TIME Paul Mazursky

Oscar-Nominated Writer-Director Paul Mazursky Dies

Paul Mazursky
A file photo of actor/director Paul Mazursky when he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. Mazursky, the writer-director of films like "An Unmarried Woman," died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday, June 30, 2014, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 84. Damian Dovarganes—AP

The filmmaker died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Mazursky's spokeswoman Nancy Willen.

(LOS ANGELES) — Paul Mazursky, the innovative and versatile director who showed the absurdity of modern life in such movies as “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” and “An Unmarried Woman,” has died. He was 84.

The filmmaker died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Mazursky’s spokeswoman Nancy Willen.

As a talented writer, actor, producer and director, Mazursky racked up five Oscar nominations, mostly for writing such films as “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” and “Enemies, A Love Story.” He also created memorable roles for the likes of Art Carney, Jill Clayburgh and Natalie Wood. Later in life, Mazursky acted in such TV series as “The Sopranos” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and films such as “Carlito’s Way” and “2 Days in the Valley.”

“A true raconteur, Paul brought humor and spirit to the many guild meetings he attended during two decades of service to the DGA,” said Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay. “He shared his provocative views of humanity in his many films, but what he shared with us were quick quips, thoughtful responses and pointed anecdotes always geared toward making us think and feel.”

He was born Irwin Mazursky in 1930 in Brooklyn. During the Depression, the family lived on the small wages his father earned as a laborer for the federal Works Progress Administration. When Mazursky graduated from high school, he changed his name from Irwin, which had hated, to Paul.

Mazursky had always dreamed of becoming an actor, and he appeared in student plays at Brooklyn College. With the school’s permission, he flew to California to act in “Fear and Desire,” director Stanley Kubrick’s first film. When he received bad reviews, Mazursky buckled down to studying acting with a variety of teachers, including Lee Strasberg. But he found the most success behind the camera.

Mazursky and his writing partner Larry Tucker first triumphed with the script for “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” a clever takeoff on the emerging sexual freedom of the late 1960s. Warner Bros. turned it down for fear of its racy subject, but Columbia scooped it up and accepted Mazursky’s proviso that he would direct the film.

Natalie Wood and Robert Culp portrayed Carol and Bob, a well-off couple who seek open lives. Dyan Cannon and Elliott Gould played Alice and Ted, who hesitate but acquiesce in Carol and Bob’s invitation to wife-swapping. In the end, the quartet bow to the old morality and the wife-swapping remains unconsummated.

“Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” was a success at the box office and set up Mazursky as rising director of the new school. His next film was “Alex in Wonderland,” which was also co-written by Tucker, starring Donald Sutherland as a young director who, like Mazursky, had a hit first movie and mulled about what to make for his second. It was scorned by critics.

Mazursky ended his relationship with Tucker and spent six months with his family in Rome and London, recovering from his failure. He later returned to filmmaking, continuing with his socially adept films, many of which he wrote, produced, directed and acted in, including the autobiographical “Next Stop, Greenwich Village,” ”An Unmarried Woman,” ”Tempest,” ”Moscow on the Hudson” and “Down and Out in Beverly Hills.”

“I know there are some wonderful filmmakers with really tragic views of life,” Mazursky told the Atlantic magazine. “But for me absurdity is just around the corner. I see it all the time.”

Over the years, he was nominated four times for screenplay Oscars: 1969’s “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,” 1974’s “Harry and Tonto,” 1978’s “An Unmarried Woman” and 1989’s “Enemies, A Love Story.” As a co-producer, he also shared in the best picture nomination for “An Unmarried Woman.”

Mazursky returned to semi-autobiography in his poorly received 1993 film “The Pickle,” about an aging movie director grappling with professional and personal stumbles. In an Associated Press interview, he objected to the notion someone had expressed to him that the film’s hero, played by Danny Aiello, was despicable.

“Every director I’ve met who was involved with a movie is self-centered,” he said. “Directors are not walking around like Mahatma Gandhi saying, ‘Oh, don’t worry about the movie.’ They’re worried about their movie! They’re crazed!”

He is survived by his wife, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchild.

TIME movies

If You Sell Your Oscar, You’re Going to Get Sued

The heirs of Oscar winner Joseph Wright are being taken to court for allegedly selling the statuette he won for a 1942 musical

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing the heirs of the 1942 Oscar winner Joseph Wright, as well as auction house Briarbrook Auctions, for allegedly selling an Oscar statuette, according to the Hollywood Reporter (THR).

