Breaking: Academy Awards won't guarantee 10 best picture nominees in 2012

Breaking: Academy Awards won't guarantee 10 best picture nominees in 2012

Minimum of 5 nominees, up to 10 revealed Oscar nominee morning

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences just released this dramatic statement tonight constituting major changes to the Academy Awards best picture race.  They also announced changes to the best animated picture and visual effects categories.

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<p>Amy Poehler of NBC's &quot;Parks and Recreation&quot; is hunting for Emmy support.</p>

Amy Poehler of NBC's "Parks and Recreation" is hunting for Emmy support.

Credit: NBC

Will Oscar campaigners take a cue from this year's Emmy race?

'Parks and Recreation' and 'Glee' are using unexpected means to reach voters

As print circulation continues to dwindle and online inventory becoming increasingly competitive, networks searching for Academy of Television Arts and Sciences members have found some out of the box ways to reach voters.

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<p>J.J. Abrams and FIrst Lady Michelle Obama share a moment during a panel for Join Forces, Monday, June 13, 2011 at the WGA&nbsp;Theater in Beverly Hills.</p>

J.J. Abrams and FIrst Lady Michelle Obama share a moment during a panel for Join Forces, Monday, June 13, 2011 at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Carlson

J.J. Abrams and Michelle Obama urge Hollywood to support Military families

New PSA's will feature Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey

After a busy entertainment weekend, Hollywood took some time Monday morning to host the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, at a panel supporting Joining Forces, an initiative to provide support to the nation's military families.  Sponsored by all the major industry guilds, AFTRA, DGA, WGA, SAG and the PGA, the event was hosted by Bruce Cohen (Oscar winning producer of "American Beauty"), "Army Wives" creator Katherine Fugate and Dameon Lindelof("Lost"), and also featured active military families and their spouses. Also in attendance were numerous familiar faces including Blair Underwood, Lily Tomlin, Janelle Monae, Adam Scott, Chaz Bono and Michael Chiklis.

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<p>Jimmy Kimmel pulls a Melissa Leo in this 'Consider..' Emmy Ad for Jimmy Kimmel Live.</p>

Jimmy Kimmel pulls a Melissa Leo in this 'Consider..' Emmy Ad for Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Melissa Leo's 'Consider' legacy lives on in new Pee-Wee and Kimmel Emmy ads

Will Leo run her own ads for 'Treme' and 'Mildred Pearce'?

This is a little late because of the intense coverage needed to cover the MTV Tween Awards, er, MTV Movie Awards, but considering the events of last awards season it would be shameful not to give it the props it deserves.

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<p>Ewan McGregor talks &quot;Beginners&quot;&nbsp;with HitFix.</p>

Ewan McGregor talks "Beginners" with HitFix.

Watch: Ewan McGregor talks an LA story in 'Beginners'

Mike Mills' drama is one of the best films of the year

"Beginners" is director and screenwriter Mike Mills' love letter to his father, but its also something of a love letter to Los Angeles.  

Every couple of years there are a few films that seem to capture LA at that particular time.  For those of us live in the City of Angels, these movies break through the Hollywood sheen seen in TV shows or broad studio films that usually shoot here.  Think of "Swingers" in 1996, Michael Mann's "Collateral" in 2004, Steve Martin's "Shopgirl" in 2005 or Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen" in 2003.  And while "Beginners" takes place in the early 2000s, it gives itself away as a movie very much of 2010 from its locations, it's style and the characters that populate Mills' touching story of coming to terms with yourself in order to find love.

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<p>Richard Ayoade on the set of &quot;Submarine.&quot;</p>

Richard Ayoade on the set of "Submarine."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Richard Ayoade takes a 'Community' detour before 'Submarine' hits America

A British favorite brings his comedy style to the big screen

The great thing about Friday's movie releases is not only is there a good movie to recommend, if you live in Los Angeles and New York there are three.  For a majority of moviegoers, they'll have the chance to enjoy "X-Men: First Class," but at least for one weekend, before they expand, the big city art house scene will get the first taste of Mike Mills' "Beginners" and Richard Ayoade's hilarious "Submarine."

