Vin Diesel’s Long Standing Battle For Recognition at the Producers Guild
Actor Vin Diesel has been mired in a year-long struggle for an illustrious credit from the Producers Guild of America for his contributions to the billion-dollar “Fast and Furious” movie franchise, numerous sources tell Variety.
A cryptic Sunday night Instagram post from Diesel about “mitigating a war” with the PGA, a trade association representing film and TV producers, was only the latest round in a fight that has ensnared the likes of NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer and added to a long history of family drama in the high-flying action films.
The struggle boils down to Diesel’s desire for the Producers Guild of America’s mark of distinction, an addendum to a film credit that signifies to the industry and audiences that a producer has been verified as a substantial contributor in the making of a movie.
Diesel has attempted to receive the mark for nearly every film in the “Fast” series, sources said, which have grossed over $5.9 billion worldwide to date. He has consistently been denied and sought appeals, which have turned ugly. In his Sunday post, Diesel called the group “the prejudice guild of America.”
Steve Zahn, Assol Abdullina, Others Win Awards at 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
“The Half of It,” a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Alice Wu, and actors Steve Zahn and Assol Abdullina were among the winners of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival’s slate of juried awards.
“The Half of It,” which will be released on Netflix on May 1, follows a shy, straight-A student named Ellie Chu who makes some extra money by writing papers for her high school peers. She reluctantly agrees to write a love letter for a lovesick jock to his crush, a girl Ellie also secretly loves. All three students go on a journey of complicated friendship and self-discovery in the drama-comedy film.
The Polish film “The Hater” by Jan Komasa won for best international narrative feature and “Socks on Fire” directed by Bo McGuire won for best documentary feature.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic halting most in-person award shows, this year’s Tribeca winners were announced on Instagram.
“We are fortunate that technology allowed for our jury to come together this year to honor our filmmakers,” said Tribeca Film Festival co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “Despite not being able to be together physically, we were still able to support our artists, which has always been at the heart of the Festival.”
See the full list of winners below.
U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – “The Half of It” directed by Alice Wu.
Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Assol Abdullina in “Materna.”
Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Steve Zahn, “Cowboys.”
Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – “Materna,” Greta Zozula, Chananun Chotrungroj, Kelly Jeffrey.
Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – “Cowboys,” Anna Kerrigan.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
Best International Narrative Feature – “The Hater” (Poland), directed by Jan Komasa.
Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Noe Hernandez, “Kokoloko” (Mexico).
Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Shira Haas, “Asia” (Israel).
Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – “Asia” (Israel), Daniella Nowitz.
Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – “Tryst With Destiny” (India, France), Prashant Nair.
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
Best Documentary Feature – “Socks on Fire” directed by Bo McGuire.
Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – “499,” Alejandro Mejia.
Best Editing in a Documentary Film – “Father Soldier Son,” Amy Foote.
BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
Best New Narrative Director – “Nobody Knows I’m Here,” Gaspar Antillo.
BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:
Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – “Jacinta,” Jessica Earnshaw.
THE NORA EPHRON AWARD:
The Nora Ephron Award – “Asia,” directed by Ruthy Pribar.
SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:
Best Narrative Short – “No More Wings,” Abraham Adeyemi.
Best Animated Short – “Friends,” Florian Grolig.
Best Documentary Short – “My Father The Mover,” Julia Jansch.
Student Visionary Award – “Cru-Raw,” David Oesch, Director.
TRIBECA X AWARDS:
Best Short – “Pay Day,” directed by Morgan Cooper.
Best Series – “Girls Room”, directed by Tiffany Johnson
Writer: Lena Waithe
Best Feature – “U Shoot Videos?” directed by Morgan Cooper
‘Transformers’ Animated Prequel in Development With ‘Toy Story 4’ Director, Josh Cooley.
An untitled animated prequel to the “Transformers” franchise is in the works at Paramount Pictures and Hasbro’s eOne with “Toy Story 4” director Josh Cooley.
Screenwriting partners Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari have written the script for the untitled project, while Paramount Animation and eOne will develop and produce the film. The film is in early stages of development. After winning an Oscar for “Toy Story 4,” Cooley is attached to direct, and producers are expected to be Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian.
