THE ENVELOPE Hollywood's Awards and Industry Insider
Mary J. Blige finds the love through the hard times depicted in 'Mudbound' and the darkness of today's world

During a post-“Mudbound” screening Q&A, director Dee Rees was asked a question that her star, Mary J. Blige, didn’t know the answer to: What inspired Rees to cast Blige — the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” and the seller of over 50 million confession-heavy albums — in her Netflix period drama?

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Need to figure skate? Sew a gown? When actors need a skill for a film, they call in the pros

Acting isn't just about reading lines and hitting your marks: Performers have to become instant experts in whatever their characters do best, and those specialized talents shift with every film. So, in order for the actors to become proficient in a new skill, studios call in outside help.

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You never know with Sundance, but we might be talking about a couple of these movies at next year's Oscars

Last year, after the not-so-secret midnight Sundance screening of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” the film’s team took an Uber back to Peele’s Park City, Utah, hotel room, where they ordered room service and stayed up until dawn reading the over-the-top reactions to the movie on social media.

“The energy in that theater was so incredible,” producer Sean McKittrick remembers.

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‘LBJ’ and ‘Darkest Hour’ show how democracy in action can sometimes be a beautiful thing to behold

Most movies about politicians depict either slippery narcissists — "Nixon," "The Deal" (about Tony Blair), "Game Change" (Sarah Palin), this spring’s "Chappaquiddick" (Ted Kennedy) — or complicated personalities driven to achieve the greater good, as in "Lincoln" and the Franklin Roosevelt love story "Hyde Park on Hudson."

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This year brings the possibility of two actors tying Katharine Hepburn's Oscar record

Katharine Hepburn holds the record for most acting Academy Awards, but for how long? Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the actors primed to break her run:

4: Number of acting Academy Awards won by Katharine Hepburn (for “Morning Glory,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “The Lion in Winter,” “On Golden Pond”).

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With 'The Post,' 'Darkest Hour' and more, filmmakers show that they often mine the past for stories to enlighten the present

It’s often said that history repeats itself. But when it comes to the Oscars, history, or more specifically, the feting of real-life historical characters, has been a recurring rite since 1931, when George Arliss collected the third-ever lead actor award for his portrayal of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in “Disraeli.”

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