Entertainment Magazine


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Pictures'/Bristol Bay Productions' critically lauded hit "Ray" -- the never-before-told, musical biographical drama of American legend Ray Charles -- continued to register with critics and awards groups alike when it received six Academy Award(R) nominations earlier today.

"Ray" was bestowed with a total of six Oscar(R) nominations, including: Best Picture; Best Actor (Jamie Foxx); Best Directing (Taylor Hackford); Best Costume Design (Sharen Davis); Best Film Editing (Paul Hirsch); and Best Sound Mixing (Steve Cantamessa, Production Sound Mixer; Scott Millan, Greg Orloff and Bob Beemer, Re-Recording Mixers).

"'Ray' is an amazing film on so many levels," stated Adam Fogelson, President and Eddie Egan, Co-President, Universal Pictures Marketing. "It really captures the heartbreaking and difficult story of Ray Charles and his genius.

Under the sure hand of director Taylor Hackford, the film features a towering performance from Jamie Foxx and is full of Charles' unforgettable music -- the music that had so much power that it helped bring about incredible change in the industry and in people's attitudes about segregation. When Taylor showed us the film early last year, we were so moved and elated by it, that we had to be part of it. It is therefore particularly gratifying to us that it continues to garner such acclaim and recognition among moviegoers and critics, as well as the fans of Ray Charles."

Following a 15-year journey to bring Charles' story to the big screen, "Ray" opened on October 29, 2004 to strong reviews, word-of-mouth and box office numbers. The story of a man who synthesized his struggles, pain and personal darkness as effectively as he incorporated a myriad of musical styles -- Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock and Roll, Gospel, Country & Western -- into his art, the musical biographical drama drew praise for its depiction of the personal highs and lows of the American icon, superlatively portrayed by Foxx.

The domestic box office gross to date has exceeded $73 million and the film has also started receiving international acclaim, with a total international box office to date of $5 million in just nine territories and the film yet to open in 44 additional territories; the film is scheduled for a February 1, 2005 domestic DVD release.

The Oscar(R) nominations represent the culmination of a distinguished awards period for the film, which has been previously honored with a far-ranging number of nominations across the artistic guilds, societies and associations, including:

Directors Guild of America (Outstanding Directorial
Achievement - Taylor Hackford)

* Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Golden Globes (Best Motion
Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Performance by an Actor, Musical or
Comedy - Jamie Foxx)

* Screen Actors Guild Awards (Outstanding Actor in a Leading
Role - Jamie Foxx; Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion

* British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Original Screenplay;
Actor in a Leading Role - Jamie Foxx; The Anthony Asquith Award for
Achievement in Film Music - Craig Armstrong; Sound)

* National Board of Review (One of the Year's 10 Best; Best Actor -
Jamie Foxx)

* Broadcast Film Critics (Best Picture; Best Actor - Jamie Foxx; Best
Director - Taylor Hackford; Best Soundtrack)

* NAACP's Image Awards (Outstanding Motion Picture; Outstanding Actor in
a Motion Picture - Jamie Foxx; Outstanding Actress in a Motion
Picture - Kerry Washington; Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion
Picture - C.J. Sanders, Clifton Powell; Outstanding Supporting Actress
in a Motion Picture - Regina King, Sharon Warren)

* American Society of Cinematographers (Outstanding Achievement in
Cinematography - Pawel Edelman)

* American Cinema Editors (Best Edited Feature Film, Comedy or Musical -
Paul Hirsch)

* Motion Picture Sound Editors (Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film,
Music-Musical; Best Sound Editing in a Feature Film, Dialogue and
Automated Dialogue Replacement)

* Costume Designers Guild (Fantasy/Period - Sharen Davis)

Featuring a remarkable performance from Jamie Foxx in the central role and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Taylor Hackford, "Ray" follows the inspiring story of a one-of-a-kind genius. Born in a poor town in Georgia, Ray Charles went blind at the age of seven shortly after witnessing his younger brother's accidental death. Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. Touring across the Southern musical circuit, the soulful singer gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz and orchestral influences into his inimitable style. As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed artists' rights within the corporate music business. "Ray" provides an unflinching portrait of Charles' musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction while transforming into one of this country's most beloved performers.

Surrounding Foxx is an impressive ensemble cast that features Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Terrence Dashon Howard, Larenz Tate, Richard Schiff, Aunjanue Ellis, Sharon Warren and Regina King. A Universal Pictures / Bristol Bay Production, "Ray" is directed by Taylor Hackford ("An Officer and a Gentleman"), with a screenplay by James L. White from a story by Hackford and White; it is produced by Hackford, Stuart Benjamin, Howard Baldwin and Karen Baldwin.

The 77th Annual Academy Awards Presentation from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland(R) will be televised live by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 27, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (PST).

Universal Pictures and Bristol Bay Productions Present An Anvil Films Production, In Association with Baldwin Entertainment: Jamie Foxx in "Ray," starring Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Terrence Dashon Howard, Larenz Tate, Richard Schiff and Regina King. The casting is by Nancy Klopper, C.S.A. The costume designer is Sharen Davis. The music supervisor is Curt Sobel; the score is composed by Craig Armstrong; original and new recordings are by Ray Charles. The film is edited by Paul Hirsch. The production designer is Stephen Altman. The director of photography is Pawel Edelman. The line producer is Barbara A. Hall; the co-producers are Ray Charles Robinson, Jr., Alise Benjamin and Nick Morton. The executive producers are William J. Immerman and Jaime Rucker King. "Ray" is produced by Taylor Hackford, Stuart Benjamin, Howard Baldwin and Karen Baldwin. The story is by Taylor Hackford and James L. White, with a screenplay by James L. White. The film is directed by Taylor Hackford. (C) 2004 Universal Studios. www.raymovie.com

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

Source: Universal Pictures

Web site: http://www.universalstudios.com/

Web site: http://www.raymovie.com/

Ray - DVD

(Widescreen Edition)

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Jamie Foxx's uncannily accurate performance isn't the only good thing about Ray. Riding high on a wave of Oscar buzz, Foxx proved himself worthy of all the hype by portraying blind R&B legend Ray Charles in a warts-and-all performance that Charles approved shortly before his death in June 2004

Ray!: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD

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