In Contention

OFF THE CARPET: The great, appreciated unknown

Posted by · 5:47 pm · September 19th, 2011

As we move out of the Toronto fray, Venice and Telluride already a memory, we look to the season ahead. The starting gun echo of those three early fall festivals is beginning to fade away, and with the dust settled or settling, it’s interesting to note the lack of an inarguable emerging player. In fact, […]

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Moverman’s expressive ‘Rampart’ offers tour de force performance from Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 8:26 am · September 14th, 2011

Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” is absolutely fantastic. Top to bottom, it’s a considerable directorial achievement, and an exciting, brazen departure from his excellent 2009 debut, “The Messenger.” The film — from an original screenplay by James Ellroy, re-written by Moverman — uses the 1999 Los Angeles Police Department Rampart corruption scandal as a frame, a state […]

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Mixed reaction to Moverman’s ‘Rampart’ in Toronto, some measured praise for Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 6:04 pm · September 11th, 2011

One of the more anticipated Toronto bows, for me, is Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” follow-up, “Rampart.” I was a big fan of his last effort and have been intrigued by the possibility of Woody Harrelson bubbling up in the Best Actor race (assuming a studio bites on the film). But things aren’t looking stellar for […]

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9/9 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Gosling King of Toronto, ‘Descendants’ drops earlier, spoilers in trailers

Posted by · 8:24 am · September 9th, 2011

• Susan Wloszczyna writes up Toronto as the Oscar season kickstarter, hears good buzz for Woody Harrelson in “Rampart.” [USA Today] • Jeff Labrecque chalks Ryan Gosling up as the King of Toronto with two films set for the fest. [Entertainment Weekly] • Fox Searchlight moves “The Descendants” up five days to November 18. [Variety]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances in Terrence Malick films

Posted by · 9:40 am · May 24th, 2011

If you can believe it, it’s been since Halloween that we kicked the dust off this feature at In Contention. We made it all the way through the Oscar season without feeling compelled to go there. Odd. So, with Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” opening in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, before […]

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Interviews with the nominees

Posted by · 9:14 am · March 5th, 2010

As we head into the big weekend of this year’s hotly anticipated Academy Awards telecast, I thought I’d toss this list up once more, broken down by film. We’ve added to it a bit since the nominees were announced. And if you’d like to re-live the season so far, you can see how things have […]

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Actors pick their favorite performances of the decade

Posted by · 10:03 am · February 18th, 2010

(Courtesy: New York Times Magazine)

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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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The nominees react

Posted by · 8:08 am · February 2nd, 2010

Throughout the morning and early afternoon we took statements from or hopped on the phone with 44 of today’s Oscar nominees.  Their reactions… Maggie Gyllenhaal, supporting actress, “Crazy Heart”: The thing is, you know, I’m so proud of the movie and I always have been, more proud of it than any of the work I’ve […]

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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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Filed in: The Long Shot

In perspective

Posted by · 3:14 pm · January 16th, 2010

Fortunately, I saw Inglourious Basterds. I saw The Last Station. I have no illusion that I’m going to win anything at this point. So it’s an easy ride for me! –Woody Harrelson discussing life on the 2009-2010 awards circuit.

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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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Karger goes out on a limb for ‘The Messenger’

Posted by · 9:52 am · December 31st, 2009

In the last week or two, the buzz for Rob Marshall’s “Nine” has, undeniably, plummeted.  It took a while for it to get to that point.  The first screening was held nearly a month and a half ago in New York, after all.  But enough goodwill and a certain lazy expectation that the below-the-line elements […]

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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

‘Air,’ ‘Basterds,’ ‘Precious’ lead the way with SAG

Posted by · 6:01 am · December 17th, 2009

There wasn’t much in the way of a surprise with this year’s Screen Actors Guild announcement.  The nods that are least likely to translate to Oscar, if I were a betting man, are Diane Kruger’s supporting actress bid for “Inglourious Basterds” and (I guess I just have a feeling) Matt Damon, supporting for “Invictus.” The […]

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INTERVIEW: Ben Foster

Posted by · 5:18 pm · December 8th, 2009

Ben Foster became an actor I knew I would watch for a long time during an episode of the now canceled TV drama “Boston Public.” Foster was cast as a high school student dying of cancer and had an extraordinary monologue about wanting a Christmas with no crying, with no tears; he wanted his last […]

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‘Up in the Air’ wins big at NBR

Posted by · 11:16 am · December 3rd, 2009

The real question with today’s National Board of Review announcement wasn’t who won, but who didn’t win. A couple of ties and a list of honorees that seemed to canvas the entire crop of filmmaking product from 2009 adds something of a diluted quality to the proceedings, I must say.  Of course, it is worth […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘Lovely Bones’ bows, ‘New Moon’ reigns

Posted by · 4:25 pm · November 29th, 2009

• “The Lovely Bones” finally landed this week, to decidedly mixed reviews. • Kris and Anne offered their thoughts on the film (among others) in this week’s Oscar Talk. • In Off the Carpet, we combed through the Best Adapted Screenplay contenders (which now include “District 9”). • “New Moon” surprised nobody with a record-breaking […]

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Filed in: Daily