Helen Mirren and Leonardo DiCaprio each received two acting nominations for the 13th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The nominations were announced Jan. 4. Mirren was nominated for playing both of England's Queen Elizabeths—in the feature The Queen, in which she played Elizabeth II, and in HBO's Elizabeth I; DiCaprio earned best actor and best supporting actor nods for Blood Diamond and The Departed, respectively. Other acting nominees include Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland, Alec Baldwin for NBC's 30 Rock, America Ferrera for ABC's Ugly Betty, Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi for Babel, Alan Arkin and Abigail Breslin for Little Miss Sunshine, and Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. Babel, Dreamgirls, and Little Miss Sunshine received the most nominations with three each. See Our View, page 9.
SAG's Alan Rosenberg confirmed Jan. 5 that he will seek another two-year term as national president of the union. In a statement, Rosenberg said he was proud of the work he's done in the position and is "excited about Doug Allen's coming aboard" as new national executive director. "I would love to join him at the negotiating table in the 2008 contract negotiations, working on behalf of our members," the president said. Rosenberg previously said he needed time to discuss with his family whether to seek another term in the unpaid position, which demands a great deal of time. It is not yet known if he will run unopposed.
Employment opportunities were greater for Equity actors in the Midwest and West last season, while they were flat for actors in the East compared with the year before, according to the union. In a report released Jan. 5 on conditions for the 2005–06 season, Actors' Equity Association noted that workweeks for actors rose by 9.6 percent in the Central region and 4.5 percent in the Western region, and fell less than 1 percent in the Eastern region. A workweek is defined as one week of work for one actor. Overall, there were 299,493 workweeks. Also in the study, Equity noted about 13 percent of its members work in any given week, and only 38 percent had at least one job last season. In the past 10 years, earnings have increased 57.5 percent and workweeks have increased by 16.5 percent.
The week leading up to the New Year was Broadway's best week ever, according to figures released Jan. 3 by the League of American Theatres and Producers. The week ending Dec. 31 brought in more money and people than any week in recorded Broadway history: just over $29 million and almost 315,000 ticket holders. Overall, the numbers reflect an 11 percent increase in paid attendance from the same week last year. Theatre capacity for the 30 Broadway shows playing in 22 venues was 90 percent full, and 10 shows posted a capacity of 100 percent or more, which includes standing-room-only tickets.
Two top agents at International Creative Management have left their posts to join rival agency Endeavor. Robert Newman, head of motion pictures at ICM, and Matt Solo, head of ICM's TV literary department, will become partners at Endeavor. Newman, who has been with ICM for 17 years, made the announcement Jan. 3. Both are likely to bring their long list of high-profile clients to the growing agency, including directors Robert Rodriguez and Baz Luhrmann, and showrunners David Shore and Shawn Ryan. Current Endeavor clients include Reese Witherspoon, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Martin Scorsese.
Former Groundlings student Dan Fishbach has been named new executive director of the venerable improv company and school. He will take over the post from Krista Gano, effective immediately. Previously chairman of Performing Arts at Los Angeles' Harvard-Westlake prep school, Fishbach studied with the Groundlings from 2000 to 2003 and is a graduate of the National Theater Institute in Connecticut. In his new position, he will oversee daily operations of the Groundlings, working closely with the company and the board of directors.
Germany will revisit its postwar past at the 57th annual Berlin International Film Festival with Steven Soderbergh's The Good German and Robert De Niro's Cold War CIA drama The Good Shepherd, which have been picked for this year's competition. Bille August's apartheid drama Goodbye Bafana, starring Joseph Fiennes and Dennis Haysbert, will have its world premiere at the festival, as will celebrated South Korean director Chan-wook Park's latest feature, I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK.