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Oscar Two Weeks in Review: December 18-31, 2011

Note: Due to the holiday weekend last week, there was no column. This will cover the last two weeks in Oscar happenings. Sorry for the delay.

Oscar News

  • The 97 eligible scores list was released by the Academy, as was the list of 39 eligible songs.
  • The Academy released the official poster for the 84th Awards, and it is already getting a lot of criticism for the films it chose to highlight.
  • Among the critics groups to release their winners were Austin (Best Picture: Hugo), the Black Film Critics (The Help), Oklahoma (The Artist) and Utah (Drive).

Review Round-Up

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Oscar Week in Review: December 11-17, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Artist led the Golden Globe nominations this week with 6 nominations. The nominations for Best Film-Drama are The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, Moneyball and War Horse.
  • The Help led the Screen Actors Guild nominations this week with 4 citations. It will compete against The Artist, Bridesmaids, The Descendants and Midnight in Paris for Best Cast.
  • Several more critics associations announced their winners this week. Among the Best Film prize recipients were The Artist from Detroit, Indiana, Las Vegas and San Diego, The Descendants from Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston, and The Tree of Life from San Francisco and Toronto. The Tree of Life also led the nominations from the Chicago Film Critics.
  • The Academy released the shortlist this week of the 10 Live Action Short films that will compete for nominations in January.
  • Seth Rogen will host the Independent Spirit Awards on February 25.

Review Round-Up

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Oscar Week in Review: December 4-10, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Academy released the short list this week for Best Visual Effects, leaving 15 eligible films.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 led the Annie Award nominees for animated films, with 12 nominations. Puss in Boots and Rango each got 9 nods.
  • The Washington D.C. Film Critics named The Artist their Best film of the year, while spreading the wealth and giving Martin Scorsese their Best Director prize. The acting winners were George Clooney, Michelle Williams, Albert Brooks and Octavia Spencer.
  • Rainey Qualley, the daughter of Andie MacDowell, will be Miss Golden Globe this January.
  • Pharrell Williams and Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer will act as co-music consultants for this year's ceremony.
  • Contract disputes at R.S. Owens & Co., the company that makes the Oscar statuettes, won't affect this year's show because the Academy has enough statues stored up for the 2012 winners.

Review Round-Up

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Oscar Week in Review: November 27 – December 3, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Academy released another shortlist this week, listing the 10 eligible Animated Shorts. Among the short films are new films from Warner Brothers (starring Tweety Bird), Pixar and Aardman Studios.
  • The New York Film Critics were the first awards group to announce their winners this year, and they gave their Best Picture and Director prizes to The Artist. Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Albert Brooks and Jessica Chastain were the acting winners, while The Tree of Life led the pack with 3 awards.
  • The National Board of Review named Martin Scorsese's Hugo Best Picture of the Year, with Scorsese also picking up Best Director. George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Christopher Plummer and Shailene Woodley were the acting winners.
  • The Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations on Tuesday, and The Artist and Take Shelter led the pack with 5 nominations each.
  • Drive led the nominees for the Golden Satellite Awards this week, picking up 8 nominations including Best Picture. Steven Spielberg's War Horse was next with 7 citations.
  • The Producers Guild of America announced their Best Documentary nominees.
  • The Grammy's announced their 2011 nominees, and among the nominees are the Oscar nominated score to The King's Speech and the Oscar nominated song "I See the Light."

Review Round-Up

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Oscar Week in Review: November 20-26, 2011

Oscar News

  • Awards season will kick off this week with the New York Film Critics announcing their awards on Tuesday. They pushed them back a day, from Monday, in order to screen The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for consideration.

Review Round-Up

  • The Artist, the French silent film that was a smash at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, is also a smash with American critics. Picking up an 87 on Metacritic, the film is being hailed as a masterpiece around the country and looks poised to play into critics awards in the next few weeks.
  • Hugo, the first 3D picture from Oscar winner Martin Scorsese, is picking up all the raves that one comes to expect from a Scorsese film. The family feature has an 85 on Metacritic.
  • David Croenenberg's A Dangerous Method is getting a warm reception from critics, with a 74, but for every rave there are critics out there calling it cold and flat.

Oscar Box Office

No Oscar contenders were released last weekend.

Oscar Farewell

No members of the Oscar family passed away this week.

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Oscar Week in Review: November 13-19, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Governors Awards were awarded last weekend to James Earl Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Dick Smith. Highlights can be found here.
  • The Academy this week released the preliminary, 15-film list of possible documentary feature nominees. As always, the list has just as many prominent omissions as it does possible nominees.
  • Ricky Gervais will yet again host the Golden Globe ceremony in January. It is his third consecutive year as host.
  • Oscar winning art director will be the production designer for the 2012 Oscar ceremony.
  • The Los Angeles Police Department will reopen the case of the mysterious death of Oscar nominee Natalie Wood. Wood, who had a famous fear of water, drowned in 1981.

