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Thompson on Hollywood

Oscar Predictions 2015

Oscar Predicts Chart 2014
As the fall festivals loom, I'm listing some possibilities for Oscar consideration for 2015. Going into the season, only a handful of movies have Oscar potential; their handlers will rely on critics and guild groups to keep them in the conversation over the long haul. They are Wes Anderson's well-wrought hit "Grand Budapest Hotel," which gains points for period but loses some for comedy. Similarly, Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" has earned critics' kudos for its daring and unique 12-year time travel, but remains a small-scale indie that has to sustain itself over a year, from January's Sundance through the long awards slog.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 11, 2014 12:46 PM
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  • 488 Comments

Now and Then: What's the Matter with Film Critics?

The only genuine surprise of Sunday night's Oscar telecast — varying levels of predictability, misogyny, and self-congratulations being par for the course these days — came during the "In Memoriam" montage, which by definition should be the least surprising moment of all.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • February 27, 2013 12:44 PM
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  • 6 Comments

Film Critic Lisa Schwarzbaum on Movies, the Good, Bad and Ugly of Engaging with Readers, and Leaving EW After 22 Years

When Lisa Schwarzbaum announced earlier this month that she would be leaving Entertainment Weekly, I wrote her asking why. "I'm leaving under the happiest of circumstances," she replied. "22 years is enough for anything, don't you think?"
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • February 21, 2013 2:57 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Obit: Author Donald Richie Boosted Japanese Cinema

Donald Richie, who spent more than 60 of his 88 years in Japan and introduced the English-speaking world to post-World War II Japanese cinema, died February 19 in Tokyo. He is best known for his writings on the great Japanese directors Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu.
  • By Aljean Harmetz
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  • February 19, 2013 10:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Writers Guild Awards Go to 'Argo,' 'Zero Dark Thirty,' and 'Searching for Sugar Man'

The East Coast WGA Awards show got under way at New York's BB Kings a good hour before the pokey West Coast, and attendees tweeted up a storm. Soon the trades ran with the news that the key film awards had gone to the adapted screenplay for "Argo" and original script for "Zero Dark Thirty." WGA West was still running clips from nominated screenplays like "Silver Linings Playbook" after the winners had been announced ("Argo"'s clip was the WGA joke, natch.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 18, 2013 3:06 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Obit: 'Night Moves' Screenwriter Alan Sharp, Memorial Planned

I had the pleasure of talking by phone to novelist/screenwriter Alan Sharp while preparing the production notes for the 1983 Sam Peckinpah movie "The Osterman Weekend," which was to be the director's last. While that film did not mark either man's finest hour, Sharp was one of Hollywood's most respected screenwriters; he specialized in muscular western noir. He died last weekend at the age of 78 after a long illness.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 13, 2013 3:40 PM
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  • 2 Comments

'Argo' Wins Again at USC Scripter Awards

Unstoppable awards juggernaut "Argo" won yet another award Saturday night as New York screenwriter Chris Terrio, Wired journalist Joshuah Bearman ("The Great Escape") and ex-CIA analyst Tony Mendez ("The Master of Disguise") won the 25th annual Scripter Award. The USC Scripters go to adapted scripts as well as the original writers. It may have been just as well that the expected Scripter winners, "Team of Rivals" author Doris Kearns Goodwin and playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner, were snowed in on the East Coast.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 10, 2013 2:42 AM
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Now and Then: A 'Zero Dark Thirty' Piece That's (Mostly) Not About Torture

We are Maya. That's the first thought that comes to mind about Jessica Chastain's tireless, obsessed CIA analyst in "Zero Dark Thirty," a "motherfucker" who's been chasing Osama bin Laden for twelve years — nearly the same length of time as this country's impossible war.
  • By Matt Brennan
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  • January 22, 2013 1:22 PM
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'Perks of Being a Wallflower' Joins Usual Suspects for Six USC Scripter Award Nominations

"Perks of Being a Wallflower" joins usual suspects "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," and "Silver Linings Playbook" as contenders for the 25th annual USC Libraries Scripter awards. Usually five films are nominated, but this year a tie resulted in six nods.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • January 15, 2013 11:22 AM
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Writing 'Life of Pi': David Magee Talks the Mother of Adaptations

After ten long years of painstaking development, "Life of Pi" finally made it to the screen. And there were many times that Fox 2000 chief Elizabeth Gabler, who optioned it right after it was published, did not think that it would happen. Only when Ang Lee came along four years ago did it become possible. The device of using the older Pi (Irfann Khan) as the window into the story came from screenwriter David Magee, who was hired on the basis of his moving Oscar-nominated screenplay for the J. M. Barry biopic "Finding Neverland."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 2, 2013 2:49 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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