TIME Oscars 2014

Why The Oscars Snubbed Batkid And How Spider-Man Saved The Day

Sony and Screen Gems Panels - Comic-Con International 2013
Andrew Garfield attends The Sony and Screen Gems Panelsl as part of Comic-Con International 2013 held at San Diego Convention Center on Friday July 19, 2012 in San Diego, California. Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images

Andrew Garfield went with "Batkid" Miles Scott to Disneyland the day after they were snubbed at the Academy Awards

When the Academy bumped five-year-old Miles Scott, aka “Batkid,” from his appearance at the Oscars last week, his family was understandably disappointed.

Miles, who has leukemia, made headlines across the U.S. in November when the Make-A-Wish Foundation and hordes of volunteers transformed San Francisco into Gotham City for a day—complete with bad guys who needed to be conquered—so he could have the chance to be a superhero. Little Miles became an insta-celebrity so it seemed a natural fit to have him appear along with The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield at the Oscars, which this year had a “Heroes” theme. One problem: the segment never aired.

When news of the axed segment leaked, people were angry. And when gossip columns reported that the appearance was cut because Garfield stormed out of rehearsals after disapproving of the segment’s script, people were even angrier. But Variety reports that the decision had nothing to do with the actor at all. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released a statement on Thursday that explained, “Due to the nature of a live show, hard decisions sometimes must be made which require the Academy to cut segments due to the logistics of production.”

Further clarifying the situation, Garfield’s publicist released a statement to Vanity Fair that said when the Academy cancelled the segment, “Andrew and Miles were equally upset.” Yet there is a happy ending as the statement revealed that “the producers arranged for Miles and his family to visit Disneyland [the next day] and Andrew drove down to visit them and to bring Miles a personal gift.”

So instead of appearing in front of millions of strangers, Batkid got to spend the day with Spider-Man at Disneyland, which sounds like a far better deal anyway. Even cuter, however, is that Garfield and Miles actually held their own mini-Oscars ceremony in a hotel room, tuxes and all.

TIME Oscars

‘Adele Dazeem’ Takes Broadway

Idina Menzel Replaced on Playbill

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John Travolta’s Oscar flub just keeps on giving. Even Idina Menzel herself is getting in on the act, extending the gag to Broadway. Mark Halperin explains why we can’t just ‘Let It Go.’

TIME Oscars

Homer Simpson Shoved Out of Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

Apparently got the shaft from most re-tweeted photo of all time

Midway through the Oscars on Sunday night, host Ellen DeGeneres staged perhaps the most star-studded selfie in history:

The photo shattered the record for most re-tweets, and as of Wednesday morning had been re-tweeted more than 3.2 million times. But take a closer look, and you can see that Bradley Cooper wasn’t the only star on the bottom row:

Despite Homer’s call to break Twitter again, the photo has gotten only about 60,000 re-tweets from The Simpsons‘ official account and from Homer’s own feed. But one of those re-tweets came from Oscar winner Jared Leto, who took home his first golden statue and is now part of the legendary cartoon’s universe:

TIME movies

Captain Phillips Co-Star Barkhad Abdi Is ‘Struggling’

His work alongside Tom Hanks in his debut role grossed $200 million, but Academy Award-nominated actor Abdi only made $65,000 from the film and now relies on loaned clothes and help from friends to get by until his next big paycheck comes in

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He may have made waves in the smash hit Captain Phillips and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, but Somali American actor Barkhad Abdi is struggling to keep his head above water financially, according to an article in the New Yorker.

While the film was a critical and financial success after netting more than $200 million globally, the first time actor was reportedly only paid $65,000 two years ago for his contribution, along with the occasional per diem for promoting the film.

Since relocating to Hollywood from Minnesota, the actor has had to rely on loaned clothes and the good graces of friends, including a Somali cabdriver who gives him free rides, to get by.

While the actor claims he’s in the process of reading through scripts, he has no nailed down roles lined up for the future, according to his IMDB page.

