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Category: 127 Hours

Tracking the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay

October 29, 2010 |  4:23 pm

Obviously, "The Social Network" is ahead in the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay, given its front-runner status as best picture and the vaunted reputation of Aaron Sorkin as master wordsmith. However, upsets are always possible at these quirkly Hollywood awards, of course.

Adapted screenplay oscar news-4

"127 Hours" or "True Grit" could quickly jump ahead if one of them wins best picture from the film critics' awards in early December, which is quite possible. The creators of both films have been honored by them in the past and they also previously won the Oscars for best picture and screenplay in the past for "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men."

There's an obvious link between those two Academy Award categories. Over the past 10 years, five best pictures won best adapted screenplay ("The Departed," "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," "A Beautiful Mind" in addition to "Slumdog" and "No Country") and two won best original screenplay ("The Hurt Locker," "Crash").

This year's other major rival for best picture, "The King's Speech," is over in the category for original scripts, so this category for adapted fare may be turned into a consolation prize, as often happens ("Precious," "Brokeback Mountain," "Sideways").

There's a lot of love for "Toy Story 3," animated films are overdue to prevail and Michael Arndt is a past Oscar fave ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Beware: "Toy Story 3" may even become a threat in the best picture battle.

Forget "Rabbit Hole." Yeah, yeah, it won the Pulitzer Prize, but voters must've been drunk. The script didn't deserve it.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
(Favorites)
"127 Hours," Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle
"How to Train Your Dragon," William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
"Love and Other Drugs," Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick
"Rabbit Hole," David Lindsay Abaire
"The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin
"The Town," Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard
"Toy Story 3," Michael Arndt
"True Grit," Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
"Winter's Bone," Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: 3 or 5 animated feature Oscar nominees? | "SNL" = Oscar good luck charm?

October 29, 2010 |  4:11 pm

MegaMindPete Hammond has the scoop on the possibility of the animated feature Oscar race expanding this year. As he reports, "the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences sent out a reminder confirming the 5 PM PT November 1st deadline for 2010 Best Animated feature entries. At this point there do not appear to be enough entries to trigger five nominations rather than the more common three but there is still time, brother. What wasn’t mentioned in the release is the number that have been received so far at the Academy. A really good clue though is a  letter I have learned that was  sent late last week updating members and potential members of the Animation committee (the ones doing the voting)  and informing them that 14 entries had been received but that it was still possible to reach 16, the magic number needed to expand the category." DEADLINE

• In his latest edition of Oscar Futures, Lane Brown touts the rise of best actor contender James Franco ("127 Hours") -- "Reviews for his movie are ecstatic, reviews for his book are not bad, and S.T. Vanairsdale has him leapfrogging Firth to top position this week" -- and the decline of Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network") -- "Buzz seems to be cooling down here. Was he really as good as everybody thought a month ago?" VULTURE

• In a fascinating read, Guy Lodge looks back at British success at the Oscars and forecasts the chances for this year's contenders "The King's Speech," "Made in Dagenham" and "Another Year." IN CONTENTION

• After seeing "Morning Glory," Jeff Wells says, "this film is close to 'Broadcast News' level Brooks + grade A, totally-on-his-game Michell + Harrison Ford's best performance in years + Rachel McAdams giving an ever better performance than she did in 'The Wedding Crashers' (and that's saying something). Ford's performance as a grumpy, past-his-prime, Dan Rather-ish newsman has a shot at a Best Supporting Actor recognition. Or not. He's surly but smirking all the while. The role as written isn't quite home-run-level, but it's fair to call it a solid triple, I think." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• In the context of announced gigs by Jeff Bridges ("True Grit") and Anne Hathaway ("Love and Other Drugs"), Mike Ryan investigates the correlation between hosting "Saturday Night Live" and nabbing an Oscar nomination. He discovers, "since SNL’s debut in 1975, 27 future Oscar nominees have hosted Saturday Night Live during the same season that they were nominated or won. (Nine more, including winners Adrien Brody, Richard Dreyfuss, Angelica Huston and Geena Davis actually hosted during the season, but after the ceremony; call those a victory lap.) Of that 27, seven have gone on to win the award he or she was nominated for, most recently Forest Whitaker, who hosted on Feb 10, 2007." MOVIELINE

