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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Backstage: Avatar's VFX Master Letteri Inspired by Real World

Avatar VFX supervisor Joe Letteri said in his acceptance speech that Avatar was "about seeing the world in new ways," he said. "And just remember the world we live in is just as amazing as the world we created for you." Backstage, Letteri said he was responding to the idea of the post-Avatar depression phenomenon. "We took things out in the world and made them bigger and shinier," he said. "All our inspiration comes from the real world."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 4:18 AM
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Oscar Watch: Giacchino Talks Up

Michael Giacchino, who won for his score of Up, was standing outside taking a break on another movie when someone told him the story of Up. "It's about life and death and moving on," Giacchino said. "I knew immediately that I had to do it, so badly." He says that he treats cartoon characters as real people. "It was about being quiet and simple and letting it grow from there."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 4:12 AM
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Oscar Backstage: Avatar Winner Stromberg Talks Survival

The co-winner of best art direction for Avatar, Robert Stromberg, said in his acceptance speech that he came back from a near-death experience. Backstage he elaborated. "Something was ready to kill me," he said. "Out of that I told myself that I would spend whatever time I had here trying to do something profound and worthwhile. This award to me is actually me understanding that I'm alive. It's very special."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 3:49 AM
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Oscar Backstage: Short Subjects

The three short films, animated, live action and doc, did not go the way I expected. I thought Logorama--a must-see clever short made up entirely of commercial logos-- would be too hip for the Academy, which would go for Nick Park for the second time, but they must have gotten tired of Wallace & Gromit being nominated five times before. The live action short The New Tenants was my favorite and I shouldn't have listened to the people telling me why it couldn't win! So much for winning any Oscar pools. The five films vying for doc short were all strong, but I admit that HBO's Music by Prudence, about a disabled South African singer, haunted me for days.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 2:28 AM
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Oscar Reaction: Boal Starts Hurt Locker Wins, Waltz, Docter, Burnett/Bingham Expected Wins

So far the Oscars are going as predicted. Mark Boal's win for The Hurt Locker is a sign of strength for the movie--which many best picture Oscar watchers have been abandoning for Avatar in the last week. And it means that Harvey Weinstein's long, hard campaign for Inglourious Basterds did not bear fruit. Unless Inglourious wins cinematography, the Christoph Waltz supporting actor prize will be it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 1:49 AM
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Oscar Red Carpet: Clooney, Tarantino, Cameron as Showtime Nears

Quentin Tarantino has lost his voice. Bill Mechanic the co-producer of the Oscars says he and Adam Shankman never fought and are new best friends. He's going in a populist direction with the show, he says, and they were tweaking things that didn't work last night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 1:10 AM
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Oscar Red Carpet: Winding Down

It's getting late enough so that the stars are going by and not stopping. Carey Mulligan, Kathryn Bigelow and Vera Farmiga went breezing by. It's a real crunch.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 1:07 AM
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Oscar Red Carpet Video: Media Moguls

"The lines are still open," said Disney chairman Robert Iger of the Cablevision/ABC dispute that is shutting the Oscar broadcast down on the Cablevision system in NYC. Local WABC can't be seen on cable in the NYC area. UPDATE: WABC-TV has gone back on in New York.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 12:55 AM
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Oscar Red Carpet: Early "Avatar" Bits

From the red carpet now:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 7, 2010 11:52 AM
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Oscar Red Carpet: The Docs Are In

The cast and crew of HBO's The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, nominated for best doc short make their way along the carpet. "We'll make them pay!" says, Kate Geiger.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 7, 2010 11:44 AM
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More: Awards, Oscars

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