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Category: The Kids are All Right

Oscars poll: Who'll win best supporting actor?

October 29, 2010 |  3:48 pm

Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") dominated last year's Oscar race for supporting actor from the outset, but now there's no early front-runner.

Oscars supporting actorThere's a lot of support for Geoffrey Rush's flamboyant role as wily voice coach to Britain's stammering King George VI in "The King's Speech," but voters may feel been-there-done-that due to his 1996 lead actor win for "Shine."

What's curious is that this race isn't overshadowed by the kind of villainous role that ruled this category, with fiendish terror, in recent years (Christoph Waltz, Javier Bardem, Heath Ledger). However, there are a lot of bad-boy roles, including Sam Rockwell as a hooligan wrongly imprisoned for murder in "Conviction," Jeremy Renner as a bully bank robber in "The Town," Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids Are All Right") as a lothario who tries to break up a happy lesbian liaison and Justin Timberlake ("The Social Network") as Napster's founding rascal.

Rockwell has an edge — he's got a lead role hiding in this supporting race (always a plus). Renner holds an Oscar IOU, having top-lined last year's best picture, "The Hurt Locker," losing the lead actor race to Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart").

But two other bad-boy roles are standouts for other, personal reasons. Christian Bale gives a knock-out performance as a street thug turned boxing trainer in "The Fighter," but his personal woes may be foremost on voters' minds. They may want to embrace him as he rebounds from recent tabloid scandals. Michael Douglas won lead actor of 1987 as a heartless corporate raider in "Wall Street," but now that he reprises the role in the sequel, academy members may be eager to comfort him as he battles Stage 4 cancer.

Vote also in our poll asking: Who will win for best supporting actress?

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Photos: Christian Bale in "The Fighter" (Paramount), Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech" (Weinstein Co.)

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Gold Derby nuggets: Steve Pond digs into documentary race | Guy Lodge on category fraud | Guests line up for Conan O'Brien

October 21, 2010 |  5:10 pm

Steve Pond delves into the selection process for the documentary feature Oscar race. As he reports, "in a remarkable year for non-fiction filmmaking of all kinds, the looming possibility of more Oscar-doc controversies means it’s time to take a look at a process in which: films are judged by surprisingly few people; the most active filmmakers are ineligible or unable to vote; and the final slate of nominees is almost invariably made up of issue-oriented docs — to the exclusion of the odder, entertaining works that make the field so vital these days." THE WRAP

Sasha Stone finds much to quote from the script for "The Social Network," leading off her list of favorite lines of dialogue with this one: "Let’s gut the nerd." AWARDS DAILY

Caitlin King says, "Gwyneth Paltrow will be taking the stage at next month's Country Music Association Awards as a performer. She'll sing the title track of her new movie, 'Country Strong,' and will be joined by Vince Gill." AP

• From London, Mark Shenton reports, "Four days of performances for Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Love Never Dies,' the sequel to 'The Phantom of the Opera,' have been taken off sale at London's Adelphi Theatre for the week commencing Nov. 22. Performances are set to resume Nov. 26. During the shutdown, revisions will be made to the show. A spokesman said, 'Some changes were written up over the summer and destined for the Australian production and as they make improvements to the show we'd be mad not to put them into the Adelphi [production in London].'" PLAYBILL

The Kids are All RightGuy Lodge asks, "Is Focus right to campaign both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as leads in 'The Kids Are All Right,' or would it be more appropriate (and tactical) for one to drop to supporting? Can Lesley Manville be declared a lead in 'Another Year' when her character flits around two more constant — but also more passive — presences in the film? Will 'True Grit' newcomer Hailee Steinfeld be the victim of the unwritten campaigning rule stating that minors are, by definition, supporting players — whether they’re carrying a film on their shoulders or not?" IN CONTENTION

Peter Knegt takes a closer look at the Gotham Awards nominations. "Handed out by Independent Feature Project (IFP) for the past twenty years, they have always offered an interesting and generally deserving batch of nominations. But they are also quite inconsistent both category to category and year to year, which to some degree makes them a bit difficult to prove a stable predictor of anything beyond them." INDIE WIRE

Jeff Wells reports from a screening of "Love and Other Drugs" that "Hathaway's performance is the killer, and it is, I suppose, because you can read every emotional tick and tremor on her face, and because your heart goes out to any character coping with a debilitating disease (stage-one Parkinson's) and who wants to keep herself aloof and in control. But Gyllenhaal gives his most winning performance ever — not the deepest or darkest or saddest, perhaps, but 100% likable with no audience-alienation issues except for emotional avoidance. They're quite a pair, these two. All you want is to see them keep it together and somehow make it work." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Jean Bentley has the lineup of bold-faced names who will appear on the first week of Conan O'Brien's new TBS talker: "The first episode of Coco's new late night talk show will feature Seth Rogen and musical guest Jack White, along with the winner of the first guest poll — a hotly contested competition between The Pope, Jack Nicholson, Vladimir Putin, REO Speedwagon, The Sultan of Brunei, Justin Bieber, Thomas Pynchon, Gerhard Ertl, Arlene Wagner, Lady Gaga, the cast of the live-action 'Fat Albert' movie and Tom from MySpace to decide the first guest. Nov. 9 will feature Tom Hanks (fittingly, Hanks was the last guest on the O'Brien-hosted 'Tonight Show'), Jack McBrayer (another Coco pal) and Soundgarden. Nov. 10 will see Jon Hamm, Charlene Yi and Fistful of Mercy, and Nov. 11 will feature Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and comedian Jon Dore. TV SQUAD

