Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Relativity Media and Bandito Brothers’ Act of Valor Ambushes Box Office in Weekend Debut

Navy SEAL Action-Thriller Over-Performs Taking No. 1 Spot in America

Third No. 1 Opening for Relativity as Distributor in Less Than One Year

(Beverly Hills, Calif.) February 27, 2012 – Relativity Media’s adrenaline-fueled Navy SEAL action-thriller Act of Valor, starring active-duty Navy SEALs, exceeded both internal and industry estimates when it took the No. 1 spot in America in its debut and raked in approximately $24.5 million, it was announced today by Kyle Davies, Relativity’s President, Worldwide Distribution. The Bandito Brothers’ Act of Valor released in 3,039 locations in North America on February 24th (Alliance Films handled distribution in Canada) and was produced and directed by former Baja 1000 champion Mike “Mouse” McCoy and former stuntman Scott Waugh. This marks Relativity’s third over-performing film to reach the No. 1 spot in its opening weekend in less than a year.  Both the paranoia-fueled action-thriller Limitless (March 2011) and the 3D epic action-adventure Immortals (November 2011) debuted first place at the box office—a milestone no other independent distributor had achieved last year.

Davies said, “Relativity believed in Act of Valor from the moment we saw the film and acquired the rights. We knew this movie had it all--a visceral and emotional movie-going experience that satisfies audiences-- which certainly proved to be the case this weekend,” he added, “Hats off to the Bandito Brothers’ directors Mouse and Scott who delivered a breakthrough picture that worked on so many levels, across many audiences. Although the film’s great performance was primarily driven by males, our exit polls and ‘A’ CinemaScore indicate that females also loved the film. We hope to continue to grow the female audience through word-of-mouth. Its playability is sure to give the film legs for strong holdover weeks and a successful run.”

Relativity mounted a robust marketing and publicity campaign that executed a multi-pronged strategy toward reaching an audience of gamers, action fans, sports fans, ethnic audiences, country music fans, patriots, military, women, colleges, conservative and faith communities with a targeted focus on males, ages 18-54. Positive word-of-mouth became the cornerstone of the campaign. An extensive advance screening program was launched in over 40 markets (totaling more than 400 screenings) that began in Los Angeles and New York in October and expanded in the field through release. Exit polls also indicated very strong response across the board in both rating and recommend scores. The film earned an “A” CinemaScore rating and polls showed extremely high marks from both males and females of all ages and ethnic groups, even finding 91% of all females polled rated the film above average. Polls indicated the ethnic breakdown as follows: 63% Caucasian; 13% African-American; 10% Latino; 7% Asian and 7% Other.

Another tenet of the campaign was reinforcing the film’s authenticity message to audiences. In addition to prominently mentioning the film starred “active duty Navy SEALs,” advertising and publicity efforts reiterated that live ammunition were used in shooting training runs while filming. Relativity also partnered with highly-celebrated, best-selling author Tom Clancy on the film and with an accompanying novelization, “Tom Clancy Presents Act of Valor,” written by Dick Couch and George Galdorisi which was based on the film’s screenplay by Kurt Johnstad (300). Clancy’s name is a globally recognizable brand for not only his own military-thriller novels, but for non-fiction books, movies and video games. This was Clancy’s first time in presenting a novelization of a feature film not based on his own original work. Clancy’s long-time publisher Berkley Books released the novelization on paperback January 10th and is No. 4 on the New York Times best sellers list. Brilliance Audio released the audio version. 

While the film played equally strong to both males and females, a conscious effort was placed on advertising directly to males in the television campaign, with a concentration on sports. The Bandito Brothers’ groundbreaking film had a presence during televised coverage of Super Bowl XLVI on February 5, 2012. Four 30-second unique Act of Valor commercials, featuring exclusive content, ran throughout the program including two spots that aired during the pre-game, one spot in game during the fourth quarter and one spot in the post-game show. The game received record viewership. Females were reached through an aggressive word-of-mouth screening program and via social media outreach. After advance promotional screenings, social media stations were set up in the lobbies to inspire online dialogue and audience members were deputized to prompt web conversation through peer-to-peer validation.

To further support the release of Act of Valor, some campaign highlights include digital initiatives that featured a partnership with Electronic Arts Battlefield 3: Back To Karkand, where fans eager for additional action could go to to unlock free Battlefield 3™ dog tags for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system or PC. In addition, if you bought two or more tickets via, fans received a free Battlefield 3: Back To Karkand Map Pack for the Xbox 360® console. To engage the gaming audience, we partnered with top gaming site Machinima and invited military personnel to play Battlefield 3 with gaming influencers, the event was streamed live through machinimas YouTube channel. Additionally Relativity launched a digital integration with YouTube celebrities FPS Russia and Rated RR which received over 2.7 million views to date; and a YouTube campaign was also launched to allow people to salute real service members via

Promotional partnerships leveraged additional exposure and audience reach through such companies as: Clear Channel Radio, Netflix, MillerCoors, Bass Pro Shops, LifeLock, 5.11 Tactical®, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Canon, Adobe, NVIDIA, Oakley, Silynx, among others.

Act Of Valor The Album, the soundtrack released by Relativity Music Group and distributed in music retail locations by Capitol Records Nashville, is currently topping the iTunes® charts-- holding strong at No. 7 on the Top 100 albums chart and  No. 1 on the country album chart. The soundtrack features new music from some of today’s top recording artists including: Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Trace Adkins, Wynonna Judd, Montgomery Gentry. Additionally, Keith Urban’s song from the soundtrack “For You” is currently No. 19 on iTunes® country song chart and the video for the song premieres today on Country Music Television (CMT) and Great American Country (GAC). A portion of proceeds from the sale of the album will go to the Navy SEAL Foundation. Act of Valor’s score album, containing 20 original cues composed by Nathan Furst, is also No. 19 on iTunes®.

The studio also owns worldwide rights to Act of Valor with Film Nation handling foreign sales. There are more than 24 international territories confirmed to release Act of Valor theatrically including such territories as: UK/Momentum, Spain/TriPictures, Benelux/A-Film, Italy/M2 Pictures, Japan/Gaga, Australia & New Zealand/Village Roadshow, Brazil/Imagem, Mexico/Gussi,  South Korea/BMP, Thailand/Sahamongkol, Singapore/Golden Village, Taiwan/SSG, Turkey/Aqua Group, Portugal/Lusomundo, and Hong Kong/Panorama.