Dave Karger reports, "this week I saw the first For Your Consideration trade ad that listed possible contenders by category. The distinction goes to Disney’s 'Alice in Wonderland,' which is being touted for Best Picture, Best Director (Tim Burton), Best Actor (Johnny Depp), and Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway), along with 13 other categories." OSCAR WATCH

• For Steve Pond, "Trent Reznor may have taken a circuitous route to writing the music for David Fincher's 'The Social Network,' but he and his longtime collaborator Atticus Ross made the most of the gig once they took it. The Nine Inch Nails mastermind and his co-composer have created one of the year’s most imaginative and bracing film scores, a piano-rooted, synthesizer-drenched work that is by turns plaintive and assaultive, and always adventurous and unconventional." THE ODDS

• And Sheila Roberts sits down with Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire") to talk about his score for "127 Hours." COLLIDER

Photo: "MegaMind" poster. Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Mad Men' gets 'Mr. Men' treatment | Jennifer Lawrence is rising star for Palm Springs filmfest

October 26, 2010 |  4:46 pm

• Submissions for consideration by the nominating panels of the SAG Awards have to be in by 5 p.m. PDT Thursday. SAG AWARDS

Sasha Stone examines the truthfulness of certain best picture contenders, including front-running "The Social Network," and considers this in terms of the state of the race. AWARDS DAILY

John Lopez looks at the long list of lead actress contenders. LITTLE GOLD MEN

Draper-1d • Three-time Emmy champ "Mad Men" has inspired a British satirical website to create a cheeky revamp of the "Mr. Men" series of cartoon characters by the late Roger Hargreaves. Included in their tongue-in-cheek report, is this statement from spokesperson Camile Von Bach: "Pre-orders for 'Mr. Sterling Gets Angry' have exceeded all expectations, so we can’t wait to see what happens with 'Mr. Draper Loses His Trousers' or 'Little Miss Peggy Gets Another Bump In Her Tummy.'" THE POKE

• The motion picture academy has set up a Twitter feed. The first tweet — "I'm ready for my close-up" — is an abridgment of that memorable final line of dialogue from 1950 best picture nominee "Sunset Boulevard" when faded star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) descends into madness. TWITTER

Pete Hammond reports on the first of many weekends filled with screenings and parties touting various awards contenders and caps this off with a peek behind the scenes at Monday's Hollywood Film Awards. DEADLINE

Steve Pond has the scoop on the online voting for the kudos handed out by the International Documentary Assn. Among the details: "To be approved to vote using the new system, members cannot have any professional connection to a nominee, must agree to watch all five films in their entirety, and must have a high-speed Internet connection and satisfy minimum browser requirements." THE ODDS

Katie Hasty chatted with writer-director Tyler Perry and two of the women — Anika Noni Rose and Phylicia Rashad — featured in his new film "For Colored Girls." HITFIX

• The Palm Springs film festival will fete lead actress contender Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone") as a rising star at the annual gala Jan. 8. In making the announcement, fest chair Harold Matzner said, "Call it a gift for us all when a young performer comes along, demonstrating such natural theatrical instinct." Past recipients include Jessica Biel, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Bryce Dallas Howard, Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick and Scarlett Johansson. PSIFF

Ryan Adams praises the relatively short running time of "127 Hours" and considers this in light of the academy's ususal preference for pictures that run longer. However, as he writes, "the brevity of 'Marty,' 'Driving Miss Daisy' and 'Annie Hall' work so well because they’re 100% free of excess padding. '127 Hours' is exactly as lean and mean as it needs to be." AWARDS DAILY

Anne Thompson thinks, "The only way for (Tilda) Swinton — who is admired by critics and art house audiences alike — to make the best actress Oscar grade this year for 'I Am Love' (which played the fest circuit before opening in June), is for critics to make a fuss over her in their year-end wraps and ten-best lists, and for critics groups and the Golden Globes to reward her with prizes and nominations and thus turn the screener into a must-see for SAG and Academy actors." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Image: Mr. Draper from "Mad Men." Credit: ThePoke.co.uk.


