<p>Idina Menzel voices Elsa in &quot;Frozen.&quot;</p>

Idina Menzel voices Elsa in "Frozen."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Frozen'

Disney's throwback adaptation of 'The Snow Queen' opened yesterday

I went into "Frozen" with tempered expectations -- Disney's last couple of attempts to revive the princess formula ("Tangled," "The Princess and the Frog") were, for me, pleasant but characterless, and this musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" looked to be in the same mold. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised: after a rushed, muddled first act, it settles into a touching, visually textured work of authentic Disney classicism, with a welcome feminist twist on the original fairytale and a pleasing lack of the smarmy, adult-targeted irony that permeates so many kids' films these days. I wouldn't go quite as far as Drew McWeeny did in hisA-grade rave, but I might just call it my favourite Disney animated feature since the studio's brief 1990s golden age.

But enough from me -- what do you think? Is it on-form Disney? And is it Oscar-worthy? I'm sure many of you will be checking it out over the holiday weekend, so when you do, be sure to share your thoughts here, and vote in the poll below.

 

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

"The Wind Rises"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is it time for the animated Oscar to grow up?

Also: 'Wolf' clocks in at three hours, and Philomena on 'Philomena'

With "Frozen" opening today, the received wisdom that it's the film to beat for the Best Animated Feature Oscar will be further concretized. And while a win for the film would be a first for Disney, it'd follow very much in the tradition of past champions in the 13-year-old category. Jen Chaney writes how the Academy's choices for the award -- however deserving -- have reinforced the commonly held notion of animation as chiefly a kids' medium, and how Miyazaki's more adult-focused "The Wind Rises" presents an opportunity for the award to come of age. "An animated film that deals with complicated, non-child-friendly themes, or visuals that don’t match the playful picture-book aesthetic... [may be viewed] as a negative instead of a potentially refreshing, groundbreaking departure," she writes, before going on to suggest that the Academy's new, more inclusive voting system in the category means "that unintentional bias could become even more of an issue." [The Dissolve]

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<p>Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner in &quot;Frances Ha.&quot;</p>

Greta Gerwig and Mickey Sumner in "Frances Ha."

Credit: IFC Films

The Long Shot: Independents' day

Have the Indie Spirit Awards outgrown their own purpose?

The avalanche of advance speculation, live Twitterage and post-game analysis that surrounded yesterday's announcement of the Independent Spirit Award nominees was indicative, perhaps, of the way the internet has amped up every stop on the ever-expanding awards trail -- however minor its real-world presence -- to event status. But it also proved that the Spirits are no longer as small, nor as off-the-beaten-track, as their calculatedly modest presentation would have you believe.They haven't been for a while: for better or worse, they're now considered as valuable (if, by their very nature, not as all-encompassing) an Oscar bellwether as any of the glitzier Globe or Guild events on the circuit.

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<p>&quot;The Best Man Holiday&quot; will be one of the films included at the BFCA's Celebration of Black Cinema.</p>

"The Best Man Holiday" will be one of the films included at the BFCA's Celebration of Black Cinema.

Credit: Universal Pictures

From 'Best Man Holiday' to 'The Butler,' BFCA hails a banner year for black film

Their 'Celebration of Black Cinema' evening is set for January 7

The Broadcast Film Critics' Association is hardly the first group or individual to note that this has been remarkable year for black filmmakers and black-themed films. Ever since "Lee Daniels' The Butler" emerged as a surprise box-office sleeper in the summer, followed shortly afterward by the triumphant festival debut of "12 Years a Slave" -- both films consolidating the Sundance success of Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" in January -- the shorthand narrative of 2013 as "the year of black cinema" has been cemented in the media, and inevitably bled into the awards race.

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<p>Scarlett Johansson at the Rome Film Festival premiere of &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson at the Rome Film Festival premiere of "Her."