Act of Valor, which also stars actors Roselyn Sanchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle and Nestor Serrano, features a gripping story that takes audiences on an edge-of-their-seat journey, when a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA operative unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat, an elite team of highly-trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, the outcome of which will determine the fate of us all. Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the-minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure film—showcasing the skills, training and tenacity of the greatest action heroes of them all: real Navy SEALs. The film was also executive produced by Ryan Kavanaugh, Tucker Tooley, Max Leitman, Jay Pollack, Jason Clark, Michael Mailis, Benjamin Statler, Lance Sloane and Bert Ellis.

Relativity acknowledges the support of the following agencies for their tireless efforts on the release campaign: Concept Arts, Giaronomo, Open Road, Transit, Black Box Creative Group, Ignition, Mob Scene, Carat, Palisades Media, 42 West, 42 West Targeted Marketing, Arian Simone Enterprises, Grace Hill Media, Joe Favorito, Allied-THA, Moroch Entertainment, Janet Wainwright Public Relations, Parish PR, The In-House Writer and a special thank you to Captain Duncan Smith.

The studio’s upcoming slate includes the magical adventure comedy Mirror Mirror (in theatres March 30, 2012), starring Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane and Sean Bean. The studio is also in post-production on the outrageous comedy 21 and Over and is currently in pre-production on the affirming and suspenseful Safe Haven, based on the novel from best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, and the espionage thriller Hunter Killer.

About Relativity Media

Relativity Media is a next-generation studio engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including full-scale film and television production and distribution, the co-financing of major studio film slates, music publishing, sports management and digital media.  Additionally, the company makes strategic partnerships with, and investments in, media and entertainment-related companies and assets.

To date, Relativity has produced, distributed, and/or structured financing for more than 200 motion pictures.  Released films have accumulated more than $17 billion in worldwide box office receipts.  Relativity’s recent films include: Act of Valor, Haywire, Immortals, Tower Heist, Bridesmaids, Hop, Limitless, Anonymous, Machine Gun Preacher, Cowboys & Aliens, Battle: Los Angeles, Season of The Witch, Little Fockers, The Fighter, The Social Network, Salt, Despicable Me, Grown Ups, Dear John, It’s Complicated, Couples Retreat and Zombieland. Upcoming films for Relativity include: Mirror Mirror, The Raven, 21 Jump Street, American Reunion, and The Bourne Legacy.  Thirty-nine of the company’s films have opened to No. 1 at the box office.  Relativity films have earned 60 Oscar® nominations, including nods for The Fighter, The Social Network, The Wolfman, A Serious Man, Frost/Nixon, Atonement, American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma. Sixty-two of Relativity’s films have each generated more than $100 million in worldwide box-office receipts.

Relativity also owns RogueLife, Relativity’s digital content studio which is developing original content for the Web and creating sustainable online platforms and communities. RelativityREAL, Relativity’s television arm, has 67 projects in production, including 17 original series that are currently airing or will air in the upcoming television season including Police Women for TLC, Coming Home for Lifetime and The Great Food Truck Race for Food Network. For additional information, please visit


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gladys Knight, Sherri Shepherd, Roshon Fegan & Jaleel White Join 'Dancing With The Stars'

The newest cast of Dancing With The Stars was announced today.  The show is in its 14th season. A list of the celebrities and their professional dance partners is below.

1) Jack Wagner, soap actor from “Bold and the Beautiful,” General Hospital” and “Melrose Place” — with Anna Trebunskaya
2) Melissa Gilbert, played Laura Ingalls on “Little House on the Prairie” — with Maskim Chmerkovskiy (solving the “will Maks be back?! mystery)
3) Donald Driver, receiver for the Green Bay Packers — with Peta Murgatroyd
4) William Levy, telenova star apparently known as the “Brad Pitt of Mexico” — with Cheryl Burke


5) Sherri Shepherd, co-host of “The View” — with Val Chmerkovskiy
6) Katherine Jenkins, opera star — with Mark Ballas
7) Gavin DeGraw, pop singer known for penning the “One Tree Hill” theme song — with Karina Smirnoff
8) Martina Navratilova, tennis pro — with Tony Dovolani


9) Roshon Fegan, star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up” and hip hop producer — with Chelsie Hightower
10) Maria Menounos, co-host of “Extra” — with Derek Hough

11) Jaleel White, best known as Steve Urkel in “Family Matters” — with Kym Johnson 

12) Gladys Knight, singer — with Tristan MacManus

Monday, February 27, 2012


The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, took place Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood and aired on ABC.

Sitting at home in your comfortable chair watching the Oscars, you’re not privy to all of the goings on behind the scenes.  Lots happened behind the golden curtain.

In the pressroom, celebrities hold up their trophies, smile and talk about what it’s like to have won the coveted golden statue.

Here are some moments not captured by the cameras.


MERYL STREEP, responding to a reporter’s question about whether she would have a cup of whisky that night just like Margaret Thatcher used to do, said.......

“I’m going to start with a cup and then see if I can walk in the Ferragamo’s.”

When asked about her 17 nominations and previous Oscar wins, Streep said.

“I won 30 years ago. Two of the nominees weren’t even conceived.”


OCTAVIA SPENCER – responding to what she was going to do with the rest of her night, said.......

“Tonight I am going to find my castmates and I’m going to have a quarter of a glass of champagne and hang out. We all start projects in the next couple of days. I’m just going to live in this moment. We left our egos at the door and worked as one beautiful unit. It was an award winning cast.
This is one of those evenings in my life I will never forget.  I hope in some way I can be some kind of beacon of hope.”

Asked about acting, she said, “Take it seriously, but don’t take it too seriously!”


TJ MARTIN one of the directors of “Undefeated,” which garnered an Oscar for  Best Documentary, apologized for letting the F-bomb fly.