[New Yorker]

 

TIME Oscars

John Travolta Apologizes for Butchering Idina Menzel’s Name at the Oscars

Presenter John Travolta speaks during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles.
Presenter John Travolta speaks during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday, March 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. John Shearer—John Shearer/Invision/AP

Saturday Night Fever actor John Travolta said he's been "beating himself up all day" over his flubbed Oscars introduction of Frozen star Idina Menzel, who performed that movie's hit song "Let It Go" at the Academy Awards

After botching his introduction to Broadway actress and Frozen star Idina Menzel at Sunday night’s Oscars, John Travolta issued an apology of sorts Tuesday, but offered no explanation on why he called her “Adele Dazeem.”

“I’ve been beating myself up all day,” Travolta said in an emailed statement to the LA Times. “Then I thought…what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go! Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!”

Menzel was at the Oscars performing “Let It Go,” the hit song from the animated picture.

[LA Times]

TIME movies

Forget The Oscar: Jared Leto Was Miscast in Dallas Buyers Club

Jared Leto as Rayon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s fact-based drama, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, a Focus Features release. Photo Credit:  Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features
Jared Leto as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. Anne Marie Fox—Focus Features

Imagine how many trans people could become stars if just given a chance

I didn’t need to glimpse even a single frame of Dallas Buyers Club to know that casting Jared Leto in the role of a trans woman was just plain wrong. I wasn’t interested in Leto’s acting capabilities, the portrayal of the character, or the quality of the film overall. I just couldn’t understand why another film had been created with a trans character that had no trans actor in that role. Now that he’s taken home the Oscar for best supporting actor for that role, the question matters even more.

As a trans woman, I’ve been watching movies that have major roles with trans characters for years. Film after film, I’ve sat on my couch or theater seat and wondered to myself why the directors almost never get it right. Why is the main or supporting character played by a cisgender person when they have plenty of other actors in the film that are trans, and giving a stellar performance? Did the investors of the film decide it was too risky? Was it the director who felt that the trans people who auditioned were not good enough? Did the director even audition trans people?

I found my answer when I listened with jaw dropped to what director Jean-Marc Vallee had to say on CBC Radio about casting a trans person as the role of Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. “Never,” he said. “Is there any transgender actor? To my knowledge — I don’t know one. I didn’t even think about it”. When the interviewer interjected with, “Of course there are transgender actors,” Vallee answered with, “Which ones? There’s like five, or three, or what — two? I never thought of that. I never thought of hiring a real rodeo guy to play the rodeo Ron Woodruff. And just like in every film — we’re actors, we’re directors. I’m not aiming for the real thing. I’m aiming for an experienced actor who wants to portray the thing.”

(MORE: Don’t Applaud Jared Leto’s Transgender ‘Mammy’)

Vallee’s response makes me wonder if he would ever take, or has taken, the time to search for a black person to play the role of an essential black character in any of his films? Would he find it prudent to dress up a white man in brown make up, teach him how to “act black” and put him in the role simply because he just didn’t think about it, or because he thought black actors were just not experienced enough?

It’s one thing when actors take on other races or genders in movies like Cloud Atlas. After all, that was a part of what that movie was all about, and it was equal across the board in terms of actors switching roles. But, not considering a minority to play an essential minority role? Not honestly searching for that breakthrough ‘undiscovered’ actor in an acting school, or local film and theater scene across this country?

Every year we have breakthrough performances by cisgender actors with relatively little experience. My personal favorite is Michelle Rodriguez in her role as Diana Guzman in Girlfight. Or more recently Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat M. ali in Captain Phillips. These four men with Somali roots were picked out of obscurity with little to no acting experience out of a casting call of around 700 men –Abdi was even nominated alongside Jared Leto for best supporting actor. Their superb acting abilities showed there are times when no previous acting experience is necessarily needed when one has authenticity.

How many trans people could become stars if just given a chance? How many more actors like Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox are out there? Or are we to believe she is the only one? With the amount of time spent on Dallas Buyers Club, couldn’t the director have spent some of it on finding a trans actor? He could have come up with at least 10 trans actors within just a few minutes of a Google search, and way more if he actually thought about it.

