Pierce Brosnan seems like a best supporting actor contender for "The Ghost Writer"

Pierce Brosnan seems like a best supporting actor contender for "The Ghost Writer."  Can he crack the field?

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Is it too late for 'The Ghost Writer' to thrill Oscar?

Film leads 2010 European Film Award nods, but Oscar chances are slim

One the most entertaining thrillers of the year was Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer."  With strong reviews, the Summit Entertainment release battled negative publicity over Polanski's house arrest in Switzerland over a possible extradition to the United States (which never happened) to an OK $15 million at the box office in February and March.  Considering the great word of mouth, that seemed rather low, but the studio was careful not to overspend after dumping too much marketing money in "The Hurt Locker" (long before it's Oscar win) and "The Brothers Bloom" the year before.  The film seemed like the sort of smart, well-acted, pedigree thriller that could thrive during awards season.  Surprisingly though, that hasn't been the case.

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Michael Sheen at the 2010 BAFTA LA Britannia Awards

Britannia Award honoree Michael Sheen walks the red carpet before the event.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark Sales

Betty White rocks, but Michael Sheen steals the 2010 BAFTA Britannia Awards

Plus: Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges and an impressive Ridley and Tony Scott tribute

One of the most fun events of last year's award season was the somewhat under the radar BAFTA Britannia Awards.  In 2009, Ben Stiller gave one of the most memorable and hilarious tributes I've ever heard to recipient Robert De Niro that had the crowd, and De Niro, in hysterics.  And that didn't even take into account Stephen Fry's witty and confident hosting or the impressive line of stars who appeared to honor the prestigious organizations winners.  A year later, the show is finally getting some broadcast love from TV Guide Network in the United States and BAFTA LA chairman Nigel Lythgoe (yep, the "So You Think You Can Dance" judge) announced the show would also be seen in the UK, Europe, Latin America and parts of Southeast Asia.  And with this year's winners including Betty White, Jeff Bridges, Martin Sheen, Christopher Nolan and Ridley and Tony Scott, anticipation was high for another classy event.

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<p>Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in &quot;Love and Other Drugs.&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Love and Other Drugs."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are very sexy in messy 'Love and Other Drugs'

Little awards season future for Ed Zwick's latest

If you want to see a movie where Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway display enough sexual chemistry to start real life romance rumors, than "Love and Other Drugs" is for you.  If you want a movie that features a by the numbers plot with sitcom-inspired comedy situations and where you don't really care about the characters when it all comes to an end (even though one is suffering from a major disease) than "Love and Other Drugs" is also for you.  Yes, if "Drugs" sounds like a movie that's all over the place, it is.

Edward Zwick's first romantic dramedy since "About Last Night…" way back in 1986, "Drugs" finds Gyllenhaal playing Jamie, a smart, but unfocused rich kid trying to make his way in mid '90s America without the help of dear old dad.  We immediately discover Jamie's biggest asset is his confident charm and ladies man sexual libido which seems perfect for his new gig as a Pfizer pharmaceutical rep.  Eventually placed in the field somewhere in Ohio (we're never really told where) with a more experienced superior trying to get transferred back to Chicago (a misused Oliver Platt), Jamie discovers it's harder than you'd think to convince doctors to order Zoloft when their patience are in love with competitor Prozac.  Just when you think the picture is going to turn into a work place wonder, Jamie meets Maggie (Hathaway), a patient of the one hotshot doctor (Hank Azaria, also wasted) who could be his ticket to the big time. Over retread Cameron Crowe dialogue trying to be so un-cliche only these two pros can make it work, Jamie and Maggie instantly become sexual partners with no strings attached.  Of course, their sexual encounters -- which allow fans of both actors to get prime views -- lead to the expected realization that they have a deeper connection.  That's when the romantic cliches start to appear in droves. Sadly, when the movie insists on going down a dark route with Maggie's disease the tone really flies all over the place. And still, you know there is going to be a happy ending in there somewhere because, well, it's one of those movies.  Oh, and did we forget to mention James ends up becoming the perfect salesman for...Viagra? Well, don't worry about it, it's really not that important to the picture's plot in the long run.

One of the biggest red flags that "Drugs" is nothing more than a slick piece of commercial entertainment (not that there is anything wrong with that if it's done right) is the lame subplot centering on Jamie's brother Josh ("21's" Josh Gad).  Supposedly an IPO millionaire, he spends most of the picture sleeping on Jamie's couch after leaving his wife over marital problems.  This makes almost no sense other the than to have Gad around to provide gross out and un-funny comic relief.  Which seems obviously calculated to appeal to the few young men in the audience.

Those issues aside, "Love and Other Drugs" is not inherently a bad movie.  It's just not a very good one.  Instead it's a perfectly fine Hollywood dramedy that has been unfortunately pegged as something that could be awards worthy because of its stars and release date.  Does that mean Hathaway and Gyllenhaal or the picture can't land expected Golden Globe nods? Of course not.  Subconsciously the HFPA would like nothing better for Gyllenhaal and Hathaway's smiling faces to come walking down the show's red carpet.  Does that mean either of them will duplicate that feat at the Oscars?  Don't bet on it.

