Film Notes: Producers ramp up star power for Academy Awards


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Oscar producers are boosting the star power of their lineup of presenters and other participants.

The latest crop of performers scheduled to appear at the Academy Awards Feb. 24 in Hollywood: Charlize Theron, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe. Ms. Theron won an Oscar for "Monster" and was nominated for her leading role in "North Country," but this will be the first time Mr. Gordon-Levitt, Mr. Radcliffe and Mr. Tatum will appear on the stage.

"Marvel's The Avengers" cast mates Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo will present together, and the top acting winners from 2012 also have confirmed. So look for Meryl Streep, Jean Dujardin, Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer, too.

As the Grammys invade Los Angeles this weekend, the awards circuit moves across the pond. The EE British Academy Film Awards will be Sunday at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

Hosted by Stephen Fry, the ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD at 8 p.m. Sunday and will feature a live performance by Paloma Faith.

Nominees confirmed to date include: Alicia Vikander, Amy Adams, Andrea Riseborough, Ang Lee, Anne Hathaway, Barbara Broccoli, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Cameron Mackintosh, Christoph Waltz, Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis, Elizabeth Olsen, Eric Fellner, George Clooney, Dame Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Joaquin Phoenix, Juno Temple, Marion Cotillard, Michael G. Wilson, Quentin Tarantino, Sally Field, Sam Mendes, Steven Spielberg, Suraj Sharma, Tim Bevan, Tim Burton and Tom Hooper.

Alan Parker, recipient of the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Fellowship, and Tessa Ross, recipient of the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award, will also be in attendance.

Presenters and other attendees confirmed to date include:

Alice Eve, Ben Whishaw, Billy Connolly, Chris Tucker, Danny Boyle, David Morrissey, Eddie Redmayne, Gemma Arterton, Helen McCrory, Henry Cavill, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Garner, Jeremy Irvine, Jeremy Renner, John C. Reilly, Kevin Spacey, Mark Strong, Martin Freeman, Meryl Streep, Nicholas Hoult, Olga Kurylenko, Rafe Spall, Samuel L. Jackson, Saoirse Ronan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sarah Silverman, Simon Pegg and Tom Hiddleston.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.

Making time with top talent

Time magazine's annual great performances portfolio features interviews and photos with Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Sally Field, John Goodman, Anne Hathaway, John Hawkes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Hugh Jackman, Quvenzhane Wallis, Christoph Waltz and Naomi Watts. All are Oscar nominees or deserved to be.

Quvenzhane, the 9-year-old star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" who has been charming Hollywood at every turn -- including at the Oscar nominees lunch earlier this week -- talks about her nomination. "I wasn't surprised on the outside but I was on the inside."

Ms. Field discussed her "Lincoln" co-star, Daniel Day-Lewis, and said: "I needed to find a relationship with his man, instantly. So, I came to his house and he said shall we have coffee. And I said, no. Like Mary, I want to get you out of the house ... and we walked for hours."

She called making "Lincoln" the most magnificent work experience of her life and one unlikely to be duplicated.

Oscar fundraising parties

As previously reported, the Pittsburgh Film Office is staging its annual Oscar gala at Heinz Field but that won't be the only fundraising party in town that weekend.

The Denis Theatre Foundation will host parties Feb. 24 at the Walnut Grill in Mt. Lebanon and Atria's Restaurant & Tavern in Peters. Guests can watch the Academy Awards broadcast, nibble on appetizers and desserts and patronize a cash bar.

Both start at 7 p.m. and the cost is $35 per person in advance or $45 at the door. Proceeds will benefit efforts to reopen the Denis Theatre as a film and arts center.

For more information or tickets, call 412-668-0737 or email Jdelano@denistheatre.org or PRichichi@denistheatre.org.

In Stowe, a pre-Oscar fundraising gala will be held Feb. 23 (day before the Academy Awards) at the Parkway Theater, 644 Broadway Ave. Doors will open at 7 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m., and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Admission is $15 each or $25 a couple and includes pasta, meatballs, salad, rolls, dessert, coffee, tea and punch and one ticket for door prizes. Sugar Daddy and the Big Boned Girls will provide music for the 21-and-over event.

For tickets, contact owner Aaron Stubna, who has been working toward reopening the venue through the nonprofit Reel Arts Center, at 412-766-1668 or lincolnbarber@yahoo.com or facebook.com/pages/The-Parkway-Theater.

Horror spells happiness

Horror Realm is offering an alternative to traditional Valentine's Day celebrations on Saturday at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Bethel Park. (Trivia alert: It's where the cast and crew of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" stayed during filming.)

"Bloody Valentine" is a non-romantic, horror-themed event with food, drink, music and games. The party, open to singles and couples 21 and older, will be from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The evening will include a comfort-food dinner buffet from 9 to 10 p.m., snacks, glass of sangria, cash bar and music by The Muzik Machine DJ Service.

Admission is $25 per person or $45 per couple (any two people attending together). Tickets can be purchased in advance at http://www.showclix.com/event/BloodyValentineParty or, cash only, at the door.

Invite is out for 2014

Women in Film and Media Pittsburgh will host the 2014 Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) Summit, expected to draw women from 40 chapters worldwide.

"This is a huge thrill for our chapter to be the host of this summit and show the world what Pittsburgh is capable of in the film industry," Faith Dickinson, president and founder of the Pittsburgh organization, said in announcing the event.

The summit will include panel discussions, screenings, education sessions, networking events, Opal Awards presentation and other events.

In December, the 2012 summit in Washington, D.C., attracted participants from North America along with New Zealand, Sweden, England and Mexico. Ms. Dickinson expects to draw from the local film and TV community for panels and for the summit to showcase Western Pennsylvania.

In brief

• Mariah Carey has recorded the song, "Almost Home," for "Oz the Great and Powerful," the fantastical adventure due in theaters March 8. It will be released as a single by Ms. Carey's label, Island Def Jam, on Feb. 19.

• Variety reports Colin Firth will play Nicole Kidman's husband in Rowan Joffe's thriller, "Before I Go to Sleep."

It tells the story of a woman whose memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Her husband, who appears as a virtual stranger due to this amnesia, explains their life on a daily basis but a journal she uses to reconstruct her memories contains an alarming note about who to trust.

The cast includes Mark Strong and Anne-Marie Duff. It's based on a novel by Brit S.J. Watson.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.


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