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ENTERTAINMENT
December 26, 2013 | By John Horn
If you're among the small number of directors or actors who isn't white, there is finally some cause to be excited about what's happening in Hollywood. For the first time in Academy Awards history, a black man - British filmmaker Steve McQueen - may win the directing Oscar for his heralded, harrowing film "12 Years a Slave. " Besides McQueen, critics and awards voters are celebrating the work of other people of color, singling out "Gravity's" Mexican-born filmmaker, Alfonso Cuarón, the African American talk show host Oprah Winfrey from "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and a variety of black actors, including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave")
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 15, 2013 | By Joe Flint
After the coffee. Before remembering to smile. Well, it's worth a shot! The Skinny: Are the Dodgers ever going to lose? Serves me right for turning the game off when the Mets were up 4-0 and watching "Scarface" on AMC. Thursday's headlines include a preview of Al Jazeera America, which launches next week, and a look at why "Lee Daniels' The Butler" has more producers than I have plates. Also, Daniel Loeb buys some Disney stock. Daily Dose: Fox Sports 1 will be available on Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network when it launches Saturday.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 15, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
One of the intriguing aspects of “Lee Daniels' The Butler” is that it straddles the line between father-son tale and race-relations epic. On the one hand, of course, it's about a man (Forest Whitaker's Cecil Gaines) who witnessed some of the great moments in civil rights history from his perch as a server in the White House. On the other hand, it's about what was happening in that man's own family, and the rift between his own ruffle-no-feathers approach and his activist son Louis, who dabbled in the world of the Black Panthers as well as less radical ideologies.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
For the second time this year, the brothers Weinstein are in a legal dispute with the brothers Warner.  Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Miramax, the studio they founded and later sold, have sued Warner Bros., saying they are entitled to a share of the revenue from the second and third films in the "Hobbit" series, based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien.  This comes after the two companies came to blows this year over the title of the historical drama that was eventually dubbed "Lee Daniels' The Butler.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 3, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
Maybe it's the ongoing success of "Lee Daniels' The Butler," or perhaps just the start of soulful autumnal nights, but something has put us in a jazzy, Louis Armstrong kind of mood. All of which is enough to make one wonder if "Something Wonderful," a long-gestating movie about Louis Armstrong from "Butler" star Forest Whitaker, still has a shot of getting off the ground. The man at the controls says it does. PHOTOS: Forest Whitaker: Career retrospective Whitaker tells The Times that he'd still like to direct and act in the independent production, and that he's been working to develop the script with the veteran screenwriter Ron Bass ("Rain Man," "The Joy Luck Club")
ENTERTAINMENT
August 17, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" will be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend after taking in about $9 million in ticket sales last night. That puts the historical drama on track for a $27-million weekend, significantly more than The Weinstein Company's initial lowball estimate of $15 million. It also means "The Butler" will open to roughly the same weekend take as DreamWorks' 2011 civil rights drama "The Help," which also debuted in August and brought in $26 million on its way to a $169.7-million domestic gross.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 8, 2013 | By Chris Lee
Moviegoers well-acquainted with Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels' eyebrow-raising filmic oeuvre may be shocked to learn that his latest movie, “The Butler,” seems, at first blush, rather short on salacious surprises. This from the guy who had Nicole Kidman urinate on Zac Effron's face in last year's lurid drama “The Paperboy” and had Mo'Nique hurl a frying pan at Gabourey Sidibe's head (en route to claiming an Academy Award) in 2009's “Precious.” "The Butler" centers on Cecil Bates (Forrest Whitaker)
ENTERTAINMENT
August 16, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
The year's first serving of Oscar bait has arrived on a silver platter in the form of "Lee Daniels' The Butler," a star-studded historical drama starring Forest Whitaker as an African American butler working at the White House through multiple administrations, set against the arc of the civil rights movement. Thus far the film has earned positive, if somewhat ambivalent reviews, with critics praising the strong ensemble cast for helping to ground writer-director Daniels' melodramatic flair.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 18, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
It had already been a strong year for films with predominantly black casts - the kind of year that makes bloggers pull out their laptops and write posts about a “new moment.” "Fruitvale Station" was the sensation of the Sundance Film Festival. "The Butler" was a major commercial crossover. "12 Years A Slave” is the art-house breakout of the fall and an early Oscar favorite. A big holiday hit was hardly needed to make people realize that long-held tropes about movies with black casts - or, for that matter, aimed at black audiences - were bunk.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
"12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" became the best picture front-runners after flooring audiences at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, and little has changed in the ensuing weeks. Naturally, then, given their estimable craft, both movies are also leading the way in the director and cinematographer races. The key category to watch: original screenplay. If "Gravity's" outer-space tale of spiritual rebirth can land a nomination in that competitive group, it will signal the movie has the kind of broad appeal needed to carry it to a best picture win. Here's how the races for director, cinematography and original and adapted screenplay are shaping up on the eve of the L.A. unveiling of the season's final puzzle piece, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street.
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