“I’d like to apologize for that. It wasn’t the classiest thing, but that being said, it came from the heart. We’re known for the F-bomb now. This is the F-bomb clan.” 

P. Diddy, one of the producers on “Undefeated,” came to the pressroom holding a glass of champagne and texting.  He briefly came on the stage and posed. However, he declined to answer any questions, giving the three directors Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas, the limelight.


 Photo by Miki Turner

The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, took place last night at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood.

Fingers were crossed for history to be made with the possibility of two black actresses, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, respectively, walking off with golden statuettes for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for their roles in “The Help”!

Alas, it was not to be!

But there was still joy in Oscarville as Octavia Spencer walked away with the coveted award for her role as Minnie, the no-nonsense, chocolate pie-making maid in The Help. 

Viola Davis was bested by Meryl Streep, who walked away with the golden trophy for her mesmerizing portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”.

Spencer who was emotional as she walked on stage, received a thunderous applause and a standing ovation from her colleagues.

Asked if she could sum up the awards season and talk about her love affair with The Help, Spencer didn't hold back.

 “Well, the word I want to use, I can’t,” she said. “It’s a word in the well, I want to say fan effing tastic. But we'll just leave the effing out.  Fantastic.  it is humbling.  It is the love affair I've had with "The Help".  I'm a benefactor of all of the riches that the real life Minnys, Aibileens, Constantines, Skeeters, Celias, that they basically repeated.  And so I am,  I'm very humble because I get to stand here and accept this award and I haven't really done anything.  So I don't know.  That's a tough question to answer.  Sorry.” 

While she is content to be in front of the camera, Spencer has some other career choices.

“I guess you know what, I want to be a producer,” she said.  “I want to be an activist.  I want to be proactive in bringing about work for men, women, boys, girls, everybody who is good at what they do and deserve a shot at it.  So I think my role, I want to have a presence both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.  So I can't say on one particular thing, so I'll just name them all.  I'll be the jack of all trades and hopefully decent at one of them.”

"THE ARTIST" Wins Big At The 84th Annual Academy Awards

 The 84th Academy Awards, hosted by Billy Crystal, took place tonight at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood. Following is a list of winners.

 Best Picture

  • "The Artist" Thomas Langmann, Producer - WINNER
  • "The Descendants" Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
  • "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" Scott Rudin, Producer
  • "The Help" Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
  • "Hugo" Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
  • "Midnight in Paris" Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
  • "Moneyball" Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
  • "The Tree of Life" Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner and Grant Hill, Producers
  • "War Horse" Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Demián Bichir in "A Better Life"
  • George Clooney in "The Descendants"
  • Jean Dujardin in "The Artist" - WINNER
  • Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
  • Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"
  • Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"
  • Nick Nolte in "Warrior"
  • Christopher Plummer in "Beginners" - WINNER
  • Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs"
  • Viola Davis in "The Help"
  • Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
  • Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady" - WINNER
  • Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn"

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
  • Jessica Chastain in "The Help"
  • Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"
  • Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
  • Octavia Spencer in "The Help" - WINNER

Animated Feature Film

  • "A Cat in Paris" Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • "Chico & Rita" Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
  • "Kung Fu Panda 2" Jennifer Yuh Nelson
  • "Puss in Boots" Chris Miller
  • "Rango" Gore Verbinski - WINNER

Art Direction

  • "The Artist"
    Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould
  • "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
    Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
  • "Hugo" - WINNER
    Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • "Midnight in Paris"
    Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
  • "War Horse"
    Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales


  • "The Artist" Guillaume Schiffman
  • "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Jeff Cronenweth
  • "Hugo" Robert Richardson - WINNER
  • "The Tree of Life" Emmanuel Lubezki
  • "War Horse" Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

  • "Anonymous" Lisy Christl
  • "The Artist" Mark Bridges - WINNER
  • "Hugo" Sandy Powell
  • "Jane Eyre" Michael O'Connor
  • "W.E." Arianne Phillips


  • "The Artist" Michel Hazanavicius - WINNER
  • "The Descendants" Alexander Payne
  • "Hugo" Martin Scorsese
  • "Midnight in Paris" Woody Allen
  • "The Tree of Life" Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)

  • "Hell and Back Again"
    Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
  • "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
    Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
  • "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"
    Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
  • "Pina"
    Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
  • "Undefeated" - WINNER
    TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement"
    Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
  • "God Is the Bigger Elvis"
    Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
  • "Incident in New Baghdad"
    James Spione
  • "Saving Face" - WINNER
    Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
  • "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"
    Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

  • "The Artist" Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
  • "The Descendants" Kevin Tent
  • "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall - WINNER
  • "Hugo" Thelma Schoonmaker
  • "Moneyball" Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

  • "Bullhead" Belgium
  • "Footnote" Israel
  • "In Darkness" Poland
  • "Monsieur Lazhar" Canada
  • "A Separation" Iran - WINNER


  • "Albert Nobbs"
    Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
  • "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
    Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
  • "The Iron Lady"  - WINNER
    Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

  • "The Adventures of Tintin" John Williams
  • "The Artist" Ludovic Bource - WINNER
  • "Hugo" Howard Shore
  • "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Alberto Iglesias
  • "War Horse" John Williams

Music (Original Song)

  • "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" - WINNER
    Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
  • "Real in Rio" from "Rio"
    Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Short Film (Animated)
  • "Dimanche/Sunday" Patrick Doyon
  • "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg - WINNER
  • "La Luna" Enrico Casarosa
  • "A Morning Stroll" Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
  • "Wild Life" Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

  • "Pentecost" Peter McDonald and Eimear O'Kane
  • "Raju" Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
  • "The Shore" Terry George and Oorlagh George - WINNER
  • "Time Freak" Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
  • "Tuba Atlantic" Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

  • "Drive" Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
  • "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Ren Klyce
  • "Hugo" Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty - WINNER
  • "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
  • "War Horse" Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

  • "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
    David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
  • "Hugo" - WINNER
    Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
  • "Moneyball"
    Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco and Ed Novick
  • "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
    Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
  • "War Horse"
    Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

  • "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2"
    Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
  • "Hugo" - WINNER
    Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning
  • "Real Steel"
    Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
  • "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
    Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
  • "Transformers: Dark of the Moon"
    Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • "The Descendants" Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash - WINNER
  • "Hugo" Screenplay by John Logan
  • "The Ides of March" Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
  • "Moneyball" Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin
  • "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" Screenplay by Bridget O'Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • "The Artist" Written by Michel Hazanavicius
  • "Bridesmaids" Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
  • "Margin Call" Written by J.C. Chandor
  • "Midnight in Paris" Written by Woody Allen - WINNER
  • "A Separation" Written by Asghar Farhadi



Octavia Spencer walked away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
tonight for her role in "The Help." Following is a Q&A conducted after she received
her award.

