Author Archives: Hiscock John

HUGH JACKMAN TOLD HFPA OF HIS CANCER BATTLE

Hugh Jacjackman cancerkman has undergone treatment for his third bout of basil cell cancer in the past 12 months.

The first time was in November 2013 and the second time was in May this year when he was promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past and talked to the HFPA about it.

“I had a basal cell carcinoma taken out last night which is a skin cancer but it’s the most minor of them,” he said. “Unfortunately, being Australian it happens more often but please if you’re writing about it, tell people who are reading to get check-ups. Thankfully my doctors, made me get check-ups and it’s where they found it. Don’t be like me as a kid—- wear sunscreen.”

And he predicted: “I’m realistic about the future and it’s more than likely that I’ll have at least one more but probably many more bouts with cancerous cells.’

 

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ANNE SMILES THROUGH HER SPACE ORDEAL

Anne Hathawanne hathawayay has grown used to stressful times during her 16 year acting   career.

The Oscar winner has appeared nude on screen, jumped out of buildings, had her head shaved, played drug addicts, hosted the Oscars and won one, as well.

But Chris Nolan ratcheted up her anxiety factor to a new level in his latest film, the space exploration adventure Interstellar.

As one of four astronauts who embark on a mission to find a habitable planet in another galaxy, the 31-year-old actress spent much of the time suspended on harnesses, floating in mid-air, suffering from motion sickness and, in what could have been a life-threatening situation, immersed in frigid water with a serious risk of hypothermia.

But Hathaway, despite her slender frame and fragile appearance, is a robust trouper who has come through the four-month shoot smiling and with plenty of stories to tell.

She shared them with HFPA members when she met them to talk about the problems and pleasures of filming Interstellar in which she plays a scientist-astronaut named Brand.

The $160 million movie, which was directed by Chris Nolan and co-written by him and his brother Jonah, took her and the rest of the cast, which includes Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Nolan regular Michael Caine and a giant spaceship, from cornfields in Calgary, Alberta, to a glacier that has been strafed by a volcano in Iceland.

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STARS BRAVE THE RAIN AT LONDON FESTIVAL GALA PREMIERE

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Keira Knightly on the red carpet

Hundreds of screaming fans, some of whom had been waiting in the rain for 16 hours, welcomed Benedict Cumberbatch on the red carpet for the European premiere of The Imitation Game  at the gala opening of this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

The Sherlock star plays computer pioneer Alan Turing in the wartime drama..

Co-star Keira Knightley and other members of the cast – including Charles Dance and Mark Strong – also braved the rain on the opening night of the festival. Knightley plays Turing’s close friend and fellow-code breaker, Joan Clarke. Keira, in a dazzling gold gown, struggled to keep her hair under control in the wind and rain.

London Film Festival director Clare Stewart said: “There have been people waiting for the red carpet since 4am – I’m thrilled that Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley decided not to take a rain check.”

The festival, which is attended by several HFPA members, is screening 248 films at 17 emily blun tvenues across London over 12 days.

Edge of Tomorrow star Emily Blunt, speaking at an eve-of-festival gala dinner, described London as “the new Hollywood,” saying: “I think the locations here are stunning, the crews are astonishing, we have amazing studios and we have a craftsmanship here that has come from people working in this industry for years.

She was joined by Dhjango Unchained star Christoph Waltz who agreed, saying: “There’s more happening in London than anywhere else. All the business happens here.”

 

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PAST HFPA PRESIDENT HELMUT VOSS DIES

A past president of the HFPA, Helmut Voss has died after a long illness.

56th Annual Golden Globe Awards Helmut, who was president from 1998-2000, was instrumental in the HFPA purchasing their present building on South Robertson in West Hollywood.

Helmut was born in Hamburg, Germany on July 25, 1939. While still studying at Hamburg University, he joined the giant Springer publishing company as a reporter in March 1961 and only six months later at age 22 was assigned by the company’s newly formed in-house Springer Foreign News Service as a correspondent to its London office.

He stayed in London for five years, covering such stories as the Profumo scandal, the Great Train Robbery and the Aberfan disaster and then was offered a position in Springer’s New York office.

He stayed for two years, covering the early US space program, the Detroit riots and numerous other major US events of the sixties, at a time when foreign correspondents were still doing a lot of leg work and had no cell phones, laptops or digital cameras at their disposal.

