<p>Carey Mulligan discuss her new thriller &quot;Drive&quot;&nbsp;at San Diego's Comic-Con 2012.</p>

Carey Mulligan discuss her new thriller "Drive" at San Diego's Comic-Con 2012.

Carey Mulligan on the power of quiet love with Ryan Gosling in 'Drive'

A deep conversation on the art of acting at, um, Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO - Comic-Con is not necessarily the first "festival" that springs to mind when thinking of British ingenue Carey Mulligan.  An Oscar nominee for her sparkling turn in "An Education," Mulligan career has seemed more suited for the red carpets of Cannes, Toronto, Venice and Park City.  And yet, last month, Mulligan and a few of her co-horts found their way to Comic-Con's massive Hall H where they pitched the new thriller "Drive" to the pop culture festival's more genre-friendly audience. 

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<p>Anna Paquin in an unapproved image from &quot;Margaret.&quot; Or maybe it was.&nbsp; It's been awhile.</p>

Anna Paquin in an unapproved image from "Margaret." Or maybe it was.  It's been awhile.

'Margaret' will finally be released almost six years after production began

Anna Paquin drama has legendary behind-the-scenes drama

Fox Searchlight announced today that Kenneth Lonergan ensemble drama "Margaret" will be released in theaters Sept. 30.  Normally, this would be intriguing, but not major news in the movie industry except that "Margaret" is Lonergan's follow up to his critically acclaimed directorial debut "You Can Count on Me."  That film was released in 2000, almost 11 years ago.  

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<p>Brett Ratner</p>

Brett Ratner

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Hell freezes over: Brett Ratner to co-produce the 84th Academy Awards

Don Mischer also returns

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that Brett Ratner and Don Mischer will produce the 84th Academy Awards telecast.

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<p>Michelle Williams as the legendary Marilyn Monroe in &quot;My Week with Marilyn.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams as the legendary Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'My Week with Marilyn' gets its close up at the New York Film Festival

Marilyn Monroe love story a NYFF gala centerpiece

There were a number of expected awards season players missing from the Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festival lineup announcements last week including Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" and "The Iron Lady."  Now we know why as one of those titles, "My Week with Marilyn," has been selected as the centerpiece gala for the 2011 New York Film Festival.

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<p>Director Nick Broomfield in a scene from his new documentary &quot;Sarah Palin - You Betcha!&quot;</p>

Director Nick Broomfield in a scene from his new documentary "Sarah Palin - You Betcha!"

Sarah Palin, Comic-Con and Werner Herzog highlight 2011 Toronto Film Festival doc selections

Oscar winning filmmakers debuting new documentaries

The Toronto International Film Festival announced a new wave of documentary screenings for this year's festival and they include some premieres from notable filmmakers.  Morgan Spurlock, Wim Wenders, Jessica Yu, Alex Gibny, Nick Broomfield and Toronto regular Werner Herzog will all have documentaries debuting.  Additionally, Jonathan Demme's doc "I'm Carolyn Parker: The Goo, the Mad, and the Beautiful" was announced along with the bulk of the narrative selections last week.  

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<p>Oprah Winfrey</p>

Oprah Winfrey

Credit: AP Photo

Oprah Winfrey and James Earl Jones to receive honorary Academy Awards

Makeup artist Dick Smith also recognized

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced tonight that Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones and Dick Smith will receive honorary Academy Awards at the Academy's 3rd Annual Governor's Awards. Winfrey will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Jones is one of the most acclaimed film and stage actor in American history, but he has never won an Oscar  ahd has only one Oscar nomination to his credit for his work in 1969's "The Great White Hope."  The iconic voice of Darth Vader in the "Star Wars" series, Jones made his debut his big screen debut in 1964's "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."  Other credits include "Field of Dreams," "Coming to America," "Patriot Games," Clear and Present Danger" and the voice of Musafa in "The Lion King."  The 80-year-old legend has three Emmys, a Golden Globe and two Tony Awards on his mantle already.

Oprah Winfrey was nominated in 1986 for her big screen debut as Sofia in Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple."  Her only other film credit is for 1999's "Beloved," but Winfrey is being honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her long list of philanthropic efforts which include Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in South Africa in 2007.  Winfrey was presented with the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor in 2010.

