Diane Lane

Diane Lane talks about "Secretariat" at the Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, CA.

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Diane Lane battles the heat for 'Secretariat'

Horse lover reflects on playing the legendary Triple Crown winning owner

It's hard to believe it's been two years since Diane Lane graced the silver screen, but with "Secretariat" she returns in a big way.  The Walt Disney drama tells the "impossible" true story of how Secretariat owner Penny Chenery put everything on the line, both personally and professionally, betting that her horse would win the illustrious Triple Crown in 1973.  It's a story that Chenery held on to for years until she was finally comfortable it would be told in the right way.

Speaking to Lane on the hottest day in the history of Los Angeles last week, the "Perfect Storm" star reflected on how the still living Chenery understood the limits of Hollywood storytelling (certain facts were changed it seems) and how she was a resource on set.  Lane also discusses her love of horses and how the animal is a totem in her life.

You can watch the interview embedded in this page.  To check out my conversation with her co-star John Malkovich, click here.

"Secretariat" opens nationwide on Friday.

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Judi Dench

Judi Dench will soon be on a passage to India.

Credit: AP Photo

Judi Dench finds a 'Love' connection in 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel'

Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel also star

It may be Oscar season now, but studios across Hollywood are still planning their potential contenders for 2011 and beyond.  One of the regular players, Fox Searchlight, announced that a new John Madden directed dramedy, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," will begin shooting on Oct. 10 in India.

The picture will reunite Madden with his "Shakespeare in Love" stars Judi Dench, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for the Miramax romantic comedy, and Tom Wilkinson. "Hotel" also features Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Dev Patel.  Madden also worked with Dench on his big screen breakthrough, "Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown."

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Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan in Peter Weir's "The Way Back."

Credit: NewMarket Films

Oscar Watch: Peter Weir's 'The Way Back' crashes awards season

Plus: 'The Tempest' get a fantastical trailer

Long rumored, Peter Weir's extravagant epic "The Way Back" is getting a limited release in Los Angeles on December 29.  NewMarket picked up the WWII era drama, but intended to give the film a limited release on Jan. 21.  Now, "Back" will qualify for the Oscars, which could give it a boost as it expands across the country in February -- assuming it scores some nominations.

The picture tells the true story of a group of soldiers who escaped a Siberian prison in 1942 and their long journey to freedom in India.  Weir, best known for "The Truman Show," "Witness" and "Dead Poet's Society," recruited a prestige friendly cast including Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan and Mark Strong.  Debuting at the Telluride Film Festival, the picture has received mixed reviews so far with praise for it's cinematography more than it's screenplay. Considering Weir's has helmed three Best Picture nominees including "Witness," "Dead Poet's Society" and "Master and Commander," he should never be counted out.  Especially in a 10 nominee field.

In other awards season news…

- Touchstone Pictures (aka Walt Disney Studios) finally released a trailer for Julie Taymor's "The Tempest" today.  Focusing on the fantastical aspects of Shakespeare's play, the Helen Mirren and Russell Brand flick continues to impress from a visual sense.  Reviews have been mixed so far.  You can watch the trailer embedded below.

- Andrew Galecki's long delayed "All Good Things" has a poster which debuted on Vulture today.  It's hard to imagine a movie debuting on demand before it hits theaters really being an awards contender, no?  Well, at least the key art is sexy.

Look for a complete rundown on the Best Picture race tomorrow on Awards Campaign.

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Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe

"Tamara Drewe" is the breakout role Gemma Arterton has been waiting for since gaining notoriety in "Quantum of Solace."

Credit: Sony Classics

Exclusive Clip: Gemma Arterton shows off the sexy 'Tamara Drewe'

A sneak peek at a romantic comedy that has something for everyone

Every once in awhile there is a "romantic comedy" that even the coldest of hearts will begrudgingly admit is entertaining.  Whether it's "The Devil Wears Prada" or "Love Actually," these flicks usually win admirers across the board.  It's unclear how much of a dent it can make in the U.S. marketplace, but the delightful "Tamara Drewe" comfortably fits among those favorites. 

Opening in limited release in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, "Tamara Drewe" is directed by Stephen Frears ("The Queen") and features standout performances by Gemma Arterton ("Clash of the Titans"), Dominic Cooper ("Mamma Mia"), Tamsin Greig, Luke Evans (the upcoming "The Immortals") and the always droll Roger Allam ("Speed Racer"). Based on the newspaper comic strip and eventual graphic novel by Posy Simmonds, "Tamara" follows the humorous and dramatic turns that occur when a formerly unattractive young woman returns to her hometown (the fictional countryside village of Ewedown, England) transformed into a sexy, stylish and successful London newspaper columnist.  To be blunt, not everyone is thrilled with her success and for numerous reasons.

This exclusive clip wonderfully sets up the dynamics of Tamara's impact on the town and the ensemble cast.  Her neighbors, Nicolas and Beth (Greig and Allam), run a writer's retreat which currently has a neurotic American, Glen (Bill Camp), amongst others, in their midst. This sequence begins with Nicolas and Beth bickering with their daughter over how "desperate" Tamara Drew is and then transitions to a work break featuring Glen and Tamara.  Glen has offered to help Tamara clean out the rubbish from her house which she is intent on selling after the death of her mother, but he can't resist some sly flirting with the overachiever.

