Matthew McConaughey Really Wants An Oscar For ‘The Dallas Buyer’s Club’

Celebrities! They’re just like us! Sometimes they are spotted at the airport looking emaciated and with terrible haircuts and mustaches! Yes, that’s Matthew McConaughey right there, who is looking gaunt and sickly for his role in the upcoming The Dallas Buyer’s Club, in which he’ll be playing an AIDS patient. Ladies and gentlemen, get your 2014 Oscar ballots ready because McConaughey is gunning for a trophy!

McConaughey was spotted last week at LAX while taking a break from filming the movie, which also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, who, according to E!, will be "playing a cross-dresser with AIDS." This sounds like a fun little flick, huh? How will this fare against Ryan Murphy’s big-screen adaptation of Larry Kramer’s masterpiece The Normal Heart? Well, Jennifer Garner is certainly a poor man’s Julia Roberts, who will be starring in The Normal Heart as a wheelchair-bound doctor (Ellen Barkin won a Tony for the role in the play’s Broadway production last year). The Dallas Buyer’s Club definitely lacks the star power of Kramer’s AIDS epic (Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, and McConaughey’s Magic Mike co-star Matt Bomer have all joined the cast of The Normal Heart). 

This match-up is really the Armageddon / Deep Impact of 2013 AIDS movies, huh?

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Jared Leto Declares War On The Record Industry With His Documentary ‘Artifact’

Artifact, a fascinating new documentary directed by actor and 30 Seconds to Mars front man Jared Leto (under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins) made its US premiere at the Doc NYC Fest last night in Chelsea. Focusing on 30 Seconds to Mars’ desire to leave its label, corporate behemoth EMI, the film reveals how the band discovered the seven-year contract termination choice loophole in its contract and the record label’s plans to sue them—for thirty million dollars.

What was meant to be a documentary about the creative process of recording their next album turned into something else entirely: a David-and-Goliath toe-to-toe with Terra Firma, a huge conglomerate owned by billionaire Guy Hands, who had recently taken over EMI with plans to revive the label’s legendary, but crumbling, debt-ridden legacy. It’s also a fascinating look into what is now a very soon–to-be-defunct platform—the record label—and includes commentary from some of the music industry’s leading corporate players and insiders.

Aside from being a gifted actor and musician, Leto also seems to have a definitive career ahead of him as a filmmaker. The film itself is beautifully shot and full of very clean, tender moments between band mates Leto, his brother, drummer Shannon Leto, and guitarist TomoMiličević. Chronicling the recording process with legendary producer Flood as the band hastily hacks a studio in Leto’s spare Hollywood Hills home, the film is filled with insane antic moments and bolts of inspiration as they struggle to create their next album (the aptly named This Is War) amidst raging financial and legal pressures.

Kindly granting me time before introducing the film last night, the charming and utterly sincere Leto told me a bit about where he thinks the record industry is going, his advice to the young musician, and making Artifact, which won the audience award for Best Documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.

Artifact is a really special, DIY project,” Leto said. “It was made by just a handful of people. And we made it because we believed in telling this story. We believe it’ s important for artists and for audiences around the world to know the way things works, so that they can be better informed, and make decisions about how [they] interact with and support artists.”

When I told him my niece and nephew are already clamoring for guitar lessons, I asked him what his advice would be for the aspiring rock star. “I’d tell them to wait as long as possible before they would ever sign a deal,” he admitted. “They’re so many tools now to share your music. You don’t have to be reliant on your record company to share your music. You can make an album, an album that sounds very good, and you can do it very cheaply. Times have changed since I signed our record deal in 1998. But I would tell a young person to wait as long as they can, organically as long as possible, and focus on your craft, your art, and your dreams. The deal will come. But I wouldn’t rush it.”

Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream made Leto not only an indie film icon; it also proved what extreme levels he would go to for his art. (He lost nearly 30 pounds for the role.) It seems that he was really born, though, to make music. “Well, I haven’t made a movie in five years, so, the answer is probably right there,” he says. “But I think the main reason that I haven’t made a film is that I’ve probably been too busy. Part of the success with 30 Seconds to Mars is that you have less time to do some of the other things in life, even the good things.” Leto seems particularly happy with his busy life. “None of us ever expected that it would turn out the way that it has,” he explained. “We’re about to finish our fourth album right now, and that’ll be out sometime next year.”

