Vanity Fair released a sneak peek of its 20th annual Hollywood Issue on Monday, and it may be the most groundbreaking one yet. The magazine has apparently taken steps toward emphasizing the diversity of Hollywood. For the first time since it began putting out the annual special in 1995, six of the 12 celebrated thespians gracing the 2014 cover are not white. The magazine has come under fire in the past for an apparent lack of diversity. Just a few years ago, as Buzzfeed has pointed out, a 2010 the cover featured nine actresses — all white, thin and under 40 years old.
Over the years the annual selection has included one or two minority actors — such as Angela Bassett in 1995, and Lucy Liu and Salma Hayek in 2004 — but this year’s edition shows how expansive the African-American film scope has grown across several genres.
Among those featured on the three-panel foldout are many of Hollywood’s most heralded actors of the past year, including Oscar nominees Julia Roberts, for August: Osage County, Jared Leto, who is the front-runner in his Best Supporting Actor category for Dallas Buyers Club, and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years A Slave.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that Pharrell Williams will perform his Oscar-nominated song “Happy” at the 2014 Oscars.
“Happy,” which Williams wrote and produced for the animated film Despicable Me 2, is nominated for the original song category alongside “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, “Let it Go” from Frozen and “The Moon Song” from Her.
The song “Happy” has a “lyric version” — a video featuring the film’s minions making mischief around the song’s words in bold fonts. It also has a website launched for the song, 24hoursofhappy.com, where the song is played on repeat for 24 hours straight.
“Each take starting every hour is me,” he told The Times. “So I did 24 four-minute takes of ‘Happy.’ From 1:00-1:04, I perform ‘Happy.’ Then at 1:04, the next person does it. We picked all kinds of people, all types. Every hour is 15 takes.”
Williams, a seven-time Grammy Award winner, was named Billboard’s producer of the decade in 2010. Most recently, he collaborated on two of 2013’s top Billboard hits: Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines,” which he co-wrote and produced, and Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky,” which he co-wrote and also sang.
The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be held March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and broadcast live on ABC.
After what was turning into a shut out of awards for black actors and African-American themed projects, Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave won the last and most-coveted Golden Globe of the night – Best Motion Picture – Drama. Director Steve McQueen accepted on behalf of the producers and cast, graciously speaking as the actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson and others gathered on stage during the surprise win. The only other Golden Globe related to a black-themed project went to U2 for its Original Song in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
Perhaps African Americans will fare better at the Oscars – Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 16th.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association yesterday announced the nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globes. Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave garnered seven nominations (tied with American Hustle), including Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Director (Steve McQueen), Best Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and Best Motion Picture – Drama. Ejiofor also picked up a nod for his performance in the miniseries Dancing on the Edge, competing in that category with this year’s other double nominee, Idris Elba, who was recognized for his work in Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom as well as his television series Luther.
Other television nods went out to Kerry Washington for her work on ABC’s Scandal, and Don Cheadle for his leading role on Showtime’s House of Lies. The 2014 ceremony will again be hosted by “Parks and Recreation’s” Amy Poehler and “30 Rock’s” Tina Fey and held January 12, 2014. The full list of nominees follows:
After fighting criminals on the streets of London, “Luther” star Idris Elba is now ready to fight terrorists in Paris as he is set to star in the Vendome Pictures and Anonymous Content thriller Bastille Day. Andrew Baldwin wrote the script and the director has not yet been set. The story revolves around a U.S. operative who is tasked with interrogating and eventually making a young American boy “disappear” in order to avoid embarrassment to the U.S. government after the boy is linked as the prime suspect to a terrorist attack on the Paris metro. After a several more attacks, the operative realizes the boy is innocent and also may be the only link to the person actually orchestrating the attacks.
Though Elba still doing some work on his television series Luther, in the last year he has begun to ramp up his work on the feature side with big roles in Prometheus, Pacific Rim and Thor: The Dark World, which opened this past weekend and has already almost made $200 million worldwide. Elba can be seen next in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom which is already getting award season buzz for his performance as Nelson Mandela.
He wears a heavy tweed coat instead of a cape and a steely, brooding façade instead of a dark cowl, but for Lutherstar Idris Elba, his British copper might as well be London’s own Batman. “In concept, we straddle between detective and superhero. Although there aren’t any magic tricks or capes or anything like that, we put our central character through improbable — and probable — scenarios that ask the audience to suspend their belief,” says Elba, the British actor who returns as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther for a third installment of the series running Tuesday through Friday (10 ET/PT nightly, except at 9 ET/PT Wednesday) on BBC America.
Over the course of a trio of seasons since 2010, Luther has dealt with masked serial killers, pedophiles, twin killers, snipers and the psychopathically endearing murderer Alice Morgan (Ruth Wilson), who’s gone from Luther’s arch-enemy to confidante. That stuff is almost easiest for the grumpy lawman to deal with than other aspects of his life, like coming to grips with the death of his ex-wife and brandishing his own sense of justice that, while efficient, puts him at odds with most every other cop in town.
“He’s a spiritually wounded man, and one of the great malicious pleasures of writing for the character and this particular actor is what kind of hell can I put him through next?” says Luther creator and writer Neil Cross.
Idris Elba is poised to make a big splash at the movies this year. Not only is the sexy British actor headlining Guillermo del Toro‘s latest sci-fi epic Pacific Rim, he will be also playing Nelson Mandela in the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. His performance as the legendary South African leader is already generating tremendous buzz. Elba himself has not been shy about touting his upcoming movie. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Elba called his version of Mandela “hands down the best.”
He went on to clarify, “Not in terms of performance…but my film’s about his entire life. Anyone wanting to understand who Mandela was should go and watch my film.” “Morgan Freeman is outstanding. Terrence Howard is an outstanding actor. But my film is about his life,” Elba added, referring to Freeman’s 1999 movie Invictus and Howard’s depiction of Mandela in Winnie – a 2012 film which never made it to theaters.
Now we’re getting our first glimpse of Elba as the iconic man. A promo poster for the movie has been released (pictured above). Elba may have some stiff competition from his fellow black actors come awards season with both Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale) and Forest Whitaker (The Butler) earning early praise for their starring roles in prestige pictures due out this fall. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is expected to be released on November 27, 2013.