Week in Review 1.31.14

Award Season Update

  • As we head toward the Oscars, The Hollywood Reporter has nominees' secrets about their performances. They checked in with, among others, Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Amy Adams and Christian Bale (American Hustle) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave).

    Academy Rescinds Nomination—In a rare move, the Academy's Board of Governors rescinded the Best Original Song nomination of "Alone Yet Not Alone," from the eponymous movie, leaving just four nominees in the category. You can get the whole story on the Oscars blog, but the bottom line is the songwriter improperly courted Academy nominators.

    Lupita Nyong'o, nominated for her riveting performance in 12 Years a Slave, spoke with Rolling Stone's Peter Travers about the film...and her flawless fashion choices for the "prom-like events."

    Oscar BreakdownThe Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg assesses the Best Adapted Screenplay race, the nominees for which are Captain Phillips; The Wolf of Wall Street; 12 Years a Slave; Before Midnight; and Philomena. Feinberg also released his latest Feinberg Forecast. This week, he (among other things) notes that the WGA Awards are on the horizon and updates his rankings of who the winners will be come March 2.

    Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station) and Kristen Bell (House of Lies) will host the Sci-Tech Awards on February 15. These Academy Awards honor achievement in the scientific and technical aspect of film making. The Hollywood Reporter has the full list of honorees.

    During the Oscar ceremony, The Wizard of Oz will be honored on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. (It should be noted, though, that The Wizard of Oz did not win Best Picture in 1940; that went to Gone with the Wind.) No details yet regarding exactly how the movie-musical will be celebrated, but I'm putting money on host Ellen DeGeneres showing up in a blue gingham frock.

  • The DGA Awards, presented by the Directors Guild of America, were handed out last weekend, giving its top honor to Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. The DGA is typically a reliable indicator of which film will walk away with the Best Picture Oscar, though this year might be different. The Hollywood Reporter's senior awards guru, Scott Feinberg, provides analysis (and interesting facts, like this: 12 Years a Slave was shot in just 35 days and with one camera). THR also has the full list of winners.

  • Grammy Awards were handed out on Sunday night. I'm so far out of the loop, but the Internet was abuzz with various wins, losses and performances. In any case, the full list of winners in available on the Grammys website. (Glossary: awards for "song" honor songwriters; awards for "record" honor performances.) Some winners of note: 
    • "Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear, from Sound City: Real to ReelBest Rock Song (watch their acceptance speech below)
    • "Please Come Home," Gary Clark, Jr., from Blak and BluBest Traditional R+B Performance
    • Stephen Colbert, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren'tBest Spoken Word Album
    • Kinky BootsBest Musical Theater Album (note that there were only three nominees, even though plenty more (like Pippin) were eligible)
    • Sound City: Real to ReelBest Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media (If you haven't seen Dave Grohl's homage to the legendary recording studio, stop reading this blog and watch it now!)
  • It's several months away, but we know now that the Emmy Awards will not only be held in August instead of September, but on a Monday instead of a Sunday. The Emmys will be given out on Monday, August 25, and the ceremony will be broadcast on NBC. The Hollywood Repoter has analysis.
Rocky on Broadway

The Italian Stallion is coming to Broadway—as a musical, no less—and Broadway.com sat down with the creative team, book writer Thomas Meehan, songwriters Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and director Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love), to find out what drew them to the (possibly unconventional?) project. Of his initial reaction, Timbers says, "Sometimes really smart people know something you don't know." It's that kind of attitude that makes me a Timbers fan, and that's why I'm stepping into the ring.

A Million Ways to Die in the West

Lots of happenings surrounding the latest from Seth MacFarlane (Ted). First, the entertainment impresario and last year's Oscar host announced that a film just isn't enough for him. MacFarlane has turned his filmed-but-not-yet-released movie, A Million Ways to Die in the West, into a novel. He announced the novel news via Twitter, which is where he later released the film's poster and all the individual character posters. Here they are: movie poster; Liam Neeson; Sarah Silverman; Neil Patrick Harris; Giovanni Ribisi; Amanda Seyfried; Charlize Theron; and MacFarlane. (Yes, he—and not just his voice—actually appears in the movie.) And then, if all those teasers weren't enough for us fans, the red band trailer was released (watch below). The film is slated for a summer release.

