<p>Jason&nbsp;Sudeikis (left)&nbsp;and Will&nbsp;Forte in probably one of my favorite &quot;SNL&quot;&nbsp;sketches of their era</p>

Jason Sudeikis (left) and Will Forte in probably one of my favorite "SNL" sketches of their era

Credit: AP Photo

Will Forte talks 'Nebraska' with fellow 'SNL' alum Jason Sudeikis

On the nature of truth in drama with two of the funniest guys around

LOS ANGELES — Paramount brought out some artillery on behalf of "Nebraska" star Will Forte Sunday afternoon as the actor's fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Jason Sudeikis moderated a post-screening Q&A with the Best Supporting Actor hopeful for a capacity audience filled with mostly Screen Actors Guild members.

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

Scarlett Johansson at the Rome premiere of "Her."

Credit: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

McConaughey and Johansson win in Rome, as 'Her' campaign gathers pace

The actress looks to become the first-ever Oscar nominee for a voice performance
The Rome Film Festival isn't traditionally a headline-grabbing event -- in terms of prestige and pulling power, it's still emerging from the shadow of Venice, the former ward of Rome festival director Marco Mueller. And sure enough, not even a Best Film win from the James Gray-led jury will get many people talking about Alberto Fasulo's "TIR," an Italian hybrid documentary about a truck driver's lonely life on the road. (Even that choice seems to echo the Venice fest, after the surprising Golden Lion win for Italian highway documentary "Sacro GRA" in September.)
Still, with their acting awards, Gray's jury -- intentionally or otherwise -- secured a bit of media attention for the festival with two very starry choices. Matthew McConaughey took Best Actor for "Dallas Buyers Club," while Scarlett Johansson was their Best Actress pick for "Her."
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<p>Ethan (left)&nbsp;and Joel Coen at the AFI&nbsp;Fest premiere of &quot;Inside Llewyn&nbsp;Davis&quot;</p>

Ethan (left) and Joel Coen at the AFI Fest premiere of "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Credit: AP Photo

Joel and Ethan Coen discuss 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' long-time collaborations and the allure of New York

Also: Thoughts on filling the very big shoes of cinematographer Roger Deakins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — "Inside Llewyn Davis" is the Joel and Ethan Coen's 16th feature to date. Starring Oscar Isaac as a shade of New York folk singer Dave Van Ronk, it tells the story of the scene that Bob Dylan came into, the calm before a storm. It's a love letter to music of the era, making for a potent collaboration — their fourth — with music maestro T Bone Burnett.

The filmmaker siblings are notoriously difficult interviews, though in most of my experiences with them it's been pleasant. You just can't drop the usual mundane queries and expect excitement. But when you key on to something they really want to discuss, usually something that has nothing to do with the film at hand, they light up. They don't suffer too much heady consideration about their work and remain pragmatic, almost refreshingly so, in the face of such things. Nevertheless, they collectively make for one of the most vital voices in all of American art.

I recently sat down with the duo to discuss, among other things, long-standing collaborations, the allure of stardom and the romance of New York City. Read our back and forth below.

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<p>Sandra Bullock at the Hollywood Film Awards last month.</p>

Sandra Bullock at the Hollywood Film Awards last month.

Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: Bullock joins McConaughey on Palm Springs honor roll

Also: 2013's best undistributed films, and campaigning at the Governors' Awards

As I wrote last week, the Palm Springs Film Festival makes a habit of giving their annual Desert Palm Achievement Awards to surefire Best Actor and Actress Oscar nominees, and they've almost certainly maintained that record this year. Matthew McConaughey was recent named the first recipient; now he's joined by "Gravity" star Sandra Bullock -- "the epitome of cinematic talent and versatility," in the words of fest chairman Harold Matzner. (I bow to no one in my love for Bullock, but... the epitome?) The actress, currently Cate Blanchett's chief challenger in the Best Actress race, will be presented with the honor at the festival's awards gala on January 4. [PSIFF]

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Christian Bale

Credit: AP Photo

Christian Bale says to expect 'shocking stuff' from Ridley Scott's Moses epic 'Exodus'

The 'Out of the Furnace' star comments on a different Moses for a different era

At the AFI Fest premiere of "Out of the Furnace" last weekend, director Scott Cooper pardoned the absence of Christian Bale by quipping, "He's parting the Red Sea as Moses in the Canary Islands, but he really wanted to be here." Indeed, Bale has been hard at work filming Ridley Scott's "Exodus" these last few weeks, and the actor told HitFix in a recent interview that audiences can expect a far cry from what Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille delivered 60 years ago.

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<p>Jared Leto at the Los&nbsp;Angeles premiere of &quot;Dallas Buyers Club&quot;</p>

Jared Leto at the Los Angeles premiere of "Dallas Buyers Club"

Credit: AP Photo

Jared Leto hopes the Focus legacy will live on with new regime after 'Dallas Buyers Club'

One last hurrah on the circuit brings with it a lot of incentive

As awards season trudges forward, the two weeks surrounding AFI Fest have easily been more packed with fetes and soirees than ever before. And on Sunday afternoon, it was Universal and Focus holding events for Oscar hopefuls "Rush" and "Dallas Buyers Club" respectively.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor, Steve McQueen and Brad Pitt

2014 Oscar contenders work the room at the 2013 Governors Awards

That was the goal at least

A slew of potential nominees for the 86th Academy Awards attended the annual Governors Awards Saturday night, where voters were on hand to salute honorees Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Piero Tosi and Steve Martin. While a few were actually friends or relatives of the honorees, 99 percent of them were in full campaign mode (or at least that's what the studios and their publicists were hoping for).

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<p>Angelina Jolie,&nbsp;Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin at the 2013 Governors Awards</p>

Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin at the 2013 Governors Awards

Credit: Courtesy of AMPAS

Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin toasted and roasted at 2013 Governors Awards

And Angela Lansbury finally has an Oscar!

HOLLYWOOD — The Academy kicked off awards season in its own way Saturday night with the presentation of this year's Honorary Oscars at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood. Or, as Martin Short considers them, "The highest honor an actor can receive…in mid-November." But more on that in a moment.

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<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Steve McQueen arrive at the GQ&nbsp;Awards earlier this week in Los Angeles.</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o and Steve McQueen arrive at the GQ Awards earlier this week in Los Angeles.

Credit: AP Photo/John Schearer

Fox Searchlight celebrates the holidays with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and '12 Years a Slave' stars

And the 'Veep' star goes bug-eyed over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's latest

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — After a rough start to 2013 ("Stoker," say what?), Fox Searchlight has had a lot to celebrate. The studio's Sundance pickup "The Way, Way Back" was one of the art house hits of the summer earning $21 million, September comedy "Baggage Claim" did an OK $20 million with an $8.5 million budget and Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" became a surprise indie smash with $16 million and is still going strong (with $20 million well within reach). Oh, and of course, there is that little drama "12 Years a Slave" that critics and audiences have been a tad euphoric for.

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<p>Channing Tatum is judging you. In the Team Oscar competition, that is.</p>

Channing Tatum is judging you. In the Team Oscar competition, that is.

Credit: AP Photo

Channing Tatum and Ellen DeGeneres lead the search for 'Team Oscar'

Any college students out there want to be on the Oscar telecast?
Want to be on the Oscar telecast? Want the approval and admiration of Channing Tatum? Want to be featured on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show?" Well, we all want at least two of these things. And US college students stand a chance of getting all three via the Academy's "Team Oscar" initiative, which they're running for the second year.
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