by (@JordanRuntagh)

Denzel, De Niro, Daniel Day-Lewis: Let Us Handicap The Oscar Nominated Dudes For 2013

Breaking down the 2013 acting nominees for the Academy Award

The nominations for the 2013 Oscars were announced bright and early this morning, and that brings with it another time-honored tradition: The Oscar betting pool! It’s the time of the year when suddenly everyone is a regular Siskel and Ebert, passionately weighing in on a bunch of films that we (probably) haven’t seen, guessing who’s going to take home the little gold bald dude. Normally we just bet on the thespian who has won the most accolades in the past, but this year it gets a little more tricky: ALL of the Best Supporting Actors have won Oscars before! The track record is fairly similar in the Best Leading Actor category too, with Academy honored legends like Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and Joaquin Phoenix going head to head. Ahh, clash of the Titans! What are we going to do!?

Well, never fear, folks, because we’ve taken the time to handicap all of the actors for you, in basically the least-expert way possible. We went through their cinematic performances broken down into all the pros and cons that you need to make an informed decision for your Oscar night scorecard. Don’t worry, we’ve got one for the actresses too! Read on…

Best Actors

Daniel Day-Lewis: Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln

Why He Has A Good Shot: Not only did the master craftsman give the performance of his career by bringing back the controversial president, but he also grew his own beard, you guys.

What Might Hold Him Back: The Academy forgets that his last name has a hyphen, accidentally awards an Oscar to a “Daniel Day Lewis.”

Bradley Cooper: Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook

Why  He Has A Good Shot: Brad really showed that he was much more than a pretty face/funny guy in David O. Russell’s alt- dramedy.

What Might Hold Him Back: People are still pissed at him for beating out Ryan Gosling as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive back in 2011.
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The Problem With Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s idea of American slavery pictures Jamie Foxx riding horseback and spinning a pistol on his index finger while wearing a ridiculous blue getup with white ruffles, spewing corny-if-rebellious catch phrases like, “I like the way you die, boy.” Yes, the godfather of motion picture vengeance’s latest, Django Unchained, reverts to a significant era in history to swap victim with victor (much like 2009’s Holocaust-based Inglorious Basterds). Instead of a group of Jewish soldiers vengefully plotting against Nazi leaders, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave turned bounty hunter, guns down any white man who impedes in the rescue of his enslaved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Despite Tarantino being an equal opportunity history books trivializer, the problem with Django Unchained is it’s being presented as the “hip-hop generation’s Roots” as opposed to the feel-good revisionist history it is.

Per usual, Tarantino wanted to make his audience uncomfortable. I cringed as I sat through an early December screening of Django amongst a predominantly white audience in New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre watching horrific, graphic scenes that included freshly welted black backs and canines eating an enslaved man alive. Even more unbearable, though, were the snickers heard during such a visually intense movie that makes light of centuries of injustice. Jonah Hill’s three-minute cameo scores cheap laughs off an amateur racist sect’s poorly constructed masks (“I can’t see sh*t!” one Klansman blurts). The word “nigger” is spat more than 100 times through the film’s two-hour-and-45-minute span.

To save you the $13 cost of admission, here’s a rundown of the plot: Two years before the Civil War in the antebellum south, German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) purchases Django to identify three murdering thieves known as the Brittle brothers who have price tags on their heads. In exchange, Dr. Schultz mentors Django in the art of murder, playing Batman to Django’s Robin in the pursuit of his lady. They take off for Mississippi when they learn of Broomhilda’s whereabouts, at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) vast Candyland plantation deep in the racism-rich South. It’s like the King of Diamonds of plantations—female house slaves dress in fine bouffant dresses and his right-hand house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), gives insight on business matters, and even sasses white visitors. Candie himself is a sarcastic, slick-talking overseer who indulges in violent Mandingo fights while his slave mistress watches, cocktail in hand. As the film nears its end, Tarantino’s signature twists lead to an expected bout of bloody, gory action.

