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Thompson on Hollywood

Picking the Best Original Songs

Picking the Best Original Songs
Sixty-three songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures will vie for nominations in the original song category for the Oscars (listed on the jump). On January 12, the music branch of the Academy will randomly screen film clips of each song and then vote for each song with points. No more than two songs can be nominated from any one film. Historically, musicals (“Cinema Italiano” from Nine), Disney animated films (Randy Newman's “Down in New Orleans” from The Princess and the Frog) and songs by major stars (like Golden Globe nominees “(I Want to) Come Home” from Everybody’s Fine by Paul McCartney, or “Winter” from Brothers by U2) tend to dominate this category. Music branch fave Marvin Hamlisch could get a nom for “Trust Me,” from The Informant!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2009 12:20 AM
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  • 3 Comments
More: Awards, Oscars

Avatar's Cameron: Feminist

When Rebecca Keegan interviewed me for her terrific Cameron book The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron, I made a point of what a feminist he is. From Sigourney Weaver in Aliens to Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2, Cameron paved the way for such gun-toting action stars as Angelina Jolie. Cameron respects strong women: after all, he's been married to Hamilton, Gale Anne Hurd and Kathryn Bigelow--who will likely be competing with him for the best director Oscar.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 16, 2009 11:50 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Talk Episode Fourteen: James Cameron's Avatar

Yes, Kris Tapley and I saw James Cameron's Avatar Thursday night at the Mann Chinese 6 with a house full of eager critics, from David Ansen and Scott Foundas to Karina Longworth and Andy Klein. Kris and I were both wowed by it (here's my review) and devoted the entire podcast to Avatar and its Oscar chances. It will land noms for best picture and director (not acting or screenwriting), and a slew of technicals. And the other VFX hopefuls can pack up and go home, basically. Weta and Joe Letteri will be on the stage on Oscar night.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 11, 2009 8:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Avatar: Cameron Delivers Joyous Cinema

Avatar: Cameron Delivers Joyous Cinema
James Cameron's Avatar takes you to an exotic world, Pandora, seen through the sad eyes of paraplegic marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) as he falls in love with tribal princess Neyteri (Zoe Saldana) and her people, the Na'vi.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 11, 2009 3:22 AM
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  • 15 Comments

Oscar Duel: Yes, It's Good, but is Precious An Oscar Movie?

Oscar Duel: Yes, It's  Good, but is Precious An Oscar Movie?
In this dueling blog, Moviefone's resident Oscarologist Jack Mathews and I discuss the Oscar merits of festival and indie box office hit Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire. We both agree that the inner-city drama about a sexually and emotionally abused teenage girl and the dedicated teacher who raises her self-esteem is a profoundly moving human story. But does it have the right stuff to make the Best Picture ballot for the 2009 Academy Awards? Mathews first.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 7:44 AM
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  • 10 Comments

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?

Oscar Watch: Will Academy Voters Take Sci-Fi Seriously?
One of the big questions this Oscar season surrounds the chances of such sci-fi genre fare as Avatar, Star Trek and District 9 to land on Oscar's best-picture Top Ten List. I dig into that question here and come up with some surprising answers.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 7:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments

Jeremy Renner Talks The Hurt Locker

Jeremy Renner Talks The Hurt Locker
Jeremy Renner has been breaking out for a long time. The 38-year-old Californian has starred in more than 20 movies, from S.W.A.T. to Dahmer and now, delivers the performance of his career as a fearless, focused dismantler of bombs in Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq thriller The Hurt Locker. There's a good chance that he could land in the fifth slot for the best actor Oscar. My flip cam interview is divided in three parts:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 6:53 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Ten Questions for Bright Star's Jane Campion: "I've Never Made a Crap Film"

Ten Questions for Bright Star's Jane Campion: "I've Never Made a Crap Film"
Bright Star was brilliantly reviewed on the film fest circuit from Cannes to Toronto. But some critics praise its undeniable visual style and directorial panache (the film won a special cinematography prize from the National Board of Review) but find the 19th-century period drama lacking in deep emotion.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 10, 2009 6:26 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Precious Has a Long Way to Go

Precious Has a Long Way to Go
Lionsgate is girding itself for a long haul to the Oscars. They have accomplished a great deal: a movie with tough subject matter about familial abuse, starring an all African-American cast, has become a must-see. And I will argue that although I have encountered folks who are resistant to watching the movie, most Academy members (who mostly lean Liberal) will check it out. (The Carpetbagger rolls out some of the film's problems.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 8, 2009 5:27 AM
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  • 5 Comments

20 Questions for District 9's Sharlto Copley

20 Questions for District 9's Sharlto Copley
One Oscar long-shot is South African actor Sharlto Copley, who made an astonishingly assured acting debut in District 9, written and directed by his old friend Neill Blomkamp. Historically, the Academy has been biased against science-fiction. (I assess the Peter Jackson-backed film's Oscar chances.) But the film played well at a recent Screen Actors Guild screening, where I conducted a Q & A with Copley:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 6, 2009 3:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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