After a brief stint as an editor with one of Springer’s Sunday papers in Hamburg, he returned to the US in 1970 and opened Springer’s first West Coast office in Los Angeles. During the next 10 years he reported on the Charles Manson and Patty Hearst trials, traveled extensively in Latin America and also covered more and more celebrity news, doing “at home” stories – when that was still possible for foreign correspondents – with stars like John Wayne, Mae West, Henry, Jane and Peter Fonda.

In 1980 he was given the opportunity to become the Springer bureau chief in London. However, after four years in London he asked to be reassigned to Los Angeles, crossed the Atlantic a fifth time with his family and was in charge of the LA office until it was closed for good in 2000.

In later years he fought a brave battle against cancer but despite his illness he returned to the HFPA as Parliamentarian for nine months until he became too ill to continue. His last visit to the HFPA office was join members watching Germany play in the World Cup.

HFPA President Theo Kingma said: “We are very sad and will miss him a great deal. We will always remember Helmut not just as a great journalist , colleague, board member, parliamentarian and president, but especially as a wonderful person.”

Funeral services will be in Santa Barbara.

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WHAT A NIGHT!

HFPA GIVES AWAY  $2 MILLION—AND ANNOUNCES  A $7.5 MILLION CHARITY BONUS

HFPA Grants Banquet

Theo Kingma and Sofia Vergara

The HFPA gave away almost two million dollars to entertainment-related charities during a star-studded night of love, laughter and surprises at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

This year’s donations brought the amount given away by the HFPA over the last 20 years to $20 million—-and president Theo Kingma revealed to applause that another $7.5 million is available thanks to Guggenheim Partners, the new owners of dick clark productions, the HFPA’s Golden Globes producing partners.

” It underscores a new kind of partnership and we are going to make sure it is shared with those that are so deserving in an industry HFPA journalists cover all year,” said Kingma.

The evening featured a performance by actress Kristen Bell, who wowed the guests with the song, Wanna Build a Snowman from the hit movie Frozen.

Before the donations were announced Kingma, saying: “No star wants to hear silence,” called for a round of applause for Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

 The many celebrities who were there to accept the checks included Sofia Vergara, Nick Jonas, Jenny Slate, Andy Samberg, Channing Tatum, Kerry Washington, Rob Pattinson,  Minnie Driver, Morgan Freeman, Elle Fanning, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette,Logan Lerman, Jason Segal, Anne Heche, Franke Potenta, Chris Evans, Gena Rodriguez, Michael Pena, James Marsden and many more.

For the first time the grants were given at an evening banquet instead of at a lunch and marked the latest in ever-increasing amounts of money the organization has given to some 50 diverse entertainment-related and charitable organizations.

Kingma said: “We try every year to give as much as we can to these highly deserving organizations. It is gratifying to know that our efforts are appreciated and we are helping to further the cause of education and film preservation.”

As well as the preservation of film, the donations are for a wide range of projects, including higher education, training and mentoring and the promotion of cultural exchange through film.

Historically the Film Foundation has received the largest single donation and this year received $350,000. So far the HFPA has been responsible for the restoration of 85 films, from Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory to Federico Fellini’s La Strada and this year’s project, Sergio Leone‘s Fistful of Dollars. In a video message Martin Scorsese congratulated the HFPA on its “incredible contribution to cinema history.”

Morgan Freeman, accepting the check, thanked the HFPA for “a decade of support.”

Among its many additional charities, the HFPA provides scholarships, supports filmmaker training in Kenyan refugee camps and donates money to theater groups, musicians, storytellers’ foundations, film archives and youth projects, as well as many other worthy causes.


Watch the replay of the HFPA Grants Dinner Banquet

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GEORGE CLOONEY TO GET CECIL B. DE MILLE AWARD

He has won four Golden Globes during his career and now George Clooney will be honored with the 2015 Cecil B. DeMille Award.69TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS

Clooney, an actor, writer, director and producer, who is also known for his humanitarian deeds, will receive the award at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards on January 11.

“The HFPA is honored to bestow the Cecil B. DeMille Award to George Clooney to celebrate his outstanding contributions both in front of and behind the camera,” said HFPA president Theo Kingma.

