Few Original Song Nominees Come From Best Picture Nominees ... Film Expert: Sony “Surrender” Joins Long History of Studios Bowing to “Intimidation Tactics” (Guest Column) ... See Bradley Cooper Play a Reluctant Hero in New ‘American Sniper’ Clip (Exclusive) ... Palm Springs Film Fest: Robert Duvall, Alejandro G. Inarritu Join List of Honorees ... Foreign Oscar Shortlist: Great Choices — and Horrible Headscratchers, as Usual (Analysis) ... Meet the Bros. Dardenne, Belgium’s National Treasures Behind ‘Two Days, One Night’ ... ‘Art and Craft’ Could Join These Ten Art-Related Docs to Garner Oscar Noms ... People Magazine Awards: ‘Cake’ Star Jennifer Aniston Wins First Film-Acting Prize of Career ...
Countdown to Oscars

Monday, December 22, 2014

Few Original Song Nominees Come From Best Picture Nominees


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

On Dec. 12, the Academy released a shortlist of 79 songs in contention for best original song at the 87th Academy Awards, but it’s not so easy to predict which songs will be announced as nominees on Jan. 15. You can’t turn to potential best picture nominees — or best animated features, for that matter — to predict which songs make the final cut. Though a number of best picture nominees have also been nominated for best original song, there’s not much correlation between the two.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Film Expert: Sony “Surrender” Joins Long History of Studios Bowing to “Intimidation Tactics” (Guest Column)


By Thomas Doherty
The Hollywood Reporter

On the evening of Dec. 4, 1930, inside the ornate Mozart Hall in Berlin, Universal’s antiwar epic All Quiet on the Western Front was just starting to unspool when spectators noticed a rancid smell in the theater—stink bombs—and spotted dozens of white mice scurrying  down the aisles. Women began to scream and, amid the chaos, a cadre of Nazi storm troopers stood up, pointed at the screen and screamed “Judenfilm!” The Nazis—still over two years away from turning Germany into a gangster state—had vandalized and infiltrated the theater to shut down a Hollywood film that depicted the Great War as a muddy death trap. Days of protests and street demonstrations followed: The Nazis vowed that either All Quiet on the Western Front would be withdrawn or the theaters world burn.

It worked. Germany banned the film that its own censors had earlier cleared for domestic release. The capitulation—both political and cinematic—gave the nascent National Socialists a huge victory, gaining stature for a fringe party and exposing the wheezing Weimar Republic as a paper tiger. “The police are powerless,” chortled Joseph Goebbels, the future propaganda minister for the Third Reich.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

See Bradley Cooper Play a Reluctant Hero in New ‘American Sniper’ Clip (Exclusive)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter 

American Sniper is not off to the sort of start that Warner Bros. wanted for its principal Oscar hopeful this season — after landing a spot on the AFI’s year-end top 10 list, it was completely excluded from the SAG and Golden Globe nominations and recognized only in the action movie categories of the Critics’ Choice noms — but Oscar nomination voting doesn’t begin until Dec. 29, and there is still time for Academy members to catch up with and/or come around on Clint Eastwood’s drama about the deadliest American sniper of the Iraq War, Chris Kyle, who is played in the film by Bradley Cooper.

I think they might.

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Palm Springs Film Fest: Robert Duvall, Alejandro G. Inarritu Join List of Honorees


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The Judge’s supporting actor Robert Duvall will receive this year’s Icon Award and Birdman‘s co-writer and director Alejandro G. Inarritu will receive this year’s Director of the Year Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 26th annual Awards Gala on Jan. 3, PSIFF announced on Friday. The fest will run Jan. 2-12.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Foreign Oscar Shortlist: Great Choices — and Horrible Headscratchers, as Usual (Analysis)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

On Friday morning, the Academy released its foreign-language committee’s shortlist of nine filmsselected from a record 83 submissions this year — from which the five nominees for the best foreign-language film Oscar will soon be chosen.

For the most part, the list is pretty unobjectionable. It includes several big critical darlings, led by Poland’s black-and-white post-Holocaust drama Ida, Russia’s stark and unusual Leviathan, Sweden’s haunting character study Force Majeure and Argentina’s hilarious sextet of shorts Wild Tales. It has a few true-life stories that could prove engrossing and appealing to a wide cross-section of people: the Netherlands’ The Accused and Venezuela’s The Liberator. And it includes works from several countries that have not frequently, if ever, been recognized, effectively putting them on the map: Mauritania’s Timbuktu (the nation’s first film ever submitted), Estonia’s Tangerines (the nation’s first film ever shortlisted) and Georgia’s Corn Island (which has only once had a film make it this far, 18 years ago).

