Oscar nominations in Hollywood, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

The Oscars‘ horrible lack of diversity, explained in 2 minutes

16 January 2015

The average Oscar voter is a 63-year-old white man, so it’s no surprise that there is a horrible lack of diversity in this year’s Academy Award nominations.

The Academy Proves That Oscars Are Only For White People, Again. Oh, you thought non-white actors would get Oscar noms? Here.

A Twitter message by Marlon James in the USA on 14 January 2016 says:

#OscarsSoWhite that the bear in [the film] Revenant would have snagged a nomination if she were polar.

By David Walsh in the USA:

The 88th Academy Awards nominations

15 January 2016

The 88th Academy Award nominations, announced Thursday morning, revealed the usual muddle-headedness, liberal good intentions and severe limitations of the social grouping that decides these things. The awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will take place on February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. …

Two honest films about American life, The Big Short––on the 2008 financial crisis and Wall Street criminality––and Spotlight ––about sexual abuse by Catholic priests––collected a number of nominations. Both films were named in the best picture and best directing categories; both had a supporting actor nominated (Christian Bale in The Big Short and Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, respectively); both screenplays (one adapted and one original) were nominated. The Big Short received a total of five nominations and Spotlight six.

Hollywood scriptwriter Dalton Trumbo

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trumbo – International Trailer

5 October 2015

The successful career of 1940s screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) comes to a crushing end when he and other Hollywood figures are blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) tells the story of his fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom, which entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne to Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

The hero who wrote ‘I am Spartacus‘!

Wednesday 9th December 2015

PETER FROST remembers one of his greatest heroes – blacklisted Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo

I AM Spartacus! We all remember the famous scene from the 1960 movie Spartacus. Kirk Douglas plays the famous slave leader. A Roman general announces to a group of former slaves that unless they identify Spartacus they will all be crucified.

Spartacus prepares to speak up but then all around him others stand to declare: “I am Spartacus!”

It is perhaps the ultimate demonstration of human solidarity and heroism.

This video is called I’m Spartacus – Spartacus (8/10) Movie CLIP (1960).

The scene was written by Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted and sent to jail for refusing to name his fellow Hollywood scriptwriters, actors and directors as members or supporters of the Communist party.

Once out of prison he wrote under false names for the film industry, but it wasn’t until 1960 that director Otto Preminger and actor Kirk Douglas had the courage to publically credit Trumbo as the writer of Spartacus.

That brave act was the beginning of the end of the blacklist. Trumbo was reinstated in the Writers Guild of America. Over the next few years it would slowly be revealed just how many scripts Trumbo had written under other names while blacklisted.

Shamefully it took until 2011 — three dozen years after his death and less than five years ago — that Trumbo was finally credited for all his blacklisted period scripts, including for the script of the 1953 award-winning film Roman Holiday.

This video is called Roman Holiday Trailer.

The romantic comedy was directed and produced by William Wyler. It stars Gregory Peck as a reporter and Audrey Hepburn as a royal princess who sets out to see Rome on her own. Hepburn won an Academy Award for best actress for her performance.

The costume design also won an Oscar and another Oscar went to the screenplay. On the original credits the screenplay was attributed to John Dighton and Ian McLellan Hunter. In fact the film was written by Dalton Trumbo. It would be 40 years until 1993 before he actually collected his Oscar.

No, Trumbo had already died in 1976, so he received his Oscar pusthumously.

James Dalton Trumbo was born in Montrose, Colorado, on December 9 1905, the first son of shoe store clerk Orus and his wife, Maud.

His family moved to nearby Grand Junction, where he attended high school and became a cub reporter for a local paper. Trumbo continued his writing while attending the University of Colorado.

His family moved to Los Angeles. When his father died young, Trumbo took a job in a bakery to help support his mother and younger sisters.

He worked as a baker for 10 years while learning his writing skills producing short stories and novels, none of which he could get published.

He worked his way through the University of California, paying his way by doing odd jobs.

By the early 1930s, Trumbo began selling his writings to magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, Vanity Fair and the Hollywood Spectator.

He became the managing editor of the Spectator in 1934, a year that also saw him publish his first novel, Eclipse, as well as land a job as a script reader in the Warner Brothers studio.

Then in 1935 Trumbo signed a contract with the studio as a junior writer, launching what would prove to be a long and amazingly dramatic career.

In 1936 Trumbo received his first screenwriting credit, specifically for the crime drama Road Gang. Over the next 10 years he became one of the most successful and sought-after writers in Hollywood.

Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Mitchum, won Trumbo his first Academy nomination.

In 1939 he married Cleo Fincher, with whom he would have three children, and in September of that year his anti-war novel Johnny Got His Gun received a National Book Award.

Like many intellectuals and artists at the time, Trumbo was a member of the Communist Party with left-leaning political positions.