Asked if he would start his own label, but revealed that he owns and operates an Internet platform that is worthy of a burgeoning media mogul. “I probably wouldn’t [start a label],” he admitted, and revealed he finds it more important for artists to share their work directed with their audiences. “I actually have done this, with three companies that I started on the tech side, to impart solutions for artists,” he explained. “One is a company that does social media management for marketing and commerce, another is a ticketing company, and the third is a social theatre where people can create live experiences and share them with audiences without advertising or sponsorships. These are solutions we’ve developed so artists can really share their work.”

Artifactalso highlights the creative challenges of making art in a way that many documentaries often aspire to, but rarely achieve: “We all shared a part of our lives that we’ve never shared on-screen before, a very intimate and personal part of our lives,” he said. “We take you inside the laboratory! Inside the studio, and in our hearts, and in our minds, to share how difficult this point is in our lives—just battling this massive corporation, and fighting for what we believe in. The record company [guys] are not bad people. They just happen to work in a business that has a lot of challenges.”

Industry Insiders: Lyz Olko, Co-Founder of Obesity & Speed

After Gwen Stefani wore one of the first shirts Lyz Olko designed, the demand for Olko’s homemade apparel soared. Her response: Olko and her partner Josh Conner created the New York-based clothing line Obesity & Speed in 2003.

With a name inspired by an obscure Huggy Bear song and a style that’s both dark and humor-filled, the line has debuted in Japan, LA, NY, and such recognizable stores as Urban Outfitters. Other celebrities that have worn the brand  include Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and Jared Leto. With its bold embroidered statements and edgy casual wear, Obesity & Speed’s collection continues to grow. “Go hard or go home," Olko says.

Martin Scorsese & Jared Leto Team Up for ‘Hugo’ Trailer

We doubt that when Jared Leto sat down to pen his 30 Seconds to Mars anthem “Kings and Queens,” he anticipated it would one day score the trailer to a Martin Scorsese kids movie (or get 6 million views on YouTube, for that matter). But stranger things have happened. So when we pressed play on the trailer for Hugo, that Martin Scorsese kids movie we were talking about, and “Kings and Queens” started playing as Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield run through a turn-of-the-century Parisian train station, we thought, right on.

As for the rest of the trailer: It will leave Scorsese purists scratching their heads (pratfalls into a giant wedding cake?). But it does have Sacha Baron Cohen providing some underlying menace, and it does have Ben Kingsley Georges Méliès, giving Scorsese the chance to play around with the early days of cinema. Our sense is that most of the story hasn’t been revealed yet (although it is based on a book) and that the 3D trailer was composed mainly with Harry Potter audiences and their 3D glasses in mind.

Jared Leto Impersonating Kurt Cobain: Well-Intentioned, Creepy

Jared Leto made a video tribute to Kurt Cobain and released it yesterday in honor of the 17th anniversary of the grunge icon’s death. It’s Jared Leto dressed up as Kurt Cobain, eerily sounding and looking like Kurt Cobain, singing “Pennyroyal Tea.” We’ve said it before, Leto is a weird dude.

This is what Leto wrote on his blog:

“I heard today was the day Kurt passed away 17 years ago. Can’t believe it’s been that long. So grateful for his contribution and inspiration. Not sure I’d be doing this if it weren’t for him.”

