Mark Harris joins the discussion with fringe lead actor picks

Posted by · 10:26 pm · September 12th, 2011

Two years ago author and journalist Mark Harris wrote what I think is one of the most salient Oscar season observances ever squeezed out of this unnecessary corner of the web. I always look to him for one of the most above-the-fray, but smart and informed, perspectives on a given season. And this piece over […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly […]

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REVIEW: “The Ides of March” (***)

Posted by · 7:14 am · August 31st, 2011

Venice Film Festival “I’m not a Christian. I’m not an atheist. I’m not a Muslim. I’m not Jewish. I believe in the American constitution,” intones a spiffily-suited and even fresher-faced-than-usual Ryan Gosling as the opening line of “The Ides of March,” George Clooney’s crisp, diverting and typically (even overly) studious political thriller. Standing at the […]

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Five things I learned from the Golden Globes

Posted by · 5:37 pm · January 17th, 2011

Appropriately enough for the occasion, I watched last night’s Golden Globe awards in a celebratory alcoholic fog (the night having coincided with a friend’s birthday) so thick it took most of today to sleep it off — hence the apologetically late posting. My memory of the evening’s finer details is therefore about as clear as, […]

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12/3 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: ‘Black Swan’ costumes, Tarantino roasted, ‘Harry Potter’ tries for Oscar one more time

Posted by · 8:52 am · December 3rd, 2010

• David Poland writes up the history of Oscar coverage. [Movie City News] • Costume designs from Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.” [Daily Telegraph] • Paula Schwartz reports from the Friars Club Roast of Quentin Tarantino. [The Carpetbagger]

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OFF THE CARPET: Leading men in the spotlight

Posted by · 10:14 am · October 25th, 2010

About a year ago I took to examining the 2009 Best Actor race.  The frontrunners for five slots seemed to be, in order, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Viggo Mortensen and Robert De Niro. A day later press members received their first invites to “Crazy Heart” screenings and were notified […]

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9/22 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Carrey’s Oscar potential, ‘Inception’ with a joystick, demanding to see ‘Beaver’

Posted by · 9:12 am · September 22nd, 2010

• Sasha Stone ponders Oscar possibilities for Jim Carrey in “I Love You Phillip Morris” as the hate-mongering right looks to block the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. [Awards Daily] • Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy reunite to celebrate 25 years of “The Breakfast Club.”  Come on, Emilio.  Too […]

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TIFF: ‘Barney’s Version’ returns home, raves for Giamatti

Posted by · 6:22 am · September 13th, 2010

Last night’s North American premiere of “Barney’s Version” in Toronto was something of a homecoming for the Canadian production — it was, of course, first unveiled on Friday at the Venice Film Festival, where its soft-centered middlebrow appeal rather stood out against the more rigorous auteurism of its fellow Competition titles. If Richard J. Lewis’s […]

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VENICE: Jury duty – award predictions and preferences

Posted by · 11:51 am · September 10th, 2010

The Venice Competition lineup officially wrapped today with one of its lightest and most mainstream selections, “Barney’s Version” (reviewed this morning). With only the out-of-competition closing film “The Tempest” left to screen before I head back to London tomorrow evening, allow me a moment to sift through the runners and riders for the festival prizes […]

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SHORT TAKE: “Barney’s Version” (***)

Posted by · 7:25 am · September 10th, 2010

Venice Film Festival Too few film reviews open with the wisdom of Feargal Sharkey, so it brings me great pleasure to begin this one by saying that a good heart these days is, indeed, hard to find. That’s the chief conclusion to be taken from not just the narrative but the execution of “Barney’s Version,” […]

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9/2 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 6:51 am · September 2nd, 2010

• Michael Cieply chats with comeback kid Ben Affleck, whose film “The Town” is set to play Venice this week. [New York Times] • Remember when “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” won the Palme d’Or?  Parisian critics would rather not. [The Guardian] • Catching up with Julian Schnabel, re: “Miral,” prior to […]

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‘Barney’s Version’ teaser

Posted by · 5:52 pm · August 3rd, 2010

Hat tip to The Playlist for reminding us of this brief trailer for Richard J. Lewis’s comedy “Barney’s Version,” which will premiere in competition at next month’s Venice Film Festival, before moving on to Toronto. (It’s a couple of months old, but for many, the film only hit the radar recently.) There is too little […]

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The Great Performances: 2005

Posted by · 5:07 pm · December 18th, 2009

2005 was the year of Heath Ledger’s beautiful, moving performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” which I saw for the first time in Toronto.  It instantly became the talk of the festival, and the film became the one to beat for the Academy Award. Ledger was astonishing as the taciturn cowboy who is more surprised than anybody […]

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The Great Performances: 2004

Posted by · 6:35 pm · December 11th, 2009

In Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” Paul Giamatti gave the best performance by an actor in 2004, so said the New York Film Critics Circle, and how right they were.  So why, why, why was the actor denied an Oscar nomination?  Granted, it was a strong year, but his work was at the top of that heap […]

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The Great Performances: 2003

Posted by · 9:14 am · December 4th, 2009

There is little doubt in my mind I am going to take some heat this week, so let’s kick it off right away with my belief that Sean Penn deserved his Best Actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” a performance of overwhelming ferocity and staggering emotional power. Yes, I too loved Bill Murray in “Lost in […]

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Confirmed: ‘The Last Station’ goes to Sony Classics

Posted by · 10:16 am · October 2nd, 2009

A few days ago there were whispers on the winds that “The Last Station” had been picked up by a specialty division with a number of art house releases primed for the season.  All signs pointed to Sony Pictures Classics. Today we get a confirmation (and I’ve independently verified) that, indeed, the film is a […]

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Best actor contenders join an eclectic list of recent winners

Posted by · 7:16 am · May 6th, 2008

Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro and Frank Langella seem to be the names bandied about for Oscar consideration this year, which would place them in some impressive company of nominees and winners these last 20 years. Of course, that said, there have also been some bizarre choices for the Best Actor award, which has often […]

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John Adams rides off into the sunset

Posted by · 12:22 am · April 21st, 2008

Well I held back on talking about HBO’s “John Adams” after viewing the second episode last month, but now that it’s over, allow me to speak up on what has become a very popular mini-series event. I was happy to see that the Alien and Sedition Acts finally made an appearance last week, albeit a […]

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