Gold Derby nuggets: 'Shutter Island' reopens | '127 Hours' news and views | Casting news for 'The Hobbit'

October 22, 2010 | 11:29 am

Pete Hammond delivers the scoop on a "high profile kick-off to Paramount's 'Shutter Island' Oscar campaign." As Pete reports, "American Cinematheque will present a retrospective of the film collaborations of Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre the weekend of November 13 with the pair participating in a live 'conversation' following a November 14 screening. DiCaprio will appear in person while Scorsese will be satellited in from London where he is currently working on his new film 'Hugo Cabret.'" DEADLINE

• In the latest installment of their weekly Oscar Talk podcast, Anne Thompson and Kris Tapley dish about the odds of films like "Solitary Man" and "Welcome to the Rileys" making it into the race. THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

127 HoursGraydon Carter moderates a compelling Q&A with "127 Hours" director Danny Boyle and star James Franco and the real-life subject of the film Aron Ralston, who was forced to cut off his own arm when he was trapped by a boulder while hiking alone. LITTLE GOLD MEN

Sasha Stone admits, "I don’t think I’ve ever spent a more riveting or emotionally moving hour and a half in the theater as I did last night watching '127 Hours.' It confirms what I already knew about Danny Boyle: that he is a genius visually, intellectually, emotionally. He knows that it isn’t just the story of how Ralston got out of that canyon; it’s that key bit of truth we all must remind ourselves of everyday: life is not lived alone. We need each other. We need to be able to ask for help." AWARDS DAILY

• The American Society of Cinematographers has named three more honorees who will be feted alongside Roger Deakins at the 25th-anniversary edition of their kudos on Feb. 13. John Seale will receive the International Award, Michael D. O’Shea is to get the Career Achievement in Television Award, and photographer Douglas Kirkland will take home the Presidents Award. ASC

• Casting has come together for Peter Jackson's two-part film adaptation of "The Hobbit." As Harley W. Lond reports, "Martin Freeman will star as Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage will play head dwarf Thorin Oakenshield. Other cast members — all of them to play dwarves — include Rob Kazinsky, Aidan Turner, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow and Peter Hambleton." MOVIEFONE

• "Toy Story 3" director Lee Unkrich and screenwriter Michael Arndt sit down with Terry Gross for a fascinating conversation about the making of this best picture contender as well as the history of the franchise. NPR

• The British Library has acquired more than 50 awards bestowed on the late Harold Pinter, including his 2005 Nobel Prize in literature. As Zainab Rahim reports, "The library acquired the awards through the government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme, which seeks to ensure that important cultural treasures pass into the UK’s public collections. The BL, which is also a charity that advocates for the preservation of knowledge, previously acquired the playwright’s archive in December 2007 including his handwritten notes, typed drafts covered in annotations and his Nobel Prize acceptance speech that he was unable to deliver due to ill health " THE STAGE

Photo: Danny Boyle, left, and James Franco on the set of  "127 Hours." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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One year ago: What Oscar pundits prophesized

October 21, 2010 | 12:29 pm

Up in the air oscars newsLet this be a lesson to all of us smug Oscar seers who insist that they know how the current derby will play out. Most of us now say that it's "The Social Network" versus "The King's Speech" for best picture, Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") versus James Franco ("127 Hours") for lead actor and Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") versus Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") for lead actress. But true?

One year ago today, we weren't even talking about the eventual winners of lead actor and actress: Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side").

BEST PICTURE: Last year in mid-October we had a decent grasp of the best picture race in terms of leading contenders, but nearly all Oscarologists were betting on "Up in the Air." Just weeks earlier "Precious" had the most buzz. Expectations were building for "Avatar" but also for "Nine," "Invictus" and "The Lovely Bones." "Bright Star," which had already been seen, still shone brightly. Ditto: "An Education," "Up," "A Serious Man," "Julie & Julia," even "District 9." A surge was building for "Inglourious Basterds." "The Hurt Locker" was among top rivals, but it hadn't made its surge to the head of the pack. 

