'The Artist' and 'The Help' wage war for Oscar on LA's electronic battlefield

'The Artist' and 'The Help' wage war for Oscar on LA's electronic battlefield

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.

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<p>Gary Oldman talks &quot;Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy&quot; and his nomination for best actor at this year's 84th Annual Academy Awards.</p>

Gary Oldman talks "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and his nomination for best actor at this year's 84th Annual Academy Awards.

Gary Oldman on the honor of the Everest of Oscar, BAFTA and getting flowers from Tom Cruise

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.

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<p>Parker Posey talks about 'Price Check' during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Parker Posey talks about 'Price Check' during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Parker Posey on 'Price Check' and the 'star-driven' world of indie cinema in 2012

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? 

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<p>Milla Jovovich </p>

Milla Jovovich

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Milla Jovovich to host Academy's Sci-Tech Awards

'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.

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<p>Andrea Riseborough talks about &quot;Shadow Dancer&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;W.E&quot;&nbsp;while at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Andrea Riseborough talks about "Shadow Dancer" and "W.E" while at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Future star: Andrea Riseborough talks 'W.E' and 'Shadow Dancer'

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.  

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Watch: Brad Pitt stumps for 'Moneyball' and woos Jon Stewart on 'Daily Show'

Watch: Brad Pitt stumps for 'Moneyball' and woos Jon Stewart on 'Daily Show'

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:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Brad Pitt Extended Interview Pt. 1
www.thedailyshow.com
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<p>Matt (Alex Russell) finds himself facing a mid-air collision with a bus in Josh Trank's &quot;Chronicle.&quot;</p>

Matt (Alex Russell) finds himself facing a mid-air collision with a bus in Josh Trank's "Chronicle."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Review: 'Chronicle' makes you believe two teenagers can destroy downtown Seattle

HitFix
B
Readers
B+
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."

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<p>The official U.S. poster for &quot;Monseiur Lazhar.&quot;</p>

The official U.S. poster for "Monseiur Lazhar."

Credit: Music Box

Exclusive: The U.S. poster for Oscar nominated 'Monsieur Lazhar'

Could the foreign language film nominee be an upset winner?

If you're looking for an upset contender in your local Oscar pool (or HitFix's Oscar pool where you can win $300 worth of movie tickets) you might look no further than best foreign language film. 

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<p>Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan in the dark comedy &quot;Bachelorette.&quot;</p>

Isla Fisher, Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan in the dark comedy "Bachelorette."

Sundance Review Roundup: 'Bachelorette,' 'Simon Killer,' 'Price Check'

Mini-reviews for a slew of festival titles

PARK CITY - It wasn't he best of times nor the worst of times at this year's 2012 Sundance Film Festival, but it clearly wasn't the most memorable.  Every festival is likely to have an off year now or then, but it was the lack of buzz among many of the narrative films and even documentaries that was so disconcerting.  There were a slew of fine or mediocre films, but few that were truly godawful (a good thing) or generated hype-worthy passion (a not so good thing).  There was even a lack of controversy or pseudo celebrity around this year's edition that made the whole endeavor seem, well, forgettable.

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<p>The official poster for &quot;The Artist.&quot;</p>

The official poster for "The Artist."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Win a poster for 'The Artist' signed by SAG winner Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius

Get it while it's hot

It's been a song and a dance so far for "The Artist" as the underdog silent film has magically made its way toward destiny and a likely* best picture win at this year's Academy Awards.  And now, thanks to The Weinstein Company, you can win the movie's poster signed by SAG and Golden Globe Award winning actor Jean Dujardin, his leading lady Bérénice Bejo and DGA Award winner Michel Hazanavicius.

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