(MORE: Hollywood’s Surprising New Character)

On Saturday I finally saw the film. It was indeed moving, as moving as all of the other movies that I have watched in the past that have tackled LGBT or HIV/AIDS issues and have had a trans character’s role played by a cisgender person. But I can’t shake the sense that this is reminiscent of when black roles in film were few to none. I can’t seem to shake how Laverne Cox hasn’t had an Oscar nominated role, no matter how admired she is as the only major American trangender actor, nearly reaching the status of Sidney Poitier to her fans.

Dallas Buyers Club also got me thinking about movies I loved, and one in particular: Haywire, starring Gina Carrano. After Gina’s run as an MMA fighter she moved on to secure acting roles in action films, which is quite common for MMA fighters with no acting experience. I wondered if there would be any such possibility for me or any other trans person on the face of the planet. Could I imagine that? A serious trans action star? Or a trans role in an action or SCI-Fi movie that wasn’t just there to be made fun of, or to redeem another character? I’d like to imagine a groundbreaking trans hero.

I’d like to imagine a writer and director with enough imagination, passion and guts to create a story that humanizes a trans character and is brought to life with the kind of vivid details a trans actor could bring to the role. Yes, in addition to the many missed opportunities for trans actors, having enough roles in film that positively portray trans people is another problem I often ponder.

Having the opportunity to play positive roles seems slim for trans actors when I look at the abysmal lack of confidence and intestinal fortitude of Hollywood. I can’t be the only one to have dreamed of such uplifting opportunities for our community. But that will never happen if no one sheds light on the absence of trans actors and no one dares to challenge the absence of trans actors and the unequivocal celebration of cis actors in trans roles.

Fallon Fox is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter, and one of only a few out Trans athletes competing on the professional level, her participation and unwavering determination to continue in her sport caused commissions to look into creating guidelines for trans athlete participation. Fallon’s story has inspired millions inside and out of the LGBT community.

TIME Ukraine

Russia Denies Cutting Jared Leto’s Ukraine Shoutout From Oscars Broadcast

After the state-run television station canceled planned live coverage of the awards ceremony

Russia’s state-run television station station is denying it aired a censored version of the Academy Awards ceremony that omitted Jared Leto’s mention of Ukraine in his acceptance speech.

“The channel aired a 90-minute international version of the Oscar ceremony, which was not to be cut and was provided by the rights holder,” a spokesperson for Channel One told The Hollywood Reporter.

Channel One was criticized after it canceled planned live coverage of the Oscars ceremony, opting instead to air a recorded version later. Large segments of the ceremony were omitted from the trimmed down recorded version, including Jared Leto’s award acceptance speech in which he made reference to the turmoil in Ukraine.

“To all the dreamers out there around the world watching this tonight, in places like the Ukraine and Venezuela, I want to say: We are here, and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight,” he said.

The Russian station acknowledges Leto’s speech was not in its Oscars broadcast but denies the station was responsible for the censoring.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: The Internet Loved Ellen, Selfies, Kerry Washington’s Unborn Child

Oscar Statuettes On Display At Chicago Museum Of Science & Industry
Oscar statuettes are displayed on Jan. 23, 2004, at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois Tim Boyle—Getty Images

Conversation on Twitter was nearly 100% positive when it came to this year's Oscars host

At last night’s Oscars ceremony, the unspoken winner was Twitter — and the winner of Twitter was Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres.

Even if her sunny take on the Academy Awards got some critical demerits for being bland, social-media data put together by the research company Fizziology shows that Twitter conversation about DeGeneres’ hosting gig was pretty unanimously (as in 99%) positive, and her opening monologue scored marks nearly that high. Basically, nobody had anything bad to say about her — or if they did, they kept their comments to themselves.

On the other hand, those who did like her and her stunts were very vocal: more than three-quarters of all the people tweeting about the Oscars during the broadcast were talking about her record-breaking selfie — and the volume of conversation jumped 3,000% in the selfie-centric moments around 10:00 pm. (The second-most-vocal group was comprised of people who thought Leonardo DiCaprio should have won.)