• Writes Jenelle Riley,"Here's some video of the 'Conviction' Q&A we did with Sam Rockwell a couple weeks ago. The film opened in 11 theaters last weekend, averaging $10,000 per theater — a figure that is either pretty good or a complete disaster, depending on whose hype you believe. What's most important is that everyone I've spoken to who's actually seen the movie has high praise, particularly for Rockwell, who still looks like the one to beat for Best Supporting Actor come awards time." BACKSTAGE

• "South Park" skewered "Inception" on Wednesday night's episode and, as Brian Rafterty notes, "a DiCaprio doppelgänger tried to make sense of the film's dream-warrior premise. 'You just don't get it, 'cause you're not smart enough!'" VULTURE

Photo: Annette Bening, left, and Julianne Moore in "The Kids are All Right." Credit Focus Features.

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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 »

Latest Oscar predictions: Lead actress

October 20, 2010 |  9:23 am

Two contenders seem to be out front to win the Oscar for lead actress: Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") and Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"). Both rivals have the Cool Factor and significant camps rooting for them to win.

Oscars best actressBening's performance as a lesbian momma is low-key compared with her flamboyant turns in the films that earned her past nominations: "The Grifters," "American Beauty" and "Being Julia." Ordinarily, this role wouldn't reap an Oscar bid, but Bening is so overdue to win that she could ride the same wave that resulted in victory for previous overdue veterans such as Helen Mirren ("The Queen"), Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking") and Shirley MacLaine ("Terms of Endearment").

Also in Bening's favor: playing gay. That worked for Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia").

However, the old academy boys usually love to crown ingenues, especially if they're sexy (we call it the Babe Factor) like recent champs Charlize Theron ("Monster") and Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"). Natalie Portman is truly hot in "Black Swan" — with steamy girl-on-girl and masturbation scenes. Portman is not unknown to Oscar voters, who gave her a nomination in the supporting actress race of 2004 ("Closer").

Also see our handicapping of the Oscar races for lead actor and best picture.

BEST LEAD ACTRESS
(Front-runners)
Annette Bening, "The Kids Are All Right"
Nicole Kidman, "Rabbit Hole"
Lesley Manville, "Another Year"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter’s Bone"
Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"
Michelle Williams, "Blue Valentine"

Continue reading »

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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Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Oscars in November | 'The Hobbit' sets starting date | Supporting race surprises

October 15, 2010 |  5:23 pm

• After reviewing the pros and cons of moving the Oscars, Pete Hammond proposes that they should indeed change the ceremony's timing. However, for Pete, such a shift should not be just the few weeks being bandied about as of late but months earlier -- in November. DEADLINE

Sasha Stone considers five films that could replicate the success of "The Blind Side" at this year's Oscars. Leading her list is "For Colored Girls" followed by "Love and Other Drugs" and "Secretariat." "How Do You Know" and "The Town" round out her selections for that slot. AWARDS DAILY

Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson welcome In Contention contributor Guy Lodge and Indie Wire blogger Peter Knegt to the latest installment of their weekly Oscar Talk podcast. IN CONTENTION

The Hobbit • "The Hobbit" is a go, says Sharon Waxman. Peter Jackson, who hauled home three Oscars for his work on the final film in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is helming the two prequels with lensing on the first to start in February. As Sharon notes, "Jackson was already on board to write and produce 'The Hobbit.' But because of financial turmoil at MGM, which owns half of the franchise together with Warners' New Line Cinema, the project became one of the most torturous in Hollywood history. Sets have already been built in New Zealand, and actors -- including Sir Ian McKellan -- have been on hold for months; Martin Freeman has been rumored to play Bilbo Baggins." THE WRAP

• On Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. ET, former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell will host a live webcast to reveal the nominees for the 20th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. The awards will be handed out on Nov. 29 at Cipriani Wall Street. In addition to the competitive kudos, actors Robert Duvall and Hilary Swank, director Darren Aronofsky and Focus Features’ CEO James Schamus will each be presented with a career tribute. GOTHAM AWARDS

• With two-time Oscar champ Hilary Swank's latest film, "Conviction," opening Friday, Kyle Buchanan and Claude Brodesser-Aknera analyze her award and career prospects. As they observe, "Unlike many actresses her age, the 36-year-old Swank is better suited for award-caliber dramas than romantic comedies, and while Hollywood is rough on women already, it's even less receptive to the idea of building a mid-priced drama around one." VULTURE

