LA Film Festival Features Diverse Slate of Films, Directors

While the rest of Hollywood lags behind, the LA Film Festival continues to break the mold with its robustly diverse programming.

The festival begins Wednesday and includes a slate in which 42% of the films playing are directed by women and 40% by filmmakers of color.

The festival includes the directorial debut of actress Lea Thompson, who directs herself and her daughters Zoey and Madelyn Deutch in “The Year of Spectacular Men” and Whitney Cummings’ ensemble relationship pic “The Female Brain,” with Sofia Vergara and James Marsden.

Festival Director Jennifer Cochis says the numbers are due to exhaustive outreach, a diverse programming staff and a shared goal of amplifying underrepresented voices.

The festival begins Wednesday in Culver City with the premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry.” (AP)

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MTV Movie Awards Get Reboot With Addition of TV Nominations

The MTV Movie Awards are getting a reboot.

Network officials have announced that after 25 years of celebrating everything from the irreverent to the excellent in movies, they will be adding television to the lineup.

The new “MTV Movie & TV Awards” will air live on Sunday, May 7, from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

The network is also turning the run-up to the live show into a full-fledged “Movie & Television Festival” with live musical acts and a red carpet.

Chris McCarthy, president of MTV, said great storytelling and characters resonate regardless of whether they are seen in a theater or on TV.

With awards ranging from Best Kiss to Best Fight, the celebrity friendly show has also served as an annual promotional vehicle for upcoming summer blockbusters. (AP)

Chris Rock to Host ABC’s Oscar Broadcast Next Year

Chris Rock is coming back to host the Oscars for a second time.

The show’s producers say the prolific comedian-filmmaker will be at the helm for the 88th Academy Awards on Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin called Rock “the MVP of the entertainment industry.”

Rock, who hosted the 77th Oscars in 2005, has won four Emmy Awards for his comedy series and specials. He recently directed the comedy special “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo” for HBO. In 2014, he wrote, directed and starred in the feature “Top Five,” and in 2009 produced, wrote and starred in the documentary “Good Hair.”

He was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1990 to 1993.

Online: http://oscar.go.com/ (AP)

NBC Taps Seth Meyers as Next Emmys Host

Seth Meyers will take his late-night act to prime time as the next host of the Emmy Awards.

NBC, home to Meyers in his long stint on “Saturday Night Live” and his new late-night talk show, announced late Thursday that he’ll host the 66th edition of the Emmys set to air on the network Aug. 25.

Neil Patrick Harris hosted in 2013.

It will be telecast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

The 40-year-old Meyers, himself an Emmy winner, debuted as host of “Late Night With Seth Meyers” in February, taking over the slot of Jimmy Fallon, who moved on to “The Tonight Show.”

Before that he had been on “SNL” since 2001 and served as the show’s head writer since 2006. (AP)

87th Annual Academy Awards Date Set for Feb. 22

The 87th annual Academy Awards will air live beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 22.

The date, announced on Thursday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, marks the academy’s return to their standard pattern after pushing the show back to March 2 this year because of the Olympics.

2015 Oscar nominees will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 15, which follows the academy’s recent plan. 2014 nominations were announced Jan. 16. Voting for the 2015 nominees will begin on Dec. 29, 2014 and end on Jan. 8, 2015.

The Academy Awards’ annual luncheon for nominees is set for Feb. 2, 2015.

Final Oscars voting will commence on Feb. 6, 2015. Voting will end Feb. 17. (AP)

Oscars to Stream Live Online for First Time

The Academy Awards ceremony will stream live online for the first time to select cable providers in eight U.S. cities.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC announced Thursday that Sunday’s telecast will be available online and on mobile devices. A cable or satellite subscription login is required for the live stream at Oscar.com and ABC.com, or via the mobile app WatchABC.com.

The live stream will be available in eight cities where ABC owns the local station: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Fresno, Calif. It’s also available only to subscribers of select cable companies: Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Verizon FiOS, Google Fiber and AT&T U-verse.

