*Set in the South two years before the Civil War, “Django Unchained” stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.
Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.
Django andSchultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed by trainer Ace Woody (Kurt Russell) to battle each other for sport. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival.
Django opens Christmas Day 2012 and is directed by Quentin Tarentino.
*Octavia Spencer wasn’t the only African American to win an Academy Award Sunday night. Sean “Diddy” Combs surprised the world when he took home an Oscar for his involvement in “Undefeated.”
The Hip Hop mogul won it for executive producing the football flick for best documentary.
Movie partner and director T.J. Martin was overwhelmed with the award and forgot where he was. The guy dropped the f-bomb while accepting the award, but rightfully so because he is the first black director to win an Oscar.
The film opened in February 2011 and follows the highs and lows of underfunded and underprivileged high school football team from Tennessee.
The story just happened to be something close to Diddy’s heart.
“When I was coming up and I went to high school, it was my dream to be a football player and I broke my leg in the last day of camp,” Diddy recently told ET. “The movie really moved me in a personal way, but it could touch people in so many other ways.”
He later went to Twitter to thank his fans and family, writing, “Dreams do come true!!!!! #undefeated!!!! Let’s go!!!”
Here’s Diddy on his involvement with “The Undefeated”:
*Christopher Plummer, currently nominated for a best actor Academy Award, has signed on to star in HBO Films’ “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” which is being directed by Stephen Frears.
Frank Langella also is coming on board the movie, which details the legal fight between Ali and the U.S. government when the fighter became a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War.
Ali was drafted into the Army in 1966 but declined to serve, citing his belief that the war was against the teachings of the Koran. When he appeared at an armed services induction in 1967 and refused to step forward when his name was called, he was arrested.
After being found guilty, a series of appeals were fought and the case wound its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971 (Clay v United States). Ali persevered, mainly due to the prevailing anti-Vietnam winds, and also managed to throw out provocative lines into the mainstream such as “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me N—–.”
The role of Ali has yet to be cast.
Plummer, in his first deal since being nominated for an Oscar for his work in “Beginners,” will portray Supreme Court Associate Justice John Marshall “Harlan II.” Langella will portray Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Langella, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in “Frost/Nixon,” starred in “Robot and Frank,” one of the highlights of the recent Sundance Film Festival.
Mary J. Blige from the video for "The Living Proof"
*Mary J. Blige’s song “The Living Proof” from the film “The Help” is one of 39 tunes that made the shortlist for an Academy Award, and now moves on to the next elimination round. [Scroll down for the video.]
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen clips featuring each song in random order for voting members of the Music Branch on Jan. 5. Members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system of voting.
A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film.
The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan. 24.
The 39 shortlisted songs are, in alphabetical order:
“The World I Knew” from “African Cats”
“Lay Your Head Down” from “Albert Nobbs”
“Star Spangled Man” from “Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Collision of Worlds” from “Cars 2″
“Dakkanaga Dugu Dugu” from “DAM999″
“DAM999 Theme Song” from “DAM999″
“Mujhe Chod Ke” from “DAM999″
“Rainbird” from “Dirty Girl”
“Keep On Walking” from “The First Grader”
“Where the River Goes” from “Footloose”
“Hello Hello” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Love Builds a Garden” from “Gnomeo & Juliet”
“Bridge of Light” from “Happy Feet Two”
“The Mighty Sven” from “Happy Feet Two”
“Never Be Daunted” from “happythankyoumoreplease”
“Hell and Back” from “Hell and Back Again”
“The Living Proof” from “The Help”
“Coeur Volant” from “Hugo”
“It’s How We Play” from “I Don’t Know How She Does It”
“When the Heart Dies” from “In the Land of Blood and Honey”
“Ja Nao Estar” from “José and Pilar”
“The Keeper” from “Machine Gun Preacher”
“Life’s a Happy Song” from “The Muppets”
“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets”
“Pictures in My Head” from “The Muppets”
“Summer Song” from “The Music Never Stopped”
“Imaginary Friends” from “Olive”
“Sparkling Day” from “One Day”
“Taking You with Me” from “Our Idiot Brother”
“The Greatest Song I Ever Heard” from “POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”
“Hot Wings” from “Rio”
“Let Me Take You to Rio” from “Rio”
“Real in Rio” from “Rio”
“Shelter” from “Take Shelter”
“Gathering Stories” from “We Bought a Zoo”
“Pop” from “White Irish Drinkers”
“Think You Can Wait” from “Win Win”
“The Backson Song” from “Winnie the Pooh”
“So Long” from “Winnie the Pooh”
Vin Diesel attends the "Fast Five" press conference at Hassler hotel on April 29, 2011 in Rome, Italy.
*In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Vin Diesel said his latest film “Fast Five,” the fifth movie in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, could be a strong contender this awards season.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some Oscar talk around this. I don’t know, maybe I’m just biting off what some guy from Channel 7 thought,” he said with a “chuckle.” “But sooner or later, people are gonna say, ‘Wait a minute, just because they are for the working class doesn’t mean they’re not great.’”
The movie has already broken box office records, opening to $83.6 million at the domestic box office two weekends ago.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Fast Five” took in $85.1 million overseas this past weekend, setting a record for distributor Universal.
The movie, directed by Justin Lin, also stars Dwayne Johnson and Paul Walker.
As previously reported, a sixth sequel is already in the works.
Actress/producer Whoopi Goldberg speaks to media during the "Sister Act" on Broadway cast photo call at The New 42nd Street Studios on March 2, 2011 in New York City
*Whoopi Goldberg says she smoked weed before accepting her Academy Award in 1991 for Best Supporting Actress in “Ghost.”
Speaking during a voiceover session for her 1992 movie “The Pagemaster” in a video obtained by gossip website TMZ, Whoopi said she was so nervous before the ceremony that she lit up in hopes of calming herself down.
“I learned a great lesson though. Never smoke pot before there’s the possibility of having to talk to one hundred million people. Smoking cigarettes and pot every now and then are one thing that relaxes me and I thought, ‘I’ve got to relax.’
“So I smoked this joint that was the last of my home grown and honey, when he said my name and I popped up, I was like, ‘Oh f**k, oh f**k, up the stairs one two three four five, onto the podium. There’s millions of people, OK grab the statue.’ I knew I should have never had done it.”
Whoopi Goldberg holds her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, won for her role in "Ghost," in Los Angeles in this March 26, 1991 photo.
Whoopi said as soon as her mother saw her accept the award she realized what was going on.
“My mother called me afterwards and said, ‘You smoked didn’t you? Your eyes were just glistening.’
“So I panicked and got the Oscars tape to see whether you could tell and you just couldn’t. I know you’re not supposed to admit that you smoke pot but I don’t drink alcohol!”