(MORE: Oscars 2014 Recap: 12 Years a Slave Is King, and Lupita Nyong’o the Princess Bride)

Meanwhile, over at Google, people who wondered how many times he’s been nominated (answer: this year makes four acting nods) made that question one of the most-asked Oscars-related queries during the broadcast. The only ones that were more popular than that were:

  • Who presented with Matthew McConaughey?
  • Who is Jennifer Lawrence dating?
  • When is Kerry Washington due?
  • What is Dallas Buyers Club about?

So, to save time for those of you who haven’t joined the searching hordes yet, here are your answers: Kim Novak, of Vertigo fame; X-Men co-star Nicholas Hoult; “Spring,” says TVLine.com; and a real HIV-positive Texan man who smuggled experimental drugs into the U.S. for AIDS patients.

You’re welcome.

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Inside the Rhyming “Let It Go” Acceptance Speech and ‘Frozen 2′

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For the legions of Frozen fans out there, a Best Song win for “Let It Go” may have seemed like a foregone conclusion — but not so much to its creators.

“The [nominated] songs were all so good and they were presented so well that it was underlining how close the race probably was,” Robert Lopez, who wrote the song with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, tells TIME. “It was making us very nervous because we knew how exciting it would be to win.”

But, of course, they had no reason to worry. They won — and Lopez scored an EGOT along the way.

(MORE: Oscars 2014 Recap: 12 Years a Slave Is King, and Lupita Nyong’o the Princess Bride)

“When they called our names, what really was going through my mind was how great it was to be going through this with Kristen, who is really my best friend, my wife, and the mother of my kids,” says Lopez. “It’s a real blessing.”

It was also good news for fans of rhyming couplets. The ultra-cute rhyming acceptance speech that the pair delivered was his wife’s concept, says Lopez.

In fact, she had come up with the idea — and convinced her somewhat reluctant husband to play along — back when they were nominated for a Golden Globe; they didn’t win, however, so they were able to use the same speech on Oscars night. Well, almost: the other awards show was close to Pixar exec John Lasseter’s birthday, which has now passed, so they had to update a “Happy birthday to you” to a “Happy Oscars to you.” (Despite the second line of that couplet, Lopez says not to get too excited. Frozen 2 just rhymes with “you”; it doesn’t actually exist — yet.)

As for that EGOT, Lopez says there’s been no secret handshake or club induction. (Or is he just not telling us?) “I’m waiting for the email from [most recent EGOTer] Scott Rudin,” he jokes. “I’m really honored to be part of it, but I know it’s just a statistical coincidence.”

But the EGOT does help with at least one thing: interior-decorating decisions. Asked where he’ll keep his new statuette, Lopez has an answer ready: “Probably next to the the Emmy, Grammy and Tony!”

TIME Oscars

Oscars 2014: Viewership Hits 10-Year High

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show
Ellen DeGeneres onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

The fun-but-safe show brought in impressive ratings

Sunday night’s Oscars scored 43 million viewers this year — up 2.5 million from last year, according to Nielsen ratings — meaning that Ellen DeGeneres courted the most viewers since Billy Crystal in 2004.

Only NFL playoff games have earned comparable viewership numbers in recent years. The Oscars telecast was the biggest non-sports audience on network television since the 2004 season finale of Friends.

It turns out the awards show is better off erring on the bland side than when they stir up controversy. A wider audience tuned into DeGeneres’ unexciting but fun hosting stint than Seth MacFarlene’s boob-gate Oscars last year, which earned only 40.4 million viewers.

DeGeneres and her writers stayed mostly on the safe side with her jokes, opting for a long bit in which the host distributed pizza to Hollywood starlets over, say, jabs at Leonardo DiCaprio about his sex life. The harshest stab went to Liza Minnelli: “And I have to say, one of the most amazing Liza Minnelli impersonators I have seen in my entire life,” DeGeneres said, as the camera showed the real Minnelli in the crowd. “Good job, sir.”

This year’s show even stayed steady in the finicky 18-49 demographic with a 12.9, down from 13.0 last year — either thanks to or in spite of the incessant Twitter and selfie jokes. Hashtag blessed.

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