Posts Tagged ‘Oscars

13
Feb
15

The Enigma author Andrew Hodges talks Alan Turing brilliance on The Ravi Report

Hodges_AlanTuring movie tie inAs most of you may already know, the highly acclaimed film, The Imitation Game and the gifted cast which include the superb Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew William Goode and Downton Abby star Allen Leech have been winning a slew of awards over the past few months topping it off with eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture. After seeing the film twice, I can tell you that it has a great shot at winning!

The movie is based on the astounding book, The Enigma (Princeton University Press)  written by the brilliant author Andrew Hodges. The book goes profoundly deep into the life of brilliant mathematician Alan Turning who with his natural intelligence and relentless efforts, broke the highly secretive and seemingly impenetrable Nazi Enigma Code during World War II.  In addition to cracking the code, the mathematical genius was known as the founding father of the computer  and the first to introduce the concept of artificial intelligence. The world owes him BIG according to Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, who recently profiled Turning’s contribution to the computer field  in The Hollywood Reporter.
Turing came to Princeton University from 1936 to 1938 where he was a graduate student in the Department of Mathematics at Princeton. He wrote his dissertation under Professor Alonzo Church (1903-1995)  and earned his doctorate in 1938 at the age 25.
Turning  was then offered a position as a research assistant at the Institute For Advanced Study at a salary of $1,500 a year but he declined and returned to England where he subsequently joined the effort at Bletchley Park to break secrete code with the assistance of the electro-mechanical machine Bombe developed during WWII by Turing.

<Alan Turing received his PhD from the world famous Princeton University in Princeton, NJ>

Alan Turing received his PhD from the world famous Princeton University in Princeton, NJ

When I finally finished reading the book (it’s about 700 pages long folks!), I was simply amazed at what a genius Turing was and how much he contributed to the world of computers and math. From his life as a young scholar to cracking one the most difficult codes in the history of wars to the brutal behavior he faced from the British Government because of his personal identify, was all immensely interesting to me. The Enigma is a book that  everyone should read  to get a closer look at the historical aspect of such a brilliant man who left his mark in the world in more ways than one.

The Ravi Report was fortuitous enough to interview Hodges recently in Princeton at the wondrous Princeton Public Library  where the famed author came to discuss his book and personal thoughts on Alan Turing.

<Ravi Yande with acclaimed author Andrew Hodges>

Ravi Yande with acclaimed author Andrew Hodges

RR: Many people know more about the personal and intricate life of Alan Turing because of your detailed and wonderful book.  Please tell me if you will, how you felt when writing about such a brilliant man?

AH: I have always conceived the book of  having many constituents of interests. That was in my mind from the very beginning. That it would combine consistency from mathematics and science during the World War II and what happened before and after. It’s a story of the 20th Century of triumph to tragedy. The narrative style moves through from one subjects to another with images which link all these things together.

RR: What was one main component that stood out the most during the research process of the book?

AH: Well, the thing that actually made me keep going during the difficulties of interviewing and research I think is the positive response of all his real friends.  In other words, the legacy that he had personally left behind in 1954 which came through to me which I benefited from.  Also, everyone who he really knew him and people who loved him wanted something  to be done that would do justice to what he had been like and what he had achieved in his life.
<Andrew Hodges signing copies of The Enigma in Princeton, NJ>

Andrew Hodges signing copies of The Enigma in Princeton, NJ

RR: The Enigma took years of research, writing and of course countless hours of transcribing interviews, academic papers and personal notes. Was there a moment that you felt that it was a bit overwhelming at times?

AH: I think if there had been serious opposition to what I was doing  from people who counted, these central people,  I think it would have been very hard to do. I was not a pushy figure in interviewing, just drew people out in what they wanted to tell me and I didn’t try to probe or manipulate it where they didn’t want me to know things. The book is an expression of what people wanted me to know and that came through to me as something that really he himself (Turing) would have seen as a close to legacy that he left. So that is the central thing kept it going as I discovered as I kept going.

