THE ENVELOPE
Hollywood's Awards and Industry Insider
Lorde finds sisterhood with Katniss in the songs for 'Mockingjay 1'

She's a princess cut from marble, smoother than a storm. And she moves through town, quiet like a fight.

The low hum that begins "Yellow Flicker Beat" takes the viewer from the final shot of the transformed heroine Katniss Everdeen to the closing credits of "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1."

"I liked the idea of the film ending on this close-up of Katniss' face, and then this very creepy, cracked hum kind of signaling your entry into her head, her deepest thoughts and secrets," says New Zealand singer-songwriter Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known as Lorde. "I'd been listening to a lot of spirituals, songs like 'Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,' and I loved the crackling, flawed sounds, both of the old recordings and the delivery of the vocals, so that definitely had some influence."

The song captures the extreme ambivalence of Jennifer Lawrence's protagonist as she decides whether to allow herself to be used as the rebellion's figurehead in the coming civil...

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For Rene Russo, it took time to understand 'Nightcrawler' character

Call it uncommon the way Rene Russo landed her latest (and some say career-best) role as the desperate, morally impoverished news show producer Nina Romina in this season's L.A.-set indie crime thriller "Nightcrawler." The role was created by her husband, Dan Gilroy — the film's screenwriter and director — and has given her a pack of crackerjack reviews after nearly six years away from the big screen.

She arrives for a late-afternoon interview on the Westside in a black velvet blazer, slim tan pants and vain-free smile. As an actor, she's one of those ageless sorts, both on screen and off, looking nearly half her 60 years and better than half the women half her age.

The film digs into a seedy side of the city as crime videographer Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) gets ever more aggressive in his tactics, and Romina, ever more desperate to get her show's ratings up, encourages him.

It seems that you and your husband went outside your comfort zones for this — and you both hit pay dirt. Did...

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Kevin Costner's 'Black or White,' a labor to produce, explores gray areas

No studio wanted to make it. And once he had spent $9 million of his own money to produce it, no one stepped up to distribute the thing. Passion project, albatross, conversation starter? Just don't let Kevin Costner hear you call his new film "refrigerator art."

"'Black or White' is really a giant metaphor for my career," Costner says, laughing in the bright sunshine of an early December day. "I'm a bit of a plodder. I didn't happen at 22. I started to happen around 28, 29. Certain movies have been hard for me to get made. It's a bit of a pattern for me. 'Bull Durham' was not a cinch movie to be made. 'Dances With Wolves' was not going to be made for the longest time.

"Studios are publicly traded companies, and they really have to look at that bottom line. The slots for a movie like this, maybe there's one a year for each studio, and maybe that was filled. There was no spot for 'Black or White,'" he says of his second collaboration with "The Upside of Anger" writer-director Mike Binder...

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After SAG Award nominations, an early peek at the crystal ball

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations were announced five minutes ago, and the awards won't be announced for another month. But why procrastinate? Let's pick the winners ... now!. Because of the size of the voting body (111,228 eligible members and counting!), the prizes typically go to consensus candidates. (Sorry, Jake. This isn't the Spirit Awards.) Here's our (really) early look at the races:

CAST IN A MOTION PICTURE

The nominees: "Birdman," "Boyhood," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "The Theory of Everything"

And the winner is: "Boyhood." Actors love the back story on this movie. The commitment! The passion! And no age makeup!

Unless: Voters often go for volume in this category, rewarding the biggest cast five years running until "American Hustle" upset the apple cart last year. Should they return to that thinking, "Grand Budapest" could pull off an upset, though "Birdman" logically should be the next in line.

MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

The nominees: Steve...

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Before writing and directing 'Whiplash,' Damien Chazelle lived it

I like movies that are specific. Movies that home in on a very specific subculture, a specific discipline, a specific world. I started off making documentaries in school, so maybe that's where it comes from — watching stuff like "Salesman" for the first time and discovering that it wasn't just about a few Bible salesmen going door-to-door in the '60s but that it was about America and what it means to be American. I do truly believe that the smallest stories can wind up being the biggest, because it's through the specific that a writer can best access the universal.

All this is to say that when I decided to write a movie about my experiences as an aspiring big band jazz drummer, I hoped that by zeroing in on a world I had lived in and showcasing the details that were particular to that world — the ticking clocks of the rehearsal rooms, the padded soundproofing of the practice booths, the trombonists emptying spit valves, the popped blisters and bleeding hands — I might be able to...

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'Selma' allows Carmen Ejogo to play Coretta Scott King a second time

It's rare for an actor to portray the same historic character in more than one project, but Carmen Ejogo has taken a second shot at getting into the skin of Coretta Scott King. Beginning on Christmas Day, audiences can see her in director Ava DuVernay's civil rights film "Selma," 13 years after portraying Scott King in HBO's miniseries "Boycott."

The actress, who comes from a Scottish-Nigerian background and is married to actor Jeffrey Wright, says she knew as soon as she read the "Selma" script that the part was worth fighting for, so she flew from New York to L.A. on her own dime to audition for the director.

"I got myself fully prepared, made myself up to look like Coretta with pearls on and the right shade of lipstick," she recalls. "I went the whole nine yards."

A week after having dinner with DuVernay, she got an email, which was simply a photograph of herself pasted next to a photo of Scott King and the words "This is a dream come true" typed beneath them.

"I immediately burst...

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