<p>Angelina Jolie speaks with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp in June.</p>

Angelina Jolie speaks with Syrian refugees in a Jordanian military camp in June.

Credit: AP Photo

Jolie, Martin, Lansbury, Tosi discuss Honorary Oscar recognition ahead of Governors Awards

This year's quartet set to be honored Saturday night

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's an Oscar ceremony with dinner, drinks and no commercial breaks: For the fifth consecutive year, the motion picture academy will present its honorary Academy Awards at a private, untelevised, black-tie dinner.

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Three for three: Directors who have dominated the Best Picture race

Three for three: Directors who have dominated the Best Picture race

Which ones are looking to make good on the hat trick this year?

There are a handful of filmmakers looking for rare air this year. If "American Hustle," "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Nebraska" end up with Oscar nominations for Best Picture in January, then that means David O. Russell, the Coen brothers and Alexander Payne will enter the exclusive company of 11 other filmmakers who have directed three Best Picture nominees in a row. And next year, Bennett Miller will be looking to do the same with "Foxcatcher," which was recently rescheduled for a 2014 release.

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<p>Conner Chapman in &quot;The Selfish Giant.&quot;</p>

Conner Chapman in "The Selfish Giant."

Credit: Sundance Selects

Brit favorite 'The Selfish Giant,' foreign Oscar hopefuls take gold at AFI Fest

Prize winners remind us of the festival's international outlook

In terms of media coverage, the AFI Fest in Los Angeles is generally portrayed as yet another launchpad for big-name Oscar contenders in this crowded season -- headlines were dominated by the US premiere of "Saving Mr. Banks," the surprise package of "Lone Survivor" and so on. All that Hollywood-focused talk, however, tends to obscure what a fine selection of world and art house cinema the festival also showcases -- and it's this lower-profile part of the programme that comes to the fore when it's time for the jury and audience awards to be handed out.

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<p>Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig and Ben Stiller at the AFI Film Fest premiere of &quot;The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.&quot;</p>

Sean Penn, Kristen Wiig and Ben Stiller at the AFI Film Fest premiere of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

Credit: AP Photo/John Schearer

Contender Countdown: Oscar likes to party all the time

Busy Wednesday night in La-La land

If you were an Academy or guild member Wednesday night, you may have had a tough time determining your social schedule. There were at least four major events you could have attended tied to this year's awards season. Yes, the circuit is in full effect and it's just the second week of November.

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<p>&quot;Prisoners&quot;&nbsp;could be a sleeper contender this year.</p>

"Prisoners" could be a sleeper contender this year.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Tech Support: Could Alfonso Cuarón join James Cameron on an exclusive list of editors?

Other contenders include 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' '12 Years a Slave' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

In recent years, the awards media has caught on to the relationship between the categories of Best Film Editing and Best Picture. Even films like "Argo" and "Crash," which did not win the Best Director Oscar, picked up the trophy for Best Film Editing. Every year, the vast majority of nominees in this category (sometimes even five out of five) are also cited in the top category.

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<p>Steve Martin and Punch Brothers get down at the Buffalo Club in Santa Monica</p>

Steve Martin and Punch Brothers get down at the Buffalo Club in Santa Monica

Credit: HitFix

Steve Martin, Punch Brothers and more celebrate 'Llewyn Davis' at Santa Monica jam session

T Bone Burnett and company wrangle another lively musical event for the film

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — After premiering at Cannes and bringing the film (and a jam session) to Telluride, not to mention a big concert event in New York ahead of a NYFF bow, it was time to bring the "Inside Llewyn Davis" party to Los Angeles Wednesday night as CBS Films, producer Scott Rudin and music maestro T Bone Burnett turned out quite the crowd at The Buffalo Club in Santa Monica. A number of talented young acts hit the stage to offer up a pair of folk music sets for the largely industry crowd, and they even had a celebrity surprise up their sleeve.

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<p>Joaquin Phoenix in&nbsp;&quot;Her&quot;</p>

Joaquin Phoenix in "Her"

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Her' Q&A: Spike Jonze on why he replaced Samantha Morton with Scarlett Johansson

Also: How did the film influence Arcade Fire's new album 'Reflektor?'

HOLLYWOOD — Unfortunately for Spike Jonze, the pivotal role of "Samantha" in his new sci-fi tinged romantic drama "Her" had to be recast after the film was already in the can. Luckily for Spike Jonze, "Samantha" is actually a computer operating system - i.e. she's never actually seen on-screen.

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<p>Ben Affleck</p>

Ben Affleck

Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: Why Ben Affleck loves 'Enough Said,' and more peer appreciation

Also: NYFCC names the date, and Alexander Payne's male weepie expertise

The best vaguely Oscar-related feature online today is Variety's "Directors on Directors" gallery, in which notable filmmakers comment on other directors' work that most stood out to them this year. Obviously, it's one big back-patting session, but it's the occasionally surprising combinations that make it interesting. It's not hard to see why Peter Bogdanovich would be so keen on Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," or Michael Mann on "Captain Phillips," but I wouldn't necessarily have expected Ben Affleck to single out Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said." "Her direction is void of spectacle, distraction or maudlin sentiment," he says. "She directs with the humanist, realist sensibility of Renoir." Also cool: Ryan Fleck on Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," and plenty more. [Variety]

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<p>B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman in &quot;Saving Mr. Banks.&quot;</p>

B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman in "Saving Mr. Banks."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The Long Shot: Acting important and playing nice

Balancing likeability with laudability in the Oscar race
"It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." If I were being accurate, I could attribute this quote to John Cassis. Since I'm being honest, I'll admit that I've always attributed it to a poster on the wall of Mrs. Rindner's first-grade classroom, where it was accompanied by an adorable image of a ginger kitten looking as morally conflicted as a file-photo ginger kitten can look. (Not very, then.) I read it many times, puzzling over its relative validity. Aged five, I think I admired the sentiment more than I believed it; aged 30, that's still the case, though I do think of those words often during the Oscar season.
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<p>A&nbsp;scene from &quot;Captain Phillips&quot;</p>

A scene from "Captain Phillips"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Composer Henry Jackman on 'musical constraint' and minimalism in 'Captain Phillips'

How Paul Greengrass' journalistic sense of skepticism informed the score

For the past month, "Captain Phillips" has riveted filmgoers and critics with its uber-realistic take on piracy and hostage-taking. One might expect a film with such a harrowing story and epic scope would have a similarly dramatic score. But the work of composer Henry Jackman, though extremely complementary to what was seen on screen, ended up being far from the theme-heavy bombastic music that is frequently on display in such epics.

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