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<p>J.J. Abrams talks about his new sci-fi mystery flick &quot;Super 8&quot;</p>

J.J. Abrams talks about his new sci-fi mystery flick "Super 8"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Watch: 'Super 8's' J.J. Abrams says keeping secrets isn't a priority

Spielberg brought 'everything' to the project

 

In many ways, "Super 8" is the first film J.J. Abrams has been able to craft that is truly his own.  Perhaps it's even a film that might say something about Abrams as an auteur filmmaker?  Up until now, his work on television pilots ("Lost," "Undercovers") have been collaborative efforts.  And, obviously, "Mission: Impossible III" and "Star Trek" were new reflections of brands created long ago.  "Super 8," on the other hand, is the fashioning of two ideas Abrams admittedly married together.  The TV spots are finally starting to pull away the curtain, but the film is mostly about a bunch of kids who get too close to a military accident while filming their own super 8 movie in 1979 small town America.  Considering the age of the kids, it's got to feature characters influenced by the 44-year-old's own youth, no?  Based on my recent conversation with Abrams, it appears not.

If Abrams has a personal connection to the lead character, teenager Joe Lamb (played superbly by newcomer Joel Courtney), he's not admitting to it.  What the Hollywood veteran did shed some light on was his reputation as a master marketer of secrets.  From "Star Trek" to "Lost" to "Cloverfield" (as a producer), it's common knowledge that Abrams has worked diligently to keep details of any of his projects under wraps.  And yet, when asked about the difficulty of keeping a film such as "Super 8" quiet when your primary cast is web-friendly teenagers, Abrams claimed he spends less energy on such efforts than you'd think.  Well, perhaps he doesn't, but we're pretty sure his minions do.  

Abrams also spends time discussing producer Steven Spielberg's involvement (the title wasn't just for show) and how careful he was to cast Courtney in his first major screen role.  It's an intriguing conversation with one of Hollywood's ascendant creators and well worth watching.

For Drew McWeeny's review of "Super 8," click here.

"Super 8" opens nationwide on June 10.

For year round entertainment commentary follow Gregory Ellwood on twitter @HitFixGregory.

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<p>Steven Spielberg is playing the awards season game again with &quot;War Horse.&quot;</p>

Steven Spielberg is playing the awards season game again with "War Horse."

Credit: DreamWorks

Oscars 2012: 10 things we already know by June

Is it the most competitive field in years?

June is still two days away, but with the 2011 movie season edging close to the halfway mark, it's becoming painfully apparent Hollywood is in for one humdinger of a competitive awards season.  The fireworks won't really begin until the Venice/Telluride/Toronto triumvirate of festivals at the beginning of September, but with studios setting their fourth quarter release dates, hot Cannes titles getting acquired and buzz leaking about what contenders have already been screened it's hard not to see the wheels already in motion.  Taking all that into account, here are 10 topics of interest that should hold you over until August.  And besides, it's never really to early to talk Oscar, is it?

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<p>Jessica Chastain talks &quot;The Tree of Life&quot;&nbsp;with HitFix.</p>

Jessica Chastain talks "The Tree of Life" with HitFix.

Meet the next big thing: 'Tree of Life's' Jessica Chastain

With eight major releases including 'Life' you'll soon find out why

It might surprise you, but Jessica Chastain and "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth actually have a lot in common.  No, Hemsworth didn't attend Juliard and Chastain isn't from Australia, but both actors have waited quite awhile for their big movie breaks to hit theaters.  Hemsworth had already completed "The Cabin in the Woods" and "Red Dawn" before even landing his role as the Asgardian god in "Thor."  And Chastain? She's had an even longer journey to the public eye.

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<p>Kathryn Bigelow at the 2010 British Orange Awards.</p>

Kathryn Bigelow at the 2010 British Orange Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Sony Pictures joins Kathryn Bigelow in the big screen hunt for Osama bin Laden

Recent events incorporated into the script

Osama bin Laden may be dead thanks to the efforts of the CIA, Navy SEALs and President Obama, but Columbia Pictures and Kathryn Bigelow are keeping his story alive.  The Sony Pictures division announced today that it had acquired the rights to produce and distribute Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal's untitled thriller about the black ops mission to capture or kill bin Laden.

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