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.
Continue reading ““12 Years A Slave” Triumphs with Oscars for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress”
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.
“I wanted to send a reminder: There are lots of reasons to smile,” the 40-year-old told the Los Angeles Times in an interview in December on his nominated song. “You can be resilient with your smile. Why is it so cool to be mad all the time? Some songs, everybody’s so upset.”
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.
Now that she’s got the platform, Octavia Spencer is utilizing her celebrity to reach other young stars in the making.
The actress announced on her Facebook fanpage that she’s launching an opportunity for young filmmakers to compete to follow their dreams on her dime.
She first shared a story about following dreams and explaining that many people on this path don’t reach success but 15 years later. But she also encouraged her audience to continue being creative and pushing past limitations to achieve those goals.
“What many people don’t know is that it takes an average of 15 years to become an over night success. In that time you must create and continue to hone your skills. If you are a musician, write poetry and turn it into an amazing song. If you are a filmmaker write a short and shoot it. I’ve done it twice now. I know it’s not easy,” she wrote. “Two of my friends shot beautiful, award winning shorts on the CANON EOS 60D. One of those films was shortlisted to potentially receive an Oscar nomination yesterday. Trust me I know money is tight. So, in honor of Award Season, I’d like to help someone else see their dream realized.”
Continue reading “Octavia Spencer Gives New Filmmakers the Chance to Compete”
This film image released by Paramount Pictures shows Denzel Washington portraying Whip Whitaker in a scene from “Flight.” (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Robert Zuckerman)
Denzel Washington scored his first Oscar nomination in over a decade this morning for his acclaimed performance as an alcoholic pilot in the hit drama Flight. This is Denzel’s sixth career Academy Award nomination, making him the most honored black actor in history. He’s won twice before: supporting actor for 1989′s Glory and best actor for his villainous role in 2001′s Training Day.
This recognition caps perhaps a career-best year for the A-list superstar, following the box office success of February’s action thriller Safe House and now his return to Hollywood’s most prestigious night.
Meanwhile, Quvenzhané Wallis received her first Oscar nomination ever for her acting debut in Beasts of the Southern Wild. At nine, Wallis is also the youngest actress to ever be nominated in the Academy’s leading actress category.Auditioning for the lead role when she was only 5 years old, Quvenzhané was 6 when filming began in 2010 in Pointe-aux-Chenes and Isle de Jean Charles, not too far from her hometown of Houma, Louisiana.
Beasts of the Southern Wild won the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ at the Sundance Independent Film Festival and won the Camera d’Or for best first film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Continue reading “Denzel Washington and Nine Year-Old Quvenzhané Wallis Nominated For Oscars”
(Photo: Elle Magazine)
Bet.com reports that Academy Award-Winning actress Octavia Spencer graces the cover of Elle Magazine’s Women in Hollywood issue this month. Spencer wears a Tadashi Shoji cocktail dress in the photo, and in her article, she recounts her struggles and triumphs in the entertainment industry, including needing to stand up for herself when she was bullied by an industry icon in a room full of people.
“Early on I had to stand up to a producer — I won’t say who, but he is famous, famous. He dressed me down in a crowded office. I told him right there in front of a hundred people, ‘You don’t know me well enough to use that tone’…And then I ran to the bathroom and cried like a baby. But he never addressed me that way again. And he is known as a yeller.”
The Women in Hollywood November 2012 issue, which also features young actresses Elle Fanning and Emma Watson on two other covers, hits newsstands October 16.
article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson