TIFF 2013: ‘August: Osage County’ Soho House Party + Upcoming trailer


A new trailer for #AugustOsageCounty will premiere tomorrow on @YahooMovies! RT if you’re excited to get to know the family better!

Tweet – @WeinsteinFilms

In some cosmic switcheroo, Taylor Swift may just have been the perfect megawatt replacement for Meryl Streep last night at Grey Goose Soho House. Streep had been the most anticipated guest of TIFF 2013 in connection with her latest sure-to-be Oscar nominated leading role in August: Osage County, but bowed out at the last minute due to illness. There were tears for many, especially one pint sized fan who wore a “Meryl in training” T-shirt to the film’s screening at Roy Thompson Hall earlier that evening. Not for the film’s cast and Gucci and Holt Renfrew’s hosted after-party guests however—they all seemed thrilled by the surprise appearance by Swift, who showed up in a wowza Calvin Klein Collection number after walking the red carpet of One Chance. Flanked by Harvey Weinstein and a dapper Brenton Thwaites who I’m sure will be the talk of the blogs all day long (he’s about to be a Disney prince!), Swift held court on the second floor for most of the night, that is, while she wasn’t busy hanging with the film’s star studded cast, aka. the fixtures of the rip-roarious festivities.

Julia Roberts, breathtaking in raspberry Dolce & Gabbana, chatted animatedly with co-stars Ewan McGregorJuliette Lewis, Abigail BreslinJulianne Nicholson and Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding 2.0!) for most of the evening. Her million dollar smile and signature cackle were as omnipresent as you’d, or say a little gal watching Pretty Woman on repeat a million times, imagine. Everyone was hugging. Everyone was so huggy! Nearby, Chris Cooper, whose performance instigated applause multiple times throughout the screening, ate dinner with wife Marianne Leone.

The cast seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, spending hours in and around the club. I even found Roberts, McGregor, Mulroney and Swift making use of Soho House’s photo-booth, conveniently located beside the women’s bathroom. “It’s a good look, you should keep it,” said Mulroney to Swift as I meekly shuffled by. (I had to touch her back. It was soft. And awkward.)

Later that night, the party got even wilder as more celebs packed in. Juliette Lewis, who swapped into a white off-the-shoulder cocktail dress after the premiere, toasted with friends on the newly opened rooftop as the familial-y blessed Jack Huston and the familial-y famous Jason Bateman hung out at tables nearby. Back on the club floor, we were thrilled to see that IRL, Mad Men’s Lane Pryce aka. Jared Harris, was very much alive. Felicity Jones was there too, cause why the heck not.

And because that wasn’t all, I witnessed Ralph Fiennes showing off his moves to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as an impromptu dance party broke out on the main floor. Devil may care? More like wizard can dance, am I right?

Fashionmagazine + photos

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Variety – Toronto Film Review: ‘August: Osage County’ + New production still


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There are no surprises — just lots of good, old-fashioned scenery chewing – in “August: Osage County,” director John Wells’ splendid film version of playwright Tracy Letts’ acid-tongued Broadway triumph about three generations in a large and highly dysfunctional Oklahoma family. Arriving onscreen shorn of some girth (the stage version ran more than three hours, with two intermissions) but keeping most of its scalding intensity, this two-ton prestige pic won’t win the hearts of highbrow critics or those averse to door-slamming, plate-smashing, top-of-the-lungs histrionics, but as a faithful filmed record of Letts’ play, one could have scarcely hoped for better. With deserved awards heat and a heavy marketing blitz from the Weinstein Co., this Christmas release should click with upscale adult auds who will have just survived their own heated holiday family gatherings.

Onstage, confined to a creaking, cavernous old house that seemed variously a womb, a prison and a sarcophagus for those who passed through it, “August” consciously aligned itself with a particular strain of Great American Plays set in just such environs (including multiple works by Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams). Onscreen, gently opened up to include the big skies and infinite horizons of the real Osage County (where the pic was lensed), it suggests a more barbed, astringent “Terms of Endearment” for the Prozac era, with fewer tears and far more recriminations.

Once again, we are introduced to the Weston clan by way of patriarch Beverly, a melancholic poet (played here by an excellent Sam Shepard, in a role originated by Letts’ own late father, Dennis) who quotes T.S. Eliot’s immortal maxim that “life is very long” just before taking matters into his own hands: first by mysteriously disappearing, then by turning up drowned in a local lake. The ensuing funeral serves as a de facto family reunion, the previously empty house filling to the rafters with Beverly’s three grown daughters, their significant others and assorted relations. All have come to pay their last respects. None will leave without incurring the wrath of the widow Weston, Violet (Meryl Streep), a cancer-stricken, pill-popping martinet whose idol was Liz Taylor and who could be Albee’s Martha a few decades — and many rounds of marital prizefights — on from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

From all points they converge: Barbara (Julia Roberts), the eldest, with her estranged husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and moody teen daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) in tow; Karen (Juliette Lewis), the youngest, who shows up on the arm of her supposed fiance (Dermot Mulroney), a sleazy Florida hustler with unsavory business connections; and middle child Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), whose big secret is that she’s sweet on her first cousin “Little” Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch) — a secret, it turns out, much bigger than even Ivy knows.

