Your late night and early morning movie news

John Krasinski* The smart and likable John Krasinski of “The Office” may be out of the running for the Captain America movie though his agent appears to be keeping busy. I take it some fan boys didn’t think he was sufficiently ultra-muscular or traditionally handsome or something enough for the role, but I find that a bit weird — especially considering that Steve Rogers starts out as an ordinary guy and it’s not Krasinski’s McLovin or something. He’d be a good choice and I hope they change their minds.  The other reputed candidates aren’t as well known to me, but the guy from the “Tron: Legacy” trailer certainly doesn’t strike me as anything too special based on what I saw there.

* It used to be that winning the best picture Oscar had major repercussions at the box office. At least for the so-far low-grossing “The Hurt Locker,” that might not be the case, though I’m sure it’s DVD sales will be a lot better than they would have been otherwise. The Iraq war drama appears to be caught in the crossfire between theater owners and studios over DVD releases.

* The show has taken its share of critical lumps, but Sunday’s Oscars did just fine in the ratings.

* Jim Emerson on the latest self-destructive move of Variety. Why do newspapers of all stripes seem to think that increasing prices and decreasing value is the way to salvation? I’d really like to know how that’s supposed to work.

* Howard Stern can be funny, but this item and accompanying clip, about his and cohost Robin Quivers’  nasty, idiotic reaction to “Precious” star Gabourey Sidibe’s career prospects reminds me of what made me dislike him rather strongly back in the day– it’s not just the nastiness, it’s the fact that he doesn’t have a damn clue what he’s talking about. Or is it the case that John Goodman, Chris Farley, John Candy, Victor Buono, Dom De Luise, Nick Frost, Jonathan Winters, Jonah Hill, and countless other, admittedly mostly male, actors who are in the fat-to-obese category have had “no” careers over the last several decades?

Not that overweight actors, especially including severely obese ones like Ms. Sidibe, shouldn’t try to lose weight if they want a larger selection of parts and a longer and healthier life, though it’s always vastly easier said than done. Still, it’s definitely not true that she will “never” work again if she stays at her present weight. She’s already got work on Showtime.

* In Hollywood, imitation is the sincerest form of success envy. And so, it’s possible that Warner Brothers may be looking at the huge first-week success of “Alice in Wonderland” and thinking about going to meet the Wizard. One thing is true — as wonderful as the MGM classic is, the weirdness of the very long series of books has barely been touched by the movies,

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“Precious” tops the Indie Spirits

Gabourey Sidibe is Precious

This hasn’t been a very good year for people who like awards surprises. And, so, this year’s most high profile indie film, say it with me — “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” —  has won the lion’s share of the more high-profile awards at Film Independent’s Independent Spirit Awards, this year hosted by Eddie Izzard.

To be specific, “Precious” nabbed “Best Feature” from a field that included the very popular “(500) Days of Summer,” Berkeley-bred Cary Joji Fukunaga’s surprisingly assured directorial debut, “Sin Nombre,” and “The Last Station.” Director Lee Daniels, whose work on “Precious” has been the single most criticized aspect of the somewhat controversial film, nevertheless beat the Coen Brothers work on “A Serious Man,” Fukunaga, James Gray of “Two Lovers,” and Michael Hoffman of “The Last Station.” “Precious” also took the Best First Screenplay. The best not-first screenplay went to Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber of “(500) Days.”

In the acting categories, Gabourey Sidibe received the Best Female Lead for playing Precious herself and, naturally, Mo’Nique proved to own her category fully across all award shows and won the Best Supporting Female category. Among the males, Jeff Bridges, took the Best Male Lead award that is deemed pretty much his due this year for the country music drama, “Crazy Heart.”

Since the $40 million dollar budget of “Inglourious Basterds” presumably put it beyond the realm of the Spirits, Christoph Waltz was not nominated for Best Supporting Male. Instead, he cut a deal in which he collected the award anyway in return for helping the show to end early. Just kidding. Woody Harrelson in his non-zombie-thwacking mode took the award for his work in the low-key stateside wartime drama, “The Messenger.” (My sympathies to Christian McKay of “Me and Orson Welles” — so much critical praise and so few awards even when this year’s male 500 pound gorilla is safely out of the room.)

