Posts Tagged ‘Heath Ledger’

The Academy Awards…

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009


Slumdog Millionaire’ fulfills its Oscar destiny


The Academy Awards (MSNBC)

 The Kodak Theatre is seen before the start of the 81st Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009. (Damian Dovarganes / AP)

Rags-to-riches tale wins best picture; Penn, Winslet take top acting honors

The Associated Press
Feb. 22, 2009

LOS ANGELES – “Slumdog Millionaire” took the best-picture Academy Award and seven other Oscars on Sunday, including director for Danny Boyle, whose ghetto-to-glory story paralleled the film’s unlikely rise to Hollywood’s summit.


The other top winners: Kate Winslet, best actress for the Holocaust-themed drama “The Reader”; Sean Penn, best actor for the title role of “Milk”; Heath Ledger, supporting actor for “The Dark Knight”; and Penelope Cruz, supporting actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Ledger a Cultural Icon?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009


Ledger’s legacy: Will he become a cultural icon?


Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger


It’s hard to shake the image of James Dean when thinking about Ledger




NEW YORK (AP) – It was a decade ago, and director Gil Junger was seeking fresh talent for his upcoming movie, “10 Things I Hate About You.” He’d already seen 250 or 300 kids. In walked a young Australian TV actor looking for work.


After a quick line reading and a bit of improv, “I was stunned,” Junger says now. Certain he was looking at someone with enough raw magnetism to be a movie star, he turned to his casting people. “Hire him immediately,” he recalls saying of Heath Ledger.    (Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Golden Globe Winners…

Monday, January 12th, 2009


‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is the top dog



Danny Boyle, left, who won for directing, with stars Freida Pinto and Dev Patel.


By John Horn
January 12, 2009


In a ceremony alternatively as solemn and celebratory as the movie that won a leading four prizes — the rags-to-riches drama “Slumdog Millionaire” — Sunday night’s Golden Globe awards helped focus the Oscar race as it honored the late Heath Ledger for his performance in ” The Dark Knight.”


By winning trophies for best dramatic picture, director, screenplay and score, “Slumdog Millionaire” cemented its place as the awards season’s most beloved underdog: After losing its American distributor soon after it completed filming early last year, the modestly budgeted story of an unlikely Indian game show contestant now has become not only a powerful Academy Award contender but also a minor box-office hit.


“We really weren’t expecting to be here in America at all at one time so it’s just amazing to be standing here,” “Slumdog Millionaire” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy said in accepting his honor from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. A few months after Warner Bros. closed “Slumdog Millionaire” distributor Warner Independent Pictures, Fox Searchlight took over the $14-million film’s release, with Warners sharing costs and revenue.


If “Slumdog Millionaire” provided the most joyous moments at the 66th annual awards show, Ledger’s posthumous win for supporting actor offered its most poignant.


Ledger died last January from an overdose of prescription medications, before “The Dark Knight” was released and became the second-highest grossing movie in Hollywood, trailing only “Titanic.” “The Dark Knight” was the actor’s last completed film role.


“I for one will start to be able to look less at the gap in the future and the incredible place Heath made for himself with his talent and with his dedication,” Chris Nolan, the film’s director and co-writer, said in accepting Ledger’s award for his haunting performance as the Joker.


Ledger’s win was not unexpected, but in one of the more surprising picks by the 85 movie journalists who make up the HFPA, Mickey Rourke was named best dramatic actor for his role as an over-the-hill grappler in “The Wrestler.”


“It’s been a very long road back for me,” said a humbled Rourke, a veteran actor whose admittedly wild off-screen behavior tarnished his reputation and nearly cost him the lead role in “The Wrestler.” Rourke was initially dropped from the film when the producers couldn’t raise money to make the movie with him in the lead, and he was recast only after his replacement, Nicolas Cage, and director Darren Aronofsky parted ways on the movie. The actor even thanked his dogs for sticking with him when others did not.


More of an extended, freewheeling and alcohol-soaked dinner party than most awards show, Sunday night’s ceremony may have reached new highs (or lows) for bawdy banter.


