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Dec 11, 2013

Films on race ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘The Butler’ lead SAG nominees

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The actors who portrayed the brutality of American slavery in the film “12 Years a Slave” won the most nominations for Screen Actors Guild awards on Wednesday, giving the movie momentum in the run-up to the industry’s top awards, the Oscars.

“12 Years a Slave,” based on the real-life story of Solomon Northup, garnered nominations in four of SAG’s five film categories, including the organization’s top award, best ensemble cast. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays the free black man sold into slavery on Louisiana plantations, was nominated for best actor.

Dec 11, 2013

’12 Years a Slave’ leads Screen Actors Guild nominees

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The actors of director Steve McQueen’s slavery drama “12 Years a Slave” led nominees for the Screen Actors Guild film awards on Wednesday with nods in four categories including best ensemble cast, a key indicator for the industry’s best picture prizes.

Joining them in the nominees for best film ensemble cast, in four categories including best ensemble cast, a the organization’s top prize, were the actors of family dysfunction drama “August: Osage County,” AIDS treatment tale “Dallas Buyers Club,” and the examination of civil rights in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” Each of those films garnered three nominations.

Dec 11, 2013

‘Saving Mr. Banks’ rescues the complex mind behind ‘Mary Poppins’

BURBANK, California (Reuters) – In the leafy, idyllic setting that is the Disney Studios lot, author P.L. Travers made life hell for writers and composers and Walt Disney himself in a movie that portrays her as a withering, brick wall, toxic nightmare of a woman.

It is not quite the demeanor one would expect from the creator of one of the most beloved of children’s books, “Mary Poppins.” But Travers was so worried that Disney and his dream factory would ruin her story of the magical, flying British nanny that she subverted their work at every turn during two weeks at the Burbank studios in 1961.

Dec 3, 2013

Casting conundrum solved, Coen brothers go ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – Leave it to the prolific filmmaking pair Joel and Ethan Coen to create their own movie conundrum, and engineer (or maybe luck) their way out of it.

For their new film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the brothers Coen painted themselves into this corner: They needed an actor for the title role of a struggling folk singer in the early 1960s who could carry an entire movie, be in every scene, convince the audience he was a musician and play songs live in their entirety multiple times.

Nov 26, 2013

Idris Elba mines Mandela’s ‘commanding presence’ in biopic role

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – British actor Idris Elba will be the first to say that he doesn’t look like Nelson Mandela.

But in playing the anti-apartheid leader and former president of South Africa in the biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” he figured that nailing his physical presence would go a long way to portraying the man.

Nov 21, 2013

Steve Coogan brings comic relief to sorrowful story of ‘Philomena’

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – When British comedic actor Steve Coogan first read the mournful story behind his new film “Philomena” in a newspaper, he noticed that the two people in the accompanying picture were laughing.

The photo showed Philomena Lee, an elderly Irish woman looking for the son she was forced to give up as a teenage girl, and former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith who had accompanied her on her search and written a book about it in 2009.

Nov 20, 2013

With cotton and corn husks, actress connects to her ’12 Years a Slave’ character

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – In preparing for her first film role as a petite, hard-laboring slave in “12 Years a Slave,” actress Lupita Nyong’o sized herself up against 500 pounds of cotton, which her character Patsey picked every day.

The pile “was taller and wider and thicker than me,” says Nyong’o. “And I was presented with this woman’s loftiness.”

Nov 18, 2013

What’s that whisper? Wireless headphone opera in busy train station

LOS ANGELES, Nov 18 (Reuters) – It’s Friday evening at Union
Station in downtown Los Angeles, and, like always, commuters are
catching trains to their bedroom communities and weekend
travelers are jumping on the Pacific Surfliner.

And then there’s a less harried crowd milling around the old
wooden seats under the arches of the grand waiting room,
headphones clamped down over their ears. They are told to
respect those using the station, especially the homeless who
take sanctuary there and the people running to trains.

Nov 17, 2013

Angelina Jolie receives humanitarian award from Academy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Hollywood film industry recognized Angelina Jolie on Saturday with a humanitarian award for her work with refugees and advocating for human rights through her film career.

Actors Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin and costume designer Piero Tosi also received what are called “honorary Oscars” for their contributions to film at the annual Governors Awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Nov 13, 2013

‘Nebraska’ melds melancholy and humor in film homage to heartland

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As director Alexander Payne sees it, his latest film “Nebraska” is about a dying man whose son takes him into Hades to meet all the specters of the past.

Oh, and it’s a comedy, despite that dire synopsis – one that revels in lunkhead cousins who embody how awful extended family can be and in an elderly wife who lifts her skirt over a former paramour’s gravestone to show him what he missed.

    • About Mary

      "Mary Milliken is Entertainment and Lifestyle Editor for the Americas since July 2013, based in Los Angeles. In 15 years with Reuters, she been bureau chief in Washington DC, the West Coast and South America and has organized news teams covering everything from presidential elections to economic crises to natural disasters. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese."
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