The Cecil B. DeMille Award is given annually to those who have made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment. Recent recipients include Woody Allen (2014), Jodie Foster (2013), Morgan Freeman, (2012), Robert De Niro (2011), Martin Scorsese (2010), Steven Spielberg (2009), Warren Beatty (2007), Anthony Hopkins (2006), Robin Williams (2005), Michael Douglas (2004), Gene Hackman (2003) and Harrison Ford (2002).

Clooney last year appeared in Gravity and through his Smokehouse production company he most recently produced, directed and starred in The Monuments Men . He will soon be seen starring in the upcoming sci-fi film Tomorrowland for Disney.

Clooney’s achievements as a performer and a filmmaker have earned him four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, four SAG Awards, one BAFTA award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, an Emmy and four National Board of Review Awards.

He is recognized as much for his global humanitarian efforts as he is for his accomplishments in the entertainment industry. In 2006, Clooney and his father, Nick, went to drought-stricken Darfur, Africa, to George Clooney press conference for "The Ides of March". The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico. July 12, 2011.film the documentary Journey to Darfur and the following year  Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub founded Not On Our Watch, an organization whose mission is to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities in Darfur.  Among the many honors received as a result of his humanitarian efforts in Darfur, was the 2007 Peace Summit Award, given at the eighth World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

In 2008, Clooney was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace, one of eight individuals chosen to advocate on behalf of the U.N. and its peacekeeping efforts. Two years later, Clooney, along with Joel Gallen and Tenth Planet Productions, produced the Hope for Haiti Now! telethon, raising more than $66 million. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Clooney with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award and later that year, Clooney received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for his dedication to humanitarian efforts in Sudan and Haiti.

 

ELISABETH SEREDA LOOKS AT THE LIFE AND CAREER OF ‘THE SMARTEST MAN IN HOLLYWOOD.’

George Clooney’s life and career has always been defined by extreme contrasts. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, his first job was cutting tobacco.

But from the age of five he accompanied and watched his father Nick, a news anchor in the vein of Walter Cronkite, who moved the family back and forth between Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, where he had his show. Nick Clooney later inspired his son to write and direct Good Night, And Good Luck about Edward R. Murrow, another newsman who tried to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

George was very active in baseball and basketball and tried out for the Cincinnati Reds but did not get a contract. Showbusiness was not first and foremost on his mind, if anything he saw himself following in his father’s footsteps. But there was the famous aunt, Rosemary, and her husband Jose Ferrer. Young George was an assistant on one of her tours. He also sold women’s shoes and developed a talent for drawing and caricatures. After his cousin Miguel got a small part in a feature film, he, too, pursued acting.

The first break in a major role came in 1984 with a sitcom called – funny enough – E/R. But it took ten years and a lot of cancelled TV-series and supporting parts such as his role as Booker on Roseanne until is big breakthrough in the drama series ER.

He likes to joke about his first feature film Return of the Killer Tomatoes! and while on ER he made Robert Rodriguez’ cult classic From Dusk Til Dawn, the romantic comedy One Fine Day and Batman & Robin.

„See that poster above my desk?“ he once asked during an interview in his production office while pointing at it: „That is there in case I ever get too big for my britches, to remind me how I ruined that franchise!“ he jokes.

It was the  trifecta of Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and David O.Russell’s Three Kings that cemented his reputation as feature film actor. He won his first Golden Globe for the Coen Bros.’ O Brother, Where Art Though? and proved that he could sell blockbusters with The Perfect Storm and the Ocean’s trilogy.With his directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind he caught the directing/roducing bug and formed his own company with – at first – Soderbergh and then longtime friend Grant Heslov, whom he met in acting class. With, among others, Syriana, Good Night, And Good Luck, Michael Clayton,Burn After Reading, Up in the Air, The Descendants, The Ides of March and Argo he established himself as film industry powerhouse.

Many in the industry call him „the smartest man in Hollywood“. Unbegrudgingly so. When it comes to his Golden Globe nominations he sets a record that is unprecedented in the history of our awards: so far he has been nominated in nine (!) different categories, including producer, writer, director and every male actor category. At this point he could only top this if he were to write a song or have a sex change.

