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Category: Social Network

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscar exec Bruce Davis retiring | 'The King's Speech' tops Dave Karger's Oscar predix | Eminem and Lady Antebellum lead AMA nominations

October 13, 2010 | 12:13 pm

• As Nikki Finke reports, "This is truly the end of an era. I've just learned that Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences executive director Bruce Davis announced at this evening's Board Of Governors meeting that he intends to retire on June 30th, 2011, after 30 years working for the world's preeminent film group." Nikki also has a copy of Bruce's e-mail to the academy staff, which reads, in part, "When I leave I will have spent thirty years at the Academy, and more than twenty as its executive director. That seems like enough. Organizations and individuals both benefit from periodic shifts in perspective." DEADLINE

Roger Deakins will be feted with the lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers. The eight-time Oscar nominee will receive the honor at the 25th edition of the ASC kudos on Feb. 13. In a statement, ASC president Michael Goi said: "The Lifetime Achievement Award is a reflection of the impact that a cinematographer has made on the art of filmmaking rather than the capping of a career. It is our way of acknowledging a true artist in his prime. Roger Deakins raises the artistic profile of our profession with every movie and he will continue to do so for many years." ASC

Colin Firth The Kings SpeechDave Karger unveils his first top 10 list of best picture contenders. Leading the list is "The King's Speech," with "True Grit" in second and "The Social Network" in third place. As always, Dave provides expert analysis of each film's ranking. For example, he says this about "The King's Speech": "As soon as I saw this British drama in early September I knew it had the potential to go all the way in at least one major category. Right now its star, Colin Firth, is the man to beat for Best Actor, and it’s an absolute lock for a Best Picture nomination as well." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Using "Fair Game" as an example, Sasha Stone writes insightfully about the role of bloggers in the Oscar race. Says Sasha, "There is a filter between seeing films in screenings and how they eventually 'do.' The critics are really the ones who mostly shape perception. The bloggers can praise a film until they’re blue in the fingertips, but ultimately — it’s about the critics, the industry, the public and the Academy. Sorry, bloggers, but it just is. That is why seeing a film in a screening can sometimes be a misleading experience. If the critics don’t agree with the early blogger praise, a film will have a hard time passing the first test. That is why it’s always dangerous to get our strong opinion out there — others are likely to throw it back in our face should the movie fail. This happened to me with 'The Kite Runner.' I am always surprised when I like a movie that ends up doing really well in the race. It is a win-win for me." AWARDS DAILY

• With his usual savvy style, Steve Pond weighs the odds of four possible Oscar contenders making the cut: "True Grit" for best picture, "The Social Network" for adapted screenplay, Mel Gibson ("The Beaver") for lead actor and "The Town" for best picture. THE ODDS

Kris Tapley is aces at keeping track of the contenders for the animated feature award, and he reports that "it's looking more and more like the magic number of 16 won’t be reached in this year’s animated feature film race. By my count, we have 12 titles." IN CONTENTION

Eminem and Lady Antebellum lead the list of nominees for this year's 38th annual edition of the American Music Awards with five bids each. Eminem and four-time nominee Justin Bieber vie for artist of the year against Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga. The kudos will be handed out Nov. 21 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and will air on ABC. THE ENVELOPE

• The field of documentary short-subject Oscar contenders has been winnowed from 30 to eight, with three to five of them making it to the nomination stage. Those still in the running are "Born Sweet," "Killing in the Name," "Living for 32," "One Thousand Pictures: RFK’s Last Journey," "Poster Girl," "Strangers No More," "Sun Come Up" and "The Warriors of Qiugang." AMPAS

•The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced Oscar winner Sidney Poitier will be honored with the 38th annual Chaplin award at a May 2 gala. The Film Society's annual gala began in 1972 and honored Charles Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin and has honored many of the film industry's most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and, most recently, Michael Douglas. FILM SOCIETY

Nathaniel Rogers notes that if Jesse Eisenberg is Oscar nominated for "The Social Network," he'll knock Matt Damon ("Good Will Hunting") out of the top 10 youngest lead actor contenders. THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Michael J. Fox will reunite with his "Back to the Future" castmates at the Scream 2010 Awards. To celebrate the silver anniversary of this movie classic, they will also be featured on the cover of an issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Photo: "The King's Speech." Photo credit: Weinstein Co.

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The social relevancy of 'The Social Network' is key to its Oscar hopes

September 27, 2010 |  8:18 am

Forget for a moment that "The Social Network" is a superb film, scoring 100 at Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes. The American movies with the highest scores at Metacritic in 2008 and 2007, "Wall-E" and "Ratatouille," weren't even nominated for best picture at the Oscars.

The Social Network newsBut "The Social Network" has a quality that gives it an edge in the current derby: It reflects the national zeitgeist during this Age of Facebook.

