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Oscar Nominations Court Controversy

Tags: Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences - Michael Keaton - Common - John Legend - David Oyelowo - Ava DuVernay - Jake Gyllenhaal - Jessica Chastain - Amy Adams - Jennifer Aniston - Roger Ebert

The reaction to this week's Oscar nominations was a loud one, because Academy voters played it so safe in a year when films expanded to explore a diverse array of themes. Throughout 2014, actors and filmmakers bravely took on big challenges, and many were recognised with nominations. But critics have been quick to point out that all of the acting and directing nominees are white, and #OscarsSoWhite was the trending hashtag on Twitter.

Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards
Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards

The most obvious snub was for Selma, which only received nods for Best Picture and Best Song (for Common and John Legend's 'Glory'), leaving out the acclaimed actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first African-American woman ever nominated for Best Director.

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Life Itself Review

Fans of film journalism will love this documentary about the noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, although the movie is just as much about his battle with the cancer that took his life in 2013. It's a lively, fast-paced doc, but even at two hours it feels oddly truncated as the two topics seem to fight for screen time. Fortunately both are potent: the story of Roger's love of cinema and the footage of his astoundingly cheerful refusal to let illness get him down.

Based around Roger's eponymous autobiography, the film quickly traces his background as a film lover who rose through the ranks at the Chicago Sun-Times to become an unusually resonant film reviewer, able to express opinions and even high-minded cinematic observations in ways that were never cynical or snobbish. He found national (and even global) fame through his TV programmes opposite rival Chicago critic Gene Siskel, which began in 1978 and standardised their "thumbs up"/"thumbs down" verdicts. At age 50, Roger met his wife Chaz at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and her children and grandchildren became his. In 2002, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent a series of surgeries that by 2006 made it impossible for him to speak. But he carried on writing reviews and making public appearances (speaking through his computer) until his death.

Filmmaker Steve James had startling access to Roger during the final year of his life, following him to hospitals and rehabilitation centres. Looking at his cancer-ravaged face is difficult at first, but Roger's smiling eyes and constant joking reinforces his optimistic, matter-of-fact approach to life. And he keeps reminding James that this documentary has to show everything, never flinching away from the truth. As a result, the film is a remarkably intimate look at how Roger and Chaz faced the illness and made difficult decisions along the way. This adds an emotional layer to the documentary that's remarkably moving, putting Roger's work into the context of his life and death.

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'The Maltese Falcon' Sells For $4 Million, But What's The Most Expensive Movie Item?

Tags: Humphrey Bogart - Roger Ebert

The Maltese Falcon, a statuette of a bird featuring in the classic 1941 detective thriller, sold for more than $4 million at Bonhams auction house on Monday (November 25, 2013).

Maltese FalconThe Maltese Falcon Sold For $4 Million.

The winning bid of $4,085,000 came from a telephone bidder, according to the Guardian. The recognizable black figure was one of the two known statuettes for the movie, which starred Humphrey Bogart as San Francisco private detective Sam Spade and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.

Continue reading: 'The Maltese Falcon' Sells For $4 Million, But What's The Most Expensive Movie Item?

Dance Tribute To Roger Ebert Led By Tilda Swinton, To Barry White Song

Tags: Tilda Swinton - Roger Ebert

If there’s one thing Tilda Swinton knows how to do (and we reckon she knows how to do far more than just the one thing), it’s ‘create a stir’ and that’s exactly what she did at the late Roger Ebert’s film festival, ‘Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival.’ Swinton took to the stage, along with Roger’s widow, Chaz and led the audience of some 1500 in a dance, to Barry White’s ‘You’re The First, The Last, My Everything.’

New York Daily News report that Tilda told the audience from the stage “We’re not dancing up here. We’re coming down to dance with you — because if we dance up here, you’re just going to sit and watch us and laugh,” before starting to gyrate her hips. She then ordered the audience to join in: “So, no observers allowed. Participants only.” She then started to weave her way through the crowd at the Virginia Theater and in doing so, encouraged the audience to do the same. Roger Ebert, a renowned movie fan and revered critic, passed away on April 4 this year, after a lengthy battle with cancer that left him unable to speak, some years ago. He founded the film festival event back in 1998.

Tilda Swinton is no stranger to drawing attention to herself. She recently made headlines when she appeared, ‘snoozing’ in a glass box, for an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The exhibition was titled The Maybe. 

Continue reading: Dance Tribute To Roger Ebert Led By Tilda Swinton, To Barry White Song

Tilda Swinton Kicks Off Spontaneous Dance Party In Memory Of Roger Ebert

Tags: Tilda Swinton - Roger Ebert

Tilda Swinton might be one of the most respected actresses in Hollywood, but the woman isn’t afraid to get down, yo! At the annual Ebertfest – the affectionate name for “Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, which the late critic founded back in 1998. Swinton was there to promote her new flick “Julia”, but ended up mostly promoting spontaneous dance parties, as she appeared on stage with Ebert’s widow, Chaz and prompted to audience to participate in a “No observers allowed” dance party, according to New York Daily News.

Swinton said: “We’re not dancing up here. We’re coming down to dance with you — because if we dance up here, you’re just going to sit and watch us and laugh,” Then Barry White’s You’re the First, the Last, My Everything came on and the rest is history. We can now tick off “party instigator” in Swinton’s already quite impressive resume. Recently, the 52-year-old actress made news by… taking a nap. The location of said nap might have had something to do with it, since most people don’t typically sleep over in a glass box at the MoMa. Tilda’s performance was as part of a piece entitled “The Maybe”. So the actress/ all-round cool lady has been keeping pretty busy lately. We’d venture to assume that the dance break was more fun than her nap in a box though.

Tilda Swinton, Victoria and Albert Museum
For a lady of 51, Swinton sure knows how to get down. 

Picture - Roger Ebert Toronto, Canada, Friday 9th September 2011

Roger Ebert Friday 9th September 2011 36th Annual Toronto International Film Festival - Celebrities out and about Toronto, Canada

Picture - Roger Ebert Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday 3rd May 2011

Roger Ebert Tuesday 3rd May 2011 Ceremony to induct Oprah Winfrey into the Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame held at the Palmer House Chicago, Illinois

Roger Ebert:
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