All trigger-happy abolitionist fun, right? A good ol’ spaghetti western complete with Rick Ross and a James Brown/2pac mash-up on the soundtrack. You’ve got to wonder how many moviegoers will watch, munching on nachos and popcorn, and depart their seats thinking, “Slavery wasn’t too bad after all,” or worse, “Why didn’t all slaves just revolt?” Let’s get real. Django’s opportunity to shoot down slavemasters one-by-one would’ve never happened—he’d be hung after the first white man he killed, but most likely would’ve never sought revenge at all. The institution of slavery was deeper than whips and chains; it was a deep-rooted mental oppression that psychologically suppressed its sufferers.

Sure, Django Unchained is not a documentary intended to inform. But even though Tarantino has stated that he was “uncomfortable” presenting the slave experience, the whipping scenes and BS phrenologist comparisons of a slave’s skull to that of a free man don’t always play that way on screen. I wish that he would have put the same level of thought into developing Jackson’s well-acted role, which hardly surpasses the “house nigger” caricature. Or avoiding the Great White Hope meme (see: Glory, Dangerous Minds, Blind Side, The Help) that finds Foxx playing sidekick and Washington as a voiceless damsel. In reality, there was no nice German savior swooping in to emancipate the enslaved. Freedom was an impossible task seldom achieved by slaves making ultimate sacrifices.

Tarantino lauded himself for being familiar enough with the subject of slavery and black culture to critique Roots, Alex Haley’s thorough cinematic exploration of American slavery. “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” he told The Daily Beast of the film adapted from literary fiction masterpiece Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The enslavement of Africans in the U.S. for more than 400 years was much worse than could ever be portrayed on screen, yet Roots is still the closest depiction of the often-closeted atrocity. Django Unchained is no Roots. The problem, however, is Tarantino’s packaging of his latest effort as some type of eye-opening, thought-provoking, progressive piece of art.

Slavery has long been America’s dirty little secret that’s often left untouched. Most Americans aren’t versed enough on the effects that unfortunately linger today. Any film, entertainment or not, has a responsibility to address the topic with a certain level of information—and acknowledgement of slavery’s lasting effects—presented.

Jamie Foxx told VIBE magazine that “Every two, three years there is a movie about the holocaust because they want you to remember and they want you to be reminded of what it was.” He argued African-Americans should recall slavery with the same urgency, and that’s why this film must be supported. Difference is, America doesn’t wish to forget the Holocaust. And Django Unchained may very well remind America of its dark twisted past, it does so by misinforming and making the masses feel good about it first.

[Photo: IMDB]

by (@shalapitcher)

Django Unchained Pics: Release Jamie Foxx From These Pants!

Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained

Many people have wanted to free Jamie Foxx from his pants before. This is nothing new. But today, we are starting this campaign for more altruistic reasons. Really. Because after seeing (on EmpireOnline.com) the second batch of photos from the Oscar-winning actor’s upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie, Django Unchained, we worry about both his health and the possibility that he can add more little Foxxes to the world (in addition to his two daughters). Perhaps we should have a word with Tarantino and his costume designer — they may be able to assure us that these camel-colored, crotch-embracing pants were padded to ensure the safety of their wearer. Or maybe there was a crotch double employed? Either way, we are really excited to see how their ill-fitting nature plays into the plot of this movie.

And in case you’ve been so distracted by the pants, and the ridiculous nature of Foxx’s and Leonardo DiCaprio’s facial hair, here’s a brief summary of the plot of the movie, due out this December 25: Django (Foxx) is a slave-turned bounty hunter who is trying to rescue his wife from a deranged plantation owner (DiCaprio). He’s also on a revenge mission with a German bounty hunter played by Christoph Waltz. Head over to EmpireOnline.com for more pics of those beards and pants.

