The 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night were chock full of New England connections from start to finish. While many were preoccupied with evaluating the skills of first time hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, who recently admitted to only rehearsing the show on the weekends because of his course load at Yale, or checking their watch to see how long the show went over, those of us in Hollywood East were anxiously keeping tabs on the awards tally for films made in New England.
Boston’s Maria Menounos worked the red carpet arrivals in the official pre-show. On the E cable network, Ryan Seacrest talked to Mark Wahlberg, producer and star of The Fighter.
“It exceeded my expectations. We were fortunate to make the best possible version of the film, we just had so much support. I promised Mickey and Dicky I would get the movie made,” said Wahlberg.
Melissa Leo, who won her first Academy Award in 2 nominations for her role in The Fighter, secured her own quirky point in the history of the awards–uttering the F-word during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress. Though the word was bleeped by the censors for the telecast, Leo later apologized for her inappropriate choice of language.
Her award counterpart, and costar, Christian Bale also picked up his first Oscar for his supporting role in The Fighter.
Harvard grad Natalie Portman completed, as expected, a whirlwind awards season, picking up her first Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her turn in Black Swan.
The Social Network, which was partially filmed in Boston and Cambridge, picked up a number of awards, including Best Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Film Editing. The film, of course, follows the story of the creation of Facebook by Harvard grad Mark Zuckerberg.
The New England connections weren’t limited to the Oscars telecast; commercials for the Rhode Island shot “Body of Proof” TV show aired during the breaks, as it will be premiering on the alphabet network in March.
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, when most people were just starting on their journey to work, a number of local actors anxiously gathered together at the M Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston to watch the Oscar Nominations get announced live from LA (where it was even earlier in the morning). Actresses Melissa McMeekin and Erica McDermott, who played sisters in The Fighter, along with Jodi Purdy-Quinlan of South Shore Casting, and Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham, who is currently starring in ArtsEmerson’s presentation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” spoke live to WCVB’s Bianca de la Garza as the nominations came in about their feelings on the announcements during a “Coffee With Oscar” panel sponsored by the Ellie Fund.
McDermott said of waiting for the nominations, “I’m excited! I feel like a child on Christmas morning at the top of the stairs and I don’t know what Santa has left me.”
The local stars burst into cheers and applause for each nomination that The Fighter garnered.
McDermott, who had to wear prosthetic teeth for her character transformation while filming the movie, began to lose weight after she skipped enough meals during shooting in favor of not having to take them out between takes. After prompting from the wardrobe department, she began to eat more heartily as she was told they could no longer find vintage stone washed Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in smaller sizes for her.
“I just remember sitting in the make-up trailer, eating my BLT and spicy fries, and Christian was just sitting there, eating his handful of peanuts and half of an apple. He was so committed, he never complained,” said McDermott.
“They had a real feeling of company, of a gathered family, which is rare. If there was an Oscar for “Best Ensemble”, this movie would get it,” said Abraham of his thoughts on the movie.
Abraham, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1984 for Amadeus, has gone on to star in a number of film and theater productions, and will be playing Shylock in ArtsEmerson’s upcoming presentation of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, which will be running March 29-April 10, 2011.
“Its really one of the best things in this type of career, to be able to balance movies with theater,” said Abraham.
As for whether or not Abraham will be appearing in any future “Made in Massachusetts” films, particularly those that would require a certain sound, when asked if he could do a Boston accent, Abraham replied, “Of course, I’m an actor!”
In total, The Fighter and The Social Network were each nominated for 7 Academy Awards and will compete against each other for the title of “Best Picture” when the Oscars air on February 27th. The Ellie Fund, which provides support to women suffering from breast cancer, also sponsors the only officially sanctioned Oscar party in Boston, and all of New England, the night of the ceremony. For more pics from the Coffee With Oscar event, check out our Facebook page here.
