Jesse Eisenberg appears on "Conan" Thursday, Nov. 18.

Jesse Eisenberg appears on "Conan" Thursday, Nov. 18.

Credit: TBS

Oscar Watch: 'Social Network' makes a Thanksgiving move

Plus: Christian Bale plays cagey Q&A and 'True Grit' gets a global look

Like a political campaign, awards season is about making the right moves at the right time to take the biggest prize of them all; best picture.  There are over 5,000 Academy members studios are looking to win over and some experts argue you can never start too early.  While most filmmakers insist they want audiences of any kind to see their films in a theater, the true contenders know screeners sent to member's homes are how you really play the game.

The two prime periods to get Academy and SAG members' attention is over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and during the week between Christmas and New Year's when the town pretty much shuts down.  You can argue when is the better time to mail them out, but if you wait until after Christmas, you can become a quick afterthought. This week,  two prime best picture contenders, "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Social Network" made sure their screeners arrived before anyone went out of town for Thanksgiving.  For "Network," it's a significant move (and gamble) considering the drama is still playing well in theaters.  Focus Features also showed it was serious about another drama on its slate, "Somewhere," but sending a screener out over a month before Sofia Coppola's latest even opens in limited release.  

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<p>Daniel Day-Lewis</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Daniel Day-Lewis to portray 'Lincoln' for Steven Spielberg

Expected star Liam Neeson dropped out long ago

LOS ANGELES - DreamWorks Studios announced today that Steven Spielberg is moving forward with his long awaited biopic about the nation's 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, simply titled "Lincoln."  More intriguing, Spielberg has chosen two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis to play the legendary historical figure.

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Mark Wahlberg in a dramatic scene from David O. Russell's "The Fighter"

Mark Wahlberg in a dramatic scene from David O. Russell's "The Fighter."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in new 'The Fighter' clip

Superb scene from entertaining Oscar contender

Sometime next month, a friend, colleague or relative will tell you about this "great" movie they just saw.  And eventually, you might be surprised to discover it's the tad under the radar David O. Russell drama "The Fighter."  Now, it seems odd to think of a Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale movie as "under the radar," but this is one prestige pic that won't be much longer.

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<p>&quot;Waiting for 'Superman'&quot; is among the 15 finalists in the coveted Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature</p>

"Waiting for 'Superman'" is among the 15 finalists in the coveted Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature

Credit: Paramount

'Waiting for 'Superman'' and 'The Tillman Story' among 15 docs that advance in Oscar race

Five final nominees will be picked from this shortlist

Fifteen documentaries out of an initial crowd of one hundred and one will advance into another round of voting to become nominees for the Documentary Feature category of the 83'rd annual Academy Awards. Notable docs include "Waiting For Superman" about our nation's failing school system, "Exit Through the Gift Shop" about famed street artist Banksy, and "The Tillman Story" about the friendly fire military cover up of the death of Pat Tillman.

The Documentary Branch Screening committee viewed all eligible documentaries and will now select five nominees out of the following fifteen, listed in alphabetical order.

 

  • •“Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” Alex Gibney, director (ES Productions LLC)
  • •“Enemies of the People,” Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath, directors (Old Street Films)
  • •“Exit through the Gift Shop,” Banksy, director (Paranoid Pictures)
  • •“Gasland,” Josh Fox, director (Gasland Productions, LLC)
  • •“Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould,” Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont, directors (White Pine Pictures)
  • •“Inside Job,” Charles Ferguson, director (Representational Pictures)
  • •“The Lottery,” Madeleine Sackler, director (Great Curve Films)
  • •“Precious Life,” Shlomi Eldar, director (Origami Productions)
  • •“Quest for Honor,” Mary Ann Smothers Bruni, director (Smothers Bruni Productions)
  • •“Restrepo,” Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, directors (Outpost Films)
  • •“This Way of Life,” Thomas Burstyn, director (Cloud South Films)
  • •“The Tillman Story,” Amir Bar-Lev, director (Passion Pictures/Axis Films)
  • •“Waiting for ‘Superman’”, Davis Guggenheim, director (Electric Kinney Films)
  • •“Waste Land,” Lucy Walker, director (Almega Projects)
  • •“William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe,” Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, directors (Disturbing the Universe LLC)

Among the high profile docs missing from the list are Sundance favorites "Catfish," "Joan Rivers: Piece of Work" and Alex Gibney's "Casino Jack and the United States of Money." 

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.


The Oscars will air live Sunday, February 27, 2011, on ABC
 

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<p>The new &quot;Green Lantern&quot;&nbsp;ring.</p>

The new "Green Lantern" ring.

