George Lucas, Carole King among Kennedy Center honorees

15 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2015 Kennedy Center honorees include George Lucas, Rita Moreno and the Eagles.

The John F. The 2015 Kennedy Center honorees will be the Eagles, singer Carole King, “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, theater legend Rita Moreno, Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa and actress Cicely Tyson. Hollywood icon George Lucas, rockers Eagles, singer-songwriter Carole King and actress and singer Rita Moreno were named Wednesday to receive awards at the 38th Kennedy Center Honors, to be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 29, 2015. CBS’ annual telecast will be taped on Dec. 6, with Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment executive producing the special. “Quite simply, our honorees represent the voices, soundtracks and stories of our personal lives and memories,” Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein said in a statement Wednesday. “The music of the Eagles has endured as the quintessential American rock and roll sound for generations; Carole King’s heartfelt lyrics and tunes are woven throughout the tapestry of American music; George Lucas’ films have enriched our world with stories of epic adventure; Rita Moreno’s iconic spitfire roles are embedded in the heart of American culture; Seiji Ozawa’s artistic leadership as a conductor has set a new standard for orchestras around the world; and Cicely Tyson’s range of strong female roles on stage and screen have broken boundaries for women of color,” he added. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the news was, well, unexpected. “I did not go speechless; I went breathless,” she said Tuesday. “And I just said to myself, ‘My dear, you had better start breathing.

Organizers said they didn’t want to pass up the chance to honor any of these artists with the national award for influencing American culture through the arts. Her other credits include “Sounder,” “Roots” and “The Trip to Bountiful.” Lucas also directed “American Graffiti.” The Eagles are one of the best-selling bands in music history.

Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, who took over the arts center after last year’s event had already been planned, said there are no rules for the selection. “The good news is there’s no best picture, best director, best actor,” Rutter said, referring to other awards shows. “There’s nothing that says we can’t do what we want to do.” The selection process includes public nominations, and candidates are put forth by former honorees and members of the arts center’s artistic committee. A self-described storyteller at heart, Lucas, 71, created some of the most successful movie franchises with “Star Wars and “Indiana Jones.” He’s also hailed as a pioneer in developing new digital technology to enhance his films’ visual and sound qualities. The program has been criticized in the past for the secretive process through which it chooses artists honored with medals bestowed by the secretary of state, and seats beside the president at the gala, scheduled for Dec. 6.

Lucas said the Kennedy Center acknowledgement is a great honor. “The honorees over the history of the awards are huge, and it’s great to be in the same company,” he said. Some pointed to a lack of racial diversity, leading the Honors in 2013 to expand its nominating committee and accept recommendations from the public — an effort they have continued to focus on, said Deborah F. The center is also trying to expand the awards’ reach with a Facebook mini-essay contest using the hashtag #SendMeToHonors, through which one winner will be chosen by popular vote to receive tickets to the gala. But he also directed “American Graffiti” and “Willow” and has been praised for the technological innovations of his company, Industrial Light & Magic.

She won an Oscar for her role as Anita in “West Side Story,” but she’s the rare performer who has nabbed all four major awards, including a Tony, Emmy and Grammy. “The first thing that comes to mind is my mama,” she said. “We came from Puerto Rico, we were very poor. Ozawa, 79, said he was pleased to join friends and colleagues John Williams and Mstislav Rostropovich, who were honored in 2004 and 1992, respectively. The Japanese conductor led orchestras in Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston, where he spent 29 years as music director of the Boston Symphony. Tyson has enjoyed a long and critically acclaimed career in theater, movies and television, winning a Tony Award — at age 88 — for “The Trip to Bountiful” in 2013 and three Emmy Awards, two for her appearance in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” Her movie credits include “Sounder,” “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “The Help.” Tyson is currently filming episodes of the upcoming season of “House of Cards,” and in September she returns to Broadway to star with James Earl Jones in “The Gin Game.” King, 73, wrote her first No. 1 hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” at the age of 17.

Some of her best-known songs were recorded by others, such as “You’ve Got a Friend” (a hit for James Taylor) and “A Natural Woman” (recorded by Aretha Franklin). “I’m humbled and grateful to accept I’ve been very lucky to be able to do the work I love for so many years. Moreno just finished a new album in Spanish produced by Emilio Estefan and an independent film called “Remember Me.” Last month she was grand marshal of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. It’s been nearly 30 years since King, 73, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame for her broad influence on pop music, defining the sounds of the 1960s and 70s. Detroit native Glenn Frey and Don Henley cowrote most of the band’s best-known songs, including “Hotel California.” They began touring as members of Linda Ronstadt’s backing band but then began writing songs for their debut album, “Eagles.” The band members came together from their roots in Detroit, Texas, Kansas and California and stayed together from 1971 to 1980.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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