Credit: AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis

Roundup: Golden Globes won't be seduced by Johansson's voice in 'Her'

Also: The unmade 'Mary Poppins' sequel, and a diverse Thanksgiving playlist

There's been a lot of speculation about the possibility of Scarlett Johansson scoring an acting Oscar nod for her acclaimed voice work in "Her." It'd be a first, but the buzz is growing in volume. Still, if she pulls it off, it'll be without any help from the Golden Globes -- the HFPA has ruled her ineligible in their Best Supporting Actress category. It's not exactly surprising, given that they've previously disqualified motion-capture performances by the likes of Andy Serkis. (The Globes are littered with arcane restrictions: animated and foreign-language films can't compete for Best Picture, for example.) Warner Bros. appealed against the ruling, but to no avail; the good news is that she's still eligible for Oscar and SAG consideration. [Variety]

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<p>&quot;We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks&quot;</p>

"We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks"

Credit: Focus World

PGA surprises with documentary nominees, but Alex Gibney makes the cut

Will any of their choices show up on the Academy shortlist?

Unlike their award for narrative features, which tends to closely mirror the Academy's Best Picture race, the Producers' Guild of America Award for documentaries is far less predictable and more idiosyncratic. The PGA may have agreed with the Academy (as did pretty much every major awards body) on "Searching for Sugar Man" last year, but the year before, not a single one of their nominees wound up in the Oscar race.

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'Spring Breakers,' 'Short Term 12' and 'Mud' lead 2014 Spirit Awards snubs and surprises

'Spring Breakers,' 'Short Term 12' and 'Mud' lead 2014 Spirit Awards snubs and surprises

It's a tough awards season if you're an indie or studio player

This morning's 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations were, as expected, dominated by Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave," but the nominating committees did spread the love around more than most pundits would have expected. Many awards players earned one or two expected nominations only to be overlooked in key categories you would have expected a nod in. As HitFix's own Kris Tapley noted in his Spirits analysis, there may just be too many fantastic movies to go around this season, independently or studio produced.

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<p>Oscar Isaac at the 2013 BFI&nbsp;London&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Oscar Isaac at the 2013 BFI London Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

An epic interview with 'Inside Llewyn Davis' star Oscar Isaac

And an attempt at nailing down the ethereal genius of the Coens

CULVER CITY, Calif. — A few weeks ago we ran an interview with the Coen Bros. about their latest film, "Inside Llewyn Davis." I put it up in a Q&A format rather than the usual prose kind of thing because the back and forth was so interesting to me. And for a pragmatic pair whose answers almost have more power in the context of the question, it made a lot of sense.

As I sat down to write up a lunch interview with star (and recent Spirit Award nominee) Oscar Isaac, it became apparent to me that it would benefit just as much from that treatment. The discussion has a natural flow and Isaac is so thoughtful in all of his responses that it would seem wrong to pick and choose the quotes that work best for a piece about the themes and character-building that went into the film.

Which brings me to another point about why a simple Q&A made a lot of sense. Just like the Coens, Isaac — as you'll plainly see in his answers — isn't too caught up in affectation and applying meaning to art. The existence of the thing is the thing. So the conversation, then, is the conversation. No fluffy piece built around choice excerpts. Just an hour-long chat about nostalgia, the life of a nomad, the impact of artists on community, music as an outlet, the inspiration of Buster Keaton and the danger of an actor's personality becoming bigger than the work itself.

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<p>Bruce Dern,&nbsp;June&nbsp;Squibb and Will Forte, all nominees this morning for &quot;Nebraska&quot;</p>

Bruce Dern, June Squibb and Will Forte, all nominees this morning for "Nebraska"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

This year's indie spirit at the cinema well-represented by today's nominations

A wonderful crop of films and artists reflects a fantastic year for movies

So, this year's list of nominees for the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced. How did things shake out? Well, Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" led the way with seven nominations, but Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" wasn't far behind with six.

The nominees for Best Feature were "All is Lost," "Frances Ha," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska" and "12 Years a Slave." My first instinct was to cry foul that Richard Linklater's glorious "Before Midnight" didn't slip in and only managed nods for screenplay and female lead, but as someone put it to me on Twitter, perhaps that just goes to show the quality of work across the independent spectrum this year. There is only so much room.

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<p>A scene from &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

A scene from "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'12 Years a Slave' leads the Independent Spirit Awards nominations

Winners will be announced Saturday, March 1

The nominees for the 29th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced. Check out the full list below.

Winners will be revealed at the annual pre-Oscar Santa Monica ceremony on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

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