Q. Congratulations.  Obviously you must be so thrilled with this win.  I was
looking at some of the deleted scenes from the film and there was one scene
where your character was at the bus stop and she was obviously beat up.

OS: Oh.

Q. Are you disappointed that perhaps the film didn't include that more tragic
ending for your character, although it had some low points, it had some, you
know, a little bit of a light hearted feel at the end? 

OS: Well, I think that's all in your perception.  No, I'm not disappointed that
that scene was deleted.  I think that we wanted to make the movie that Kathryn
Stockett had envisioned when she wrote the book.  I don't think there's anything
light hearted about the Civil Rights movement, but somehow it makes it palatable
when you see that type of strife.  So if you can have a laugh every other ten
minutes while you watch the struggle then, you know, I have no problem with it. 
But no, I'm not disappointed with any aspect of the film.

Q. So at the luncheon you were singing one particular song. 
OS: [Singing] Oscar nominee, but now I'm a winner.  Winner. 

Q. What will you do?  The plans after this movies?
OS: Well, tonight I am going to find my cast mates and we're going to, you know   
I'm actually going to have a quarter of a glass of champagne and hang out and   
and I think we all start projects, you know, within the next couple of days. 
But I'm just going to live in this moment because it's never happened and lord
knows it may never happen again.

Q. There's something that stuck out to me in your acceptance speech and you
thanked your HELP cast for how they helped you to transform into your character. 

OS: I said that?  I don't even remember what I said.  I'm sorry.

Q. Can you explain how did they help you to do that or you know what your cast
really meant to you when you said your family really meant to you?

OS: Well, it's very rare that you have the type of ensemble that we had.  You
know, you don't get all the Academy Award nominee winners and Cecily Tyson, Mary Steenburgen, Sissy Spacek, Viola Davis coming together to do a project.  And
then you have the collaboration of Academy Award nominees behind the scenes.  We just left our egos at the door and worked together as one beautiful unit from
Emma, Viola, Bryce, Allison Janney.  I mean, it was an award winning cast.  So
to be a part of that and to just sort of dissolve into the world that we were
representing is something that we're supposed to do as actors but it was rare
that we did it without judgment with each other.
Q. You originally spoke about overcoming fear in playing your role in THE HELP. 
What would you say to a young man or woman about to start in the Army and
overcoming their fears?

OS: Well, I haven't really overcome mine.  I'm scared to death right now.  You
know, I don't take what men and women in uniform do lightly.  You guys provide
us with the freedoms and the protection that we as citizens sometimes take for
granted, so I don't know that I'm the person that can say because I    I've not
served in that capacity.  What I will say is I think    I guess I'm reminded of
Emerson:  Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.  That's what you guys do for us every day. 

Q. Would you sum up this award season for us and tell us about the love affair
you had with THE HELP?


OS: Well, the word I want to use I can't, it's a word in the    well, I want to
say fan effing tastic.  But we'll just leave the effing out.  Fantastic.  It is   
it is humbling.  It is    the love affair I've had with THE HELP, I am    I'm a
benefactor of all of the riches that the real life Minnys, Aibileens,
Constantines, Skeeters, Celias, that they basically repeated.  And so I am   
I'm very humble because I get to stand here and accept this award and I haven't
really done anything.  So I don't know.  That's a tough question to answer. 

Q. The L.A. Times recently put an article out that showed that after about six
months of research that the Academy was mostly white men.  Something like 94
percent white, 77 percent male and mostly over the age of    median age of 62. 
I was wondering what your thoughts were about that?

OS: I don't really have any thoughts about it.  It's not something that I've
thought about.  I    I wish I could be more eloquent, elegant in answering that
question.  But it's just    I don't know. 

Q. I was wondering if maybe there you thought what your thoughts are if
there's a way for the Academy to be more proactively work towards   

OS: I can't tell the Academy what to do, honey.  They just gave me an Oscar.  I
just hope they continue to do what they do.  I just am not the person to ask
that question.  I really don't know.  I have no wisdom there.  I'm sorry. 

Q. You said in your speech that Steven Spielberg changed your life, and I just want to know if you can expound and expand on how he did that in your life?

OS: I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to cut you off, and I didn't mean to cut you off,
ma'am.  I just knew where we were going and I didn't want to get on that bus. 
No pun intended.  Well, Steven Spielberg is a luminary and as far as I can remember in filmmaking,  he is  every decade of my life has been creating brilliance and he has this little studio called DreamWorks that could have put any zaftig actress with
acting chops in my role, but he allowed my dear friend, Tate Taylor, to cast me
pretty much unknown to most of you in that role when there were so many others
that could have been    could have been chosen.  And that's the sign of a true
filmmaker to allow a true filmmaker to do what he does.  So he and Stacey Snider
changed my professional life, and getting the opportunity to play this role
changed life personally as well.

Q. My question to you is, is that when you were walking up those stairs and by
the time you got up there, a heartfelt standing ovation was given to you and you
went into strictly emotions.  What were you feeling at that moment and what
would you say to any young girl who would aspire to be in your shoes tonight?

OS: Well, get a great designer because you don't know if you're going to be on TV
or not.  And really and truly I was just trying not to fall down because I had
an incident where I fell at an awards show.  This is one of those evenings in my
life that I'll never forget.  I hope it's the hallmark of more for young
aspiring actresses of color, and by color I don't mean just African American.  I
mean Indian, Native American, Latin American, Asian American.  I hope that in
some way that I can be some sort of beacon of hope, especially because I am not
the typical Hollywood beauty.  You guys are supposed to go, oh, no, you are. 


There's crickets, guys, work with me here.  Work with me. 

