The Online Film Critics have jumped on the increasingly-strong "Argo" bandwagon and handed the film its Best Picture prize for 2012. Paul Thomas Anderson nabbed Best Director after his film, "The Master," led the way with nominations. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also recognized for his work in the film. Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain won top acting honors and Anne Hathaway picked up yet another prize for her performance in "Les Misérables." Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of it all at The Circuit.
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Press tour eats into a lot of my TV-watching and reviewing time (much of what I write this week, review-wise, will be of shows I screened before I came to tour), but I did manage to catch last night's episodes of "Bob's Burgers" and "Happy Endings," and have a few quick thoughts coming up just as soon as I mount a dead fly from my windowsill production of "Pippin"...
The BAFTA Rising Star Award, the one prize subjected to a public vote at the UK's answer to the Oscars, can be a frustrating business. More often than not, it pits a host of gifted young actors against one contender with a higher profile among Britain's youthful texting masses, rendering the competition a bit flat -- and the outcome often a bit iffy. Noel Clarke over Michael Fassbender? Adam Deacon over anyone? We may routinely complain about awards bodies' decisions, but it still beats hearing the people sing.
This year, however, the BAFTA jury charged with compiling the nominees appears to have safeguarded against that problem with a discerning, evenly matched shortlist of names, most of whom will be unfamiliar to multiplex crowds.
The Best Foreign Language Film race so far has proceeded with a minimum of the usual controversy: most countries' selections were met with approval, and the Academy's eventual shortlist is a credible one. Still, dissatisfaction lingers, whether it's with the overwhelmingly European slant of this year's shortlist, or the one-film-per-country rule. Mark Olsen speaks to the directors and distributors of this year's shortlisted films to get their take on the fundamentally flawed award. Jeff Lipsky, head of "Sister" distributor Adopt Films has this to say: "The category is called best foreign language film, not best foreign language film as selected by an overly politicized committee in every nation of the world." (He also describes the widespread presumption that "Amour" is going to win an "inexplicable manifest avalanche.") [LA Times]
I'm not aware of this news breaking in any other format, so I guess it fell to Seth MacFarlane's Twitter feed to announce that he and Emma Stone will be announcing the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards at 5am PST on Thursday.
This marks a break from tradition in a few ways. As long I've been watching the Oscars, it has been the president of the Academy who has delivered the crack-of-dawn news, joined by a former Oscar winner or nominee. (Recently, Jennifer Lawrence, Mo'Nique, Anne Hathaway and Forest Whitaker have all had the bleary-eyed pleasure.)
It looks like Godzilla's path of destruction en route to a start date for the Legendary Pictures update of the classic Toho monster has claimed two new victims, as producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee depart the project this week.
Both Lin and Lee are major production partners for Warner Bros, and I'm sure they're both plenty busy with other upcoming films. Lin, for example, is a producer on the "Lego" movie that is in production now, he's part of the ongoing "Sherlock Holmes" series, and he's attached to remakes of Stephen King's "It" and the anime series "Death Note," both in development. Most importantly, he's part of the team working to figure out "Justice League." Lee is partnered with Lin on "Death Note" and "It," and he's currently busy with plenty other projects like the "Oldboy" remake, the "Poltergeist" update, a sequel to "The Woman In Black," and a brand new "Battle Royale."
Recently, there was an event on the studio lot where director Gareth Edwards put together a show-and-tell in one of the stages on the Warner lot to walk the studio through his vision of the film, and it went well enough that the studio now seems committed to a March start date for the film.
At NBC's executive press tour session this morning, network chairman Bob Greenblatt referred to "Smash" as "an unqualified success." When I asked him to qualify the success of a show that replaced its creator with a new showrunner, got rid of several castmembers, hired several new ones, is changing the stories and otherwise undergoing a significant creative revamp, Greenblatt insisted, "I can't qualify unqualified success."
So, if you've managed to avoid the "Downton Abbey" spoilers being tossed at you like exploding crumpets in a very refined video game, then this almost two-hour premiere was a welcome return to the hallowed halls of the grand estate. The good news? The soapiness of season two seems to have been (judging from this episode) set aside, and the plot seems character driven as opposed to being the fever dream of a crazed "Dallas" fan. Huzzah (clink glasses discreetly with second knife to your left)!
Before we get started, I solemnly vow to you "Downton Abbey" fans -- no spoilers. Yes, these are recaps, so by their very nature they spoil the episode if you haven't seen it, but even as I watch ahead of air dates, I won't spill. Why not? Because this season has been halfway ruined for me by two spoilers I ran across, and I know how disappointed I am to know what's ahead -- and I won't do the same to you.
So much happened in this opening episode, I'll just break it down by story lines. You can also read Alan's review (again, no spoilers) here.
While "Deception" (premiering Jan. 7 at 10:00 p.m.) may seem molded in the vein of ABC's soapy, mystery-fueled breakout hit, "Revenge," don't tell executive producers Liz Heldens and Gail Berman. Was she inspired by the rival network's "Revenge"? Um, no. "Two of my favorite movies are 'Donnie Brasco' and 'Sabrina'" Heldens said during a press tour panel, adding that her new show is as if those two films "had a baby."