By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 23, 2013 at 6:46PM
As "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" come on strong at the end of the year, don't count out "Gravity" in the Oscar race. That's a movie that most people have already seen and liked. At the Warner Bros. holiday fete hosted by Sue Kroll at Lucques last week, packed with Academy members, most of them hadn't yet seen the late entries or such small films as "All is Lost." Frontrunner director Alfonso and his son and co-writer Jonas Cuaron, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and the woman who gives her heart to the movie, Sandra Bullock, turned on the charm for over two hours with the likes of actor veterans Diane Baker and Jon Voight, writer Wesley Strick, producers Joe Medjuck, David Linde, Albert Berger, Michael Peyser, and Marcia Nasatir and directors Kimberly Peirce and Edgar Wright, who is finally ready to tackle Marvel's Ant Man, "one inch at a time."
After the rigors of shooting "Gravity" closed inside a small chamber--in that iconic fetus pose, Bullock was twisted over a bicycle with the top of her body free-floating and her leg shaking-- you'd think that the actress would want an easier assignment, but she told me she always wants a challenge, not something easy. In fact she's hanging on to her experience shooting "Gravity" as both character-building and bonding, working with Cuaron and company. She's afraid it will never happen again.
It turns out that Warners and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu will NOT be getting together to make Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book." The Mexican filmmaker loved the screenplay, but it was not the right fit. He's still editing Broadway comedy "Birdman," starring Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts--possibly in time for Cannes.
Watch this video backgrounder on how "Gravity" got made. Academy members--as you saw last year with "Life of Pi"-- appreciate this degree of difficulty and risk-taking.