LEAD ACTOR: Fox Searchlight had not announced that "Crazy Heart" was about to ambush this contest, so all eyes were on George Clooney ("Up in the Air") as lead pony. Matt Damon ("The Informant") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("Nine") seemed like good bets for bids. Other top rivals: Colin Firth ("A Single Man"), Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker"), Tobey Maguire ("Brothers"), Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"), Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Sharlto Copley ("District 9"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Sherlock Holmes"), Robert DeNiro ("Everybody's Fine"), Mark Wahlberg ("The Lovely Bones"), Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"). Final nominees turned out to be Bridges, Clooney, Firth, Freeman and Renner.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: Fest faves James Franco & Carey Mulligan | Tom Bosley dead at 83 | Sasha Stone on best picture race

October 19, 2010 |  1:41 pm

• "127 Hours" leading man James Franco will receive the outstanding performance prize from the Santa Barbara filmfest on Jan. 29. In making the announcement, fest exec Roger Durling described him thus: "A truly exceptional actor who embraces the character and lives the story to tell it, James Franco eases onto the screen, seducing the audience no matter if he is the hero, the villain or the victim." Among the roster of talent that has taken home this prize in the past: Colin Firth (2010), Penelope Cruz (2009), Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005) and Charlize Theron (2004). SBIFF

Carey Mulligan will be feted by the Palm Springs filmfest with the breakthrough award on Jan. 8. Previous recipients include Mariah Carey -- who made headlines last year with her wobbly acceptance speech at the event -- Freida Pinto, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Hudson. PSIFF

Steve Pond reports, "a handful of upcoming films got their first widespread exposure last week at the National Association of Theater Owners’ ShowEast conference in Orlando, Florida. And judging from conversations with exhibition executives who attended the four-day conference, the news is good for 'The Fighter' 'Tangled' and 'Morning Glory,' but not so much for 'Due Date' and 'Fair Game.'" THE ODDS

• Lionsgate marketing chief Tim Palen has captured the stars of "For Colored Girls" -- Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and Loretta Devine -- in a series of "Living Portraits." They will be displayed at the Lehman Maupin gallery in Gotham between October 24 and 27. HIT FIX

Tom Bosley Happy DaysTom Bosley, best known as the kindly patriarch on the classic sitcom "Happy Days," died Tuesday at age 83. The veteran actor won the Tony Award in 1960 for his performance as colorful New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the Pulitzer-winning tuner "Fiorello!" Over the 11 seasons of "Happy Days," Bosley contended only once for the supporting Emmy, losing that 1978 race to Rob Reiner who won his second of two trophies for "All in the Family." Since "Happy Days" signed off in 1984, Bosley kept busy with several more series ("Murder, She Wrote" and "The Father Dowling Mysteries") as well as returning repeatedly to his first love, the stage, most recently in a tour of "On Golden Pond" with Emmy champ Michael Learned ("The Waltons").  TV GUIDE

Anthony Breznican sits down with Oscar champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") to discuss the remake of "True Grit," which reunites him with the Coen brothers 12 years after "The Big Lebowski." USA TODAY

• "Glee" will be showcasing two potential guest actress contenders in upcoming episodes. Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow appears on Nov. 16 as a substitute teacher who takes over the New Directions while six-time Emmy champ Carol Burnett debuts the following week as Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) Nazi-hunting mother. PLAYBILL

• In anticipation of the Blu-ray release of his 1979 best picture nominee "Apocalypse Now," director Francis Ford Coppola chats with Alonso Duralde. MOVIELINE

Sasha Stone assesses the derby in light of the Gotham Award nominations and says, "The Best Picture race is nowhere near set. With each award announcement, the picture becomes clearer. 'Winter’s Bone' didn’t look like it would be one of the ten. 'Secretariat' did. Now, 'Winter’s Bone' looks good, and 'Secretariat' will need something extra to push it through. When the Los Angeles and New York film critics make their announcements, things will again shift. They will keep shifting through the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, and most importantly, the Directors Guild." AWARDS DAILY

• After making note of the four films sent out by Sony Pictures Classic, Scott Feinberg says, "My only criticism related to SPC’s screeners is the decision -- which admittedly may not have been the studio’s alone — to promote Annette Bening's performance in 'Mother and Child' for best actress. Bening is terrific in the film, but the studio and Bening have to know that she stands an infinitely better chance at a best actress nod for her performance in the much higher-profile 'The Kids Are All Right' and that they -- unlike the people pushing her for that film -- could actually justify pushing her for 'Mother and Child' in the supporting category, which is wide open, because she’s but one member of a large ensemble." SCOTT FEINBERG

Ryan Adams passes along a post from a reader that reviews possible contenders for the cinematography award and finds 40 names in the mix. AWARDS DAILY

Photo: Tom Bosley in a promotional still for "Happy Days." Credit: ABC.

