"Dallas Buyers Club" had been in development for two decades before finally being made with director Jean-Marc Vallee and actor Matthew McConaughey in the role of AIDS-afflicted crusader Ron Woodroof. "Rachel [Winter] and I held on for dear life together and we willed it into existence," says producer Robbie Brenner when asked in the webcam chat below about the ordeal of bringing the film to fruition. "And when every door closed, we somehow threw our bodies against it and we pried it open."
For Winter, the film's subject matter hit especially close to home: "My uncle had been on AZT, he died of AIDS actually very close to the time that Ron died … I took that with me the minute Robbie said in 2009, 'Hey I know you've always loved this. You want to do this?' And I was like 'F*ck yeah, let's do this!'"
But even though medical breakthroughs have made HIV/AIDS not the automatic death sentence it was when Woodroof fought the disease from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, Winter believes the subject is still important for modern audiences: "The young people don't view [the disease] the same way, and from what I understand there's a real carelessness out there, and that's really scary. They're not in touch with the idea that at one point this was the largest epidemic in our country's history since maybe polio."
The production came with the usual challenges associated with a low-budget independent film. It was shot over just 25 days and sacrifices had to be made, including Vallee's decision to shoot with only natural light, but while there were benefits to such limitations – "I think there's something to be said about making a movie … where everybody is sort of doing it because they love it," says Brenner – Winter does think big-budget resources would have been a welcome reward for their trouble: "When … you do it in 25 days and you get it done and it's amazing, then back the truck up, let's pay everybody after the fact. That would be okay too."
Most experts are predicting "12 Years a Slave" to win the Oscar for Best Picture, but besides that it's favored in only two other categories: Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o) and Best Adapted Screenplay. If it's the academy's favorite movie, will it really not win anything else? Does it have a chance to win below the line?
This is especially worth considering after the result at the Costume Designers Guild Awards, where "12 Years a Slave" won the period film prize against the heavily favored "The Great Gatsby," in which everyone is draped in extravagant 1920s fashions, from the lead actors to the countless background extras. Could "12 Years" upset again at the Oscars?
Usually, the film with the most costumes and the biggest period gowns wins, but that's not always the case. In 2011, "Jane Eyre" and "Anonymous" seemingly had the most elaborate costumes, and "W.E." won that year's CDG Award, but none of them had strong academy support overall, so it was the Best Picture-winner, "The Artist," that ended up taking the prize.
Northwestern University student Alexis Maxwell (above, center) currently has the best odds (8 to 1) to win "Survivor: Cagayan," according to predictions by Gold Derby users. Brawn Tribe (Aparri) gets 10-to-11 odds to place first in the Immunity Challenge this week and our users pick JTia Taylor (top, right photo) 7 to 1 odds) to be eliminated at tribal council.
Sign in to your Gold Derby account here and add your prediction to join our contest to forecast winners week to week and at season's end. Final contest prize: $100 Amazon gift certificate.
No doubt our users are picking Maxwell to prevail as ultimate victor because of her special skills and strategy.
"My strongest asset is my background in psychology," she says. "I have studied and experimented with group dynamics and understand how to play a specific role in a group. I will also use sex appeal and flirting as a means of disguising my intelligence. I have always been aware of my role in a group and know how to lead in a sneaky way. I will use my education and flirty personality to assure I'm always in a good position."
That naughty video satarist Brian Reiss is at it again, this time cooking up a fun parody of an Oscar contender. Visit his YouTube channel here to see his parody of "Argo" last year.
Is Oscar history really being made this year with their elderly longtime sculptor adding a tiny penis to each statuette. The funny new video has "Saturday Night Live" writer Tim Robinson as the sculptor in a "heartwarming" story of his endeavors. George Rush also reports that Robinson will host a revue at SXSW on March 9 with Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, Kyle Mooney, and Sasheer Zamata. Above Average.
