Maureen O'Hara, Harry Belafonte to Receive Honorary Oscars

The four recipients of the annual Academy Governor's Awards were announced today. The winners of the Honorary Awards are Maureen O'Hara, Harry Belafonte, Hayao Miyazaki and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere. Maureen O'Hara was a star of Hollywood's Golden Age who acted in such classics as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Miracle on 34th Street (1947) The Quiet Man (1952) and The Parent Trap (1961). Carriere is a celebrated screenwriter who collaborated with Luis Bunuel on several films, including The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and That Obscure Object of Desire, while Hayao Miyazaki is the legendary Japanese filmmaker who founded Studio Ghibli and is responsible for classic features like Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away, among many others. Harry Belafonte, an actor, singer, producer and activist since the 1950's, is being awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his humanitarian efforts. The Governor's Awards are being held November 8th.

TRAILER: "Rosewater"

Jon Stewart's directorial debut finally has a trailer, right before the movie premieres at Telluride this weekend, and then Toronto next week. Actually, the film already screened for several critics last night and the early word so far is fairly lukewarm. As someone who has watched The Daily Show for many years, I have never seen Jon Stewart exhibit much (or any) interest in films, so I'm a little baffled by his sudden move toward becoming a director. I mean really, he never sees any of the movies that his celebrity guests are promoting and if anything often shows a fair amount of disdain towards Hollywood. I could have seen him making a documentary about this subject (based on the autobiography of the Iranian journalist Mazahir Bahari) rather than an actual film, so I don't really know where this is coming from.

Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: "All That Jazz" (1979)

A different kind of musical is out on blu-ray this week, and it's one of the best and most exuberant of the 1970's. Kind of an autobiographical look inside the head of Bob Fosse himself (who directed), that was obviously inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2, but it definitely works on its own too, thanks to the great performances and imaginative musical numbers. Roy Scheider plays Joe Gideon, the film and stage director who can barely handle his work and various personal hangups when not in a drug addled state, while a young Jessica Lange appears as his dark angel of death. The movie's an exhilarating ride that was nominated for 9 Oscars and won five.

Original 1979 Trailer:

Richard Attenborough 1923-2014

Another sad passing to report today, as the BBC has confirmed that Lord Richard Attenborough has died at the age of 90. A respected actor, producer and director for decades, who'd appeared in films since the 1940's. His most notable films as an actor include Brighton Rock (1949), The Great Escape (1963), The Sand Pebbles (1966), Doctor Dolittle (1968), Jurassic Park (1993), and Miracle on 34th Street (1994), while his directing credits include Gandhi (1982), which won Best Picture and Best Director, A Chorus Line (1985), Cry Freedom (1987) and Chaplin (1992). He was also a veteran of the Royal Air Force in WWII, was knighted in 1976, and served as president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for the last 12 years, but I have to admit that for me personally, he'll always be John Hammond/Kriss Kringle.

Gandhi winning the Oscars for Picture and Director in 1982:

TRAILER: "Nightcrawler"

I originally thought this movie looked like a Taxi Driver kind of thing, but now with this new trailer, it's obviously something more like Network (which was coincidentally, another Best Picture nominee from the same year as Taxi Driver). Gyllenhaal is still creepy but you can see he's actually going for something much broader and over the top than the teaser made it look. Nightcrawler's coming out on Halloween.