[Photos: EW.com, EmpireOnline.com]

by (@JordanRuntagh)

Kate Winslet’s Kids Love It When She Projectile Vomits

Roman Polanski’s new film Carnage hasn’t hit theaters yet, but star Kate Winslet’s kids already have their favorite moment picked out. It’s the scene when their Oscar-winning mother projectile vomits cobbler all over antique art books. What’s not to love!? And luckily enough, they were even on set to witness the glorious moment in person! “My kids came to work for the vomit day,” she told a press conference yesterday at the Venice Film Festival, where the film had its world premiere.  “And I am so thrilled that they were there because they literally have not stopped talking about it since. It was hysterical.”

The film is based on the satirical play by Yasmina Reza, The God of Carnage,  and packs an all-star cast of Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly. But most importantly, it features Winslet projectile vomiting with enough ferocity to put that scene in The Exorcist to shame. Thank god she didn’t perform method-style, but instead used a device strapped to her body. At least she does her own stunts. And she had an A-list cleanup crew.  “While Kate was the one who threw up, Jodie and I had to clean up the vomit,” says costar Reilly. “So we had the more disgusting involvement with the vomit.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@JordanRuntagh)

The Three Musketeers Will Swashbuckle In 3-D This Fall!

All for one and one for all, The Three Musketeers are back this fall! Alexander Dumas’ classic novel is headed to the big screen in a way you’ve never seen it before: 3-D! Logan Lerman stars as the youthful warrior D’Artangnan, who teams up with those three renegade swashbucklers to do battle with the sinister Richlieu (played by Christoph Waltz) and Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). Milla Jovovich also stars as the evil temptress, Milady. The flick isn’t set to open until October 14th (make it a date, folks), but check out the gallery below for a sneak peek at the on-screen awesomeness destined to ensue!

View Photo Gallery



by (@katespencer)

Rob Pattinson: The Hardest Working Man In Showbiz

Okay, cuddling with Christoph Waltz looks like fun, but it’s all work for Robert Pattinson (photos). The Water for Elephants actor is currently in Germany promoting his new movie (read our review), where it premieres tonight. He and Christoph palled around at the photo-call today, and Rob was spotted dining with his manager and agent last night. The poor guy somehow managed to look well-rested after spending last week promoting the movie in New York and the weekend working on Breaking Dawn in St. Thomas. (Yes, we know he got to hang out in the ocean with his girlfriend, but it’s still work).

After Germany, Rob is traveling to France, Spain, England and Australia before hopefully heading home to rest and snuggle with his dog. The guy’s basically been working non-stop for a year: In 2010 he shot Bel Ami, promoted Remember Me, promoted Eclipse, shot Water for Elephants and shot Breaking Dawn (a 7 month process). If anyone deserves a vacation, it’s Rob. The problem is, where can he go to get some actual privacy?

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[Photo: GettyImages]

by (@katespencer)

Review: Why We Loved Water For Elephants, But Were Left Wanting More

[Disclaimer: Kate Spencer is not a professional movie critic. She is a comedian and blogger whose favorite movie is Sixteen Candles and who cries every time she watches 10 Things I Hate About You. Now that that's out of the way...]

Let’s just start with this, because we know it’s what most of you are wondering: Yes, Robert Pattinson is good in this movie. The actor hasn’t had many opportunities to show off what he can do on the big screen, as he’s basically been limited to playing a needy vampire for the past three years. Sure, there was Remember Me, but that was an over-dramatic mess that is best left off of Rob’s resume. Finally, in Water for Elephants, we see a different side of what Rob can do; his portrayal of the young Jacob Jankowski is sensitive, emotional and tender. He is most at ease in the scenes with Rosie the elephant, and their chemistry is the best of the film. Rob’s biggest hurdle as an actor may just be that the camera LOVES him. Like, “I wanna make love in this club,” loves him. His face was made to be plastered on a gigantic screen (well done, Dick and Clare), which can be both a blessing and a curse for actors. This could be why the poor guy seems to be held to an almost impossible standard by many critics. And while his work in WFE is certainly not Oscar-caliber, it does prove that Rob deserves to be taken seriously as an actor and not just as Edward Cullen – a skin he should be allowed to shed.