Oscar producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan reveal a little more about this year's ceremony hosted by Ellen DeGeneres on March 2. With a heroism theme, the show will be divided into sections of everything from animation good guys through inspirational true life heroes. One highlight will be a tribute to "The Wizard of Oz" 75th anniversary. Meron also adds, "Then we have the popular heroes: superheroes and characters like Harry Potter and Indiana Jones, or the Ghostbusters." Unofficially confirmed to take part are Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man") and Alfred Hitchcock heroine Kim Novak. Entertainment Weekly.
NBC is bringing back popular serialized drama "Heroes" with a new 13-episode standalone "Heroes: Reborn" in 2015. The original had several Emmy nominations in 2006 for its first season, including Best Drama Series, but then fell off dramatically with viewers and storylines after that. Creator Tim Kring will be returning to helm the project. No word yet if they will include any original cast members such as Hayden Panettiere, Zachary Quinto, Masi Oka, Adrian Pasdar, Greg Grunberg, Jack Coleman, or Milo Ventimiglia. Deadline.
The 45th annual NAACP Image Awards select Kevin Hart as Entertainer of the Year at Saturday's ceremony. Film winners are "12 Years a Slave," Forest Whitaker ("The Butler"), Angela Bassett ("Black Nativity"), David Oyelowo ("The Butler"), and Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"). TV winners include "Scandal" and its star Kerry Washington, "Real Husbands of Hollywood," and "Steve Harvey." The Wrap.
"The Lego Movie" continues its domination at the U.S. box office with another $31.4 million in its third weekend. Its overall take has been $183 million domestic. Newcomer "3 Days to Kill" starring Kevin Costner opens in second place with $12.3 million. Big budget "Pompeii" is a big disappointment with just $10 million in its debut weekend. Thompson on Hollywood.
The first week of "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" brings in more viewers than anytime in the past 20 years. The initial five episodes, airing last Monday through Friday, were sandwiched between NBC's coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The average was 8.49 million viewers, just behind the week of May 17, 1993, when the finale of "Cheers" aired. Host Jay Leno did a special live program in Boston following that comedy's ending. TV by the Numbers.
Congratulations to our site User RobertFranson, who earned a perfect score predicting the Costume Designers Guild awards winners. In fact, he tied with seano25, patryk, and Melili with 100% scores, but is crowned the winner for using his 500 and 200 point bets wisely for the best point score of 22,614.
Over 550 Gold Derby readers forecasted this year's CDG champs, logging over 1,600 predictions. To see how you fared, log in to your account and under your profile picture click CDG Awards 2013.
CDG voters crowned "12 Years a Slave" for Best Period Costumes, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" for Best Fantasy Costumes, and "Blue Jasmine" for Best Contemporary Costumes. None of those were the Gold Derby favorites, which were "The Great Gatsby," "Oz the Great and Powerful," and "Her," respectively.
I was the only Editor to get any category right ("Hunger Games") for a 34% score. Four of our Editors -- Daniel Montgomery, David Schnelwar, Rob Licuria, and Marcus Dixon -- were scoreless.
Continuing the same trend, our Experts Edward Douglas (Coming Soon) and Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby) were the best in their group with 34%. Tariq Khan (Fox News), and Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes) got none correct.
Congratulations to our site Users RichardR and Mert Kaya, who both earned perfect scores predicting the Cinema Audio Society awards winners. In fact, it was such an easy competition this year that well over 100 Users had perfect scores. Our two co-winners used their 500 and 200 point bets wisely and had the best point score of 700.
Over 500 Gold Derby readers forecasted this year's CAS champs, logging over 1,000 predictions. To see how you fared, log in to your account and under your profile picture click CAS Awards 2013.
All five of our Editors -- Daniel Montgomery, David Schnelwar, Rob Licuria, Marcus Dixon, and myself -- were also perfect in scoring.
Continuing a successful run at guild events, "Gravity" won Best Live-Action Sound Mixing at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, beating Oscar rivals "Captain Phillips," "Inside Llewyn Davis," and "Lone Survivor" as well as "Iron Man 3." At the Oscars, "Iron Man" lost out to "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" for the fifth Sound Mixing bid.