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Meet the Bros. Dardenne, Belgium’s National Treasures Behind ‘Two Days, One Night’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

If you don’t frequent the Cannes, Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals, or at least your local art house movie theater, you may not know the names Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. But, as someone who does, take my word for it: these soft-spoken, unassuming sexagenarian brothers from Belgium are as talented and consistently on-the-mark as any filmmakers in the world — and they have been for years.

That’s why I find it so utterly unbelievable that the Academy has never even nominated one of their projects for the best foreign language film Oscar, even though three have been submitted by their motherland over the years — and why, I must confess, I am crossing my fingers that this grave injustice will be corrected, or at least not extended, when the Academy, sometime in the next 48 hours, reveals the names of the nine films that its foreign language committee or executive committee have deemed worthy of this year’s Oscar shortlist. As I see it, the Dardennes’ latest, Two Days, One Night, deserves to be among the finalists as much as any of this year’s record 83 submissions from around the globe.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

‘Art and Craft’ Could Join These Ten Art-Related Docs to Garner Oscar Noms


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

For almost 30 years, Mark Landis forged artwork and passed it off as his own to various museums around the country. It wasn’t until Matthew Leininger, a registrar at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, investigated the pieces in 2008 that the forgery was exposed. Leininger dedicated his time to investigating Landis further, and the scale of forgeries was revealed in 2012. Both men are featured in Art and Craft, a documentary about Landis, directed by Jennifer Grausman and Sam Cullman and co-directed by Mark Becker. Because Landis never sold his work to the museums, only donated the works in what he calls acts of “philanthropy”, he was never prosecuted.

The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore said, “The film will appeal to art lovers, but some viewers who can hardly tell their Cezannes from Chagalls will find the story fascinating as well.”

The film was picked by the Academy as one of the 15 documentaries to land on the shortlist. It may be that Academy members enjoy watching the creative processes or habits of other artists, but whether they do or not, the Academy has responded well to art-related documentaries in the past. Here are ten art-related documentaries that have been nominated for best documentary (in chronological order):

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Friday, December 19, 2014

People Magazine Awards: ‘Cake’ Star Jennifer Aniston Wins First Film-Acting Prize of Career


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Sure, the inaugural People Magazine Awards, which took place on Thursday evening at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and was televised nationally on NBC, was a blatant “pseudoevent,” in the sense that it only existed as an excuse to generate attention for those associated with it: People, the 40-year-old weekly fan magazine; Entertainment Weekly, its sister publication; and whatever celebrities they could get to show up and accept prizes and/or perform in person.

(As was the case with November’s Hollywood Film Awards — also put together by Dick Clark Productions, which shares a parent company withTHR — there weren’t nominees for the various awards, but rather just predetermined winners, and the process by which they were selected kept deliberately vague.)

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Sony Hack: Father of North Korean Leader Was Obsessed With Hollywood Movies


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s Supreme Leader from July 1994 until his death in Dec. 2011, was credited with many far-fetched accomplishments during his lifetime, from inventing the hamburger to curing dwarfism to shooting 11 holes-in-one the first time he played golf to never having had a bowel movement. But one remarkable thing that he actually did do, according to reliable reports, is watch more American movies than most people who work in Hollywood.

And it was under this man’s roof that North Korea’s current dictator — Kim Jong-il’s son Kim Jong Un, the man lampooned in the comedy The Interview and suspected of authorizing a cyberterrorism attack on Sony Pictures in retaliation — came of age.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Rise of Cinematographer Bradford Young


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor

Though he may sound unfamiliar to folks at home, Bradford Young is one of the names to emerge during recent Oscar discussions for his cinematographic work on two films this year: J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year and Ava DuVernay‘s Selma. Both films premiered at AFI Fest.

The 37-year-old director of photography was first recognized for his work at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for Dee ReesPariah (2011), which took home the excellence in cinematography award. He won the award a second time in 2013 for David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George (2013). He most recently received a Spirit Award nomination for Selma, which was also nominated for best picture and director, and he may very well land his first Oscar nomination this year.

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