Review Round-Up

  • Oscar winners Alexander Payne and George Clooney look poised to return to the big show, at least based on the reviews of their collaboration The Descendants. The film has an 84 on Metacritic, with critics praising the dramedy for it's writing and ensemble cast especially.

Oscar Box Office

  • J. Edgar opened to a solid, if not spectacular, $11 million last weekend.

Oscar Farewell

No members of the Oscar family passed away this week.

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Oscar Week in Review: October 30-November 12, 2011

Oscar News

  • After coming under fire for making a gay slur in an interview, Oscar producer Brett Ratner resigned this week from the show. Oscar host Eddie Murphy soon followed him out the door. Brian Grazer will replace Ratner as co-producer of the ceremony, and has brought in veteran Oscar host Billy Crystal to host the show for the ninth time.
  • The Academy released the list last week of the 18 films eligible for Best Animated Feature. If all the films remain eligible for the award, there will most likely be five nominees in the category this year.
  • The Academy will salute Vanessa Redgrave in London this weekend.
  • The Los Angeles Film Critics will not move up their awards like the New York Film Critics Association has, and will keep their date of December 11.
  • The Los Angeles Film Critics will honor Doris Day with their lifetime achievement award.
  • Among the nominees for the European Film Awards are last year's Oscar winners The King's Speech and In a Better World, as well as some of this year's contenders: The Artist, Melancholia,  We Need to Talk About Kevin and  The Skin I Live In.
  • The Artist won the Audience Favorite Award at the Austin Film Festival last week.

Review Round-Up

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Oscar Week in Review: October 23 – 29, 2011

Oscar News

  • Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer announced this week that he is not submitting any of his scores this year for contention in the Oscars. Among his work this year were possible nominees are Sherlock Holmes 2 and Rango.
  • On nominations morning, the Best Picture nominees will not be read in alphabetical order, nor will their names be on screens behind the announcers, keeping the suspense of how many nominees there actually are until the reading is finished. The other categories will be announced in the traditional manner.
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin won the Best Picture prize at the London Film Festival this week.

Review Round-Up

  • Puss in Boots, the latest entry in the Shrek franchise of films, has a warm 66 score from critics on Metacritic. Whether that can translate into an Animated Feature nomination will depend on how many nominees are eligible.

Oscar Box Office

  • After the 3D re-release hit worldwide theaters this weekend, The Lion King is now the 20th highest grossing film in international box office history.

Oscar Farewell

The Oscar family didn't lose any members this past week.

 

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Oscar Week in Review: October 16 – 22, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Gotham Awards announced their nominees this week, becoming the first announcement of awards season. The Descendants led the pack with three nominations.
  • The New York Film Critics Circle announced that they are moving their awards up two weeks this year, making them the first major critics awards of the season. They will announce their best of the year on November 28, more than a month before the end of the year.

Review Round-Up

  • Besides having one of the best titles of the year, Martha Marcy May Marlene is also getting some of the best reviews of the year, picking up a 75 on Metacritic. Most of the accolades are going towards Elizabeth Olsen, the lead actress who could be the breakout nominee of the year.
  •  Margin Call is getting some very strong reviews, including some flat-out raves from some corners. Polarizing movies don't always do well with the Oscars, but a timely movie with an overall 76 on Metacritic could become a sleeper candidate if it picks up some steam.

Oscar Box Office

  • The Skin I Live In picked up a nice $37,000 per screen average last weekend, playing in only 6 screens. The film has the possibility to become a quiet art-house hit as it slowly expands slightly.

Oscar Farewell

The Oscar family didn't lose any members this past week.

 

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Oscar Week in Review: October 9 – 15, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Academy released the short lists for Foreign Language Film and Documentary Short Film this week. There are 63 eligible foreign films, and 8 short films. On the 63-film list are the new films from Zhang Yimou, Ari Kaurismaki and Wim Wenders, along with Toronto Film Festival Audience Award Winner Where Do We Go Now?.

Review Round-Up

  • Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In opened to strong reviews this weekend, garnering a 70 on Metacritic. Unfortunately, the strong reviews were not raves, which are generally needed to push a foreign film into general consideration.

Oscar Box Office

  • The Ides of March opened last weekend in second place, just over the $10 million mark.

Oscar Farewell

  • Costume Designer Ray Aghayan, who was nominated for his work on Gaily, Gaily, Lady Sings the Blues and Funny Lady, died this week at the age of 77. The Iranian designer was also the first Emmy winner for costume design.
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Oscar Week in Review: October 2 – 8, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced this week that they are constructing an Academy Museum. The museum will focus on cinema as an art form and its impact on culture.
  • David Poland tried to get to the bottom of the new Best Picture voting system this week.