Nathaniel Rogers turns his attention to the supporting actor race. As he notes, "Lately, Oscar voters have been on a villainous bender in the Supporting Actor category. There are many reasons for this, the first being who the hell would deny Ledger in '07, Bardem in '08 and Waltz in '09? But aside from a great quality performance -- not usually the deciding factor -- Oscar has always enjoyed a good stock role, particularly in the Supporting categories. Are they in the mood for The Sidekick, The Villain, The Wisened Old Man/Mentor, The Sad Sack, or The Eccentric Weirdo?" THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Erik Childress makes the provocative suggestion that Annette Bening should consider dropping down to the supporting race for her performance in "The Kids Are All Right." MOVIEFONE

Image: "The Hobbit" book cover. Credit: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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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"

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: TIFF premieres Oscar hopefuls | 'The Fighter' contends | Foreign language film hopefuls

September 20, 2010 |  1:18 pm

TIFF-Logo1Nicole LaPorte recaps the race for the Oscars in the wake of the Toronto film fest, including an analysis of a best actress bout between Hollywood vet Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") and the ingenue Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"). As Nicole writes, "With the acquisitions mood relatively low-key -- long gone are the days of all-night bidding wars, thanks to the economy and the slimmed-down independent film market -- the focus was almost entirely on predicting this season's 'The Hurt Locker.' No one seemed to mind that it's still relatively early, and that a number of films already looming large in the Oscar race, such as David Fincher's Facebook movie, 'The Social Network,' and David O. Russell's 'The Fighter,' a boxing drama with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, have yet to be released." THE DAILY BEAST

Steve Pond delivers a crackerjack report from Toronto as well, highlighting 10 key moments. Leading off his list: "'The King’s Speech' shows that it's for real. Even before it won the People's Choice Award, Tom Hooper's drama about King George VI's reluctant ascension to the British throne had proven its point at Toronto. With an opening-Friday gala whose rapturous reception matched the one it had reportedly received in Telluride, the dramatic, surprisingly funny and intensely emotional film clearly proved that it has what it takes to win over audiences and remain a major player throughout awards season. Even beyond getting a towering lead performance from Colin Firth and a wry supporting turn by Geoffrey Rush, Hooper shows a light, deft touch, and keeps his film distinctive and quirky enough that it never seems old-fashioned despite a subject matter that could seem a bit dusty. 'The King's Speech' came into Toronto in the top echelon of Oscar contenders, and leaves in the same spot." THE WRAP

The Fighter Bale Wahlberg • While many awards contenders are already in the mix, Paramount isn't releasing "The Fighter" till December. And says Greg Ellwood, "What's expected to seriously assist "Fighter" and make it a true contender is Christian Bale's transformative performance and excellent turns by previous nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (or at least what is being whispered about town). What hasn't been heard is significant buzz for Mark Wahlberg. That doesn't mean 'The Departed' star isn't good in 'The Fighter,' but he may be unfortunately overshadowed by his counterparts. That means he'll most likely need the movie to be a major triumph to land his second nomination." HIT FIX

• The 37th edition of the People's Choice Awards will air Jan. 5 on CBS with Queen Latifah once again hosting. As always, public votes will determine both nominees and winners. And this year, the public will get to choose their favorites among 15 potential new categories. PCA

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry lead with five nominations apiece at this year's MTV Europe Music Awards. The two songbirds compete for best pop, female and song awards, with Rihanna also in the running for those three races. Miley Cyrus also contends for best pop and female, while Usher rounds out the pop field and Shakira completes the female category. The kudocast originates from Madrid on Nov. 7.

Oscars Academy Awards Statues • As always, Nathaniel Rogers is aces at keeping track of all the possible nominees for best foreign language film at the Oscars. He neatly summarizes the announced entries as well as those still in the running for the nod from their respective countries. In addition, he handicaps the likelihood of each film making the final five, including a list of awards already won as well as the history of each country in this highly competitive category. THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Guy Lodge highlights the awards bestowed by the international critics' association FIPRESCI. At Venice they went for the Russian film "Silent Souls" while in Toronto they opted for "L'amour Fou." And, as Guy reports, "once a year, they poll their collected membership to elect a Grand Prix winner for Film of the Year. A list of past winners of the prize, awarded since 1999, reads rather like a greatest-hits compilation of recent arthouse cinema: 'There Will Be Blood,' '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,' 'All About My Mother' and so on. So, what's their Film of the Year for 2010? Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost Writer.'" IN CONTENTION

• The tuner version of "Catch Me If You Can" has set an opening date of April 10, 2011, at a Nederlander Broadway house. This musicalization of the movie brings together three Tony champs from "Hairspray" -- songwriting team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and director Jack O'Brien -- as well as choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally has crafted the book based on the film and autobiography of Frank Abagnale.

Top image: Toronto International Film Festival logo. Credit: TIFF

Middle photo: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in "The Fighter." Credit: Paramount

Bottom photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

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