Rourke’s acceptance speech was peppered with mild profanities, Aronofsky made a joking (but nevertheless obscene) gesture toward Rourke, and “Slumdog Millionaire” producer Christian Colson uttered a four-letter expletive when the broadcast’s producers cued music in the middle of his best drama acceptance speech. The remarks and gesture could spark complaints to the Federal Communications Commission; publicists from NBC did not immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment.


When winners weren’t talking like gangster rappers, a few appeared surprised and flattered, including the English actress Kate Winslet, who won for dramatic actress (as an unhappy suburban housewife in “Revolutionary Road”) and supporting actress for “The Reader” (in which she played a German troller worker with a horrendous secret.)


“I was so shocked to win one. Honestly, I can’t believe it,” Winslet said backstage after collecting her second trophy. “To have been here so many times and to have not won so many times. To win twice in one night . . . ,” said the actress, a previous Golden Globe nominee for “Little Children.”


Because the HFPA is composed of journalists working for foreign publications, it was not entirely unanticipated that only one of the six acting winners was American (Rourke being the exception).


“Happy Go Lucky’s” Sally Hawkins, who was named top actress in a musical or comedy, is English, while “In Bruges’ “ Colin Farrell, the selection for best actor in a musical or comedy, is Irish. Winslet is British and Ledger was born in Australia.


In the other film awards, Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” collected the award for best comedy or musical, “Waltz With Bashir” was named top foreign language film, “Wall-E” took the animation prize, and Bruce Springsteen’s ballad for “The Wrestler” — a song that Rourke personally asked the rocker to compose — was honored as best original song.


The Golden Globes are hardly a sure-fire predictor of Academy Awards nominations or wins. Last year, the ceremony’s top drama, ” Atonement,” didn’t win best picture ( “No Country for Old Men” did), and its choice for comedy or musical — “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” — wasn’t even nominated for the best picture Oscar.


But few would deny that “Slumdog Millionaire” is now a favorite for winning multiple Oscars. And in some ways, this year’s Golden Globe show dramatized that, even in a recession, Hollywood is back to its usual business of displays of wealth and back-slapping, with any worries about employment far from the forefront.


Last year’s 100-day Writers Guild of America strike turned 2008 Globes into a surreal news conference that was both free of stars (who refused to cross WGA pickets) and television viewers.


But striking writers — or the prospect of a possible 2009 walkout by the Screen Actors Guild — were apparently not on most people’s minds. In fact, the night’s first television winner, Tom Wilkinson, couldn’t remember the name of historian David McCullough, the author of ” John Adams,” the source material for the HBO mini-series for which Wilkinson won a supporting actor award.


For a complete list of nominations and winners for the 66th Golden Globes, please click on ‘Continue Reading’



Ledger Death Probe Dropped…

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008


Feds have dropped Heath Ledger death probe



DEA had wanted actress Mary-Kate Olsen to discuss actor’s medications

The Associated Press
Aug. 6, 2008



NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors have decided not to pursue a criminal case into how Heath Ledger obtained the powerful painkillers that contributed to his overdose death this year, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.


Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan had been overseeing a Drug Enforcement Administration probe into whether the painkillers found in Ledger’s system were obtained illegally. But the prosecutors have bowed out “because they don’t believe there’s a viable target,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because no charges have been filed.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)


Mary-Kate Won’t Talk…

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008


Mary-Kate Olsen won’t talk to investigators about Heath Ledger’s drugs


By Sarah Knapton
05 Aug 2008


Olsen’s lawyer Michael C Miller has twice declined requests from the Drug Enforcement Administration to speak to the actress, claiming his client had nothing to do with the drugs.  (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for more)



Brokeback Mountain at the Academy…

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008



The “Great To Be Nominated” series, featuring the picture from each Academy Awards year that received the most nominations without winning the Best Picture award, continues its fifth and final season with three titles in July, then concludes in August.  Each evening will also include animated and live action short subjects, original advertising trailers, outtakes and other surprises to offer up a snapshot of that particular year.  The very best prints available will be screened at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, one of the finest screening facilities in the world.


