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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Party Circuit: from Sunset Strip to Gabourey Sidibe

My Oscar party week started out Wednesday night with The Cove at Andaz on Sunset, where Russell Simmons held court and Ben Stiller admitted that he had seen Oscar doc front-runner The Cove three times. On Noah Baumbach's Greenberg, Stiller said it was a huge relief to follow the script, word for word. (One of the Greenberg locations was Baumbach's wife, producer-star Jennifer Jason Leigh's mother's house.) Stiller and Rhys Ifans only improvised one scene, Stiller said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 5, 2010 7:43 AM
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Avatar Novel and Sequel: Fran Drescher's Audition

Avatar Novel and Sequel: Fran Drescher's Audition
Last June producer Jon Landau gave me the flip cam interview below (for a Popular Mechanics Avatar feature I was writing) in the Lightstorm screening room the day he and James Cameron made their big videogame presentation at E3. I was about to see about fifteen minutes of 3-D footage from Avatar--which blew me away. It's hard to recall how nervous and concerned Landau and Fox and Cameron were about selling this unbranded original movie. Remember how badly the first online trailers played on Avatar Day, August 21? The rest, shall we say, is history.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 5, 2010 12:31 AM
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Oscar Scandal: Career Boost for Hurt Locker's Chartier?

Oscar Scandal: Career Boost for Hurt Locker's Chartier?
The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier insists that he is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. Late Wednesday night, drink in hand, pool side at Andaz above Sunset at a pre-Oscar party for The Cove, Chartier wasn't acting like a Hollywood pariah.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 4, 2010 6:23 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Week: Parties, Panels, Indie Spirits, Best Oscar Stories, Hurt Locker Lawsuit, Cohen

Oscar Week: Parties, Panels, Indie Spirits, Best Oscar Stories, Hurt Locker Lawsuit, Cohen
I'm plotting my Oscar-week course of action. I must decide which parties and panels and events to cover, and which stories to write when and how. Last year at the Oscar red carpet bleachers I live-blogged in evening garb from my place on a bench with the likes of A.P., Reuters, LAT, and the London Daily Mail, several rows back from the front, took red carpet photos with my Nikon, scrambled down in high heels to the hedge to shoot flip cam interviews, and managed to get out with all my gear except my little black notebook, which was never found.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 3, 2010 6:41 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars

Twilight Stars Hit Media with Remember Me, Yellow Handkerchief, Runaways, Oscars
One of the dangers of hitting big in a franchise like Twilight is that that every blessed indie movie that can't get arrested suddenly gets a release. And everyone wants you to do press. Poor Kristen Stewart! After opening Twilight: New Moon last November, she hit Sundance like a freight train in January with the hard-edged drama Welcome to the Rileys and The Runaways, in which she stars as rocker Joan Jett opposite Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 11:54 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Academy Penalizes Hurt Locker Producer Chartier

Academy Penalizes Hurt Locker Producer Chartier
As I predicted, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is penalizing The Hurt Locker producer Nicolas Chartier for violating Academy campaign standards by sending an email to his friends that promoted The Hurt Locker and dissed Avatar. Later at the Academy's behest Chartier sent an apologetic letter. Should the movie win best picture, states AMPAS, Chartier will not be one of the producers ascending the platform to accept his award, because he will not be admitted to the Oscar ceremony. His ticket has been revoked. Three producers, Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal and Gregory Shapiro, would accept their gold statues. Chartier would still be able to pick up his award at a later date.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 11:34 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Ebert Tries New Computer Voice First on Wife Chaz, Then Oprah

Ebert Tries New Computer Voice First on Wife Chaz, Then Oprah
Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert seems to be everywhere these days, from the cover of Esquire (a must-read) to a Tuesday appearance on Oprah Winfrey. Ebert shares his Oscar predicts with Oprah, using his new computer voice, which uses audio from his old shows to recreate a voice that sounds a lot like him. Other times he sounds like Stephen Hawking.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2010 7:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

The Coens' A Serious Man: The 36 Righteous Men Theory

The Coens' A Serious Man: The 36 Righteous Men Theory
Joel and Ethan Coen are not ones to throw the wrath of God around lightly, especially in A Serious Man, a movie that digs deep into Judaism, often for laughs. After all, the movie (which is nominated for best picture and best original screenplay Oscars), starts out in Yiddish with a story about the Dybbuk and winds up (SPOILER ALERT) with its hero facing death, either by cancer or tornado.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2010 10:11 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Oscar Watch: Costumes, Cinematographers, Sound and Visual Effects Awards

Oscar Watch: Costumes, Cinematographers, Sound and Visual Effects Awards
After a final week of prize-giving, the season's pre-Oscar awards rituals came to a close Sunday night. There's nothing left but the big show itself March 7. Oscar ballots are due on March 2. Voters who did not mail them in Saturday can deliver them via overnight mail or directly to Price Waterhouse.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2010 6:45 AM
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Oscar Watch: Costume Designer Powell Talks Young Victoria, Shutter Island and The Tempest

Oscar Watch: Costume Designer Powell Talks Young Victoria, Shutter Island and The Tempest
Costume designer Sandy Powell has won two Oscars out of eight nominations, for Martin Scorsese's The Aviator and John Madden's Shakespeare in Love. She's known for designing "modern" period costumes for such films as Gangs of New York and has worked repeatedly with Scorsese, Neil Jordan and Todd Haynes. After Shutter Island comes Julie Taymor's Shakespearean The Tempest. In this four-part flip-cam interview, Powell not only talks about her BAFTA and Costume Guild-winning costumes on The Young Victoria (which will likely win her a third Oscar), but ranges over other films in her long career as well.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 27, 2010 2:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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