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Jeremy Renner Will Break His Arms If It Lets Him Make a Movie Like ‘Wind River’ — Career Watch

18 August 2017 10:42 AM, PDT

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Jeremy Renner, who stars in Taylor Sheridan’s indie hit western “Wind River” with fellow-Avenger Elizabeth Olsen.

Bottom Line: Renner has built his movie stardom and used it to smart advantage, ranging from archer Hawkeye in “The Avengers” to throwing banter with Simon Pegg in “Mission: Impossible.” Those movies make it possible for him to be a magician in love with a Frenchwoman (Marion Cotillard) in James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” or the pompadoured Camden, New Jersey Mayor Carmen Polito in David O. Russell’s “American Hustle.”

Career Peaks: Renner had been a working actor for 13 years, supporting himself with construction and house-flipping (and roles as serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and zombie killer in Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later”) when he broke out at age 37 as the fearless, »


- Anne Thompson

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6 Challenges Facing New Academy President John Bailey

15 August 2017 11:14 AM, PDT

As new Academy president John Bailey opens up about what he plans to do in his new job, we read the tea leaves. He faces an unusually tumultuous time, as the Academy confronts multiple challenges, from the industry’s transition to digital, and pressures from ABC to increase viewership of the Oscar show, to the need to raise more funding to build the troubled $400 million Academy Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Here are Bailey’s main concerns. So far, he seems more than up to meeting this new assignment.

1. Will the Academy change its diversity outreach?

No. As someone who has long hired men and women of different ethnic, socio- economic, and racial backgrounds, Bailey supports Academy CEO Hudson’s outreach imperative via the A2020 program which is designed to double the Academy’s diverse membership by 2020. He’s proud of such Academy efforts as the Academy Gold internship program, »


- Anne Thompson

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Post-Charlottesville, Dee Rees Counts Down America’s Pathologically Violent History — Watch

15 August 2017 7:45 AM, PDT

On Saturday, August 12, writer-director Dee Rees, whose film “Mudbound” (November 17) scored Sundance’s biggest sale to Netflix ($12.5 million), watched television coverage of the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia with growing horror. That night, she stayed up late to write her Sundance Next Fest Vanguard Award acceptance speech for the next day, googling, emailing and calling relatives to collect the numbers she needed.

Read More:Why ‘Mudbound’ Filmmaker Dee Rees Said No to Studio Films and Kept Her Creative Independence

And on Sunday evening, Rees’ Sundance Next Fest speech roused tears and cheers. She counted down the 90 years since the United Artists theatre opened next door, the 47 years since United Artists opened Ossie Davis’s first film, the 204 days since a demagog took office, the 34 hours since white supremacists terrorists openly brawled in the streets with virtual impunity in Charlottesville, continuing our “selectively omitted, pathologically violent history,” 13 years since Rees came out, »


- Anne Thompson

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‘Feud: Bette and Joan’: How Jessica Lange Made Conniving Joan Crawford Sympathetic — Career Watch

14 August 2017 12:30 PM, PDT

Welcome to Career Watch, a vocational checkup of top actors and directors, and those who hope to get there. In this edition we take on Jessica Lange, who’s at the height of powers at age 68, revealing depths of emotion as fading Golden Age star Joan Crawford in FX’s mighty Emmy contender “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Bottom Line: Jessica Lange has matured from a gorgeous movie ingenue to a theater and screen character actress with extraordinary range who keeps surprising audiences with what she can make them feel.

Career Peaks: From the start, Lange impressed people even when she was in the clutches of the Dino De Laurentiis incarnation of “Kong Kong.” She followed that up with her performance as a sexy waitress who seduces Jack Nicholson on a kitchen table in Bob Rafelson’s “The Postman Always Rings Twice” (1981) and with a weighty dramatic role as the depressed »


- Anne Thompson

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