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Poll: Will 'Winter's Bone' be nominated for best picture at the Oscars?

October 18, 2010 |  4:20 pm

Winter's bone gotham awards news

Now that "Winter's Bone" leads with the most nominations at the Gotham Independent Film Awards (three), its Oscar hopes brighten. But how much? Only three previous Gotham champs were nommed for best picture in the past: "The Hurt Locker," "Capote" and "Sideways."

"Winter's Bone" faces a crowded field at the upcoming Oscar derby. Currently, there are 13 front-runners competing for the 10 best-picture slots: "127 Hours," "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "Hereafter," "How Do You Know," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right," "The King's Speech," "The Social Network," "The Town," "Toy Story 3," "True Grit" and "The Way Back."

Jockeying right behind: "Alice in Wonderland," "Another Year," "Blue Valentine," "For Colored Girls," "The Ghost Writer," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Made in Dagenham," "Love and Other Drugs," "Rabbit Hole," "Secretariat" and "Shutter Island."

Can "Winter's Bone" break through?

 

Photo: "Winter's Bone" (Roadside Attractions)

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Countdown to '127 Hours'

October 15, 2010 |  5:34 pm

127 HOURS one-sheet Danny Boyle's first film since "Slumdog Millionaire" swept the Oscars two years ago is "127 Hours." The film is based on the true story of hiker Aron Ralston who was forced to cut off his arm when it became pinned by a rock. The picture screened at the Telluride and Toronto film fests to very positive reaction and star James Franco is a strong contender for lead actor.

Along with the main website for the film, which features extensive background video along with photos and fact sheets, there is an offshoot -- 127DefiningMoments -- which is collecting inspirational stories as part of a contest.

The trailer below captures the intensity of "127 Hours," which opens in select cities on Nov. 5.

Photo: "127 Hours" poster. Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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Latest Oscar predictions: Lead actor

October 13, 2010 |  4:10 pm

King's speech 127 Hours Oscars news

Right now it looks like Colin Firth is far ahead in the Academy Award race for lead actor.

All Oscarologists know that voters are suckers for actors who portray real-life characters (Forest Whittaker in "Last King of Scotland," Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Capote"), especially ones with handicaps (Jamie Foxx in "Ray," Geoffrey Rush in "Shine"). In "The King's Speech," Firth portrays Britain's monarch George VI struggling to overcome a stammer while rallying his countrymen to fight World War II.

Firth has something else going for him — the old Oscar Makeup Rule: If you lose one year, don't worry, you'll win the next. All of these stars (plus many others) won an Academy Award one year after being a losing nominee: Russell Crowe (triumphed for "Gladiator" after losing for "The Insider"), Jack Nicholson (won for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" after losing for "Chinatown"), Nicole Kidman (won for "The Hours" after losing for "Moulin Rouge!"), etc. Last year Firth lost for "A Single Man."

In addition, "The King's Speech" is a top contender for best picture, possibly even the front-runner to win. Academy voters love to give away an acting Oscar along with best picture (Russell Crowe in "Gladiator," Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty").

But that's also true of James Franco in "127 Hours," which will certainly be nominated for best picture. Arguably, he portrays a handicapped person too, since he chops off his arm while stuck in a canyon, and a real-life one at that (based on the ordeal of hiker Aron Ralston). He benefits a bit from the Oscar Makeup Rule as well, not as a past nominee, but as someone who should've nabbed the supporting slot for "Milk" in 2008, but got snubbed.

There's a third serious contender in this race: Jeff Bridges in the Coen brothers' "True Grit," which probably will be nommed for best picture. It's also a proven vehicle for Oscar glory since John Wayne triumphed in the role in 1969. Having won last year for "Crazy Heart," he wouldn't benefit from the Oscar Makeup Rule, but from the Oscar Bandwagon Effect that earned Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia," "Forrest Gump") and Spencer Tracy ("Captains Courageous," "Boys Town") consecutive victories.