 
RR: The success of the book has led to the making of the movie The Imitation Game which of course has been nominated for eight Oscars and has won numerous other awards so far. Even after the Oscars, the story of Alan Turing will live on and be told by others.  Did you expect such profound success from the book? 
AH: It’s a historical process and not just a one moment thing.  It’s a changing world in which the book came into being and even in writing it, at the end of the book I express that fact that history will continue to develop and when I was finishing it in 1983 without even a word processor, it was apparent to me that computer technology will change the very nature of books and indeed it has. And the fact that I have a website backing it up is an aspect of the way technology has changed.  The way I communicate with people now is computer driven so that part is Turing, mine and the book’s history.
RR: If Turing were alive today, do you think he would have been engaged in today’s massive explosion of social media and technology?
AH: He would have been an online chatter for sure! (laughs) Oh yes, he would have been an online dater as well. He would have loved anything like that, I am sure of that. He would have been a bit old for that but that won’t have stopped him.
A funny anecdote here. One of the letters Turing wrote to Robin Gandy, he did as a computer print out and posted it which is the nearest thing you can get to an email in 1953. It’s the sort of nerdy thing that people did with computers in the 50’s before computer communications was going. He would have been into that kind of stuff. He would have found great fun in all those things.
RR: Thank you very much Andrew. It was indeed an honor and  a privilege to speak to you. I truly enjoyed the book.
AH: Thank you.
The journey continues…
Ravi
25
Mar
11

Paul Giamatti & Amy Ryan Are In a “Win Win” situation

Superstars Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan smile for The Ravi Report

 The Spring is here folks and you know what that means. Brighter days, warmer weather, extensive gym workouts, sprouting tulips and the box office blossoming with an amazing film. It’s a “win win” situation. Get it? Read on.

Win Win” is a movie that is for everyone. Plain and simple and “wins” in every category. Casting, story, music, emotion, direction well you name it, it wins. Plus, the story takes place in my home state of New Jersey where  some of the best Hollywood films (and TV shows) are made and where some of the biggest stars in Hollywood came from.

Writer-director Tom McCarthy knows how to write, director, act and  how to make great movies. He can also discover talent as he did with newcomer Alex Shaffer.  McCarthy is known for tapping into the emotional side of people with his scripts and this film is no exception. It’s a great film people!

The cast includes the incredibly talented Paul Giamatti (I’m a big fan since his film “Sideways”), the versatile & amazing actress Amy Ryan (I think the “R” should stand for “Rocks”), Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tamor and Burt Young and  Alex Shaffer, who already has won the hearts of millions  as a first -time actor who clearly knows how to hold his own on screen.

The talented cast of "Win Win" pose exclusively for The Ravi Report

The story revolves around  Mike Flaherty(Giamatti) a lawyer married to Jackie (Ryan) living a simple life in suburbia New Jersey and trying to make ends meet. Flaherty  is given legal guardianship of an elderly client (Bert Young) and does a little wheeling and dealing in client care when he gets a visitor- the client’s grandson Kyle (Shaffer). Kyle is a high-school talented wrestler who needs a lot more than hair gel and pretty girls to get back on track. With mom in rehab, Kyle has no place to go so he stays with Flaherty and in essence, turns their lives upside down, but in a good way.  Did I mention that Flaherty also happens to be moonlighting as a  part-time wrestling coach? The story transforms into one of the most emotional and heart-warming movies you will ever see. You will also be astounded at Shaffer’s remarkable performance. How good? Ah, let’s just say you may see the young star on the red carpet soon behind a 75 feet high golden statue.

 Academy Award nominee  Paul Giamatti is simply brilliant in the film. What else is there to say?

Directed and written by the ingenious actor turn director Tom McCarthy,  the gifted filmmaker  is probably one of the few directors that knows how to touch the soul of the audiences through his way of making films and his way of  bringing characters to life. His previous films “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor” were brilliant films based on human emotions and unexplainable friendships. So I knew what to expect when I saw “Win Win” and got exactly what I had hoped for- an emotional film that shows the strength of the human spirit  and will  make you think about the story long after you leave the theater.

