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Thompson on Hollywood

Development Watch: Oscar Contenders at Work: Eisenberg & Leo, Brolin & Burton, Tarantino & Waltz

- With the award season wrapped, Oscar nominees and winners can get back to work. This summer, Best Actor nominee Jesse Eisenberg and Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa "F-Word" Leo will shoot Predisposed, an independent comedy about a drug-addict mom and her son, set on the day of his interview at Julliard and her enlistment in rehab, where she must arrive intoxicated in order to be admitted without health insurance. This is not a new role for Leo: a short of the same name went to Sundance in 2009. Philip Dorling and Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) wrote the script, and while Dorling directed the short, Nyswaner will direct the feature. 30 Rock's Tracy Morgan is rumored to be playing Leo's drug dealer.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 1, 2011 7:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Mark Your Ballots: Anne Thompson Predicts Oscar Winners

Mark Your Ballots: Anne Thompson Predicts Oscar Winners
The Oscar polls closed on Tuesday at 5 PM. No more campaigning, lobbying or pitches for attention will make a difference now. It's all in the hands of the PriceWaterhousecooper counters, and will be revealed Sunday. Meanwhile the rest of us want to win our respective Oscar pools. This year, I must warn you, is tough to call. As Kris Tapley and I discuss in our latest Oscar Talk, there are plenty of sure-calls, but also several impossible-to-predict categories: documentary and foreign film, which are voted on by small groups who must prove that they've seen all the films, and supporting actress. The shorts are always a bit of a crap shoot too. Warning: I'm going out on a limb in a few categories, so when in doubt, choose the perceived frontrunner.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2011 8:17 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Trailer, Poster Watch: Williams in Meek's Cutoff, Brand vs. Mirren in Arthur, Biopic Soul Surfer

No one harbors any illusions that Kelly Reichardt's minimalist western Meek's Cutoff will be the next True Grit. And while Michelle Williams is by far the biggest name in a strong ensemble-- Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Will Patton, Shirley Henderson and Zoe Kazan--she's hardly doing a showy star turn. But I admire this rigorous, dusty, austere road movie about pioneers who are lost and thirsty on their long trek west. If anything the movie reminds me of Gus Van Sant's under-appreciated desert epic Gerry. The new poster is designed by Marlene McCarty. Here's my Venice Fest review:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 16, 2011 12:44 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Oscar Watch: True Grit vs. Social Network, Bening vs. Portman

Oscar Watch: True Grit vs. Social Network, Bening vs. Portman
How quickly momentum shifts in the Oscar race after nominations reveal the lay of the land. Every single one of the Gurus 'O Gold who was voting for The Social Network to win best picture switched to The King's Speech. Wow.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 28, 2011 5:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Gender Watch: Uphill Battle for Heroines in the Marketplace, From True Grit to Sucker Punch

It's an uphill battle for teenage movie heroines these days, writes LAT's Rebecca Keegan, who argues that female protagonists traditionally "alienate" male audiences. But things are looking up with True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone. They are:"…the product of a film industry in which young women are infiltrating traditionally male genres like action films; female directors and producers are wielding increasing creative influence, and the culture is moving from a sexed-up, dumbed-down model of female adolescence to one marked by smarts, strength and scrap."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 10, 2011 9:07 AM
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  • 2 Comments

True Grit Surges Past $100 Million at Sleepy Box Office; Cage and Paltrow Pics Are Soft

On its third go-round, True Grit surged on momentum and strong word-of-mouth to finally beat comedy sequel Little Fockers. The Oscar-buzzed Coen brothers western starring Jeff Bridges faced little or no competition, as many studio holiday entries collapsed. (See TOH's year-end box office wrap.) Anthony D'Alessandro reports:It was a ghost town at the cinema this weekend. Paramount’s True Grit continued to hang its B.O. high as it crossed the $100-million mark Sunday and pushed Universal’s family laffer Little Fockers to second place  ($13.8 million). Also falling short were two new wide entries, Relativity Media’s Nicolas Cage crusades actioner Season of the Witch ($10.7 million), and  Sony/Screen Gems' women's drama Country Strong ($7.3 million), starring Gwenyth Paltrow. Overall box office receipts totaled an estimated $114 million, off 29% from the same frame year ago when Avatar continued to be a phenomenon, grossing $50 million for the weekend.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • January 9, 2011 5:13 AM
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  • 3 Comments

True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld Talks Coens, Learning from Bridges and Damon, Horses and School

grit (noun): firmness of character; indomitable spirit.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 8, 2011 1:20 AM
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  • 0 Comments

The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit
As western True Grit has taken off as the surprise hit of the Christmas season (topping a field of weak contenders), and has emerged a strong awards contender (with recent PGA and WGA nods), the usually taciturn Joel and Ethan Coen are on the promo trail. Here's a taste of their sound bites from various interviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 5, 2011 6:56 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Lousy Christmas Weekend Box Office: Little Fockers Beats True Grit, Best Coens Opening Ever

At a horrendous Christmas weekend---which saw a 44% three-day drop in grosses over last year (flush with Avatar)---sequel comedy Little Fockers beat out adult western True Grit, the best--and widest--opening ever for a Coen brothers movie. It's likely that the well-reviewed oater will have longer legs, however, as it settles in for the long Oscar haul.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 26, 2010 7:03 AM
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  • 5 Comments

The Coens' History of Mustaches

Hailee Steinfeld holds her own against Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin in almost every category of True Grit's manliness, but she just can't compete in the mustache competition. NYMag calls Damon's 'stache a "spectacular, instantly iconic, old-timey mustache, which builds on the Coens' proud tradition of decorating their characters with some of the finest nose curtains in all of cinema." But even if his mustache surpasses Bridges' and Brolin's in this Western, he has competition from many Coens characters who preceed him. Check out NYMag's "Stach-o-Meter (which grades on a scale of Zorro to Gene Shalit)".
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • December 23, 2010 6:40 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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