Category Archives: Backstage Hollywood

Renee Zellweger’s Triumphant Return

One of the most charming, lovely, and talented stars of our time; Renne Zellweger is back, and hotter than ever with her Oscar winning part with Actress in  a Leading Role for “Judy,” about the legendary and iconic Judy Garland.

Directed by Rupert Goold
Screenplay by Tom Edge
Starring Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, and Michael Gambon

Winter 1968 and showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week sold-out run at The Talk of the Town. It is 30 years since she shot to global stardom in “The Wizard of Oz,” but if her voice has weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As she prepares for the show, battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans, her wit and warmth shine through. Even her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband. Featuring some of her best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.

Renée-Zellweger-as-Judy-Garland-in-the-upcoming-film-JUDY-Photo-Credit-David-Hindley-Courtesy-of-LD-Entertainment-and-Roadside-Attraction.

Acclaimed director, Rupert Goold, a 2019 Tony Award nominee, commented: “I had always wanted to make a film that explores great performance and its cost. The most fertile ground for such exploration seemed to be at the end of a lifetime of performance. For over 40 years Judy Garland had laughed and loved and entertained no matter what life threw at her, and her public adored her for it. But she paid a price in a childhood lost to Hollywood, an emotional exhaustion and a yearning for a “normal” life beyond the rainbow. It is a powerful and moving story that I hope will inspire new audiences to discover Judy Garland’s joyous legacy.

I felt Renee was uniquely qualified to play Judy. First, because she is a great, Oscar-winning dramatic actress. Second, she is a wonderful comedienne. And third, I knew from CHICAGO that she could sing. I made it clear to Renee that I wasn’t looking for an impersonation of Judy Garland’s inimitable voice, but what I wanted was for Renee to make the songs her own and this she did to thrilling effect.”

Director Rupert-Goold-and-Renée-Zellweger-on-the-set-of-JUDY-Photo-credit-David-Hindley-Courtesy-of-LD-Entertainment-and-Roadside-Attractions.

Renne Zelleweger answered interviewers questions Backstage at the Oscars last night, with kindness, and charm. An excerpt follows here:

Q (…) What was it about Judy that connected you so closely by so in heart that you basically became her? I know you’ve done a lot of research, but was there anything else that you felt very close to with her that you were able to deliver such an incredible performance and become her, essentially?

Renne Zellweger:  The only things that I would do by myself are sing in the car on the 405 in traffic, you know, for a year. So that was a lot of practice for anybody who’s tried to drive down the 405. But — and, you know, the reading and things, that was by myself.

But what you’re talking about, that connectivity, that was a consequence of everybody’s work on that set. Everybody was motivated by the same thing. We just appreciate the importance of her legacy and who she was as a person and we all wanted to celebrate her. And everyday we came to work and we just tried things, we just kept trying things.

And the director, Rupert Goold, called it “mining for treasure.” We were all digging around in sort of the materials of her legacy, her music, her books, interviews, her television show. You know, just everything that we could find that seemed essential in conjuring her essence to tell the story. And that was everybody’s work, you know. And it was, you know, the partnership with every single department throughout. And it really was a celebration. We just came to work every day. You could feel the love, the love for Ms. Garland, and that was what we had hoped, so — And I thank you for your question.

Q. How is this award different from the first one you won in 2004, and how have you changed as a person, as an actress?

Renne Zelwegger:  Oh, my goodness, how much time do you have? Well, at that time, I think I was so busy that I wasn’t actually in the moment. I think I had just flown home from something for BRIDGET JONES two or something. It’s different, different perspective. I’m a little more present now. I think that the time away and the time in between has helped me to appreciate it in a different way. I just look at it in a different way, what it represents is a little bit different. And, obviously, this isn’t ultimately — you know, this is about this wanting to tell that story and to celebrate Judy Garland and to shine a light on, perhaps, the nuances of the circumstances of her life, which people dismiss as tragic. And, you know, the opportunity to tell a story that challenges that narrative and says, “Oh, no, no, no, no, you can’t know how extraordinary a person is until you know what they struggle with and what they overcome.” And, to me, that, you know, that’s what this is.