“Made in Massachusetts” films nominated for Oscars:
The Social Network
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Jeremy Renner, The Town
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
The Social Network, Jeff Cronenweth
David Fincher, The Social Network
David O. Russell, The Fighter
The Fighter, Pamela Martin
The Social Network, Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter
The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
BEST SOUND MIXING
The Social Network, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, and Mark Weingarten
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson;
Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
On Sunday night, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association held the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards, honoring the best in film and television in the previous calendar year. Hollywood East was well-represented in the winner’s circle, with a number of made-in-New England projects walking away with prizes, as well as performers and crew with connections back east coming out with a trophy.
The biggest prize of the evening for Best Motion Picture–Drama, went to the The Social Network. The movie walked away with four awards overall, including Best Director–Motion Picture, for David Fincher, Best Screenplay–Motion Picture, for Aaron Sorkin, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won for Best Original Score–Motion Picture. The film was inspired by the real-life story of Facebook and Harvard alum Mark Zuckerberg, and filmed partially in Cambridge, MA.
The solid supporting cast of the made-in-Massachusetts flick, The Fighter did not walk away empty handed. Melissa Leo won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for her role in The Fighter. Christian Bale won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his role in The Fighter. The British actor even thanked the people of Lowell in his on-stage acceptance speech.
Pregnant and newly engaged Harvard grad Natalie Portman won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture–Drama for her role in Black Swan.
On the TV side of things, “Glee,” created by Newton native Brad Falchuk, won Best Television Series–Comedy or Musical for the 2nd year in a row.
Laura Linney won an award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series–Comedy, for her role on Showtime’s “The Big C,” which is filmed in Connecticut.
Claire Danes won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in HBO’s Temple Grandin, a made-for-TV movie about the real-life story of a woman with high functioning Autism who becomes a doctor of animal science and autism advocate. Danes sat with the woman and namesake of the picture, who was born in Boston, Massachusetts.
2010 has been a big year in Hollywood East, with many made in Massachusetts films coming to the big-screen with much fanfare and success, as other future TV and film projects went to work in the Bay State, ensuring more New England flavor will be infused into Tinseltown’s productions for years to come. We took a look back at some of the major stories that you wanted to know about.
The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, debuted at the Coolidge Corner Theater in February as part of the Sundance Film Festival. Writer/director John Wells sat down and talked to us about his film, which also co-starred Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, and Massachusetts native Chris Cooper, as a group of executives who were laid off in a corporate down-sizing. The movie had filmed in Boston and surrounding suburbs in late spring and early summer 2009.
Also in February, we got an update on the Plymouth Rock Studios, where we found out that the studio had been downsizing and moving ahead with financing efforts in an attempt to get the construction of the project successfully off the ground. Not much else has been heard from the studio since then.
In March, the Massachusetts state legislature made several attempts to cap the successful film tax credit program, putting various versions of the bill with amendments to vote, before finally laying it to rest in favor of the notion that capping the bill would limit film-making in the state, negatively affecting potential job creation that occurs as a result of these films.
In May, filming began of the romantic comedy, What’s You’re Number, starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Numerous casting calls were held in advance of production, calling for both union and non-union extras that were needed to fill the various wedding and crowd scenes in the film. Filming continued throughout Boston’s neighborhoods, including the North End, Back Bay, Financial District, and waterfront from mid-May to mid-July.
This summer and fall, we saw the first of a number of made in Massachusetts flicks get released, including Furry Vengeance, Knight and Day, Grown Ups, and The Social Network. Many of these films were shot in the area during the spring and summer of 2009.
In July, we spoke to Christopher Murphy, Film and TV Development Executive at MyTV New England, who formally announced a new distribution program that would help bring locally made TV shows and films to broadcast TV through branded entertainment and budgeting made in-line with already acquired funds. This new type of programming has already helped bring viewers around New England Debra Crosby’s Talent Quest TV show, and a new independent film series that will be debuting in February.
In September, Ben Affleck’s second directorial endeavor, The Town, debuted in theaters, co-starring Blake Lively and Chris Cooper. Affleck, who also starred in the movie, filmed the movie throughout Boston and Charlestown in the summer of 2009. The film is based on the book of the same name, and is set in Charlestown.
