- The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences released a list of new rules for the next Academy Awards. Among them are the inclusion of hairdressing to the Best Makeup category, an expansion to the number of songwriters who can share a nomination for Best Song and a change in the shortlisting of Best Visual Effects.
- The Academy invited 172 new members to join its voting body. Among them were Oscar winners Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius and Octavia Spencer, as well as Stephen King, Kristen Wiig and Tom Berenger.
- The Artist, last year's Best Picture winner, will finally get a home video release this Tuesday.
- Brave premiered this week with a 68 score on Metacritic, a positive assessment but low on the scale for a Pixar film.
- Woody Allen's To Rome with Love opened to luke-warm reviews, picking up a 55 on Metacritic. Most critics agree that it is a major fall-off from last year's Oscar winning Midnight in Paris.
- Madagascar 3 has had 2 strong weekends, and so far is outpacing the first 2 films in the franchise. That may be enough to get it into the conversation for a Best Animated Feature nomination.
- Oscar-nominated actress Susan Tyrell died this week at the age of 67. She was nominated for Supporting Actress in 1972 for Fat City.
- Amour won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, giving director Michael Haneke his second Palme d'Or.
- Wes Andersen is getting some of his best reviews in years for Moonrise Kingdom, with an 84 on Metacritic. The Cannes opening night film is being compared to Andersen's Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums, the latter of which brought Andersen an Original Screenplay nomination.
Oscar Box Office
- Moonrise Kingdom broke the record for limited releases in its opening weekend, bringing in an amazing per screen average of over $130,000.
- The Avengers became the third highest grossing film of all-time, behind Best Picture winner Titanic and Best Picture nominee Avatar.
The Oscar family didn't miss any members in the past two weeks.
- The Cannes Film Festival opened on Wednesday with Wes Andersen's Moonrise Kingdom, and will continue to show lots of awards hopefuls over the next two weeks.
- The Directors Guild of America relented last week to allow screeners to get sent to its membership in voting for its annual awards. They had previously resisted this in belief that their films should be seen on the big screen.
- The Avengers is a big summer blockbuster, but any pretensions that it would garner serious critical support fell by the wayside. With a 69 on Metacritic, though, it should stand tall enough to pick up some consideration in the technical categories.
- The Artist has managed to pick up one last award this year: Festival Film of the Year. It will be presented the award at the International Film Festival Summit in Paris.
No possible Oscar contenders were released in the last two weeks.
Oscar Box Office
- The Hunger Games had the third biggest opening in history (and the biggest for a non-sequel), and is now poised to break $300 million by the end of the weekend.
The Oscar family didn't lose any members this week.
- The date has been set for the 85th Annual Academy Awards: Sunday February 24, 2013. The nominations will be announced on January 15.
- Monsieur Lahzar, one of this year's Best Foreign Language Film nominees, was the top winner at the Canadian Genie Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Director. Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen won Best Supporting Actor for A Dangerous Method.
- Although it's early release date could hurt it, The Hunger Games seems to be positioning itself to compete for at least some technical nominations. With a 68 on Metacritic, the adaptation of the young adult novel is breaking through being a "teenager movie" to be viewed as something a little more serious by critics.
- The Dardennes Brothers have never been able to break through with the Academy, but The Kid With the Bike has an audience-friendly 86 on Metacritic that could break that barrier.
Oscar Box Office
- The Artist was the big winner at the 84th Academy Awards, taking the top prizes of Best Picture and Best Director. It tied with Hugo for most awards won with 5 apiece. The acting awards went to Jean Dujardin, Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Ocatavia Spencer.
- Ratings for the Oscar telecast were up 4% from last year.
- Moonrise Kingdom, the new film by Academy Award nominee Wes Andersen, will open the Cannes Film Festival in May.
- The Artist was the big winner at another award's show last weekend, picking up 7 awards from the British Academy of Film and Television, including Best Picture and Best Director. The acting awards went to Jean Dujardin, Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer.
- Emmanuel Lubezki won the prize for Best Cinematography from the American Society of Cinematographers.
- At last weekend's Grammy Awards, The King's Speech was named Best Score for a Feature Film, and "I See the Light" from Tangled won Best Song from a Feature Film. Both were nominated in their respective categories at last year's Oscars.