Academy voters want their best pictures to feel important, to provide special insight into the world (or cyber world) we inhabit today. One of the reasons that "The Hurt Locker" scored so powerfully with voters last year was because it enabled them to feel firsthand the terror of U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

Still, in a way, it's remarkable that "The Hurt Locker" won best picture while those wars still raged. "The Deer Hunter"(1978) didn't claim the top Oscar until three years after the fall of Saigon. "Platoon" (1986) triumphed more than a decade after the Vietnam War was lost. Nonetheless, those movies were politically relevant in their day because America's war wounds still hadn't healed.

Several Oscar best pictures were painful reflections of what's happened to the American family in modern times: "American Beauty" (1999), "Ordinary People" (1980) and "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979).

Others addressed the sexual revolution and dating scene in post-World War II America: "The Apartment" (1959) and "Annie Hall" (1977).

Some focused on racial tension: "In the Heat of the Night" (1967) and "Crash" (2006).

It's surprising that Watergate drama "All the President's Men" (1976) lost best picture so soon after Richard Nixon's resignation, but the film was released during America's bicentennial celebration. Oscar voters preferred the zeitgeist reflected in the positive, inspiring fable of an average Joe getting his shot at the world heavyweight boxing championship in "Rocky."

Continue reading »

Is the Oscar derby already over?

September 23, 2010 |  6:08 am

At this point, it sure looks like we have solid Oscar front-runners for best picture ("The Social Network"), best actor (Colin Firth, "The King's Speech") and best actress (Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"). It's very possible that all three could trot across the derby finish line without tripping en route.

The Social Network Black Swan The King's Speech Oscars newsHowever, we must remember how these top races appeared at this point last year. We knew that "The Hurt Locker" might be nominated for best picture, but that wasn't a certainty, and the front-runners were presumed to be "Up in the Air," "Invictus" and "Avatar."  There were still high hopes for "Nine" and "The Lovely Bones," even "Brothers."

Looking forward on this year's derby track, what can beat "The Social Network"? "The King's Speech" may be more to the taste of those older chaps in the academy, but "Social Network" is more to the taste of the edgy film critics who are likely to heap best-picture prizes on it in early December, giving it the same early momentum that paid off for "The Hurt Locker" last year. But, wait! Isn't it a terrible thing to be the early leader? That's a widely believed fallacy, yes, but, in fact, that wasn't a problem for "Titanic," "American Beauty," "The English Patient" and many other eventual champs.

BEST-ACTOR RACE: "Crazy Heart" wasn't even scheduled to be released in 2009 at this point on last year's calendar, so Jeff Bridges wasn't yet in the running. The contest seemed to be a slugfest between George Clooney ("Up in the Air"), Daniel Day-Lewis ("Nine"), Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Tobey Maguire ("Brothers") and Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"). Only Clooney and Freeman ended up with nominations.

Right now, it looks like the only contender who can topple Colin Firth for best actor is James Franco ("127 Hours"), but Jeff Bridges will be back in the derby, this time starring in Joel and Ethan Coen's "True Grit." The last version earned John Wayne the Oscar, of course, so we shouldn't rule out the possibility that Bridges could join the ranks of those few thesps, such as Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy, who won back-to-back trophies. Also in this year's best-actor bout are Javier Bardem ("Biutiful"),  Robert Duvall ("Get Low"), Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network"), Ryan Gosling ("Blue Valentine") and Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter").

BEST-ACTRESS RACE: We knew "The Blind Side" was coming out late in 2009, but no pundit except Pete Hammond (formerly of The Envelope, now at Deadline) took it seriously as a contender. In late September of last year, the leading contenders for best actress were Marion Cotillard ("Nine"), Abbie Cornish ("Bright Star"), Penélope Cruz ("Broken Embraces"), Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Helen Mirren ("The Last Station"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones"), Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") and Hilary Swank ("Amelia"). Nominees turned out to be Mirren, Mulligan, Sidibe, Streep and winner Bullock.

Continue reading »

Oscar hopes brighten for 'The Social Network'

September 14, 2010 | 10:14 am
The Social Network news

Early reviews of "The Social Network" seem to confirm early suspicions that it is the Oscar front-runner for best picture. Here is how the rest of the contenders currently stack up.

JEFF WELLS, HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE: "David Fincher's 'The Social Network' is Zodiac's younger, geekier, greedier brother. That means it's good, as in really good. … Can I just blurt it out? It's the strongest Best Picture contender I've seen so far this year, and in saying this I'm obviously alluding to 'Inception.'"

KRIS TAPLEY, IN CONTENTION: "I think it may be reaching for grandiose sentiments to say 'The Social Network' is a film that 'defines a generation.'"

DREW MCWEENY, HITFIX: '''The Social Network' represents the very best of both [screenwriter] Aaron Sorkin and [director] David Fincher."

Also check out the New Yorker's exhaustive profile of Facebook focus Mark Zuckerberg, which includes fascinating dish about the film from "Social Network" scribe Sorkin.

Photo: A scene from "The Social Network." Credit: Columbia

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