In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the academy claimed that the trophy’s sale to the anonymous buyer breached the academy’s rules, which prohibits its members — and anyone who inherits an Oscar — from selling or disposing of the statuette without offering the academy a right of first refusal to purchase it for a sum of $10.

Wright won the Oscar for his work on color and art direction for My Gal Sal, a musical starring screen legend Rita Hayworth.

The academy is known for being protective of its golden Oscars and has taken legal action in the past.

Briarbrook Auctions did not immediately respond to THR’s request for comment.

[THR]

TIME fashion

Melissa McCarthy Started a Plus-Size Clothing Line Because Nobody Would Dress Her for the Oscars

Melissa McCarthy
Actress Melissa McCarthy attends Warner Bros. Pictures' “The Big Picture” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images

The actress is out to change the industry, or at least make it more relevant to more women

Shame on you, Hollywood designers who refused to dress Melissa McCarthy! The Bridesmaids star recently revealed in an interview with Redbook that she went ahead with her own plus-size clothing line because when she asked fashion designers to dress her for the Oscars, they all said no.

“When I go shopping, most of the time I’m disappointed,” the star told Redbook. “Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.”

Names! We want names! Who would dare turn down Melissa McCarthy?

But if that kind of short-sightedness on the part of designers means we will have another influential woman in the fashion industry, it’ll be a win for everyone in the end. Plus we can’t way to see what McCarthy comes up with.

 

TIME viral

Here’s a Photo of Leonardo DiCaprio Dressed as a Total Hipster

See Leonardo Dicaprio dressed as a hipster.
Undoubtedly an award-winning role. DesignCrowd

And not just any hipster — but a British schoolboy hipster!

Much has been made of the fact that Wolf of Wall Street star Leonardo DiCaprio often comes up short during award season, particularly at the Oscars. While the a 39-year-old actor won a Golden Globe for his role as Jordan Belfort in Wolf, he lost out in the Best Actor category at the Academy Awards to Matthew McConaughey.

But the folks at DesignCrowd recently evened the score a bit when a digitally altered image of DiCaprio won the company’s award for the best “hipsterized” celebrity. Some of the other entries included Meryl Streep, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Dame Judi Dench, but it’s rather difficult to top a bowtie, seersucker suit-shorts (shuits?) and patent leather shoes — even if you do put purple hair and green lipstick on one of England’s most revered actors.

Also, there’s a decent chance that the hipsterized version of Ellen’s Oscar selfie could haunt your dreams. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

hipsterized-oscar-selfie

TIME Television

Obama Needles Ellen for ‘Cheap Stunt’ Selfie

The president cracked wise about the selfie that beat his election night record for the most retweeted Twitter post ever

President Barack Obama is giving Ellen DeGeneres some playful flack for her selfie-seen-round-the world.

“I heard about that. I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt, myself,” Obama joked during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing Thursday, referring to the massive group selfie she sent when she hosted the Oscars earlier this month. “Getting a bunch of celebrities in the background, you feeding them pizza.”

The selfie beat Obama’s 2012 election-night victory Twitter posting for the most retweets ever, with more than 3.4 million retweets to date.

Obama’s interview came amid a last-minute publicity push to encourage Americans to sign up for health insurance under the new health care reform law, ahead of a critical March 31 enrollment deadline.

TIME Theater

Theater Is Much Less Sexist Than Film

Variety Screening Series: "The Producers"
Director Susan Stroman participates in a Q&A session at the Variety Screening Series of "The Producers" at the Arclight Theaters on December 13, 2005 in Hollywood, California. Amanda Edwards—Getty Images

If the Olivier Awards are any indication, that is

In the acting world, the stage versus screen debate is an established one — and there may never be one true winner. But when it comes to recognizing women directors, the West End is kicking Hollywood’s ass.

Just this week, the Olivier Award nominees were announced, with three women earning nominations in the Best Director category — a first in the awards/ history. The nominees are all enormously worthy, but it was Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica), Maria Friedman (Merrily We Roll Along) and Susan Stroman (The Scottsboro Boys), snagging three out of the category’s four nominations that served as the proverbial cherry on the sundae. (Richard Eyre was also nominated for Ghosts.)

This feat comes on the heels of last summer’s Tony Awards, where women snapped up not one but two of the direction prizes available: Pam MacKinnon won Best Direction of a Play with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, while Diane Paulus won Best Direction of a Musical with Pippin.

