In Contention

OSCAR TALK: Ep. 61 — Wrapping up Toronto, ‘Moneyball’ and Brad Pitt’s Oscar positioning, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous,’ ‘Rampart’ and turning out the lights

Posted by · 8:53 am · September 16th, 2011

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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Michael Shannon is a beast in the spectacular ‘Take Shelter’

Posted by · 9:22 am · August 29th, 2011

Not to overstate things, but it’s time to talk about Michael Shannon and the fact that it’ll be amazing if there is a better, more refined, more electrifying performance this year than his work in Jeff Nichols’s “Take Shelter.” This is his best work to date and it deserves a huge swell of awards support. […]

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‘Take Shelter’ takes first award at Cannes

Posted by · 4:40 pm · May 19th, 2011

Nine days in, the Cannes Film Festival is winding down. Many of the US journos are flying home, and with Pedro Almodóvar’s “The Skin I Live In” having premiered this morning — review coming tomorrow — the superstar auteurs have all shown their hand. (That’s not to say Nuri Bilge Ceylan or Paolo Sorrentino can’t […]

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What will be this year’s Sundance story?

Posted by · 2:50 pm · January 31st, 2011

I must confess, this year’s Sundance Film Festival kind of passed me by. Admittedly, I’ve been distracted by a busy couple of weeks on the awards circuit, but the Sundance coverage I did follow suggested a high-quality if nonetheless rather quiet festival, one with fewer noisy breakout films than usual. In the last few years, […]

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VENICE: ‘My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?,’ ‘Lourdes’

Posted by · 1:47 pm · September 4th, 2009

Another sweltering day on the Lido, though rainclouds are forming and things look set to break any moment now. Hopefully a change in climate will also bring about an upswing in the collective quality of films on display, as the first three days have served up a few well-liked titles, several misfires and nothing yet […]

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6/2 Web Round-up

Posted by · 9:37 am · June 2nd, 2009

• With “The Hangover” on the way next weekend, Dave Itzkoff talks to director Todd Phillips. [New York Times] • Tom O’Neil remembers Jay Leno’s 12-year Emmy losing streak as the host exits “The Tonight Show.” [Gold Derby] • Hey, proper use of the word “exclusive” for a change (and a few days late linking).  […]

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Casting news galore

Posted by · 9:14 pm · April 1st, 2009

Lots of acting decisions being made today.  Despite the “holiday,” it’s all legit, too.  Well, I can’t vouch for /Film’s points us to the news that a trio of thesps joining Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (each of them listed as “in talks”).  According to Variety, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard and Ellen Page are circling the project […]

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2/18 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:08 am · February 18th, 2009

• Dave Germain digs into Oscar’s history of scene-stealers, joined this year by Viola Davis and Michael Shannon. [Associated Press] • Erika Kinetz, meanwhile, keeps at the same old “Slumdog Millionaire” story that has grown stale over the last few weeks. [Associated Press] • Ryan Adams eschews the usual “top 10 list” and instead cranks […]

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2/6 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:31 am · February 6th, 2009

• David Poland is probably wrong on two counts at the top of his recent Oscar column (certainly plkenty of us had our sites set on Davis and Shannon going into this awards season), but we’ll give him some slack. [Movie City News] • David Carr, via video, talks about Bill Condon and Larry Mark […]

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Interviews with this year’s Oscar nominees at In Contention

Posted by · 3:37 pm · January 29th, 2009

Mickey Rourke (Best Actor, “The Wrestler”) Michael Shannon (Best Supporting Actor, “Revolutionary Road”) Amy Adams (Best Supporting Actress, “Doubt”) Marisa Tomei (Best Supporting Actress, “The Wrestler”) Danny Boyle (Best Director, “Slumdog Millionaire”) (also here) James Marsh (director, “Man on Wire”) Kristi Zea, Albert Wolsky (Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, “Revolutionary Road”) Chris Menges (Best […]

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SANTA BARBARA: Virtuosos on the march

Posted by · 11:55 pm · January 28th, 2009

Unfortunately, “Happy-Go-Lucky” star couldn’t make it to tonight’s presentation of the Virtuoso Awards at the Lobero Theatre due to surgery recovery, but Viola Davis, Richard Jenkins, Rosemarie DeWitt, Melissa Leo and Michael Shannon were on hand to talk their roles in five of the most critically acclaimed films of the year.  James Cromwell did the […]

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After cooling off a bit…

Posted by · 11:22 am · January 23rd, 2009

Yesterday the Academy displayed just what a fractured organization they are, championing a small film like “Slumdog Millionaire,” for which I applaud them, but snubbing “The Dark Knight,” one of the best reviewed films of the year and a titan at the box office. All day I was asking, ‘How?’  All day I wondered just […]

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Santa Barbara heats up

Posted by · 5:29 pm · January 22nd, 2009

The air smells cleaner.  The sound of waves crashing outside the hotel room is soothing.  The hippies are dancing in the streets. It’s nice to get away from the mess of this morning and the frustration of Oscar season in general for eight days.  But the awards circuit isn’t out of sight by any means.  […]

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Hey, it ain’t ALL bad

Posted by · 8:25 am · January 22nd, 2009

OK, looking at the bigger picture, I’m as mortified as everyone else by this morning’s Academy Award nominations. By playing it safe in numerous areas, AMPAS voters have once more failed their art form … but more surprisingly, they have failed their audience. Kris has already touched to some extent on the most glaring injustices […]

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A film that sticks — why ‘Revolutionary Road’ is a masterwork

Posted by · 2:26 pm · January 15th, 2009

GENTLE SPOILERS WITHIN — READ WITH CAUTION Fear of change, fear of risk. “If you don’t try anything, you can’t fail,” she tells him, striking at the heart of what has him so afraid of uprooting their family to Paris in the hopes of a better way of life.  Frank Wheeler is terrified of change, […]

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INTERVIEW: Michael Shannon

Posted by · 9:53 am · December 24th, 2008

If you’ve seen James Marsh’s “Man on Wire,” then you know of Philippe Petit’s dazzling tight-rope walk between the towers of New York’s World Trade Center on the morning of August 7, 1974.  What you probably don’t know is that while Petit was criss-crossing back and forth between the towers for roughly 45 minutes, Michael […]

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‘Doubt’ leads with five SAG noms

Posted by · 7:54 am · December 18th, 2008

(Apologies for the delay getting these up this morning.  I had technical difficulties signing in and had to scoot shortly after the announcement.  Here are the belated nominees with commentary.) The Screen Actors Guild didn’t have much up its sleeve this morning for its heavily anticipated nominations announcement.  No left-field zingers, no “3:10 to Yuma” […]

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How about some SAG predictions?

Posted by · 11:14 am · December 17th, 2008

With tomorrow’s SAG announcement hovering, waiting to be the first true litmus test of what the industry thinks of the year’s product (being the first guild out of the gate), I thought I’d take a stab at predictions, fit with alternates for old times’ sake. I think this will be the first real trial for […]

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