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Thompson on Hollywood

Now and Then: For Woody Allen, the Place is the Thing, from Manhattan to Midnight in Paris

When asked about Woody Allen's New York, critics often cite the glorious black-and-white Gershwin cinepoem that opens “Manhattan” (1979). I’ve always been partial, though, to the rough magic of Diane Keaton’s terrible driving in “Annie Hall” (1977). (See clips below.)
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • December 19, 2011 12:16 PM
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Oscar Talk: Impact of New York Critics, National Board of Review, Indie Spirits, We Bought a Zoo Review

  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2011 11:53 AM
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Oscar Talk: Spielberg's Tintin, Gothams, NY vs. LA Critics Votes, Animation and Foreign Debates

In Contention's British correspondent Guy Lodge reports on his viewing of The Adventures of Tintin during this week's Oscar Talk with Kris Tapley. "The action sequences are more fluid," Lodge says, than anything else in Steven Spielberg's work. A downhill chase through the streets of Morocco is "jaw dropping...it's such a ride." We debate how the Academy's animation branch will regard this motion capture adventure. Is Spielberg an interloper in their ranks? Will the mainstream Academy take the movie, which has been compared to Raiders of the Lost Ark, seriously? (Here's TOH's London review.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 21, 2011 4:00 AM
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Woody Allen Ditches Decameron Title for Nero Fiddled

With Woody Allen's summer hit Midnight in Paris his highest grosser ever and heading for Oscar contention, the filmmaker has seen the wisdom of changing the name of his next film, his first shot and financed in Rome, from The Bop Decameron, which got too many stares, says Allen, to the more accessible Nero Fiddled (2012). "I couldn't believe how few people had heard of The Decameron even in Rome," he says. "And the few that did assumed the movie was based on Boccaccio's tales which it's not." The change marks the second time Allen has altered a title; the first was replacing Anhedonia with Annie Hall, which went on to win the best picture Oscar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 13, 2011 9:57 AM
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Cronenberg's Menage A Trois, Kendrick's Wet Dream, Woody Allen Talks Unsatisfying Situation of Life

- David Cronenberg talks about his inspiration for A Dangerous Method and his upcoming Cosmopolis (in post-production) and potential future projects with ThePlaylist. He admits that he has always wanted to make a film about the birth of psychoanalysis, but didn't see a way in until Christopher Hampton's play: "Suddenly there is a structure. And this was my first introduction to Sabina and she is part of what I call an ‘intellectual menage a trois,’ and that structure was terrific—the span of it, the relationship between Freud and Jung that went over six or seven years.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 3, 2011 8:15 AM
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Oscar Talk: Ides of March's Clooney vs. Gosling vs. Hoffman, Supporting Categories

Oscar Talk: Ides of March's Clooney vs. Gosling vs. Hoffman, Supporting Categories
Now that we've both seen George Clooney's political thriller The Ides of March, Kris Tapley and I dig into not only Oscar prospects for that film, but the list of supporting players in contention for this year. We also debate the respective box office fates of Drive and Warrior as well as how success in theaters impacts a film's awards chances. (CORRECTION: Yes, Clooney won best supporting actor for Syriana and not Good Night, and Good Luck.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 30, 2011 4:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Descendants, Clooney, Streep Top Gurus 'O Gold Oscar Rankings

Descendants, Clooney, Streep Top Gurus 'O Gold Oscar Rankings
The Gurus have spoken. Post-festivals, Alexander Payne's The Descendants (1) has taken over the frontrunner spot from Steven Spielberg's unscreened period war adventure War Horse (2). Interestingly, Spielberg was considering submitting the film to Venice but decided not to do so. He usually likes to wait until the last possible minute to show his films. It's better NOT to be at the head of the pack, anyway. The Descendants' George Clooney (1) is also at the front of the Best Actor race.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 27, 2011 5:10 AM
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Pre-Premiere of Fox's New Girl, Nick Nolte Talks Bender, Stoll on Hemingway in Paris

By the time Fox's New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, premieres, it won't seem so fresh off the presses. Variety reports that the network will allow viewers to watch the whole series before it is broadcast Sept. 20th on live TV. Viewers will have access to the show through various outlets, including an unprecedented pre-primetime viewing on iTunes. The network hopes that through this new strategy they can access sampling opportunities. Before the launch, the show will be available for free on iTunes, Hulu, Fox.com, and Deschanel's Hello Giggles blog.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 7, 2011 5:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond

Oscar Talk: From The Help, Rise of the Apes and Woody to the Fall Fest Circuit and Beyond
Oscar Talk is back. The first podcast of the fall season with In Contention's Kris Tapley runs for a good hour, so gird your loins, Oscar mavens, listen and weep. We cover the Cannes films, the summer releases, the Fall Festival entries and the end-of-year possibilities. We talk Meryl and Glenn and Malick and Chastain, debate the merits of sleeper Warrior and admit that we both cried over cancer patient Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50. Next week we'll post from Telluride. The award season begins.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 26, 2011 4:00 AM
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Oscar Watch: Best-Reviewed Movie Charts

Every year, UK statistician Andrew Sidhom keeps running charts of the best-reviewed movies of the year (one for US/UK productions and one for foreign productions), using Rotten Tomatoes' average rating. He also tracks current box office totals and theater counts. Over the past few years, the results closely matched the films that ended up being nominated for end-of-year awards and Oscars in the best picture category, provided that they were box office winners that were not in such Academy-unfriendly genres as sci fi, animation, horror, or sequels. The 2010 chart is pretty impressive: it's led by The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The King's Speech, True Grit and Black Swan.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 24, 2011 12:42 PM
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