<p>Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling at a special screening of &quot;Blue Valentine.&quot;</p>

Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling at a special screening of "Blue Valentine."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Jake Gyllenhaal shows his support for Michelle Williams' 'Blue Valentine'

'Brokeback Mountain' stars reunite at Los Angeles screening

Jake Gyllenhaal was always a longshot candidate for awards kudos this year for his role in Ed Zwick's "Love and Other Drugs," but disappointing box office and so-so reviews have put an end to that potential run.  So while his "Drugs" co-star Anne Hathaway prepares to host the Oscars he's spreading some love to another "Brokeback Mountain" alum, Michelle Williams.

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<p>Jesse Eisenberg in &quot;The Social Network&quot;</p>

Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network"

Credit: Sony Pictures

'The Social Network' best picture according to National Board of Review

'127 Hours,' 'Black Swan' and 'The Kids Are All Right' ignored by NY org

The National Board of Review announced its annual winners list for 2010 and "The Social Network" was the big winner as best film of the year.  The Scott Rudin production also won best director (David Fincher), best actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and best adapted screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) to dominate the organization's year end kudos.  The biggest surprises were the complete lack of recognition for Fox Searchlight's "127 Hours," "Black Swan" and Focus Features' "The Kids Are All Right."  To say the group might be showing its age is just a bit of an understatement ("Hereafter" top ten of the year? Really guys?).  

Still, as the first major awards out of the gate not specifically associated with independent film, the winners will be trumpeted by their respective studios over the next six weeks until Oscar nomination ballots are due.  With that in mind, let's look on how each award might help the films and talent at play.

Best Film - "The Social Network"

Lowdown: Sometimes NBR is a best picture predictor ("No Country For Old Men") and sometimes they are not ("Up in the Air").  It helps, but there is a long way to go.

Best Director - David Fincher, "The Social Network"

Lowdown: Clearly a leading contender with our without this honor.  DGA win or loss will tell the tale.

Best Actor -Jesse Eisenberg, "The Social Network"

Lowdown: Still not convinced he's in the five, but this is a huge help.  If he gets a SAG, he's got a nod.  A win would be a big surprise. 

Best Actress - Leslie Manville, "Another Year"

Lowdown: This is actually a nice boost for Manville who could be facing more competition than expected for a nod here.  And, again, not opening until late Dec. and no screeners being sent out doesn't help her cause either.

Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale, "The Fighter"

Lowdown: He's a lock for a nod in any case, but could still lose to Geoffrey Rush once all is said and done.  Doesn't hurt though.

Best Supporting Actress - Jacki Weaver, "Animal Kingdom"

Lowdown: Wow, Sony Classics pulled a fast one here.  She's still a huge reach to land an Oscar nod.

Best Foreign Film - "Of Gods and Men"

Lowdown: I'm trying to avoid putting a "Yawn" here, but I can't help it.  Let's see if it makes Oscar's final five.  I'm not convinced it will.

Best Documentary - "Waiting for 'Superman'"

Lowdown: This is a relief in many ways for Paramount after the Spirits snubbed it earlier this week.

Best Animated Feature - "Toy Story 3"

Lowdown:  Check that one off the list.  How many more wins to go?

Best Ensemble Cast - "The Town"

Lowdown:  A nice coup for Ben Affleck's thriller considering the competition. It's looking more and more like the thriller will make Oscar's 10.

Breakthrough Performance - Jennifer Lawrence, "Winter's Bone"

Lowdown: Any recognition for Lawrence helps her, but she needs a SAG nomination big time.

Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut - Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, "Restrepo"

Lowdown: Nice recognition from the NBR.

Best Original Screenplay - Chris Sparling, "Buried"

Lowdown: Honestly, the biggest shocker of them all.  Even Sparling must be surprised.

Best Adapted Screenplay - Aaron Sorkin, "The Social Network"

Lowdown: The frontrunner and still out a head of the pack.

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award - Sofia Coppola, "Somewhere"

Lowdown:  Really?  Let's just leave it at that.

William K. Everson Film History Award - Leonard Maltin

NBR Freedom of Expression - "Fair Game," "Conviction," "Howl"

Lowdown: Searchlight's one recognition for "Conviction"?  Not what the mini-major expected.

Top Eleven Films (In alphabetical order):

"Another Year"

"The Fighter"

"Hereafter"

"Inception"

"The King’s Speech"

"Shutter Island"

"The Social Network"

"The Town"

"Toy Story 3"

"True Grit"

"Winter’s Bone"

Lowdown: Again, "127 Hours," "Black Swan" and "The Kids Are All Right" -- if one or two of them hadn't made it, O.K., but all three?  I'm afraid to ask what the average age of an NBR member is.  Is this your grandfather's Academy?  "Hereafter" and "Shutter Island" on the top list?  Just ridiculous.  

