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Thompson on Hollywood

Rooney Mara Talks with Steven Soderbergh in Interview Magazine -- the "Finch," Loving the Oscar, Nudity and More

Rooney Mara submitted to an email chat with her "Side Effects" director Steven Soderbergh for this month's Interview Magazine. The two smartypants engage in sarcastic banter about David Fincher, the Oscars and, er, the "reverse cowgirl."
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • February 22, 2013 2:22 PM
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Film Independent Chiefs McManus and Welsh Preview Indie Spirits, Take Stock of LACMA and LAFF

Just a year ago, long-time Film Independent staffers Sean McManus and Josh Welsh took on new roles as co-presidents of Film Independent, which runs many vital programs for the West Coast independent film community, as well as the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival. They replaced Dawn Hudson, who left FIND to become the CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. I talked to the two men on the phone about where they are and where they're going--and the upcoming Indie Spirits, my favorite awards event.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 20, 2013 5:46 PM
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Why 'Life of Pi' Will Win Multiple Oscars Next Weekend

Going into the final Oscar stretch, Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" has turned out to be a stronger contender--and box office juggernaut, at close to $600 million worldwide--than many had expected. Nominated for eleven Oscars, among the categories the movie is favored to win are best director, cinematography, visual effects and editing. Some weeks back I moderated a lively DGA panel with cinematographer Claudio Miranda (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), producer David Womark, VFX animator and supervisor Erik Jan De Boer, visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer (of beleaguered Rhythm & Hues) and Lee's long-time editor Tim Squyres.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2013 1:32 PM
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Oscar Q & A: Meet Tom Van Avermaet, Director of Darkly Glimmering Short 'Death of a Shadow' (TRAILER)

Of all the Oscar-nominated shorts, Tom Van Avermaet's gorgeous "Death of a Shadow" occupies the most complex and entrancing alternative reality. Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust and Bone") plays Nathan Rijckx, a deceased WWI soldier stuck in a limbo where an intricate steam-punk machine selects each person's moment of death. He has a second chance at life if he agrees to work for a Grim Reaper figure who collects shadow images of the moment that people die. Rijckx agrees to shoot 10,000 shadows in order to return to life and find the woman he fell in love with at the moment he died.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • February 18, 2013 2:56 PM
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Oscar Watch: Emmanuelle Riva Talks Her Surprise Late-Life Role in 'Amour'; French Veteran Could Beat Lawrence

A seamstress, poet and photographer, Emmanuelle Riva lives alone in Paris. She has enjoyed a long and happy career as a film actress, most notably starring at age 30 in Alain Resnais's 1959 drama "Hiroshima Mon Amour," and working in theater until 2001. "I liked the roles I had both on the stage and in cinema," she wrote me in an email. "My preference is for both. Going from one role to the other is a healthy exercise; no time for them to leave any mark on us. It is others who leave a mark on us. And I don't want to be a prisoner of any part, or to specialize in any genre. I don't want to cultivate my image (how boring!). I would rather always feel the freshness of something newly born."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2013 7:26 PM
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Meet Shawn Christensen, Writer-Director-Star of Oscar-Nominated Short 'Curfew'

Leading the pack in the race for the best live-action short Oscar is Hollywood screenwriter Shawn Christensen's gritty 19-minute "Curfew," which stars the multi-hyphenate as suicidal New Yorker Richie who babysits for his nine-year-old neice Sophia. Safe to say we will be hearing from this actor-writer-filmmaker again: he's currently expanding "Curfew" into a full-length feature. (See the short on iTunes.)
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • February 15, 2013 3:11 PM
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'Amour' Auteur Michael Haneke Talks Riva and Trintignant, Death of 35 mm UPDATED

Michael Haneke's "Amour" has been nominated for five Oscars: Best Picture, Directing, Actress, Foreign Language Film and Screenplay. This comes after scooping up awards from such year-end critics groups as the New York Film Critics Circle, and tops off a stellar year that began with the film winning the Palme d'Or in Cannes last May.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 15, 2013 1:06 PM
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Military Rape Doc 'Invisible War' Continues to Push Change on Capitol Hill

While fictional Oscar nominee "Zero Dark Thirty" has challenged Washington politicians to respond to its hybrid journalism, Kirby Dick's searing Oscar-nominated documentary "The Invisible War" has exposed the scope of a military crisis that Capitol Hill didn't realize was happening. In a way, seeing the film has given the DC establishment permission to respond to something that had been heretofore hidden and taboo. That's because the film puts a face on a group of well-trained, idealistic young women who sought to serve their country and were rewarded with rape, mental and physical stress, injury and trauma, and an insensitive military bureaucracy that looked the other way when they sought redress.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2013 4:24 PM
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The Hollywood Education of Ben Affleck, from 'Chasing Amy,' 'Armageddon' and 'Shakespeare' to his Second Act and 'Argo' [VIDEO]

Before accepting the Santa Barbara Modern Master Award from childhood pal Matt Damon, "Argo" helmer and star Ben Affleck, 40, with graceful help from master interviewer Leonard Maltin, showed his mettle as charming raconteur and ace impressionist. These skills have served "Argo" well in its surging race for Oscars.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 13, 2013 2:34 PM
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Interview: 'Lore' Director Cate Shortland Explores World War II Landscape of Identity and Sexuality

Australian filmmaker Cate Shortland's "Lore," which was shortlisted for the foreign Oscar, is now playing in limited release. After her 2004 debut "Somersault" broke out Sam Worthington and Abbie Cornish, Shortland took her time coming back to helm another film. Set in vastly different territory, World War II drama "Lore" made its debut in Toronto. It was worth the wait.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 12, 2013 4:25 PM
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