• Looks like the Oscars won't be moving up to January after all as per the following statement: "The Academy’s Board of Governors has determined that the date of the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 will not be significantly earlier than the now-traditional last Sunday in February. A different date still remains a possibility in subsequent years, and the Academy’s staff and Board will continue to evaluate the advantages and challenges associated with such a change."
• Anne Thompson analyzes the list of the 65 films contending for the foreign language Oscar and notes, "Per usual, Sony Pictures Classics boasts four entries this year: 'Incendies,' 'Of Gods and Men,' 'In a Better World' and 'Life, Above All,' so many in fact that co-president Tom Bernard was hard-pressed to name them all. Most years, at least one SPC film winds up being nominated, so I’m putting all four on my lead contenders list." Anne rounds out her top 10 with a half-dozen others, including "Biutiful" and "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
• And Bilge Ebiri handicaps the documentary feature Oscar race with the following expected to make the top five: "Client 9," "Inside Job," "A Piece of Work," "The Tillman Story" and "Waiting for Superman." VULTURE
• Anthony Breznican gets the taciturn Clint Eastwood to talk and finds that, "The real Eastwood is quick with a wisecrack, though strangers tend to see only the intimidating visage, not the amiable sense of humor. And he doesn't pretend to have every answer." As Anthony notes, "If anything, his best movies tend to be about irresolvable questions: 'Unforgiven' (1992), about whether violence can ever be justified, or 'Million Dollar Baby' (2004), which explored the pain of how a life should be allowed to end. 'Hereafter' is similar territory." Says Eastwood, "I'm not necessarily trying to find if there is a hereafter. I don't know. I go by proof. If somebody said, 'Do you believe in purgatory and heaven and all that kind of stuff?' I say that's to be proven. But I'm willing to be proven anything." USA TODAY
• Dave Karger reports, "A week after the MPAA branded its domestic drama 'Blue Valentine' with an NC-17 rating, the Weinstein Company has decided to appeal the decision and hope for an R without any trims to the film." As Dave notes, "The NC-17 would limit the film’s audience and its Oscar chances. The question is whether the notoriously stubborn MPAA will budge." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
• Lou Lumenick reveals, "Two Oscar hopefuls have had their December theatrical debuts cancelled after they were tepidly received at last month's film festivals. The Weinstein Co. yanked Julian Schnabel's 'Miral' from a Dec. 3 limited opening and will dump, er, release this decades-spanning drama improbably starring India's Freida Pinto as a Palestinian in March. Meanwhile the Weinsteins' former associates at Disney have pulled the plug on plans to release John ('Shakespeare in Love') Madden's 'The Debt,'' a remake of an Israeli film with Helen Mirren as a guilt-stricken Mossad agent, on Dec. 29. NEW YORK POST
• Jeff Wells pens a love letter to Rosamund Pike who has supporting roles in "Made in Dagenham" and "Barney's Version." Says Jeff, "People are going to have to sit down and see these films and realize on their own that Pike is the best thing about both, and then do and say something about that." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE
• And Peter Knegt points out 10 other performances that could get overlooked in this year's awards derby. Among them "Ghost Writer" adversaries Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor and "Another Year" best friends Jim Broadbent and Peter Wight. INDIE WIRE
• As Joel Keller admits, "I had been trying to pin down an interview with Matthew Weiner since before the fourth season of the show ('Mad Men') began, and we finally were able to sit down and discuss the season earlier this week. What follows is a long, but pretty extensive, overview of season four, and while Weiner doesn't give any details about this Sunday's season finale, he does hope that 'people will see the finale and understand the journey that they went on for the season.'" TV SQUAD
• Maureen Dowd uses the upcoming release of "Fair Game" to revisit the real-life controversy seven years on. For Dowd, "The movie makes clear that Plame was not merely 'a secretary' or 'mediocre agent' at the agency, as partisan critics charged at the time, but a respected undercover spy tracking Iraqi W.M.D. efforts." NEW YORK TIMES
• John Lopez kicks off the "Little Gold Men" column with an in-depth look at the state of the Oscar race to date. VANITY FAIR
Photo: Clint Eastwood on the set of "Hereafter" with Cecile de France. Photo credit: Warner Bros.
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