What’s more, women have been awarded for their direction in theater for years now. MacKinnon and Paulus’ 2013 coup didn’t even mark the first time two women swept the Tonys directing category. That milestone occurred in 1998, when Julie Taymor and Garry Hynes won the musical and play direction awards for The Lion King and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. And the first time a woman won the Olivier Award for Best Director was way back in 1988, when Deborah Warner snagged the statue for Titus Andronicus.

Not that the theater industry is perfect — men have far more nominations and wins under their belts than women, certainly — but at least the theater has been making steady strides towards recognizing its female talent in recent years. Compare that progress to the film industry’s track record and things don’t look too good for Hollywood.

In the history of the Academy Awards, only four women have ever been nominated in the Best Director category — Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Lina Wertmüller. In 2009, Bigelow made history as the first woman to actually win that award when she scooped the statue for her suspenseful war drama, The Hurt Locker — but no woman has won since. In fact, no woman has even been nominated since and it’s not for a lack of worthy contenders. Just looking at films that were otherwise recognized by the Academy, Bigelow was passed over for 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, which earned a Best Picture nod, but didn’t make the director cut. Same goes for Debra Granik, who directed 2010’s Winter’s Bone; that film had a slew of nominations, including Best Picture, but saw no love from the directing category.

It’s hard to nail down what exactly will lead to a change in the numbers when it comes to the Academy. After all, it’s not as if the disparity hasn’t been publicly called out again and again. But in the theater world, at least, it seems that women don’t have to wait for their due recognition any longer.

TIME movies

VIDEO: An Exclusive Look at Très Cute Ernest and Celestine

The Oscar-nominated animated film opens across the country starting Mar. 14

+ READ ARTICLE

The family-friendly animated film Ernest & Celestine has been available for French audiences for years, but its English version, which was nominated for an Oscar at this year’s awards, is just beginning to make its way across the U.S. Here, check out a TIME-only clip from the movie, which features the voice of Forest Whitaker (he’s the bear, Ernest), before the film’s nationwide roll-out begins Mar. 14.

It’s the story of a mouse and a bear who bond over art, based on the classic children’s books of the same name by Gabrielle Vincent — and it’s easy to see why parents won’t be too sad if their kids drag them to this one. Other voices in the film include Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.

TIME celebrities

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey a Dork in High School? Not Even Close

Here's what McConaughey was really like back in high school

+ READ ARTICLE

It sounds like Matthew McConaughey, named the sexiest man alive by People in 2005, has always been good-looking. While an ugly-duckling situation might have made for a more comforting story to the rest of us mere mortals, the truth is, McConaughey was already turning heads, even in high school.

“He was always so good looking and he was always a standout,” former high school classmate Adrian Harris Forman told People.

McConaughey played golf, charmed the ladies at Cotillion, and was voted “Most Handsome” — so it’s no wonder McConaughey sees his future self as his own hero.

TIME movies

Writer: Matthew McConaughey No Christian Hero for Thanking God in Speech

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Actor award at the 2014 Oscars
Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Actor award at the 2014 Oscars Adam Taylor—ABC via Getty Images

The predictable backlash to the praise for the Dallas Buyers Club actor's Oscars acceptance speech has finally arrived

In all likelihood, you didn’t notice that Matthew McConaughey thanked god first when he accepted his Best Actor award for Dallas Buyers Club at the Oscars on Mar 2. After nearly three-and-a-half hours, you could hardly be blamed. And even if you did notice, odds are you didn’t care. But there were some people who did care. They cared very, very much.

Part of the reason people care is that award winners thanking god is far from common at the Oscars. According to the Daily Caller, god has been thanked just 14 times in 100 speeches over the last 30 years. In the last decade, according to Slate, god has been mentioned fewer times than Meryl Streep.

So when McConaughey mentioned god right away, Christians were understandably excited. “First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand,” McConaughey said after receiving his award. “He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend and that friend is you.'”

But it seems that there’s at least one writer who is not on board with the idea of McConaughey, a 44-year-old Texas native, being crowned the savior of Christianity in Hollywood. Melissa Edgington, author of “Your Mom Has a Blog,” has declared that the Magic Mike star is not her hero:

But, there’s one tiny issue with setting Matthew McConaughey up as our next great Christian idol. And, the problem is the movie he won the Oscar for. And pretty much every other movie he’s ever made. (Anyone remember a little film called Magic Mike?) According to pluggedin.com, Dallas Buyer’s Club opens with McConaughey’s character having sex with two girls at the same time in a rodeo stall. That’s only the beginning of the explicit sexual content in the movie. In addition to the nudity, masturbation, and pornography, the film contains over 100 f-words and God’s name is used as a curse word over 20 times.

