- 60 Minutes: Lara Logan profiles the actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, who she says “has made a career of reinventing himself like no one else in show business,” just a few weeks before the release of “The Fighter,” a film that he produced and stars in as his childhood hero. He takes her back to Boston and opens up about his “reckless youth,” including an assault that he committed at the age of 16 that left a man blind and resulted in him serving 45 days in jail. That harrowing experience, he says, gave him the drive to make something more of his life — first as a rapper, then as a model, and now as an Oscar-nominated actor and producer who is on the brink of unveiling his “proudest achievement” yet.
- Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil claims that certain members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association “absolutely love” the recent blockbuster thriller “Red” and says that we should “expect it to bag noms for best comedy/musical picture, actor (Bruce Willis) and maybe even supporting actor (John Malkovich as a conspiracy-minded LSD tripper) and supporting actress (Helen Mirren as a machine-gun-toting Rambo).”
- New York Times: Brooks Barnes adds to the mounting expectations of “Tangled,” the 50th animated film from Disney, which reportedly cost $175 million to make and “will carry global marketing costs in excess of $100 million.” Disney’s chief creative officer John Lasseter, who has spent over three years working on the film since the 2006 Disney-Pixar merger left him in charge of the studio, tells Barnes: ““This film is as good as a Pixar film, but it’s classic Disney, and I love that: heart, humor, beauty, music, wonderment, the love story.”
- The Big Picture: Patrick Goldstein highlights one of the most glaring omissions from the recently released list of films eligible for this year’s best documentary feature Oscar: Werner Herzog’s visually stunning 3-D doc “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” He was previously snubbed five years ago for his critically-acclaimed doc “Grizzly Man” (2005), but was nominated three years ago for “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007).
- Awards Tracker: Susan King reports that best actress hopeful Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”) will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 2011 Vanguard Award following a career tribute on February 5. According to the festival, the award was created to annually recognize “an actor who has forged his/her own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Previous recipients have included Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christoph Waltz.
- Imageworks: As part of the no-holds-barred Oscar campaign for “Alice in Wonderland,” the special effects firm Sony Pictures Imageworks has invited select journalists to have tea with the visual effects and animation team responsible for the film, as well as to have “an individual opportunity to sit at an Avid at Sony Pictures Imageworks with one of our editors and a member of the visual effects and animation production team” for a demonstration of some of the work that went into the production of the film’s “nearly 2500 visual effects and animation shots.”
- Los Angeles Times: Mark Olsen profiles the 24-year-old writer/director/actress Lena Dunham, who has made a big impression with “Tiny Furniture,” her debut film, and is now being “courted by Hollywood.” As Dunham puts it, her story could be succinctly described as: “girl makes movie about being a loser and then gets un-loserly things to happen to her.”
- Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells confirms that director Steven Spielberg will indeed adapt a still-to-be-written Tony Kushner script about Abraham Lincoln into a feature film, and that the 16th president will be played not by the Irish actor Liam Neeson, who was the rumored frontrunner for the part, but rather by the British actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Cinephiles largely cheered the casting of the two time best actor Oscar winner (who traveled on Friday to Springfield, Illinois and received a tour of relevant historical sites from Lincoln historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.) The film is due out in 2012.
- The Film Experience: Nathaniel Rogers chats with the 37-year-old actress Juliette Lewis, who was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar nearly two decades ago for “Cape Fear” (1991) and is hoping to be nominated for it again for this year’s Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction.” She has only two brief scenes in the film, but, as Rogers writes, audiences can’t take their eyes of her when she’s on screen, and it seems likely that they will lead to other, more substantial acting roles for her in the near future.
Photo: Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter.” Credit: Paramount.