The new film will be the seventh “Transformers” movie. Michael Bay directed the first five blockbuster movies, which generated $4 billion at the worldwide box office for Paramount. Bay’s run concluded with the release of 2017’s “Transformers: The Last Knight.” The studio then revamped the franchise with 2018’s prequel film “Bumblebee,” directed by Travis Knight with Hailee Steinfeld starring. The series is based on the popular Transformers toy line — produced by Hasbro and Takara — featuring the long-running battles between the Autobots and the evil Decepticons.
Cooley won the Oscar in the animated feature category for “Toy Story 4” along with Jonas Rivera and Mark Nielsen in February. It was the 10th Pixar title to take an Oscar since the category was created in 2001. Cooley was nominated for the original screenplay Oscar for 2015’s “Inside Out.”
The Future Of Oscar Campaigns In The Wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak.
On a Sunday night last November, as part of the traditional awards-season ritual, around 100 people drove up Mount Olympus Drive to a gathering at the home of sound engineer John Ross and his wife Nancy for a screening of “Joker.”
The evening included pre-screening cocktails in addition to a 10-minute Q&A with director Todd Phillips moderated by Scott Cooper.
As guests left the screening room, Phillips shook almost everyone’s hand. If they knew him well enough, there was an embrace or a kiss on the cheek. Guests moved on to fill dinner plates at a sushi bar. A meat, cheese and bread spread was set out on a terrace overlooking the city.
This was just one of many stops on the campaign trail after the film premiered to rave notices in August at the Venice Film Festival (taking the fest’s top prize). All those subsequent months of schmoozing, eating and drinking helped “Joker” earn 11 Oscar nominations, with wins going to Joaquin Phoenix for lead actor and Hildur Guðnadóttir for original score.
The run-up to Oscars 2021 will undoubtedly look very different.
Campaigning amid the coronavirus pandemic has studio executives and awards consultants scrambling in war rooms to strategize new ways to get out the vote.
“Anyone who tells you they know how they’re going to campaign for next year’s Oscars is lying,” says one longtime consultant. “No one knows what they’re going to do.”
What everyone can agree on is that in-person events like the “Joker” gathering will be less frequent and far more controlled for social distancing. “If a screening room can seat 100 people, maybe it goes down to 30,” another consultant says. “Invites may now include directives to wear face masks and gloves and assurances that the location has been properly sanitized.”
Smaller events will also mean lower costs. Money saved can go toward more media advertising and billboard marketing or simply be reabsorbed by the studios to offset the loss of box office dollars due to theaters being shut down for months.
One studio executive insists that talks with talent haven’t yet begun to explore how much live campaigning they’re willing to do, but most expect that actors and filmmakers will limit their time at events to avoid close contact with guests.
In turn, virtual campaigning will likely replace many such in-person gatherings.
“I suspect we’re going to have big Zoom meetings with only the panelists’ and moderators’ faces, which I think may be better in the long run because when you think about it, a lot of people don’t stay for those Q&As after the screenings,” the awards consultant says. “They’ve just sat through a two- or two-hour-plus movie. They’re tired. They’re hungry. Now you can see the movie and then log on whenever you want to watch the Q&A.”
The question of how — or even if — Q&As will live online is up to the studios. For example, SAG-AFTRA does not currently post its awards season question-and-answer sessions on its website, but studios are often given permission to film them for future marketing and promotion purposes. However, that could be changing. A rep for SAG-AFTRA tells Variety, “Moving forward we are discussing ways to make various types of content, including Q&As, available to members digitally.”
Another idea being mulled is limiting the number of attendees at virtual panels in order to allow questions from the audience.
Reaching older voters will be critical, as many will be wary of attending in-person events and not tech savvy enough to participate in virtual ones.
Consultants and studio execs applauded the Academy after it announced on April 28 that it will allow consideration of films that are released digitally, rather than requiring that they have a seven-day theatrical run, as long as the studios had intended to release them in theaters. “It makes total sense,” an exec tells Variety. “It’s only fair that while theaters are closed, and assuming their plans for a theatrical run were underway, that they have the chance to qualify.”
‘Life of Pi’ & ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Star, Irrfan Khan, Dies at 53.
Irrfan Khan, the wide-eyed actor who enjoyed art house acclaim in his native India and crossover-success with major Hollywood roles including “Life of Pi,” “Jurassic World” and “Inferno,” died on Wednesday. He was 53.
