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Countdown to Oscars

Thursday, November 25, 2010
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YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/25/10

  • Deadline Hollywood: Nikki Finke says that her sources at Disney and its rival studios both believe that “Tangled,” Disney’s 50th animated motion picture, had a huge opening day yesterday and will greatly exceed most box-office projections for the 5-day holiday weekend. Analysts had forecasted a cumulative take of $35-$40 million, but a Disney competitor said that early data shows that the number will be “much bigger than expected,” and sources at Disney believe that it will wind up in the high $60s when all is said and done on Sunday.
  • The Wrap: Dominic Patten reports the latest twist-and-turn in the investigation into last week’s murder of Oscar publicist Ronni Chasen. Yesterday, TMZ, the gossip site, posted footage from October 28 — captured by a private investigator who was looking into an unrelated matter and videoing “people entering and leaving Chasen’s luxury high-rise building on Wilshire” — that appeared to show Chasen driving a vehicle that was not her own, raising the obvious question of whose it was and why she was driving it. TMZ removed the video from its site, though, after friends of Chasen told The Wrap that it could not have been Chasen, as she was in Europe on that date. The mystery continues.
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik notes that mothers have historically been portrayed in a favorable light on the big screen — with a few noteworthy exceptions like “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962), “Mommie Dearest” (1981), and “Precious” (2009) — which is why he was surprised to find that in 2010 films, “All those good mothers have gone and a host evil ones have come to take their place.” Among the examples that he cites: Claire Bloom’s repressing Queen-mother in “The King’s Speech,” Barbara Hershey’s overbearing stage-mother in “Black Swan,” Melissa Leo’s manipulative agent-mother in “The Fighter,” and Jacki Weaver’s conniving grand-mother in “Animal Kingdom.”
  • The Playlist: Kevin Jagernauth posts author/Entertainment Weekly columnist Stephen King’s list of this year’s top 10 films, which, as always, is among the first to be released and includes many more horror/populist selections than most critics’ lists. His picks are: 1. “Let Me In,” 2. “The Town,” 3. “Inception,” 4. “The Social Network,” 5. “Takers,” 6. “Kick-Ass,” 7. “Splice,” 8. “Monsters,” 9. “Jackass 3D,” and 10. “Green Zone.”
  • Ministry of Gossip: Matt Donnelly shares video of Monday night’s episode of “Chelsea Lately” on E!, during which the talk show host Chelsea Handler interviews the actress Gwyneth Paltrow about the upcoming film “Country Strong,” in which Paltrow portrays a recovering drug addict. Interestingly, Paltrow tells Handler that she called upon her “Iron Man” co-star Robert Downey, Jr., a recovering drug addict himself, for advice — “I actually e-mailed [Robert], who has been sober for a long time. He wrote me the most amazing e-mail and helped me understand it.”
  • The Awards Insider: Nicole Sperling observes that “Harry Potter” is “the most successful film franchise in box office history” — its first seven installment have brought in more than $5.8 billion internationally, thus far, including the recently released “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” — but has yet to register in a serious way with the Academy. (The few nominations that the franchise has received have been in categories such as art direction, costume design, and visual effects, and none have resulted in wins.) It’s unlikely that the most recent installment will do much better, but Sperling explains how a strong final installment in July could result in a stronger showing, with voters “essentially honoring the eight-picture series for its overall achievement.”
  • Inside Movies: Dave Karger considers the possibility that Oscar voters might reward “Black Swan” with Oscar nods for both best actress hopeful Natalie Portman (who is already a “foregone conclusion”) and Mila Kunis (who is still very much on the bubble). Karger also posts an exclusive clip from the film, which will debut in theaters a week from Friday.
  • Cartoon Brew: “The Brewmasters” shares the Academy’s recently-released list of 33 films that “have fulfilled the qualifications necessary to be considered in the category of best animated short for the 2010 Academy Awards.” They note that members of the Academy’s short films and feature animation branch “will vote on a shortlist of ten films from this list” and that a second round of voting will subsequently “narrow it down to the five nominees.” It is of note that only three filmmakers involved with these 33 films — Tomasz Baginski, Don Hertzfeldt, and Bill Plympton — have previously been nominated for an Oscar.

Photo: “Tangled.” Credit: Disney.

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