The Playlist

'Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Silver Linings,' 'Beasts' & 'Keep The Lights On' Top Spirit Awards Nominations

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 27, 2012 1:41 PM
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  • 9 Comments
We've barely had time to take a breath since the Gotham Awards were awarded last night, and already we're moving on, because their big cousin, the 28th Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, revealed their nominations just a few minutes ago.

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.

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.

Oscars: Could 'Wreck-It Ralph' Lead A Disney Sweep Of The Animated Feature Category?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 2, 2012 12:02 PM
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  • 8 Comments
It's a big week for animated feature films. Not only does today see the release of "Wreck-It Ralph," the highly-acclaimed new feature from Walt Disney Studios, but it's also the deadline for new films to register for the Best Animated Feature Oscar race. Barring a shock, we're looking at a list of about 17 films, which means that, as with 2009 and 2011, there are enough films for the category to hold five nominees (more than 16 are required). It won't necessarily happen, but it probably will.

Oscars: Are Paul Thomas Anderson & David O. Russell Frontrunners For Original & Adapted Screenplay?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 25, 2012 12:07 PM
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  • 19 Comments
Earlier in the week, Universal got their Academy Awards campaign moving by launching their For Your Consideration site, which included uploading a selection of screenplays for their major movies online. Some feel optimistic at best ("The Lorax," "Snow White and the Huntsman," "Ted"), some are a little more viable ("This Is 40," "Les Misérables"). But fresh off reading the Judd Apatow script (which is kind of terrific, and has the potential to be the director's best film yet), and having covered the acting categories in previous weeks, we thought we'd turn our eye to the screenplay races.

Oscars: Can Mary Elizabeth Winstead Sneak Into The Best Actress Field For 'Smashed'?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 15, 2012 11:59 AM
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  • 19 Comments
We've been looking in detail at the acting categories in recent weeks, and this week, we figured it made sense to examine Best Actress, given that one potential contender has her film arriving in theaters. Today sees the release of "Smashed," which sees "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" star Mary Elizabeth Winstead play a schoolteacher who comes to realize that she has a serious drinking problem, and sets about kicking the habit, even as it puts her marriage to her equally sozzled husband (Aaron Paul) at risk.

Oscars: Can Anyone Beat Philip Seymour Hoffman To Best Supporting Actor?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 5, 2012 11:00 AM
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  • 26 Comments
Last week in our category spotlight, we took a look at the relatively thin Supporting Actress field, so it feels only natural to head over to the Supporting Actor boys this time around. And of all the acting categories, it might be the most interesting: it's not as locked-up as the leading men (which has six or seven heavy hitters battling it out for five slots), and not as sparse as the actress categories, with multiple contenders any of whom could win, or fall out altogether.

Oscars: Could Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' Go All The Way?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • October 2, 2012 12:57 PM
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  • 4 Comments
There's been some significantly sesmic shifts in the Oscar field in the last few days, and not just the surprise announcement that "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane will be hosting the ceremony itself (for the record, this writer dislikes pretty much everything he's ever done, but based on his 'SNL' appearance a few weeks ago, he's a pretty savvy choice by the Academy). But last Friday, one of the most anticipated movies of the season was unveiled, as Ang Lee's "Life Of Pi" opened the New York Film Festival (read our review here). And what was already looking like a busy field got a little more crowded.

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