Not sure if you’d be doing what? Acting? Fronting a band called “30 Seconds to Mars”? Sure, Kurt Cobain was an icon and should be remembered as such. But impersonating the dead, unless it’s for an actual biopic, is a little disconcerting, no? Anyway, here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Links: John Lennon’s Killer Denied Parole, Heidi Montag Massages Breast Implants

● Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon in 1980, has been denied parole for the sixth time. Jared Leto, who played the crazed fan in a film, was hoping for a sequel. [NYDN] ● One of the funny ones, Jenny Slate, will not be on Saturday Night Live this coming season, nor will Will Forte, though four replacements will be coming on, including the first African American since 2003. [WaPo] ● The man who nonviolently stole Kirsten Dunst’s purse from a hotel room was sentenced to four years in jail. For some perspective, that’s like 16.2 Lindsay Lohans. [HuffPo]

● If the perfect tweet could be crystallized, it would look a little something like this: “Giving my self a soft tissue breast massage. Ladies we have to keep those implants soft.” [HuffPo] ● Basketball star Ron Artest was stopped in L.A. driving what looked like a big go-cart, except with top speeds over 150 mph. He was wearing a helmet. [TMZ] ● The Joaquin Phoenix meltdown movie, I’m Still Here, is very real. [NYM]

Couture’s Comeback

The latest round of Couture catwalk presentations have kicked off in Paris. It’s a good time for this subsection of the fashion industry, which was hit especially hard by the recession. In fact, couture is staging a comeback. Chanel, for one, is reporting “between 20 and 30 percent” profit increases for SS10 couture and “is forecasting an overall increase for 2010,” says Women’s Wear Daily. With new clientele surfacing in China, the Middle East, and Europe, couture houses are recognizing “a new interest in haute couture” taking shape in various well-financed pockets across the globe, and they know how to target their new customers.Take Dior, which just staged its first resort show in Shanghai, and Valentino, which showed in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur last year. Back in Paris, there’s plenty to look forward to, as major fashion houses bounce back from a few especially arduous years.

Givenchy is one of the few brands to have already shown this week, and Riccardo Tisci’s breathtakingly ornate creations—loaded with feathers, crystals, gold plating, and delicate lace—did not disappoint. As for what you’ll find lurking in the front row (at least in the case of one utterly confused Jared Leto), you never know.

Jared Leto + Lady Gaga = Sonic Mindfuck

So, Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars (also known as “Jared Leto’s Band”) has covered Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” and if you can listen to the whole thing without wincing in pain, you’re a stronger person than us. Hell, kudos if you can just listen to the whole thing. It’s like the sonic equivalent of that scene in Goonies where the kid’s hand is held over the blender pureed with a broken time machine and a rancid dash of 90s nostalgia.

Jared Leto is a good thing. Well, really, Jordan Catalano was a good thing, a very good thing, and his magical fairy dust has remained on Leto decades later…until now. Leto sings Gaga as is he were Kurt Cobain’s annoying, tweaky younger brother. It makes listening to the song a total mindfuck. You’re like it’s the 90s, it’s 2010, it’s the 90s, it’s the 2010, and Leto just keeps slowly croaking on. This is post modernism gone awry.

And then, there’s Gaga. Loveable, crazy Gaga. Maybe we’ve just been to the gym hungover one too man times with “Bad Romance” blaring in the background, but it’s not really our top pick of her songs to cover. And, it doesn’t help that Leto tried to make it an earnest love song. Without Gaga layers of irony and her uptempo beats, it’s pretty intolerable (this is probably true of many of her songs, best to remain oblivious). Leto projectile vomits “caught in a bad romance,” but really, we’re just caught in a really bad song here…a really bad song that goes on for nearly five minutes. Help…

Links: Kids Grow Up Quick with ‘Scarface’; ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Is Just Not Plausible

● If this clip of children reenacting Scarface doesn’t convince you to have kids, nothing will. Think of all the funny things you can make them say! [Vulture] ● Lindsay Lohan has more coke on her shoes, literally, than you can afford in two months. [Styleite] ● Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars and Paramore’s Hayley Williams both covered Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” One sounds like Meatloaf and the other is heavenly, but you decide which is which. [TMZ]

● A real life physicist runs down the factual errors — or as he calls them, the “egregious number of inviolable paradoxes” — in Hot Tub Time Machine. [io9] ● ChatRoulette missed connections go viral when a cute white girl tries to find the cute white guy who got away. Maybe help her out, because we’ve all been there? Or something. [Urlesque] ● Erykah Badu’s new video is both a partial reenactment of the JFK assassination and a chance to see her strip, but for art. [YouTube]