No, I don't know.  I just think that you have to believe in yourself and you
have to work very hard.  You can't ever think that you're the best thing since
sliced bread because I promise you, there are going to be Viola Davises and
Jessica Chastains and Emma Stones who are the best thing since sliced bread.  So
take it seriously, but don't take it too seriously. 

Q. The outpouring of emotion tonight for you and for your movie has been
overwhelming, especially considering that you're a relative newcomer. 

OS: Well, it depends on who you ask.  Fifteen years, I'm a newcomer.  Okay, I'll
take it.

Q. Can you explain why you think that room responded the way that they did
tonight to your name being called?

OS:You know what, I would  I would be presumptuous.  I really don't know. 
Maybe it was that they responded to the message of THE HELP.  I honestly don't
know.  I don't know how to answer that. We can take another question since I basically just said, I don't know, I don't know. 

Q. This is going to open so many doors for you.  In your
wildest dreams what is the one role that you want to play?

OS: I don't have one role that I want to play.  I guess you know what, I want to
be a producer.  I want to be an activist.  I want to be proactive in bringing
about work for men, women, boys, girls, everybody who is good at what they do
and deserve a shot at it.  So I think my role, I want to have a presence both
behind the scenes and in front of the camera.  So I can't say on one particular
thing, so I'll just name them all.  I'll be the jack of all trades and hopefully
decent at one of them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Winners Announced for 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Ceremony to air exclusively on IFC, tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT

LOS ANGELES (February 25, 2012) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, handed out top honors to The Artist, The Descendants and Margin Call at this afternoon’s 27th Film Independent Spirit Awards. My Week With Marilyn, Beginners, 50/50, A Separation and The Interrupters also received awards at the ceremony, held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

Tune in to IFC tonight at 10:00 pm ET/PT to catch all the action at the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards, with actor, writer and producer Seth Rogen hosting. Highlights include: John Waters as the Voice of God, musical performances by My Morning Jacket and K’Naan.

The Spirit Awards was the first event to exclusively honor independent film, and over the past 27 years, has become the premier awards show for the independent film community, celebrating films made by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. Artists receiving industry recognition first at the Spirit Awards include Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone, Ashley Judd, Robert Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Edward Burns, Aaron Eckhart, Neil LaBute, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, Charlie Kaufman, Hilary Swank, Marc Forster, Todd Field, Christopher Nolan, Zach Braff, Amy Adams and many more.

This year’s major category winners were The Weinstein Company’s The Artist, which won Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead and Best Cinematography and My Week With Marilyn, which won Best Female Lead; Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants, which won Best Supporting Female and Best Screenplay; Focus Features’ Beginners, which won Best Supporting Male and Pariah, which won the John Cassavetes Award; Summit Entertainment’s 50/50, which won Best First Screenplay; Roadside Attractions’ Margin Call, which won Best First Feature; Sony Pictures Classics’ A Separation, which won Best International Film; and The Cinema Guild’s The Interrupters, which won Best Documentary.

The 5th annual Robert Altman Award was given to one film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. J. C. Chandor’s Margin Call received this award, along with casting directors Tiffany Little Canfield and Bernard Telsey and ensemble cast members Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto, Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci.

Film Independent, in partnership with NowLive and Yahoo!, streamed a Live Arrivals Show exclusively on Yahoo! Movies ( to its audience of more than 26 million US users, across the web, mobile and iOs devices.

Premiere Sponsors are ELLE, Piaget, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Audi of America, IFC and Principal Sponsors are Stella Artois and Nokia. Onitsuka Tiger is the Official Gift Bag and Staff Gear Sponsor. WireImage is the Official Photographer, American Airlines is the Official Airline and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. On 3 Productions is the producer of the Official Presenter Gift Lounge and Official Ceremony Gift Bags.  The Official Water of the Spirit Awards is FIJI Water. For more information on the winners, photo galleries, and video clips from the arrivals and show, please visit

The following is a complete list of the winners:

Best Feature                                                  The Weinstein Company
The Artist                                                        Producer: Thomas Langmann

Best Director                                                 The Weinstein Company
Michel Hazanavicius                                       The Artist

Best Screenplay                                            Fox Searchlight
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash        The Descendants

Best First Feature                                         Roadside Attractions
Margin Call                                                      Director: J.C. Chandor
Producers: Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson, Zachary Quinto

Best First Screenplay                                   Summit Entertainment
Will Reiser                                                       50/50

John Cassavetes Award                              Focus Features
(For the best feature made under $500,000) Writer/Director: Dee Rees
Pariah                                                              Producer: Nekisa Cooper

Best Supporting Female                              Fox Searchlight
Shailene Woodley                                           The Descendants

Best Supporting Male                                  Focus Features
Christopher Plummer                                     Beginners

Best Female                                                   The Weinstein Company
Michelle Williams                                            My Week With Marilyn

Best Male                                                       The Weinstein Company
Jean Dujardin                                                  The Artist

Best Cinematography                                  The Weinstein Company
Guillaume Schiffman                                      The Artist

Best Foreign Film                                         Sony Pictures Classics
A Separation                                                   Director: Asghar Farhadi

Best Documentary                                        The Cinema Guild
The Interrupters                                              Director: Steve James
                                                                        Producer: Alex Kotlowitz

The Weinstein Company                                5
Focus Features                                               2
Fox Searchlight                                               2
Roadside Attractions                                       2
The Cinema Guild                                           1
Sony Pictures Classics                                   1
Summit Entertainment                                    1

Two new filmmaker grants were awarded during the ceremony. The 2012 Chaz and Roger Ebert Fellowship, which recognizes a social-issue documentary and includes a cash grant of $10,000, was given to Katie Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, co-directors of the documentary Call Me Kuchu. The film was developed in Film Independent’s 2011 Documentary Lab and has its world premiere at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award for Best Documentary.

The 2012 Giorgio Armani Directing Fellowship, which includes a cash grant of $10,000, was awarded to Grace Lee, director of the documentary American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs. The film, currently in post-production, is in Film Independent’s 2012 Documentary Lab.

On January 14th, the following winners were honored at the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grant and Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood:

The 18th Annual Audi Someone to Watch Award was given to Mark Jackson, director of Without. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded for the first time by Audi, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not received appropriate recognition.

