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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Talk: True Grit vs. Social Network, Party Circuit, Vulnerable Contenders, Spoilers, 2011 Picks

During this week's Oscar Talk (on the jump), Kris Tapley and I debate the Hailee Steinfeld category issue for True Grit. He thinks she's best actress material, while I argue that she's a rookie who belongs in supporting. At Thursday night's The Social Network DVD party at Spago, producer Scott Rudin was all smiles (True Grit is also vying for best picture). He opted to compete in the supporting category, he said, because it would seem "brazen" to put a newcomer up for best actress. Besides, he argued, Mattie Ross is the instigator of the plot, not the protagonist. The movie is about Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges); he is the character that changes. (Here's my Rudin interview.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 7, 2011 5:05 AM
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Oscar Race Questions: Nomination Ballots Due January 14

Oscar Race Questions: Nomination Ballots Due January 14
There are several unknowns as we hurtle toward the end of balloting for Oscar nominations January 14. (Here's the schedule.) What we do know: the race for best picture is still between The King's Speech and The Social Network, the popular heart-tugger vs. the more cerebral critics' fave (see the votes at Gurus 'o Gold). Both sides are campaigning hard: both Weinstein Co. and Paramount are throwing Oscar parties this week. (My full Oscar Predicts Chart is here.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2011 5:00 AM
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  • 9 Comments

USC Scripter Nominations Lift Winter's Bone, Ghost Writer

The USC Scripter Award nominations are in. This award, which is voted on by a jury of industry critics, filmmakers, academics and screenwriters (including me), is given to films that are based on a literary source (anything original is not eligible, nor was Toy Story 3). It is a window into the adapted screenplay Oscar category, in other words.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2011 2:27 AM
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The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit
As western True Grit has taken off as the surprise hit of the Christmas season (topping a field of weak contenders), and has emerged a strong awards contender (with recent PGA and WGA nods), the usually taciturn Joel and Ethan Coen are on the promo trail. Here's a taste of their sound bites from various interviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2011 6:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Writers Guild Nomination Surprises: Please Give, I Love You Phillip Morris

The Writers Guild of America nominations --which do not consider non-Guild signatories and animation, so Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone, Another Year, The King's Speech and Blue Valentine were not eligible--boost the Oscar fortunes of original screenplays The Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right and Please Give. Among the adapted screenplays, 127 Hours, The Social Network and the Coens' True Grit were expected, while I Love You Phillip Morris and The Town show unexpected strength. Ben Affleck's Boston caper movie also made the Producers Guild top ten this morning, as did all the other narrative feature nominees except Please Give and Morris, which are unlikely to be announced by Academy president Tom Sherak and Mo'Nique on Oscar nominations morning January 25.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 4, 2011 6:37 AM
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Producers Guild Top Ten Heralds Oscar Contenders The Town, True Grit

Producers Guild Top Ten Heralds Oscar Contenders The Town, True Grit
The Producers Guild top ten could very well be the Oscar list. They include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Inception, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3 and True Grit. The Town is the biggest surprise; left out are indie hopefuls The Ghost Writer, Winter's Bone, Another Year, The Way Back and Blue Valentine as well as Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 4, 2011 3:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Toy Story 3 Tops Quentin Tarantino's Best of 2010

Quentin Tarantino has posted his favorite movies of 2010, all twenty of them. Unlike many critics, Tarantino has no problem with citing movies that are popular hits. And he's seen his share of obscurities as well. Tarantino is an Academy member, though not a typical one. His taste is catholic, ranging from specialty and foreign films to raunchy comedies, animated family fare and big-budget actioners. His most surprising choices are two critical and box office studio failures that are as well-directed as they were commercially misguided: James Mangold's Knight and Day and Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Wow.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2011 11:44 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Holiday Wrap: Weak Box Office, True Grit Takes on Little Fockers, Black Swan, King's Speech Score

The box office continued tepid during what should have been a robust holiday period with North American families on vacation; it was down 26 percent from last year. For the year, the 2010 3-D-pumped domestic box office totaled $10.5 billion, down 0.3 percent from 2009's Avatar-inflated record of $10.6 billion. But the attendance stat provides a sobering reality check: attendance was down a whopping 5 percent: 1.34 billion against 1.41 billion in 2009. 
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2011 6:22 AM
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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

Lousy Christmas Weekend Box Office: Little Fockers Beats True Grit, Best Coens Opening Ever

At a horrendous Christmas weekend---which saw a 44% three-day drop in grosses over last year (flush with Avatar)---sequel comedy Little Fockers beat out adult western True Grit, the best--and widest--opening ever for a Coen brothers movie. It's likely that the well-reviewed oater will have longer legs, however, as it settles in for the long Oscar haul.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 26, 2010 7:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments

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