Top Ten Independent Films (In alphabetical order):

"Animal Kingdom"

"Buried"

"Fish Tank"

"The Ghost Writer"

 "Greenberg"

 "Let Me In"

 "Monsters"

 "Please Give"

 "Somewhere"

"Youth in Revolt"

Lowdown: This honor roll makes a lot more sense, but not including "Blue Valentine," "Get Low" or even "Kids Are All Right" is distressing.  

Top Six Foreign Films (In alphabetical order): 


 "I Am Love"
"Incendies"
"Live, Above All"
"Of Gods and Men"
"White Material"

Lowdown: Happy to see "I Am Love" here.  Feeling as though "Incendies" is going to take most of these from the critic's groups.

Top Six Documentary Films (In alphabetical order): 


"A Film Unfinished"
"Inside Job"
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work"
"Restrepo"
"The Tillman Story"
"Waiting for 'Superman'"

Lowdown: What, no "Exit From The Gift Shop"?  Why am I not surprised?  Worth noting, "Joan Rivers" and "A Film Unfinished" did not make the Academy's documentary shortlist.
 

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<p>Jeff Bridges should land his second straight Academy Award nomination for best actor in &quot;True Grit.&quot;</p>

Jeff Bridges should land his second straight Academy Award nomination for best actor in "True Grit."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

"True Grit" enters the Oscar race as a faithful Western with heart

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are impressive in the Coen Bros.' adaptation of Charles Portis' novel

Let's get one thing out of the way first: "True Grit" is a clear contender in the best picture race.  Any studios hoping or prophesying to the media that the Coen Bros. and producer Scott Rudin have just delivered a strong commercial player for the holidays are sadly mistaken.  Not only is "Grit" a player, but it's one of the best pictures of the year.

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<p>Christopher Nolan, Ellen Page and Leonardo DiCaprio at the world premiere of &quot;Inception&quot;&nbsp;in Los Angeles this past July.</p>

Christopher Nolan, Ellen Page and Leonardo DiCaprio at the world premiere of "Inception" in Los Angeles this past July.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Christopher Nolan bring 'Inception' to Oscar

Nolan and Thomas reveal they are handing 'Superman' over to Zack Snyder

Appropriately timed to the blockbuster's DVD and Blu-ray release next week, Warner Bros. held a swank celebration for "Inception" Tuesday night in the Hollywood Hills.  And while only director Christopher Nolan, producer Emma Thomas and additional behind-the-scenes talent such as composer Hans Zimmer  were promised to be in attendance, the party found stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Ken Watanabe coming out to support the film and its potent awards campaign.  Besides select members of the media, the all important Hollywood Foreign Press Association were in the house, er, mansion as the picture battles for what is turning out to be an incredibly competitive best film - drama category for the organization's upcoming Golden Globes.

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<p>Can Looney Tunes staples Road Runner and Wilie E. Coyote make a triumphant return with a visit to Oscar land?</p>

Can Looney Tunes staples Road Runner and Wilie E. Coyote make a triumphant return with a visit to Oscar land?

Credit: Warner Bros.

Oscar narrows fields for Live Action and Animated Shorts

Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote are still in the hunt for a nomination

The Academy released the shortlists for best live action short and best animated short this morning with few surprises on the list.  Of course, the number of people in the industry or media who actually track the live action short race could probably be counted on one hand, so it's unclear if there actually were any surprises yet.  The animated short field, on the other hand, is much more recognizable.

The 10 finalists for best animated short are:

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<p>&quot;The Kids Are All Right&quot; scored five Independent Spirit Award Nominations.</p>

"The Kids Are All Right" scored five Independent Spirit Award Nominations.

Credit: Focus Features

Analysis: 'Winter's Bone' and 'Kids Are All Right' big Spirit Award nominees winners

Lack of love for Ryan Gosling, Dianne Wiest and 'I Am Love' is unjustifiable

It's easy to assume that the Independent Spirit Awards just recognize films the general public haven't heard of, but that's rarely been the case.  Previous best film winners include recognized classics such as "Platoon," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain," "Pulp Fiction," "Fargo" and "Lost in Translation." So, it's no surprise that for the most part this year's Spirit nominees will be pretty recognizable to moviegoers when the awards ceremony is held on Feb. 26.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence missed all the big wins for &quot;Winter's Bone.&quot;&nbsp; She was in London shooting &quot;X-Men:&nbsp;First Class.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence missed all the big wins for "Winter's Bone."  She was in London shooting "X-Men: First Class."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Winners and reaction to the 2010 Gotham Awards

'Winter's Bone' wins best film and best ensemble

It was clearly "Winter's Bone's" night at the 20th Anniversary Gotham Awards.  The Sundance Film Festival dramatic jury prize winner won both the best film and best ensemble awards.  The Gothams certainly have a place in the heart of New York's independent film community, but you could easily argue the Independent Spirit Award nominations themselves (not even the winners) have a bigger impact on most of the year end races.   Here's a rundown of this year's list of winners and some quick reaction.

