Oscar History

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Entries in Kenneth Branagh (20)

Sep 30 2016

Cast Begins to Board "Orient Express"

Chrishere.Remember what fun we hadawhile back fantasy casting Kenneth Branagh's upcomingMurder on the Orient Expressremake?Well,now some official names have been added to the cast and it should be just as much of a delight.

The two biggest names come as something of an unexpectedDark Shadowsreunion (sorry for the reminder about that Tim Burton misfire): Michelle Pfeiffer and Johnny Depp will be the headliners to Branagh's own Poirot.Pfeiffer becomes the natural successor to Lauren Bacall as Mrs.Hubbard,a casting coup that feels both inspired and accurate.WithBeat-Up Little SeagullandDarren Aronofsky's next filmwhich is also probably coming in 2017,we'll be grateful to be seeing quite a bit of her.Depp will be playing Ratchett,the victim of the titular murder.

But they weren't the only names signing up,and the others make for quite an exciting assemblage: Daisy Ridley,Dame Judi Dench,Michael Peña,Derek Jacobi,andHamilton's Leslie Odom Jr.are all coming on board.That may sound like a lot of names,but this massive cast still has quite a few roles to fill.Stay tuned!

Jun 13 2016

Who should join Angelina Jolie in the Murder Cast?

Murtadahere.Agatha Christie'sMurder on the Orient Expressis being remade by Kenneth Branagh.He will direct and play the lead part of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot who's investigating a murder that happens on the famous train as it is making its way across Europe.The novel has been adapted several times,most famously into an Oscar winning film in 1974 by Sidney Lumet and an all star cast,led by Albert Finney as Poirot.Angelina Jolie was announced as Mrs Hubbard,an American loquacious socialite,played in 1974 version by Lauren Bacall.It's good casting as the part calls a star with lots of presence.

Even though I haven't read the Christie novel,I have seen the movie version and a 2010 British TV version with Jessica Chastain right before she hit it big.The story lends itself to an all star cast as basically every character gets an intro,one big scene and gets to participate in the finale.And everyone has a secret of course so the parts are juicy and fun and not too taxing on the actors.Hopefully lots of entertaining actors will sign up.

Who would you cast?Our suggestions for some of the characters after the jump...

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Nov 02 2015

Why Isn't 'Cinderella' an Oscar Contender?


You will no doubt have read – or least seen the headlines – that people are saying that Ridley Scott'sThe Martianshould be taken very,very seriously as a Best Picture contender.I've even seen people claiming it couldwin,which seems awfully bullish given its hastily rising status in Oscar circles is due almost entirely to the film's overwhelming success at the box office in the face of a glut of underperforming Oscar players likeSteve Jobs.But amid this new wind of blockbuster excitement and the snickers at (contractually obligated) Oscar campaigns for other big-budget,uber-successful movies,there's one film that has so far gone under the radar in the conversation and ought to be taken far more seriously than it likely will be.

Yes,I meanCinderella...more after the jump

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Sep 14 2015

Judi Dench as Paulina in "The Winter's Tale"

Manuelhere to talk theater.Well,theater that will be soon coming to a screen near you at least.Did you know Judi Dench,who has been a staple of the London stage for over 50 years (oh to have been in the audience for her Sally Bowles in 1968!) is starring in Kenneth Branagh's mounting of Shakespeare'sThe Winter's Talethis fall?

Now you do!And now we also havethe first look at Dench as Paulina.

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Mar 15 2015

Review: The New "Cinderella"Is a Real Beauty

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column atTowleroad.

TheGame of ThronesStark family was fond of the imminent warning "Winter is Coming"but their King of North,actor Richard Madden,doesn't need to worry this time.He's due a much happier Royal ending as the latest charming Prince to hit the movie screens.Winter is most definitely never coming to Kenneth Branagh's luxe adaptation of the most beloved of fairy tales,Cinderella.From its opening vista of a well-to-do country estate,filled with warm yellows and verdant greens and one very happy family,a pleasant merchant and his sunny wife (Ben Chaplin & Hayley Atwell) and their kind daughter Ella (Downton Abbey's Lily James),thisCinderellascreams springtime and summer.

Its timing couldn't be better after this particularly long winter.

Spoilers if you're freshly arrived from another universe: Ella's loving parents are not long for this world and after imparting their wisdom and reinforcing her enchanted goodness (yes,she talks to animals),they take turns dying.Lady Tremaine,the stepmother,is introduced inbetween those deaths in clever multi-tasking voiceover courtesy of Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter.[More...]

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Mar 13 2015

Posterized: Director Kenneth Branagh

Cinderella reuniteds director Kenneth Branagh with his former star and ex-lover Helena Bonham-Carter (in the fairy godmother role)Though Kenneth Branagh had acted in three movies in the 1980s before his international breakthrough,he arrived as a star in a quite a multihypenate way.His adaptation of Shakespeare'sHenry V(1989) won him instant celebrity as an actor-writer-director.Here's a fun fact -- all five of his Oscar nominations are in different categories: Actor (Henry V),Supporting Actor (My Week With Marilyn),Director (Henry V),Screenplay (Hamlet),Live-Action Short (Swan Song).People forget this now when they wonder about how easily he won a nomination for playing Oscar's beloved Laurence Olivier inMy Week With Marilynbut it was something of a inevitability and a cute narrative.Branagh had been compared to Sir Laurence Olivier right from his supernova start in 1989 since Sir Laurence Olivier was also an actor/director who thrilled modern audiences in his time with interpretations of Shakespeare plays for the movies.

Branagh's movie stardom has long since taken a backseat to his directing work -- in truth it began to dwindle as soon as his magical partnership with Emma Thompson crumbled -- but with his 14th movie,Disney's live actionCinderella(2015) opening today,let's look back at his time in the director's chair through movie posters.

How many of these 14 films have you seen?

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