Whatever else one may think of “August,” in Violet, Letts (who adapted “August” for the screen) has created one of the great, showstopping female roles in recent American theater — his Mother Courage, Mama Rose and Mary Tyrone, all rolled into one — and Streep plays it to the hilt, in and out of a black fright wig (to hide the character’s chemo-stricken hair) and oversized sunglasses, cursing like a longshoreman and whittling everyone down to size. Nothing slips by her, she says repeatedly. You’d better believe it. It’s a “big” performance, but it’s just what the part calls for, since Vi is something of an actress herself, craving the attention that comes with turning a solemn family gathering into an occasion for high theater. This may be Beverly’s funeral, but it’s Vi’s chance to shine.

Shine she does, especially during the long funeral dinner at the end of Act Two that is, as it was onstage, Letts’ piece de resistance. Streep is electrifying to watch here, goosing, prodding, meting out punishment and laying family secrets bare, surprisingly gentle one moment, demonic the next. And Roberts, who hasn’t had a big, meaty part like this in years, possesses just the right hardened beauty to play an aging woman let down by life, terrified at the thought of becoming her mother.

Wells, who is best known for having produced such small-screen phenoms as “ER” and “The West Wing,” does an impressive job shooting and cutting among 10 major characters, all of whom get their chance to engage Vi in verbal tango. He isn’t a natural film director per se (his lone previous feature, 2010’s “The Company Men,” was the earnest, corporate-downsizing also-ran to “Up in the Air”), but he understands what “August” needs in order to work onscreen, how to preserve its inherent claustrophobia without rendering it completely stagebound, and the result is far more successful than any more stylized “cinematic” treatment probably would have been. (Overall, Wells’ work here recalls the American Film Theatre series of stage-to-screen adaptations from the 1970s, of which John Frankenheimer’s “The Iceman Cometh” was the major highlight.)

“August” is the third Letts play to reach the screen in a decade, following William Friedkin’s films of “Bug” and “Killer Joe.” And if, on the surface, it appears to be Letts’ straightest piece (void of surveillance implants and fellated chicken legs), just beneath it may be the most violent and perverse. It’s a panorama of unfulfilled lives in which people do the most unforgivable things to the ones they (supposedly) love, mostly in an effort to feel better about themselves. What makes Letts an original aren’t his subjects so much as the foul, logorrheic, yet oddly musical way his characters have of expressing themselves. The people in “August: Osage County” talk the way we wish we could, and sometimes do, when some long-suppressed yearning or accusation wells up inside us — torrents of words batter and bruise only to arrive at some bracing, lucid insight: “Thank God we can’t tell the future. We’d never get out of bed.” Or, “It lives where everything lives, somewhere in the middle.”

If Streep and Roberts have the roman-candle roles here, the entire cast is commendable, with Letts and Wells giving even the most seemingly incidental character (like the fine Native American actress Misty Upham as Vi’s live-in caretaker) a grace note or two. Lewis is a particular hoot as the daughter hanging on to her carefree youth with all fingernails firmly dug in, while Cumberbatch is very touching as the clumsy, unemployed young man whose diminutive name is one of Letts’ few overtly symbolic touches. (Also excellent: Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper as Little Charles’ parents.)

Shooting in widescreen — a practical necessity with this many characters to squeeze into a frame — Adriano Goldman (“Jane Eyre,” “The Company You Keep”) beautifully captures the hazy half-light of a house whose permanently drawn window shades are mentioned in the dialogue. Indeed, it is a place where we can never be sure whether we are traveling a long day’s journey into night, or a long night’s journey into day.

Variety

Goldderby: Weinstein Co. may push Meryl Streep back up to lead Oscar race


Oscar predictions 2014 – ‘August: Osage County’


Still from August: Osage County

A closet full of skeletons … Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County, Photograph: Toronto film festival

This year’s …

The Descendants in terms of its character-based comedy and themes of family tension.

  1. August: Osage County
  2. Production year: 2013
  3. Directors: John Wells
  4. Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis, Meryl Steep
  5. More on this film

Also, confusingly, this year’s Argo in that it is co-produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov (who scooped the crowning best picture Oscar for Ben Affleck’s Iranian siege caper last February).

What’s it all about?

Interior: a roomy Oklahoma house, the closets full of skeletons. At the head of the table sits Violet (Meryl Streep), a dying matriarch, addicted to prescription meds. Orbiting her come Julie Roberts (as Violet’s brittle oldest daughter), Juliette Lewis (wayward youngest daughter) and Benedict Cumberbatch (deadbeat illegitimate son). Misty Upton lends support as the Cheyenne housekeeper who bears witness to the domestic squalls.

How did it happen?

