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Category: Inception

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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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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'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"

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Social Network' connects | Clint Eastwood honored for tolerance | 'Boardwalk Empire' preview

September 15, 2010 | 11:22 am

The Social Network poster • Our pal Pete Hammond caught an early screening of "The Social Network" and thinks this "is Sony’s best shot at Best Picture in years, a lock for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards. And most importantly, Oscar nominations in every major category including Director for David Fincher, Writing for Aaron Sorkin, lead actor for Jesse Eisenberg (playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), Supporting Actor for both Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score, editing and so on. It also looks like it will be a major box office hit, hitting a nerve with the young demographic that are on the front lines of moviegoers." DEADLINE

• Surveying the playing field for this year's Oscars, Sasha Stone finds four forces to be reckoned with: "127 Hours" — "Danny Boyle’s second slam dunk is causing tears, standing ovations and, on occasion, seizures"; "The King's Speech" — "another film most seem to agree is one of the better films they’re seeing, and this is an across-the-board reaction"; "The Social Network" — "early word is good. Really good"; and "Inception" — "still one of the most imaginative studio films ever released, and a solid money maker." AWARDS DAILY

Lady Gaga proved to be a winner with the home audience as well as those voting on the MTV VMAs. This edition of the kudocast drew the highest ratings since 2002 with 11.4 million viewers. That is up 27% from last year. And in the key demographic of ages 12 to 34, the show earned a 10.0 rating, up 33%. Compare these stellar numbers to 2006, when only 5.8 million viewers tuned in. As Devon Thomas notes, "The show this year featured Lady Gaga in three outfits with eight awards as well as Taylor Swift and Kanye West performing new songs (their 'drama' from last year and responses garnered buzz from viewers who were curious to see what the two would do next)." CBS NEWS

• At the 15th annual edition of the Art Directors Guild kudos next Feb. 5, Alexander Golitizen, Albert Heschong and Eugene Lourie will be posthumously inducted into the hall of fame. Golitzen won Oscars for "Phantom of the Opera" (1943), "Spartacus" (1960) and "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), and contended 11 more times. He also designed the set for the Oscarcast on numerous occasions. Heschong was a TV stalwart, winning an Emmy for the "Playhouse 90" production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Lourie, a French designer, is best known for his work with Jean Renoir, including "Grand Illusion," the first foreign-language film to contend for best picture at the Oscars.

Motiff_logo • To celebrate its first film festival, the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles will salute Clint Eastwood as "an accomplished filmmaker whose films have brought awareness to themes encouraging tolerance, justice and human rights." Said the Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier, "We believe Mr. Eastwood is a superb choice for this award, which celebrates those whose work shines a light on themes of acceptance, inclusion, tolerance and forgiveness. That is certainly true of Mr. Eastwood’s outstanding cinematic achievements, with only the most recent examples being 'Letters From Iwo Jima,' 'Gran Torino' and 'Invictus.' " Eastwood will be feted at a gala on Nov. 14 while the festival, which runs for six days beginning Nov. 13, will "explore human rights issues and prevent hatred and genocide through the medium of film." MOTIFF

• On Tuesday, singer-songwriter Alan Jackson received the Founders Award at ASCAP's annual country music kudos in Nashville. ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said the award, which has previously been handed to stars including Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney, recognized Jackson as "a supreme talent, inspirational songwriter, recording artist and modern legend, whose artistry, style and enduring music resonate with and inspire generations." A special musical tribute to Jackson included performances of several of his hits by Steve Earle, Dierks Bentley and Chris Young. Bentley won the songwriter/artist award while Brett James was top songwriter. "Need You Now," written by Josh Kear and released by Lady Antebellum, was named country song of the year. ASCAP

Bill Maher explains his record-breaking losing streak (0-26) at the Emmys to Randee Dawn. "A panel of like 10 people watches one tape. If half of those people are religious, that probably eliminates me right there. A lot of people wouldn't vote for such an outspoken atheist, someone who made 'Religulous.' " THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Boardwalk Empire HBO • The new HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" begins this Sunday, and Frazier Moore was wowed by the first installment, calling it a "wondrous new drama." Set in Atlantic City, "at the dawn of Prohibition when anything goes in this rollicking, stinking-rich resort town, the series boasts a robust cast including Steve Buscemi (as Nucky), Gretchen Mol, Dabney Coleman, Kelly Macdonald and, in a breakout portrayal as Jimmy, Michael Pitt." For creator Terence Winter it's a decade ripe for storytelling. "So much is going on: Women get the right to vote, the Black Sox scandal had just happened, broadcast radio came in and young people were starting to come to the fore influencing culture. All that, plus Prohibition was enacted." AP

Willa Paskin writes of Tyler Perry's new picture "For Colored Girls," which, she notes, "got pushed up from January to November, landing it smack in the middle of the Oscar race. This is less surprising than it may sound, given 'For Colored Girls' highbrow pedigree. The film is based on the play 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf' by Ntozake Shange, which is structured as a series of twenty prose poems delivered by women. Judging from the trailer, much of the poetry remains. None of the lines delivered — by a cast that includes Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad — sound like regular dialogue. A little more regular is the big group hug scene and the omnipresent vibe of melodrama." VULTURE

• Looks like "The Conspirator" won't be contending at this year's Oscars. The Robert Redford film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln premiered at the Toronto filmfest and, as per this report from Michael Cieply, "Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions said they acquired rights to distribute the film in the United States and plan to release it next spring." NEW YORK TIMES

Top photo: "The Social Network" poster. Credit: Columbia.

