Hello – is it shlock you’re looking for? I enjoyed this New York Mag article while unashamedly turning up Don’t Stop Believin’ on full blast.
* The image above is what Lupita Nyong’o posted on her Instagram feed to confirm another long-swirling rumour around the Star Wars Episode VII movie – that she is in! Add this to the confirmation last week that the Oscar-winner scooped the rights to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s hit novel Americanah, and Nyong’o’s second half of the year looks to be on solid footing. Let’s hope she plays more of a role in Star Wars than she did in the movie Non Stop though, where she barely spoke a line! Gwendoline Christie, best known for her role as Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones, will be joining Nyong’o on set too.
* Nyong’o was one of the guests at the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York last night. Her outfit, and what everyone else there wore, has been almost entirely overshadowed by Rihanna, who decided to dress, ahem, down for the occasion.
* Oliver Stone has announced his next move. He’ll be directing the film version of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s story, as relayed by journalist Luke Harding. The man behind JFK, Nixon and Platoon, Stone has a name for directing issues of cultural and political importance in American history, so this seems like a natural fit.
* After apologizing for words he says have been taken out of context, Jack White is making his latest album Lazaretto available a week early, streaming on iTunes. The two events are more than likely not related, but seeing as he has a many a tour date ahead of him, it’s a good thing he tried to clear the air a little.
* No stranger to controversy, Sinead O’Connor has a new album coming out too, which she has re-titled: I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss. The new name, she explains on her site, is her show of support for Sheryl Sandberg and co’s #banbossy movement. Love it!
* Stephen Colbert dropped by his soon-to-be-predecessor David Letterman’s show on Tuesday night. The two joked heartily, about, among other things, Stephen’s salary for the gig – he revealed he’d once turned down an opportunity to intern at the Late Show because he wasn’t going to be paid. Come 2015, that should be a fond memory for Colbert.
* We’ve loved him as Barney, and before that Doogie Howser, and now Neil Patrick Harris is earning high praise for his role as Hedwig in John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The new version of the production opened on Tuesday night, with The New York Times’ Ben Brantley declaring that Harris now joins “an elite club of musical-comedy male supernovas that has exactly one other member these days, Hugh Jackman.” High praise, indeed.
* Robert Downey Jr is new to Twitter but it looks like he’s got the hang of it quite well – giving us his first pic from the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is of him and executive producer Jeremy Latcham in safety vests. Keep ’em comin’, Mr Stark.
* If you’re a Pixies fan, you’ll already know you can stream the band’s first album in over 20 years, right now. Indie Cindy recorded without co-founder Kim Deal, is the 6th album from the Boston group, and no doubt a polarizing one for many.
* Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has topped People Magazine’s Most Beautiful list. Of course, she’s to be commended for much more than her looks, but it’s still pretty great to see her on the cover.
[Pic: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences]
It’s been threatening to rain for the past few days and then it did – downpours of the torrential kind. Hopefully Mother Nature has got it all out her system by now because no one likes a wet red carpet…
Yesterday in Santa Monica, the annual Independent Spirit Awards were handed out by Film Independent, the organization that aims to promote indie films and actors. In this ceremony, gems like Fruitvale Station and Short Term 12 had the chance to be included among the nods to great films of the past year. The ceremony (which also has a relaxed atmosphere, thanks to the midday drinking that’s encouraged) was hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt (who was fab as Charlize Theron’s Young Adult co-star). Brad and Angie were there, Lupita Nyong’o celebrated her 31st birthday and Jared Leto made sure he thanked almost everyone he could, including the inventor of the zipper and vegan butter.
As The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg notes, it’s looking like all four actors who won Indie Spirit Awards will go on to win at the Oscars, which would make it the first time in the awards’ history that they forecast the Oscars.
The winners then…
Feature – 12 Years A Slave
Male Lead – Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Female Lead – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Male Support – Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Female Support – Lupita N’yongo, 12 Years A Slave
Director – Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
First Feature – Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
Screenplay – John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
First Screenplay – Bob Nelson, Nebraska
John Cassavetes Award (film under $50,000) – This is Martin Bonner
Cinematography – Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave
Editing – Nat Sanders, Short Term 12
Documentary – 20 Feet From Stardom
International Film – Blue Is the Warmest Color
Robert Altman Award – Mud
The night before the Oscars, as always, is filled with soirees and parties celebrating the success of nominees. I spotted 12 Years a Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender leaving the Grey Goose pre-Oscar dinner. Both were in great spirits as they got into their chauffeured cars, chatting to those around them. Apparently Angelina Jolie joined Brad Pitt, a producer on the film, at the dinner too. A friend at Grey Goose told me he found her to be really down to earth, asking about his mother and the rest of his French family. Gotta love Oscar time!
12 Years a Slave, beyond the Oscar buzz and nominations, is a film experience worth taking in – even though it is a difficult watch. Steve McQueen brings the true story of Solomon Northup to life in such artistic detail, and with such a measured force, it leaves the audience a little more understanding, a little more kinder – at least that is the deep hope – than when they first went into the cinema.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyongo’ from the cast of the movie, as well as director Steve McQueen, who spoke about the impact of telling this story, which is based on Northup’s memoir, written just three months after he re-gained his freedom.