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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Watch: Rango Honored by Hollywood Film Festival

In a shrewd bit of Oscar positioning, Rango is the first non-Pixar film to receive The Hollywood Film Festival's animation award, which will be presented by Starz Entertainment at the 15th annual ceremony on Oct. 24 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The festival is deployed by many Oscar campaigners as a promotional event on the road to the Oscars.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 6, 2011 10:36 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Mid-Year Top Animation Contenders in the Year of the Sequel

Oscar Watch: Mid-Year Top Animation Contenders in the Year of the Sequel
As we head into the fall awards season, Bill Desowitz looks at where the animation Oscar race is heading: it's so far a weak field The good news is that the Oscar race for best animated feature is wide open -- the widest, in fact, since Happy Feet beat Cars in 2006 (the last time Pixar lost the Oscar). And, lo and behold, here we are again with Happy Feet 2 competing against Cars 2 in the Year of the Sequel. Thanks to a new policy, a maximum of four films can now be nominated if 13-15 qualify. In the past, anything under 16 qualifiers meant three Oscar nominees. So expect either four or five nominees this Oscar season. The bad news, of course, is that there's a dearth of originality -- at least thus far. In fact, DreamWorks's Katzenberg told Fortune that it's the worst year for movies overall that he can remember.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • August 26, 2011 8:29 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: Critics, Academy, Men, Women: The Help vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Oscar Watch: Critics, Academy, Men, Women: The Help vs. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
It's not surprising where @spikelee falls on The Help. He's retweeting the articles that support his views, from indieWIRE's Eric Kohn to Michael Phillips in The Chicago Tribune. UPDATE: And The Association of Black Women Historians also disapproves.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 15, 2011 3:56 AM
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  • 4 Comments

The Help: Mainstream Crowd-Pleaser, Not Oscar Contender

The Help: Mainstream Crowd-Pleaser, Not Oscar Contender
At the Academy premiere of The Help Tuesday night, DreamWorks' Stacey Snider, Participant's Jeff Skoll and Ricky Strauss, and Disney's Rich Ross presided over an industry unveiling that yielded plenty of tears and applause. The crowd was packed with Colleen Camp's Academy list, from producers Norman Lear, Laura Bickford and Larry Gordon to rising actor Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom). The movie is a mainstream crowd pleaser. Summit's Patrick Wachsberger is right to compare it to Driving Miss Daisy, in more ways than one, suggesting that it will perform similarly well overseas. And Ross was smart to demur when trade reporters asked him about the studio's Oscar strategy. It's wise to wait and see how it does.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 10, 2011 12:06 PM
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  • 10 Comments

Comic-Con: DreamWorks' 3-D Fright Night, Vampires, Colin Farrell's Career & Underworld Awakening

DreamWorks' Fright Night panel started off with more Twilight bashing as moderator Chris Gore called it the "badass blood-thirsty panel." True vampire fans aren't necessarily Twilight fans, it's clear. Underworld: Awakening screened footage (also in 3-D) before the Fright Night panel, with "Grandmother of Vampires" Kate Beckinsale (she gladly wears the title) talking about her "shiny bottom": no Twilight glitter. The moderator thanked her for appearing naked in the footage. And that's all we'll say about that franchise. Len Wiseman is also directing wife Beckinsale and Fright Night star Colin Farrell in Total Recall, along with Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Ethan Hawke and Bill Nighy.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 23, 2011 1:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Spielberg & Abrams: Working Together On Super 8 Was "Crazy Good," What's Next

How was it working with Steven Spielberg on Super 8? "Crazy good," says director J.J. Abrams. "Working with Steven Spielberg was a dream, and I was kind of nervous about it because he was like a hero of mine since I was a kid." Will they work together again? Given how successful Super 8 should prove to be, their already longstanding relationship should continue. Back in February we listed 7 Reasons to be Excited About Super 8. They're still true, but the movie's even better than we'd hoped.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 9, 2011 8:17 AM
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  • 0 Comments

In the Works: Eisenberg's Magician Heist Pic, Liman Meets Cooper for Luna, McCarthy's Home Movies

The Social Networks's Jesse Eisenberg will do magic for Summit Entertainment's Now You See Me, to be directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans). Jake Gyllenhaal is being eyed to play the second lead and Melanie Laurent has been offered a role. The fun goes like this: A group of the world's top illusionists perform a series of bank heists during their performances and share the riches with their audiences. Of course, when the FBI gets word, the movie turns into a thriller. Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt wrote the script. Variety reports that Summit considered Colin Firth, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jim Carrey and Hugh Grant before settling on these younger men. While an Eisenberg/Gyllenhaal duo is appealing, a Firth/Cohen pairing is even sexier.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • June 8, 2011 8:26 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Box Office Breaks Memorial Day Weekend Record, Hangover Part II Leads Holiday Surge

Box Office Breaks Memorial Day Weekend Record, Hangover Part II Leads Holiday Surge
The 2011 box office slump is a distant memory as summer hit full stride with two mighty Memorial Day Weekend sequels, The Hangover Part II and Kung Fu Panda 2. Anthony D'Alessandro reports.Grossing $118.1 million in four days, Warner Bros.’ The Hangover Part II wasn't a drunken delusion, but a Memorial Day box office record worth remembering. Like a cup of coffee after an evening’s stupor, Hangover 2 jolted this year’s under-25 set wide awake as they spent an estimated $280 million overall at the cinema this weekend –an all-time record that surpasses 2007’s $255.6 million and puts 2010's atrocious $192.7 million Memorial Day B.O. out of mind.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • May 29, 2011 2:42 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Cannes: Paramount Screens Super 8 and Puss In Boots Footage, Kung Fu Panda 2

Paramount's marketing co-chief Megan Colligan has been mulling taking advantage of the world press in attendance at Cannes for a sneak peak at J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg's Super 8. Now the studio has invited press to see 40 minutes of footage on Thursday, UPDATE: but it turns out that it's the same 20 minutes they showed to key press in New York and at the CinemaCon exhibitor convention in Las Vegas. Get your facts together people.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 10, 2011 10:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cannes Adds Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates 4; Allen Controls Opener, Adds Baldwin to Rome Film

Cannes Adds Kung Fu Panda 2, Pirates 4; Allen Controls Opener, Adds Baldwin to Rome Film
No reviews of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, which does for the City of Light what Manhattan did for New York, will run ahead of its unveiling opening night at Cannes (6 PM Croisette time) on May 11. That means there will be no advance press screening that day. Much like the last Indiana Jones installment, Cannes critics will leap from their chairs to file ASAP. The press conference will take place the following day.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 12, 2011 5:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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