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Is Leo the Last Great Star to Win Oscar?



At a pre BAFTAs party once I saw a young woman throw herself at Leonardo DiCaprio. I mean, literally fling herself at him as he passed. She landed somewhere near his feet. Leo’s security calmly picked the girl up and Leo, himself, serenely walked the red carpet into the party.

Mr. DiCaprio was clearly used to it. Leo-mania had been a thing for two decades since as Jack he failed to secure a place on that raft with Kate Winslet, so he wasn’t fazed by crazed fans.

Last year I saw Leo at the BAFTA awards and prior to that at the premiere for The Revenant in Leicester Square. It was the coldest evening of a generally mild winter but the crowd that had turned out to catch a glimpse of DiCaprio was huge. They stamped their freezing feet, blew warm breath into their gloves and screamed his name. Leo! Leo! Leoooooooo!!!!

Then at the end of February,  Leonardo DiCaprio (yes, named after that other Leonardo after he kicked inside his mother’s tummy while she was gazing at a Da Vinci painting) he of the Italian father, German mother and all American looks, finally collected the Oscar that had eluded him for so many years.

The Revenant was not his greatest performance, that was in The Wolf of Wall Street. It was not his best performance, that was in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. It was not even his most charming performance, that was in Catch Me If You Can. Heck, it was not even for his most popular and iconic performance, that was in Titanic. But you get the point. The man was DUE!

No one surely begrudged him his win. He’s made billions for the industry. He is the only actor who has been able, consistently, to turn a movie with even the most unpromising premise into a big hit, over the course of two decades plus.

Most of all, he is probably the last real movie star who will win the Oscar.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many excellent actors out there, a few far better than Leo, who will, hopefully, get their just rewards one day. But there is no one who looks like he will also attain the staggering, global stardom Leo has and has had for over 20 years.

And global it is. I was once in a remote village near the Afghanistan border. In a modest home, I was invited to, the teenage girl had a Titanic poster on her wall. Her toothless grandmother too became almost tearful when discussing Jack’s watery demise. Titanic and Leo were HUGE around the world. I don’t care how much money Avatar has made, Titanic connected with people of all ages and backgrounds and DiCaprio was a major factor in that gigantic success story.

There are other big Hollywood stars of course. Brad Pitt has an impressive career but it can often be dwarfed by his tabloid celebrity. Johnny Depp and Will Smith are only as popular as the films they are in. Tom Cruise, in fairness, could rival Leo for many years but he, well he jumped on a couch for Katie Holmes. Yes, you read that right, Katie Holmes!

Leo, however, keeps rolling on. He’s worked with the top directors, picks interesting scripts, turns them into boxoffice hits and largely in his personal life follows the old adage, don’t complain, don’t explain.

We’ll miss the entertaining Internet memes of Leo failing to get his Oscar but on a cold February Sunday last year he became the King of the World.

Awards News

TIANA – Hollywood Music in Media Awards



American singer-songwriter TIANA has been nominated Best Independent Music Video, for the fun sounds and fresh visuals associated with her debut record ‘Just My Type’, by the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards, being held at the Avalon Hollywood on November 14.

Directed by Ali Zamani and produced by Zeus Zamani of AZ Films, with choreography by Reyna Joy Banks, of F.H.G Entertainment, the ‘Just My Type’ music video, filmed in Los Angeles, stars recording artist TIANA, Marlon Wayans (White Chicks), Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live) and Brely Evans (Just Wright).

The long-form version of the music video, which has a fun and explosive scene between actor-comedians, Marlon Wayans and Rob Schneider, will be exclusively released during the night of the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

Produced by Jovan Dawkins (Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars) of Heritage Music Group in Hollywood, along with the writing talents of Candace Wakefield, Stanley Green Jr., Jovan Dawkins, Jevon Hill and Theodore Simon, the ‘Just My Type’ single release, is currently topping the Top40 Indie Chart through Universal Music Distribution.

Other Hollywood Music in Media Award nominees include; Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘Black Panther’, ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and ‘Quincy.’ The awards ceremony features presentations, performances, and a special achievement award. Past honorees include Diane Warren, Smokey Robinson, and Glen Campbell.

The Hollywood Music in Media Award nominations are selected by an advisory board and selection committee which includes journalists, music executives, music-media industry professionals comprised of select members of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, The Television Academy, the AMPAS Music Branch, NARAS, and performing rights organizations. A portion of proceeds benefit Education Through Music – Los Angeles.

Follow TIANA – IG | Twitter: @TianaKocher

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Awards News

Black Panther Aiming For Best Picture, Not Best Popular, According To Chadwick Boseman



It’s Hollywood’s worst-kept secret; Marvel Studios’ chief Kevin Feige wants an Oscar. And not just a technical Oscar either. Following in the footsteps of Walt Disney, Feige’s ultimate goal is for one of his movies to win Best Picture. With Black Panther being a cultural juggernaut, the producer-extraordinaire sees it as his best chance yet and has reportedly hired veteran award strategist Cynthia Schwartz’s company – Strategy PR – to push for the nomination.

However, The Academy themselves threw a spanner in the works last month, when they announced the introduction of a brand new category at next year’s awards ceremony: Best Achievement in Popular Film. With Black Panther presently the highest-grossing film of the year domestically, and the second-highest internationally, it’s the clear favourite to win in the new category (at least, to the best of everyone’s knowledge – The Academy have, frustratingly, refused to define the new award). However according to King T’Challa himself, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, that’s not the goal.

“We don’t know what [Best Popular] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not,” Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter, “What I can say is that there’s no campaign for Popular Film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for Best Picture, and that’s all there is to it.”

“A good movie is a good movie,” the Get On Up star continued, “and clearly it doesn’t matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be ‘a good movie’ because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win [predominantly low-grossing, highly-praised art-house fare] wouldn’t get nominated; and if it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.”

“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [only] popular, that’s elitist.”

Chadwick has a point – the gross of a film has never, and should not, affect a film’s chances at winning Best Picture. However, whilst The Academy has made clear that a film can be nominated for both Best Film and Best Popular (frustrating many members who have then rightfully asked what the point is), they have somewhat written themselves into a corner when it comes to Black Panther. See, through a very specific sequence of events, The Academy have manufactured a situation where the most likely events to play out on the night will be Damien Chazelle’s buzzy First Man, a movie with an all-white cast and crew, winning Best Picture… whilst the all-black cast and crew of Black Panther accept the new ‘separate but equal’ award for Best Achievement in Popular Film. Yikes.

Black Panther is available on Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K now, and is rated 12A.

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Awards News

Danny DeVito To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award At The San Sebastian Film Festival



Batman Returns star Danny DeVito is set to receive the coveted Donostia Award, honouring him for his career achievements, at the sixty-sixth annual San Sebastian Film Festival this September.

“The award recognizes a career of almost five decades related to acting in theatre, film and television, telling stories as an actor, producer and director,” the Spanish festival’s organisers said in a statement, “The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner is known for his roles in television series Taxi and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment, Romancing The Stone, Twins, Ruthless People, and Tin Men.”

“He has also directed – and starred in – hugely emblematic films, including The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), Death to Smoochy (2002), Throw Momma From the Train (1987), Curmudgeons (2016), Duplex (2003), The Ratings Game (1984), and The World’s Greatest Lover (1977).”

The San Sebastian Film Festival will run from the 21st to the 29th of September. Danny DeVito can next be heard in animated children’s flick Smallfoot, which will premiere on the 23rd at the Festival.

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