In October, the state of Connecticut announced formal plans to break ground on a $50 million studio sound stage that will also include a hotel, restaurant and shopping complex, and will create as many as 500 union construction jobs over the next year.
Earlier this month, The Fighter debuted at theaters, instantly garnering award-season buzz, starting out with 6 Golden Globe nominations. Starring Dorchester’s Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, the real-life story of fighter Mickey Ward was filmed in the greater Boston area in the late spring and early summer of 2009, and will continue to be a favorite as Oscar season draws nearer.
This month also marked the end of Nick Paleologos’s tenure as executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, as a recent bill passed in August that reorganized the duties of the office, and a new agency called the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership was created which will be responsible for the development and promotion of film and sports events in Massachusetts from 2011 onward.
Overall, 2010 marked a great year for Massachusetts, and Hollywood East in general, and we look forward to bringing you all the excitement to come in 2011!
On Tuesday morning, the nominees for the 2011 Golden Globes were announced, and New England is well-represented once again.
Leading the pack with six nominations each were the (at least partially) made in Massachusetts flicks, The Social Network and The Fighter. Nominations for The Social Network included newcomer Jesse Eisenberg as best dramatic actor, Andrew Garfield as supporting actor, and David Fincher as director. Four of The Fighter’s nominations came in acting categories, including best actor for Dorchester, Mass. native Mark Wahlberg, and supporting honors for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Melissa Leo. David O. Russell was also nominated for best director.
Additionally, Harvard alum Natalie Portman was nominated for her psychosexual turn as a ballerina in Black Swan.
On the TV side, “Glee”, which is helmed by writer/producer Brad Falchuk of Newton, Massachusetts, was nominated in the comedy or musical category of Best TV Series. Concord’s Steve Carell was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, also in the comedy or musical category, for his work in his final year on “The Office”.
The 68th Annual Golden Globes will air live on NBC on Sunday, January 16th, at 8PM.
★ NECN’s “TV Diner” co-host, Billy Costa, appears at Cambridgeside Galleria’s 20th Anniversary Cupcake Celebration on October 3.
★ Medford resident, Frank Imbergamo, was featured on ‘Emeril Live!’ for his winning meatball recipe.
★ Casey Affleck nearly goes bankrupt making movie about Joaquin Phoenix.
★ The Social Network becomes third made in Mass. flick (after The Town and Shutter Island) to top U.S. box-office. The film creates questions about Facebook co-founder from Harvard. Turns out, Harvard grad Natalie Portman helped with research on movie.
★ Michael Cunningham (below), author of The Hours, the book which the movie was based on, signs autographs at the Boston Public Library on October 6.
September 24-26th, the annual Telluride by the Sea film festival was presented at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Six films which just had their premiers at the 37th Telluride Film Festival in Colorado were shown, and included a number of works by notable stars. These 6 new films included Tamara Drewe, Ken Burns- The Tenth Inning, Oka! Amerikee, The Princess of Montpensier, The Illusionist, The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth, and Never Let Me Go, starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield, who is currently co-starring in the partially made in Massachusetts flick, The Social Network.
The festival brings movies to Portsmouth that otherwise might not be seen in the area. Locals and visitors to the New Hampshire area were able to purchase individual tickets for showings, or special passes that allowed them into specialized events. Patron Passes, for $200, allowed guests primary seating for all films, opening night post-show party at Radici, VIP access to a local bar, Founders Lobby, all weekend, a Telluride Cruise with the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, as well as access to the wrap party at The Portsmouth Brewery. The price of the pass even included a $75 tax-deductable donation to The Music Hall, as well as admission to a passholder-only special film.
The Weekend Pass, which cost $85 allowed guests to have preferred seating for all films, the cruise, and entrance to the wrap party at The Portsmouth Brewery, as well as admission to the passholder-only special film.
Hundreds of people attended the festival this year, proving that New Hampshire is an enthusiastic film community, and ensures that future film festivals and projects will not ignore the area.