Tracy Letts’s original stage-play has won rave reviews, the 2008 Pulitizer prize for drama and (happy bonus) a powerhouse champion in producer Harvey Weinstein. The combination of the play’s pedigree and Weinstein’s backing ensured a smooth transition to the screen, although scheduling niggles meant that Andrea Riseborough (originally cast as the younger daughter) had to drop out in favour of Lewis. The film began shooting in the town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma in September last year, with a relatively modest budget of $25m and John Wells (a veteran of ER and The West Wing) in the director’s chair.

Nominations it wants

Handsome, well-upholstered family sagas like this tend to dominate the acting and screenplay categories, though August: Osage County also looks a shoo-in for the best picture shortlist. If so, don’t rule out TV specialist Wells as an outside bet to join the hunt for the directing Oscar too.

What it might win

August: Osage County stars three-time winner Meryl Streep playing a provincial American Lear. She’s an overbearing matriarch raging against the dying of the light. She has cancer and is addicted to drugs. All of which makes her the putative favourite for a fourth acting Oscar. Julia Roberts (an Oscar-winner for 2000’s Erin Brockovich) and Tracy Letts (who adapted his own stage-play) will also fancy their chances.

Reasons to fall for it

It provides a banquet of rich dramatic meat, a keen sense of familial strife and a series of attention-grabbing roles for its big-name players. Possibly it even has a sense of the wider picture, too. As with Death of a Salesman, Letts installs his dysfunctional American family as a sly metaphor for a dysfunctional America.

Reasons it might fail

Might this domestic firestorm turn out too stagey, too relentlessly talky? Does director John Wells have enough big-screen exuberance to bring it to life? August: Osage County has got the revered source material, the family dramatics, and Meryl Streep in the leading role. Might it even be a little too precision-tooled for its own good? Oscar voters may just baulk at being catered to so slavishly.

When can we see it

The release schedule positively reeks of Oscar ambitions. August: Osage County premieres at the Toronto film festival in September and is released in the US on Christmas Day. The UK roll-out duly follows just 24-hours later.

In four words

March’s Story: Oscar Glory

The Guardian

Oscars predictions – Meryl Streep vs Julia Roberts; Daniel Huttlestone in talks to join Disney’s ‘Into the Woods’


ROME – Leonardo DiCaprio could get his first Oscar in 2014. The actor has been nominated several times but has never won. Among women is head to head between the protagonists of “August: Osage County“, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both of which already awarded in the past as Best Actress.

Original Italian article

Daniel Huttlestone goes from ‘Les Mis’ To ‘Into The Woods

EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Huttlestone is in negotiations to star as Jack in “Into The Woods”, the Rob Marshall-directed Disney musical that will star Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine and Jake Gyllenhaal. Huttlestone was last seen as Gavroche in the Tom Hooper – directed screen adaptation of the stage musical “Les Miserables“.

by Mike Fleming

OSCARS: 2014 Academy Awards Set For March 2


The later date for 2014 is not a surprise, with the January 16 nominations announcement coming a week later that the just-completed Oscars. The shift comes thanks to the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia from February 7-23. If the Academy had kept its traditional last-Sunday-of-February slot, the 86th Oscars would have conflicted directly with the Closing Ceremony. With no such obstacle in 2015, the 87th Oscars will return to its normal routine and is set for February 22. Here’s the official release with all the dates:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 86th and 87th Oscar® presentations. The 86th and 87th Academy Awards® will air live on ABC on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, and February 22, 2015, respectively.

Key dates for the Awards season are:

Saturday, November 16, 2013: The Governors Awards

Monday, December 2, 2013: Official Screen Credits due

Friday, December 27, 2013: Nominations voting begins

Wednesday, January 8, 2014: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Thursday, January 16, 2014: Oscar nominations announced

Monday, February 10, 2014: Nominees Luncheon

Friday, February 14, 2014: Final voting begins

Saturday, February 15, 2014: Scientific and Technical Awards

Tuesday, February 25, 2014: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014: 86th Academy Awards

Oscar Sunday, February 22, 2015: 87th Academy Awards

The 86th and 87th Academy Awards ceremonies will be held at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.

Official Article

Premature Predictions: The 2014 Best Actress Nominees


Looks like Meryl’s in all predictions for nominees for the next year’s Academy Awards. Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts,  Emma Thompson and more are in the list as well.

But looking ahead to the potentials for 2014, as we already have this week with Best Picture and Best Actor, the story’s quite different. On paper, anyway, it looks to be a fiercely competitive year, with a number of legendary actresses in parts that seem tailor-made for awards buzz…if our guesswork is correct. While our other long-distance predictions were fairly reasonable a year ago, Best Actress was something of a disaster, with none of our predictions ending up with nominations. But we’re certainly more confident of things this time around. To see what we’re predicting, take a look below, and you can make your own guesses in the comments section.

Meryl Streep – “August Osage County”

Meryl Streep, playing a character with cancer, in an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, produced by George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein? What do you think is going to happen? Of course, the more interesting question is whether her win in 2012 for “The Iron Lady” will have any impact on how much of a contender she’ll be, or if voters will want to award fresh blood. Could she tie Katherine Hepburn for four Oscars? Or will the Academy feel that she’s had her moment, at least for the next few years?

Full article