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Thompson on Hollywood

Woody Allen Sells Stranger to Sony Pictures Classics, Shoots Next in Paris

As expected, Sony Pictures Classics continues to release Woody Allen's Euro-financed pictures, acquiring North American rights to his latest, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, starring Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Naomi Watts. Shot last August in London, the film was financed by Spain's Mediapro, which backed Vicky Cristina Barcelona. SPC also released Allen's Whatever Works in 2009 and Sweet and Lowdown in 1999. Expect a Cannes debut followed by a fall opening stateside.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2010 3:42 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars
One of the dangers of hitting big in a franchise like Twilight is that that every blessed indie movie that can't get arrested suddenly gets a release. And everyone wants you to do press. Poor Kristen Stewart! After opening Twilight: New Moon last November, she hit Sundance like a freight train in January with the hard-edged drama Welcome to the Rileys and The Runaways, in which she stars as rocker Joan Jett opposite Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 11:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Academy Penalizes Hurt Locker Producer Chartier

Academy Penalizes Hurt Locker Producer Chartier
As I predicted, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is penalizing The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier for violating Academy campaign standards by sending an email to his friends that promoted The Hurt Locker and dissed Avatar. Later at the Academy's behest Chartier sent an apologetic letter. Should the movie win best picture, states AMPAS, Chartier will not be one of the producers ascending the platform to accept his award, because he will not be admitted to the Oscar ceremony. His ticket has been revoked. Three producers, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal and Gregory Shapiro, would accept their gold statues. Chartier would still be able to pick up his award at a later date.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 11:34 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Ebert Tries New Computer Voice First on Wife Chaz, Then Oprah

Ebert Tries New Computer Voice First on Wife Chaz, Then Oprah
Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert seems to be everywhere these days, from the cover of Esquire (a must-read) to a Tuesday appearance on Oprah Winfrey. Ebert shares his Oscar predicts with Oprah, using his new computer voice, which uses audio from his old shows to recreate a voice that sounds a lot like him. Other times he sounds like Stephen Hawking.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 7:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Coens' A Serious Man: The 36 Righteous Men Theory

The Coens' A Serious Man: The 36 Righteous Men Theory
Joel and Ethan Coen are not ones to throw the wrath of God around lightly, especially in A Serious Man, a movie that digs deep into Judaism, often for laughs. After all, the movie (which is nominated for best picture and best original screenplay Oscars), starts out in Yiddish with a story about the Dybbuk and winds up (SPOILER ALERT) with its hero facing death, either by cancer or tornado.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2010 10:11 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: Costumes, Cinematographers, Sound and Visual Effects Awards

Oscar Watch: Costumes, Cinematographers, Sound and Visual Effects Awards
After a final week of prize-giving, the season's pre-Oscar awards rituals came to a close Sunday night. There's nothing left but the big show itself March 7. Oscar ballots are due on March 2. Voters who did not mail them in Saturday can deliver them via overnight mail or directly to Price Waterhouse.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2010 6:45 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Costume Designer Powell Talks Young Victoria, Shutter Island and The Tempest

Costume designer Sandy Powell has won two Oscars out of eight nominations, for Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and John Madden's Shakespeare in Love. She's known for designing "modern" period costumes for such films as Gangs of New York and has worked repeatedly with Scorsese, Neil Jordan and Todd Haynes. After Shutter Island comes Julie Taymor's Shakespearean The Tempest. In this four-part flip-cam interview, Powell not only talks about her BAFTA and Costume Guild-winning costumes on The Young Victoria (which will likely win her a third Oscar), but ranges over other films in her long career as well.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 27, 2010 2:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Avatar vs. Pocahontas: Trailer Mash

While the similarities between Avatar and Pocahontas are not news, this inevitable mash-up is entertaining. The only question is, did Harvey Weinstein have anything to do with it?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 10:11 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Oscar Talk Episode 23: Last Phase Tricky Campaign and Voting Issues

Oscar Talk Episode 23: Last Phase Tricky Campaign and Voting Issues
On Oscar Talk 23, Kris Tapley and I chew over the last phase of this year's Oscar campaigns and issues surrounding the email misstep by rookie The Hurt Locker producer Nicholas Chartier and any impact it could have on the race. We both have problems with the preferential ballot process, as Academy members try to figure it out.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 9:22 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Movie Research Guru Goetz Goes Indie

In a bid to run his own show, 23-year market research veteran Kevin Goetz is launching his own full service research and marketing firm, Screen Engine. He has moved into new offices in Beverly Hills and is looking for clients. They won't be hard to find. Goetz, a member of the Academy's PR branch, has been advising the studios on their marketing campaigns for many years, at NRG and then OTX. (Here's Variety.) "I wanted to have a company I could drive in my own direction," he says, "using what my clients have come to expect from me. It's gotten complicated. The numbers are not enough. They want interpretation and strategic understanding of the process. There are so many moving parts. It's a marriage of research and marketing. It feels good and right."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 26, 2010 6:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
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