AFI Fest – Special screening of August: Osage County Premiere – November 8, 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, October 17, 2013 – The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced additional Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings – comprised of a world premiere, award season contenders and highly anticipated independent and international films of the fall – for AFI FEST 2013 presented by Audi.

There will be a red carpet Gala each night of the festival.  The additional Centerpiece Galas are AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (DIR John Wells) on Friday, November 8; THE LAST EMPEROR 3D (DIR Bernardo Bertolucci) on Sunday, November 10; and the World Premiere of LONE SURVIVOR (DIR Peter Berg) on Tuesday, November 12. All Galas will be presented in the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

Centerpiece Galas

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – In this dramatic comedy with an all-star cast, a crisis reunites the women of an Oklahoma family and reignites their dysfunction. DIR John Wells. SCR Tracy Letts. CAST Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Sam Shepard. USA.

Friday, November 8, 2013.

AFI

Exclusive: ‘August: Osage County’ ensemble to be honored at Hollywood Film Awards


The film, which will be released on Christmas Day, features a star-studded cast that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale.

 

The cast of August: Osage County will receive the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards, the first awards show of the 2013 season, on Oct. 21 at the Beverly Hilton, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

John Wells‘ big-screen adaptation of Tracy Letts‘ Tony- and Puliter Prize-winning play features a star-studded cast, including Meryl StreepJulia RobertsJulianne NicholsonJuliette Lewis,Dermot MulroneyBenedict Cumberbatch,Ewan McGregorChris CooperMargo MartindaleAbigail BreslinSam Shepard and Misty Upham.

The film, which premiered at September’s Toronto International Film Festival and will be released nationwide by The Weinstein Co. on Christmas Day, is a dramedy about intra-family chaos. It revolves around three sisters (Roberts, Lewis and Nicholson) and their significant others (McGregor, Mulroney and Cumberbatch), plus other relatives (Martindale, Cooper and Breslin), who reunite at the Oklahoma home of their mother (Streep) following the death of their father (Shepard), whereupon they air their grievances about how others present at the gathering have caused their lives to become terribly screwed up in one way or another. August‘s producers include George Clooney and Grant Heslov, who also produced last year’s best picture Oscar winner, Argo.

The Hollywood Film Awards are determined by founder and executive director Carlos de Abreu and an advisory committee. De Abreu tells THR, “We are very proud to recognize the ensemble cast of August: Osage County, for their dramatic and outstanding performances.” (Full disclosure: Dick Clark Productions, which shares the same parent company as THR, has an undisclosed investment in the Hollywood Film Awards.)

Previous recipients of the Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award include Crash (2005),Bobby (2006), Hairspray (2007), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), The Social Network(2010), The Help (2011) and Argo (2012). CrashThe Social NetworkThe Help and Argoall went on to score best picture Oscar nominations; Crash and Argo won.

Last month, the Hollywood Film Awards and Dick Clark Productions, which also produce the Golden Globe Awards,  entered into a partnership that could lead to the ceremony being televised in future years. Over the past 10 years, Hollywood Film Awards honorees went on to garner a total of 96 Oscar nominations and 34 Oscars.

Other 2013 honorees who have already been announced include 12 Years a Slave directorSteve McQueen and supporting actress Lupita Nyong’o42‘s supporting actorHarrison Ford;August: Osage County‘s supporting actress Julia RobertsBefore Midnight lead actress/co-screenwriter Julie Delpy, lead actor/co-screenwriter Ethan Hawke and co-screenwriter/director Richard LinklaterBehind the Candelabraproducer Jerry WeintraubCaptain Phillips producer Michael De LucaDallas Buyers Club‘s lead actor Matthew McConaughey and supporting actor Jared Leto;Gravity‘s lead actress Sandra BullockLee Daniels’ The Butler director Lee Daniels;Monsters University‘s director Dan Scanlon and producer Kori Rae; Pacific Rim visual effects supervisor John Knoll; and Prisoners‘ supporting actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

Juliette Lewis said she was ‘in tears’ just thinking of doing a scene with Meryl Streep for ‘August: Osage County’


LOS ANGELESJuliette Lewis said she was “in tears” just thinking of doing a scene with Meryl Streep for ‘August: Osage County’.

Abigail Breslin is “Little Miss Sunshine” no more; she has grown into a voluptuous young woman.

Juliette, Abigail and many more stars livened up InStyle magazine and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual party last Monday that celebrated the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

In one corner of the posh Windsor Arms courtyard ablaze with red orchids and candles, Juliette told us that a pivotal dinner scene in director John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner (Tracy also wrote the screenplay) took four days to shoot. Juliette, who plays one of the daughters in the Weston family of strong-willed women, remarked that she was very honored to be acting with the formidable Ms Streep.

Imagine a dinner scene presided over by the family matriarch, a sneering, pill-popping Meryl (in a tour  de force performance), and with such actors as Juliette, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail, Ewan McGregor, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney and Julianne Nicholson. Julia, as the eldest daughter, holds her own against Meryl. Chris also stands out, especially in a scene where he rebukes his wife, Margo (also fine as Meryl’s sister). Sam Shepard is memorable in a cameo as the patriarch as well as Misty Upham as the new maid.

But the film itself is “stagy” and only occasionally comes to cinematic life. The film’s ending, different from the stage version, also left some critics grumbling.

Inquirer

Dailymail: Pill-popping Meryl Streep gets snarky in new trailer for adaptation of Pulitzer-winning play August: Osage County


It feels like Meryl Streep enters the Oscars race every single time she appears in a film.

And that’s certainly no different this fall, considering her much-applauded turn in upcoming film August: Osage County.

A new trailer for the film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, features Meryl as Violet Weston, the pill-popping matriach of a dysfunctional family.