Khan was previously diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour in 2018 and underwent extensive treatment in London. He recovered well enough to shoot what would turn out to be his last film “Angrezi Medium,” the release of which was abruptly cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.
On Tuesday, he was admitted into the intensive care unit of Mumbai’s Kokilaben hospital with a colon infection.
After a brief stint in television, Khan made his film debut with a cameo in 1988 with Mira Nair’s Oscar-nominated “Salaam Bombay.” He returned to Indian television for the next decade. He shot to global prominence playing the lead in Asif Kapadia’s BAFTA winner “The Warrior” in 2001.
His major breakthrough in Indian cinema was in 2004 where he played Macbeth in Vishal Bharadwaj’s “Maqbool” and the antagonist in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s “Haasil.” In 2011, his turn as a soldier-turned-bandit in Dhulia’s “Paan Singh Tomar” earned him India’s National Award for best actor.
Internationally, Khan’s most visible performances include “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Life of Pi,” “The Lunchbox,” “The Namesake,” “Jurassic World,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Inferno.” He starred in 2017 film “The Song of Scorpions,” a Variety award nominee at the Locarno Festival.
Khan’s mother passed away in Jaipur a few days ago and he had to witness the funeral remotely via video link from Mumbai due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown in India.
Filmmaker Karan Johar tweeted: “Thank you for those indelible movie memories….thank you for raising the bar as an artist …thank you for enriching our cinema….we will miss you terribly Irrfan but will always always be immensely grateful for your presence in our lives…..our cinema….we salute you.”
“An incredible talent … a gracious colleague, a prolific contributor to the World of Cinema, left us too soon, creating a huge vacuum,” tweeted veteran Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan.
He is survived by his wife Sutapa and sons Babil and Ayan.
The Oscars To Recognize Digital Releases As Oscar Worthy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has tweaked its Oscar eligibility rules in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
During a meeting on Tuesday, the board of governors approved a temporary hold on the requirement that a film needs a seven-day theatrical run in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County to qualify for the Oscars.
Instead, films will be allowed to be released digitally without playing in theaters. However, that doesn’t mean any movie premiering on a streaming service is eligible for Oscar gold. To be considered, the streamed film must have already had a planned theatrical release. The film must also be made available on the Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering. Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”
Once movie theaters are allowed to re-open, the seven-day window will once again be required for eligibility. Pics that have already streamed will not have to then be released in theaters. When theaters re-open, the Academy will also expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.
The Academy also announced that it will eliminate an Oscar category. The sound mixing and sound editing categories will be combined into one award, reducing the total number of categories presented on the show to 23. This change was initiated by the sound branch.
Also, for the first time, all Academy members will be invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting for international feature film. Members will have to meet a minimum viewing requirement to be allowed to vote.
In the original score category, the board voted that a score must comprise a minimum of 60% original music. Additionally, for sequels and franchise films, a score must have a minimum of 80% new music.
In keeping with the Academy’s ongoing efforts to be more sustainable, the board also voted to eliminate DVD screeners. Like the TV academy edict, DVD mailers will be banned after this year. In October, the Academy expanded its Streaming Room platform to include best picture hopefuls following its addition of documentaries, animated films and shorts. Distributors are charged $12,500 per movie to screen on the platform.
The 93rd Oscars telecast will air Feb. 28, 2021 on ABC.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is also making changes to its film eligibility rules for the 2021 Golden Globes, including allowing studios to provide screening links for voting members instead of having films played at third-party facilities.
Instead of only considering movies released in theaters, or made available on pay-per-view cable or pay-per-view digital delivery (not subscription cable or digital delivery) in the greater Los Angeles area for a minimum seven days before Dec. 31, the HFPA will now consider titles that had a theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles starting March 15, with no cut-off date.
Fade Ogunro In Conversation With Boxx Culture, CEO, Taiye Adeyemi.
With over a decade of experience in broadcast journalism, entertainment, marketing and production, Fade Ogunro is now building a marketplace for talents and creatives to make money.
She unpacks her process and the journey to building a first-rate agency, Booking Africa at the Instalive #BoxxArtistry session hosted by BoxxCulture today at 5pm.
If your interest lies anywhere in media, journalism or marketing or her remarkable story simply intrigues you, join the conversation on the @Boxxculture Instagram page and come with questions.