Kobe Bryant, Taylor Lautner, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift are now members of the 'Green Lantern' Corps

Warner Bros. starts the buzz with the trendsetters for their 2011 tentpole

One lesson studios have learned about launching new franchises over the past few years is that it doesn't hurt to add a little sophistication or a trendy following to your big screen endeavor.  For example, many scoffed that Paramount Pictures could make "your father's" "Star Trek" hip again, but the studio smartly repositioned the movie with layouts in hipster magazines and had original T-shirts designed by RVCA artists.  Disney is trying the same tactic with "Tron Legacy." The studio's consumer marketing department has created an upscale line of products including, but not limited to, a pair of slick, glowing Adidas basketball shoes and a line of original Tees created by noted designers Fabien Baron, Douglas Lloyd, Lee Swillingham and Stuart Spalding.  Now, Warner Bros. is attempting to get into the mix with their upcoming summer tentpole "Green Lantern."

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<p>Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore at the New York premiere of &quot;The Kids Are All Right&quot;&nbsp;last June.</p>

Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore at the New York premiere of "The Kids Are All Right" last June.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

'The Kids Are All Right's' Oscar hopes are more than all right

Plus: Mark Ruffalo reveals there would be no 'Avengers' without 'Kids'

Awards season isn't always about the flashy Academy screening, huge cocktail party or one pseudo film festival honor after another.  A good deal of the awards circuit takes place on a much more low key, but significantly inpactful level.  If you can imagine it, sometimes it's actually about the movies (perish the thought).  This past week, a number of potential contenders flew key talent to Los Angeles for all important SAG nominating committee Q&A screenings.  In particular, Sony Classics brought former best supporting actor winner Jim Broadbent and best actress contender Leslie Manville in from London to push Mike Leigh's "Another Year" and Focus Features recruited New Yorker's Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffall to join co-star Annette Bening and director Lisa Cholodenko to provide some love for last summer's indie hit "The Kids Are All Right.'

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<p>Joel McHale</p>

Joel McHale

Credit: AP Photo

'Community's' Joel McHale to host the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards

TV veteran making a transition to the big screen in more ways than one

LOS ANGELES - After attempting some English sophistication over the past two years, Film Independent has recruited its latest host for the Independent Spirit Awards from its own backyard.  The venerable film organization announced this morning that Joel McHale, best known as the longtime host of E!'s "The Soup" and star of NBC's "Community," will host the 2011 edition of the alternative movie awards show.

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<p>Ronni Chasen</p>

Ronni Chasen

Morgan Freeman, Scott Rudin, Hans Zimmer and more remember Ronni Chasen

Industry still reeling from shocking tragedy

Jeff Sanderson, Ronni Chasen's longtime business partner just released this tribute to his former colleague who was shot and killed in a tragic murder early this morning.  It features quotes and remembrances from some of Hollywood's best and brightest. 

…….

Los Angeles, CA (November 16, 2010) -- Tributes have been pouring in from the elite of the entertainment and media arenas for Ronni Chasen, one of the industry’s preeminent press agents, who was tragically killed in the early morning hours of November 16, 2010.

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<p>Ronni Chasen</p>

Ronni Chasen

Shock: Veteran Oscar publicist Ronni Chasen shot and killed

Campaigner was returning from the premiere of 'Burlesque'

Hollywood was woken this morning to the startling news that longtime Oscar and music industry publicist Ronni Chasen was shot five times on Sunset Blvd. last night upon her return from the premiere for "Burlesque."  According to the Beverly Hills Police, the 64-year-old crashed into a tree and was found by emergency medical personnel at 12:28 AM. She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

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<p>Scott Rudin celebrates his first Oscar win for &quot;No Country for Old Men&quot;&nbsp; inbetween co-producers and directors Joel and Ethan Coen.</p>

Scott Rudin celebrates his first Oscar win for "No Country for Old Men"  inbetween co-producers and directors Joel and Ethan Coen.

Credit: AP Photo/Amy Sancetta

Oscar Watch: 'No Country For Old Men' Oscar winner Scott Rudin lauded by PGA

Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson reunite for Gothams and more

His reputation is legendary, but no one will argue Scott Rudin isn't one of the most creative and prolific producers in cinema history.  Over the past 20 plus years, the New York based movie and stage producer has shepherded blockbusters such as "Sleepy Hollow," "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut," "Sister Act," "The Addams Family," "Ransom," "In & Out," "The First Wives Club," "Clueless" and "The Village."  Rudin's specialty though, is prestige filmmaking with such critically acclaimed dramas as "Notes on a Scandal," "There Will Be Blood," "The Hours," "Wonder Boys," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "Searching for Bobby Fischer," "Doubt," "Margot at the Wedding" and "Iris" to his credit.

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