Inside Movies and Pop Culture with Gregory Ellwood
But where's Heidi?
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their hosting team for the 84th Academy Awards' pre-show this year and the red carpet extravaganza has gotten a second "Project Runway" infusion. Tim Gunn has appeared three times as an interviewer and fashion commentator, but 2012 will find "Runway" judge and Marie Claire fashion director (whatever that means) Nina Garcia joining the fun. We have to assume Heidi Klum's recent divorce is the only reason she isn't along for the live hour long special. (And warning ladies: if you're wearing anything designed by Mondo expect Nina to hate it.)
Another new face this year on the pre-show will be Louise Roe. Best know for her show "Plain Jane" on MTV International, the Glamour magazine editor-at-large also received high marks for co-hosting E!'s coverage of the 2011 Royal Wedding and has been a regular for red carpet coverage for the Video Music Awards and European Music Awards.
Can Meryl Streep really beat Viola Davis for best actress?
If you're hoping for any surprises or upsets at this year's Academy Awards the chances of that occurring are getting less and less likely.
"The Artist" pretty much dominated the 2012 BAFTA Film Awards Sunday evening winning best picture, best director (Michel Hazanavicius), best actor (Jean Dujardin), best original screenplay (Hazanavicius), best music (Ludovic Bource) and best costume design (Mark Bridges). Considering the film's wins with the PGA and the DGA as well as Dujardin's SAG win for best actor, it's hard seeing anyone yelling over "The Artist's" winning song.
It's somewhat remarkable because the Brits chose The Weinstein Company release over "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," a massive box office and critical hit in the UK. "Tinker" did win best british film and best adapted screenplay (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan), but a possible win for Gary Oldman over Dujardin didn't materialize and the Frenchman has become the clear cut favorite. Is it Roberto Benigni pt. 2 all over again? Well, that's a bit insulting to the fine work Dujardin had accomplished throughout his career, but we'd argue others are more worthy. Of course, those are the Oscar breaks.
In other categories, Meryl Streep took home just her second BAFTA for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." Including her Golden Globe honor last month that was the second head to head win for Streep over "The Help's" Viola Davis. Even with Streep's win, its still expected Davis will take the Oscar after winning the comparable SAG Award just two weeks ago. BAFTA did show love for "The Help" bestowing the best supporting actress honor to Octavia Spencer.
And, somewhat comfortingly, Christopher Plummer took home the BAFTA for "Beginners," the first nomination and first win for the 82-year-old Canadian. Some suspect Max Von Sydow could upset Plummer on Oscar Sunday, but that would really be shocking at this point. Especially since Plummer has pretty much run the table this year.
Will that leave any suspense for the big show just two weeks from today? The Academy always surprises somewhere. This year it just might be in foreign language film, visual effects (perhaps a first statue for the "Transformers" franchise?), documentary or those cagey sound editing and sound mixing categories. Yes, hold back your enthusiasm. It's gonna be one of those shows.
So, if you're filling out your office Oscar pool or participating in HitFix's own awards pool, go with "The Artist" and take some time guessing just how long this year's telecast will be. There's gonna be a lot of tiebreakers this year.
Do you think "The Artist" has it all wrapped up? Share your thoughts below.
Plus: Flight of the Conchords Touring news
In many ways, Bret McKenzie is a lucky man. There aren't many Oscar nominees who can say they have a 50/50 chance of winning an Academy Award. Sure, for many years there only three nominees in the visual effects category and there can also just be three in the animated feature field, but the songwriter of "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" only has one other contender to worry about this year. McKenzie, who is best known as one half of comedy music group Flight of the Conchords, will face off against Sergio Mendes, Carinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett's "Real in Rio" from the animated adventure "Rio."
Updated: 'Moneyball' and 'Hugo' are still out there too
The history of Oscar campaigning is almost akin to man's evolution from the apes. What primarily started out as For Your Consideration ads in the local trades (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter) morphed into local cable TV buys (usually talent spouting off talking points about their movie) to traditional outdoor (primarily strategically placed billboards and bus shelter ads) to print ads in the newspaper keeping the LA Times afloat (Academy members are old and read the paper, duh) to the current wash of online advertising and, hilariously, online websites -- that will go unnamed -- publishing Academy specific print "magazines" (don't get me started on that one). Practically, the online ads have been the biggest game changer by significantly cutting into trades sales revenues, but the past few years have seen a new tool used to reach both Oscar and Emmy voters: the electronic billboard.