Matthew McConaughey made this movie, which he was rewarded by Hollywood for making, which goes out into our society and poisons the hearts and minds of our men, women, and young people. And then he gets up to accept his award for making filth that turns hearts away from God, and he thanks God for the opportunity, and Christians applaud him as if he has done something incredible.

This backlash has, predictably, spawned backlash of its own—bad enough that Edgington has had to shut down the comments for her posts on the subject (yes, there was a follow-up). None of this should come us a surprise. McConaughey’s speech was bound to stir up some excitement (and not just for fans of Dazed and Confused), just as it was inevitable that there would be those eager to downplay and reject that enthusiasm. Blameless in all of this, however, is McConaughey himself. Though he did call a future version of himself ‘my hero’ in his acceptance speech, he never declared himself “the next great Christian idol.” And it can be a little bit difficult to seriously trust the opinion of a writer who hasn’t seen the films she’s calling “filth.” Maybe the thing to do in situations like these is take McConaughey’s own advice and just keep livin’.

[via Film Drunk]

TIME celebrities

10 Things We Learned about the Oscars From Jennifer Lawrence’s BFF

86th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Actress Jennifer Lawrence and friend Laura Simpson backstage during the Oscars held at Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Christopher Polk—Getty Images

Best friend writes a funny blog post about her experiences as a non-famous person backstage at the Oscars

The latest chapter in the chronicle of the most amazing woman in the world—Jennifer Lawrence—was penned not by Lawrence herself but by her best friend, Laura Simpson. Simpson (who is not famous, though she might be by the end of the week) was Lawrence’s date to the Oscars. She chronicled the highlights of the night in a hilarious MySpace post—because of course Lawrence’s BFF would be funny.

Here are the highlights.

1. Picking a dress is super stressful, even when you’re not famous

“I had a complete meltdown. Somehow the night before the Oscars I managed to get into an argument with my best friend, my mom and my boyfriend. I think I cried more in the 12 hours before the Oscars than I have in 10 years—I was really getting into the drama of the evening. I somehow managed to make an entire event having nothing to do with me all about me and my precious feelings.”

2. Jennifer Lawrence loves Chandler Bing

Okay, that’s not a fact about the Oscars, just the most beloved person at the Oscars.

3. There are men in camouflage with big guns guarding the red carpet

“Highland (between Sunset and Hollywood) is filled with barricades with different entry points so no crazy person can plow their car through, killing everyone on the red carpet. Guarding each entry point through the barricades are men in head to toe camouflage with gigantic automatic weapons (rifles? I don’t know guns).”

4. People were standing outside the Oscars with signs that showed Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman burning in hell

“Completely lining the sidewalks of Highland are the Jesus freaks. I am not talking a few—I am talking every inch of the sidewalk is full of God-fearing picket signs and psalms…Right before you get to the red carpet, you get to Westboro Baptists with huge yellow signs of pictures of Phillip [sic] Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker saying ‘BURNING IN HELL’ and other despicable things.”

5. She was the girl Jennifer Lawrence grabbed onto as she tanked on the red carpet

6. Nobody can see anything during most of the Oscars

“They mount two maybe 32″ TVs on either side of the auditorium which are near impossible to see so basically everyone in the theater is just sitting in complete darkness during the categories.”

7. People get really drunk and really hungry during the awards

“It’s around this time that you realize you are STARVING and haven’t had any food since breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s hot and you feel like you’re going to pass out. After waiting for my date’s category, her dad and I decide to hit the bar and just watch from the monitor behind the bar and slam a few drinks to make this tolerable. The Academy really needs to spring for more hors d’oeuvres options because now everyone is hammered.”

8. Kerry Washington likes Slim Jims

“The lovely pregnant Kerry Washington asks me if she could have the Slim Jim in my purse.”

“I didn’t have an opinion about her until I met her and I wish she were having my baby. Slim Jims forever, Kerry!”

9. Brad Pitt smells amazing

“Eventually we ask what cologne he’s wearing and he tells us, “I don’t wear cologne, it’s just my musk I guess.” I have to choose not to believe him because it would just be unfair to mankind.”

10. Harvey Weinstein is as much of a jerk as you think he is

“Harvey Weinstein at the bar shaking my hand and saying, ‘you know who I am.'”

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