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Thompson on Hollywood

Pre-Toronto Gurus 'O Gold

The old Gurus 'O Gold gang is back, 16 strong. We first selected 15 top contenders, given that the Academy voters will be choosing ten this year. It's all meaningless really, until more of them have been seen. You're just voting on track record and elements. Telluride and Toronto will start to tell that tale. Whether or not a studio will even attempt to launch a serious campaign will be determined by the fest reaction. Awards marketing budgets are tight this year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 5:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Academy Changes Best Picture Voting Rules

Academy Changes Best Picture Voting Rules
In his new The Wrap Oscar column "The Odds," Steve Pond reveals new voting rules to accompany the top ten best picture Oscar contenders. The goal, says Academy executive director Bruce Davis, is to eliminate the possibility that one of the films could win with less than 18% of the vote. This seems like a reasonable--if arcane--solution. And one that will change the way Oscar campaigners have sought to persuade voters to choose their number one favorite. That's less important now. The top five favorites will now become key.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 9:34 AM
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  • 8 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut

Weekly Oscar-Talk Podcast Debut
I am happy to announce the debut of a weekly Friday kudo-podcast with In Contention's Kris Tapley. Here's the first Oscar Talk. We discuss the awards hopefuls so far and likely contenders coming out of upcoming fests; Meryl Streep’s remarkable emergence as a 60-year-old movie star; how the ten best picture slots could effect the Oscar race; new indie distribs Overture, Summit and Apparition; changing trends in Oscar campaigns; Paramount pushing Shutter Island to 2010; how Avatar Day went; and a Toronto preview.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 28, 2009 6:22 AM
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  • 6 Comments

#TIFF: 30 Must-See Movies

#TIFF: 30 Must-See Movies
It's hard to narrow down the must-see Toronto Film Fest list to 30. After all there are 335 films at TIFF09. (I'm including movies that I've already screened in L.A., Sundance or Cannes.) Some fall openers are launching at TIFF, 100 pictures are available for acquisition, and a select few will emerge with their Oscar hopes intact. Reaction from media and audiences will determine which films earn a full-on Oscar push. And I'm listing the pictures in alphabetical order.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 27, 2009 8:12 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Paramount Pushes Shutter Island to February

Paramount Pushes Shutter Island to February
In a startling reveal of how dire studio financials have become in this recession, Paramount made a swift and surgical move to trim its year-end budget. Marketing meetings took place last week for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, based on the Dennis Lehane novel and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Running a little over two hours, the period mystery looks thrilling and commercial as hell. But the studio looked at the cold hard millions the release would require --even in October, with a possible costly Academy campaign down the line--and pushed the picture back to February 19.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 21, 2009 9:41 AM
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  • 9 Comments

District 9: Oscar Contender?

District 9: Oscar Contender?
District 9 is a great movie that deserves every kudo and by all accounts played great for the Academy the other night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 20, 2009 3:45 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Sherak Elected Academy President

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has a new public face: the Board of Governors elected six-year board and executive branch member Tom Sherak president on Tuesday night. He takes over for genial Sid Ganis, a victim of term limits: he served the maximum four consecutive one-year terms. Ganis remains on executive committee as immediate past president. Sherak was treasurer; producer Howard Koch will take on that role. The president is closely involved with all Academy functions, from various rule changes to prepping the annual Oscarcast and helping to select its producer and host.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 19, 2009 12:53 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Up in the Air Heads to Toronto

Up in the Air Heads to Toronto
Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, starring George Clooney, will launch at the Toronto Film Fest (where loyal Canadian Reitman debuted Thank You for Smoking and Juno). This is classic pre-Oscar positioning.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 19, 2009 5:40 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips

Inglourious Basterds: Recut, Nine Clips
Quentin Tarantino's recut of Inglourious Basterds is one minute longer than the Cannes version, and much improved. It's a gorgeous movie with a great eclectic soundtrack crammed with everything from Ennio Morricone to a brilliant use of David Bowie's "Putting Out the Fire." (Trivia question: what movie debuted that song?)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 9, 2009 1:52 AM
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  • 6 Comments

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys

Julie & Julia Targets Women, G.I. Joe Goes for Guys
Am I the only one who feels bombarded by too much PR on Julie & Julia? It’s worth seeing for the incandescent performance of Meryl Streep as the big, bubbly, adorable chef Julia Child, who was very much a product of her time. Stanley Tucci is equally charming as her mousy, adoring husband. Both should earn awards attention at year's end. I wish that the filmmakers had bucked the conventional wisdom that holds that a period story must be framed by a contemporary one to lure younger viewers. The sections with Amy Adams as blogger Julie Powell cooking for her namby-pamby husband were boring.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 7, 2009 7:00 AM
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  • 2 Comments

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