<p>Anna Kendrick at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of &quot;Up in the Air.&quot;</p>

Anna Kendrick at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of "Up in the Air."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Oscar Watch: Anna Kendrick honored, but not for 'Twilight'

Plus: Hilary Swank gets love, 'A Single Man' closes AFI and more

For the last year, Anna Kendrick was known as the indie up and comer who had memorable debut in "Rocket Science," but cemented herself as one of Bella's "human" school friends in "Twilight."  Her profile has skyrocketed however, with her acclaimed performance in Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air."  She's already a frontrunner for a best supporting actress nomination and is therefore getting lots of awards season attention. First up?  The Palm Springs Film Festival.

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<p>Max Records talks about shooting &quot;Where The Wild Things Are.&quot;</p>

Max Records talks about shooting "Where The Wild Things Are."

Credit: HitFix

Meet Max from 'Where The Wild Things Are'

Plus: Catherine Keener on working with Spike Jonze

Considering how shy newbie actor 12-year-old Max Records appears to be in person, director Spike Jonze may be even more talented than given credit for. 

A remarkable 9-years-old at the time he shot "Where The Wild Things Are," Records has to carry much of the film as the only human being on screen.  Records endured his first press day with on screen mom Catherine Keener a few weeks ago and the duo talk about working with Spike Jonze and their favorite moments in the movie.

Reaction to "Wild Things" has been all over the place so far, but there is no doubt Jonze has provided a spectacular visionary assault on the senses.  Whether it is truly representative of Maurice Sendak's original children's will be the subject of much debate after the movie opens this Friday.

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<p>George Clooney and Bill Murray at the official London Film Festival press conference for &quot;The Fantastic Mr. Fox.&quot;</p>

George Clooney and Bill Murray at the official London Film Festival press conference for "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

George Clooney vs. Bill Murray: Who wins the comedy battle for the hearts of the London press corps?

Plus: Whoops, Wes Anderson says 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' is actually communist

 

In possibly the largest press conference audience this writer has ever witnessed, the cast and filmmakers behind the "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" kicked off the London Film Festival by taking some time to discuss the adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's novel on Wednesday.

The previously announced Meryl Streep was strangely not on hand, but Clooney (who was reminded he could officially be called "foxy" now) and Bill Murray made up for the iconic actresses' absence in what could only be described as a competition to see who could charm the press corps the most.

Unless buddy Brad Pitt is around, Clooney usually becomes the centerpiece of any press event he's at (such problems) and is always ready to entertain the press corps.  Still, he had some fine things to say about why he decided to voice the lead role in Anderson's first feature length foray into animation.

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<p>Even Bradley Cooper can't believe he was named ShoWest's Comedy Star of the Year Award.&nbsp; Well, probably not, but we can hope, right?</p>

Even Bradley Cooper can't believe he was named ShoWest's Comedy Star of the Year Award.  Well, probably not, but we can hope, right?

'Star Trek's' Zachary Quinto and 'Hangover's' Bradley Cooper find award season love

However, we're guessing Julianne Moore is more deserving

 

Oh, Hollywood Awards.  How you taunt me. You've already cemented your reputation as the "buy a table studio consultant and/or publicist and you're in" awards show, but your latest  "winners" announcement is just head scratching to say the least.

The Hollywood Awards have already announced awards for Robert De Niro, "An Education's" Carey Mulligan, "The Hurt Locker's" Jeremy Renner and many other Oscar contenders, but today the group released even more winners including:

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<p>Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Kate Hudson VOGUE&nbsp;for their upcoming musical &quot;Nine.&quot;</p>

Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Kate Hudson VOGUE for their upcoming musical "Nine."

Credit: VOGUE

Oscar Watch: 'Nine' ladies Vogue, Nic Cage's 'Bad Lieutenant' gets a trailer

Plus: 'Anvil' is the first screener, 'Lovely Bones' poster and more

 

One of the great benefits of having a cast including Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Kate Hudson is that every magazine editor wants to be your best friend.  Even with the print world slowly fading away, the star power of top contender "Nine" will be dominating your local newsstand  or grocery aisle for the next few months. First up?  The aforementioned quartet grace the cover of this November's VOGUE. 

The issue features a widescreen candid shot of all the lovely ladies in the cast including Judi Dench, Sophia Loren and a seemingly out of place Fergie (was that photoshopped in?) as well as correspondent Plum Skyes intriguing set visit story which is all available online.  Penelope Cruz, who also has "Broken Embraces" releasing next month, dawns the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, but chances are the "Nine" ladies will make their way there in either January or February's issue. Expect the rest of the cast to grace everything from Entertainment Weekly to Women's Wear Daily to Parade.  Yes female moviegoers 25-50, you won't be able to escape the "Nine" publicity barrage.

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<p>Robert Zemeckis isn't being a Scrooge this year.&nbsp; He's allowing 'A&nbsp;Christmas Carol' to be submitted for Best Animated Feature after previously keeping 'The Polar Express' and 'Beowulf' out of past races.</p>

Robert Zemeckis isn't being a Scrooge this year.  He's allowing 'A Christmas Carol' to be submitted for Best Animated Feature after previously keeping 'The Polar Express' and 'Beowulf' out of past races.

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Is Robert Zemeckis this year's Best Animated Film category savior?

