Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco: Oscar 2014 Best Actress nominee?
Nicole Kidman Best Actress Academy Award nominee (possibly winner) in early 2014 for playing Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco. Too soon? Hardly. Heck, it feels like 3014 is just around the corner and that 1014 was only yesterday. Also, bear in mind that The Weinstein Company has bought the North American rights to Grace of Monaco, which reportedly has a tentative Christmas 2013 release date. And that Nicole Kidman is a three-time Best Actress nominee, having taken home an Oscar statuette ten years ago for Stephen Daldry's The Hours.
But wait: What does The Weinstein Company have to do with the Oscars?
You're kidding, right? Take a look at the last two decades of the Academy Awards and you'll see either The Weinstein Company or the Weinstein Bros.' previous film distribution entity, Miramax, listed over and over again in most categories. Just in the last three years, two Weinstein Company releases took home the Best Picture Oscar: Tom Hooper's The King's Speech and Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Both movies also earned Best Director and Best Actor (respectively, Colin Firth and Jean Dujardin) Academy Awards.
There's more: the last two Best Actress Oscar winners, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, starred in movies distributed by The Weinstein Company: respectively, Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, in which Streep, like Nicole Kidman, plays a historical character (Margaret Thatcher), and David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. This year's Best Supporting Actor winner, Christoph Waltz, was featured in another Weinstein Company release, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. Waltz had also won four years ago for another Tarantino / The Weinstein Company collaboration, Inglourious Basterds. (See also: “Silver Linings Playbook Oscar Campaign Got Push from Obama's Campaign Manager?”)
Nicole Kidman won her Best Actress Oscar for playing troubled writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Kidman had been previously nominated for Baz Luhrmann's musical Moulin Rouge! (2001), co-starring Ewan McGregor, and would later be nominated a third time for John Cameron Mitchell's Rabbit Hole, opposite Aaron Eckhart. Shortlisted for a Best Supporting Actress SAG Award for Lee Daniels' The Paperboy, Kidman was a potential Oscar contender this year as well – but that failed to pass. The Paperboy, by the way, was not a Weinstein Company release.
Anyhow, to have Nicole Kidman go from overheated sexpot peeing on Zac Efron in The Paperboy to regal-looking Hollywood actress-turned-European princess in Grace of Monaco should impress the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We'll find out how impressed they are in early 2014 – that is, if Grace of Monaco is indeed released later this year.
Grace of Monaco cast, director, screenwriter
Besides Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco features Tim Roth (as Prince Rainer III), Milo Ventimiglia, Paz Vega (as Maria Callas), Frank Langella, Parker Posey, Derek Jacobi, Geraldine Somerville, Nicholas Farrell, Robert Lindsay (as Aristotle Onassis), Olivier Rabourdin, Roger Ashton-Griffiths, Jeanne Balibar, and Yves Jacques. (Read more about the casting of Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco.)
The Grace of Monaco screenplay was written by Arash Amel, whose sole movie credit as per the IMDb is Philipp Stölzl's Erased / The Expatriate, and who is reportedly working on the screenplay for Warner Bros.' I Am Legend 2. Olivier Dahan, who directed Marion Cotillard in her Oscar-winning performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose / La môme, is directing Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco.
Grace Kelly: Best Actress Oscar winner
Probably Alfred Hitchcock's favorite actress, Grace Kelly won a Best Actress Oscar for George Seaton's 1954 melodrama The Country Girl, co-starring Bing Crosby and William Holden. (Note: That was a major upset, as Judy Garland was the sentimental favorite for George Cukor's A Star Is Born.) Kelly, whose film career consists of only 11 movies, had been previously nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for John Ford's Red Dust remake Mogambo (1953), co-starring Clark Gable and Ava Gardner.
Grace Kelly left Hollywood in the mid-'50s to marry Monaco's Prince Rainier III. Her last two releases, both in 1956, were Charles Vidor The Swan, with Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan, and George Sidney's High Society, with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Additionally, she starred in three Alfred Hitchcock movies: Rear Window and Dial M for Murder in 1954, and To Catch a Thief in 1955. Her Hitchcock leading men were, respectively, James Stewart, Ray Milland and Robert Cummings, and Cary Grant.
Grace of Monaco Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly photos: The Weinstein Company.
Steven Spielberg: Cannes jury gets Hollywood star-director president
Steven Spielberg lost the Best Director Academy Award, but won the presidency of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival jury. Following on the footsteps of Nanni Moretti, who headed the 2012 jury that awarded Michael Haneke's Amour the Palme d'Or, Spielberg will chair the jury at the upcoming Cannes festival, which runs May 15–26.
To date, Steven Spielberg has won a single competitive award at Cannes: as co-screenwriter (with Matthew Robbins and Hal Barwood) of the Spielberg-directed 1974 offbeat drama The Sugarland Express, starring Goldie Hawn and William Atherton. Additionally, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial had its world premiere at Cannes in 1982, while The Color Purple was shown out of competition in 1986.
According to Cannes organizer Gilles Jacob, Steven Spielberg had been previously invited a number of times to head the festival's jury. Scheduling conflicts, however, prevented him from doing so.
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln: Box-office hit in France
Steven Spielberg's Lincoln has been a strong performer at the domestic box office, having grossed $178.85 million to date, including approximately $32 million following the Academy Award nominations announcement in early January. Lincoln was up for 12 Oscars, ultimately winning two: Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis and Best Art Direction for production designer Rick Carter and set decorator Jim Erickson. (Spielberg lost the Best Director Oscar to Life of Pi's Ang Lee; Lincoln lost Best Picture to Ben Affleck's Argo.)
Internationally, Lincoln has been a considerably more modest grosser. Having said that, thanks to the Oscar buzz Spielberg's historical drama about U.S. president Abraham Lincoln surely has fared much better than it would have otherwise. Lincoln, which opened in most international territories in late January, has to date taken in $66.2 million, or only 27 percent of the film's worldwide take. Lincoln was a flop in Russia and a modest performer in countries such as Mexico and India.
In France, however, Lincoln has been doing well: with $9.25 million, it's the year's third biggest box office hit to date, trailing only Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained ($32.83 million), with Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, and Philippe Le Guay's comedy Alceste à bicyclette ($9.37 million), with Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson.
Lincoln's other top international territories are the UK with $9.35 million, Italy with $7.07 million, Spain with $6.67 million, Australia with $4.93 million, Germany with $4.56 million, and Brazil with $4.45 million.
Steven Spielberg movies
Steven Spielberg has directed some of the most successful movies ever made, among them the aforementioned E.T., Jaws (1975), with Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss; Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), with Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon; Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), with Harrison Ford and Karen Allen; and Jurassic Park (1993), with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, and lots of dinosaurs.
Spielberg has won two Best Director Academy Awards: for Schindler's List (1993), featuring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, and Saving Private Ryan (1998), featuring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Tom Sizemore. Schindler's List also won the Best Picture Oscar, but Saving Private Ryan lost to the John Madden-directed, Miramax-distributed Shakespeare in Love. (See also: “Biggest Oscar Snubs: Steven Spielberg and The Color Purple.”)
In addition to the performers mentioned above, Steven Spielberg has worked with a whole array of film actors, ranging from Joan Crawford to Tom Cruise, from actor-director François Truffaut to Shia LaBeouf, from Oprah Winfrey to Audrey Hepburn, from Toshiro Mifune to Sally Field, from Ralph Bellamy to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, from Sean Connery to Leonardo DiCaprio, from Dennis Weaver to Amy Adams.
Steven Spielberg photo: Cannes Film Festival.