<p>Woody&nbsp;Allen makes his one and only appearance at the Oscars in&nbsp;March of 2002.</p>

Woody Allen makes his one and only appearance at the Oscars in March of 2002.

Credit: AP Photo

Woody Allen to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award

Woody Allen to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award

Woody Allen never does awards shows. When he popped up at the Oscars in 2002 in the wake of 9/11, it was a huge surprise, and a welcome one. He eschews this kind of stuff and has never been in attendance to accept any of the four Oscars or two Golden Globes he's received throughout his career.

So it's a little bit of a surprise that he's been bestowed -- however deservedly -- with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Cecil B. DeMille Award. After all, the organization would surely like him to be on hand to actually accept the lifetime achievement honor. It would be a little strange for a big fete without the guy in the wings to accept and give a speech, etc. Nevertheless, whether he shows up or not, it's an inarguable tip of the hat.

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Jake Gyllenhaal compares the 'Prisoners' cast to playing on the Yankees

Jake Gyllenhaal compares the 'Prisoners' cast to playing on the Yankees

Obviously not this season's team

TORONTO - Like everyone, actors make good choices and bad choices in their career. At this moment, Jake Gyllenhaal is working on a string of great choices. Since the back-to-back 2010 misfires "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and "Love & Other Drugs," he has starred in the well-respected box office hit "Source Code," earned critical acclaim for the surprise success "End of Watch" and should have one of the biggest hits of his career when the ensemble thriller "Prisoners" opens later this month. Plus, he recently took a major creative chance with "Enemy," an experimental drama he shot with his director Denis Villeneuve before they collaborated on "Prisoners." Both "Enemy" and "Prisoners" debuted at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival where the Oscar nominee sat down to talk, mostly, about the latter.

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<p>Scarlett Johansson in&nbsp;&quot;Don&nbsp;Jon&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson in "Don Jon"

Credit: Relativity Media

On the resurgence of Scarlett Johansson

Between 'Don Jon' and 'Under the Skin,' the star is partying like it's 2003

Fun fact: it's 10 years ago to the day that Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" went on limited release in Los Angeles, mere days after doing the Venice-Telluride-Toronto stretch that was a rarer feat for prestige films then than it is now. In some respects, it does feel that long since we first laid eyes on Coppola's woozy Tokyo kinda-love story, which is not to say it doesn't hold up rather beautifully. The director's three subsequent films, albeit variations on a consistent theme, exhibit an arc of wearied, cooled maturity, while indie film festivals are still awash with atmospheric imitators that may or may not know the source of Coppola's own cribbing. 

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<p>Julia Roberts at a press conference for &quot;August:&nbsp;Osage County&quot;&nbsp;at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.</p>

Julia Roberts at a press conference for "August: Osage County" at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Contender Countdown: It's already hard out there for a best picture player

New Feature: Rank the top 10 best picture contenders as you see them

It's going to be one of those years, a season where so much is at stake that the back-biting begins very, very early. In fact, too early. We saw signs of these behind-the-scenes shenanigans last season when "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Misérables" lost their legit Best Picture-contending statuses in pressure-filled PR takedowns. It's only September and competing consultants and publicists already appear to be trying to influence the media to do their bidding. A few disparaging quotes heard across Toronto…

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<p>Ray&nbsp;Dolby was 80</p>

Ray Dolby was 80

Credit: Dolby Laboratories

Tech Support: Oscar-winning sound pioneer Ray Dolby leaves behind a rich legacy

The audio legend passed away today at the age of 80

Those entering the Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 at the 86th annual Academy Awards will pass under the marquee named after a man who changed the art and science of movies, a man whose thumbprint is on the very form itself, a man who passed away earlier today at the age of 80.

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<p>Andrea Arnold</p>

Andrea Arnold

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Andrea Arnold named NYFF's first Filmmaker-in-Residence

The British Oscar winner will focus on 'developing or refining new work' at fest

Just three features into her career, Andrea Arnold has established herself as the kind of filmmaker I'll invest in (with faith if not finance) on pretty much any project she chooses to pursue. "Red Road" and "Fish Tank" were both richly sensual portrayals of modern working-class Britain that defied the Ken Loach-patented model of British social realism; both deservedly earned her Jury Prize wins at Cannes. (Both, moreover, built on the already lofty expectations set by her 2003 short "Wasp," another work of spiky grace amid the tower blocks. It won her an Oscar, in case you've forgotten.)

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<p>&quot;The Wind Rises&quot;</p>

"The Wind Rises"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Miyazaki's 'The Wind Rises' to hit US theaters in February 2014

The animated hopeful will still have an Oscar-qualifying release in November

As it turned out, Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" wasn't quite the mighty magnum opus we might have hoped from the Japanese animation master's farewell feature -- but at this stage, the man is a victim of his own high bar. It's still a lovely, distinctive and technically awe-inspiring achievement: the lulls in its biopic narrative pass fairly easily when the visuals are so consistently ravishing.

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<p>Forest Whitaker in &quot;Lee Daniels' The&nbsp;Butler&quot;</p>

Forest Whitaker in "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Lee Daniels' The Butler' takes less crowded original screenplay path under 'inspired by' classification

The WGA agrees, but will the Academy? Remember 'Syriana?'

You may have heard about Wil Haygood's 2008 Washington Post article "A Butler Well Served by This Election," which told the story of Eugene Allen, an African American butler who served 30 years of presidents in the White House, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. His story, and that article, became the inspiration for the film "Lee Daniels' The Butler," and in some ways, it could be argued as an adapted screenplay.

However, surely sensing that there was leeway, and no doubt taking note of how typically competitive the Best Adapted Screenplay race is this year, The Weinstein Company has kept the rhetoric on "inspired by." Ergo, the distributor will be angling for Best Original Screenplay consideration on the awards circuit. I called the WGA's credits department this afternoon, and indeed, the guild classifies the script original as well.

Given the liberties taken with Allen's story, this isn't really a surprise. We've been running on an adapted assumption around here but there we are. But I'm nevertheless reminded of a somewhat similar situation back in 2005 regarding the screenplay for Stephen Gaghan's "Syriana." I remember it well because I broke the story.

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<p>&quot;Mother, I Love You&quot;</p>

"Mother, I Love You"

Credit: Film Studio Tanka

Latvia's 'Mother, I Love You' the latest child-focused entry in foreign Oscar race

Coming-of-age tale won awards at the Berlin and Los Angeles fests

From "Forbidden Games" to "Cinema Paradiso," "Kolya" to "In a Better World," the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race has long been friendly to films driven by child protagonists -- the more winsome the kid, the better. Last year saw a harder-edged variation on the formula succeed, as Canada's child-soldier drama "War Witch" scored a nod. This year, however, voters are already spoilt for choice when its comes to determining this year's semi-annual child's-eye slot; I've already lost count of the number of times I've typed "coming of age" during this year's submission process.

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<p>Jay Baruchel at the &quot;This Is The End &quot;&nbsp;premiere in June.</p>

Jay Baruchel at the "This Is The End " premiere in June.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

Jay Baruchel on 'Goon' sequel, when Batman met Commissioner Gordon on 'Robocop' and more

Plus: Does he really dislike Los Angeles?

TORONTO - Let's just call it as it is: Jay Baruchel is a freakin' cool dude. The self-described movie nerd took the train into Toronto Tuesday to help promote "The Art of the Steal," a new heist comedy that premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. And, thankfully, the 31-year-old Montreal resident is still as blunt and friendly as ever when talking to the press.

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