In Contention

Albert Brooks talks ‘Drive’

Posted by · 8:35 am · September 16th, 2011

The great Albert Brooks took playful Twitter umbrage with my yanking him from the predicted five supporting actor contenders recently. I assure you (and him) that it’s a lack of faith in the Academy, which would enter uber-cool territory by giving him (or anything) a nod for this film, not a lack of faith in […]

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‘Beginners’: Plummer’s late Oscar vehicle?

Posted by · 1:17 pm · June 9th, 2011

We may be almost halfway through the 2011 release schedule, and as usual, there’s been little in the theaters to trouble the Oscar-minded obsessives among us. That’s not to say the last six months have wanted for deserving work — in a perfect world, one where all good films are created equal, “Certified Copy” star […]

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On the Oscar prospects of ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 11:59 am · May 22nd, 2011

With “The Tree of Life” winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes today, Oscar talk has already swelled on Twitter (after whispered considerations in the wake of the premiere last week). I’ll be writing about the film again next weekend, when some of you will be able to take a look, but for now, I thought […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Heading into the home stretch

Posted by · 11:48 am · February 21st, 2011

I’m watching CNN’s report of the on-going situation in Libya as I write these comparably pointless words. The “real world” seems so unique, so foreign after having our head in the awards season clouds since September. Now, six months in, victory lane is a mere six days away. And man, it’s been a marathon. So […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Supporting Actor

Posted by · 8:59 am · February 8th, 2011

Very few of the 20 actors nominated for Oscars this year (if any) feel like egregious calls. As usual, the lead actor race is the most impressive, but the Best Supporting Actor slate isn’t too shabby, either. Each performance is masterful in its own way, and each serves its respective narrative to the fullest. Two […]

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Ruffalo finally gets the nod

Posted by · 9:54 am · January 26th, 2011

Amid the assorted geeky stat-studies I made in the wake of yesterday’s Oscar nominations, I noticed that it hasn’t been a vintage year for first-time nominees in the acting categories. Of the 20 actors selected, 12 are repeat nominees — the highest number since 2002. But among the eight thesps making their Oscar debut are […]

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1/13 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: No dice for Winklevi, Alice Ward fights for her life, Weaver keeps making the rounds

Posted by · 8:07 am · January 13th, 2011

• Away from Oscar and in real life, Micky Ward’s mother is in a hospital fighting for her life… [Boston Globe] • …while the Winklevi lose their Facebook settlement appeal. [Paid Content] • Is “The King’s Speech” royalist propaganda? [The Guardian]

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Category justice or precarious situation for Steinfeld?

Posted by · 12:28 pm · January 3rd, 2011

All season long the question from countless readers was, “Why do you have Hailee Steinfeld listed as a supporting actress contender?  Her character is the lead of ‘True Grit.’”  Indeed.  But I knew where Paramount was going to campaign the performance, and I expected a number of critics groups to follow that notion like sheep […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Supporting Actor

Posted by · 5:18 pm · December 8th, 2010

Only two weeks into my new feature and I’m already a day late — apologies. My laptop (now cured, at least until its next mood swing) will graciously accept the blame. If you missed last week’s introductory instalment, the game is a simple one. In the run-up to nomination day, I’m picking five outstanding contenders […]

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Making Christian Bale “all happy and shiny”

Posted by · 8:42 am · December 6th, 2010

I’m tellin’ ya, Christian Bale is taking from the Mo’Nique school of Oscar campaigning more and more.  Okay, not really, though that’ll make a nice narrative for the press to wrap around his usual prickliness as the season unfolds, just you watch. Of course, I’m sure Paramount would rather he go through the usual tame […]

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Penn going supporting for ‘Fair Game?’

Posted by · 12:53 pm · October 27th, 2010

Scott Feinberg is reporting that Sean Penn, who gives a rather wonderful performance in Doug Liman’s “Fair Game” with much more meat on its bones than Naomi Watts’s somewhat internalized work, will be pushed in the supporting category rather than lead. Uh…why?  First and foremost, I’d consider this a lead performance, but whatever, category fraud […]

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EXCLUSIVE: Casting Sam Rockwell in ‘Conviction’ (clip)

Posted by · 9:39 am · October 13th, 2010

Think fast: when was the first time you remember seeing Sam Rockwell on the big screen?  Most people probably caught up with him in the late-1990s in films like “Safe Men,” “The Green Mile” and “Galaxy Quest.” Others perked up, surely, when George Clooney had the vision to give him the starring role in “Confessions […]

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Ruffalo is back with ‘Kids’

Posted by · 9:26 am · June 23rd, 2010

Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right” opened the Los Angeles Film Festival last Thursday night, right across 11th Street from the Staples Center downtown as the Lakers triumphed in Game 7 of the NBA playoffs.  No, they weren’t rioting on Figueroa because the movie’s good, but it IS a solid piece. I spoke briefly […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Supporting Actor

Posted by · 10:30 am · February 17th, 2010

In a slight rarity, the year’s Best Supporting Actor category reflected the Screen Actors Guild nominees 100% this season. Nominations for Alfred Molina and Alec Baldwin at the BAFTA Awards weren’t enough to generate enough cross-over support, while Christian McKay’s late surge couldn’t get him there, either. What we’re left with is a sleepwalking performance […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Supporting Actress

Posted by · 2:03 pm · February 3rd, 2010

This year’s Best Supporting Actress race made for, in many ways, one of the most wide open categories of the major nominees. While three of the contenders seemed fairly locked in place, the other two slots appeared up for grabs, and there was no shortage of deserving contenders waiting to fill out the field. Contenders […]

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THE LONG SHOT: The pre-nomination shuffle

Posted by · 6:53 pm · January 27th, 2010

This, ladies and gentlemen, will be the last Long Shot column I write before the 2009 Academy Award nominations are announced, and it’s not just because it’s the column’s 17th week that the well of subject matter is looking rather dry. I have followed longer awards seasons than this one (the awards used to take […]

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Woody Harrelson gets some quality ink

Posted by · 3:25 pm · January 9th, 2010

Of course I’ve been singing Woody Harrelson’s praises in “The Messenger” since day one, and thankfully, after a shove into the race with National Board of Review recognition, he’s been on a relatively solid track as of late.  And as I mentioned in Friday’s Oscar Talk, there is some chatter around his potential for a […]

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OFF THE CARPET: A spade is a spade

Posted by · 11:10 am · December 28th, 2009

Oscar ballots are being mailed to AMPAS members today.  So now is the time to pay attention to the buzz, as most ballots are returned within the first couple of weeks (which says everything you need to know about how much time and care is put into the process by voters). However, it’s somewhat amazing […]

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Filed in: Off the Carpet