Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen
Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: Steve McQueen heads to HBO

Also: Underdog actresses and the danger of anticipating 'Wolf of Wall Street'

You could hardly ask for a better illustration of the current equality in status between film and television that the fact that the arguable frontrunner for this year's Best Director Oscar is already developing a new project at HBO. Following in the footsteps of Steven Soderbergh and Todd Haynes, among others, "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen is collaborating with writer Matthew Michael Carnahan ("World War Z") and producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (Oscar winners for "The King's Speech," they also worked on McQueen's first two features) on a drama series about a young African-American man entering New York high society. Could the British artist-turned-filmmaker get an Emmy to go with his possible Oscar? [Deadline]

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Best Director 2014: Cuarón, McQueen and Jonze vie for Oscar

Best Director 2014: Cuarón, McQueen and Jonze vie for Oscar

Surveying the field of helmers from debut filmmakers to weathered vets

This year's Best Director race got thinned out a bit recently as such heavy hitters as Bennett Miller and George Clooney took their leave of the 2013 film awards season. But there's still a healthy crop of hopefuls, from debut filmmakers to veteran craftsmen. How will the final line-up shake down?

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio in &quot;The&nbsp;Wolf of Wall Street&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Martin Scorsese has a present for you this Christmas

And it will be campaigned as a comedy for the Golden Globes

Were you fretting over the release date of Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street?" Well, you didn't really have to do that. We told you on Sept. 23 it was going to move off its Nov. 15 release date but that the goal was to release on Christmas Day. I Tweeted on Oct. 15 that the film was going to make that date. And today, after a few weeks of other outlets tripping over themselves to "exclusively" report that very simple information, you can "officially" rest easy, as Paramount has gone ahead and confirmed the Christmas release.

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<p>A moment from &quot;Aningaaq&quot;</p>

A moment from "Aningaaq"

Credit: Warner Home Video

Exclusive: Could both 'Gravity' and 'Aningaaq' end up with Oscar nominations?

Separate trips to Greenland inspired a thoughtful addition to the space thriller

As you might recall from HitFix's Telluride Film Festival coverage, Jonás Cuarón's short film "Aningaaq" is a companion piece to Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity." It depicts the other side of an SOS radio conversation between that film's main character, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), and an Inuit fisherman named Aningaaq (Orto Ignatiussen) on the icy mass of Greenland. The short works both in tandem with the feature and separately as an emotional sliver of the greater work's themes. It could also join "Gravity" in the Oscar discussion later this season as Warner Bros. has submitted it for consideration in the Best Live Action Short category.

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Sarah Polley in "Stories We Tell."
Sarah Polley in "Stories We Tell."
Credit: Roadside Attractions

IDA Awards nominate 'Stories We Tell,' 'Act of Killing'

Is this a preview of the documentary Oscar race?

When it comes to the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, there's no particularly reliable precursor -- that branch of the Academy has a history of doing things their own way, after all. But the Independent Documentary Association (IDA) Award is among the most prestigious documentary prizes on the trail. Last year, they (along with pretty much everyone else) foreshadowed the Oscar win for "Searching for Sugar Man," and also pre-empted the Academy's nomination for "The Invisible War"; the year before, the Academy nominated none of their five chosen features. "Independent" is the operative word, then.

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Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Credit: CBS Films

Roundup: 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' 'The Butler' compete at Camerimage fest

Also: Pixar saves Ken Loach, and who are 2013's Usual Suspects?
I always take an interest in Poland's annual Camerimage festival, the only international film fest dedicated specifically to the art of cinematography -- spanning both big Hollywood and small international productions. This year's Competition lineup is typically, unpredictably diverse: "Inside Llewyn Davis," "12 Years a Slave," "Rush," "Nebraska" and (somewhat less obviously) "Lee Daniels' The Butler" occupy the more mainstream end of the spectrum, while Mexico's Oscar entry "Heli," recent London Film Festival champ "Ida" and painstaking Edward Hopper homage "Shirley: Visions of Reality" are there to keep things interesting. "War Witch" and "Holy Motors" were among last year's winners. [Screen Daily]
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<p>Matthew McConaughey in &quot;Dallas Buyers&nbsp;Club&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey in "Dallas Buyers Club"

Credit: Focus Features

Matthew McConaughey on Ron Woodroof and fighting the power in 'Dallas Buyers Club'

The actor lost himself in researching the charismatic figure

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Matthew McConaughey doesn't exactly make for a sound bite sort of interview. Well, particularly not when you walk into the room and inquire as to whether he happened to know that his Longhorns had just taken it to the Sooners on the gridiron. Everything after that is a conversation, full of all the tangents and tributaries toward other conversations equally bereft of easy bites and bits to be plugged into the usual interview format. If you're from the south, too? The drawls kick in, feeding on one another. The parables take hold. Soon you find yourself wondering, "Wait, what were we talking about?"

On this particular afternoon, we're talking about "Dallas Buyers Club," the Jean-Marc Vallée indie production that provided McConaughey with more to chew on than perhaps any other role he's taken in his two-decade career. So there’s plenty to discuss, beginning with the obvious: the 45 pounds the actor dropped to play a man diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live.

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<p>Sean Bobbitt on the set of &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Sean Bobbitt on the set of "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt sought truth in contrivance on '12 Years a Slave'

The DP has been collaborating with Steve McQueen since the early art gallery days

Filmmaker Steve McQueen’s relationship with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt goes farther back than their 2008 collaboration on McQueen’s feature debut “Hunger.” For some six or seven years before transitioning to the cinema, the two worked together on a series of film and video installations designed for gallery-based presentation. These early works were silent, stark pieces, often with a focus on the body (frequently McQueen’s own body). That aesthetic has deepened through their work on the big screen.

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'Anna Karenina,' Ennio Morricone among tech winners at European Film Awards
Credit: Focus Features

'Anna Karenina,' Ennio Morricone among tech winners at European Film Awards

No below-the-line nominees this year as EFA changes to a juried system

Nominations for the 26th annual European Film Awards -- the Continent's answer to the Oscars -- will be announced on November 9, with the ceremony to follow on December 7 -- but winners in six categories can already start rehearsing their acceptance speeches, as the EFA has changed the voting system for their technical awards. Instead of nominations and winners being announced and elected simultaneously with the top races, a specially appointed jury has instead chosen a single winner in each case.

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Felicity Jones in "The Invisible Woman."
Felicity Jones in "The Invisible Woman."
Credit: Sony Classics

Roundup: Felicity Jones defeats category fraud

Also: Academy's e-voting upgrade, and screenwriters turning to adaptations

In last week's Best Supporting Actress contenders gallery, I mentioned how farcical it was that Felicity Jones was being campaigned in that category for her inarguable lead performance in the title role of Ralph Fiennes' biographical romance "The Invisible Woman" -- category fraud is a fixture of the race now, but some calls are still too dishonest to let stand. Evidently, enough people agreed for Sony Classics to let common sense prevail, as Scott Feinberg reports that the company has switched Jones' campaign to a leading one. A small victory on principle, then -- though Jones is unlikely to be nominated either way for her strong work in the film. (Now, how about an honest supporting campaign for Jones' superb co-star Joanna Scanlan?) [Hollywood Reporter

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