- Monday the Academy held their annual nominee luncheon, where nominees could socialize, get lectured on the rules of the awards ceremony and pose for photos, including the Oscar Nominee Photo.
- Among the guilds and minor awards this past week, Rango took Best Film at the Annies, Rise of the Planet of the Apes won the top prize at the Visual Effects Society and the Art Directors Guild awarded Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- The awards for this year's ceremony took their annual pilgrimage from Chicago to Los Angeles in a different fashion this year.
- Michel Hazanavicius, the director of The Artist, took the top prize from the Directors Guild of America, the award most scene as the surest precursor to Oscar success. Project Nim was the documentary winner.
- The Help was the big winner at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, taking the prize for Best Cast, Best Actress (Viola Davis) and Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer). Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for The Artist and Christopher Plummer won Best Supporting Actor for Beginners.
- The Sundance Film Festival concluded last weekend, with Beasts of the Southern Wild winning the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film.
- The presenters for the Oscar ceremony have started to be announced, including previous Oscar Winners Halle Berry and Tom Hanks and Oscar Nominee Tom Cruise.
- The 84th Academy Award nominations were announced Monday. Hugo was the most nominated film with 11 citations, followed by 10 for The Artist.
There were no Oscar contenders released this week.
Oscar Box Office
- The $10 million grossed in its wide-opening by Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was the lowest-opening for a Tom Hanks film in over 2 decades.
- Eiko Ishioka, who won an Oscar for her costume design for Bram Stoker's Dracula, passed away this week at the age of 73.
- 75-year old British actor Nicol Williamson passed away. The legendary stage actor appeared in such films as Excalibur, Robin and Marian and The Seven Per-Cent Solution.
- Theo Angelopoulus, who won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Ulysses' Gaze, died this week at the age of 76. He was in the midst of filming his latest film.
- At the 69th Golden Globes last weekend, The Artist proved to be the night's biggest winner, taking 3 awards including Best Picture - Comedy and Best Actor-Comedy (Jean Dujardin). The Descendants picked up 2 awards for Best Picture - Drama and Best Actor - Drama for George Clooney.
- The Academy released the nine eligible films for the Foreign Film Oscar. The eligible films are from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Poland and Taiwan.
- The Artist and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy led the BAFTA nominations this week with 12 and 11 nominations, respectively. The other nominees for Best Film are The Descendants, Drive and The Help.
- The Costume Designers Guild released their nominees this week. Their period nominees, which tend to be the best precursor to Oscar nominations, were The Artist, Jane Eyre, The Help, Hugo and W.E.
- The American Cinema Editors have also released their nominees.
- Hanna, Hugo, Moneyball, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Super 8 are the five nominees for the Cinema Audio Society.
- The Directors Guild of America, traditionally one of the best precursors to the Oscars, announced their nominations this week. Their feature film honorees were Woody Allen, David Fincher, Michael Hazanavicious, Alexander Payne and Martin Scorsese.
- The Academy announced their shortlist for Best Makeup. The seven films that will compete for nomination are Albert Nobbs, Anonymous, The Artist, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Hugo and The Iron Lady.
- The National Society of Film Critics, the last major critics group to announce their awards, gave their Best Picture award to Melancholia, while Terrence Malick took Best Director. The acting awards were given to Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Albert Brooks and Jessica Chastain.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon led the Visual Effects Society nominations with 5 citations each.
- The American Society of Cinematographers gave their nominations this year to The Artist, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Tree of Life.
- The Artist took the top awards at the Critic's Choice Awards, winning both Best Picture and Best Director. The acting winners were George Clooney, Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer.
- The USC Scripter Nods were announced, and the cited screenplays (and source material) were A Dangerous Method, The Descendants, Jane Eyre, Moneyball and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
- Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence will co-announce this year's nominations on January 24.
- The visual effects shortlist was shortened this week to 10 eligible films for an Oscar nomination later this month.
- The Writers Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America released their nominees this week for the best achievements of the year.
- The Art Directors Guild also released their nominations this week.
- The British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) released their longlist this week for nominees.
- The official trailer for the Billy Crystal-hosted Oscar telecast was released this week.
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.
- 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).