Text©2020 A.M.P.A.S.® provided with kind courtesy of A.M.P.A.S.®

Congratulations to HollyShorts and their founder Theo Dumont, whose members’ films “The Neighbors Window” and “Learning To Skateboard In A War Zone (If You’re A Girl)” won Best Short Live Action and Best Documentary Short at this year’s Academy Awards. HollyShorts has always been an amazing festival with great talent nurtured by a fantastic festival and kind and charming founder.

The 16th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival runs August 13-22, 2020 in Hollywood, California.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The movies are officially coming home to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures® as it opens to the public on December 14, 2020 at Wilshire and Fairfax.

©2020, The Hollywood Sentinel.

 

Birds of Prey

 

You ever hear the one about the cop, the songbird, the psycho and the mafia princess? “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.

Mexico City, Special Fan Screening, Photo Credit: Ricardo Vargas

In the Warner Bros. Pictures film, Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) returns as Harley Quinn, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“10 Cloverfield Lane,” TV’s “Fargo”) as Huntress; Jurnee Smollett-Bell (HBO’s “True Blood”) as Black Canary; Rosie Perez (“Fearless,” “Pitch Perfect 2”) as Renee Montoya; Chris Messina (“Argo,” TV’s “Sharp Objects”) as Victor Zsasz; and Ewan McGregor (“Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep,” the “Trainspotting” films) as Roman Sionis. Newcomer Ella Jay Basco also stars as Cassandra “Cass” Cain in her feature film debut.

Directed by Cathy Yan (“Dead Pigs”) from a script by Christina Hodson (“Bumblebee”), the film is based on characters from DC. Robbie also produced, alongside Bryan Unkeless and Sue Kroll. The film’s executive producers are Walter Hamada, Galen Vaisman, Geoff Johns, Hans Ritter and David Ayer.

Joining Yan behind the scenes was a creative team comprised of director of photography Matthew Libatique (“A Star Is Born,” “Venom”); production designer K.K. Barrett (“Her”); editor Jay Cassidy (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) and editor Evan Schiff (“John Wick Chapters 2 & 3”); and costume designer Erin Benach (“A Star Is Born”). The music is by Daniel Pemberton (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”).

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a LuckyChap Entertainment Production, a Clubhouse Pictures Production, a Kroll & Co. Entertainment Production, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).” Opening in theaters and IMAX nationwide on February 7, 2020, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Rating: This film is rated R for strong violence and language throughout, and some sexual and drug material.

92nd Oscars® Governors Ball

Academy governor Lois Burwell, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto and master chef Wolfgang Puck will team to create this year’s Governors Ball, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ official post-Oscars® celebration, which will immediately follow the 92nd Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 9. The Ball’s 1,500 invited guests include Oscar® winners and nominees, show presenters and other telecast participants.

Harmony and relaxation inspire the design for the 92nd Oscars Governors Ball. The color palette will be a soothing mix of copper and bronze metallics with accents referred to as eggplant and amethyst. The ballroom will be lit by 2,000 tubes of light in a spectacular floating chandelier made from recycled materials in varying finishes and textures.

For the third time as the Academy’s Awards and Events Committee chair, Burwell will oversee the décor, menu and entertainment planning of the Ball. An acclaimed makeup artist, she won an Oscar for her work on “Braveheart” and earned a nomination for “Saving Private Ryan.” Her other feature credits include “The Princess Bride,” “War Horse,” “Lincoln” and “Ready Player One.” Burwell, a member of the Academy since 1997, is currently serving her second term as Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch Governor and holds the office of First Vice President on the Academy’s Board of Governors.

In her 31st year producing the Governors Ball, Cecchetto and her multi-talented team at Sequoia Productions will collaborate with Burwell on every aspect of the production, from concept to design, from on-site construction to day-of execution and management. In collaboration with a diverse group of designers, technicians, administrators and managers, the Sequoia team will work on-site and behind the scenes on blending décor, catering, entertainment, staffing and logistics into a fluid and flawless guest experience.

More Vegan Options 

For the 26th consecutive year, legendary chef Wolfgang Puck and the Wolfgang Puck Catering team will set the culinary stage for Hollywood’s biggest night. Puck, Vice President of Culinary Eric Klein and a kitchen team of 200 will bring a menu of more than 70 imaginative dishes to life with 70% of them wisely being plant-based.

