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Thompson on Hollywood

Awards Circuit: Octavia Spencer Gets PSIFF Breakthrough Performance Award; Dujardin and Bejo Share SBIFF Cinema Vanguard Award

Film festivals play a key role in highlighting Oscar contenders during this crowded and noisy awards season. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor "The Artist" actors Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo with their Cinema Vanguard Award on February 4. The award recognizes "an actor who has forged his/her own path - taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film." Past winners include Christoph Waltz, Vera Farmiga and Ryan Gosling. SBIFF's exec director Roger Durling states: "In an age of sight and sound spectacle, there is great risk in a silent film. Jean and Bérénice's acting is an amazing pas des deux both physically and emotionally - recalling classic Hollywood pairings like Hepburn and Tracy, and of course indelibly Ginger and Fred." Dujardin notes the rest of the film's ensemble -- James Cromwell, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, Missi Pyle and Malcolm McDowell --and adds, "This award is just as much for them as it is for us.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 7, 2011 12:07 PM
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Oscar Watch: Wasikowska Talks Romancing Fassbender in Jane Eyre and Close in Albert Nobbs

  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 8, 2011 11:05 PM
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  • 5 Comments

AFM News EXCLUSIVE: Keira Knightley To Star In Effie Gray Biopic Untouched

Keira Knightley is in talks to play the role of artists’ muse Effie Gray in period drama Untouched for Brazilian director Andrucha Waddington (House of Sand), reports Liza Foreman.
  • By Liza Foreman
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  • November 7, 2011 10:38 AM
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AFM News: Sony Takes 1890s Paris Tale Bel Ami, with Pattinson, Thurman, Scott Thomas & Ricci

At AFM, Sony has acquired North American rights to Bel Ami, which stars Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci. The film, now completed, was co-directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod (the pair worked together on 1992 short The Big Fish, which must have been good if they attracted this cast), and is based on Guy de Maupassant's 1885 novel of the same name, adapted by Rachel Bennette. The story explores themes of ambition, power and seduction, with Pattinson starring as a broke ex-soldier who ascends 1890s Parisian society by manipulating its women.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • November 3, 2011 8:29 AM
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War Horse Takes Preview Screening Route to Build Buzz

War Horse Takes Preview Screening Route to Build Buzz
Disney/DreamWorks is borrowing a page from Paramount's Young Adult pop-up screening playbook by previewing Steven Spielberg's drama War Horse around the country via sneaks, starting Tuesday November 1 (see cities and dates below). (Long-lead press and key critics groups will also see the film ahead of most media, who won't screen it until the end of November.) Positive heartland reactions are already coming in.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2011 9:27 AM
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Weinsteins to Rerelease Holocaust Drama Sarah's Key In Theaters, During Award Season

Weinsteins to Rerelease Holocaust Drama Sarah's Key In Theaters, During Award Season
As if The Weinstein Co. didn't have enough going on right now--with a plethora of releases hitting theaters inside the crowded awards season corridor, including The Iron Lady, Coriolanus, W.E., The Artist and My Week with Marilyn --the company is rereleasing summer movie Sarah's Key, clearly hoping for some awards attention.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 2, 2011 6:46 AM
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  • 2 Comments

CASTING WATCH: Wilde, Buscemi & Gandolfini Join Carell & Carrey; Goodman Joins Coen's Inside Llewyn

- James Gandolfini is in talks to join Steve Carell and Jim Carrey in Burt Wonderstone. Carell plays a burned out magician, Carrey plays his flashier rival, and Gandofini will play the owner of the Las Vegas casino where Carell works. 30 Rock's Don Scardino is directing from a script rewritten by Jason Reitman. UPDATE: Olivia Wilde has won the female lead (Carell's love interest), and Steve Buscemi (Wonderstone's friend and partner) is on board as well.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 31, 2011 5:11 AM
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Tokyo International Film Festival Honors Glenn Close with Best Actress for Albert Nobbs

Adding another nod in the direction of a best actress Oscar nomination, Glenn Close won best actress at the recently wrapped Tokyo International Film Festival for her gender-bending role in Rodrigo Garcia's period drama Albert Nobbs.
  • By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
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  • October 31, 2011 4:42 AM
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Oscar Talk: Shame's NC-17 and Fassbender, Whither Clooney, Chastain, Doc Race, Year-End Critics

In this week's Oscar Talk, Kris Tapley and I debate the Shame NC-17 issue. Will Fox Searchlight be able to push Michael Fassbender for an Oscar nomination? (I weigh in on this here.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 28, 2011 4:00 AM
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John Orloff Talks Anonymous, Shakespeare, Emmerich, Ifans, Redgrave, Stratford vs. Oxford

John Orloff Talks Anonymous, Shakespeare, Emmerich, Ifans, Redgrave, Stratford vs. Oxford
One of the surprises of the season is Roland Emmerich's Anonymous, which opens Friday amid ongoing controversy over its premise: that William Shakespeare did not write his plays and poems, and the Earl of Oxford did. Screenwriter John Orloff has been obsessed with this mystery since his college days; the screenplay served as his ticket of admission to Hollywood. First, Shakespeare in Love put Anonymous on the back burner, to be resurrected decades later by German digital master Emmerich, best known for such action adventures as Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Emmerich helped, for better or for worse, to turn Orloff's identity crisis into a rip-roaring Elizabethan succession drama, with Queen Elizabeth --played by the always riveting Vanessa Redgrave--at the center of dangerous head-lopping court intrigue. Emmerich was able to deploy his considerable digital filmmaking chops to shoot this elaborate period piece in Germany with an ensemble of character actors-- led by Redgrave and Rhys Ifans, in an uncharacteristically glamorous role--for just $30 million (think George Lucas or Zack Snyder). Emmerich even filmed one scene with three actors at different times and locations and merged them seamlessly. (We reveal the scene below, with trailer.) The movie could nab some tech nominations. Here's Orloff's Q & A for Sneak Previews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 27, 2011 5:31 AM
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