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Oscars: Taking The Temperature Of The Race As 'Les Miserables' & 'Zero Dark Thirty' Screen

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 26, 2012 10:57 AM
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  • 13 Comments
With Thanksgiving over and done with, we've arguably reached the mid-point of the awards season. Things will be kicking off with the Independent Spirit nominations arriving tomorrow, and the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review following next week. And with Oscar ballots going out not long after, almost every film has been screened, with "Les Miserables" and "Zero Dark Thirty" making their debuts over the weekend to press and industry types, leaving "Django Unchained" the last major contender to be seen by critics. And many of the big movies, including "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Life Of Pi" most recently, have now been seen by audiences too.

Oscars: Will 'Life Of Pi' Sail Away With The Visual Effects Award?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 20, 2012 1:59 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's taken Yann Martel's best-selling novel "Life Of Pi" close to a decade to come to the screen. Directors including Jean-Pierre Jeunet, M. Night Shyamalan and Alfonso Cuaron all flirted with the project, but for various reasons, elected not to shoot it. And it's fair enough, really, because it's difficult material, driven by a single character, mostly set in a single location at sea, and crucially, with the second lead is a wordless, enormous Bengal tiger.

'Hitchcock' Star Anthony Hopkins Calls Awards Season Schmoozing "Disgusting"

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 19, 2012 2:51 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Did Anthony Hopkins just pull a Joaquin Phoenix? The legendary actor and four-time Oscar nominee (who won Best Actor for "Silence Of The Lambs") is out on the stump for "Hitchcock," but he's making it plainly clear he's not a fan of having to charm all the various critics groups and voters as part of the awards season rush.

Larry Clark's 'Marfa Girl' & 'The Motel Life' Earn Top Awards At The Rome Film Festival; Italian Films Also Rule

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • November 18, 2012 11:25 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Last night in Rome, the Festival came to a close, as the winners were announced, the awards handed out and the dissection of What It All Means began. The festival, suffering a cut in budget from last year, but boasting perhaps the closest thing to a superstar Artistic Director in Marco Mueller (ex of the Venice Film Festival) for the first time this year, was, as Mueller himself admitted, a schizophrenic affair. The lack of really standout high-profile premieres (the festival would have taken on a different shape if it had landed, say "Django Unchained") gave rise to a somewhat cobbled-together last-minute feel, in which the targeted 60 world premieres happened, but we got the feeling quite a few might have been there just to make up the numbers.

Oscars: Dancing With 'Anna Karenina' As The Costume & Production Design Awards Come Into Play

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 15, 2012 12:58 PM
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  • 5 Comments
Friday sees the release of Joe Wright's version of "Anna Karenina," a film which, over the last few months, has become something of a Playlist favorite. A bold, non-naturalistic take on Tolstoy's classic, it's proven to be hugely divisive -- some have mocked it as near-disastrous, some (including this writer, and several other senior Playlist staff members) consider it among the finest films of the year. As such, this divisiveness has likely, and sadly, put paid to the film's chances in most of the big ticket Oscar races. Best Picture, Director and Screenplay are very long shots at this stage, and even Keira Knightley, a presumptive frontrunner for Best Actress before the film was seen, may find herself outside the final five when all is said and done.

Benghazi, The Fiscal Cliff & The Election: How Important Is It For A Best Picture Contender To Capture The Zeitgeist?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 14, 2012 3:58 PM
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  • 3 Comments
When President Barack Obama won re-election a week ago, more than one tweet popped up saying something along the lines of "Well, that makes 'Lincoln' the Best Picture front-runner now." You could certainly make that argument for Steven Spielberg's film. It had plenty of adoring reviews, a titanic performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, and a enormously healthy box office-average in limited release, taking around $75000 on each of its eleven screens.

Warner Bros. Launches Oscar Campaigns For 'The Dark Knight Rises' & 'Cloud Atlas'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 13, 2012 1:26 PM
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  • 18 Comments
It's that time of year, and the studios are getting ready to wine and dine Oscar voters in the hopes of giving their prestige pictures, success stories and, hell, even the long shots, a bit of love in the awards season. And Warner Bros. is getting in on the act. They've launched their awards site, and alongside the obvious contenders like "Magic Mike," "Argo" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" are the bigger long shots: Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" and The Wachowskis' and Tom Tykwer's "Cloud Atlas."

Joaquin Phoenix Backtracks On His Damaging Oscar Comments, Says He Owes Career To His Nomination

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • November 13, 2012 10:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments
For every year-end darling labeled by audiences and critics as an Oscar contender, there likewise exists an awards season campaign fully brought to its knees by an actor's derisive remarks. No matter the veracity of their statements, it's long been established that any unfavorable opinion not left until post-February remains a strike against everyone involved in their movie, and such is the case with “The Master” heavyweight Joaquin Phoenix's gradual backtrack from his damaging comments last month surrounding his potential nomination.

Will 'Skyfall' Finally Win Cinematography Legend Roger Deakins An Oscar?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 9, 2012 11:01 AM
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  • 12 Comments
If there's one thing that even "Skyfall" naysayers agree on, it's that the film's cinematography looks absolutely stunning. More than anything else, Sam Mendes' master-stroke may have been bringing his "Jarhead" and "Revolutionary Road" DoP (and Coen Brothers veteran) Roger Deakins along on the adventure. And the result is an action film where every frame could hang in a gallery (the Shanghai sequence and the final set-piece in particular). It's certainly one of the best looking films of 2012.

Oscars: Can 'Flight' & 'Hitchcock' Earn More Than Just Acting Nominations?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 6, 2012 9:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Now that we're into November, things are really starting to get underway and we're about to see an onslaught of Oscar contenders. Last month had a couple of hopefuls with "Argo" and "The Sessions," but from the release of Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" this Friday, awards bait comes thick and fast, with virtually every week seeing at least one film heading into release.

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