The 17th Annual Nokia Truer Than Fiction Award was given to Heather Courtney, director of Where Soldiers Come From. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Nokia, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. 

The 15th Annual Piaget Producers Award was given to Sophia Lin, producer of Take Shelter. The $25,000 unrestricted grant, funded by Piaget, is presented to an emerging producer who, despite highly limited resources demonstrates the creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films. 

The 2nd Annual Jameson FIND Your Audience Award, which helps one low-budget independent film find a broader audience, was given to Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias, co-directors of Unfinished Spaces. The $40,000 marketing and distribution grant, funded by Jameson® Irish Whiskey, was designed to meet independent filmmakers’ biggest challenge today: How to get their films out into the marketplace. 

Joining Sean Mc Manus and Josh Welsh, Co-Presidents of Film Independent, was Host Seth Rogen.

Presenters included: John Waters, Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Chastain, Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy, Zoe Saldana, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elizabeth Banks, Zac Efron, Bryan Cranston, Kirsten Dunst, Anthony Mackie, Chris Pine, Ed Helms, Anna Kendrick, John Hawkes, Jonah Hill, Shailene Woodley, Terrence Howard, Patricia Clarkson, Ethan Hawke, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lucy Liu, Benjamin Bratt, Laura Dern, Goran Visnjic, Michael Moore, Penelope Ann Miller, Anne Heche, Michael Shannon, Giovanni Ribisi, Julia Ormond, Illeana Douglas, Willem Dafoe and Li Bing Bing.

Musical Performers were: My Morning Jacket, K'Naan, Kate Micucci and Garfunkel & Oats

Celebrity guests and nominees included: Michelle Williams, Alexander Payne, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Olsen, Dale Dickey, Ron Perlman, Alexander Skarsgård, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Derek Luke, Zachary Quinto, Steve McQueen, Danny Huston, Adepero Oduye, Jason Isaacs, Olga Kurylenko, Kevin Abrams, Lauren Ambrose, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Janet McTeer, Ziyi Zhang, Demián Bichir, Andre Royo, Souléymane Sy Savané, Kiefer Sutherland, Rachael Harris, Brit Marling, Tom McCarthy, Wilmer Valderrama, Matt Bomer, Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson, Harmony Santana, Corey Stoll, Mary McDonald, Beth Behrs, Mike Mills, J.C. Chandor, Dee Rees, Jeff Nichols, Paddy Considine, Mike Cahill, Will Reiser, Asghar Farhadi, Robbie Pickering, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Maryam Keshavarz, Evan Glodell, Stana Katic, Hilarie Burton, Antonio Campos, Daniele Anastasion, Simon Arthur, Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Jim Burke, Chad Burris, Tiffany Little Caulfield, Karin Chien, Nekisa Cooper, Heather Courtney, Patrick Cunningham, Tyler Davidson, Miranda de Pencier, Danfung Dennis, Patrick DeWitt, Neal Dodson, Sean Durkin, Nat Faxon, Philip Gefter, Evan Goldberg, Matthew Gordon, Vincent Grashaw, Hunter Gray, Brion Hambel, Alma Har’el, Joel Hodge, Merrilee Holt, Brad Inglesby, Mark Jackson, Steve James, Joe Jenckes, Paul Jensen, Phil Johnston, Art Jones, Mike Jones, Ben Karlin, Benjamin Kasulke, Lars Knudsen, Alex Kotlowitz, Sheldon Larry, Melissa Lee, Sophia Lin, Chris Maybach, Jarreth Merz, Josh Mond, Corey Moosa, Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias, Nicholas Ozeki, Marc Platt, Richard Press, Jim Rash, Adam Reid, Nicholas Shumaker, Adam Siegel, Eric Strauss, Jim Taylor, Bernard Telsey, Robert Tonino, Nate Tuck, Leslie Urdang, Andrew van den Houten, Jay Van Hoy, Dean Vanech, Jeffrey Waldron, Patrick Wang, David Weissman, Amile Wilson and more.

For more information on submission guidelines, voting, media and publicist credentials, and the history of the Spirit Awards, please visit

Now in its 27th year, the Film Independent Spirit Awards is an annual celebration honoring artist-driven films made with an economy of means by filmmakers who embody independence and originality. The Spirit Awards recognizes the achievements of American independent filmmakers and promotes the finest independent films of the year to a wider audience. 

Awards are given in the following categories: Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Director, Best Screenplay, John Cassavetes Award (given to the best feature made for a budget under $500,000), Best Male Lead, Best Female Lead, Best Supporting Male, Best Supporting Female, Best Cinematography, Best International Film, Best Documentary, and the Robert Altman Award.  The Filmmaker Grants include the Audi Someone to Watch Award, Nokia Truer Than Fiction Award, Piaget Producers Award and the Jameson FIND Your Audience Award. 

The Film Independent Spirit Awards are sponsored by Premier Sponsors ELLE, Piaget, Jamesonâ Irish Whiskey, Audi of America and IFC, and Principal Sponsors Stella Artois and Nokia. Onitsuka Tiger is the Official Gift Bag and Staff Gear Sponsor. WireImage is the Official Photographer, American Airlines is the Official Airline Partner and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent. On 3 Productions is the producer of the Official Presenter Gift Lounge and Official Ceremony Gift Bags. The Official Water of the Spirit Awards is FIJI Water.

Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.  
With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.

For more information or to become a member, visit

My Oscar Predictions: And, The Winner Is.....Envelope Please!

 By Darlene Donloe

I've always sucked at predicting the winners of the Academy Awards. However, it's still fun to give it a whirl.  The 84th Academy Awards, first staged on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, will take place at the Hollywood and Highland Center on Sunday, Feb. 26 and will air on ABC beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The show, which will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide, will be hosted by Billy Crystal.  

This year all the hype has been centered around the movie, The Help and its stars, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.  The silent movie, The Artist has also received a lot of buzz. George Clooney (The Descendants) always gets attention as does the incredibly talented Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), who has been nominated 17 times!!!!