FESTIVAL GENIUS AUDIENCE AWARD

"Waiting for Superman"  - WINNER

Analysis: Beating out "Winter's Bone" is no easy feat.  Nice coup for the Paramount Sundance pickup that's hoping to win the best doc award at the Oscars.

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<p>Anne Hathaway almost stole the show from Hugh Jackman at the 81st Academy Awards.&nbsp; Something tells me she'll steal the show.</p>

Anne Hathaway almost stole the show from Hugh Jackman at the 81st Academy Awards.  Something tells me she'll steal the show.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Oscar goes in a new direction with hosts Franco and Hathaway

Duo should bring fresh energy to the 83rd Academy Awards

And now for something completely different…youth.  Yes, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took a bold and very intriguing step today by announcing that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host the 83rd Academy Awards this February.  And after last year's dismal turn by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin all we can say is a big old "whew."

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Mark Wahlberg says they 'really hit each other' in 'The Fighter'

Mark Wahlberg says they 'really hit each other' in 'The Fighter'

Admits he was embarrassed by how long it took to make the picture

Mark Wahlberg is a sports fan.  And he's a big Boston sports fan.  So, while speaking to the press a few weekends ago for his new spirited drama "The Fighter," Wahlberg made sure there was a flat screen TV eyesight so he could keep track of a very close Patriots and Colts game.  I was lucky to get Wahlberg's complete attention because of a commercial break, but it was endearing to hear him scream for joy when the Patriots sealed the deal.  He was so loud you could probably have heard it on either floor above and below his room.  It's that personal passion that fueled Wahlberg's four-year journey to get "The Fighter" made.

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<p>Don't look so concerned Colin.&nbsp; &quot;The King's Speech&quot; had the biggest per screen debut of the year.</p>

Don't look so concerned Colin.  "The King's Speech" had the biggest per screen debut of the year.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Box Office: 'King's Speech' has a triumphant limited debut

Best picture contender lands the highest per screen of the year

"The Kids Are All Right" had a stellar run, but the Focus Features indie hit has officially abdicated its title as highest per-screen opener of the year.  Best picture contender "The King's Speech" had a knockout debut this weekend with $349,791 in four theaters or $87,448 per screen to take the crown.  And yes, it looks like The Weinstein Company has a hit on their hands…at least in limited release.

"King's" mark surpasses "Kid's" per screen of $70,282 on seven screens in July.  It's more impressive when considering another best picture player, the much buzzed about "127 Hours," grossed $66,213 per screen in four theaters earlier this month.  In fact, when considering the all time limited openers "Speech" fared better than "Up in the Air's" $78,763 per on 15 last year and was just behind "There Will Be Blood's" $95,370 per in 2007. 

The anointed best picture frontrunner since its stirring debut at the Telluride Film Festival and winning the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, "King's Speech" has kept a low, but steady profile as the awards season race has slowly heated up.  The film will get it's share of critical end of year accolades, but The Weinstein Company knows nothing will help cement its odds at defeating "The Social Network" or "Inception" for the best picture Oscar more than impressive box office.  The mini-major plans to aggressively expand "Speech" over the next month so chances are if you live outside of New York or Los Angeles you'll find it at your local multiplex way before the Golden Globes air on January 16.

As for "127 Hours," the inspirational Danny Boyle drama had a solid Thanksgiving run with $1.7 million from 293 theaters for a new gross of $4.4 million.  The picture hasn't been the twentysomething phenomenon many expected, but awards heat -- especially for Franco's performance -- should eventually get it to a $12-15 million gross.  Any more will be dependent on year end accolades and a big showing at the Globes and Oscars.

A number of other awards contenders are still in theaters including the aforementioned "Social Network" which hit the $90 million mark today.  Expect Sony Pictures to keep the film in theaters as long as possible to try and hit that "magic" $100 million mark.  Other potential contenders such as "Black Swan," "The Fighter, "True Grit" and "Another Year" will hit theaters over the next few weeks.

Also notable, potential best documentary winner "Waiting for 'Superman'" has grossed an admirable $6.2 million so far and is closing in on "Babies'" $7.3 million summer take for the largest doc gross of the year. 

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