Middle photo: Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival logo. Credit: Museum of Tolerance.

Bottom photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO.

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Poll: Is 'Avatar,' 'Inception, 'True Blood' or 'Twilight: Eclipse' the Ultimate Scream?

September 3, 2010 |  1:25 pm

Screamlogo Not surprisingly, the tough guy tube channel Spike has dubbed its annual kudos the Scream Awards. The 5th edition of these awards -- honoring the best in sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comic books as determined by the fans in an online vote -- takes place on Oct. 19.

While the blockbuster "Inception" picked up a staggering 15 nominations in 14 categories, it is the scrappy "Kick-Ass" that leads with 17 bids spread across 13 categories. "Iron Man 2" vies for 13 awards. They are all in contention for the top prize of Ultimate Scream as are "Alice in Wonderland," "Avatar," "District 9," "Twilight: Eclipse" and "Zombieland."

Among the TV fare in the running, "True Blood" leads with 10 bids. The HBO vampire drama and "Lost" are the only two small screen nominees for the Ultimate Scream. They also contend for top TV show against "Dexter," "Doctor Who" and "V."

The eligibility period ran for a year from July 16, 2009, and nominees were determined by canvassing an advisory board that includes Tim Burton, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Damon Lindelof, Ridley Scott, Quentin Tarantino and Joss Whedon.


Image: Spike Awards logo. Credit: Spike TV.

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Poll: Will 'Inception' be nominated for best picture at the Oscars?

July 16, 2010 |  6:19 pm

On opening day, "Inception" is already proving to be a hit with moviegoers and film critics. Are Oscar voters next?

Inception Leonardo DiCaprio movie news

"Inception" director Christopher Nolan got a mixed reception from academy members with "The Dark Knight" two derbies ago. It was nominated for eight Oscars and won two — including best supporting actor for Heath Ledger — but it failed to make the list for best picture. Outrage over that snub was one of the reasons the academy chose to expand the number of best picture nominees to 10.

"Inception" scores 76 at Metacritic. The L.A. Times hails the film: "A tremendously exciting science-fiction thriller that's as disturbing as it sounds. This is a popular entertainment with a knockout punch so intense and unnerving it'll have you worrying if it's safe to close your eyes at night."

USA Today likes "Inception" too but doesn't gush so much: "The film is easier to admire than to fully grasp or be moved by it. Still, it's worth surrendering to the dream."

The New York Times merely shrugs it off: "Though there is a lot to see in 'Inception,' there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan’s idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness — the risk of real confusion, of delirium, of ineffable ambiguity — that this subject requires."

Photo: Warner Bros.

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'Inception' ignites Oscars debate among bloggers

July 6, 2010 | 11:39 am

Inception Leonardo DiCaprio Christopher Nolan Academy Awards Oscars poster "Inception" does not open for 10 days, but this latest film from writer-director Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") has already set off a spirited debate in the blogosphere about its potential at the Oscars. The bloggers all judge "Inception" to be an outstanding sci-fi action thriller. However, there is divided opinion as to whether "Inception" is a lock to contend for the top Academy Awards.

Steve Pond of the Wrap says the movie "will no doubt have some naysayers; it won't follow 'Toy Story 3' in flirting with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. (Of the handful of people I know who've seen it, most loved it, but one really, really hated it.) And it might be too much of a sci-fi, special-effects-genre picture to win over the more conservative elements of the Academy come Oscar time. But remember: If the Academy's move to 10 best picture nominations can be laid at the feet of any one film, that film was Nolan's last one, 'The Dark Knight.' It’s hard to imagine that voters won’t find this one thrilling enough to put it in the 10, and in quite a few other categories as well."

For Greg Ellwood of HitFix, the film "should benefit from strong reviews and is clearly a player in a number of categories this Oscar season. However, 'Inception' won't be for everyone. As noted, the picture requires the viewer to pay close attention to events even as they are clearly spelled out in front of them. Not all audiences will be prepared to have to 'think' during their summer movie season, but those that go for the ride will find an incredibly stimulating reward hit them before the credits roll."

Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood believes "this eye-popping film will wow moviegoers all over the world -- its complexities will only encourage debate and repeat viewings -- and should also score well with critics and year-end awards groups. Oscar nominations in technical categories are a certainty, but 'Inception' is also a strong contender for multiple nominations, including best picture."

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