Author Archives: Hiscock John

STARRY NIGHTS WITH THE GLOBES AT THE COCOANUT GROVE

VERA ANDERSON takes a trip down Memory Lane and looks back at the early days of the Golden Globes

Cocoanut Grove

The Cocoanut Grove

Nearly three decades after it opened, the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel was still the hottest night spot in Southern California in 1950, attracting the biggest stars in an endless celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  So naturally it was a perfect match for the 7th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony.  The still-fledging awards event, put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, had already visited four venues in its brief history – from Fox Studios to the Beverly Hills, Hollywood Knickerbocker, and Hollywood Roosevelt hotels. But for the next two decades, with only four exceptions the Awards would make their home at the Cocoanut Grove.

In those days before the existence of personal publicists and the kind of media and press overload the entertainment industry experiences today, the very concept of marketing to the foreign market seemed somewhat elusive and inaccessible – which was the very reason this group of international journalists had come together to try as a collective to bridge that gap. As recent expats from their respective countries, some of the members seemed colorful and even exotic as they adapted to their new lives in Hollywood. Imagine the delicious visual of the mustachioed Unger twins, Bertil – wearing his monocle in his left eye, and Gustav, wearing his monocle in the right, and both corresponding for Scandinavian publications. At the 1954 Awards banquet, another set of twins, Amad and Aly Sadick, got into fisticuffs with the Ungers – an unfortunate bit of drama but one that guests seems to take in their but one that guests seemed to take in their stride.

Marylin Monroe with the Golden Globe trophy

Marilyn Monroe with the Golden Globe trophy

The night of the Globes is always memorable but one standout at the Cocoanut Grove was in 1954 – the year the hottest star in the room, Marilyn Monroe, was upstaged when all eyes followed actress Vicki Dugan, whose dress left little to the imagination on the backside.  Not that it mattered to Marilyn, who still got plenty of love as she clutched her trophy for Best Actress in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (which also won Best Picture and Best Actor Jack Lemmon, all 3 awards in the category of Musical or Comedy.)  Marilyn, being Marilyn, knew how to work the press, and in the end she and her Globe were the most photographed couple of the night. Nothing was going to stop the flow of champagne and laughter at what was already considered the best party in town.

The first telecasts of the Globes were from 1958-1963 but were only aired locally in L.A. Then the Globes’ telecast went national  during a special segment on The Andy Williams Show beginning in 1964.

Phil Elwell, who was  a waiter at the Grove during those telecasts, has supplied the HFPA with the schedule and script of the telecast for the 1966 show, which now rest in the HFPA archives. The star guests then included Jerry Lewis, Barbara Stanwyck, Mia Farrow, Ben Gazzarra, Dean Martin, Joanne Woodward, Claudia Cardinale, Gene Kelly, Jill St. John, Dorothy Malone, Lorne Greene and Vince Edwards.

Phil Elwell

Phil Elwell

The documents include the transcript of the welcoming remarks by then-president Bertil Unger, and the script for commercials for Kraft Cheez Whiz and Kraft Strawberry Preserves.

“It was a wonderful, star-studded night, recalls Phil Elwell, who went on to open the highly successful Olde King’s Head British pub in Santa Monica.  “I was present at one of the meetings at the Ambassador and I remember Bertil Unger telling the members: ‘This awards show will grow and grow and become as famous as that other awards show.’

“He was so right.”

 

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BAD BEHAVIOUR!

As we gear up for Cannes, the HFPA’s Elisabeth Sereda takes a look at previous festival misbehaviour and expects more to come.

cannes

The line-up was announced by festival programmer Thierry Fremaux and Cannes president Gilles Jacob

 

With Berlin and Sundance over and as we gear up for Cannes, the talk among the international press is not so much what films are going to be shown (we can look that up) as to who is going to misbehave in the most entertaining way. LaBeouf walking out of the press conference for Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’ after answering a reporter’s question about the film’s sex scenes with a quote from French actor and former soccer player Eric Cantona (“When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”) can be interpreted as a desperate plight for trying to be interesting by an actor who is not known for his eloquence, but it was hardly shocking. Actors and directors have walked out of interviews as long as one can remember. Especially at festivals.
It was his head-in-a-paper-bag appearance that same evening on the red carpet that got the most coverage. With holes cut out for his eyes, he (or an assistant) had written „I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE“ on the bag.