LEAD ACTOR
(Frontrunners)
Jeff Bridges, "True Grit"
Colin Firth, "The King's Speech"
James Franco, "127 Hours"

(Possible)
Ben Affleck, "The Town"
Javier Bardem, "Biutiful"
Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "Inception"
Michael Douglas, "Solitary Man"
Robert Duvall, "Get Low"
Ryan Gosling, "Blue Valentine"
Mark Wahlberg, "The Fighter"

Continue reading »

Latest Oscar predictions: Best picture

October 11, 2010 |  4:32 pm

The Social Network Toy Story 3 Oscars news

Since "The Social Network" has not disappointed at the box office, it retains its status as the front-runner to win best picture at the Oscars. However, buzz builds fast for "The King's Speech," which is just the kind of grand historical drama that academy voters used to adore. Normally, royal film pageants don't do well at the early film-critics' awards, though, and nowadays those critics' kudos seem to matter more than ever.

Critics' trophies certainly helped to propel "The Hurt Locker" Oscar bound last year. What's possible this year? Anything. Journos often like to shake things up by making oddball calls. This year that could mean victory by, say, "Toy Story 3" at the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., Critics Choice or National Society of Film Critics. "Toy Story 3" has a high cool factor, high critics' score (92 at Metacritic), and it has strong appeal to those male-dominated gangs who yearn for boyhood days.

"Babe" won best picture from the national society in 1995, and in more recent years, "Shrek" (2001) came close to winning best picture from the New Yorkers. "Babe" also won best comedy/musical picture at the Golden Globes, by the way — just like "Toy Story 2."

"127 Hours" will trigger intense national attention upon its release in November and will draw lots of votes at the critics' awards one month later. Enough to triumph? Maybe. Don't count out "Black Swan" — it's the most artistically daring flick of the year and also very sexy. "True Grit" and "The Fighter" are still unseen by us journos.

Here is my current ranking:

1. "The Social Network"
2. "The King's Speech"
3. "Toy Story 3"
4. "127 Hours"
5. "True Grit"
6. "Black Swan"
7. "Inception"
8. "Hereafter"
9. "The Fighter"
10. "The Kids Are All Right"

Of course, one or two other films are likely to sneak in. From the choices in the poll below, which one has the best chance of breaking in?

Photos: Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network" (Columbia), "Toy Story 3" (Pixar)

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New trailers: 'Blue Valentine,' '127 Hours,' 'The Way Back'

October 8, 2010 |  4:46 pm

"Blue Valentine" just got slapped with an NC-17 rating, which may hurt it at the box office and therefore at the Oscars, but it's certainly in the derby thanks to realistic, deeply felt performances by past nominees Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.

See trailers for "127 Hours" and "The Way Back" after the jump.

Continue reading »

'Animal Kingdom' and 'Mother and Child' are first DVD screeners of Oscar season

October 4, 2010 |  6:38 pm

Oscars screeners

Being first out of the gate often matters a lot in the Oscar derby. "Frozen River" and "Little Miss Sunshine" reaped top nominations in 2008 and 2006, respectively, after being the first DVDs shipped to academy members. This year, that distinction goes to two releases shipped by Sony Pictures Classics late last week: "Animal Kingdom" and "Mother and Child."

In his L.A. Times review, Kenneth Turan praised "Animal Kingdom," which won the world cinema jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival: "Faultlessly acted by top Australian talent, including Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn and Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom' marries heightened emotionality with cool contemporary style to illustrate one of the oldest of genre truths: 'Crooks always come undone, always, one way or another.'"

Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert cheered "Mother and Child," which stars Annette Bening, Kerry Washington and Naomi Watts: "All have rarely been better .... Three mothers in need of a child. Three children, one not yet born. Three lives that are obscurely linked."

To determine how important it is to be out early with DVDs, consider what was shipped to voters during October and November in 2009 and 2008.

2009 DERBY
OCT. 8 — "Anvil!"
OCT. 26 — "Coco Before Chanel," "Whatever Works," "The Damned United"
NOV. 6 — "The Stoning of Soraya M."
NOV. 16 — "An Education," "The Messenger"
NOV. 17 —  "(500) Days of Summer," "Bright Star," "Young Victoria"
NOV. 25 — "District 9," "Julie & Julia," "Pirate Radio," "Away We Go," "Taking Woodstock," "A Serious Man," "Coraline," "Up," the animated feature "9," "The Boys Are Back"
NOV. 27 — "Where the Wild Things Are," "The Informant!," "Two Lovers," "Funny People"

Continue reading »

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