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Thompson on Hollywood

Golden Globe Nominations: Atonement Leads Pack with Seven

With seven nominations, Joe Wright's Atonement led the field of Golden Globe nominations Thursday morning. It was a good day for Denzel Washington, who stars in two films out of seven in the motion picture drama category: American Gangster, in which he stars as a Harlem kingpin, and The Great Debaters, a heart-tugging period drama about an upstart debate team at a black college who take on Harvard, which he also directed. He was also nominated for best actor for American Gangster.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2008 8:11 AM
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Oscar Watch: National Society Picks There Will Be Blood

We knew the various critics groups would go for No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, as the National Society of Film Critics did Saturday. This means each film gets a boost during this all important ballot-filling season. What fascinates me is whether the Academy goes the same way as the critics. (Tom O'Neill goes underground with the NSFC voting.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2008 7:31 AM
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Holiday Round-Up

The year-end results are in, from ten best lists to holiday openings (here's Pam McClintock's b.o. wrap). So what does it all mean?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2008 7:36 AM
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Sweeney Todd Opens in 5th Place

Sweeney Todd opened to excellent reviews (87% fresh on Rottentomatoes.com) and strong initial numbers on Friday, but the movie dropped an estimated 28 % (actually 25%) between Friday and Saturday. (Here's Sunday's Variety weekend boxoffice report.) This indicates that many viewers were lured by Paramount's mainstream horror-driven ad campaign, which did not sell the film as a Stephen Sondheim musical, and walked away disappointed. (The company also seeded the internet with clips showing the musical numbers.) Selling a unique movie like this, where there is no tried-and-true pattern to follow, is admittedly tricky. So Paramount made the call to go wide with 1200 runs--and not build the movie from fewer runs in sophisticated urban markets. It now looks like Dreamworks' initial strategy might have been the right way to go. That way early adopters would spread good word and build an audience slowly over time, rather than folks being lured into seeing a movie that they wind up not liking--and spreading bad word.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2007 7:56 AM
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Awards Gauntlet Syndrome

Pity the poor filmmaker with an Award season movie to flog. If it's good enough to have a shot at some awards attention, then the distrib is going to make you do the rounds: the guild screenings and Q & As, the dinners, the AFI Fest, the Hollywood Fest, the Variety screening series, my UCLA Sneak Previews class, the Behind the Camera Awards--and that's just the beginning. As we go on there's the gauntlet of awards ceremonies, the LA and NY critics, the Board of Review, the Indie Spirits, The Gothams, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards. The real horror is keeping the thing going all the way to the Oscars. If I were Julian Schnabel, I'd pack my PJs and head back to NYC right now.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 11, 2007 5:32 AM
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Oscar Watch: Juno

Various Oscar prognosticators suggest that Juno is too much of a teen flick to play to senior Academy voters. Judging from how the pic performed at my class this week, which reps the older demo quite well, that will not be an issue. This movie will build into a huge hit across many demos. Imagine that I served up one serious fall film after another to the class, from Michael Clayton, Reservation Road, Slipstream, Grace is Gone, Lions for Lambs, and The Kite Runner to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly...and then they got Juno.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 7, 2007 5:51 AM
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Oscar Parties: Clooney Talks Clayton, Burton Talks Todd

'Tis the time of year for industry/Oscar parties. It's about trying to remind the press of who they should be rooting for the in the Oscar race, basically.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2007 5:55 AM
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Oscar Watch: Foreign Film

If you're interested in the foreign Oscar race, The Film Experience, which collects info on all 63 foreign Oscar submissions, is a good place to start. And Cinemascope takes the temperature of the foreign race.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2007 6:07 AM
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More: Awards, Oscars

Sweeney Todd Reactions

DreamWorks has been holding Sweeney Todd back. Well, they finally screened it last week, and elicited "non-reviews" from the Internet folks. The two trades are sufficiently alarmed by all this activity to consider running their reviews sooner rather than later, I hear.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2007 6:03 AM
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Goodbye Power 100, Hello EW's Smart List

This Friday, Entertainment Weekly will publish a new standalone special issue, the first Hollywood “Smart List.” The brain behind this rejuvenated list, which replaces the tired old EW Power 100, is my old colleague Sean Smith, ex-of Newsweek and Premiere, who worked with me on quite a few Premiere power lists. We prided ourselves on reporting the hell out of those lists, and that's what EW has done here, too. A phalanx of EW reporters canvassed the film industry, conducting hundreds of background interviews, seeking info on “the savants and the wunderkinds whose ideas are driving the film industry forward,” according to EW.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 28, 2007 6:47 AM
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