When the Oscar nominations are announced in exactly two weeks' time (!), they'll be a pioneering edition in two ways: not only will they land earlier in the season than ever before, but they'll be the first to be partially drawn from electronic voting. It's a brave new world and all, but after interviewing a cross-section of voters, Many of them aren't happy with the changes -- to the point that some of them, short of time to see the necessary films and/or befuddled by the security surrounding the online ballot -- may not bother voting at all. Scott Feinberg quotes one member as saying, "There will probably be a large percentage of people who will just say, 'Screw it,' and not even vote this year," and expresses concern that the changes could result in a record low in voter anticipation. Of course, we'll never know. [The Race]
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I've still got two more wrap-up pieces for 2012 to come, but first, we thought we'd take a look ahead at 2013, which promises to be a huge year for movies.
We've tried to put together a wide array of the types of films that people are looking forward to. You'll see some familiar faces here as we anticipate the returns of "Star Trek," "Iron Man," and "Thor," and you'll see prestige pieces as well as potential blockbusters.
The thing about anticipation is that I'm not sure it means what it used to. These days, movies arrive pre-digested thanks to all the information and clips and special glimpses and four-minute clip reels and IMAX previews and whatever other way studios have started to use to reach out to audiences. At one point, there were something like 25 minutes of clips from "The Hobbit" floating around out there, all officially released by the studio, and that's for a film that is as pre-sold as pre-sold gets. And I get it… studios are at the point where they are trying anything and everything to get people to actually show up to the theaters.
So, the designers walk down Fifth Avenue (or, as Josh calls it, Fifth Ave, which makes me want to smack him to death with a designer purse) and end up at Elie Tahari's flagship store. Their challenge is to create a "wow" ready-to-wear look that can retail at $500 to $700. The winning design will be sold at all of the Elie Tahari stores and proceeds will go to Save the Garment Center. Mondo won this challenge last season. No pressure.
When great British actors reach a certain age Americans, er, media types tend to believe they must have worked together at some point during their careers. In the West End, on the BBC or in some movie. At the least, they were in one of those "Harry Potter" movies, right? Well, not really.
The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has announced nominees this year, and Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" led the way with five nominations, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay. "Cosmopolis," "Rebelle" and "Stories We Tell" were chalked up in the Best Canadian Film category. Winners will be announced January 7. Check out the full list below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.
Can't wait another minute for the third season of "Downton Abbey"? Really, the first episode airs Sun. Jan. 6, so it's quite unrefined to get that keyed up. Consider drinking some tea or something. Luckily, knowing how high strung we Americans are (not so high strung they couldn't hold off on broadcasting the season here more than three months behind its U.K. air dates, but whatev), the powers-that-be have posted ten minutes of the first episode on Facebook. As you might have guessed, the place is buzzing about the long-awaited nuptials of Matthew and Mary, but that doesn't mean there isn't drama and an ominous sense of foreboding.
Every season there is a movie or performance that is a head scratcher when it comes to why it does or doesn't appeal to the Academy. Films and portrayals that will be long remembered after a number of other nominated works are getting their share of the best picture spotlight now. Immediate examples that come to mind include "Do the Right Thing" (one of the greatest films of the '80s), "The Ice Storm" (ditto for the '90s), "The Dark Knight" (for the '00s) and, oh yeah, Stanley Kubrick's "2001" (of all time). And as for overlooked actors, last year found both Ryan Gosling ("Drive") and Michael Fassbender ("Shame") of the list of Academy omissions gone wrong. With the advent of the 10 nomination option for best picture, however, you would think that overlooking great movies would be a rare occurrence. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I give you my own best picture of the year, "The Impossible."
Pulp gave you what you really wanted on Christmas Day. The British rockers released a new song, "After You," a collaboration with former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy at midnight on Dec. 25 this week.
It's not a stretch to say the tune may remind you of Franz Ferdinand -- Pulp were influential in that Scottish band's output, and the rhythm section now has a modern spin on the classic Pulp sound. "After You," in fact, is an old Pulp demo, re-done as of last month with Murphy's thumbprint very obviously on the beat.
The band and Murphy combined just this fall for the S.S. Coachella, the music festival's foray into a floating event via cruise. According to Pitchfork, the decade-old song never had a finished version until everybody hit the studio in November.
The last time I spoke with director Tom Hooper feels like centuries ago. That's because it came the afternoon after his film "The King's Speech" screened for audiences at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, before that film would go on to the Toronto festival and explode into the season as an unassuming heartwarmer destined for Oscar gold. It was the calm before the storm, and Hooper thinks back on it now with a hint of longing in his voice.
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” stays locked into the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, as the tune logs a third week at No. 1.
The song is also No. 1 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart, as well as the Digital and On-Demand Songs charts, making it the first song to top all four charts, according to Billboard. The On-Demand Songs chart bowed in March.
“Locked” is Mars’ fourth No. 1 tune on Radio Songs chart, tying him with Sean Paul and T.I. for fifth place for males on the chart. The male leader is Usher with seven chart toppers in the chart’s 22-year history. The men have a far way to go to catch up with Mariah Carey, who has 11 No. 1s on the Radio Songs chart.
Back on the Hot 100, former No. 1, “Diamonds” by Rihanna, holds at No. 2, while the Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” remains at No. 3.
Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” soars 10-4 and Justin Bieber’s “Beauty and a Beat” featuring Nicki Minaj climbs 7-5, marking Bieber’s third Top 5 hit.
Rounding out the Top 10, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” falls 4-6, Maroon 5’s “One More Night” slips 5-7, Flo Rida’s “I Cry” 6-8 and Phillip Phillip’s “Home” 8-9.
There’s good news for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz as the rappers’ independently released single rises 13-10 to be the only new entry in the Top 10.
Heart fans who have seen the Wilson sisters in concert know that Ann Wilson can wail Led Zeppelin tunes like no one since, well, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, so it’s no surprise that the group brought the house down at the annual Kennedy Center Honors, which aired last night on CBS.
What is surprising is that the ladies’ version moved Plant, who was watching in the balcony with band members John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, to tears time and time again at the Washington, D.C. event, which was taped last month. Or maybe he was just in awe of her ability to hit every single note with astonishing power. Or maybe seeing late LZ drummer John Bonham’s son Jason Bonham behind the drums also proved emotional.
The Wilson sisters weren’t the only ones paying tribute to whom Jack Black called “the greatest rock n’ roll band.” The Foo Fighters performed “Rock and Roll” —with Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals— and Lenny Kravitz played “Whole Lotta Love.” Watch those performances here and here. As you know, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Jones are in Them Crooked Vultures together. Turns out President Obama knows the words to "Whol Lotta Love."
The annual event honored Led Zeppelin, as well as Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova and David Letterman.
We’re quite sure Washington, D.C.’s collective ears are still ringing.
The live-sung approach of "Les Misérables" may have yielded glowing reviews for the likes of Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne, but less vocally gifted stars -- principally Russell Crowe -- have taken some flak. Back in the golden age of the Hollywood musical, his musical numbers might well have been dubbed, as Audrey Hepburn's were in "My Fair Lady" or Natalie Wood's in "West Side Story." Inkoo Kang wonders why we can't go back to that system: "The tendency toward multi-hyphenation is also a treat for celebrity gawkers, who get a glimpse behind the curtain, or at least feel like they are doing so, by watching stars in a rawer, less accomplished form." Personally, I don't mind an imperfect vocal when it's part and parcel of the performance and character: the very narrative of "Chicago," for example, benefits from Renee Zellweger being a more awkward performer than legions of Broadway Roxie Harts. You? [Salon]