Along the way he also became famous. He is, in fact, the most famous star of his generation. Or any generation. His level of fame is such that if he never did another film again, he would not become less known. He is famous the world over. With one exception: „When I went to Darfur and at the border to Chad we were held up at gunpoint, no one recognized me. That was the only time where I wouldn’t have minded a little fame! “ he laughs. That was on his first trip to Africa with his father in April of 2006. He is now known for his admirable fight for human rights in Darfur and South Sudan. His Satellite Sentinel Project uses satellite imagery to document Omar al-Bashir’s and Ahmad Harun’s atrocities. He visits The region regularly and lobbies Western governments to provide aid. I remember once visiting him on a film set when he was in his trailer, late for our interview which is very unusual for him. His very good reason? He was on the phone with the French foreign minister, discussing sanctions against the Sudan.

He lobbied Congress and has the ear of President Obama. And when that is not enough, he goes further. In March of 2012 he got himself purposely arrested for civil disobedience while protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C. The idea for the satellite came to him while watching paparazzi watch him at his villa on Lake Como: „I thought, why not turn this around? Why not turn the cameras on warlords and murderers and beam the footage to news organisations around the world?“

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has being using this imagery to collect evidence for trials. „Our main objective was to keep the attacks from happening in secret.“ Clooney says. „Now we’ve hired a team of forensic accountants to go after the banks that launder their money that helps them buy weapons.“

Besides the Satellite Sentinel Project Clooney also founded Not On Our Watch with colleagues Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Jerry Weintraub and is involved with the Enough Project and various other charities. He organised A Tribute To Heroes to raise money for the families of the victims of 9/11 and another telethon, Hope for Haiti,  after the earthquake.

He credits his parents and the era of his youth for his political and humanitarian involvement: „My mother was the mayor, my father ran for Congress. My parents were involved with the news and I think the news is very intricately tied to politics. There was a guy running for governor of Kentucky and I worked on his campaign when I was 13 or 14 years old. I grew up in an era where you had to be involved. There was the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, the women’s rights movement. As a young person you had to be involved, there was no other option.“

His political interests inspire his work. Many of his film- and TV-endeavors have been fueled by that passion, from his live-TV-event Fail Safe that he spent a full year preparing, to The Ides Of March. As a writer he is particularly interested in subjects that deal with politics and the media.

And as a Hollywood star he has a better understanding of journalism than most. The HFPA has enjoyed a great relationship with him since we first interviewed him on the set of ER. Many other interviews followed. We have visited him in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on a boat braving The Perfect Storm and flew to the darkest forrests of Germany to see him direct  The Monuments Men.

And since the Cecil B.DeMille is a lifetime achievement award not a retirement award, we are looking forward to many more. He certainly has no plans of slowing down: Tomorrowland, Hail Caesar! and Money Monster are coming out in 2015 and there are more than ten projects in development including Hack Attack, an adaptation of Nick Davies’ book on the UK hacking scandal. Somewhere not so in between he will continue his humanitarian work that will include his new wife Amal Alamuddin, a human rights lawyer.

In short: George Clooney goes effortlessly from the red carpet to war-torn Africa. He does not scare easily. He is one of the genuinely nicest people you will ever meet, famous or not. He is also one of the smartest, well educated and has by far the best sense of humor in Hollywood. He is a great host and a loyal friend.

And he knows how to enjoy the crazy ride that took him from the Kentucky tobacco fields to the Hollywood Hills and the shores of a lake in Italy: „If you get to the position I’m in in life, you’ve really got the brass ring. You got lucky. And I think people who aren’t quite as lucky as me would be very angry if they didn’t think I was enjoying it.“

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MALES DOMINATE THE AWARDS RACE AT TORONTO

SAM ASI finds award-worthy performances at TIFF

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Steve Carell…John E. DuPont in Foxcatcher

In the last 10 days, hundreds of thousands of film fans and experts, including 45 HFPA members, descended on Toronto with great expectations and hopes to discover next year’s potential Best Picture Golden Globe and Oscar winner. Armed with their precious tickets, they stood patiently for hours in long lines in the sweltering heat, hoping to witness film history again.

 But while there hasn’t been an outstanding best picture contender, there have been so many award-worthy male performances that rendered best picture debate almost irrelevant. Instead, fans and experts were embroiled in a discussion about next year’s Golden Globe and Academy winner in the best lead actor category.

  Many performances are drawn from real life and bring to life real people, both dead and alive: Benedict Cumberbatch as code breaker Alan Turing; Timothy Spall as the painter J.M.W. Turner; Eddie Redmayne as the crippled scientific genius Stephen Hawking and Sterve Carell as the deranged billionaire John E DuPont.