One-bite hors d’oeuvres, tray-passed small-plate entrees and action stations will feature vegan dishes such as Sweet Potato Tempura with Mint Cilantro Aioli, Maitake Mushroom Salad with Eggplant Baba Ghanoush, and Housemade Campanelle Pasta with Preserved Meyer Lemon, Artichokes and English Peas, alongside additional new dishes such as Beet Macaron with Herb Goat Cheese, Cacio e Pepe Macaroni and Cheese, and Winter Spice French Toast with Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. On the sweeter side, the pastry team of Kamel Guechida, Garry Larduinat and Jason Lemmonier will create nearly three dozen show-stopping desserts. In addition to the signature 24K Gold Dusted Chocolate Oscars will be dozens of chocolate desserts created with Valrhona’s Inspiration and Guanaja vegan chocolates. Wolfgang Puck Catering CEO Carl Schuster will direct more than 900 event staff through the evening’s intricately detailed logistics to deliver a true restaurant-style hospitality experience.

The Governors Ball will take place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center® immediately following the Oscar telecast.

The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. “The Oscars Red Carpet Show” will air at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

STARS CONTINUE TO LINE UP FOR THE 92ND OSCARS®

UTKARSH AMBUDKAR, SALMA HAYEK, BRIE LARSON,
SPIKE LEE, RAY ROMANO AND REBEL WILSON

Show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain today announced the next wave of star presenters headed to the stage on the 92nd Oscars® telecast. The Oscars will air live Sunday, February 9, on ABC.

The lineup includes Utkarsh Ambudkar, Salma Hayek, Brie Larson, Spike Lee, Ray Romano, and Rebel Wilson.

Previously announced Oscars presenters include Mahershala Ali, Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, James Corden, Penélope Cruz, Beanie Feldstein, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Zack Gottsagen, Mindy Kaling, Diane Keaton, Regina King, Shia LaBeouf, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, George MacKay, Rami Malek, Steve Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Keanu Reeves, Maya Rudolph, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, Sigourney Weaver and Kristen Wiig.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 9,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles

Image and text ©2020 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, used with kind courtesy.

Aurora to Perform at 92nd Oscars®

 

 

One of the greatest new voices of our time–Aurora has wisely been chosen to perform at the 92nd Oscars this year, who was also intelligently picked for the soundtrack of the blockbuster new Disney film, Frozen II. The Oscars are always exciting to watch, but with Aurora, now adds something very special.

92ND OSCARS® PERFORMERS ANNOUNCED

(partial list; additional performers to be announced)

Cynthia Erivo, Oscar® winner Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Oscar winner Randy Newman will perform this year’s nominated songs at the 92nd Oscars® ceremony, show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced this week. The Oscars will air live Sunday, February 9, on ABC.

“We’re excited to have an incredible group of nominees and performers who will deliver one-of-a-kind music moments you will only see on the Oscars,” said Howell Taylor and Allain.

This year’s Original Song nominees and performers are as follows (in alphabetical order by song title):

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4” – Performed by Randy Newman
Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman” – Performed by Elton John
Music by Elton John; Lyric by Bernie Taupin

“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough” – Performed by Chrissy Metz
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

“Into The Unknown” from “Frozen II” – Performed by Idina Menzel and AURORA
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“Stand Up” from “Harriet” – Performed by Cynthia Erivo
Music and Lyric by Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo

In addition to the five nominated song performances, the show will feature a special appearance by Questlove and a guest-conducted segment by Eímear Noone. Noone is the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.

The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. “Oscars: Live on the Red Carpet” will air at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Video above used with kind courtesy of AMPAS (c) 2019, 2020, all rights reserved. Video of Aurora used with kind courtesy of UMG (on behalf of Walt Disney Records); BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., (c) 2020 all rights reserved, and “Forgotten Love,” Downtown Music Publishing, Abramus Digital, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., AMRA, LatinAutor, ASCAP, and 11 Music Rights Societies, Director: Josh Goleman, Producer: Hailey Rovner, 2020, all rights reserved.