Roundup: Are the Academy's new doc rules really democratic?

Posted by · 4:12 am · October 4th, 2012

Earlier this year, the Academy’s alteration of the eligibility criteria for Best Documentary contenders — limiting it to bi-coastal theatrical releases from the calendar year — was generally hailed as a positive move that would de-ghettoise the category. But as branch voters are now being plied with around 100 Academy screeners, some are wondering if the changes are either workable or fair, particularly now that the discs arrive “with a letter suggesting specific films to focus on.” That seems hugely ill-advised to me, and several Academy members too — while most voters may not have time to see all the eligible films, instructing their viewing in this way surely defeats the very point of the new voting system. Dave Itzkoff looks into the issue. (Meanwhile, I’ll be belatedly compiling a Contenders page for the category over the weekend.) [New York Times]

Taking such releases as “The Paperboy” and “The Master” into account, Marlow Stern wonders if this is the year of kinky sex at the movies. (I wouldn’t call what goes down in “The Master” kinky, but it’s a fun read.) [Daily Beast]

Between supposed frontrunners John Hawkes, Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Montgomery wonders if this year’s Best Actor race is a battle of Oscar-bait archetypes. [Gold Derby]

After completing her Natalie Portman-Michael Fassbender western “Jane’s Got a Gun,” Lynne Ramsay is planning a sci-fi adaptation of “Moby Dick.” Just give the woman everything she asks for, people. [The Guardian

In the wake of its SAG disqualification, Glenn Whipp runs down the Oscar prospects for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” across the board. [The Envelope]

Helena Bonham Carter talks “Great Expectations” and dolls up as a slutty usherette. (Her words.) You should brush your hair more often, ma’am. It suits you. [Time Out London]  

As a further reminder that there’s more to the Academy than an awards show, they recently revealed the finalists for this year’s Nicholls Fellowship in Screenwriting. [Thompson on Hollywood]

Speaking of rising talent, Mark London Williams reports from the Emerging Cinematographers Awards at the Directors’ Guild of America. [Below the Line]

Sasha Stone lays out 10 rules of conduct for Oscar pundits this season. We’ll all wind up breaking them. But cheers for namecheck! [Awards Daily]

The Screen Awards, which take place in London tonight, honor the top achievements in UK film marketing. Among the nominees for Poster Design of the Year: “Weekend” and “The Iron Lady.” Well, I suppose you couldn’t miss it. [Screen Awards]

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