<p>Ewan McGregor in a key moment from &quot;The Ghost Writer.&quot;</p>

Ewan McGregor in a key moment from "The Ghost Writer."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

USC Scripter awards remind voters of 'Ghost Writer' and '127 Hours'

'The Social Network,' 'Winter's Bone' and 'True Grit' also in the mix

Looking for the true indicator of the five nominees for best adapted screenplay?  We may have found it in the USC Scripter Awards.  Established in 1988 to honor the screenwriter as well as the author of the work in which the screenplay is based, this honor is not contingent on strict Writer's Guild rules.  Therefore, this year's nominees are much less surprising than the WGA's were earlier this week.  The 2011 finalists are:

Read Full Post
<p>Lou Taylor Pucci and J.K. Simmons in &quot;The Music Never Stopped.&quot;</p>

Lou Taylor Pucci and J.K. Simmons in "The Music Never Stopped."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Sundance starts early as Roadside picks up 'The Music Never Stopped'

First acquisition occurs over two weeks before festival begins

It appears the acquisitions market has turned around.  Whether it's a buyer's or seller's market remains to be seen, however.  Still, in a preemptive and surprise strike, Roadside Attractions has acquired 2011 Sundance Film Festival opening night drama "The Music Never Stopped."

Directed by Jim Kohlberg, "Music" is based on Oliver Sacks' novel "The Last Hippie" and tells the real-life story of a father (J.K. Simmons) trying to adjust to his son's (Lou Taylor Pucci) cerebral trauma and a longtime estranged relationship.  Working with a music therapist (Julia Ormond) he uses songs '60s groups such as The Grateful Dead to connect with his son.

In a statement, Roadside Co-President Howard Cohen noted, "    "We were really moved by such a soulful, true story of a father and son changing their lives through their love of music.  And you can't beat The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash music in this film!"

"I am thrilled to be working with Roadside Attractions to distribute The Music Never Stopped because of their great record with independent films,” Kohlberg also said in a press release issued by Roadside. “I always connected deeply to the story and the redemptive qualities of the characters and the iconic music. It was an honor to work with our great and talented cast and crew, and for my first feature could not have imagined a better result and recognition of the film's quality."

Roadside had significant success releasing Sundance Film Festival dramatic jury winner "Winter's Bone" over the summer.  The critically acclaimed film is now a potential best picture and best actress player for the 83rd Academy Awards.  The company also got behind prestige players "I Love You Phillip Morris" and "Biutiful" Javier Bardem.

There is no national release date for "Music" at this time.

Look for continuing coverage of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on HitFix beginning Thurs. Jan. 20.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from Roland Emmerich's &quot;Anonymous.&quot;</p>

A scene from Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous."

Credit: Sony Pictures

First Look: Is Roland Emmerich's 'Anonymous' Oscar bait?

The director of 'ID4' and '2012' goes 16th Century old school

Roland Emmerich has talked for years about finally making a film that doesn't involve a aliens, a natural disaster or 200 CGI shots. He struck out the first time around with 2000's middling "The Patriot," but after the global success of "2012," Sony Pictures has finally given him another chance with "Anonymous."

Read Full Post
<p>Design concepts for &quot;Tron Legacy.&quot;</p>

Design concepts for "Tron Legacy."

Credit: Walt Disney Studios


'Tron Legacy,' 'Black Swan' and 'True Blood' lead Art Director's Guild nominees

Surprise: 'Conan' and 'Outsourced' get their first awards recognition

The prestigious Art Director's Guild of America announced the nominees for their 2010 Awards this morning and on the movie side there were absolutely no surprises.  Every expected best picture contender made the cut with guild's three categories (Period Film, Fantasy Film, Contemporary Film) with only the animated "Toy Story 3," "Winter's Bone" and "The Kids Are All Right" failing to get recognized.  Unfortunately, the surplus of nods make it hard to determine who will make the Academy Awards cut of just five honorees, but "Black Swan," "Inception," "Alice in Wonderland" and "True Grit" are prime contenders.

Read Full Post
<p>Robert Pattinson is returning to the awards circuit to no doubt promote his new movie &quot;Water for Elephants.&quot;</p>

Robert Pattinson is returning to the awards circuit to no doubt promote his new movie "Water for Elephants."

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Robert Pattinson, Matt Damon and Jennifer Lopez presenting at the 68th Golden Globes

HFPA avoids the cost of issuing a press release and uses twitter

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced the first three confirmed presenters for this year's 68th Golden Globe Awards and they are sure to make broadcaster NBC very happy.  Well, at least one of them will.