Oscar performance? Meryl Streep stars in August: Osage County as a matriach with a sharp tongue and an addiction to prescription pills Oscar-worthy performance? Meryl Streep stars in August: Osage County as a matriach with a sharp tongue and an addiction to prescription pills
Meryl Streep stars in new August: Osage County trailer

Adapted from the 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name, August: Osage County follows the family as they come together after the death of Beverly Weston (Violet’s husband).

It’s clear that there’s plenty of drama – and awkwardness – to air out, as each person holds their own backstory and quirks.

‘Look at your boobs! The last time I saw you, you looked like a little boy,’ Mattie Aiken (played by Margo Martindale) tells teenager Jean Fordham (Abigail Breslin).

Growing up: Abigail Breslin, now 17 years old, stars as the daughter of Ewan McGregor and Julia Roberts' characters Growing up: Abigail Breslin, now 17 years old, stars as the daughter of Ewan McGregor and Julia Roberts’ characters
What did you say? Ewan McGregor and Abigail Breslin stare in shock at a rude comment from Meryl Streep's character Violet Weston

What did you say? Ewan McGregor and Abigail Breslin stare in shock at a rude comment from Meryl Streep’s character Violet Weston

In another scene, Meryl can be seen rolling her eyes and making faces as Chris Cooper, in the role of Charles Aiken, talks about the ‘joy of family’ as he says grace at the dinner table.

Her befuddling temperament might have something to do with her prescription drug habit: ‘She takes pills – Valium, Vicodin, Xanax,’ her husband notes.

The drama also follows the separation of Barbara Weston (Julia Roberts) from Bill Fordham (Ewan McGregor), who is apparently involved with ‘a younger woman.’

‘Well, the odds are against you there, babe,’ Violet drawls to her daughter.

Big claims: Julia Roberts has called her acting experience opposite Ewan and Meryl as the 'best' of her illustrious careerBig claims: Julia Roberts has called her acting experience opposite Ewan and Meryl as the ‘best’ of her illustrious career
Why the tears? Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the upcoming film The Fifth Estate, looks distraught in the clip

Why the tears? Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in the upcoming film The Fifth Estate, looks distraught in the clip

August: Osage County has earned kudos for its all-star ensemble cast, which also includes Benedict Cumberbatch (The Fifth Estate), Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney and others.

The film has received many positive reviews, with the most praise going to the performances, particularly Meryl’s.

Julia Roberts has even called her role ‘the best acting experience of my life,’ according to the Associated Press.

The film opens Christmas Day in the U.S.

Settle down: Chris Cooper calms Benedict down as they discuss Beverly Weston's funeral
Settle down: Chris Cooper calms Benedict down as they discuss Beverly Weston’s funeral
Winning ways: Variety's Scott Foundas calls Meryl's performance 'electrifying,' and she's certain to get awards-season attention

Winning ways: Variety’s Scott Foundas calls Meryl’s performance ‘electrifying,’ and she’s certain to get awards-season attention

Leading lady: Meryl Streep attends the Crystal & Lucy Awardsi, held at the Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in June 2012

Leading lady: Meryl Streep attends the Crystal & Lucy Awardsi, held at the Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, in June 2012

Dailymail

Toronto: “August: Osage County” with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts gets rare standing ovation


Toronto: The movie adaptation of “August: Osage County” received a rare 10 minute standing ovation last night at Roy  Thomson Hall. The film of Tracey Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play stars Meryl Streep as Violet, matriarch a volatile Oklahoma family. The ovation was like something from the Cannes film festival, not usually seen in restrained Canada, and was very disarming for everyone in the cast who was in attendance including Julia Roberts

I know, every time Streep is in a movie people say “Oscar.” But the three time Oscar winner weaves some kind of magic in this movie. You can see it from the moment she appears in half light, looking haggard with spiky short hair to when she pulls on a full, dark wig to play Violet, the pill popping cancer patient with loads of secrets. And yes, this is a comedy and a drama.

Streep was not at last night’s premiere because she starts filming “Into the Woods” this week and has a bad enough cold that she couldn’t travel up from New York with setting back that production. But her name was heard everywhere as the credits rolled and the lights went up.

Most of the large, talented cast was there however: Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, and Abigail Breslin among them. And when they got to their party at Soho House–the only party of any interest last night in Toronto– pop star Taylor Swift arrived and joined them. That caused mayhem as you can imagine, when Swift and Roberts posed for pictures together with Harvey Weinstein.

“August: Osage County” was a bit of a surprise for many reasons last night. There had been a lot of talk that the film adaptation hadn’t worked out. That may have come from a teaser trailer that made the film look like a Southern comedy played for yucks. There was also a lot of discussion about how to handle Oscar positioning with Streep and Roberts. Who would be considered lead or supporting?

But once John Wells’s movie unfurled, all became clear. Streep is the star, the quarterback. In one scene taken from the play she sits at the head of a dining room table with this cast all around her. She literally throws “touchdown passes” to each cast member, landing jokes and barbs as they run to the end zone. It’s sort of mesmerizing because she never flags or tires or misses. It’s like watching an acting master class. It’s breathtaking.

So yes, Meryl Streep jumps onto the Best Actress list with Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench and Sandra Bullock. “AOC” becomes an extremely serious contender for Best Picture. It will almost certainly win Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Julia Roberts and Chris Cooper will be up for all the supporting awards. Cooper almost steals the show with a scene right out of Letts’s play at the dinner table. Roberts gives her most soulful performance yet, and comes across with a humanity–as one of Violet’s three daughters–that gives the movie anchor while Streep storms on like a hurricane.

PS Kudos also to Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sam Shepard, who also make this movie an absolute pleasure.

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