'A Christmas Carol' may be the magic 16th qualifier to expand the category

 

Robert Zemeckis may not be a happy man right now.  The Oscar-winning filmmaker has never believed that his motion capture films "The Polar Express" and "Beowulf" were considered animated pictures so he'd never bow to studio pressure and submit them for the ultra competitive Best Animated Feature race.  This year that story has changed.

Rumors were circling for weeks that Zemeckis was being pressured to change his tune for his upcoming adaptation of "A Christmas Carol."  According to Kris Tapley at In Contention, Zemeckis has finally bowed to requests within Walt Disney and the industry at large to submit "Carol."  However, that's only part of a complicated equation as there is no guarantee "Carol" will be deemed eligible by the Academy's animation branch because it is motion capture.  Why would people like Disney and Pixar head John Lasseter, Focus Features and Fox Searchlight be rooting for it to make the cut?  Because if "Carol" doesn't qualify there may be only three animated feature nominees this year and some excellent films will get the shaft.  Oh, Oscar.  Here we go again.

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<p>George Clooney promoting &quot;Up in the Air&quot; at the 2009 Toronto FIlm Festival.</p>

George Clooney promoting "Up in the Air" at the 2009 Toronto FIlm Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Best Actor Contenders 2010: Who joins George Clooney in the final five?

It's a competitive race for lead actor where wildcards could rule the day

 

As you read this there is probably a studio Oscar consultant somewhere pulling their hair out, chugging down a handful of Tums or hiding in a corner smoking a relaxing joint.  In a year where the Best Picture race is of the "throw it against a wall and see if it sticks" variety because of the new adventure of a 10 nominee system, publicity reps are also still trying to get a grip on one of the most competitive Best Supporting Actress pools in years (and we're talking everyone outside the cast of "Nine") and what is shaping up for a very difficult Best Actor category.

Sure, George Clooney's acclaimed performance in "Up in the Air" has to be the frontrunner, but he's really the only lock for a nod, at least right now.  It was a different story last year. By Nov. 1st, Sean Penn, Frank Langella and Mickey Rourke were pretty much settled.  The only question was who would join them.  This year?  It's a much more complicated web. 

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<p>Penelope Cruz and &quot;Nine&quot;&nbsp;will be struting into December with some other strong Oscar contenders.</p>

Penelope Cruz and "Nine" will be struting into December with some other strong Oscar contenders.

Credit: Weinstein Company

Nicole Kidman's 'Nine' takes an Oscar jump to Christmas

Contender's move makes December even busier for awards season openers

 

The theories behind when movies studios should release their Oscar contenders seems to change every year.  One season all the consultants are saying you need to go in October, another year you can't open before Nov. 1 and then everyone's fighting to be the last one out there in December.  With this year's Oscar season pushed back two weeks overall because of the Winter Olympics, it was always expected December would be where the major battles between the heavy hitters would be waged.  Surprisingly, a lot of potential Best Picture nominees such as "An Education," "A Serious Man" and "Precious" have gone or will open earlier than expected, but the overall theory is finally coming to fruition.

Long anticipated, The Weinstein Company moved Rob Marshall's musical star cavalcade "Nine" to December from its earlier Nov. 25 release date.  The premier contender will now open in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 18 and then expand nationwide Christmas day. 

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<p>Carey Mulligan chats about her breakthrough role in &quot;An Education.&quot;</p>

Carey Mulligan chats about her breakthrough role in "An Education."

Credit: HitFix

'An Education's' Carey Mulligan puts the 'star' in 'a star is born'

Watch: Expected Oscar nominee talks about her a drama along with co-star Peter Sarsgaard

Last night, David Letterman had on two charismatic and funny guests.  One has a movie most Americans will forget about within two weeks, the second was promoting a critically-acclaimed slower burner for the next four months that should lead to her first Oscar nomination.  Yes, Vince Vaughn may be the box office king this weekend with "Couples Retreat," but "An Education's" Carey Mulligan's fanbase is about to take off.  Her first talk show appearance, she was so charming that even Letterman seemed beguiled on what to ask her.  Phrases such as "a star is born" get thrown around a little too much these days, but in Mulligan's case don't discount it.

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<p>Anne Dorval and star/director Xavier Dolan in Canada's Foreign Langauge Film entry "I Killed My Mother."</p>

Anne Dorval and star/director Xavier Dolan in Canada's Foreign Langauge Film entry "I Killed My Mother."

Credit: Here Films (US)

Oscar Watch: Foreign Language Film who's in, who's out?

Plus: AFI Fest update and a big mouth hits the Daily Beast

 

There is nothing more confusing or mind-numbing than the best foreign language film race.  Each nation submits one contender and the five nominees are determined by a specific Academy committee.  The winner is then judged only by members of the Academy who have to prove they've seen all five selections.  In the past decasde  this has caused great films such as "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and "Persepolis" not to get recognized and for films such as "Four Days in September," "Central Station," "Hero" and last year's "Waltz with Bashir" to lose to movies universally less regarded by critics and even moviegoers.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences still hasn't released their official list of Foreign Film entries, but because the nations tend to leak out their submissions most are already known.  The good peeps at Indiewire have a pretty concise list of who's in and there are definitely some surprises.  Spain didn't have much faith in Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" with Penelope Cruz to get nominated and instead selected Fernando Trueba’s “The Dancer and the Thief." Italy picked the mostly unloved "Barria" over Cannes favorite "Vincere" and most surprising, Israel chose Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti’s “Ajami” instead of Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner "Lebanon." 

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