Amy Ryan is awesome.  Her versatility in acting has always been noted by the  critics.  Her role as Adele in the HBO  show “In Treatment” (one of my favorite shows) gave the show a special  refinement while her role as Holly in the hit television series “The Office”  raised the caliber of the show in many ways. Ryan has been one of my favorite actresses for a long time and “Win Win” proves that the pretty actress is indeed one of the most  talented actresses we have today.

Giamatti in my opinion is one of the most proficient and versatile actors there is today in Hollywood.  The  actor earned a SAG Award for his compelling performance in “Cinderella Man” as well as an Academy Award nomination. The star recently finished up “Ironclad” in which the award-winning actor portrays “King John” in the year 1215.

During a media event in  NY, director McCarthy talked about how he wanted amazing music for the film but didn’t have the budget to pay a big rockstar.  And we all know that big time musicians don’t even bat an eyelash unless they see $$$$ up front.  But the  influential McCarthy managed to rope in the mega superstar and well-loved singer Bon Jovi who allowed McCarthy to use his song “Have A Nice Day” in the film for next to nothing.  Now that’s clout people!!

What I found  special about the film and meeting the cast in person,  is that  besides having a great storyline and being well-respected and talented actors, there was a certain positive energy and feel-good chemistry that came from both seeing the film and meeting the talented group. For more info on the film and national release dates,  go to http://www.foxsearchlight.com.

So in all it’s been a “Win Win” experience for The Ravi Report!

The journey continues….

Ravi

27
Feb
11

Good Luck Oscar Nominees!!!

 Well, it’s finally that time. The annual Academy Awards.

The best of the best come out to show off their talent, designer clothes, jewellery and beautiful nearly perfect bodies on the red carpet for the world to see and of course criticize (Joan, you listening? LOL).

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards is on tonight on ABC at 8pm (EST) giving the world a look at the creme de la creme in the world of movies and trust me, there were some great movies, roles, music and screenplays that were well worth watching this year.

I hope you all got to watch the films being nominated tonight. I have to be honest, I liked all of them. The Best Picture category includes  Black Swan, True Grit, Inception,  The FighterThe Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter’s Bone. 

A film critic for a leading entertainment magazine asked me the other day which picture I thought would win. That is a great question which I have been asked over and over again in the last few weeks. The same goes for Best Actor. But to be honest, I think all the performances and movies  were excellent. Seriously. I think everyone that is nominated tonight has done an outstanding job in their role.

Academy Award nominated actor Geoffrey Rush speaking to The Ravi Report

  Geoffrey Rush’s acting in “The King’s Speech” simply rocked! The actor is just gifted. Plain and simple. When I met the actor, I saw a humble person who just loved doing what he does best.  Rush is one of the finest actors we have today. He continues to shine in films or on stage with his God-given talents and is very gracious to the press.

Regarding the actresses, I will say that Natalie Portman’s performance in “Black Swan” is really incredible.The girl can act!  I met Portman over the year on the red carpet and at other events and she is much, much prettier in real life.  Nicole Kidman  gave a strong and powerful performance in “Rabbit Hole“. It’s a great film .My long time favorite Annette Bening got nominated for her role in “The Kids Are All Right“. Another powerful film.

I will say that one of my favorite actors nominated this year (again folks!) is the multi-talented and super nice actor Jeff Bridges. No matter how busy his guy is, he always makes time to talk to the press and he does so with such grace and charm. 

 Bridges is nominated this year for his role in “True Grit”.  He did an excellent job. Bridges’s ability as an actor gets even  more refined as he gets older. He’s also proven a very important point in Hollywood- that  despite being a youth-oriented-buffed body industry, the actor  has shown that  TALENT is the real key to success with his films, nominations and Oscar wins.  

