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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Writers Reveal Road to Movies at Santa Barbara 'It Starts with the Script' Panel (VIDEO)

The annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival "It Starts with the Script" panel where I grill many of the writing Oscar nominees is my favorite moderating duty. This year did not disappoint.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 14, 2014 4:28 PM
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Oscar-Nominated Papamichael Talks Making 'Nebraska' in Black-and-White (VIDEO)

There was never any doubt about making Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" in black-and-white. It always lived in his imagination as the best way to convey the film's sense of isolation and loneliness. For Oscar nominee, Phedon Papamichael, it was like returning to his old still photography days when he would carry around both color and black-and-white Nikons.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • January 17, 2014 2:02 PM
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Crafts Roundup: The Year of Cinematographers Capturing Turmoil On Screen

It's been a great year for cinematography, with such an emphasis on survival, turmoil and trying to find beauty or redemption within the suffering. The cinematographers of "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips," "Nebraska," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "The Grandmaster," and "Rush" talk striking that cruel-beautiful visual balance, below.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 26, 2013 2:15 PM
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'Philomena' Off to Strong Start, 'Nebraska' Second Weekend Lags

Weinstein heart-tugger "Philomena," this week's awards-friendly limited opening, scored an initial number comparable to two recent Oscar contenders ("Nebraska" and "Dallas Buyers Club"), just ahead of its rapid expansion this Wednesday. Per usual, the specialty market is getting crowded, with not just new limited films but plenty of wider-releases, including "Catching Fire," grabbing the attention of older audiences. It's a time of high-risk opportunity, as not all releases will achieve their hoped-for maximum attention.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • November 24, 2013 4:27 PM
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Why Bruce Dern Will Land an Oscar Nomination for 'Nebraska': The Method Actor Tapped His Own History

Bruce MacLeish Dern, age 77, has been having a blast on the speaking circuit. He's eating up the attention like a thirsty plant. Finally, after all these years, he landed an Oscar-worthy leading role, in Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," which played well for the Academy last weekend. And Dern is loving it, even if he's losing his voice. He came to Sneak Previews and shared stories with us, including a heartbreaking explanation for the most emotionally moving scene in "Nebraska." Like the method actor that he is, Dern brought his own history to the performance.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 18, 2013 8:00 PM
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Arthouse Audit: 'Nebraska' Has Best Limited Opening Since '12 Years,' 'Great Beauty' Biggest Italian Opening in Years, 'Dallas,' 'Book Thief' Strong in Expansion

Going in, "Nebraska," from Alexander Payne, one of the most consistently lauded American directors over the last decade, looked to have limited appeal due to its older rural characters, black and white presentation, and non-marquee names. But its better-than-expected opening, with strong marketing from big-studio Paramount, proved a promising start as the family dramedy heads into the competitive awards season.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • November 17, 2013 4:27 PM
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This Weekend: See 'Nebraska' and 'The Great Beauty,' While 'Best Man Holiday,' LaBeouf's 'Charlie Countryman' Also Hit Theaters

A few treats to choose from this weekend as two Oscar -- Payne's "Nebraska" and Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" -- hopefuls hit theaters. Critics advise you to skip LaBeouf vehicle "Charlie Countryman." Check out our weekend roundup here.
  • By Ryan Lattanzio
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  • November 14, 2013 4:07 PM
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Bruce Dern Tells Hollywood Tales on the 'Nebraska' Promo Trail

With the release of Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” imminent, along with what will undoubtedly be a full-frontal campaign to get Bruce Dern an Oscar nomination, Dern has been trudging – more gracefully than his character, Woody Grant, perhaps – down Memory Lane. The result has been gold for connoisseurs of film lore. Like his recollection that “The Wild Angels” – the original outlaw biker movie and ancestor of “Easy Rider” -- was created by the student body of the University of Corman.
  • By John Anderson
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  • November 4, 2013 2:37 PM
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NYFF: Acting with Non-Actors is the Key to 'Nebraska,' Says Bruce Dern

It was the League of Extraordinarily Mature Gentlemen Day at the New York Film Festival, with two 77-year-old Oscar rivals holding forth in turn, first at the Tuesday morning press conference (Robert Redford for “All is Lost”) and later in the afternoon, with Bruce Dern –whose performance in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” already won him a best actor prize at Cannes – taking the stage, and immediately trying to divert attention away from himself and onto his director.
  • By John Anderson
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  • October 8, 2013 6:49 PM
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WATCH: First Trailer for Alexander Payne's 'Nebraska,' Starring Bruce Dern

The first trailer has arrived for Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte as a father and son who make a trek out to the eponymous state to claim a supposed sweepstakes prize of $1 million. The film, which debuted at Cannes (where Dern won the Best Actor award), generated good buzz at both Telluride and Toronto, with Oscar talk swirling for Dern's performance.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • September 17, 2013 1:02 PM
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