When you stack up the Oscar records of cinematographer Roger Deakins, composer Thomas Newman and sound mixer Greg P. Russell, an amazing stat hits you in the face: 0-34. Three guys have gone to the Oscars 34 times and not once have they walked away with a trophy. And this year, each of them feature on one of the biggest critical and commercial hits of the year: Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."
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BEVERLY HILLS - The most surprising thing upon first meeting Alicia Vikander is her accent. As we sit down in a hotel conference room to specifically discuss her new film "A Royal Affair," she sounds American. Well, maybe American with a hint of international upbringing. Considering Vikander's Swedish background it was obviously unexpected, but then again, Vikander continues to surprise.
We're all going to die.
Okay, hopefully not anytime too soon. But if you ask the stars of "Doomsday Preppers" (new season premieres Tues. Nov. 13 at 9:00 p.m. on NatGeo), there's a fair chance it's not only going to happen sooner than we expect, but most of us are either going to starve to death, die of thirst, get hacked up by crazed marauders or turned into oven baked hams when we can't hide from the nuclear blast. And by "we," doomsday preppers really mean everyone but themselves.
Taylor Swift will make it three weeks at No. 1 next week on the Billboard 200 with sales of up to 225,000 for "Red."
That means it will outsell the No. 2 title, “Now That’s What I Call Music 44,” by more than 2-to-1, with that compilation set to top out at 100,000, according to Hits Daily Double.
“Now 44” is joined by three other debuts: “Music From Another Dimension” from Aerosmith, the band’s first album of new material in more than a decade, comes in at No. 3 with sales of 70,000. Ne-Yo’s’s “R.E.D.” sneaks into the top 5 at 60,000 (making two different albums titled "Red" in the top 5). Third Day’s “Miracle” cracks the top 10 with 30,000 units sold.
Filling in the rest of Top 10, Rod Stewart’s holiday album, “Merry Christmas Baby,” is No. 4, while Jason Aldean’s former No. 1, “Night Train,” is No. 6. Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” falls two spots to No. 7, while Meek Mill’s “Dreams And Nightmares” and Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” are in a dead heat for No. 8 with both projected to sell between 35,000 and 40,000.
Well, that was quick.
My guess at this point is that we'll hear the name of the director making "Episode VII" before the end of November. If Lucasfilm and Disney were willing to announce the hiring of Michael Arndt today, then it's obviously been in the works for a while, and they are most likely further along in the process than anyone guessed.
Star Wars.com posted another video today with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, and they evidently plan to post a new video every week. I think it's interesting to see how different their approach to talking to the audience is this time around than it was when they were gearing up for the prequel trilogy.
Since we now know that Michael Arndt is writing "Episode VII" and that he's already written treatments for the trilogy, the big question is who will direct, and Kathleen Kennedy talks at length about what attributes they're going to be looking for in a director. It should be no surprise that "enthusiasm for the series" is the most important thing. Kennedy is correct, of course, that there is a whole generation of filmmakers working today who were drawn to film in the first place by "Star Wars," and I don't think they'll have any trouble finding people who are interested in playing in this universe.
It's interesting that when people started listing A-list filmmakers they'd want to see tackle the next "Star Wars" film, Brad Bird's name came up more than almost any other. I've had faith in Bird's abilities as a storyteller for years, and as soon as I saw a rough cut of "Iron Giant," I was ready to declare the guy a national treasure. It wasn't until he made the jump to live-action filmmaking with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' that he was suddenly at the top of every fanboy's wish list for pretty much every genre film in development.
I'm excited to see him develop original material, though, because I think he's got a strong voice and he's got a deeply-rooted love of genre. He's exactly the sort of guy we should be supporting in the creation of new properties instead of just dumping the familiar on him over and over. Sure, he'd make a great "Star Wars" movie, but I'd rather see whatever "1952" is from him instead.
The Oscars may seem some way off still, but the short film categories are already getting down to business. A couple of weeks ago, we got the official, er, shortlist for Best Documentary Short; now, Best Animated Short is the next category to whittle down the playing field.
Ten titles have advanced to the second voting stage, selected by the Academy's Short Film and Feature Animation Reviewing Committee from a pool of 56 entries. Interestingly, the press release states that three to five of the 10 will be nominated, though there haven't been fewer than five nominees in the category since 2000.
One of the most buzzed films of the Oscar season hits theaters today after having its "official" bow at AFI Fest last night. The film comes into the season with huge expectations and, by most accounts -- including, most definitely, my own -- it rises to them. But I don't expect the film will land so well with everyone, so I'll be curious to hear what others think. When you get around to it, do let us know your take in the comments section below. And as always, feel free to rate it above.