Big night for ‘Black Swan’ at Spirit Awards

Posted by · 5:28 pm · February 26th, 2011

Kris was on the scene at the Independent Spirit Awards today, and will, I’m sure, have some first-hand commentary to add later. For now, let me lead the cheers for “Black Swan,” which finally had its moment in the sun this awards season. Two years after its sort-of-sibling “The Wrestler” nabbed the top prize, the surprise […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Picture

Posted by · 8:11 am · February 26th, 2011

And so we come to the end of this year’s Oscar Guide, and the category that has been the cause of more conversation than ever this year: Best Picture. And that can’t be overstated. I can’t recall the last time the debate around a Best Picture winner was so heated, and I’m tempted to say […]

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THE LONG SHOT: A toast to the douchebags

Posted by · 5:34 pm · February 24th, 2011

(Not-quite-final predictions here.) 176 days from the unofficial opening of my Oscar season — a breakfast-hour press screening of “Black Swan” on the first day of the Venice Film Festival — it’s fair to say I’m ready for the endgame. Aren’t we all? Whether you’re delighted or disappointed by where the awards trail has led […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Actress

Posted by · 9:46 am · February 24th, 2011

Early in the season the lead actress category appeared to be more competitive than ever. An easy list of 10 contenders could be drawn up, many of them admittedly sight unseen, and it was anyone’s guess as to which lady could insinuate herself as the odds-on favorite to win. Then the critics began narrowing things […]

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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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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Posted by · 10:05 am · February 7th, 2011

This year’s race for Best Adapted Screenplay has seemingly been the most predictable of the year. One script has dominated the precursor circuit and the name behind that script is as worthy as ever given his contributions to the medium over the years. I’m not particularly a fan of this slate. One script is an […]

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2/7 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: The country turns to a flawed ‘Grit’ hero, will win/won’t win, Lanthimos talks ‘Dogtooth’

Posted by · 8:58 am · February 7th, 2011

• “Why, in troubled times, does America turn to a hard-drinking, half-blind US marshal?” [The Guardian] • Bob Verini takes the pro/con route on each Best Picture hopeful. [Variety] • Larry Rohter chats with “Dogtooth” director (and unlikely Oscar nominee) Yorgos Lanthimos. [The Carpetbagger]

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Predict the WGA and Scripter winners

Posted by · 4:57 pm · February 4th, 2011

This weekend brings a couple of screenwriting competitions: the WGA Awards and the USC Scripter Award ceremony.  I might as well give you some space to predict. My bet on WGA is “The Kids Are All Right” for original, but it does seem like an open race.  I consider it the spoiler possibility for Oscar, […]

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2/4 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Entering the final stretch, Hawkes on being the underdog, last ‘Network’ hurrah?

Posted by · 7:51 am · February 4th, 2011

• Pete Hammond on campaigns entering the final stretch, voters with ballots in hand. [Deadline] • Anne Thompson discusses Oscar voting procedures and more with AMPAS president Tom Sherak. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Jen Yamato talks being the underdog with “Winter’s Bone” star (and Oscar nominee) John Hawkes. [Movieline]

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SANTA BARBARA: Women in the biz

Posted by · 6:20 pm · January 31st, 2011

I really should take the time to write up Saturday’s women’s panel here in Santa Barbara, not least of all because it seems to have been neglected in most outlets.  It’s an undervalued annual program, always moderated with class by Madelyn Hammond and featuring some of the most formidable female talents working in the industry. […]

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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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Oscar nominations: the good, the good and the good

Posted by · 11:22 am · January 25th, 2011

Even when they aren’t being read out with gale-force enthusiasm by Mo’Nique, the Oscar nominations tend to attack you with breathless speed that you need at least half an hour to decide how you feel about them at all. As usual, this morning’s announcement found me bouncing from one split-second reaction to another: Yay! No! […]

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My dream Oscar ballot, part one

Posted by · 1:22 pm · January 22nd, 2011

For the past two years running, I’ve celebrated Oscar Nomination Eve by assembling my own ideal (and, usually, incredibly far-fetched) ballot, so here we go again. As well as a kind of last-ditch prayer to the Oscar gods, I also look on it as a salute to the worthy contenders who haven’t a hope in […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Picture

Posted by · 7:07 pm · January 19th, 2011

For the past eight weeks, I’ve been spotlighting nomination-worthy names,  in all major Ocar categories, from the first half of the US release calendar. Today, we close out the series with an alternative January-to-June Best Picture 10, though it comes a week after ballots closed — timing was never my strong suit. A look at […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Jawellnofine

Posted by · 10:10 am · January 13th, 2011

(Updated Oscar predictions here.) It’s six years this month since I left Johannesburg for the sodden streets of London, so it could just be that I’m in a commemorative mood, but the endlessly useful South African idiom “jawellnofine” (mostly redundant translation: “yes… well… no… fine”) has been on my mind rather a lot this week. It’s […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Below-the-line standouts

Posted by · 11:45 am · January 11th, 2011

For the penultimate installment in our reflection on the most Oscar-worthy achievements from the largely forgotten first half of 2010’s release calendar, I’m backtracking away from the major categories to the place I should perhaps have started: the technical sphere. Had I thought to start this column 20-odd weeks in advance of nomination day, I […]

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Kathryn Bigelow speaks up for ‘Winter’s Bone’

Posted by · 8:15 am · January 6th, 2011

Given that it’s currently fighting tooth and nail for a place in the Academy’s tight Best Picture lineup, scrappy fringe darling “Winter’s Bone” could use some high-profile cheerleaders as we head into the home stretch of voting. And as Steve Pond reports, it just got one, in the shape of reigning Best Picture and Director […]

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‘Ghost Writer’ surprises as one of five USC Scripter finalists

Posted by · 5:00 pm · January 5th, 2011

The USC Libraries Scripter Award is an annual honor (now in its 23rd year) in recognition of “the best adaptation of the printed word into film.” It is one of the more unique awards along the circuit as it is not only awarded to the screenwriter but the source material’s author, as well. Past winners […]

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