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Thompson on Hollywood

BAFTA Cues: Slumdog, Rourke, Winslet, Cruz, Ledger

The London broadcast of the BAFTA Awards on Sunday does not cue what will happen on Oscar night. Suddenly, everyone says, as they did after the Golden Globes, Mickey Rourke will win. The folks voting for the BAFTAs are from the UK film industry, they aren't the same as the 5800 Academy voters. Of course the ceremony does take place smack in the middle of Oscar voting. (Still, many Academy members have already filled out their ballots, due February 17.) But they aren't widely viewed. More people see reports of the winners than the actual show. So rather than being predictive, the BAFTAs may have some slight influence on momentum. Winners look like winners, and so on.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 10, 2009 2:07 AM
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Oscar Surprises: Dark Knight Out, Reader In

The Oscar nominations are in and The Dark Knight did not make it to best picture. The Reader landed the slot instead, also scoring noms for Stephen Daldry for best director (over The Dark Knight's Chris Nolan), David Hare for adapted screenplay and Kate Winslet (instead of Revolutionary Road). The Dark Knight was in the running though, with eight noms, including a posthumous nom for Heath Ledger, who is the frontrunner for best supporting actor.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 23, 2009 2:25 AM
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Tarantino Wrapping Inglourious Basterds for Cannes Finish

Quentin Tarantino is rushing production on his World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, which has been described as The Dirty Dozen meets Cross of Iron, not only because his mentor Harvey Weinstein could use a big hit sooner rather than later--and Tarantino is deeply loyal--but because the director is trying to finish it in time for Cannes in May.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 21, 2009 2:36 AM
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Golden Globes Weekend Party Hopping

Golden Globes weekend brings parties and more parties, both Saturday and Sunday. Predicting the Globes is a frustrating exercise; it's only 80 people. Who knows what they're thinking? The good money appears to be on Slumdog Millionaire for drama. I'll go with The Curious Life of Benjamin Button.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 12, 2009 3:26 AM
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Oscar Watch: The Pitt Debate

Some see Pitt's performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button as a transformative role of a lifetime, while others see it as a mix of Pitt and genius visual effects. The question is, how did the Academy actors who will nominate the top five actors of the year see it? At various Golden Globes parties over the weekend, I heard both sides of the argument. Did Paramount, which has done a yeoman job of getting the movie open and turning it into a hit, reveal too much of the process? And how do Academy voters feel about the animation involved in Pitt's performance?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 11, 2009 3:57 AM
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Review

I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Saturday (following the aborted Thursday screening), and have been trying to sort it out ever since.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 23, 2008 8:08 AM
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Oscar Watch: Early Benjamin Button Review

EDITED TO READ: So, to be clear: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW. Not a Variety review or a review at all. What it is: Notes from a viewer's responses to a screening of David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starring Brad Pitt as the man who ages backwards. Get annoyed, growl, sneer, be jealous... whatever you like, just don't call it a review. The person is neither a reviewer nor associated with the film in any way.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 12, 2008 5:40 AM
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Brad Pitt Shoots Angelina Jolie, Up Close, for W

Brad Pitt makes his photography debut at W Magazine this month, which assigned him to take up-close-and-personal shots of mama Jolie with her kids. It was a brilliant idea and will be hugely successful. The intimacy of the shots is something that would be difficult for any outsider to achieve.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2008 4:26 AM
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Telluride Watch 3: Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, and Awards Buzz

One of the tricks of the fall film fest trade is to launch a few movies that will gain awards season traction. Telluride has often done well picking some of these pics in advance, such as Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line and last year's Juno. So given this year's short supply of completed specialty division fare, as many distribs have opted to take the late-year approach to chasing Oscar, Telluride dug up its own indie and foreign gems to help them get some attention.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 1, 2008 6:25 AM
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Telluride Watch 2: Fincher's Button Preview, Prodigal Sons

The first day of the 35th Telluride Film Festival started off hot and dry at the annual patron's brunch up the mountain. Tributee Jean Simmons sat under a melon-colored hat and blue umbrella, charming eager listeners, still beautiful. She remembered her then-husband, director Richard Brooks, telling Burt Lancaster during the filming of Elmer Gantry, "More teeth!" "Burt worked out on a trapeze every morning," Simmons said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 30, 2008 6:23 AM
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