Quentin Tarantino is still famous for not mincing words which he proved at various press conferences in Cannes and other festivals, but very few people remember him getting physical way back in 1992, when he slugged a security guard before the screening of a Belgian film he was trying to get in to: “I am trying to cleverly push my way in and all of a sudden this French guy with a tuxedo and a red bow tie pushes me in the chest,” said Tarantino, according to Reuters. “I am from Los Angeles. We have the LAPD there. These red bow tie guys don’t show me anything. So I took a swing at the guy.” Tarantino, not as famous then, avoided major press coverage of the fight which was joined by his then-girlfriend and had to be broken up by five other guards. He laughingly told the story in 2004 while promoting ‚Kill Bill – Vol.2’ at the festival.
Many others have displayed anger and gotten into verbal altercations with reporters, like Bruce Willis (before he mellowed) who called a question idiotic and suggested to the man asking it to go back to journalism school. This generated mostly laughter from the attending press: the man’s question was indeed idiotic and Willis had just simply put him in his place.

Shia LaBoeuf

Shia LaBoeuf

“I remember Fight Club playing at the Venice Film Festival at a midnight screening. And Edward Norton and I, after having a few drinks, were sitting next to the president who’s running the whole thing. We’re sitting up in the balcony. It’s subtitled, and we are the only f—ers laughing. It gets to one of Helena [Bonham Carter's] scandalous lines — “I haven’t been f—ed like that since grade school!” — and literally, the guy running the festival got up and left. Edward and I were still the only ones laughing. You could hear two idiots in the balcony cackling through the whole thing.”
Berlin and Cannes may have had their share of ridiculousness but it is the official press conferences in Venice that no serious journalist attends for work purposes. We all go, usually straight after the 9 am screening for a comedy break. This is where a Spanish guy who clearly hadn’t seen Steven Spielberg’s ‚Saving Private Ryan’ asked the director why he hadn’t shown the use of condoms for safe sex in his film. The baffled Spielberg stuttered: „But…but there is no sex in my film.“ This didn’t deter the guy. He wanted to start a discussion on safe sex and he damn well did. For another two minutes or so. This was shortly before yet another festival-hair-question was posed to Jude Law who by then had already started battling a receding hairline.
Venice is, after all, the place where good looking movie stars get heckled, ridiculed and even proposed to. Just ask George Clooney who treats his appearances in Venice every other year no differently from ‚The Jimmy Kimmel Show’. After years of dodging the girlfriend question with his well known wit, he ran out of escape plans when a scantily clad Italian woman – who bore a striking resemblance to Elisabetta Canalis long before that one was even in the picture – asked him how much longer he intended to stay single and then proposed to him. She had come prepared and brought along a friend dressed as a catholic priest. The star went along with the charade and participated in a mock wedding in the press room.
Clooney got angry only once. When a reporter attacked him for doing Nespresso-commercials (their parent company Nestle is considered an evil corporation by some) he countered with his own research on the fair trade practices of the coffee firm. And then chastised the reporter for not having done the same.

As Cannes has just released their line-up, we can look forward to more „performances“ by actors and press. Yes, there will be woman who will want to Channing all over his Tatum and men who will inquire as to the status of Sienna Miller’s relationship (both there for Bennett Miller’s „Foxcatcher“). Nicole Kidman,  who has the opening night with „Grace of Monaco,“ surely is not looking forward to being asked about the state of her marriage – fine, but not according to the US-rags. Robert Pattinson will look helplessy to his director David Cronenberg and co-star Julianne Moore before not answering any questions about a girlfriend, and Mia Wasikowska who will attend for the same film („Maps to the Stars“) will breathe a sigh of relief that all the attention is focused on him instead of her relationship with Jesse Eisenberg. Tommy Lee Jones, director of „The Homesman“ will frustrate journalists with non-answers, and Annette Bening and Berenice Bejo who will travel to Cannes for Michel Hazanavicius’ „The Search“ will look as beautiful as they are bored.
And someone somewhere along the Croisette will cause a scandal that fills the papers for days. It always happens.
Here is the link to the Cannes lineup:
http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/article/60533.html

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CHARLTON HESTON NOW A ‘LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD’

charlton heston stamp 2    Three-time Golden Globe nominee Charlton Heston, who in 1967 was honoured by the HFPA with the Cecil B DeMille award, has become the 18th inductee into the U.S. Postal Service’s Legends of Hollywood stamp series.

   The ceremony took place during a first-day-of-issue stamp dedication at the Chinese Theatre as part of the TMC Classic Film Festival and preceded the premiere of the newly restored 1958 Heston film Touch of Evil.

  The stamp bearing Heston’s image is a painting taken from a photo shot by his widow, Lydia Clarke Heston, who attended the ceremony with their son Fraser C. Heston.

 “Acting was not Charlton Heston’s whole life,” said U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chairman Mickey Barnett in dedicating the stamp. “He was never afraid to stand up for his beliefs. In the 1960s, he believed so strongly in civil rights that he marched on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whom he called ‘a Twentieth Century Moses.”

Charlton Heston, who died in April 2008, was also known as a strong supporter of rights for gun owners and was a former head of the National Rifle Association.

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HFPA GIVES $5,000 TO RYAN KAVANAUGH CHARITY

kavanaugh_1The HFPA has donated $5,000 to producer Ryan Kavanaugh’s charity, The Art of Elysium, an organization that encourages actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.