Read Full Post
<p>Mo'Nique accepting her best supporting actress Oscar during the 82nd Academy Awards.</p>

Mo'Nique accepting her best supporting actress Oscar during the 82nd Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Mo'Nique will wake up the world on Oscar nomination morning

Last year's best supporting actress winner will announce nods

Are you ready to get a kick start on Oscar nomination morning?  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that last year's best supporting actress winner Mo'Nique will join Academy President Tom Sherak to announce 10 of the 24 categories for the 83rd Academy Awards on Jan. 25.  The always fabulous comedienne will be up bright and early with most of the world's media when the press conference begins at the ungodly hour of 5:30 AM PST/8:30 AM EST.

Nominations information for all categories will be distributed simultaneously to news media in attendance and via the Internet on the official Academy Awards website, Oscars.com.  Look for complete coverage and all the nominees here on HitFix.

Last year Mo’Nique received her first Oscar nomination and win for her supporting performance in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” The 43-year-old actress has not committed to any new cinematic roles and has been concentrating on her BET late-night talk show, "The Mo'Nique Show."

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC.

Read Full Post
<p>Jim Carrey in &quot;I&nbsp;Love You Phillip Morris.&quot;</p>

Jim Carrey in "I Love You Phillip Morris."

Credit: Roadside Attractions

'I Love You Phillip Morris' and 'Please Give' unexpected 2011 WGA nominees

ESPN documentary 'The Two Escobars' makes the doc category

The Writer's Guild of America announced the 2011 WGA Awards nominees this morning and as expected, some major pictures were denied recognition because of strict eligibility rules.  "The King's Speech," "Another Year," "Winter's Bone," "Blue Valentine" and "Toy Story 3" were not in the running, but that only left the door open to surprise nominees "Please Give" in the Original Screenplay race and "I Love You Phillip Morris" in the Adapted Screenplay category. 

Read Full Post
<p>James Franco in &quot;127 Hours.&quot;</p>

James Franco in "127 Hours."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Surprise: '127 Hours' makes the cut for the 2011 Producer's Guild nominees

'Winter's Bone' overlooked by the PGA for best picture

The Producer's Guild of America announced their theatrical motion picture and television nominees for the 2011 PGA Awards this morning and there were hardly any surprises.   The Producer's Guild nods are seen as the closest  bellwether for the best picture Oscar and have expanded to 10 nominees to keep that alleged distinction alive.

Read Full Post
<p>Forget &quot;True Grit,&quot;&nbsp;could &quot;Toy Story 3&quot;&nbsp;be the<em> real</em> darkhorse Oscar player?</p>

Forget "True Grit," could "Toy Story 3" be the real darkhorse Oscar player?

Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Is Quentin Tarantino's adoration a good Oscar sign for 'Toy Story 3'?

Academy member says Pixar blockbuster is his favorite of 2010

It goes without saying that Pixar's critically acclaimed blockbuster, "Toy Story 3," will be nominated for the best picture Oscar.  What has been generally assumed, however, is that any animated film can't actually win the Academy's biggest prize.  Besides the fact only two animated features have ever been nominated ("Beauty and the Beast" and "Up"), there is a longstanding belief that the majority of the actor's branch will never vote for a film which isn't considered live action.  And since the actors' branch makes up the largest segment of the Academy, landing the nomination has been seen as the win…so far.  One prominent AMPAS member and Oscar winner, however, may have ended up revealing who's getting his vote for best picture and it's certainly not a live action flick.

Read Full Post
<p>Natalie Portman is &quot;a glow&quot;&nbsp;on the cover of EW's annual Oscar issue this week.</p>

Natalie Portman is "a glow" on the cover of EW's annual Oscar issue this week.

Credit: EW

Oscar Watch: Natalie Portman and James Franco snag EW's Oscar cover but does it matter?

Plus: Ineligible WGA Award contenders and HFPA and Dick Clark Prods get nasty

There used to be a time when getting your Academy Award contending star or film on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's annual first "Oscar" issue was a big deal.  Just like landing your holiday movie on the cover of Vanity Fair meant something.  Oh, how times of changed. This web veteran doesn't mean to knock an already crumbling print industry, but you hardly hear anyone talking about who made the front page of Friday's New York Times or Los Angeles Times Arts & Leisure and Calendar sections respectively these days.  And a whole generation will soon work in movie marketing never understanding what a "double truck" print ad is (figure it out) after the two biggies used to be full of them.  That being said, kudos to Fox Searchlight for locking the placement on EW for "Black Swan's" Natalie Portman and "127 Hours'" James Franco this week.  As a non-competing studio publicist noted to me this morning, "You can't knock it as noise." Indeed, especially with Portman in a seemingly tight race with Annette Bening for best actress and Franco attempting to pull off the unthinkable by hosting and upsetting frontrunner Colin Firth at the same time.

Read Full Post