The Best Performances of 2014

Selma trailer

The right director and the right script don’t mean anything without the right actor. Performers are the ones who bridge the gap between the minds behind the camera and the ones in front of the screen. It is their personalities that draw us in, their expressions that tell the story, and their faces that we remember.

There were no shortage of great performances this year, across all genres and all budgets. Inevitably, a few stood out above the rest. See our list of the best performances of 2014 after the jump. Read More »

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Selma trailer

In the US we’ve just seen the sad turnout for a midterm election in which the under-30 crowd accounted for only 13% of voter turnout, and the 30-44 age group was only another 22%. The 45-64 year olds turned out in far greater numbers — more of that age range than of everyone younger combined. Naturally, election results swing to the interests of that one voting bloc, and that bloc does not have the interests of everyone in mind.

So it’s a good time to be reminded that some voting rights were hard-won and should be used, no matter how cynical one may be about the process. (I speak as someone who is very cynical about the process.) In Selma, David Oyelowo plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film follows the assassinated civil rights leader’s organization of three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, meant to protest unjust voting restrictions. Like other Civil Rights Movement actions, these marches faced violent opposition, but also raised awareness of the inequality suffered by African-Americans. Watch the first Selma trailer below.

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The summer movie season is just about wrapped up now, which means it’s time to look ahead to the prestige dramas of fall and winter. One of the most intriguing titles coming our way in the next few months is Selma, about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s fight to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

David Oyelowo plays the civil rights icon, with a huge supporting cast that includes Carmen Ejogo (as Coretta Scott King), Tom Wilkinson (as President Lyndon B. Johnson), Tim Roth, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, Wendell Pierce, Lorraine Toussaint, and many more. Hit the jump to see the first Selma movie images.

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MLK Biopic ‘Selma’ Set for Christmas Release

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Another high-profile prestige pic looks to be jumping into this year’s awards race. Paramount Pictures has just set Selma, the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic being directed by Ava DuVernay, to open this Christmas.

David Oyelowo leads the drama as the civil rights icon. Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson, and Carmen Ejogo are also among the cast. Get the latest updates on the project after the jump.

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You may recall that a couple of years back, Lee Daniels was debating between two civil-rights themed projects. He ultimately settled on the White House drama The Butler, which opens next month. But the other, Selma, hasn’t been forgotten entirely — it’s just in new hands now.

Ava DuVernay, the rising star behind last year’s Sundance drama Middle of Nowhere, has taken over the project. David Oyelowo remains attached to play MLK, as he has since 2010. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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The last time we had a check-in on Selma, the civil rights picture director Lee Daniels spent much of 2010 preparing to make, financing was an issue. The director had a script and a cast (Hugh Jackman, Liam Neeson, David Oyelowo, Robert De Niro, Cedric the Entertainer) but money was a problem.

Then he was signed to rewrite and direct The Butler, and it seemed like Selma might go away. But, as it turns out, the financing for Selma is now in place. And so, having two civil rights-themed films set up, Daniels is faced with a choice: Selma, or The Butler? Read More »

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Here’s a shock: Hugh Jackman has dropped out of the film Avon Man. The comedy, which is perpetually likened to The Full Monty, was supposed to shoot this past spring, but is now set to shoot in October. Now it loses Jackman, who remains a producer on the film. Not like he’s washing his hands of it, but this is exactly the sort of movie Jackman doesn’t need to do. If the setup sounded more promising it might be the sort of thing that would be fun to see him make, but things being what they are, this is probably a good choice. Read More »

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Precious director Lee Daniels has assembled quite a cast for civil rights film Selma, but the film is still looking for financing, and now the director has made a deal with Sony to rewrite and direct The Butler, based on the story of Eugene Allen, who was a servant in the White House through eight presidencies. Read More »

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