<p>Can &quot;The Fighter&quot;&nbsp;come out of nowhere to take out &quot;The Social Network&quot;&nbsp;or &quot;The King's Speech&quot;?&nbsp; We're not so sure.</p>

Can "The Fighter" come out of nowhere to take out "The Social Network" or "The King's Speech"?  We're not so sure.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Contender Countdown: 'Network' and 'King's Speech' lead the best picture race before Christmas

The tea leaves aren't clear on who is the real frontrunner

Oscar pundits are bored and it's not even January yet  On one hand, "The Social Network's" daily drumbeat of winning one critic's group best film award after another is becoming admittedly a yawnfest (yes, the media are shallow folk).  On the other hand, some prognosticators actually believe a film like "The Fighter" can come out of nowhere to win it all. 

Read Full Post
<p>Sofia Coppola on the set of &quot;Somewhere.&quot;</p>

Sofia Coppola on the set of "Somewhere."

Credit: Focus Features

Sofia Coppola checks in to 'Somewhere' and reflects on 'The Twilight Saga'

Filmmaker talks about conceiving a not-so true Hollywood story

Sofia Coppola got very rare opportunity with her new movie "Somewhere."  The Oscar winning filmmaker was granted a shooting pass at West Hollywood's famed Chateau Marmont hotel on the Sunset Strip.  Sure, they only had three weeks and had to stay out of the way of the guests, but those were easy conditions to agree to for a chance to film in the legendary hotel.

Read Full Post
<p>Jeff Bridges talks about the possibility of returning to his famous characters from &quot;The Big Lebowski&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Starman.&quot;</p>

Jeff Bridges talks about the possibility of returning to his famous characters from "The Big Lebowski" and "Starman."

'True Grit's' Jeff Bridges wants to know what happened to 'Starman'

Doesn't think 'The Dude' will return to the big screen

It's hard to believe, but Jeff Bridges might be approaching…overexposure.  Like Betty White, the acting legend has been a consistent presence for the past 12 months. First, running the awards season train to his long-awaited first Academy Award for "Crazy Heart."  And, most recently, as part of the massive publicity machine for "Tron Legacy."  Somewhere in-between, Bridges found the time to star in the Coen Bros. new adaptation of Charles Portis' novel "True Grit."  Moviegoers should always be so lucky.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Black Swan&quot;&nbsp;should receive a number of key Academy Award nominations, but original score won't be one of them.</p>

"Black Swan" should receive a number of key Academy Award nominations, but original score won't be one of them.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Academy disqualifies scores for 'Black Swan,' 'The Fighter' and 'True Grit'

The music for 'The Kids Are All Right' also ineligible

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes its rules very seriously and no committee is tougher on potential contenders than the music branch.  More than previous years, there has been some controversy over a number of potential best original score nominees.  Today, that concern appears to have been warranted.

Variety reports that four films (that's not a misprint, four) have been disqualified from the original score category this season.  As expected, "Black Swan," by Clint Mansell and "True Grit," by Carter Burwell, didn't make the cut because they use too much pre-existing material intertwined within the score.  "Swan" features many cues from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and "Grit" includes a number of 19th century hymns.  More surprising were the disqualifications for "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Fighter."

Read Full Post
<p>Jacki Weaver's memorable line in &quot;Animal Kingdom&quot; could soon be yours...in t-shirt form.</p>

Jacki Weaver's memorable line in "Animal Kingdom" could soon be yours...in t-shirt form.

Credit: Sony Classics

Oscar contender Jacki Weaver says 'You've done some bad things sweetie'

You could win an 'Animal Kingdom' t-shirt

As the matriarch of a family with some big issues in the critically acclaimed thriller "Animal Kingdom," Jacki Weaver has finally gotten the attention of critics and audiences outside her native Australia.  That love was validated this past week with a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress.  While SAG didn't follow suit, she can take solace in the win in the same category from the National Board of Review.  Now, to celebrate Weaver's somewhat unexpected accomplishment, U.S. distributor Sony Classics is providing Awards Campaign with five special Jacki t-shirts for HitFix users.

