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Oscar Round-Up: The Social Network Leads Buzz, Bullock vs. Lane, Renner's a Star

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 14, 2010 at 7:02AM

As awards season heats up and the growing surge of Oscar pundits weigh in more frequently, every Thursday the Daily Read will round up their worthiest efforts. And every Friday, as usual, we post the Oscar Talk podcast: this week we welcome London Fest attendees Guy Lodge (In Contention) and Peter Knegt (indieWIRE).
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Thompson on Hollywood

As awards season heats up and the growing surge of Oscar pundits weigh in more frequently, every Thursday the Daily Read will round up their worthiest efforts. And every Friday, as usual, we post the Oscar Talk podcast: this week we welcome London Fest attendees Guy Lodge (In Contention) and Peter Knegt (indieWIRE).

- Movieline's Oscar Index monitors the ups and downs of the best picture oscar contenders given "carefully timed rating controversy and/or Oscar-qualifying run," i.e. Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating. (Their leading ten for best pic: The Social Network, The King's Speech, Black Swan, 127 Hours, True Grit, The Kids Are All Right, Inception, Toy Story 3, The Fighter, and For Colored Girls (Outsiders: Blue Valentine; The Way Back; Secretariat; Another Year and Made in Dagenham.) They put Natalie Portman and Jesse Eisenberg at the top of their best actor lists. David Fincher tops the best director category. And The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush top best supporting actress and actor, respectively.

Thompson on Hollywood


- Gold Derby also hails the The Social Networks's current frontrunner status - a piece of cake for a film that's killing it at the box office (for the moment). However, they suspect the period-drama-loving Academy will swoon for The King's Speech when it opens on November 26, and will take over the buzz that 127 Hours is bound to get following its November 5 release. Toy Story 3 has the support of many critics, who nudged last year's The Hurt Locker towards its statue. And don't forget Black Swan, Gold Derby says, "the most artistically daring flick of the year and also very sexy," which will heat up the screen December 1. (Their current list, counting down from the number one spot: The Social Network, The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, True Grit, Black Swan, Inception, Hereafter, The Fighter and lastly, The Kids Are All Right.) They also post an underdog poll.

Thompson on Hollywood


- Meanwhile, Pete Hammond is calling Secretariat this year's The Blind Side. You know, a feel-good film toplined by a woman and based on a true story. One difference: Diane Lane is no stranger to awards talk - Sandra Bullock was. So far the film has mixed reviews: generally good but not excellent. People like horses and true stories, and they loved Secretariat director Randall Wallace's script for 1995 best pic winner Braveheart. But 2004's Seabiscuit was nominated for seven Oscars, winner of none - with better reviews than Secretariat (77% vs. 63% on the Tomatometer). We should, however, keep an eye on Diane Lane, who lost to Nicole Kidman (The Hours) in the 2003 best actress race for her role in Unfaithful--a far cry from this Disney family fare.

- If any category is likely to be blindsided it'll be the best foreign language film race, the "one area of the Oscars" that indieWIRE's Anthony Kaufman "feels compelled to predict." Here are his five guesses for the hardest-to-predict category: Life, Above All (South Africa), Biutiful (Mexico), Of Gods and Men (France), The First Beautiful Thing (Italy), and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand). TOH lists four of those five in our analysis of the foreign Oscar race.

- And in case you've forgotten the difference an Oscar can make, The National would like to remind you that Jeremy Renner has gone from being an unknown to a star in approximately eight months - The Hurt Locker won on February 22, 2009, and now he's starring across from Ben Affleck in The Town and soon, Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible 4. The National notes that Renner has been compared to Sean Penn, but "internalizes his performances more." Renner is attracted to "on-edge" characters, he says: "I certainly command a certain complicated character." He wants to avoid being typecast, though: "There's not a lot of creativity in Hollywood...Whatever you do is repeated, so it's my responsibility as an artist to avoid that."

This article is related to: Awards, Box Office, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Hollywood, Stuck In Love, Daily Read, Media, Oscars, Kathryn Bigelow, David Fincher, Chris Nolan, Darren Aronofsky, Tom Hooper, Drama, Biopics, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Critics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.