HFPA President Theo Kingma said: “We are committed to encouraging and supporting worthy charities and The Art of Elysium does wonderful work in helping seriously ill children.”

Kavanaugh, who is Chairman of the Board of the charity, has been recognized for his charitable works by organizations including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, whose Board of Governors honored him as the sole winner of the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian Award; the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, which presented him with its Community Champion Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to inner-city young people; and by First Star for his dedication to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect.

Kavanaugh, 39,  the founder and CEO of Relativity Media, also recently became involved in dog rescue through his acquisition of FreeHand, saying that “We hope this will become a staple of Hollywood, and if you are not involved in this, then you’re not promoting social good amongst the animal world.”

As well as his charity work, Ryan Kavanaugh is known as a leading figure in Hollywood film production and through Relativity he has  financed more than 200 films representing more than $17 billion in revenue.

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KRISTEN BELL SEEKS HFPA HELP IN BATTLING ‘PEDORAZZI’

kristen bell1 Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell and her husband Dax Shepard have enlisted the help of the HFPA in taking their fight against the paparazzi to the next level.

After welcoming their first child, Lincoln, last March, the actors became vocal advocates of the “no kids policy,” boycotting every publication that features paparazzi shots of celebrity children taken without consent.

Kristen has asked the HFPA to help publicize their battle to make shooting photos of celebrity children off-limits to the paparazzi, a practice she and Shepard nicknamed “pedorazzi.”

She  described how “terrifying” it is for a mother to walk by herself, without an entourage, holding her baby daughter — while an army of shutterbugs scream at her and stand in her way.

In a letter to the HFPA she writes:

 Recently my husband and I, along with a group of other actors and entertainers, started a public discussion about the use of children in entertainment media.  When discussing paparazzi, its commonly said that “actors signed up for this”.  Actually, my pursuit was to entertain people. But I do accept the consequences, that I will be followed by photographers during my private time. What I DID sign up for, however, is to be a Mother. Which means I have a duty to create a safe environment for my child.  My child is not a public figure, and she has the right to privacy, until she chooses otherwise.

           Magazines, television outlets  and blogs around the world cover every cute little move and outfit change of public figures’ children. They pay paparazzi who are camping outside schools, homes, parks, yelling, pushing, jumping out of bushes, running red lights and driving erratically. This is dangerous and scary for kids. The complexity of the machine, in which the children are a cog, is far beyond their comprehension. They experience only the primal feeling of being hunted. This effects other young children who are unlucky enough to be in the vicinity, even if they themselves are not guilty of having a “celebrity” parent.

       Anyone with a moral compass can agree that no child should be stalked by a group of strangers with or without cameras. We can settle for the explanation “that’s just the way it is”…but why WOULD we?  Let’s all strive to create the best environment possible for all kids.  The only way to fix this problem is to take away the demand.  I urge anyone that has the power to use it in eliminating the demand side of this equation.

One thing that should help their cause is a California bill signed into law last September which increased penalties for taking photos and video of children in a harassing manner and without their parents’ consent. The bill was supported by Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner, who both testified at legislative hearings about their own experiences with paparazzi.

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‘SAD TALE’ OF MICKEY ROONEY’S LAST DAYS

Two-time Golden Globe winner Mickey Rooney left only $18,000 when he died at the weekend aged 93, according to his will. In addition he owed back taxes to the IRS and the state Franchise Tax Board. He was estranged from most of his nine children and separated from his wife.

Even in death his troubles continued because two feuding factions of his family initially could not  agree on what was to be done with his remains. A judge ruled that no one could claim his body from the mortuary until the dispute was resolved.

Eventually family members agreed that he should be buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in a small, private family affair.

“It’s  a sad tale,” Michael Augustine, who served as Rooney’s conservator since 2011, told the Los Angeles Times. “Mickey had enough lawsuits in life for ten people; the last thing he needed is one over where he’ll be buried.”

At the time of his death the entertainer was living with his stepson Mark Rooney and his wife in Studio City.

He had met  HFPA members as recently as last Mickey_RooneyAugust when, in a wheelchair, he attended a screening at the Armand Hammer museum of the Stanley Kramer movie Death of a Salesman, which the HFPA had helped restore.

Along with other movie veterans Sidney Poitier, Lou Gossett Jr and George Chakiris, he chatted with members and reminisced about his 90-year-career.

One of the most enduring performers in showbusiness, he made his debut on the vaudeville stage as a 17-month-old toddler in 1922 and toured into his late eighties in a two-person stage show with his then wife Jan Chamberlin.

He made his breakthrough as a dramatic actor as the young tough in the 1938 film Boys Town and starred with Judy Garland in a  series of musicals that included the popular 1939 Babes in Arms. Between 1937 and 1946 he portrayed Andy Hardy in 15 MGM feature films that, according to critic Leonard Maltin, were among the most popular movie series of all time.