Read Full Post
<p>James Franco remains as blunt as ever. And we mean that as a compliment.</p>

James Franco remains as blunt as ever. And we mean that as a compliment.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Oscar Watch: James Franco says reps advised him to turn down Oscar hosting gig

Plus: Did 'The Social Network' win another critic's group award?

You gotta love James Franco.  The man continues to take artistic risks other actors wouldn't dare dream of.  Whether it's an extended role on daytime soap "General Hospital," doing double duty to get a film degree (and now more post-graduate work) or playing two gay roles (let alone one) in the span of two years, Franco is becoming a legend among his peers before he hits 35.  So, when he was announced earlier this month as co-host of the 83rd Academy Awards along with the charming Anne Hathaway, what would normally have caused surprise was met by many in the industry as, "Well, it's Franco."  Still, as a potential best actor winner for "127 Hours" (let's be clear, the nomination is a lock at this point), hosting the show could be a death knell to his chances to take home his first statue.  As you'd expect, Franco doesn't care.  Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about his new gig, Franco revealed his inner circle of advisers (publicist, agent, manager we assume) advised him not to do it.

Read Full Post
<p>Ben Affleck at the New York premiere of &quot;The Company Men&quot; earlier this month.</p>

Ben Affleck at the New York premiere of "The Company Men" earlier this month.

Credit: AP Photo/Pete Kramer

Ben Affleck revisits ‘The Town’ and waxes on ‘Superman’ and Terrence Malick

He also reveals his next gig will be playing Mr. Mom – for real

The one big surprise from this past week’s SAG Award nominations was that Ben Affleck’s hit and critically acclaimed ensemble thriller “The Town” wasn’t nominated for best ensemble.  As Academy members begin to sit watch or re-watch their holiday screeners and DVD’s between Christmas and New Year’s, chances are that oversight will be remedied when Oscar nominations are revealed on Jan. 25.  I spoke to Affleck before both SAG and Golden Globe nominations were announced as he did some awards-friendly press conveniently timed to “The Town’s” DVD and Blu-ray release this past Friday.  It was a jovial chat about his genuine surprise surrounding the box office success of his second directorial effort, living up to the praise of a major studio chairman, working with Terrence Malick over the past few months and his next and arguably most important gig.

Read Full Post
<p>Edgar Rameriz in &quot;Carlos.&quot;</p>

Edgar Rameriz in "Carlos."

'Carlos' and 'Social Network' lead Film Comment's 2010 poll

Guess who made the top 50?

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced Film Comment's 2010 year-end poll results and "Carlos," "The Social Network" and "White Material" finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. 

Read Full Post
<p>Mark Wahlberg didn't land an acting nomination for &quot;The Fighter,&quot;&nbsp;but his drama is throwing some punches this awards season.</p>

Mark Wahlberg didn't land an acting nomination for "The Fighter," but his drama is throwing some punches this awards season.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Analysis: SAG Awards nods hint at three-way race for best picture

'The Fighter' is setting itself up for a 12 round fight for Oscar

There were some big winners and some big losers today after the 17th Annual SAG Awards nominees were announced on a rainy Thursday in West Hollywood. As the largest voting block in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, SAG members are a strong bellwether of possible Oscar nominations down the road.  They certainly carry a lot more behind the scenes campaigning weight than the Golden Globes do. 

Read Full Post
<p>A new T-shirt from Fox Searchlight asks you to publicly declare &quot;I&nbsp;Kept My Eyes Open for 127 Hours.&quot;</p>

A new T-shirt from Fox Searchlight asks you to publicly declare "I Kept My Eyes Open for 127 Hours."

Is Fox Searchlight daring you to see '127 Hours'?

New campaign proves it isn't giving up on Danny Boyle's acclaimed drama

After the unexpected drama that has circled Danny Boyle's amazing "127 Hours," most studios or distributors could be forgiven for letting the picture's box office run its course.  That is not Fox Searchlight's mantra, however.  The studio that took Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" to Oscar heights isn't giving up on "Hours" even if a best picture nod now seems unlikely and the film has only grossed $8.5 million so far in no more than 433 theaters.

Read Full Post