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by (@katespencer)

Water For Elephants Red Carpet Recap

We are now home after a fun – and exhausting – afternoon on the Water for Elephants red carpet. We will have video up asap of our interviews with Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook, Francis Lawrence (aka @hibbits, aka DILF), Donna Scott and Ken Foree, but until then enjoy this little breakdown of our day!

We arrived at press check in at 3:45 and had an awesome spot on the red carpet (Thanks, Fox!). First thing us press peeps noticed was the massive amount of fans packed in across the street waiting for Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon’s arrival. We covered the Remember Me and Eclipse premieres in New York and Los Angeles, respectively, and the fan frenzy is always the same for Rob. In interviews he very humbly chalks up his popularity to the character of Edward Cullen, but we think it might be time for the guy to realize the fans are more into him than his vampire alter ego. And with good reason! Talent was set to begin walking the carpet at 5PM, and Rob arrived at 5PM on the dot – not to talk to press, but to walk the entire length of the fan area across the street. The space covered about half a city block – which is long in NYC terms – and the guy wasn’t just waving and walking by, he was slowly making his way greeting people, taking photos with fans and signing autographs. He spent about 40 minutes with fans, a move which seemed to awe the waiting reporters. We’ve been on enough carpets to know that such quality time between a star and their fans is rare, and he really went above and beyond the call of celebrity duty. There is no question the guy is a class act who truly appreciates the support of his fans. Pay attention, Hollywood! This is how it’s done.

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by (@katespencer)

Casting The Mortal Instruments: Who Should Land The Leads?

The fourth book in The Mortal Instruments franchise, City of Fallen Angels, dropped yesterday (Do books drop? Is that a thing?), making this the perfect week to begin obsessing over who to cast in the film version of the popular series. Lily Collins is already set as Clary, the books’ redheaded heroine, and Alex Pettyfer is clearly the fan favorite to place Jace, Clary’s – *SPOILER ALERT* – brother/love interest/hot angel dude/not really her brother. Yes, for those of you who are new to the franchise, you read that right – brother AND love interest. It’s even weirder than the Jacob-Renesmee creepfest in Breaking Dawn!

So let’s have it, Mortal Instruments fans. We want to know who you envision in these parts. We’ve put our initial picks in the gallery below, but we’re easily swayed and enjoy spending hours pondering these things. We’ll collect your favorites and roll out some polls in the coming weeks. Until then, let’s start casting!

  • Jace: Alex Pettyfer, Hunter Parrish
  • Simon: Logan Lerman, Mike Bailey
  • Isabelle: Kaya Scodelario
  • Alex: Nick Hoult
  • Luke: Kyle Chandler
  • Valentine: Christoph Waltz
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New Water For Elephants Trailer: More Sexy Drama, Fewer Elephants

Looks like we weren’t the only people who thought the first Water For Elephants trailer had far too much circus and not enough sex. Instead of giving us the ancient Hal Holbrook gabbing about “the Benzini Brothers” (zzz), the new promo focuses on the personal tragedy that led Robert Pattinson‘s brooding lead to the circus, making clear our boy didn’t just run off because he really wanted to clean up monkey poop. The love triangle between RPattz, fragile Reese Witherspoon and violent Christoph Waltz gets more attention in the new trailer as well—instead of Grandpa cooing “I don’t know if I picked that circus, or if the circus picked me,” we hear Waltz seething that animals can tell “whether man is at full-strength,” better setting up Pattinson’s claim that Witherspoon “deserves a better life.” There’s also a lot more kissing and scuffling in this one. While fans of the book (and RPattz) have been psyched from the beginning, this is where those of us who want more drama, and less three-ring majesty, get on board. Plus there’s a stampede!

See the trailer after the jump.

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