Thursday morning was a wonderful and terrible morning for Hollywood. Some filmmakers got the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of hearing their names called as Oscar nominees (or, if you're Meryl Streep, 19-times-in-a-lifetime). Others were left empty-handed.
We've now had months of delightful Oscar speculation: Who's in? Who's out? Who will have the honor of walking the Red Carpet next month, and who will have to watch the Oscars from home?
It has been an honor to be involved in such a life-affirming project. To witness in print the bravery and honesty of these teens. They've taught me so much about life, love and what it is to fight, to win and sometimes to lose, but always to learn.
Mexican drummer and composer and four time Grammy Award winner, Antonio Sánchez is considered by many critics and musicians alike as one of the most prominent drummers, bandleaders and composers of his generation.
If I were going to make a 10-best list, it would probably include films like Boyhood, The Imitation Game and Selma, among others that will be on everyone's list. But, as good as those films are, none of them are on my list of favorites.
"Birdman" is a rare bird of a movie. It is unexpected, surprising and in some ways shocking. It is first and foremost one of the most intriguing and entertaining movies of the year.
Why did no one see your short film? Why didn't it get into those festivals? Why wasn't your feature film bought and distributed? Why couldn't you sell your script?
Michael Keaton's palpable, frenetic energy paired with an earthly and likable humanity as an actor makes him the perfect choice for this role.
Our 'hero' -- Riggin (literally and figuratively) -- is haunted by the voice of his iconic movie character, Batman, er, Birdman. He is often in the throes of human despair. Or he experiences what might be called the 'magic realism' of levitating, flying and causing much mischief.
"Birdman" encapsulates almost every classic male protagonist from Icarus through Faust, Charles Foster Kane, Willy Loman, Stanley Kowalski, Jake Gittes, Tony Montana... every man's dire quest to ultimately to be heard, be appreciated, and to be not just admired but loved.
The premise itself will bring a chuckle, if you get it. A former movie action star, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), wants to win back his legitimacy as a serious actor. So he has not only written a stage adaptation of Raymond Carver short stories, he's directing it and playing the lead role.
While most girls dream of interviewing George Clooney, I have always wanted to sit across from actor Payman Maadi, from the Oscar-winning Iranian film A Separation.
The dialogue, the skill of the actors, and the 1920s setting for the story all add to the emotional response drawn from the audience.
I once asked Woody Allen why he had never moved to California, and he looked at me with astonishment: "I couldn't live in a city where the only cultural advantage is making a right turn on a red light."
I was honored to speak with him about his mélange of beauty and sorrow, hope and despair, joy and cruelty, and found him to be incredibly unassuming and vulnerable, answering honestly and candidly about his strengths as an artist.