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Thompson on Hollywood

John Knoll Talks 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' and Brad Bird

For John Knoll, it didn't matter that "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" only required 700 VFX shots, and most of them invisible. It was the opportunity to work with director Brad Bird, whom he's known for years, on his first live-action film away from animation stardom at Pixar.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 23, 2011 6:35 PM
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Video: Max von Sydow Talks the Silence of The Renter

I first encountered Max von Sydow on the big screen playing chess with Death in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal" at The New Yorker in Manhattan when I was a teenager. He's surprised that I've seen it. "You watched black and white films?" he asks, admitting that this is his first flipcam interview.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 23, 2011 1:39 AM
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Academy Names 97 Original Scores for Oscar Contention; Newman Lands Four Eligible Scores to Desplat's Three

Ninety-seven original scores are eligible to compete for the Oscar. Now the music branch will vote for the films that will make the top five to be announced nominations morning on January 24. The Academy deems eligible scores that are substantially original. Thomas Newman edged out Alexandre Desplat with four eligible films to three, while as expected, John Williams has two films, Spielberg's "War Horse" and "The Adventures of Tintin." Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross are likely to to earn a nomination for David Fincher's "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 22, 2011 8:44 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Deal Update: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Woody Allen's 'Nero Fiddled,' 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' Moves Up, 'Outrun' Gets Date

With Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" the year's highest-grossing independent film (almost $60 million domestic) and a strong Oscar contender with four Golden Globe nominations, it's no surprise that Sony Pictures Classics will release his next indie funded film, "Nero Fiddled."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2011 7:52 PM
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Oscar Watch: Passion Votes Drive Exciting Race, Likely Eight Best Picture Nominees--Not 'Bridesmaids'

The change in Oscar voting rules, so that only films earning hundreds of number one votes will land a Best Picture slot-- leads to more speculation and excitement than ever this year. But it's already clear that there will be eight nominees.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2011 3:10 PM
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  • 5 Comments

'Tree of Life,' 'A Separation' Lead Village Voice Poll, 'Margaret' Lands Three Wins

"The Tree of Life" has won yet another victory, topping the annual Village Voice critics poll and winning best director for Terrence Malick. The film was followed by Iranian Oscar submission "A Separation"; Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" came in third.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2011 2:02 PM
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Immersed in Movies: 'Avatar' VFX Wiz Letteri Compares 'Apes' and 'Tintin,' Caesar and Haddock

It's been a great year for Joe Letteri, Weta Digital's senior visual effects supervisor, with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" as the front runner for the VFX Oscar and "The Adventures of Tintin" opening today and competing in the animation category.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 21, 2011 12:04 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Indie Spirit Nominee 'Without' Team Talk Micro-Budget Filmmaking, Distribution

Writer-director Mark Jackson is up for the “Someone to Watch” award at the Indie Spirits, to be held in Santa Monica on February 25, for his micro-budget "Without." The film is a quiet character study featuring a daring performance by the newcomer, Joslyn Jensen.
  • By Charles Lyons
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  • December 21, 2011 11:47 AM
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Media Update: Streep vs. Davis Interviews, Fincher, Mara, Pitt and Hill Do Charlie Rose, Masters vs. Damon

Meryl Streep charmed Morley Safer and viewers on "60 Minutes" (video below) and appears on the cover of Newsweek as the race for Best Actress shifts into high gear. It's hers to lose after 16 nominations and two wins, for "Sophie's Choice" and "Kramer vs. Kramer" lo these many years ago. She tells Safer she gets tired of doing takes over and over, and annoyed when women like Thatcher are described as strong-minded. When are strong men described that way?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 20, 2011 4:18 PM
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  • 1 Comment

London Film Critics Bolster Tinker Tailor, Drive, A Separation, Redgrave, Chastain, Colman, Mulligan

As I keep saying, critics, especially those across the Pond, don't have that much impact on the Oscar race. But every time an Academy member has reason to add something to the must-watch pile, it helps. And the British block of voters in LA, NY and the UK --and the BAFTA nominations still to come--do have some influence on the Oscars.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 20, 2011 1:12 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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