Writer Jada Yuan wants to know why Brad Pitt is the only white performer in “12 Years a Slave” to play a “nice character.” It is the one recurring complaint from other cited reviewers throughout the opinion piece. Pitt, who is also a producer of the strong Best Picture Oscar contender, and others have said his on-screen appearance was instrumental in “making the film happen.” Vulture.
Oscar contender “Gravity” blows away the box office competition for a third straight weekend victory. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the film earned $31 million for the top position over another possible awards favorite “Captain Phillips,” the horror remake “Carrie,” and the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Escape Plan.” “The Fifth Estate,” a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, bombed in eighth place with just $1.7 million. The Wrap.
“Saving Mr. Banks” premieres to an “enthusiastic reaction” at the BFI London Film Festival. Columnist Pete Hammond wonders if Disney could finally be ready to claim a Best Picture Oscar. The film tells the story of how Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) wooed “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to make the classic children’s book into a movie. Deadline.
Carol Burnett receives the 16th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Julie Andrews, Tony Bennett, Tim Conway, Tina Fey, Vicki Lawrence, Amy Poehler, and Martin Short were among the people celebrating her career. The first recipient in 1998 was Richard Pryor. Since then, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Martin, Bob Newhart, and Lily Tomlin are among other honorees. The event will air November 24 on PBS. Washington Post.
“The Blacklist” starring James Spader has already been a big freshman hit for NBC, but now it has become even bigger. The September 30 episode set a new record as the first show to add over six million viewers watching on DVR (live plus seven days). The combined overall viewership for that episode was 17.8 million. TV by the Numbers.
The most expensive show for advertisers is no longer a broadcast program like “American Idol” or “The Voice.” The new winner for per-spot revenues is AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Ad agencies are now willing to pay an average of $326,000 per commerical airing on the zombie series because of its desirable demographics and high viewership. Variety.
Sasha Stone asks if “Kill Your Darlings” is the best film nobody is discussing. She calls it “a lovely, lyrical, strange and educational love story” and especially singles out actor Dane DeHaan and the screenplay by John Krokidas and Austin Bunn. Awards Daily.
Just a month into the fall TV season, NBC cancels the Thursday comedy “Welcome to the Family” (starring Mike O’Malley) and the Wednesday drama remake “Ironside” (starring Blair Underwood). Repeats and specials will take over those time slots the remainder of this year. Starting in January, “Community” will return on Thursdays and the new spin-off “Chicago P.D.” will air on Wednesdays. HitFix.