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Thompson on Hollywood

2010 Oscar Short and Foreign Film Deadline is October 1

The deadline is looming to submit all foreign language and short film (animated and live action) entries for the 2010 Oscars: October 1. According to the Academy, complete entries must arrive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by 5 p.m. PT that day. The rules are here. 55 foreign language films have been submitted by their country so far. (More on the foreign race anon.)  In the short film categories, filmmakers must submit an entry form, one film print or copy in an approved digital format, and all other required materials by the deadline.  In the Foreign Language Film category, filmmakers must submit entry forms, one English-subtitled film print or copy in an approved digital format, and all other required materials by the deadline. Only one motion picture will be accepted from each country. 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 29, 2010 8:36 AM
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Director Lynn Shelton Talks AMC's Mad Men, MTV's $5 Cover Seattle

Seattle-based indie director Lynn Shelton (Humpday) directed the latest Mad Men episode. She talks to TOH film critic Tim Appelo, who admires her style.Mad Men hit big this week with “Hands and Knees,” Episode 410, thanks to the last director you’d ever expect: Seattle’s Lynn Shelton, 45, a TV debutante and micro-indie autodidact who never went to film school. A stage actor from 11 to twentysomething, Shelton won Slamdance at 41 with her theatre satire and chick flick We Go Way Back. Todd Haynes and Ira Glass became fans. So did Mad Men main man Matt Weiner, who hired her the same day her Mike Leigh-style (and Judd Apatow-like) improvised 2009 bromance Humpday won an Indie Spirit Award. “I just couldn’t believe my luck,” says Shelton. “I went around for two entire months with a gigantic goofy smile on my face, hugging anyone who would let me.”
  • By Tim Appelo
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  • September 29, 2010 8:17 AM
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Social Network Update: Charlie Rose, Wired

It's fascinating to see the dynamic between The Social Network visualist David Fincher (not a wordsmith) and scribe Aaron Sorkin on Charlie Rose. Fincher seems deferential, and Sorkin dominates the space. Not the usual director/writer interaction.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 29, 2010 7:03 AM
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Portman Gaining on Gravity, Sex and the City's Cattrall and Noth Attack Critics

Alfonso Cuaron is in "active negotiations" with Natalie Portman to star in Gravity after failed attempts by Universal and Warner Bros. to keep Angelina Jolie interested. Nor did Blake Lively or Scarlett Johansson gain serious traction. And an attempt to push Sandra Bullock also came to naught. The role will be a challenge; it might as well be the industry's current prima ballerina. Cuaron wrote the script with his son Jonas, whose Hollywood Gang-produced script for a Mexico City-based thriller was also just picked up by Warners.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 29, 2010 6:58 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Best TV Pilots vs. DOA Pilots

Salon picks the ten greatest TV pilots (limited to American dramas), in honor of the "underappreciated form," which they believe to be "more difficult in many ways than a regular episode of a series" but that feel "less like homework than a little movie."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 29, 2010 6:17 AM
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  • 1 Comment
More: Lists, TV

Top Thirty Indie Films

Check out this list of the 30 most significant indie films in the last 30 years (full list, which includes three edited by the late great Sally Menke, is below).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 29, 2010 5:23 AM
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  • 19 Comments

Del Toro Talks Hobbit, Mountains of Madness, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Julia's Eyes, Biutiful

When Guillermo del Toro left New Zealand after two years prepping Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, he was escaping from a box (MGM's financial issues had frozen the project), but he also didn't know what he was going to do next. Since then, the director/producer has been making up for lost time, making deals all over town: Disney, where he's doing Haunted Mansion, and which is releasing his Miramax horror production Don't Be Afraid of the Dark; DreamWorks Animation; and Fox, where he's excited about returning to big-budget directing with James Cameron's Mountains of Madness. Del Toro talks about his productions Julia's Eyes and Biutiful, which played in Toronto, as well as his other projects, in three flip cam interviews posted below, along with the Julia's Eyes trailer.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 28, 2010 10:59 AM
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MacArthur Genius Grant to Simon, McKellan Fights for Brit Acting Stature

- The MacArthur Foundation's annual list of scientists, scholars, musicians and artists to receive $500,000 "genius" grants includes David Simon, the co-creator/writer/producer behind The Wire, Treme, Homicide: Life on the Streets [pictured with The Wire star Dominic West]. The Foundation says Simon's latest work on Treme explores "the constraints that poverty, corruption and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths." Among the other ten women twelve men who received the grant is jazz pianist Jason Moran, theater director David Cromer, marble sculptor Elizabeth Turk and fiction writer Yiyun Li.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 10:57 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Embracing Claustrophobic Movies

Riffing off such recent movies in tight spaces as Buried and Devil (which are struggling at the b.o.) and Danny Boyle's upcoming 127 Hours, Vulture posts their list of the eleven most claustrophobic films. They note: "Confining your film to a single space certainly has its advantages: a lower budget, obviously, but also an instantly suspenseful premise."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 10:27 AM
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Del Toro's DreamWorks Deal and Trollhunters, Jackson Fights Unions on Hobbit

- Guillermo del Toro, back from promoting two productions at the Toronto Film Festival--Julia's Eyes and Biutiful (the official Mexican submission for the foreign Oscar)--is now working closely as a consultant and exec producer with DreamWorks Animation. He will help out on Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and another TBA project as well as Trollhunters, which he will write and direct.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • September 28, 2010 6:21 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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