Oscar nominated Jeff Bridges smiles for The Ravi Report

I am also happy for actor James Franco whose film “127  Hours” was among the favorite of many critics this year (even the tough ones!) and the first time nominee is pretty excited and surprised at the win he told me earlier during the year. But should he be? After all, the film director by the brilliant Danny Boyle ( Hello Slumdog Millionaire!!) who usually attaches his names and talent to a script that he knows will bring out the best in whoever he choses to be in his films. “127  Hours” did very well at the box office and besides Franco being nominated for an Oscar For Best Actor in a Leading Role, the film has also grabbed a nomination for Best Picture. Not bad at all for a newcomer!!!

Am I surprised at any of the nominations? Not really . I think everyone who got nominated this year really proved to be outstanding in their given role and based on what I have seen, they truly deserve the nomination for all their hard work, dedication, sacrifices and determination.

My reporter friends are in LA tonight gearing up to report from the red carpet and I am heading to some Oscar parties tonight in NYC to get New Yorkers reaction to who wins and loses. So  make sure you watch the Oscars and let’s compare notes after the wins! For more info on the 83rd Academy Awards, go to www.oscar.com for a complete wrap up of all the nominees and tidbits about the most “famous golden statue” there is!!

The Journey continues…..

Ravi

08
Mar
10

“THE DUDE” BRINGS HOME THE GOLD!

Iconic actor Jeff Bridges attributes winning the Oscar and his successful career to his parents support.

Well, “The Dude”  finally did it!  

 After five nominations and countless amazing roles, actor and iconic Hollywood star Jeff Bridges is part of the Oscar fraternity! (claps please!!)  

The legendary & humble actor known for his realistic acting and charismatic personality finally won an Academy Award for his role as the drunk but loving country singer Bad Blake in the film “Crazy Heart“.  

A MUST SEE FOLKS!!!! If you haven’t seen the film yet PLEASE put in on your to do list!  

Ever so grateful to his showbiz family Bridges thanked his parents  for paving his road to success in his acceptance speech.

“Thank you mom and dad for turning me on to such a groovy profession,” … “I feel an extension of them; this is honoring them as much as it is honoring me!”  said that actor while holding the golden statue that took three decades to reach his hands.
 
The veteran actor is so well-loved by the Hollywood community and it showed at the Academy Awards shows when fellow actors screamed in joy when the superstar’s  name was announced  by the graceful and ever stunning actress Kate Winslet for winning the Best Actor award.  
 
“People were just screaming his name when he entered the red carpet” texted one fan to The Ravi Report who was lucky enough to attend the awards.

"Crazy Heart" director, producer and screenwriter Scott Cooper has every reason to smile!

“Bridges wife is so beautiful!”  wrote freelance producer Tina from the red carpet.  Susan Bridges who has been profusely thanked in almost every speech given by the Oscar winner,  has stood by her man for over three decades and has been the backbone of his success says the actor.  If marriages are made in heaven than their marriage is living proof.  

First time actor turned director Scott Cooper truly knows how to select a winning team and was able to project it with his debut film.  The well liked filmmaker also was able to bring in heavy hitters for his first film which is almost impossible for a first time Hollywood director. Cooper proved everyone wrong.  

“He really set the precedent for first time directors to work with Hollywood big wigs now. He gave them hope.” emailed one fan from the awards to The Ravi Report.  

Cooper knows that he will have a tough act to follow now when he makes his next film. Damn Cooper! You’ve set the standards so high on our first film and now look at what you have done to yourself! LOL!
 
Congrats to the entire “Crazy Heart” team for doing a great job and for letting “The Dude” bring home the gold!
 
The journey continues and it’s even sweeter for Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges! It couldn’t have happen to a nicer guy!
 
Ravi
04
Feb
10

Bridges Is “Crazy Heart” Ready for An Oscar.

Oscar nominated Jeff Bridges poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

If you know Jeff Bridges, then you already know that he is one of the finest actors to come out of Hollywood today.  The recent winner of  The Golden Globe Award for the Best Drama Actor Category and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actor and now an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role,  the iconic actor  is riding high on cloud nine these days with all his wins and recognition for his prodigious  acting  in “Crazy Heart” and rightfully so- he deserves every second of it. Every second! 