Oscar-frontrunner "Frozen" won the award for Best Animation Sound Mixing, defeating fellow Oscar contenders "The Croods" and "Despicable Me 2," in addition to "Monsters University" and "Walking with Dinosaurs 3D."
Other winners included "Behind the Candelabra" (TV Movie/Miniseries), "Game of Thrones" (One-Hour TV Series), "Modern Family" (Half-Hour TV Series), and "History of the Eagles" (Non-Fiction/Variety/Music TV).
"12 Years a Slave" pulled off a major upset, winning Excellence in Period Film at the Costume Designers Guild Awards, defeating frontrunner and Oscar rival "The Great Gatsby." Also nominated in that category were "Dallas Buyers Club," "Saving Mr. Banks," and Oscar-contender "American Hustle."
"Great Gatsby" currently leads our Oscar racetrack odds for Best Costume Design, where "12 Years" ranks third.
Last year, "Anna Karenina" won the period prize before prevailing at the Oscars against CDG rivals "Lincoln," "Les Miserables" and "Snow White and the Huntsman" as well as fantasy winner "Mirror Mirror."
In 2011, "W.E." won the period prize while the final "Harry Potter" picture took the fantasy genre and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" claimed the contemporary category. "W.E" edged out three of the other period pictures that were in the running at the Oscars -- "The Artist," "Jane Eyre" and "Hugo" -- along with "Anonymous." The final CDG nominee, "The Help," was snubbed by the academy. However, it was "The Artist" which prevailed at the Oscars.
Join Us for Live Webcam Chats Today with Jane Fonda, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Allison Janney
You can participate by adding your comments or questions to the chat room that will appear on our home page next to the live-stream video.
Jane Fonda ("The Newsroom")
Monday, July 28, 1:00 p.m. PT; 4:00 p.m. ET
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("Veep")
Monday, July 28, 2:00 p.m. PT; 5:00 p.m. ET
Allison Janney ("Mom" & "Masters of Sex")
Monday, July 28, 6:00 p.m. PT; 9:00 p.m. ET
Gail Mancuso ("Modern Family" director)
Tuesday, July 29, 11:00 a.m. PT; 2:00 p.m. PT
Cat Deeley ("So You Think You Can Dance")
Tuesday, July 29, 12:00 p.m PT; 3:00 p.m. ET
Taylor Schilling ("Orange is the New Black")
Wednesday, July 30, 11:30 a.m. PT; 2:30 p.m. ET
Adam Bernstein ("Fargo" director)
Wednesday, July 30, 1:00 p.m. PT; 4:00 p.m. ET
Kate Mulgrew ("Orange is the New Black")
Thursday, July 31, 10:00 a.m. PT; 1:00 p.m. ET
Ryan Murphy ("The Normal Heart" & "AHS: Coven")
Thursday, July 31, 12:00 p.m. PT; 3:00 p.m. ET
CLICK HERE to see our in-depth chats with Matt Bomer, Beau Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Lizzy Caplan, Carson Daly, Minnie Driver, Edie Falco, Ricky Gervais, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Hale, Colin Hanks, Matt LeBlanc, Kate Mulgrew, Jim Parsons, Kerry Washington and more.
Every actor submits only one sample episode, which will be judged by other actors (ranging from 25 to 75 per category jury) between July 28 and August 14. TV series submit six, which will be split into three pairs to be distributed randomly to about 300 voters. We now have uncovered every single title submitted for the 2014 races. CLICK HERE FOR THE EPISODES
We analyze the pros and cons
of episodes submitted by actors
to Emmy judges
Who submitted well? Click links below to read our in-depth analysis of each actor's episode entry.
DRAMA GUEST ACTRESS
Kate Burton ("Scandal")
Jane Fonda ("The Newsroom")
Allison Janney ("Masters of Sex")
Kate Mara ("House of Cards")
Margo Martindale ("The Americans")
Diana Rigg ("Game of Thrones")