Coming to the Boards

  • If/Then, the new musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (team Next to Normal) is almost here! (It's an original. On Broadway. Directed by Michael Greif. Reuniting—on stage—Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp. I've never been this excited.) The company is back in rehearsals and previews begin in March, but Playbill has an exclusive first listen of "You Never Know." The clip, featuring James Snyder (Cry-baby), was recorded live during the show's sitzprobe in DC last year. Listen. Listen again. Then head to ifthenthemusical.com to learn more about the show and to purchase tickets.

  • The musical stage adaptation of King Kong is coming to Broadway. That's right, King Kong. After a world premiere in Melbourne, Australia, the huge ape is coming to New York, after some changes. The New York Times quotes producer Gerry Ryan as saying, "We're having to tweak it a little bit, a little bit more music, and polish up the script...We did get a script doctor." Ryan goes on to say he is eying the Foxwoods, which is now vacant since Spider-Man closed, for a December opening. I'll keep you posted. (Side note: the King Kong "ride" at Universal Orlando used to freak me out.)

  • MTC's Studio at Stage II (the space that housed Murder Ballad and Choir Boy) will welcome a new tenant: The Lion, an autobiographical musical written and performed by New York-based songwriter Benjamin Scheuer. The Lion (nee The Bridge)  will be directed by Sean Daniels; previews begin June 10 with opening night of the limited, five-week engagement set for June 26. Tickets (which are only $30) go on sale April 25. Broadway.com has more.

  • Not in New York but still of note: the world premiere of These Paper Bullets!, a musical "ripoff" of Much Ado About Nothing, adapted by Rolin Jones and featuring music by Billie Joe Armstrong (American Idiot). The production will run March 14-April 5 at the Yale Repertory Theatre, with David Wilson Barnes (The Big Meal) and Bryan Fenkart (Nobody Loves You) among the 19-person cast. Playbill has more.

  • "This is heavy!" There's a Back to the Future musical in the works. Really. It's set to premiere in the West End in 2015. Broadway.com has more.
Big Fish, Big Recording

The original Broadway cast recording of the gone-too-soon musical Big Fish is swimming your way. Recorded earlier this month, the recording will be released digitally on February 7, and physical copies will be available February 11. Playbill has the full track list, which includes numbers that were cut from the show during the pre-Broadway Chicago run and during Broadway previews as well as all the songs that made it to opening night. Big Fish, based on the eponymous novel (which was also the source for the 1998 film), has a book by John August and a score by Andrew Lippa. It was directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, who'll soon be represented on the boards by Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, and starred two-time Tony Award winner Norbert Leo Butz, Kate Baldwin and Bobby Steggert. The show concluded its Broadway run in December.

Casting News

  • Film—Superman has his nemesis: Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Asuncion) will play Lex Luther in the 2016 Batman/Superman flick. Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons will also appear, playing Batman (Ben Affleck)'s butler, Alfred. Entertainment Weekly has more.

  • BroadwayDaniel Breaker (The PerformersBy the Way, Meet Vera Stark) will join the company of 2011's Tony winner for Best Musical, The Book of Mormon. Playbill has details. 

  • TVBetter Call Saul, the Breaking Bad prequel/spin-off, will welcome Jonathan Banks as he reprises his role as fixer Mike Ehrmantraut. Rolling Stone has more.

  • BroadwayPatrick Page (A Time to Kill, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) and John Cullum (The Scottsboro Boys) will star in the world premiere production of Harvey Fierstein's (Kinky Boots) new play, Casa Valentina. Directed by Joe Mantello (Other Desert Cities), the MTC production begins previews on April 1 in advance of an April 23 opening. Broadway.com has more.

  • TVMichael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and his beautiful, pillowy lips will take on a guest-starring role in the next season of Hannibal. I stopped watching the show after a couple of episodes (even though Raul Esparza is on it), but I might have to tune back in for Pitt. Vulture has more.
Dig This

  • Production stills from the upcoming fourth season of Games of Thrones have been released and Hit Fix has them all.

  • There will be a cast album of Love's Labour's Lost, Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers's (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) musical adaptation of the Shakespearean play. Broadway.com has more.

  • Here you go, another installment of Natural Woman, in which Jessie Mueller takes you backstage at Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. (Seriously, I want to be best friends with this talented lady!)

  • How I Met Your Mother show runners and creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas talk to The Hollywood Reporter about the final season, including bringing on Once's Cristin Milioti as the titular mother.

  • There is going to be a Pitch Perfect sequel, and Elizabeth Banks (who produced and co-starred in the first film) is directing. The Hollywood Reporter has more.

  • The reboot (or continuation, if you prefer) of the beloved science series Cosmos is coming your way on March 9 at 9pm on Fox. Watch the trailer below.