The renowned actor  has entertained millions over the last three decades with his charm,  magnetic screen presence and the ability to turn a make-believe character into a believable one.  Did someone mention “The Big Lebowski” just now? I thought so. Another exceptional  film by the way. 

Bridges most recent  films “Men Who Stare At Goats” with George Clooney, “Iron Man” with Robert Downey Jr. have all done well at the box office but in terms of raw talent stemming from the core of his soul, “Crazy Heart” beats them hands down. 

Bridges plays the role of Bad Blake, a down-on-your luck-washed-up alcoholic country-and- western  singer who goes from playing  sold out stadium shows to singing in dingy bars and dark bowling alleys. His luck and life change when he meets beautiful  journalist & single mom Jeane Craddock, played by the stunning Maggie Gyllenhaal  who is  assigned to cover Blake’s visit to her town. Gyllenhaal performance earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress .   The two fall in love but certain circumstances prevent them from following their hearts.   Ok folks, that’s all I’m giving away but I will say that  first-time director,  producer  & screenwriter Scott Cooper  is a genius. Plain and simple. 

Oscar nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal smiles for The Ravi Report

The five time Oscar nominated actor  has Hollywood buzzing  about  whether or not Bridges will be bringing home the golden statue this year.   Can five be his lucky number? Keep your fingers crossed!!

Actor Jeff Bridges shares a laugh with The Ravi Report

 If you’ve seen the movie, I’m pretty sure you will agree  that Bridges’s captivating performance is  Oscar worthy.  Oh, did I mention that the actor  also does an awesome job singing in the film?  The talented singer  sang  the  songs  that were especially written for him by his long time friend and prolific music producer  T Bone Burnett who also served as composer of the soundtrack along with  rodeo star turned songwriter Ryan Bingham.  The theme song “The Weary Kind” sung by Bridges,  won a Golden Globe for Best Original song and has also been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.  Did I mention that the actor  is also the executive producer of the film? Bridges has many talents as I came to find out when The Ravi Report met up with the well-loved actor recently in New York  to talk about “Crazy Heart” and his award-winning singing. 

RR: Jeff, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. You did an incredible job as Bad Blake in ‘Crazy Heart“. But besides the powerful acting, you also sang the playback for the film as well as served as one of the executive producers. How did you manage to balance it all? 

JB: Thanks very much. I looked at it as one thing really. I bring everything I got to work whatever film I work on. As far a producing goes, I had a great team to work with and they all worked very hard to make this film happen. 

They certainly did. In addition to playing the role  as Bridges’s close friend Wayne Kramer in the film, legendary actor Robert Duvall also served as one of the film’s producers.

Jeff Bridges with Ravi Yande at "Crazy Heart" press day.

RR: Your singing seems as if it’s coming from your soul. How did you prepare for such emotional  & poetic songs? 

JB: Well thank you. Well, I trained with vocal coach Roger Love and of course the amazing T Bone who created the songs for me. I’ve known T Bone  for years.

The talented actor goes on to talk about how  T Bone  was instrumental in Bridges mastering the songs, the lyrics and the emotions to the songs that have done so well around the world. 

But what is the real secret behind the success of the film?  Everybody seems to have the right but let me tell you what I honestly think here. Bridges took on a role that he was pretty much born to play. Sure the other roles in the past (The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, Starman & The Contender) in which he received Oscar nominations for were amazing and Bridges exemplified his talents beyond anyone’s expectations, but in “Crazy Heart” you see the Hollywood A lister  in a role that no other actor could have mastered so brilliantly.  Plain and simple. 

The Oscars are on  Sunday, March 7, 2010. 

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/crazyheart/ 

The journey continues… 

Ravi 

23
Feb
09

“SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE” WINS 8 OSCARS! JAI HO!

It did it. The film about hope and love won 8 Oscars including Best Picture at the 2009 Academy Awards last night. It was incredible. Just incredible. Ok…one more time. Incredible.