Which of the best actor nominees would let go of the Oscar first?
The Oscar nominations featured surprises that both enraged and excited film lovers around the world, but one nod that had Hollywood and moviegoers jumping for joy was the inclusion of Gary Oldman amongst the best actor field. It's the first Academy Award nomination for an actor who should have found himself invited to the Kodak Theater long ago after stellar performances in films such as "The Contender," "JFK," "The Professional" and "Prick Up Your Ears." I've been a fan of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" since screening it in September and if the film couldn't crack the best picture field Oldman's recognition was the next best thing.
A strikingly melancholy conversation with the independent film icon
PARK CITY - Is it fitting that Awards Campaign's last report from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is an interview with festival legend Parker Posey?
'Resident Evil' star to light up Oscar's technical night
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that 'Resident Evil' star Milla Jovovich will light up Oscar's technical night when she hosts the Scientific and Technical Awards on Sat., Feb. 11. The event will take place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and Jovovich will present 10 awards to 30 individual winners that evening.
Portions of the Sci-Tech Awards will be included in the broadcast of the 84th Academy Awards on Feb. 26 on ABC.
Discover her before she stars opposite Tom Cruise in 'Oblivion'
PARK CITY - About 18 months from now most Americans will likely be able to recognize Andrea Riseborough from countless other starlets gracing the big screen. At the moment though, the 30-year-old British actress has only appeared in indie films such as "Brighton Rock," "Made in Dagenham" and "Never Let Me Go" and she's hardly a household name even in her native England. However, as you're likely reading this, Riseborough is preparing for her biggest role to date in Joseph Kosinski's currently untitled Sci-Fi epic formerly known as "Oblivion." It's a summer 2013 tentpole starring Tom Cruise and getting a lot of attention as Kosinski's follow up to "Tron: Legacy." Happily, for those looking to discover new talent, Riseborough has a number of films you can catch before then including Madonna's "W.E" which is finally hitting theaters this weekend after debuting at the Venice Film Festival way back in September.
Oscar nominee has some funny ideas about how to determine winners
Brad Pitt popped in on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" on Wednesday to discuss his performance in "Moneyball" and the resulting Oscar nomination.
In addition to making Stewart swoon (at one point, the host admits that he always had hoped that Pitt would be "kind of a dick," only to discover the handsome millionaire is also doggedly committed to his charitable work in New Orleans), Pitt discusses the rocky road to production that "Moneyball" went through, the Oscar-nominated turn by co-star Jonah Hill and his own work in the film. Pitt also starred in another best picture nominee -- Terrence Malick's divisive "The Tree of Life," but Stewart hilariously dismisses it in order to concentrate on the baseball drama instead.
Stewart suggests that Oscar nominees should skip with the "For your consideration" pleasantries and start slinging mud at rivals, the way politicians do.
Pitt hilariously suggests that the Academy choose the best actor by taking a cue from "hands on a car"-type contests; the Best Actor Oscar would be placed on a table and all five nominees have to keep one hand on it at all times. The last man standing wins.
It's a relatively lengthy interview that seems to have one throughline -- to remind viewers (and voters) of "Moneyball."
Sandra Bullock took a similar tactic in 2009, hitting a number of late night shows on her way to winning for "The Blind Side." Could the same strategy work for Pitt, who seems to be playing the underdog to "The Artist's" Jean Dujardin and his pal George Clooney, nominated for "The Descendants."
Watch the clip here:
Director Josh Trank shows talent in a new spin in the found footage genre
[With Film Editor Drew McWeeny fighting off a massive viral bug, Dan Fienberg and I are stepping in to review this weeks' major releases.]
It's been 12 years since Bryan Singer's "X-Men" effectively re-launched the superhero film genre and movie fans found themselves in a golden age of comic book movies. In that time the genre has been stretched to the pseudo-realism of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" series to Zack Snyder's very serious "Watchmen" adaptation to Brad Bird's stylish "The Incredibles" to the bloody consequences of Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass." Considering the popularity of "found footage" films over the same period its somewhat surprising it took this long for the two genres to meet. That changes Friday with the new 20th Century Fox release "Chronicle."