Remember life without Facebook? Me either. But there was a time, not too long ago actually, that The Facebook was just an idea turning in the cogs of Mark Zuckerberg’s brilliant mind. In 2004, the Harvard student turned his pet project into the largest social network in the world thanks to two other students and a little financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin. It quickly spread through the dorms of Harvard, extending its cyber fingertips to Stanford and other elite schools, until anyone in the world could join in updating statuses, upload pictures, and checking in on old friends of yesteryear.
The Social Network stars Jessie Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Education of Charlie Parker), who looks perfectly the part of Ivy league braniac Mark Zuckerberg, and Justin Timberlake smooth talks his way to the top as Sean Parker. Parker, who co-founded Napster in 1999, went on to become President of Facebook. Disney’s Brenda Song (“The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”) also co-stars.
So, a movie about a website? That sounds a little risky, but The Social Network takes us through the dark biography from the beginnings of TheFacebook.com to its global explosion with plenty of lies, betrayals and a love story or two along the way that could satiate anyone’s newsfeed hunger. Based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 best-seller The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, most of the movie was filmed in Cambridge. Although there were no scenes shot on Harvard’s Campus, Wheelock College, John’s Hopkins University, and Phillips Academy in Andover, MA doubled as Harvard yard.
The film looks like it will offer plenty of drama, and even though it is far from a documentary about the founding of the world’s most popular website, it should be interesting to see how a student’s part-time hobby turned into an integral part of almost every students’ lives. That, and the sepulchral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” during the trailer makes it look way to juicy to pass up. Catch it in theaters this fall.
A slew of Massachusetts-filmed movies began hitting theaters in February and continue to roll out this summer. Furry Vengeance hit theaters last Friday coming in at number five in the box office. The kid flick chronicles a standoff between titan real estate developer Brendan Frasier and some cute and not-so-cuddly woodland critters fighting to keep their habitats preserved. Furry Vengeance also stars Brooke Shields. The Lightkeepers, starring Richard Dreyfuss, opened in March. Set in early 20th century Cape Cod, Dreyfuss plays a reclusive lighthouse keeper who has sworn off women.
Summer blockbusters Grown Ups and Knight and Day are both due out June 25th, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. Both were filmed in Massachusetts, but that’s about where the similarities end. Grown Ups features a star-studded cast headed by Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Steve Buscemi, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Maya Rudolph, and Tim Meadows (whew!). The group reunites as adults after their high school basketball coach dies and inevitably hilarity ensues. Knight and Day pairs up Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz on an action-adventure with a tinge of comedy. The two play a globetrotting fugitive couple on the run who realize nothing is what it appears to be, even each other.
The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake) and the The Town (Ben Affleck and Blake Lively) are due out this fall. Every college kid will identify with The Social Network with its history and evolution of ex-Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg’s creation of Facebook (which has its roots in Cambridge). In The Town, Ben Affleck is a bank robber who’s feelings for a bank manager get in the way of his next heist.
Set to come out in 2010 with no official release dates are The Company Men and The Fighter. Ben Affleck is having a busy year, also starring in The Company Men along side Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones which premiered earlier this year. The Fighter (Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg, and Amy Adams) takes a look at boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward’s early career in the 1980s. Local actress Erica McDermott also makes an appearance.
It seems like no matter where you look this year, there’s a good chance you’ll see Massachusetts in many shots on the big screen!
★ British star, Rachel Weisz, to play American Jackie Kennedy in upcoming biopic.
★ “Saved by the Bell” star “Mr. Belding” comes to McFadden’s in Boston on April 29.
★ New Hampshire film honored with 2010 Emmy nomination from the Boston/New England chapter of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
★ New York Magazine lists 7 things Conan O’Brien will be able to do on cable that he couldn’t do on network television. While Conan confirms that he will in fact not be returning to the NYC.
★ Fashion designer to the stars Marc Jacobs attends his business partner’s swanky wedding on the Cape.
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