<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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<p>Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron at last night's &quot;Lone Survivor&quot; party.</p>

Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron at last night's "Lone Survivor" party.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Roundup: Oscar and all tomorrow's parties

Also: 'Lone Survivor' makes a splash, and what happened to Holly Hunter?

The Oscar race may be a little under four months away, but the campaign circuit is already in full swing in Hollywood, where any number of industry screenings, Q&A's, parties, dinners and other glad-handing events are vying for the time and attention of voters. Glenn Whipp considers today's packed diary, with competing events for "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "12 Years a Slave," "Her," "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and "Inside Llewyn Davis," and wonders if things have already gone too far. "It's out of control," one academy member said of the barrage of events. Says one Academy member, "It's out of control ...people are already burned out. I'm just going to put on my pajamas and wait for the screeners to start arriving." The heart bleeds, doesn't it? [LA Times

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Best Animated Feature 2014: Is this the weakest year for the category to date?

Best Animated Feature 2014: Is this the weakest year for the category to date?

An lackluster slate could bring Walt Disney Animation that elusive first Oscar win

Last week the Academy announced its list of 19 films submitted for consideration in this year's Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race. Not all 19 are immediately eligible as there are other criteria they have to pass first, but even if two or three are knocked from the list (and only one really looks to be nixed), there will be at least 16 contenders, meaning the Academy's animation branch has the option of nominating up to five films.

But even then, that's just a ceiling, not a requirement. And in a year as seemingly weak as this for the category, it's entirely possible not enough movies hit high enough marks in the scoring process to even get it to five. Nevertheless, with the list out, it seemed the perfect opportunity for us to wrap up our weekly contender galleries feature. So have a look below to see what we're thinking and feel free to comment on this year's Best Animated Feature Film race in the comments section. Also, if you haven't already, sign up for HitFix Oscar Picks and make your own predictions.

<p>&quot;The Assassination of Jesse&nbsp;James by the Coward Robert Ford&quot;</p>

"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Win a poster and a pair of tickets to the 'Jesse James' revival screening in New York!

New York-area readers, we have something for you...

By now we imagine you're well aware of the upcoming revival screening of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" set for the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. The event sold out in 24 hours but we have an opportunity for New York-area readers to win a pair of tickets to the screening and Q&A as well as an official one-sheet for the film.

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<p>Bruce Dern (left) and Leonard Maltin at the TCL Chinese Theater</p>

Bruce Dern (left) and Leonard Maltin at the TCL Chinese Theater

Credit: HitFix

Quentin Tarantino and AFI Fest pay tribute to 'Nebraska' star Bruce Dern

From 'Dernsies' to Oscar contender, the actor's journey has been long

HOLLYWOOD — The "Nebraska" tour made a stop at AFI Fest last night as Alexander Payne's film enjoyed its Los Angeles premiere ahead of opening in limited release this Friday. Tethered to the event was a tribute to acting legend Bruce Dern, who finds himself in the hunt for his first-ever Best Actor Oscar nomination after winning a prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in May.

Quentin Tarantino introduced the opening clip package with the gusto you would expect of the filmmaker, who directed Dern briefly in last year's "Django Unchained." He commented on Dern's work ethic, mostly, noting that "when you look at Bruce Dern's filmography, that's a filmography that exemplifies hard work. He worked with the best directors in the business, and he worked with the worst."

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<p>Oprah&nbsp;Winfrey at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;Lee Daniels' The Butler&quot;</p>

Oprah Winfrey at the Los Angeles premiere of "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Oprah Winfrey to receive Santa Barbara fest's Montecito Award

'The Butler' star gets a nice boost for her Best Supporting Actress hopes

It almost seems too perfect for the Santa Barbara Film Festival to recognize “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” star Oprah Winfrey with the annual Montecito Award this year. Winfrey lives in Montecito and doesn’t offer up too many chances for film awards lately, so festival director Roger Durling and company have struck while the iron is hot.

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<p>Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith and Josh Brolin in &quot;Labor Day.&quot;</p>

Kate Winslet, Gattlin Griffith and Josh Brolin in "Labor Day."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Roundup: January 31 is the new 'Labor Day'

Also: Comparing past and present versions of '12 Years a Slave'

With Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" effectively out of the awards conversation -- with good reason, in my opinion, though it has its admirers -- Paramount evidently thought it wasn't worth subjecting the film to the commercial pressures of the Christmas rush. The Kate Winslet-John Brolin drama hasn't shifted out of the race entirely: it'll have a one-week qualifying run, beginning December 27. But regular US audiences will only be able to see it from January 31, when it goes wide -- one week before George Clooney's "The Monuments Men." Makes sense for a film that might connect more with adult (particularly female) audiences starved for higher-end mainstream fare in the winter lull, though those peek-a-boo qualifying releases have their detractors. [Hollywood Reporter]

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<p>Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) sings the song &quot;In Summer&quot; from &quot;Frozen.&quot;</p>

Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad) sings the song "In Summer" from "Frozen."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Book of Mormon' meets Disney in new 'Frozen' song

Get a sneak peek at what might be this year's best movie musical

Walt Disney Animation Studios might have the best movie musical of the year on its hands, but up until now they have been somewhat reticent to show it. If you've caught any trailers or TV spots for "Frozen" you may have realized it's just enough story paired with well-tested comedic bits to convince young boys to go see what is essentially a "princess" fairy tale. Well, if you're a fan of great music and specifically songs of the Broadway variety, you're in for a major treat.

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<p>And the Golden Globe goes to... Keanu Reeves? Whoa.</p>

And the Golden Globe goes to... Keanu Reeves? Whoa.

Credit: Radius-TWC

'Blue is the Warmest Color' competes for foreign Globe... as does Keanu Reeves

Oscar-ineligible 'Like Father, Like Son' and 'The Wind Rises' also make longlist

If you're still not over the fact that France's "Blue is the Warmest Color," Japan's "Like Father, Like Son" and India's "The Lunchbox," among other titles of note, aren't eligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, here's some cold comfort -- any one of them could yet pick up a Golden Globe in the same category. Over at The Wrap, the ever-diligent Steve Pond has done some digging and found the longlist of 48 films up for consideration in the category by the HFPA, which has a somewhat laxer qualifying system -- and unsurprisingly, all three controversial Oscar non-submissions are on it.

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<p>Peter Jackson on the set of &quot;The Hobbit.&quot;</p>

Peter Jackson on the set of "The Hobbit."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Peter Jackson honored by Producers' Guild for visual effects work

He'll share the Vanguard Award with Joe Letteri and Weta Digital

A couple of our readers have been getting shirty with us over the inclusion of Peter Jackson's latest "Hobbit" chapter in our Oscar contenders galleries, and it's true that nobody is expecting anyone but the below-the-line artists of "The Desolation of Smaug" to feature much in the awards race. But here's at least one gong the Oscar-winning New Zealander will be taking home this season: the Vanguard Award from the Producers' Guild of America.

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