Anvil! The Story of AnvilBest Foreign Film went to a film that doesn’t feel so foreign now that England is our 52nd state, “An Education.”  Best Documentary went to one some of you might actually have seen and found fun rather than upsetting, “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” defeated a list that included the highly praised “Food, Inc.” (For whatever reason, “The Cove” was not nominated.) Roger Deakins took the cinematography award for “A Serious Man.”

Among the special awards, the John Cassevettes Award, which goes to a film with a budget of less than $500,000, went to a favorite around these parts, Lynn Shelton’s “Humpday,” edging out another film we’ve kind of taken to our breast here, “Big Fan.” The latter film looked, literally, like a million dollars to me, so kudos to the penny-saving producers on that one. “A Serious Man” won the Robert Altman award for its acting ensemble.

You can see a complete list of nominees and winners here. You can also check and see if Indiewire ever corrects their typos here.

  

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TCA Tour: Showtime Executive Session

You’ll have already seen my story about Showtime greenlighting “The Borgias,” which I posted because it was easily the biggest news within the network’s executive session, but Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s President of Entertainment, did have a few more things to say during his remarks…and these are some of them:

* First of all, it must be said that Greenblatt had us from “hello,” offering an opening which couldn’t have been more perfectly designed for his audience. “I’m glad this is the first day,” he said, “because it’s so great when you guys are not sort of at the end of the rope here after rolling your eyes from all of what we’re saying to you, and I hope I can engage you enough today, because I’m sure all of you are just waiting for tomorrow’s NBC presentation. I’d love to get my temporary TCA card so that I could sit in on tomorrow’s session.”

* Coming soon is Showtime’s first foray into the world of traditional reality series. Get ready for “The Real L Word of Los Angeles,” which Greenblatt says will be on the air probably this summer. “We’ve just cast those women,” he said, “so at some point we will parade them in front of you for some kind of grilling…and I mean ‘parade’ in the best sense of the word.”

* When discussing the network’s new series, “The Big C,” a dark comedy starring Laura Linney as a woman dealing with a diagnosis of stage-four cancer, Greenblatt said, “I hope you all got our press announcement yesterday that we greenlighted a series about a character facing a terminal illness; I just want to make it clear that we have not picked up ‘The Jay Leno Show.'” Ouch…and ho, ho, HO!

But seriously, folks, Greenblatt says, “We look at the show essentially as a wake-up call as she begins to kind of look at her life and decide how she’s going to live it for the last amount of time that she has, and I think in the best possible world here, I think what we’ll do with this show is humanize the dilemma of her illness. Obviously, the show will walk the line between drama and comedy, and I don’t think there’s anybody better who could do that than Laura Linney. We’ve also surrounded her with some extraordinary people, an ensemble of great actors: Oliver Platt plays her husband, and we have Gabourey Sidibe, who’s the star of ‘Precious,’ who’s in the show as well.”

The pilot for “The Big C” was directed by Bill Condon, who already has experience with directing Linney and Platt from when they all did “Kinsey” together. We aren’t yet privy to the entire pilot, alas, but Greenblatt offered us a sizzle reel from it, and it looks really good, but for my money, no line topped this one from Linney to Sidibe: “You can’t be fat and mean. You can either be fat and jolly or a skinny bitch. It’s up to you.” The network has ordered 13 episodes, and the series goes into production as soon as Linney finishes her current commitments at the Manhattan Theater Club, with a premiere planned for later this summer.

* Greenblatt also spoke briefly about “Episodes,” the network’s new comedy, which was announced a few months ago. Created by David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, the series is about a British couple who have a hit series on the BBC and, when an American TV network comes to them and convinces them to come to Hollywood and do an American version of their show, Hollywood just systematically destroys the show.

“Not,” added Greenblatt, “that that would ever happen at Showtime.”

Although “Episodes” won’t actually begin production until the spring, the producers thoughtfully put together a short piece to give us an idea of the flavor of the series…and it was funny. As you may have heard, the series will start the former Joey Tribiani, Matt LeBlanc, who will play himself as the woefully miscast star of the show within the show, and the piece showed us what he had to go through to get the part. (“I’d be playing myself, and I have to read? Fuck Showtime!”) Production on the series starts in late spring, and Greenblatt hopes the series will be on the air in the fall…and if it maintains the tone of what they showed us, then so do I.

  

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