Review Round-Up

  • Oscar winner George Clooney's The Ides of March, which he wrote, directed and appears in, opened to good but not stellar reviews this weekend. With a 67 on Metacritic, critics tend to like the film but view it as lightweight and not nearly as impressive as his previously Oscar nominated Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • Real Steel, which has poised itself as a dark horse tech category competitor, doesn't seem to have succeeded in that manor. The film, which has a strong-for-the-genre 56 score, hasn't gotten the glowing reviews for the effects work that it would need to overcome its larger competitors.

Oscar Box Office

  • 50/50 opened in a disappointing fifth place last weekend, taking in only about $8 million.

Oscar Farewell

  • Diane Cilento, who got an Oscar nomination for her performance in Tom Jones, passed away this week at the age of 78. She was once married to Oscar winner Sean Connery and Oscar nominee Anthony Schaeffer.
  • Veteran character actor Charles Napier passed away this week. The 75 year old appeared in the classic escape scene in Best Picture winner The Silence of the Lambs.
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Oscar Week in Review: September 25 – October 1, 2011

Oscar News

  • The honorees at this year's Hollywood Film Festival, all of whom are possible Oscar contenders, will be Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50), Jessica Chastain (The Tree of Life and Take Shelter) and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy). The Help, which also features Chastain, will receive a special award for its ensemble.
  • Monday is the deadline for submissions for Foreign Language Film and the Short Film categories.

Review Round-Up

  • 50/50 is coming out of seemingly nowhere to pick up some really strong reviews from critics. The Seth Rogen-written film has a 72 from Metacritic, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt getting real strong notices for his lead performance.

Oscar Box Office

  • Moneyball brought in $19.5 million last weekend, making it one of the strongest sports movie openings ever, and a formidable fall hit.
  • Oscar winner The Lion King was again the top film at the box office last weekend, for the second weekend in a row.

Oscar Farewell

  • David Zelag Goodman, who was nominated for an Oscar for writing Lovers and Other Strangers, passed away this week at the age of 81.
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Oscar Week in Review: September 11 – 24, 2011

Oscar News

  • The Academy redefined their regulations this week on campaigning, specifically the types of parties and screenings that can be held for Oscar nominated films between nomination day and when ballots are due. The major effect is on the numbers of panel screenings a nominee can conduct, and restrictions on parties without film screenings. There are also new rules regarding social media.
  • Oscar winner Steven Spielberg will receive the David O. Selznick lifetime achievement award from the Producers Guild of America. The award will be presented at their January 21, 2012 ceremony.
  • Among the winners at last weekend's 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards were Oscar winners Julian Fellowes, Gwenyth Paltrow, Martin Scorsese, Maggie Smith and Kate Winslet.

Review Round-Up

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What did Telluride and Venice Teach Us About the Oscars?

Both the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals ended in the last week. These two festivals, along with the currently running Toronto Film Festival, are some of the prime locations for major Oscar contenders to premiere their films. Here is a look at some of the films that opened to welcome applause at the two festivals, and that may be popping up more often come awards season.

Out of the award winners at Venice, only one seems to be a possible major Oscar contender: Michael Fassbinder in Shame. The Steve McQueen film, which might be too graphic for more conservative audiences, was recently picked up by Fox Searchlight for release near the end of the year. The film also took the FIPRESCI prize. Wuthering Heights, the new British adaptation of the classic novel, picked up the Best Cinematography award.

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Oscar Week in Review: September 4-10, 2011

Oscar News

  • Eddie Murphy was announced as the host for the 84th Academy Awards next year. The Oscar nominated actor and comedian will lead the Brett Ratner produced show on February 26, 2012.
  • The lineup was announced for the 55th London Film Festival, running the middle of October. Among the films in the running are Oscar hopefuls Carnage, This Must Be the Place, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Wuthering Heights. The opening film is Alfonso Cuaron's 360.
  • J. Edgar, the new film from Oscar winner Clint Eastwood, will have its world premier opening the AFI Fest in November.
  • Shame, the Venice and Telluride hit starring Michael Fassbinder and Carey Mulligan, was picked up for release by Fox Searchlight. There is no release date set for the graphic film.

Review Round-Up

  • Contagion, the global thriller by Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh, got solid if not glowing reviews this week. While most critics compared it to Soderbergh's Oscar-winning Traffic, they did not have the same enthusiasm for this latest film.

Oscar Box Office

  • The Help, which spent a third week as the number one film, also held the top spot at the box office for 25 consecutive days. That is the longest streak in over 12 years, since 1999 Best Picture nominee The Sixth Sense.

Oscar Farewell

The Oscar family didn't lose any of its members this week.

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