Superstars Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

Actors Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto have become international superstars

My media contacts in LA kept texting and telling me what a strong Indian presence there was at the Oscars this year. Top Bollywood A listers like actors Anil Kapoor and Ifrran Khan graced the red carpets with superstars Freida Pinto, Dev Patel and Loveleen Tandan.”It was so nice to see saris and Bollywood again this year at the Oscars” one text read.  

Although  the win was highly anticipated due to the stream of awards that “Slumdog Millionaire” has been winning since the nation first took notice of the incredible and amazing film, it was still every bit exciting to see the film do so well. I was at an Oscar party in NY with about 500 people and it was pin drop silence before the Best Picture announcement was made then tears & jumps of joy came afterwards.  “This has made India so proud” said one Indian beauty at the party trying to hold back tears. “I really want to go to India now!” said one cute brunette.

Musical genius A.R Rahman won two Oscars including Best Original Score and for his song “Jai Ho”. The maestro has the Midas touch indeed!

Loveleen Tandon, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Loveleen Tandan, Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy are an award winning team

Not only India, but the world. I wholeheartedly congratulate the team and cast of “Slumdog Millionaire” for their tremendous and well deserved success.

You guys rock! Jai Ho!

Ravi

20
Jan
09

“SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE” SKYROCKETS TO FAME

Ok…so now that  the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” has pretty much become an household name, I think its time for me to share with you some additional great news about the film, the cast and producers just in case you haven’t heard. (which maybe only a few of you since the movie has skyrocketed to fame in the last few weeks and everyone is talking about it! I mean everyone!)

Superstars Dev Patel and Frida Pinto pose for The Ravi Report

Superstars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto pose for The Ravi Report

Since the NY premiere of the film last November when The Ravi Report was front and center at the opening, director Danny Boyle and his cast have been flooded with awards, special recognition and enough nominations and wins to fill Giant Stadium!

Slumdog Millionaire”has so far to date, won four Golden Globes including one for Best Drama, won five Critics Choice Awards and received 11 BAFTA nominations and is rumored to be a strong contender for best picture  at the Oscars this year.  Everyone associated with the film has gotten worldwide recognition. Actor Dev Patel and Freida Pinto have been on Letterman, CNN, NBC Today, Golden Globes you name it, they have been there! Pinto has been written up in almost every leading fashion magazine regarding her sexy and classic style of clothing, jewellery and shoes. Zac Posen is one of her favorite designers she has told the press. Both Patel and Pinto have become instant superstars in their native home land of London and India.

Award winning director Danny Boyle being interviewed on the red carpet

Award winning director Danny Boyle being interviewed on the red carpet

Director Danny Boyle is basically on cloud nine and should be. His film has done remarkable well at the box office(13 mil budget and cleared over 40 mil so far)  and is still climbing the box office charts in terms of popularity and $$$.

So, the question now being asked by many is how does a small Indian film with unknown lead actors get so much attention and win so many awards? Simple. It’s not rocket science. The film has an excellent story with brilliant casting (thank you Loveleen Tandon. You are a God sent) great music from  genius A.R. Rahman and  incredible performances by three of the biggest names in the Indian film industry Anil Kapoor, Mahesh Manjrekar and Irrfan Khan. Mixed all that together with the Midas touch of director Boyle and you my friends have a great film!

The popularity of the film has increased so much that additional theaters across America and the UK have opened up and shows continue to sell out at certain movie houses which brings me to the age old question that everyone has been asking- will “Slumdog Millionaire” bring home the Oscar?

The incredible team of co-director and casting agent Loveleen Tandon, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

The incredible team of co-director and casting agent Loveleen Tandon, director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon Beaufoy

Well, it’s looking very good these days with the amount of accolades the movie has won and the world wide press it has received.  The feel good film has indeed opened up the hearts of the critics and the public but it has also done something else pretty incredible- it showed the true spirit of Mumbai and the incredible energy the city breeds and all I want to say is if a kid from the slums can become a millionaire overnight then anything is possible!

Academy Awards nominations are on January 22, 2009 and the Oscars will be broadcast live on February 22, 2009 on ABC.

Ravi

www.foxsearchlight.com/slumdogmillionaire




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