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Thompson on Hollywood

Avatar's Script: Derivative?

Avatar's Script: Derivative?
Just to prevent James Cameron's head from swelling too much from the astonishing global Avatar phenomenon, folks keep reminding him of how derivative and clunky his script is. It's been compared to everything from Pocahontas, The New World, The Last Samurai and Dances with Wolves to Ferngully. Truth to tell, most screenplays are derivative, and this one's more "original" than all the knock-offs, remakes and sequels everyone makes now.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2010 4:54 AM
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  • 46 Comments

USC Scripter Award Nominees: An Education, Crazy Heart, District 9, Precious, Up in the Air

USC Scripter Award Nominees: An Education, Crazy Heart, District 9, Precious, Up in the Air
For the first time, I participated in the annual USC Libraries Scripter Awards. Voted on by a jury of screenwriters, critics and scholars, these awards honor the authors and screenwriters of the year's best English-language feature (animated or live action) adapted from a printed work. Scripter winners No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire also won adapted screenplay Oscars.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2010 2:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Producers Go Sci-Fi: Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek Make Top Ten

Producers Go Sci-Fi: Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek Make Top Ten
District 9 and Star Trek join awards front-runner Avatar in the Producers Guild of America's top ten for the Darryl F. Zanuck award in theatrical motion pictures.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2010 3:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Holiday Winners and Losers: Avatar, Sherlock Holmes, Streep, Bullock and Nine

Where are we, after the record-breaking holiday? There were many winners.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2010 2:00 AM
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  • 8 Comments

Oscar Talk Episode Sixteen: Top Ten, Nine, Avatar, Up, Picks for 2010

At the new year, Kris Tapley and I ponder the fate of the Oscar Top Ten. We agree that Avatar is now the best picture front-runner, over EW's Oscar Issue Pick, Up in the Air, and that Crazy Heart star Jeff Bridges is overtaking critics-group fave George Clooney.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 1, 2010 9:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Holiday Biopics: Young Victoria, Creation, Me and Orson Welles

Holiday Biopics: Young Victoria, Creation, Me and Orson Welles
Three period biopics with awards hopes face some tough going over the holidays.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 31, 2009 3:10 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: Voting for Ten Instead of Five

Oscar Watch: Voting for Ten Instead of Five
I'm having a devil of a time figuring out what this year's Oscar nominations for best picture are going to be. As the ballots are going out, I usually have a fair idea of the final five. But this year there are ten best picture slots instead of five. If voters had trouble coming up with their top five in the past, won't they have even more trouble filling out a ballot with ten?
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 29, 2009 11:10 AM
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  • 2 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

Academy Mails 5777 Oscar Ballots, Due January 23

On Monday December 28, the Academy mailed out Oscar nomination ballots to 5,777 voting members. They ask that completed ballots be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2010. According to the Academy, PricewaterhouseCoopers makes sure "that all aspects of the balloting process are conducted with fairness and accuracy":
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 28, 2009 8:31 AM
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  • 0 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

If Critics Ruled the Oscars (They Don't): Avatar Heads for Nine Noms

If Critics Ruled the Oscars (They Don't): Avatar Heads for Nine Noms
Time's Richard Corliss has figured out a clever way to write about year-end critics awards and tee up a clickable gallery of Oscar hopefuls, short and sweet. Trouble is, he gives way too much credit to the critics. They do help to clue the Academy voters into what films they should watch on their screener piles. But in the end, what the voters think when they watch the movies is what matters---as well as how passionate they feel as they vote for their top ten best picture candidates. The ones at the top of the list get more weight than the ones at the bottom. Thus, if most voters put The Last Station, Nine, The Messenger, Star Trek and District 9 at the bottom, they won't make it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 28, 2009 7:29 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Holiday Movie Wrap: Avatar Beats Sherlock Holmes, Nine Flops

Holiday Movie Wrap: Avatar Beats Sherlock Holmes, Nine Flops
Over the holiday weekend, the two most popular topics on my Twitter feed were Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. While there was debate on Sherlock Holmes's merits, most of my tweeters approved of Cameron's blockbuster (as did critics--it scored 83 on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic). Avatar looks to challenge, if not beat, Titanic's box office records, based on its extraordinary performance in North America so far: $75 million over the holiday and $212 million to date. (Here's the LAT's box office report, and David Poland's analysis.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 27, 2009 5:46 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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