Here are my predictions:

Best Picture: The Artist

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist

Best Actor: George Clooney - The Descendants

 VIOLA DAVIS (standing) in The Help

Best Actress: Viola Davis - The Help

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer - The Help

Best Original Screenplay: Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo - Bridesmaids

Best Adapted Screenplay:Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash - The Descendants

Best Animated Feature: Rango

Best Animated Short Film: La Luna

Best Live Action Short Film: The Shore

Art Direction: The Artist

Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Cinematography: The Tree of Life

Costume Design: The Artist

Documentary Feature: Undefeated

Documentary Short Subject: The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement

Achievement in Film Editing: Hugo

Makeup: Albert Nobbs

Achievement in music written for motion picture: The Artist

Original Song: “Real in Rio” - Rio

Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown; lyrics by Siedah Garrett

Sound Editing: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Sound Mixing: Hugo

Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Has Tyler Perry Done A Good Deed?

By Darlene Donloe

In Good Deeds, his latest film, Tyler Perry plays Wesley Deeds, a stiff, predictable, by-the-book businessman, who is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis.  He has always done what is expected of him, which makes him, uh, pretty boring.

He’s one of those guys who has the same thing for breakfast in the morning, literally, every day!!!


Although he is rich, has a successful business and a beautiful fiancée named Natalie, played by Gabrielle Union, he is clearly unhappy.  The couple, who look good on paper, is completely bored with their relationship!

However, the tide turns when this “fifth-generation Ivy League graduate” meets and befriends Lindsey, a janitor in his office building, played by the beautiful Thandie Newton.


Lindsey, a single mother, is going through a bit of a crisis herself. She’s just been evicted from her apartment and with nowhere to go and no family to turn to, she and her daughter live in her van. And when it's time for her to go to work, she brings her daughter along and has her sleep on the floor of a utility closet while she goes about cleaning the offices.

After Deeds discovers her secret, he takes her on as a project and tries to help her get on her feet, much to the chagrin of his family members.


If dealing with Lindsey was not enough, he must also deal with his brother, Walt, played by Brian White and his overbearing, snooty mother, played by Phylicia Rashad.

Walt has a huge chip on his shoulder because he feels his birthright has been stomped on by both his mother and his brother. Convinced he could run his father’s company as well as his brother, Walt lashes out at everyone who comes in his path.

Tyler Perry wrote and directed this drama. Once again he fills the dialogue with syrupy, melodramatic prose and, of course, various life lessons. It's clear that by helping Lindsey, Wesley sees a path for getting his own life together. Tired of living his life for everyone else but himself, Wesley sets out to change his circumstances. However, in the process he allows his emotions to take hold.

Is it me, or does this movie look like a black version of Pretty Woman?  Maybe it’s just me.

Thandie Newton shines in this drama. She’s probably also the best looking janitor to ever appear on celluloid.  But, the real question is, why isn’t her character modeling for Vogue?  Seriously! It's never really made clear why she's working as a janitor and what has been keeping her from achieving her full potential.

Phylicia Rashad is competent as Wilimena, although she doesn’t have much to do. She’s convincing as a powerful matriarch.  She is deviously delicious when she gives those I-will-knock-you-into-next-week "momma looks." This mother knows exactly how to push her children’s buttons. With lines like, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?,” she’s sinfully sinful.

Brian White is over the top. The problem is, he starts there – leaving him nowhere else to go.  His character needs to be flushed out a bit more so that we understand his angst toward the world. Gabrielle Union is, well, Gabrielle Union. She’s played the same character in several movies now. She's the girlfriend. There's no room for her to stretch in this film. She's pretty much window dressing.

And then there is Tyler Perry.  He loves writing, directing and starring in his movies. The storyline is fine, albeit a bit contrived.  However, Perry looks completely uncomfortable in a suit and tie. Maybe it’s because he’s been seen in a dress as Madea for so many years.

The direction is adequate, but Perry would be wise to take a few acting lessons. Newton and Rashad carry the movie.  That being said, this is one of Perry's better efforts!

Good Deeds stars Perry, Newton White, Rashad, Union, Rebecca Romijn, Eddie Cibrian, and Jordenn Thompson.

On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (Outstanding) and E (exquisite), “Good Deeds” gets an O (OK).

Good Deeds (Lionsgate), currently in theaters, is rated PG-13. Running time: 111 min.

Opened: Feb. 24
Production: Lionsgate, Tyler Perry Studios
Director/screenwriter: Tyler Perry
Producers: Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, Paul Hall
Executive producers: Joseph P. Genier, Michael Paseornek

Friday, February 17, 2012


The NAACP Image Awards were presented tonight at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and aired live on NBC. The biggest winner was the film “The Help,” which won three majors awards including:  Outstanding Actress for Viola Davis, Outstanding Supporting Actress prize for Octavia Spencer and Outstanding Motion Picture.

Show highlights included an appearance by Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, who presented the President's Award to the Black Stuntmen's Association, which was
launched in 1967.

Yolanda Adams performed a stirring rendition of "I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry," while

George Lucas was presented with the Vanguard Award by Samuel L. Jackson, Cuba Gooding Jr and Terrence Howard.

Following is a complete list of winners:

Motion Picture: “The Help”Actor in a motion picture: Laz Alonso, “Jumping the Broom”Actress in a motion picture: Viola Davis, “The Help”
Supporting actor in a motion picture: Mike Epps, “Jumping the Broom”
Supporting actress in a motion picture: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Independent motion picture: “Pariah”
Foreign motion picture: “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
Documentary, theatrical or television: “Sing Your Song”