"Love and Other Drugs" opens nationwide on Nov. 24.
 

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James Franco walks the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of "127 Hours"

James Franco walks the red carpet at the Los Angeles premiere of "127 Hours."

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Standing ovation and another medical issue at '127 Hours' LA premiere

Plus: Check out five clips of Danny Boyle's latest triumph

This is getting a bit bizarre.  Having already attended the Telluride Film Festival premiere of "127 Hours" where it was later discovered a moviegoer had fainted during the intense drama, it's hard to describe this pundit's reaction when someone stood up and yelled "We need a medic" during the first 40 minutes of the picture's Los Angeles premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Theater.

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Kimberly Elise as Crystal in "For Colored Girls"

Kimberly Elise as Crystal in Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls."

Credit: Lionsgate

Q&A: Kimberly Elise calls 'For Colored Girls' the most emotional role of her career

Who is giving this talented actress great roles? Just Jonathan Demme and Tyler Perry

One of the most impressive and yet strikingly depressing aspects of Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls" is how the drama highlights so many great African-American actresses who, bluntly, just don't get enough quality work. 

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Geoffrey Rush, "The King's Speech"

Geoffrey Rush made him do it.  The Oscar winner sets off Colin Firth's unfortunate rant in "The King's Speech."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oscar Watch: 'The King's Speech' gets an R-rating for language

Plus: 'True Grit' goes early and more

In yet another not-so surprising lame decision by the MPAA, "The King's Speech" has been rated R.  Yes, the festival favorite, historical epic and leading Oscar contender has been deemed unsuitable because of one scene where the future King George VI (Colin Firth) unleashes a slew of expletives at the encouragement of his speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush).  This would be shocking if it wasn't typical of the film ratings board.

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Former C.I.A. agent Valerie Palme and U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson

Former C.I.A. agent Valerie Palme and U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Watch: Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson know their life is 'Fair Game'

Historic couple discuss their lives on screen and off

There has to be something surreal about watching your life play out in a movie.  Whether it's Aron Ralston in "127 Hours" or Michel Oher in "The Blind Side" there is an emotional reaction to watching Hollywood recreate the ups and downs of your story.  Like that hiker and NFL Football player, Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson are reliving their own hell, one of the most dramatic moments of the Bush administration, on the big screen and are now hitting the road to help get the word out.

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"Despicable Me"

Blockbuster "Despicable Me" will have to fight for an Oscar nod if the best animated feature only has three slots as expected this year.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Oscar Watch: D-Day for best animated feature

Plus: Annette Bening gets another award and James Franco brings 'Three's Company' to Sundance

And in the always competitive race to land a best animated feature nominations, here are your, um…three nominees?  Uh, oh.  That's not what the Academy had in mind when it changed the rules this summer qualifying animated films just over 40 minutes as feature length.  Besides the fact it duplicates the live action rule, the goal was to try an insure that there were 16 nominees ever year to qualify five slots.  Nov. 1 was the deadline to hit that mark with official submissions and last count has the number somewhere around 14. 

Obviously, the more nominees the more drama and chances for an upset in a category which has been mostly predictable since its inception in 2001.  In fact, you can argue the only surprise in the honor's history was when "Happy Feet" upset "Cars" for the Oscar in 2006.  Unfortunately, it appears only 14 candidates will submit to the Academy by today's Nov. 1 deadline.  And while we won't know for sure until the end of the week, that likely means somebody gets screwed. Let's take a moment and look at the contenders shall we?

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<p>Nic Cage and Chloe Moretz in &quot;Kick-Ass.&quot;</p>

Nic Cage and Chloe Moretz in "Kick-Ass."

Credit: Lionsgate

'Kings Speech' takes on 'Kick-Ass' for British Independent best picture

Who knew Matthew Vaughn's flick would find more love than Mike Leigh's?

Legitimate award show nominations are finally starting to roll in.  Today, the British Independent Film Awards announced the nominations for the organization's 2010 event.  Unlike other kudos, the British Indie nods are selected by a larger pool (70 members) and then the winners are awarded by 13 judges. 

This year's lucky panel includes Mags Arnold (Editor), Finola Dwyer (Producer), Matthew Goode ("Watchmen"), Matt Greenhalgh (Writer), Andy Harries (Producer), Gemma Jones ("You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger"), David Mackenzie (Director), James Marsh (Director), Hannah McGill (Writer, Critic & Festival Programmer), Sean Pertwee (Actor), Jamie Sives (Actor), Jason Solomons (Film Critic), Gary Williamson (Production Designer).

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<p>George Clooney is returning to the director's chair with &quot;The Ides of March.&quot;</p>

George Clooney is returning to the director's chair with "The Ides of March."

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Bait Alert: George Clooney finds 'The Ides of March' with Ryan Gosling

Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei will also star

George Clooney has landed the financing to return to the director's chair.  Exclusive Media Group and Cross Creek Pictures ("Black Swan") announced today they will finance and co-produce "The Ides of March" which Clooney will direct and star in.

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