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Thompson on Hollywood

TIFF#: Toronto Day Five: Get Low Builds Buzz

With distributor ranks cut to the quick and a dicey domestic market for indie films, sales are slow at this year's TIFF. There are plenty of excellent and not so good films on view, but buyers are hanging back. "It's a buyer's market," says ex WMA agent Cassian Elwes. "They'll figure out which ones they want and wait until the sellers are desperate and then buy them."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2009 9:14 AM
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  • 1 Comment

TIFF#: Precious Producers Want Credit

TIFF#: Precious Producers Want Credit
Without Colorado-based producers Sarah Siegel-Magness and her husband Gary Magness, Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire might never have been made.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 13, 2009 7:51 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Oscar Talk 2: Bright Star, An Education, The Road, Up in the Air

Oscar Talk 2: Bright Star, An Education, The Road,  Up in the Air
In Contention's Kris Tapley and I talk 0scars again post-Telluride (Up in the Air, An Education, Bright Star and The Road) and pre-Toronto. And we disagree this time!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 12, 2009 10:13 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Toronto Day Two: The Coens Deliver with A Serious Man

Joel and Ethan Coen's Latest, A Serious Man, is a portrait of a period (1967) and place (Minnesota) and milieu (Jewish) that the brothers know very well. They cast it with excellent actors; Richard Kind as pathetic Uncle Arthur and Adam Arkin as a well-heeled lawyer are probably the only recognizable names. The writer-directors start the movie off in a wintry shtetl, evoking the dread spirit the dybbuk hovering over an uneasy marriage. This movie is utterly assured, personal, serious, sad and very funny.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 11, 2009 9:51 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Predicts Chart 2009

Well here’s the list of predictions for Oscar wins (in italics) in all categories including shorts. Until March 7th!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 9, 2009 1:26 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road

Telluride Wrap: Oscar Buzz for An Education, Up in the Air, The Road
It was a solid if not stellar year at Telluride. Co-directors Tom Luddy and Gary Meyer persevered through the crazy economy by cutting back their budget (due to sponsor fall-offs) without sacrificing their high programming standards. "We made a commitment to figure out how to do more with less," says Meyer. After the well-publicized Into the Wild/Juno year of 2007, festival attendance broke records in 2008 but fell off slightly this year; passes sold more slowly, and absent sponsors didn't import the usual squads of corporate clients.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 8, 2009 5:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly

Telluride Watch: Up in the Air Will Fly
Folks lined up for two hours on a rainy Telluride Saturday to get into Up in the Air. Hundreds were turned away. Writer-director Jason Reitman (and obsessive airline mile collector) played the crowd like a pro, hoping that the movie would live up to their expectations. He didn't need to worry. The director, who debuted Juno here two years ago at the same theater, delivers a winner. Loosely based on Walter Kirn's novel, Reitman's updated movie, which he started working on six years ago, has become, with the economic downturn, far more timely. It's a witty, charming and moving exploration of a world we all recognize.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 6, 2009 4:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty

Telluride Day One: The Road, Waking Sleeping Beauty
At LAX this morning I chatted with indie press agent Laura Kim and ex-Disney exec Peter Schneider, who produced Don Hahn's documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty. The doc tells the story of how Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and the 80s generation of Disney animators woke up the sleeping Disney animation giant between 1984 and 1994. Schneider, who has been working on Broadway, showed the film to ex-Disney chairman Michael Eisner, who isn't a fan. The current Disney management--Bob Iger and Dick Cook--are supportive of the movie, however. In fact, Leonard Maltin told me on the shuttle through the splendid Rockies this afternoon, Cook has been supportive of a number of Disney animation docs that needed help with clips, cooperation, and even release, from Frank and Ollie to Walt & El Grupo, about a Disney excursion to Latin America. It's in Disney's interest to keep fanning the old Walt flame.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 12:12 PM
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  • 4 Comments

Pre-Toronto Gurus 'O Gold

The old Gurus 'O Gold gang is back, 16 strong. We first selected 15 top contenders, given that the Academy voters will be choosing ten this year. It's all meaningless really, until more of them have been seen. You're just voting on track record and elements. Telluride and Toronto will start to tell that tale. Whether or not a studio will even attempt to launch a serious campaign will be determined by the fest reaction. Awards marketing budgets are tight this year.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 3, 2009 5:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Academy Changes Best Picture Voting Rules

Academy Changes Best Picture Voting Rules
In his new The Wrap Oscar column "The Odds," Steve Pond reveals new voting rules to accompany the top ten best picture Oscar contenders. The goal, says Academy executive director Bruce Davis, is to eliminate the possibility that one of the films could win with less than 18% of the vote. This seems like a reasonable--if arcane--solution. And one that will change the way Oscar campaigners have sought to persuade voters to choose their number one favorite. That's less important now. The top five favorites will now become key.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 31, 2009 9:34 AM
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  • 8 Comments
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