Smith, this year's final honoree, is known as the "godfather of makeup."  His career began on NBC in 1945 and his film work includes "The Godfather," "The Exorcist," "Taxi Driver," "Amadeus" (Oscar winner 1984) and "Dad" (Oscar nominee 1989).  He's also known for shepherding and training the careers of such acclaimed makeup artists as Rick Baker, Greg Cannom, Kevin Haney, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Mike Elizalde and Carl Fullerton.

The 3rd Annual Governors Awards will be held Sat., Nov. 12 at the Grand Ballroom above the Kodak Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.


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<p>Jason Momoa shows off his Khal Drogo eyeliner while appearing at the &quot;Game of Thrones&quot;&nbsp;Comic-Con 2011 panel.</p>

Jason Momoa shows off his Khal Drogo eyeliner while appearing at the "Game of Thrones" Comic-Con 2011 panel.

Credit: AP Photo/Denis Ponroy

Watch: 'Conan's' Jason Momoa can't stop talking about 'Game of Thrones'

Role of a lifetime clearly still on his mind

SAN DIEGO - I really tried to get Jason Momoa to talk about his new role as the iconic fantasy hero "Conan the Barbarian."  I really did.  However, after the euphoric reaction Momoa and his former cast members of "Game of Thrones" had received the day before our interview at the series Comic-Con 2011 panel, it was clear his breakout role as Khal Drogo was still on his mind.

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<p>Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle discuss &quot;The Guard.&quot;</p>

Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle discuss "The Guard."

Watch: Don Cheadle and Brendan Gleeson on the sparks in 'The Guard'

Comedy finally hits theaters this weekend

This is a big movie weekend with the openings of "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Crazy, Stupid, Love," but there is one must-see movie opening in limited release that deserves just as much of your attention: "The Guard."  

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Watch: Ryan Gosling plays both sides in George Clooney's 'The Ides of March' trailer
Credit: Sony Pictures

Watch: Ryan Gosling plays both sides in George Clooney's 'The Ides of March' trailer

Presidential campaign thriller looks intense

If there is one city Hollywood adores more than New York to mine for dramatic intrigue, it's Washington, D.C. So, with the 2012 Presidential election just around the corner, it isn't surprising a political thriller with allegories to today's political climate in heading to theaters.   Case in point? George Clooney's return to the director's chair, the politically charged adaptation of Beau Willimon's play "Farragut North," "The Ides of March."

"March" will open the Venice Film Festival at the end of the month and will also screen at Toronto in September. It's already a prime contender for awards season consideration not just because of Clooney's involvement, but an ensemble that includes Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright.  On paper, it's a total Oscar bait film except Clooney doesn't really make Oscar bait films (they just end up thrown into that pool).  In fact, Clooney has a potential awards season player with his performance in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" this December.  Unless it's an "Ocean's Eleven" film, it's hard for the former winner to escape the Academy's love or attention.

As the new trailer  for "Ides" reveals, Gosling plays a campaign manager for a Presidential candidate of the Barack Obama mold (although in actuality Willimon was inspired by the 2004 campaign of Howard Dean).  Gosling's character is a rising star who finds himself played by a rival and has to decide how far he's willing to go to get back in the game.  Will he destroy the campaign of his now former boss (Clooney) just to keep his access to power? Where Clooney and longtime screenwriting and producing collaborator Grant Heslove have decided to take Willimon's play is unclear and the preview thankfully doesn't give that answer away. 

To get your first glimpse of "Ides," check out the trailer embedded below.  And no matter what your political persuasion, it's intriguing stuff.

"The Ides of March" debuts on Oct. 7 nationwide.

For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.

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<p>Carrie MacLemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig, Analiegh Tipton and Adam Brody in Whit Stillman's &quot;Damsels in Distress.&quot;</p>

Carrie MacLemore, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Greta Gerwig, Analiegh Tipton and Adam Brody in Whit Stillman's "Damsels in Distress."

Credit: Sony Classics

Whit Stillman returns with 'Damsels in Distress' to close the 2011 Venice Film Festival

Not many surprises in official Biennale di Venezia lineup

La Biennale di Venezia 2011 (aka the 2011 Venice Film Festival) announced its 68th round of selections today and a long absent American filmmaker is making his long awaited return.

Whit Stillman, who is known for the indie classic "Metropolitan," "Barcelona" and "the Last Days of Disco," will debut his first film in 13 years, "Damsels in Distress." The comedy stars Gerta Gerwig and Adam Brody and will play out of competition as the festival's closing night film on Sept. 10.

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