Jen rescued from crowd surge

Pennsylvania (BEL): Jennifer Lawrence has had to be rescued from a crush of fans clamouring to get her autograph outside a TV studio. The Hunger Games star had been appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman in the US and stopped to greet fans afterwards. But according to Us Weekly, when she was led away from the crowds and then ran back to sign more autographs, there was so much excitement that the barrier holding her fans back toppled over. Minders had to whisk J-Law away from the scene before the crowd got out of control. Earlier on the show, the actress had revealed her lack of singing talent when talking about having to perform a song in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

She said: “I do not like singing in front of other people, that’s like my biggest fear. I cried on set that day. I’m scarred from my childhood. “I have a Southern mother that used to tell me I was amazing at everything and I could do everything, but I can’t. I had this tone-deaf-Amy-Winehouse voice and I sang in front of the school when I was eight, because I thought I could.” David then joined her in singing the Christmas song as they both duetted in a deep voice.  Jen added of her Hunger Games song: “It was called The Hanging Tree, which was where I wanted to go.” She said she had wanted Lorde, who sings on the soundtrack, to be dubbed over her scene: “I was like, will you guys please get Lorde and lip-sync it? And they said no, so it’s really me, but I’ve avoided that scene.”

New Fifty Shades trailer unveiled

LOS ANGELES (BFT): Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are finally seen getting up close and personal in a steamy new trailer for the Fifty Shades Of Grey movie. So far promotional materials for the film have been relatively tame, just hinting at the couple’s erotic relationship, but the new advert for the big screen version of EL James’ book shows them being more intimate. Dakota’s character, innocent student Anastasia Steele, is seen being seduced by billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie) as he leads her into a world of sadomasochism. She is seen being undressed, and one part of the trailer sees her wearing a blindfold. Rita Ora, who plays Christian’s sister Mia, is also seen in the clip, with her hair in a short bob.

The trailer comes a few days after a provocative new poster for the eagerly anticipated movie was released. The teaser featured Dakota as Anastasia, biting her bottom lip in a seductive fashion, with the caption: “Mr Grey will see you now.” Fifty Shades - which has been directed by Nowhere Boy’s Sam Taylor-Johnson - will be released to coincide with Valentine’s Day next year.

LA fest puts focus on foreign Oscar race

LOS ANGELES (AFP): Hollywood’s A-listers gathered in Los Angeles for a film festival that may not be well known but nonetheless shines an early spotlight on awards season, in particular the foreign Oscar race. The American Film Institute (AFI) festival, which wound up Thursday, has seen directors from Canada, France and Belgium turning out to woo potential Oscars voters with latest films, three months before the biggest show in Tinseltown. “It is a festival in the capital of cinema,” said Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University in New York state. Bertrand Bonello said winning top prize “takes a film even further in terms of economics and visibility.”

Bonello presented “Saint Laurent” Tuesday and Wednesday at the AFI festival, along with actor Gaspard Ulliel, who plays iconic fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and actress-model Aymeline Valade, who plays his muse Betty Catroux. “People in the business tell me this is where you get the largest number of voters” in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which organizes the Oscars, Valade told AFP. “Even more than in the New York festivals,” she added. Competing for the Oscars requires “slightly more aggressive promotion, where you meet not only journalists, but also voters,” added Bonello. Belgium’s candidate film is “Deux jours, une nuit” (“Two Days, One Night”), by the Cannes-winning Dardenne brothers, starring Marion Cotillard. It was also presented this week, at the start of the festival that opened on November 6. Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne also attended last weekend’s Governors Awards, where half of Hollywood turned out for an Academy-hosted evening honoring industry icons but also, doubtless, talking about awards season buzz. Canada’s film “Mommy”, by wunderkind director Xavier Dolan, was recognized with a screening at the landmark Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday. “Il capitale umano” (“Human Capital”) by Italy’s Paolo Virzi, chosen as Italy’s candidate for the foreign film Oscar, was also on the AFI festival programme. “The real lobbying campaign only starts when you get down to the last five,” said Valade. Indeed, it is still early in the race for Hollywood’s top honors. This year a record 83 countries nominated films for the foreign Oscar race, including four competing for the first time: Kosovo, Malta, Mauritania and Panama. “Ye Ying” (“The Nightingale”) by French director Philippe Muyl, filmed in China in Mandarin and French with Chinese actors, is Beijing’s candidate this year. A shortlist of about 10 foreign films will be announced next month, and cut down to the final five when nominations for all categories are announced on January 15. The Oscars are on February 22. The foreign film Oscar this year went to Italian Paolo Sorrentino’s “La Grande Bellezza” (“The Great Beauty”). Pop professor Thompson said that in the past few people saw foreign film Oscar nominees because they were only in a few theaters. But that has changed with technology and streaming distribution. “Until recently these movies didn’t get a lot of attention and people didn’t have the opportunity to see them,” he told AFP. “Now, if you live in a small town in Oklahoma, you still can see these movies through video on demand, the Internet, Netflix, etc,” he said, adding that the eventual foreign film Oscar winner could seriously cash in. 

John Fogerty defends anti-war song

NEW YORK (AFP): John Fogerty has staunchly defended fellow rockers Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl for performing his anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” at a concert for US veterans after outrage among some conservatives. Springsteen was among an array of stars who performed before hundreds of thousands of people Tuesday on Washington’s National Mall at “The Concert for Valor” honoring America’s veterans. Joined by Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame and Southern folk rocker Zac Brown, Springsteen performed the 1969 song “Fortunate Son” by Fogerty’s Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Some folks are born made to wave the flag and when the bands plays Hail to the Chief.