The 86th annual Oscars will be broadcast live Sunday from Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre. (AP)

Leno’s Last ‘Tonight’ Draws 14.6 Million Viewers

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NBC says Jay Leno’s farewell “Tonight Show” drew the late-night program’s biggest audience in more than 15 years.

A total of 14.6 million viewers tuned in Thursday to see Leno wrap up his 22 years as host of “Tonight,” according to Nielsen company figures released by NBC. The audience was the biggest since May 14, 1998, when Jerry Seinfeld appeared on “Tonight” to mark the end of his sitcom. That drew nearly 15 million viewers.

Leno’s first goodbye to “Tonight,” in 2009, had 11.9 million viewers.

“Tonight” had been averaging less than 4 million nightly viewers in the past year.

Leno shared that he’d lost his mother the first year he became host, his dad the second and then his brother. Leno said the staff and crew became his family. He added that he’s the “luckiest guy in the world.”
The show began with Leno taking a poke at the network. He says he doesn’t like goodbyes, but NBC does.”
Leno is being replaced by Jimmy Fallon. Leno gave a final shoutout to his wife of more than 30 years, Mavis. He said, “I’m coming home, honey!”

Plenty of stars wanted to say goodbye to Jay Leno last night, as he hosted his final “Tonight Show.”
Billy Crystal was the guest, as he was on Leno’s first show. Crystal also arranged a “Sound of Music” parody, with Jim Parsons, Sheryl Crow, Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, Chris Paul and Carol Burnett. Jack Black sang,”So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. If Fallon tanks, you’ll be back here next year.”
There were taped messages from Matt Damon, Bill Maher and President Barack Obama. Obama notes he was the butt of many of Leno’s jokes. Obama says he’s making Leno the U.S. ambassador to Antarctica. The president adds, “Hope you have a warm coat, funnyman.”

Jimmy Fallon takes over the “Tonight” show on February 17, which is a dream for a guy who’s incorporated many of Johnny Carson’s mannerisms into his act. Fallon says his Tonight show will be just like Late Night, which means he’ll still be doing impressions and song parodies and buddies like Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake will pop in every once in a while. Andy Samberg and the Muppets saw him off. His first guests in his new job will be Will Smith and U2. Fallon jokes he’s going to miss being on at 12:37 a.m. Fallon did his last “Late Night” show Friday. He notes his “fierce rivals” in his old time-slot have been Craig Ferguson “and a Veggie-Chopper infomercial.” He got a little emotional during his last “Late Night.” Fallon said he wasn’t going to cry, but was “gonna get really close.”

The first four episodes of Fallon’s new show will air at midnight following the Sochi Winter Olympics. Its regular time slot is 11:35 p.m. Eastern.

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Leno’s last message to the audience:
“I want to thank you the audience, you folks have been incredibly loyal. This is tricky. We wouldn’t be on the air without you people. This has been the greatest 22 years of my life (applause). I am the luckiest guy in the world. I got to meet presidents, astronauts, movie stars. It’s just been incredible. I got to work with lighting people who made me look better than I really am. I got to work with audio people that made me sound better than I really do. I got to work with producers and writings and a just all kinds of talented people who make me look a lot smarter than I really am. I’ll tell you something, the first year of this show, I lost my mom. The second year, I lost my dad. Then, my brother died and after that, I was pretty much out of family. And the folks here became my family. Consequently, when they went through rough times, I tried to be there for them. And I’m really excited for Jimmy Fallon. You know, it’s fun to be the old guy and sit back here and see where the next generation takes this great institution. And it really is. It’s been a great institution for 60 years. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. But it really is time to go, hand it off to the next guy. It really is. In closing, I want to quote Johnny Carson who was the greatest guy to do this job, and he said, ‘I bid you all a heartfelt (chokes up) goodnight.’ Now that I’ve brought the room down, hey, Garth, you got anything to liven this party up?”….