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Thompson on Hollywood

Awards Circuit: Octavia Spencer Gets PSIFF Breakthrough Performance Award; Dujardin and Bejo Share SBIFF Cinema Vanguard Award

Film festivals play a key role in highlighting Oscar contenders during this crowded and noisy awards season. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor "The Artist" actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo with their Cinema Vanguard Award on February 4. The award recognizes "an actor who has forged his/her own path - taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film." Past winners include Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga and Ryan Gosling. SBIFF's exec director Roger Durling states: "In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Bérénice's acting is an amazing pas des deux both physically and emotionally - recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred." Dujardin notes the rest of the film's ensemble -- James Cromwell, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle and Malcolm McDowell --and adds, "This award is just as much for them as it is for us.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 7, 2011 12:07 PM
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Immersed in Movies: Jennifer Yuh Nelson Lifts Kung Fu Panda 2

Of all the sequels competing for the best animated feature Oscar, "Kung Fu Panda 2" was really the only one with unfinished business. It begged the question: How did Po wind up living in the same house with his father goose?
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 7, 2011 10:39 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Martin Scorsese To Receive Music+Film Award at Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Martin Scorsese will be honored with the Music+Film Award at the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards on January 12. The award recognizes a filmmaker who "has touched audiences through cinematic storytelling, and has heightened the impact of films through the brilliant use of source and original music"...
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 7, 2011 10:13 AM
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Sundance Short Films 2012: "Outrageously Distinctive with Uncompromised Spirit"

The Sundance Film Festival selected 64 shorts from 7,675 submissions for its 2012 Short Film program of US and foreign films, in Narrative, Animated and Documentary categories, as well as the New Frontiers section.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2011 4:00 PM
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IN THE WORKS: Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, Christ the Lord, Shyamalan's 1000 A.E. with Smith, Kravitz & Okonedo

Director Bruce Beresford ("Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding," "Driving Miss Daisy") will direct "Taliesin," about one dramatic event in the life of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Writer Nicholas Meyer centers the script on the events surrounding the home the architect built (Taliesin) for himself and his mistress, former client and married woman Martha "Mamah" Cheney. She, her two children and four others were murdered in 1914 while Wright was away: a domestic worker locked them inside, set fire to the home and attacked them with an axe. Beresford tells THR that the "very good script" covers only a small section of the architect's life and "doesn't whitewash him into some sort of saint." Beresford also notes its odd that there has never been a feature about him, though Ken Burns made a documentary in 1998, "Frank Lloyd Wright." The director has an actor in mind but is keeping the name to himself for now.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2011 1:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

In The Land of Blood & Lawsuits: Jolie, GK Films and FilmDistrict Sued Over Film's Similarities to Croatian Book

Angelina Jolie (along with GK Films, FilmDistrict and Scout Film) is being sued. Croatian journalist James Braddock alleges that her film, "In The Land of Blood and Honey," has similarities with his 2007 book, "The Soul Shattering." For two years beginning in 2008, he states that he consulted with Edin Sarkic, a co-producer on the film (on points including "plot and character development and the story's cultural significance and historical accuracy"). The two allegedly discussed the possibility of adapting his book, but that's as far as it went until Braddock learned of Jolie's film.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2011 1:30 PM
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Trailer Watch: Extremely Loud Gets Closer with Second Trailer, Press Screenings

The message in the new trailer for Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is: "if things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding." Loss and grief are front and center after Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn's characters lose husband/father (Tom Hanks) on 9/11. The young son's need to understand what happened leads him on a journey through Manhattan to discover what the key his father left him means. We're partial to the first trailer, where U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" and slick editing allude to the story's emotional core. "Extremely Loud" opens Christmas Day.
  • By Anne Thompson & Sophia Savage
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  • December 6, 2011 12:00 PM
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Warner Bros. Theater to Open at Smithsonian in February

A new theater bearing the Warner Bros. studio name will open in February 2012 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. In addition to providing the grant to fund the theater's renovation, Warners will also partner with the Smithsonian Institute to present four public film festivals throughout the coming year.
  • By Jacob Combs
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  • December 5, 2011 10:34 PM
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  • 1 Comment

IN THE WORKS: Bejo Goes Brit, Coppola's Burglar Bunch

Bérénice Bejo has landed a role in the UK's "The Scapegoat," based on Daniel Pennac's French novel, "Au Bonheur des Ogres." Raphaël Personnaz and Emir Kusturica will costar.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 5, 2011 8:51 PM
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Sundance Premieres: Features and Documentaries, Actors Behind Camera

Brit Marling, watch out! Women are front and center at the Sundance Film festival this year, including the Premieres section, which features more well-known players than the other sections---and many actors behind the camera.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 5, 2011 3:59 PM
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