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Things I Learned on the Oscar Party Circuit

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 3, 2012 at 6:26AM

It's been quite a week. Oscar parties are in full swing. This is the period when Oscar campaigners are trying to get their films seen, circulate their talent. Quentin Tarantino showed his final cut of "Django Unchained" to the Directors Guild Saturday to two standing ovations, while Peter Jackson finally unveiled "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" over the weekend in both super-sharp 48 fps and 24 fps (which is how I saw it Sunday). He'll be making appearances this week.
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Emayatzy Corinealdi and David Oyelowo with Sidney Poitier at Governors Awards
Emayatzy Corinealdi and David Oyelowo with Sidney Poitier at Governors Awards

It's been quite a week. Oscar parties are in full swing. This is the period when Oscar campaigners are trying to get their films seen, circulate their talent. Quentin Tarantino showed his final cut of "Django Unchained" to the Directors Guild Saturday to two standing ovations, while Peter Jackson finally unveiled "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" over the weekend in both super-sharp 48 fps and 24 fps (which is how I saw it Sunday). He'll be making appearances in L.A. this week.

Companies brought many of their Oscar contenders to Saturday's third annual Governors Awards, hosted by new Academy president Hawk Koch and execs Dawn Hudson and Ric Robertson. Also on hand are Oscar producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan and host Seth MacFarlane. As I enter the Dolby lobby, Kathleen Kennedy is talking with "Lincoln" writer Tony Kushner and Working Title chief Eric Fellner, who produced both "Anna Karenina" and "Les Miserables." The live singing in close-up was a huge gamble they were never sure was going to actually work, he admitted. Heading into the ballroom, Kirby Dick is proud that his doc "Invisible War" has effected change in the rules governing the treatment of women in the military. He's getting ready to pull the trigger on his next, one of several hot topics.

Inside, Steven Spielberg hangs out with George Lucas. Ewan McGregor comes up to Quentin Tarantino to introduce him to his young "The Impossible" costar Tom Holland. Tarantino goes to chat with Amy Pascal of Sony, which is releasing "Django Unchained" overseas--Sony and Weinstein Co. are splitting P & A costs and global returns 50/50. Joe Wright intros me to his cinematographer, Seamus McGarvey ("Anna Karenina"). Bradley Cooper tells me he ardently supported the slow release plan on "Silver Linings Playbook," as opposed to going out wide. It's working, he says.

Kathryn Bigelow tells me that being indie was crucial to "Zero Dark Thirty" turning out as well as it did.  Financeer Annapurna's Megan Ellison wasn't riding herd on making the film commercial. But Bigelow's happy she has big-studio Sony pushing it out now. Bigelow and Mark Boal went from intense final editing mix to intense public appearances--but this time they're doing it in a more condensed time frame than "The Hurt Locker"'s entire year. "Zero Dark Thirty" stars Jason Clarke and Edgar Ramirez are excited to be in the room, as are Emayatzy Corinealdi and David Oyelowo ("Middle of Nowhere") who get to meet Elvis MItchell and Sidney Poitier (above).

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.