You can enjoy the clip embedded in this post and read more about the film from my Telluride review.  Look for interviews with the cast of "Tamara Drewe" later this week on Awards Campaign.

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<p>The climactic scene in &quot;I&nbsp;Am Love.&quot;</p>

The climactic scene in "I Am Love."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Oscar Watch: Controversy returns to Foreign Language Film race

Plus: Surprise, 'The Social Network' plays to the Academy

It wouldn't be awards season without some controversy in the Foreign Language Film race and this year is no different.  A favorite of this pundit, Luca Guadagnino's "I Am Love" would have seemed to be an easy choice for Italy's official submission.  The picture received rave reviews in the U.S. and abroad and grossed almost $4.9 million domestically -- more than any territory.  The picture is also generating Oscar buzz for star and producer Tilda Swinton in the best actress category and could make noise in best cinematography, costumes and art direction.  The problem is, the movie wasn't well received in the most important country when it comes to this category, Italy.

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John Malkovich battles the heat discussing "Secretariat"

John Malkovich battles the heat discussing "Secretariat."

Watch: John Malkovich hits the race track and 'has a blast' on 'Transformers 3'

Legendary actor has a busy fall with 'Red' and 'Secretariat'

As if there was any doubt before, John Malkovich is a true pro.  On the hottest day on record in Los Angeles last week, Malkovich sits next to an open window in the Turf Club of the Santa Anita Race Track for hours speaking to reporters about his new role in the Walt Disney film "Secretariat."  As anyone in Southern California can tell you, if it's 114 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, tack on at least another 5 degrees in the western town of Arcadia, home to the track.  You can feel the heat come through the window like a blast of hot hair, but while Malkovich's co-star Diane Lane was understandably becoming a bit dizzy by the weather, the "Dangerous Liaisons" legend seemed to take it all in stride.  Would you expect anything less from the man who starred in the groundbreaking movie that centered on himself? 

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Samel L. Jackson and Naomi Watts in "Mother and Child"

Samel L. Jackson and Naomi Watts in "Mother and Child."

Credit: Sony Classics

Oscar Watch: The first official Academy screeners are…

And nope, it's not 'Social Network' or 'Inception'

It's always a sign that the race is officially off.  That magic moment when Academy members open their mailboxes and receive their first Oscar contending screener.  In the past, films such as Sony Classics' "Frozen River" have gotten out of the gate before anyone else and used it to their advantage.  Many campaigners credit that early release for helping Melissa Leo land a best actress nomination and screenwriter Courtney Hunt finding herself with a surprising nod for best original screenplay.  This year, Sony Classics is again making making the first screener move by distributing Rodrigo Garcia's "Mother and Child" and the Australian triller "Animal Kingdom" to voters.

HitFix has confirmed AMPAS members will receive the screeners today and tomorrow (some even got them yesterday).  Here are some photos of the screeners and who they are pushing for consideration per Academy rules.


And the back with the for your consideration contenders.


Two of the more positively reviewed films of the year, "Kingdom" is a contender in the best original screenplay race for David Michod and Jacki Weaver has a fighting chance to land a best supporting actress nod.  "Mother and Child" has a tougher race ahead of it, but Garcia could play in the best original screenplay category and Kerry Washington could make noise in the best supporting actress field. Sony Classics has a big awards campaign year ahead with the excellent "Inside Job," "Tamara Drewe," "Another Year" and "Made in Dangeham" all generating serious heat in numerous categories. 

Members will get a majority of their screeners between Thanksgiving and Christmas for the all important holiday break where many nomination votes are made and lost.

Do you think "Kingdom" or "Child" have a chance in any categories? Share your thoughts below.


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Sam Flynn is found by a Recognizer in "Tron Legacy"

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is found by a Recognizer in "Tron Legacy."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Disney shows no fear in previewing 'Tron Legacy' and 'Tangled'

Can you guess which one evokes memories of smilar sneaks of 'Star Trek' and 'Iron Man'?

There is something special about a movie when you've had the opportunity to watch 20 or so minutes of footage twice within one week and you already want to see it again.  For this writer, the last time anything close to that feeling occurred was with "Star Trek" - an agonizing five months before release - and "Iron Man." Will "Tron Legacy" follow in the blockbuster shoes of those two films?  Well, after this sneak, something will have gone very, very wrong if it doesn't.

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Lucy casts a snow spell in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Lucy casts a snow spell in "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

Credit: Walden Media

Sneak Peek: 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader' sets sail for redemption

'Narnia' franchise has a new home and audience perspective

What exactly when wrong between Walden Media and Walt Disney Studios during and after the release of "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" is still unclear, but it lead to one of the more puzzling breakups over the past decade.  The union between the family friendly brand and the inspirational thinking production entity should have been a match made in heaven and for one film it was. 

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Jeff Bridges reunites with the Coens in "True Grit"

Jeff Bridges reunites with the Coens in "True Grit."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Watch: Jeff Bridges shows 'True Grit' in Coens' new Western

New preview debuts for the Christmas contender

Sometimes it pays to be last.  Every other major winter release and Oscar contender has already released a preview, but the Coens' "True Grit" was intentionally quiet.  Now, just in time for the debut of "Grit" producer Scott Rudin's other contender, "The Social Network," "Grit" finds it way onto the awards season landscape.

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