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Underrated, Underdog and Misunderstood Films of 2010

Underrated, Underdog and Misunderstood Films of 2010
Who doesn't like an underdog? They're not asking to win the Oscar for Best Picture, but these under-appreciated films deserve to be seen by wider audiences than their box office numbers, critics or lack of awards talk would suggest. After the jump is a sampling of the worthy films singled out by The New York Times, The Atlantic, Moviefone, The Playlist and Associated Content. Our adds to your bucket list of films to watch when awards season is over (or now, if you're caught up) are:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 4, 2011 9:20 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Oscar Talk: Late December Openings, Frontrunners, WGA and Oscar Music, DGA Predicts

Oscar Talk: Late December Openings, Frontrunners, WGA and Oscar Music, DGA Predicts
In Contention's Kris Tapley and I weigh the impact of year-end releases on the Oscar race. Will Another Year's Lesley Manville squeak into best actress contention, is Nicole Kidman hurt by the weak performance of Rabbit Hole? And what about frontrunner Natalie Portman's new pregnancy? What would it take to push Biutiful's Javier Bardem or I Am Love's Tilda Swinton into the race?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 31, 2010 5:11 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Oscar Watch: Kids Are All Right Faces Academy Males

Oscar Watch: Kids Are All Right Faces Academy Males
Oscar campaigners call them the Steak Eaters. The Academy is full of them--they're red-blooded males (not just American--Europeans and Aussies too), often directors, writers and craftspeople. They're the guys who voted for The Silence of the Lambs, Braveheart, Gladiator, Avatar and yes, Crash over Brokeback Mountain. "They vote for big movies that make big money, good solid moviemaking with great actors and good storytelling," says one veteran Oscar campaigner. "True Grit is for them."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 28, 2010 9:15 AM
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  • 14 Comments

Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees

Alliance of Women Film Journalists Nominees
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has posted its nominees for the 2010 AWFJ EDA Awards (full list is below). Nominated for Best Film are Black Swan, Inception, The King's Speech, The Social Network and Winter's Bone. Oddly, The Kids Are All Right received 16 nominations-- but not best picture. Helen Mirren (RED) got five.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 22, 2010 11:23 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Brits Weigh In: King's Speech, Another Year Lead London Critics

Don't underestimate the Brit factor when it comes to Oscar influence. There are many Brit voters in the Academy. The London Critics Circle just gave boosts to two Brit films, The King's Speech (seven nominations, including Film of the Year, Brit film of Year and Actor of the Year, Colin Firth) and Another Year (six, including British Director, Mike Leigh, British Actress, Lesley Manville and British Actor, Jim Broadbent). The Social Network nabbed five noms, while Brit debut featureThe Arbor got four, along with Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit. Full list below.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 21, 2010 5:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Talk: Predicts Post-Critics Groups, Globes, SAG

Oscar Talk: Predicts Post-Critics Groups, Globes, SAG
Does Blue Valentine or Another Year or Biutiful still have a shot? Will Winter's Bone or The Town make it onto the Oscar Ten? In Contention's @KrisTapley and @GuyLodge and I read the Oscar tea leaves in the wake of the critics votes, Golden Globes, and SAG nominations. We explain why critics' fave The Social Network isn't necessarily a shoo-in for best picture. And why the SAG Awards count more than the Golden Globes in the Oscar race, and why the HFPA didn't nominate How Do You Know? as a comedy. The guys like Tron: Legacy and Daft Punk a lot more than I do, that's for sure.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2010 5:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Screen Actors Guild Surprises: John Hawkes and Hilary Swank; Blue Valentine Shut Out

Screen Actors Guild Surprises: John Hawkes and Hilary Swank; Blue Valentine Shut Out
The Screen Actors Guild nominations--which actually do have some impact on the Oscar race, given that Academy actors are so dominant in the voting--were announced Thursday morning. The SAG equivalent of best picture is the ensemble award; the five nominees could well be considered the top five contenders at the Oscars as well. The King's Speech and The Fighter led the fray with four noms each, followed by Black Swan, The Kids Are All Right and The Social Network. Left off the best cast list but grabbing two acting nominations each were True Grit, which had been ignored by the Golden Globes, and Winter's Bone. Blue Valentine was shut out, with no noms for Ryan Gosling or Michelle Williams.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2010 2:25 AM
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  • 3 Comments

2010 Best Performances: Stand-Outs, Ensemble, Symbiotic

Here are Sophia Savage's Ten Stand-Out Performances, Five Best Ensemble Performances, and Best Symbiotic Performance of 2010 (in aphabetical order).
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 15, 2010 7:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Golden Globes Nominations Led by King's Speech, with Seven

While The Golden Globes nominations have an impact on momentum going into the Oscar race, they are not predictive. That's partly because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (some 80 foreign correspondents) break their categories into Drama and Comedy or Musical. Thus it becomes easy to dismiss certain titles that the Oscars are likely to ignore, including Frankie & Alice, Burlesque, Barney's Version, Easy A, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Red, Casino Jack, The Tourist, and Love & Other Drugs. (Full list of nominees below.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 14, 2010 1:42 AM
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  • 3 Comments

2010 Ten Best List

2010 Ten Best List
I've been feverishly catching up on screeners, knowing that I had to declare my ten best list on Friday's Oscar Talk. I filed my votes at the Village Voice and indieWIRE critics polls. And I filed my nominations for the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which announced Monday. It turns out that my number ten choice, Fish Tank, had a qualifying run in 2009. So I replaced it with The Ghost Writer. So here goes:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 13, 2010 11:33 AM
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  • 7 Comments

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