Comedy series: “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”
Actor in a comedy series: Malcolm-Jamal Warner, “Reed Between the Lines”
Actress in a comedy series: Tracee Ellis Ross, “Reed Between the Lines”
Supporting actor in a comedy series: Nick Cannon, “Up All Night”
Supporting actress in a comedy series: Keshia Knight Pulliam, “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”
Drama series: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
Actor in a drama series: LL Cool J, “NCIS: Los Angeles”
Actress in a drama series: Regina King, “SouthLAnd”
Supporting actor in a drama series: James Pickens, Jr., “Grey’s Anatomy”
Supporting actress in a drama series: Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”
TV movie, mini-series or dramatic special: “Thurgood”
Actor in a TV movie, mini-series or dramatic special: Laurence Fishburne, “Thurgood”
Actress in a TV movie, mini-series or dramatic special: Taraji P. Henson, “Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story”
Actor in a daytime drama series: Emerson Brooks, “All My Children”
Actress in a daytime drama series: Tatyana Ali, “The Young and the Restless”
News/information, series or special: “Unsung”
Talk series: “Oprah’s Lifeclass”
Reality series: “Dancing With the Stars”
Variety series or special: “Oprah Presents: Master Class”
Children’s program: “I Can Be President: A Kid’s-Eye View”
Performance in a children’s program, series or special: Keke Palmer, “True Jackson, VP”

Comedy series: Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil, “The Game”
Dramatic series: Lolis Eric Elie, “Treme”
Motion picture: Ann Peacock, “The First Grader”

Comedy series: Leonard R. Garner, Jr., “Rules of Engagement”
Dramatic series: Ernest Dickerson, “Treme”
Motion picture: Salim Akil, “Jumping the Broom”

New artist: Diggy Simmons
Male artist: Cee Lo Green
Female artist: Jill Scott
Duo, group or collaboration: Mary J. Blige feat. Drake
Jazz album: George Benson, “Guitar Man”
Gospel album, traditional or contemporary: Kirk Franklin, “Hello Fear”
World music album: Sounds of Blackness, “Sounds of Blackness”
Music video: Jennifer Hudson, “Where You At”
Song: Kirk Franklin, “I Smile”
Album: Jennifer Hudson, “I Remember Me”

Fiction: Reshonda Tate Billingsley, “Say Amen, Again”
Nonfiction: Hill Harper, “The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place”
Debut author: Lyah Le Flore, “The Strawberry Letter”
Biography/autobiography: Harry Belafonte, “My Song”
Instructional: T.D. Jakes, “The T.D. Jakes Relationship Bible: Life Lessons on Relationships from the Inspired Word of God”
Poetry: James Golden, “Afro Clouds & Nappy Rain: The Curtis Brown Poems”
Children: Tony Dungy (author), Ron Mazellan (illustrator), “You Can Be A Friend”
Youth/teens: Jeff Burlingame, “Jesse Owens: I Always Loved Running”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Romance Language," An Aural Valentine From Saxophonist Kirk Whalum

Grammy Winner’s Critically Acclaimed “Romance Language” Released Today, First Single Sent To Radio

Memphis, TN (14 February 2012): Flowers wilt and candy goes stale yet time-tested romantic music rendered with love endures.  Grammy winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum released a soundtrack for romance on this Valentine’s Day aptly titled “Romance Language,” his 19th solo album which appears on the Rendezvous Music label.  The essence of the already critically acclaimed album he produced and arranged with John Stoddart is a reimagining of the 1963 collection of duets recorded by iconic jazz saxophonist John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman

The new 10-song record contains all six standards that comprise the original recording along with instrumental versions of ballads that fit the romantic motif, songs that Whalum calls “modern standards.”  Whalum’s younger brother, Kevin, capably steps into Hartman’s role and delivers heartfelt vocal performances that are regal, elegant and full of grace.  Perhaps stealing the show from his young nephews, 83-year-old Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum poured all of his experience into song on a powerfully poignant rendition of Brandy’s “Almost Doesn’t Count.”  The first single, a gospel-inflected instrumental take on Eric Benet’s “Spend My Life With You,” was just shipped to radio.

Today begins a busy week of promotional activities for Whalum.  At 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT tonight, Kirk, Kevin and Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum will perform music from “Romance Language” at a concert streamed live around the world via StageIt and shared on Whalum’s Facebook page.  The webcast, originating from the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower in Oregon, will include a backstage camera offering viewers a rare glimpse behind the scenes.  After a Thursday (February 16) morning television performance back home in Memphis, the Whalum’s will play a launch event at the STAX Museum of American Soul Music for which Kirk serves as president/CEO.  On Saturday (February 18), the Valentine’s Day concert will be rebroadcast at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT with Whalum conducting a live question and answer session.  Tickets for the “Romance Language” live concert stream and the February 18th rebroadcast can be purchased for $3.00 from or

“Romance Language” will be available as a download optimized for LiveAudio on JAMBOX by Jawbone.  LiveAudio allows music to be enjoyed in a 3D-like, surround sound experience from a single, small Bluetooth wireless speaker.  Whalum will give away a JAMBOX and announce an exclusive JAMBOX offer as a gift to his fans during the concert webcast.

Whalum, who spent 7 years backing Whitney Houston and recorded the most-played sax solo in pop music history for her worldwide smash hit “I Will Always Love You,” will support “Romance Language” throughout the year at concert dates with Kevin.  A Grammy winner in the gospel category, Whalum will tour this spring with Jonathan Butler and CeCe Winans as The Apostles of Gospel on a trek sponsored by The Smooth Jazz Cruise.

Although “Romance Language” was just released today, critics are enthusiastically praising the disc.  Below are some of the highlights.  

“A flawless recording celebrating the old and the new, Romance Language is a release that will be talked about for years to come.” – Critical Jazz

“…guaranteed to catch you up in the moment and simply sweep you away in splendor.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“…truly sensational…a must for true romantics everywhere.” – Smooth Vibes

“If you like Kirk Whalum’s soulful sound, you’ll love this. If you love vocals that make you focus on great lyrics, you’ll love this. If you love romantic music, you’ll love this. If you admire production that gives great songs all they need to shine, you’ll love this.  Trust me, you’ll love it!” – Smooth Jazz Daily

There are many great elements in this present day R&B/contemporary jazz arrangement of the songs originally released on Romance Language. However, the most admirable consist of the exceptional interplay between Kirk and Kevin, the seductive and genuine passion in Kevin’s romantic baritone that is impeccably comped by Kirk’s tenor sax voice and accompanists that enhance both of their musical voices.” – Sounds of Timeless Jazz

Romance Language is a Valentine's Day release for Kirk Whalum and it is truly a gift of love…a beautifully romantic session.” – O’s Place Jazz Magazine

The perfect background for a romantic evening...” – All About Jazz