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ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
Oprah Winfrey has come aboard as a producer on "Selma," a biopic about the iconic Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, according to a report by Deadline Hollywood. The long-gestating film will focus on King's historic 1965 voting rights campaign and will be directed by Ava DuVernay, who became the first black woman to win best director at the Sundance Film Festival with her 2012 microbudget indie drama "Middle of Nowhere. " DuVernay rewrote the "Selma" script after joining the project in July and sent it to Winfrey, who took notice, the report says . British actor David Oyelowo, who starred in "Middle of Nowhere" and "Lee Daniels' the Butler," is set to play King.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2013 | By Amy Kaufman and John Horn
Nelson Mandela was revered around the world, but the South African leader also enjoyed a particularly passionate following in Hollywood.  The movie business' interest in Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95, yielded a number of documentaries and, just this year, two feature films about Mandela and his wife: "Winnie Mandela," which opened Sept. 6, and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," which debuted Nov. 29. Following Mandela's death, several filmmakers, executives and actors reflected on Mandela's life and work, and shared their memories about his influence and having met him.   FULL COVERAGE: Nelson Mandela (1918-2013)
ENTERTAINMENT
November 19, 2013 | By Steven Zeitchik
When Malcolm Lee's reunion comedy "The Best Man Holiday," which features a primarily African American cast, grossed an impressive $30.6 million at the box office this weekend, some in Hollywood were quick to say the movie "overperformed" - prompting others, just as quickly, to question that assumption. "So are we calling 'The Best Man Holiday' yet another overperforming black film or are we ready to admit that the model is wrong?" tweeted Franklin Leonard, founder of the Black List of most promising unproduced screenplays and an outspoken voice on race and Hollywood.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
Harvey Weinstein loves a good fight -- especially if it helps him promote one of his company's movies. So when the MPAA's title registration bureau decided this week that the Weinstein Co. couldn't use the title "The Butler" on Lee Daniels' upcoming biopic about the life of a longtime White House butler because it's also the title of a 1916 short film owned by Warner Bros., Weinstein immediately went into outrage mode. Today, he announced the hiring of prominent attorney David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 recount fight and gay marriage advocates in the recent Supreme Court challenge to California's same-sex marriage ban, as well as filmmaker Michael Moore when he ran afoul of the Treasury Department after visiting Cuba for the Weinstein Co. film "Sicko.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 13, 2013 | By Amy Kaufman
Oprah Winfrey has said that taking a role in "The Butler" -- her first big-screen turn in 15 years -- was a scary prospect. But after being engulfed by a media mob at her new movie's premiere in Los Angeles on Monday night, Winfrey might be thinking that acting is the least frightening part of her return to film. Following an emotional screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, moviegoers headed across the street to an after-party at WP24 -- Wolfgang Puck's trendy restaurant with a sweeping view of the downtown skyline.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 19, 2013 | By Alicia Banks
"Lee Daniels' The Butler” tells the story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a White House butler who serves eight presidents and is caught up in the tumultuous civil rights movement. But, for Daniels, the heart of the story lies with the transcendent love between a father and son. That, and a moment shared with his mother, attracted Daniels to the project. As a youth, Daniels teased his mother about her missing tooth. The reason behind it remained hidden until one year she told him that she lost it while she was protesting voter injustice.
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 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")
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" opened in mid-August, and, in the ensuing months, its namesake director has participated in countless Q&As and receptions both to promote the movie and to keep it alive in the Oscar conversation. But Daniels had never been involved in an event quite like the one hosted last night by actor Denzel Washington at the Motion Picture Academy's Goldwyn Theater. Six members of the Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists who defied Jim Crow laws and rode interstate buses into the Deep South in the early '60s, attended the screening and shared their memories during a Q&A following the film.
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