Director bringing Oscar winner to festival
Comedian Patton Oswalt also slated to attend
CHAMPAIGN — Oliver Stone is coming to Ebertfest — and the Oscar-winning filmmaker is bringing one of his greatest hits with him.
Officials confirmed Thursday that Stone will be in Champaign-Urbana next month to show "Born on the Fourth of July" — 25 years after Roger Ebert gave the Vietnam War drama a four-star rating.
The controversial Stone is best known for his political subject matter ("JFK," "Nixon") and his pile of major awards (three Oscars, four Golden Globes).
"Born on the Fourth of July," the story of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, remains one of his classics. It landed Stone his second Best Director win, three years after "Platoon," and earned Tom Cruise his first Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination at the 1990 Academy Awards.
Also coming to C-U for Roger Ebert's 16th annual Film Festival: comedian/actor Patton Oswalt with "Young Adult," in which he stars along with Charlize Theron. The 2011 comedy/drama was directed by Jason Reitman, from a screenplay by Diablo Cody.
Oswalt was slated to attend the 2012 Ebertfest with "Big Fan" but never made it. Weather slowed down the shoot of another movie he'd been cast for, leaving Oswalt on set on the day he was to have been in Champaign.
So "Big Fan" was shown without its lead actor, with director Robert Siegel appearing onstage after its screening at the Virginia Theatre.
The additions of Stone and Patton give Ebertfest three confirmed guests, joining the previously announced Steve James, who will show his documentary "Life Itself," based on Ebert's memoir of the same title. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Festival director Nate Kohn and emcee Chaz Ebert will announce the full, 12-movie lineup and guests sometime within the next two weeks. The festival will be held April 23-27 at the Virginia Theatre and on the University of Illinois campus.
Ebert and the UI College of Media, his alma mater, started Ebertfest to allow the famed film critic to showcase movies he thought had been overlooked. After some folks pointed out that some of the movies at the festival weren't exactly overlooked, Ebert dropped that term from the festival title.
Though Ebert died on April 4, 2013, the festival will continue, with Kohn and Chaz Ebert selecting movies from a list that Roger Ebert came up with during the event's first 15 years.
Chaz Ebert and Kohn also plan to bring newer films to town, based on criteria that they and the late critic had established for the festival.
More on Ebertfest
What: University of Illinois College of Media presents the 16th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival.
When: April 23-27.
Where: Virginia Theatre, 203 W. Park Ave., C, and UI campus.
Festival passes: $145 each, with a few remaining. Available via thevirginia.org, the Virginia box office or 356-9063.
Individual tickets: $14 for each screening for adults and $12, students and senior citizens; go on sale starting April 1 at the Virginia.