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Spike Lee, Heading For First Oscar Directing Nom, On Why ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Is As Urgent Now As Ever – The Contenders NY Video


Spike Lee just got his first-ever DGA nomination for Feature Film direction with his powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes highly dramatic BlacKkKlansman. It is hard to believe it is this veteran director’s first nom from the guild (he also just received his first-ever directing BAFTA nomination). But equally hard to believe: he has never been nominated for the Best Director Oscar. That has got to change this year, and it likely will with this hit film that opened on the… Read


‘Private Life’ Stars Talk Creating A “Co-Midlife Crisis” For Sundance And Netflix Hit – The Contenders NY Video

Private Life

One of the films on my Top 10 Movies of 2018 list was Private Life, so naturally I was thrilled to be able to moderate that movie’s panel during the Netflix portion of Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York event, held last month in the Big Apple. In front of a packed audience of invited AMPAS and key guild members, writer-director Tamara Jenkins and stars Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti and Kayli Carter talked about this brilliant, heart-wrenching dramedy about a… Read


In Debra Granik’s ‘Leave No Trace’, Thomasin McKenzie Found Chemistry & Collaboration – The Contenders NY Video

Leave No Trace

In Leave No Trace, breakout star Thomasin McKenzie plays Tom, a girl living in the woods with her post-traumatic stress-affected father (Ben Foster), and for much of the film, it’s just McKenzie and Foster sharing the screen in cramped outdoor-survival conditions. Speaking onstage at Deadline’s The Contenders New York event, McKenzie and director-writer Debra Granik discussed how they created the chemistry behind an intense father-daughter story. “What was so central for… Read


‘A Private War’ Director Matthew Heineman On Getting Close To The Story – The Contenders NY Video

A Private War

With A Private War, Oscar-nominated documentarian Matthew Heineman took on the story of real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin for his narrative feature debut. Onstage at Deadline's first The Contenders New York, Heineman discussed how, with Rosamund Pike giving what he calls an “unbelievable” performance as Colvin, he was able to perfectly blend his documentary-making skills into the experience. "There's a scene in the film where she uncovers a mass grave in Iraq and… Read


How Bradley Cooper Became The Frontman For ‘A Star Is Born’ – The Contenders NY Video

the contenders new york

In a revealing interview at Deadline’s first The Contenders New York event, Bradley Cooper detailed his process in going from playing a tortured country rock singer for his American Sniper director Clint Eastwood to eventually directing the incarnation of a Hollywood classic. “I knew, deep down, I hadn't lived enough and wouldn't play that character," Cooper said when Eastwood approached him about A Star Is Born. Later, when Cooper and Eastwood watched Annie Lennox… Read


Alessandro Nivola’s View Of ‘Disobedience’ From His Corner Of The Love Triangle – The Contenders NY Video


Disobedience follows a woman as she returns to the community in London that shunned her years earlier for an attraction to a childhood friend. Once she is back, those passions reignite. Alessandro Nivola took to the stage at Deadline’s The Contenders New York recently to talk about his role as Dovid Kuperman, the devoted husband who finds himself at the center of a love triangle. Nivola told the invitation-only crowd that Dovid repeatedly advocates for Ronit (Rachel… Read


Jonah Hill On Why Casting Non-Pros In ‘Mid90’s’ Was Key In Keeping It Real – The Contenders NY Video

“Skateboarding is often butchered in movies,” newly minted writer-director Jonah Hill told the crowd as part of A24’s presentation at Deadline’s first The Contenders New York event. That is why for the twice Oscar-nominated actor’s feature directorial debut Mid90s, he wanted to make sure he got it right, hiring a group of skateboarders and turning them into actors rather than the other way around. Speaking to the invite-only audience at the all-day event last month at the… Read


‘The Hate U Give’s’ Amandla Stenberg & Russell Hornsby On Leveraging The Power Of Film – The Contenders NY Video

The Hate U Give

In introducing The Hate U Give star Amandla Stenberg recently to the packed audience at Deadline’s first-ever The Contenders New York all-day awards-season event, I held up the cover of Time magazine, on which she recently appeared, an honor to note her activism outside of acting. During our discussion onstage, Stenberg said that all comes from her belief in leveraging the power of film to make change in the world, which is certainly something she does in this movie… Read


For Michelle Yeoh, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Felt Like “A Little Miracle” – The Contenders NY Video

Crazy Rich Asians

Having starred in both Memoirs of a Geisha and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle Yeoh knows only too well how rare it is that an all-Asian cast film has both studio backing and be included in the awards conversation. But now that situation has been smartly upended by the roaring success of Warner Bros’ Crazy Rich Asians — an outcome that will hopefully bring much-needed industry change. Onstage at the first ever Deadline’s The Contenders New York awards-season… Read


‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ Producer On Logging In To Sequel’s Inspiration – The Contenders L.A. Video

Ralph Breaks The Internet

In the history of Disney Animation, the studio has only made two sequels: 1990’s The Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia 2000. So what provoked Wreck-It Ralph producer Clark Spencer and his team to pursue a sequel to that 2012 film? Why, the last line of the film: “If that little kid likes me, how bad could I be?” “It’s very dysfunctional,” said Spencer about a protagonist to base their self-image off another’s impression of them. In figuring out where to tell that story… Read


‘Vox Lux’ Is Not Just About A Pop Star’s Life, But Us As A Nation – The Contenders L.A. Video

Vox Lux

When Black Swan Oscar winner Natalie Portman takes on a complex character, she submerges herself in every detail of her alter ego. With writer-director Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, she plays Celeste, the survivor of a high school shooting who is ultimately transformed into a tough-talking pop star, and whose image provokes many of the evils of which young Celeste was a victim. “You have a character that sort of acts as an avatar to represent the defining cultural moments of… Read


Rami Malek Talks Prepping For Queen’s Iconic Live Aid Performance In ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ – The Contenders NY Video

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody opens and closes with Queen’s show-stealing performance at the Live Aid charity concert in 1985 in London, a high-stakes moment star Rami Malek recalled as marking the first day of the film’s production. Malek said he spent months preparing for the role of Freddie Mercury, working with a movement coach and researching the rock icon’s influences, which included actress Liza Minnelli and director-choreographer Bob Fosse, and learning to play the piano… Read