 Brokeback Mountain (2005)




Monday, August 4 – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) – 132 mins.  E. Annie Proulx’s acclaimed short story about the thwarted love between two young men became a heartbreaking romantic drama under the direction of Oscar winner Ang Lee.  The film received eight nominations, including Best Picture (Diana Ossana, James Schamus, producers), Actor in a Leading Role (Heath Ledger), Actor in a Supporting Role (Jake Gyllenhaal), Actress in a Supporting Role (Michelle Williams) and Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto); it won for Directing (Ang Lee), Music – Original Score (Gustavo Santaolalla) and Writing – Adapted Screenplay (Larry McMurtry, Ossana).  The film will be preceded by animated short nominees BADGERED and 9.  Scheduled post-film discussion panelists include producer and screenwriter Diana Ossana and production designer Judy Becker.


Check out Andre Soares analysis of Brokeback Mountain on his web site, the Alternative Film Guide



Christian Bale Arrested…

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008


‘Batman’ star allegedly assaulted mom, sister




British media report Christian Bale arrested over incident at London hotel


The Associated Press
July. 22, 2008

LONDONBatman star Christian Bale was arrested Tuesday over allegations of assaulting his mother and sister, police and British media said.


British media had reported that Bale’s mother and sister complained they were assaulted by the 34-year-old actor at the Dorchester Hotel in London on Sunday night, a day before the European premiere of his latest film, The Dark Knight.


The women made the allegation at a local police station in southern England on Monday, Britain’s Press Association news agency said. It later said Bale had been arrested, citing “police sources.”


Asked whether Bale was in custody, a police spokesman did not refer to him by name but said: “A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning by appointment and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault.”


The spokesman spoke anonymously in line with force policy and refused to go into more detail. British police do not name suspects before they are formally charged.


U.S.-based representatives for Bale didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment. Repeated phone calls to Bale’s London representative went unanswered.


The Sun newspaper said police didn’t question the actor Monday because they didn’t want to interfere with the premiere of the movie.


Wales-born Bale first made a splash as the child star of Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun in 1987. His screen credits also include American Psycho, The Machinist and Batman Begins.


In The Dark Knight, Bale reprises the role of wealthy playboy Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting alter-ego Batman, a brooding vigilante superhero still scarred by the murder of his parents.


The film, which stars the late Heath Ledger as Batman’s nemesis The Joker, took in a record $158.4 million at the box office in its opening weekend in the U.S. last week.




Bale’s London representative issued a statement on Tuesday. “Christian Bale attended a London Police station today, on a voluntary basis, in order to assist with an allegation that had been made against him to the police by his mother and sister. Mr. Bale, who denies the allegation, co-operated throughout, gave his account in full of the events in question, and has left the station without any charge being made against him by the Police.”



‘The Dark Night’…

Friday, July 18th, 2008


‘Dark Knight’ brightens Warner Bros. day 




It’s a happy Friday in Burbank.


Warner Bros.’ Batman sequel The Dark Knight took in a record $18 million-plus at this morning’s 12:01 shows, according to an executive at the studio, jump-starting what could one of the summer’s top hits. Warner produced the movie for an estimated $180 million with partner Legendary Pictures.


Dan Fellman, the studio’s president of domestic distribution, said his staff was still crunching the numbers and expected the final gross from some 3,000 theaters in the U.S. and Canada that ran midnight shows to be in the $18-million-to-$19-million range.


“A lot of exhibitors called up desperately asking us, ‘Can you send more prints, and quickly?,’ ” said an especially chipper Fellman.


Twentieth Century Fox’s Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith had owned the midnight bragging rights after it snagged $16.9 million from eager geeks in May 2005.


Adjusted for ticket price inflation, that’s about $18.7 million — although in Hollywood, where records are made to be broken, broken, and broken again, the number-crunchers never get around to that.


All 18 screens at an AMC theater in Barrington, Ill., sold out their 12:01 shows for the PG-13-rated The Dark Knight. adventure. One exhibitor called Warner this morning to report his full weekend grosses for the movie.


“He said, ‘I don’t want you to think I’m manipulating the numbers but I’ve sold out every seat at my theater through Sunday night,’ ” Fellman said.


— Josh Friedman, Los Angeles Times