Director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan will reunite once again for an adaptation of a 2014 essay in The New Yorker titled “Wrong Answer,” written by Rachel Aviv, which explores an adult standardized test cheating scandal at Atlanta Public Schools through the lens of one middle school. If Coogler reteaming with Jordan wasn’t thrilling enough, Ta-Nehisi Coates is attached to write the screenplay based on Aviv’s article.
In addition, Brad Pitt’s Plan B (producer on Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight,” as well as “Selma,” “12 Years a Slave” and more) will produce “Wrong Answer” with Coogler, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Keliner. New Regency will also produce and fully finance the picture. Jordan will star as math teacher Damany Lewis, who struggles under the pressure imposed on his students and school to meet unrealistic standardized testing scores as part of the No Child Left Behind project. In order to save their jobs and prevent their school from shutting down, he joined in an effort to cheat the scores.
The scandal led to 11 teachers being convicted on racketeering charges. This will be the 4th time Coogler and Jordan will work together after “Fruitvale Station,” “Creed” and the upcoming “Black Panther,” which Coates has also been involved in, writing the new Black Panther comic book series, which influences Coogler’s upcoming Marvel and Disney superhero film.
According to Variety.com,Oyelowo is set to co-star with Lupita Nyong’o in the indie drama “Americanah.” Based on the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel, the story follows a pair of young Nigerian immigrants who face a lifetime of struggle while their relationship endures. The film is now looking to attach a writer and director, with no production start date set yet.
Brad Pitt is producing through his Plan B production banner along with Nyong’o and Andrea Calderwood. Plan B also produced “Selma,” and after having such a good experience working with them, Oyelowo jumped at the opportunity to board another project they were producing.
Oyelowo has a busy end of the year, with “Interstellar,” “Selma” and “A Most Violent Year” all bowing in the last month. He is expected to be in the Oscars conversation for his performance in “Selma,” and he can be seen next in the indie “Captive” opposite Kate Mara. Nyong’o is slated to appear in the new version of “Star Wars” helmed by J.J. Abrams in 2015.
12 Years A Slave topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar tonight at the 86th Academy Awards. 12 Years director/producer Steve McQueen and producer Brad Pitt accepted the award at the end of a night that also saw writer John Ridley win for Best Adapted Screenplay, and rising star Lupita Nyong’o triumph in the Best Supporting Actress category. According to Variety.com, McQueen made history by becoming the first black producer to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The star-studded night also saw an energizing performance of “Happy” by Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams (who danced with Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the aisles), a brief a cappella version of “Eye on the Sparrow” from Darlene Love during the Best Feature Documentary acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom and Oscar presentations from Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Tyler Perry, Gabourey Sidibe, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and the first black man to ever win a Leading Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier.
One of the biggest highlights of the evening was Nyong’o’s acceptance speech, where she honored those who suffered so she could shine:
Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.
Nyong’o then went on to thank McQueen, co-star and Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, her family and her chosen family, before closing with encouragement to children everywhere:
When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.
According to Variety.com, the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Film went to 12 Years a Slave. In his speech, helmer-producer Steve McQueen said that there were “21 million people living in slavery as we sit here now.” McQueen was joined at the event by fellow producers Anthony Katagas, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.
The leading actor award went to Chiwetel Ejiofor for his performance in 12 Years a Slave. He paid tribute to McQueen, and said that the award really belonged to the director. “It’s yours. I’m going to keep it, but it is yours,” he said. Although 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o lost out to Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress, the award for Supporting Actor was picked up by Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips. He thanked the performers who played the other pirates in the film. “We came from nothing and I got this (the BAFTA),” he said.
This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for its 86th annual Awards, and recent Golden Globes Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave was honored nine times, including nods for Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Director (Steve McQueen) and Best Picture (Brad Pitt is one of the producers).
Other notable nominations include Barkhad Abdi for Best Supporting Actor in Captain Phillips, Pharrell Williams for Original Song (“Happy” from Despicable Me 2) and U2 for Original Song (“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom).
American Hustle and Gravity tied for most nominations with ten nominations each, and will likely provide the stiffest competition for 12 Years during the March 2nd awards ceremony.
The full list of nominations follows below:
“12 Years a Slave”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”
Slavery saga 12 Years a Slave opened at No. 1 in the United Kingdom this weekend, in the Oscar frontrunner’s first major overseas test. 12 Years a Slave took in $4.2 million from 208 screens, an encouraging number for Lionsgate, which is distributing in nearly every foreign territory. It’s currently playing in 16 international markets and has taken in $5 million, with most of its significant openings yet to come. The R-rated “12 Years a Slave” is directed by Steve McQueen stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. It has grossed nearly $39 million in the U.S., where Fox Searchlight is distributing.
Brad Pitt didn’t say much during the question-and-answer session that followed the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “12 Years a Slave” on Friday night, just a short comment on why he produced and co-starred in the Steve McQueen period drama.
But, like his turn as an abolitionist-minded maverick amid a group of brutal slaveowners, Pitt spoke volumes as he stood on the stage with cast and filmmakers. “If I never get to participate in a film again,” he said, his voice trailing off as if to imply this would be enough, “this is it for me,” he finally finished.
It’s a sentiment you could imagine the lead cast members — Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and of course Chiwetel Eijiofor, standing out amid the standouts — sharing with Pitt. And it’s a sentiment you could imagine the audience feeling. Festivals come and go; movies rise and fade. But once in a great while there’s a film that feels almost instantly, in the room, like it’s going to endure, and change plenty of things along the way. And “12 Years” offers that feeling.
Most narrowly, that’s true on Oscar level. By 9 p.m. Friday night, just six days into September, the film had already become a top contender for various acting, writing and directing prizes, as well as the big prize. You could say that’s premature. But you probably wouldn’t if you sat in the room. (Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan certainly didn’t hold back.)
It’s equally true on a social level. “12 Years” tells the fact-based story of Solomon Northup (Eijiofor), a free man who in 1841 was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his travails — at once horrifying and surprising, no matter how much you think you’re ready for them — when he is trafficked to a series of Southern plantations for more than a decade.
Gloria Guy enjoys her new “Brad Pitt” house after being rescued from her rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. “I’m glad I stayed,” she says. “I’m tired of running.”
NEW ORLEANS — Seven years ago, as floodwaters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina rushed into her living room and swallowed cars, homes and friends around her, Gloria Guy spent 9 1/2 hours on the roof of her Lower 9th Ward home until a neighbor with a boat took her to higher ground.
Gloria Guy enjoys her new “Brad Pitt” house and new neighborhood after being rescued from her rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. “I’m glad I stayed,” she says. “I’m tired of running.” Last week, Guy mostly napped and chatted with family members inside her newly built home on the same lot where Katrina’s floods nearly took her life as Hurricane Isaac wailed and moaned outside but failed to deliver any damage. Continue reading “Lower 9th Ward Passes Test During Hurricane Isaac”→