to have suggested that Sony entered into a “gentleman’s agreement.”
“While plaintiffs are correct in alleging that Mr. Catmull did have such a meeting at which he attempted to persuade Sony Pictures to discontinue its aggressive recruiting conduct, absolutely no change in Sony Pictures’ behavior resulted from his efforts,” says the motion to dismiss.
As evidence that Sony never made an agreement with Pixar, the defendants point to Catmull’s deposition testimony in the earlier lawsuit as well as an email with the subject line “Zemeckis” that Catmull sent to former Disney film chief Dick Cook in 2007. At the time, Catmull wrote, “Every time a studio tries to grow rapidly, whether it is Dreamworks in 2D animation or Sony in 3D, it seriously messes up the pay structure.”
By the end of 2007, Catmull stated in another message, “[G]iven Sony’s extremely poor behavior in its recruiting practices, I would feel very good about aggressively going after Sony people.”
The defendants tell the judge that nothing turned up in the DOJ investigation indicating that Sony agreed not to solicit Pixar employees. (If the plaintiffs are allowed to amend, it will be interesting to see if there’s anything from the hacked documents that turn up — which would raise other serious issues.) “The DOJ recognized this dearth of evidence in documents produced by Sony Pictures, Pixar, Lucasfilm, DreamWorks, Blue Sky and others, so it closed its Sony Pictures file without even requesting a meeting with Sony Pictures’ employees or its counsel,” says the motion.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has scheduled a hearing on March 26 to consider the studios’ motion to dismiss the consolidated lawsuit.
The dispute is bringing to the courtroom some of the biggest law firms in the nation. Disney is represented by Emily Henn at Covington & Burling. DreamWorks is repped by Rod Stone at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. Sony is being handled by Stephen Bomse at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. Blue Sky is being defended by John Schmidtlein at Williams & Connolly as well as William Faulkner at McManis Faulkner.
After being criticized by a frenzy of nationwide headlines and tweets on Twitter, Steven Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, promised to get his facts straight after a Sport Report segment on his show concerning the Redskins name sparked outrage. Since then, he’s made his last few episodes to make up for the trouble it caused him and the show to get canned, which is what exactly happened before the Cancel Colbert protest on Twitter began trending. After indisposing the Grim Reaper on his final show which earned him immortality in order to keep his polictical character intact, he’s waiting for David Letterman to do the same since back in April of last year when Colbert met him one time. Now CBS has given him the green light for his own late night comedy series just like Colbert’s idol. What’s the date for the satirists’ debut Johnny?
Johnny Trout (via The Hollywood Reporter)- Stephen Colbert has his start date.
The Late Show will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 8, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler announced Monday morning at the Television Critics Associations’ semiannual press tour. “With an election year ahead, it’s going to be nice to have the smartest guy in the room on at 11:30 p.m.,” she said. The news comes nine months after the April announcement that Colbert would succeed David Letterman, the network’s late-night host for the past 21 years.
The satirist said goodbye to his caricatured conservative character when he signed off last December after a decadelong stint hosting Comedy Central’s hit The Colbert Report (The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore will replace it, bowing Jan. 19). Colbert had been at the network since 1997, when he began as a correspondent for The Daily Show.
“I have nine months to make a show, just like a baby,” Colbert joked. “So first, I should find out how you make a baby.” Tassler added: “The production office is open, the premiere date is set, and we’re incredibly excited to welcome the creative and comedic genius of Stephen Colbert to CBS late night this fall.”
Between Letterman’s May 20 finale and Colbert’s fall launch, Tassler says they plan to run encore presentations of the network’s new and enduring hit shows during the late-night time slot. The network chief also acknowledged that she’s been in conversation with Letterman about special programming leading up to the veteran host’s spring signoff.
Tassler also revealed that Colbert’s team just moved into their new offices — he’ll be broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, which has been home to The Late Show since 1993. As far as details about the format of the show go, Tassler couldn’t reveal much except that there will be music, guests and the focus will be on current events.
“There will be parts that are traditional in some context, and then there’s things he’s going to try to do differently. Part of the opportunity of being in business with a brilliant talent like Stephen Colbert is really letting him do what he wants to do,” said Tassler. “We’re sitting back and waiting for him to come to us to say what he has in mind. He’s a real student of the media and knows the format more than anybody else.”
Checking the Penguins tally, 1,953 fans sign in as Team Hiccup, Team Skipper’s team partner, nabbed best animated flick at last Sunday’s Golden Globes.
New faces for toons arrive this year as 2015’s ratings season is underway. We’ll be profiling new and returning shows as Nick, Cartoon Network, and Disney catch up after a lackluster year. Let’s see if these 3 networks get their mojo back. See you next edition of Gene Scallop’s entertainment report!