The question on people’s lips was: where are the ladies?

No doubt TIFF is feeling the heat from other competing festivals, which are also trying to be relevant in the awards race. TIFF’s recent attempt to dissuade filmmakers from opening their films in Venice and Telluride film festivals, both held a week earlier, by disallowing their film from being screened in the first 4 coveted days, before the the press and the industry leave the city, has backfired. Many important films, that had opened in other festivals, were jammed in a very tight schedule and others such as Birdman, have  skipped Toronto altogether and headed directly to The New York Film Festival.

That said, TIFF is not only about predicting awards, it’s about film commerce too, where movies are sold and projects are financed. Setting a record, Chris Rock’s “Top Five” sold to Paramount for $12.5 million. This kind of figure is an anomaly, for the rest of the deals averaged around $3 million. Among them was John Travolta’s heist movie “The Forger,” and Michael Douglas’s “The Reach”  for $2 million each. Clearly big star names don’t yield big money in the age of Hollywood blockbusters.

As TIFF wraps up its activities without providing clear runaways, eyes will be shifting to New York, where the festival will open this month with David Fincher’s  highly anticipated “Gone Girl”, and will also premiere Paul Thomas Anderson “Inherent Vice.”

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HFPA ROCKS TORONTO

ELISABETH SEREDA REPORTS FROM TORONTO’S PARTY OF THE YEAR

Pictures: ARMANDO GALLO

Mark RUffalo_12

Mark Ruffalo

 What do you call a party that includes Salma Hayek, Kevin Costner, Robert Downey Jr., Laura Dern, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, Benedict Cumberbatch, Josh Charles, Piper Perabo, Naomi Watts, Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Irvine, Anthony Mackie, Quvenzane Wallis, Ben Stiller, Simon Pegg, Asa Butterfield, Bill Nighy, Jena Malone, Zoe Kazan, Abigail Spencer, Ken Howard and Matthew Goode – just to name a few?!

An HFPA event.

  On Saturday night the HFPA and InStyle put on our annual TIFF party at the Windsor Arms Hotel. Salma Hayek was the first to arrive at 10:00pm sharp. She walked into an empty room that filled up less than ten minutes later with an array of actors, directors, producers and just about everyone who is anyone at the Toronto film festival.

Costner and wife

Costner and wife

  Looking stunning in a black Gucci dress with silver studs, she claimed jetlag having just flown in from her Paris home. But if anything it was more a bad case of nerves: “We had the premiere of the animated movie I produced, Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This film, I swear, has taken over my life for five years! And I was mortified. And then, 45 minutes into the film, the audience started clapping! And they kept clapping at one scene after the other. I sat there in shock. They tell me that never happens in Toronto.“ If Salma’s reaction was shock, then shock looks damn good.

Quvenzane Wallis – not so little anymore – did an Angelina Jolie on the red carpet in a black silk designer suit with a white silk blouse. Only two years after her breakout performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild she is now used to photo ops, screaming fans and the hoopla that comes with fame. She briefly hung out with Hayek, having lent her voice to the film before heading to bed much later than most 11 year olds.

Also riding a joy wave is the Foxcatcher team. Channing Tatum showed up with director Bennett Miller who had supposedly re-edited the film from the original version that had its world premiere at the Cannes festival in May : “I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard he tweaked it a little, and shortened it a bit.“ said co-star Mark Ruffalo, who was the life of the party and has so many films to promote this year that it is hard to keep track. A social media pro, he filmed himself with his phone talking about the party.

Piper Perabo  and husband

Piper Perabo and husband

Naomi Watts faces a similar dilemma as Ruffalo: she had Birdman in Venice and stars in two films at TIFF, was raving about St.Vincent while standing next to Noah Baumbach, the director of her other film, While We’re Young. Miles Teller who delighted everyone with his performance in Whiplash came over and Naomi greeted him like an old friend, thinking she had met him before. Fiction and reality must have collided, because although they both star in Allegiant, the follow up to Divergent, they had – in actual fact – never met before: “I’m having a senior moment!“ she laughed about her imaginary friend.

 Piper Perabo was meeting up with real friends: shooting the 5th season of Covert Affairs here, the city has become home. Hanging out on the smokers’ terrace were Benedict Cumberbatch with his gang of followers, and Josh Charles, who can now relish being killed off on The Good Wife. His film Bird People is getting rave reviews.