His first wife was the actress Ava Gardner, whom he married in 1942 and he went on to marry seven more times, later joking about his propensity for marriage, saying: “My marriage license reads, ‘To whom it may concern.’”

He won his Golden Globes in 1964 for Best TV Star and in 1982 for best actor for his performance in the TV movie Bill about a mentally challenged man living on his own for the first time. Many critics considered it his best ever performance.

 

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HFPA’S JULIETTE’S BOOK CELEBRATES THE HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD

once-upon-a-timeCongratulations to HFPA member Juliette Michaud, whose magnificent coffee table book, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has just been published in the U.S.

The book, which has been translated from the original French and has a foreword by Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar-winning director of The Artist, celebrates the centennial of Hollywood’s first feature length movie, The Squaw Man, directed by Cecil B. De Mille in 1914.

Featuring 350 photographs and more than 600 films, it traces the history of Hollywood productions, accompanied by Juliette’s interviews with cinematic legends, including Mickey Rooney, Kirk Douglas, Julie Andrews and Jane Fonda.

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HFPA HELPS RESTORE ‘BEST FILM NOIR NO ONE HAS SEEN’

too-late The 16th Film Noir Festival opened in Hollywood with a screening of the 1949 film Too Late for Tears, which was restored with the help of financial support from the HFPA.

Eddie Muller, the  FNF President, acknowledged the contribution of the HFPA in a brief talk before the screening at the historic Egyptian Theater.  It was a particularly difficult  project he said, because there was  no complete print to work from. Mr. Muller thanked the HFPA for donating the last portion of the budget, restoring what he called ” the best film noir movie no one has seen” and helping the project over the goal line.

Yoram Kahana, Chairman of the Board  of  the HFPA, congratulated the Film Noir Foundation and welcomed the audience to enjoy the results of the first collaboration between the  HFPA and the FNF, expressing the hope that this restoration will be the first in a continuing cooperation. The next project under consideration is Woman on the Run [1950], starring Ann Sheridan and Dennis  O’Keefe.

The Film Noir Festival, which features foreign noirs as well as USA productions, continues with screenings  of  such foreign classics as Luchino Visconti’s first masterpiece, Ossesione (a stunning hybrid of noir and neorealism, it is a gritty, earthy and unlicensed adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice),  followed by  a double feature of Latin American themed noirs by Argentinian director Hugo Fregonese , Hardly a Criminal and One Way Street.
Another double bill is based on books  by legendary noir author, David  Goodis. One of  them,  And Hope to Die, was directed by French master René Clement and starred Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Later this  year the festival, featuring  Too Late for Tears will play in Chicago. Seattle and Washington, D.C.

—Yoram Kahana

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MALAGA CELEBRATES FESTIVAL WITH A CITY-WIDE SHOWCASE

malaga


Malaga’s city center with red carpet and star display. In foreground actress Goya Toleda

A delegation from the HFPA witnessed the celebration of its 17th annual Film Festival by the Andalusian city of Malaga, Spain.

  The main artery of the city center, the Calle Larios, was covered with an expansive red carpet flanked by an alley of photo displays showing visiting celebrities. Ancient city squares were filled with open-air concerts, performances and screenings which turned the entire city of Malaga into one big festival showcase.

Films from Ireland to Russia and Pakistan but especially from Spanish speaking countries competed for the roster of prizes and entries from local talent were greeted with special pride and fan support. One was Enrique Garcia’s 321 days in Michigan (321 dias en Michigan), a film made by a purely Malaga-born team of actors, actresses and producers.

 Two ladies of the international film scene drew the most attention: Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) and Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth, Y Tu Mama Tambien), who won the Premio Malaga-Sur Award.

  After accepting the prize, Ms Verdu, accompanied by Malaga’s Mayor Francisco de la Torre, unveiled the plaque in her honor, adorned with her hand print on Malaga’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the Paseo Maritimo Antonio Banderas.

The HFPA regularly sends delegations to major film festivals as part of an effort to establish favorable relations and cultural ties between foreign countries and the film industry of the US.

 —-Elmar Biebl

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LEO WINS DESIGNERS’ HIPSTER AWARD

leo hipster

Hipster Leo

  Two time Golden Globe winner Leonardo Di Caprio has just picked up another, but somewhat less prestigious, award. He has been named Best Hipsterised Celebrity following a contest among 160,000 designers to transform their favourite movies stars into trendy hipsters.

No comment yet from Leo, who won his Globes for The Aviator in 2005 and The Wolf of Wall Street this year, on what he thinks of his new, hipster image.

Designers also got to work on other stars like Chiwetel Ejiofo, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep:

   

One designer even hipsterised the famous ‘Oscars Selfie’:

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