US nazis read into the anti-war message of his novel an opposition to going to war with nazi Germany. Nothing could have been further from the truth — he was a enthusiastic anti-fascist.

When the nazis wrote to Trumbo he passed their letters to the FBI. Rather than pursue the letter-writers, however, the bureau opened a file on Trumbo.

In October 1947, as post-war paranoia about communism was building up in the US, Trumbo was among a group of 10 Hollywood directors and writers called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

Trumbo and the other nine all refused to testify. They refused to betray other communists and as a consequence, the Hollywood Ten were found guilty of contempt of Congress. They were subsequently blacklisted by the heads of the major studios, and in 1950 Trumbo served almost a year in prison for contempt.

Following his release, Trumbo was unable to find work in California and moved his family to Mexico City. From there, he continued to write screenplays, which he was able to sell by using either pseudonyms or other writers to act as fronts for his work.

Finally, in 1957 Trumbo returned to Hollywood. He had written the screenplay for The Brave One under the pseudonym Robert Rich. The screenplay received an Academy Award.

This video is called Writing Winners: 1957 Oscars. It says about itself:

Dalton Trumbo (as “Robert Rich”) wins the Oscar for Writing (Motion Picture Story) for The Brave One; James Poe, John Farrow and S.J. Perelman win the Oscar for Writing (Screenplay – Adapted) for Around the World in Eighty Days; Albert Lamorisse wins the Oscar for Writing (Screenplay – Original) for The Red Balloon at the 29th Academy Awards. Presented by Deborah Kerr and hosted by Jerry Lewis and Celeste Holm.

The Peter Frost article continues:

When journalists were subsequently unable to find the mysterious Robert Rich for comment, it emerged that the film had in fact been written by Trumbo, revealing the blacklist as a fiasco.

The year after Robert Rich won the Oscar for The Brave One, Trumbo was hired to write the script for … Exodus, and in 1959 he was chosen by Kirk Douglas to write Spartacus.

This video is the trailer of Exodus (1960).

Trumbo’s authorship of these two highly successful pictures was revealed shortly before their release in 1960, along with the announcement that Trumbo would receive on-screen credits for his work.

Trumbo returned to work in earnest and for the remainder of his life continued his prolific and successful output.

In 1971 Trumbo wrote and directed a film of his own novel Johnny Got His Gun, for which he received two awards at the Cannes Film Festival.

This video is called Johnny Got His Gun 1971.

Now Hollywood is at last recognising the talent and the torment of one of its finest screenwriters. A new film, Trumbo, stars Bryan Cranston as the blacklisted writer and also features Helen Mirren, John Goodman and Diane Lane. It will be released in Britain early next year.

HASKELL WEXLER, the award-winning US cinematographer — and a man who used his camera to support of all kinds of progressive causes — has died in Santa Monica aged 93: here.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, film review

This 2015 video from the USA is called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Official Trailer – “We March Together”.

By Maria Duarte in Britain:

Last-lap triumph

Friday 20th November 2015

The final film in the Hunger Games series is a winner, says MARIA DUARTE

The Hunger Games:
Mockingjay Part 2 (12A)
Directed by Francis Lawrence

OSCAR-WINNING Jennifer Lawrence bids farewell to the empowering Katniss Everdeen in this riveting and compelling finale to the franchise which has grossed more than $2.2 billion worldwide and turned her into a global star.

Picking up exactly where the last film left off, Everdeen is still unable to get through to the brainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) in the bunkers of District 13.

However, with Panem descending into war she heads for the Capitol with a crack unit which includes her closest friends Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta to liberate the citizens and assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Director Francis Lawrence delivers a complex and emotionally charged final chapter with spectacular and nail-biting action sequences which is faithful to Suzanne Collins’s best-selling novel.

In this 76th Hunger Games, the team faces deadly booby traps and hideous creatures while being hunted down by President Snow’s troops.

In the sewer tunnels of the Capitol they are chased by mutant lizard mutts which seem to have stepped out of a Guillermo del Toro film.

Lawrence is magnificent once more as the battle-weary Everdeen, who finally embraces her role as leader of the rebellion while Hemsworth and Hutcherson are again merely a supporting act.

The film also explores the cost of war, its compromises, its devastating effects on survivors and the secret political agendas being pursued — District 13’s rebel leader President Coin (played brilliantly by Julianne Moore) isn’t as altruistic as she appears.

Bleak and brutal as it is, Everdeen’s final showdown with Snow underlines the hollowness of revenge. No-one emerges unscathed.

This is a fitting ending to one of the most in-depth, thought-provoking, action-packed and empowering tween franchises.

And watching the great Philip Seymour Hoffman in his last ever performance leaves a bitter-sweet taste.

See also here.