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HFPA President Theo Kingma with Robert Downey Jr.and his wife Susan

The award for funniest outfit of the night goes to The Judge-star Robert Downey Jr. who wore a very elegant – and sure to be designer – version of silk pyjamas with animal prints. He brought his wife Susan, a producer on the film.

And the event’s best promoter? Without a doubt Kevin Costner with his better half Christine Baumgarten, who kept saying what a cool party this was.

When we left at 2:00 am, it was still going strong. It wasn’t the youngsters like Jeremy Irvine and Asa Butterfield, but the older festival pros like Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick who had the most stamina. And some party die-hards must have suffered a well-earned hangover in the morning.

HFPS Member John Hiscock and Bill John

John Hiscock and Bill Nighy

More party pictures:

http://oneshotgeorge.dphoto.com/album/d5006n

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TINA FEY: WHY WE’RE HOSTING THE GLOBES AGAIN

tina fey tk  Tina Fey has revealed it was Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels who suggested she and Amy Poehler should sign on to host the Golden Globes for two more years.

And she has given an insight into how she and Amy plan their remarks and jokes.

“After the first time, Amy and I were saying, ‘Oh we had so much fun, would it be a bad idea to try to do it again?’ ” she said. “And Lorne said, ‘You should do it for two more years because when you do it the second time it won’t be up in the air as to whether you get invited back. Then you come back one more time as a good bye and then you are done.’

“I thought that was very good advice—he might know what he’s doing in show business.”

She said she and Amy don’t start planning for the Globes until they see who the nominees are. “You can’t work on it too soon,” she said. “So we usually start a couple of weeks ahead of time when we rally all our friends to start writing jokes. The most time-consuming thing is to watch all the movies. We don’t get flown to junkets and stuff so we have to watch all the screeners. I thought last year was a particularly great fun year for movies and I can’t wait to see what presents itself this year as the big one.”

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TORONTO FEST HAS 142 WORLD PREMIERES,,,AND SOME CRITICS

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Bell Lightbox: The festival headquarters

Forty-five HFPA members are in Toronto for the annual film festival which now rivals Cannes and Venice for star power and movie premieres.

This year the festival is showing a total of 393 films, including 142 world premieres.

The Judge, which stars Robert Downey Jr.and Robert Duvall opened the festival with a gala premiere at the Roy Thomson Hall, where the movie’s stars along with director David Dobkin, walked the red carpet and faced a phalanx of fans and photographers.

The festival will close with A Little Chaos, a British period piece directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet.

Among the stars creating the biggest buzz is Bill Murray, who had an entire day devoted to him—Sept 5 was designated Bill Murray Day at TIFF which laid on free screenings all day of his most popular movies.

“It was a dizzy day,” said Bill, whose movie St. Vincent, had its premiere the same evening. In it he plays a cantankerous Brooklyn retiree who bill murray 1becomes co-conspirator in mischief with a neighboring 12-year-old lad. ” “I rode my bicycle through the streets and people waved and shouted to me. I saw a lot of friends I hadn’t seen for a long time and then we had the premiere and the party afterwards.”

To the horror of many in the city and the delight of journalists and late night comedians, Toronto’s notorious crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford is newly out of rehab and hitting the campaign trail in preparation for next month’s mayoral election. Although maintaining a high profile, he has mainly stayed away from festival events and parties, concentrating on speeches aimed at improving his poll figures—so far he lags behind his opponent in the race.
While big-name stars fill they screens there is plenty of action out in the streets, too. For the first time, five blocks on King Street, in the city’s Entertainment District have been transformed into a car-free TIFF playground complete with a giant chessboard, music stages, nightly performances and a scavenger hunt.

But not everybody is happy. The VIP ticket prices at the festival are causing controversy with some fans who feel the annual event has become elitist and may no longer be a “People’s Festival” as it has been in the past.

Moviegoers are steamed at the new $1,500 “Buzz List” package that offers five tickets to the moves, working out at $300 a film. Regular ticket prices are now $24 and $46 for a red carpet premiere. The closing night gala film plus a cocktail reception is $205.

Critics say the prices are an indication that the festival has become increasingly corporate at the expense of the average filmgoer.

 

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