<p>Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of &quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda on the set of "Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tech Support: Claudio Miranda on effects and 3D photography in 'Life of Pi'

Ang Lee's DP is the frontrunner for the Best Cinematography Oscar

The odds-on favorite to win the Best Cinematography Oscar this year seems to be Claudio Miranda for Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." Why? The Academy tends toward aesthetically pleasing films in the category. "Beautiful pictures," you might say, and sometimes at the expense of perhaps more technically proficient work that may not be as postcard pretty.

But while that may be true, it's been leveled at "Life of Pi" as a criticism in some quarters. This is, after all, a film with a visual scope that is as much a result of visual effects as it is practical photography. But Miranda has a few things to say about that, if you think his work was somehow not as important in the greater scheme than that of the effects artists at the Rhythm & Hues and MPC effects houses.

Read Full Post
<p>Kathryn Bigelow</p>

Kathryn Bigelow

Credit: Time Magazine

Kathryn Bigelow gets Time Magazine cover story

She hits the press trail for 'Zero Dark Thirty' without a Best Director nod in tow

Kathryn Bigelow is out there hitting the PR circuit for "Zero Dark Thirty" at a bit of an awkward time: she was passed over for a Best Director nomination two weeks ago after being considered one of the best bets in the category for a film that is very much driven by her artistic vision. She was on CBS This Morning recently offering a point of view on that, in fact. "To be honest, it was just a couple of years ago that I was standing on that stage with 'The Hurt Locker,'" she told host Gayle King, "and so that might have something to do with it as well."

Meanwhile, she gets a big cover story in Time Magazine this week that serves as part profile, part timeline of the criticism that has been leveled toward "Zero Dark Thirty" for its conflation of circumstances and, some would say, "dangerous" depiction of torture and enhanced interrogation's role in finding Osama bin Laden.

Read Full Post
<p>Alan Parker and Madonna on the set of &quot;Evita.&quot;</p>

Alan Parker and Madonna on the set of "Evita."

Credit: Buena Vista Pictures

Roundup: BAFTA honors Alan Parker with Fellowship award

Also: A doctor speaks up for 'Silver Linings,' and why Ang Lee could win

Once an A-list director who scored Oscar nominations for "Midnight Express" and "Mississippi Burning," Alan Parker's critical reputation has since slipped, along with his work rate: he hasn't directed a film since 2003's widely lambasted "The Life of David Gale." But he remains a highly regarded figure in the British industry, where he's served as chairman of both the British Film Institute and the now-defunct UK Film Council. He's a long-anticipated choice, then, for the BAFTA Fellowship: the British Academy's highest career honor, and the final presentation at the group's awards ceremony. Parker has a happy relationship with BAFTA, having previously won competitive awards for "Bugsy Malone," "Midnight Express" and "The Commitments" -- this will be his seventh honor overall from the group. (Side note: His best film, for my money, remains "Shoot the Moon" -- for which he naturally received nothing at all.) [BAFTA]    

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;It Felt Like Love&quot;</p>

"It Felt Like Love"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

My Sundance 2013 wrap: 'Big Sur,' 'We Steal Secrets,' 'Prince Avalanche' and more

Closing the curtain on my 35th annual

PARK CITY - The Sundance Film Festival will push on through the weekend but for me it concluded today. It was a longer stretch than last year for me but I still don't put in half the time some of the other folks do. I mean, 40 films in 10 days just isn't my cup of tea. The 13 I managed in seven days is more my speed, thanks. And it was a good cross-section of early looks. My first post of capsule thoughts on this and that is here, in addition to the single write-ups I did on personal favorites "Mud," "Before Midnight," "Fruitvale" and "Running from Crazy." And here are some closing considerations on more...

Read Full Post
<p>Alice Englert in &quot;In Fear.&quot;</p>

Alice Englert in "In Fear."

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Review: Alice Englert gets driven to distraction in nifty British horror pic ‘In Fear’

The rising young star is an asset to this scrappy genre treat

When it comes to Australian actress Alice Englert, it feels a bit like we’re watching a star being born in fast-forward, and not necessarily in the right order. The 18-year-old daughter of Jane Campion – though she’ll make it on her own name and merits, thank you very much – came to critics’ attention at Toronto last year, with her cool turn as a precocious seductress in Sally Potter’s “Ginger and Rosa.” The performance nabbed her a British Independent Film Award, though despite an Oscar-qualifying run, US audiences will only see it in mid-March. By that time, she’ll have already made her mainstream mark as the heroine of Warner’s all-star adaptation of teen-lit phenomenon “Beautiful Creatures.”

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Before Midnight&quot; is, for my money, the most likely awards player out of this year's Sundance.</p>

"Before Midnight" is, for my money, the most likely awards player out of this year's Sundance.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Sundance 2013: Which films might find Oscar traction next season?

Is there a 'Beasts'-level success in the mix?

PARK CITY - There are still five days left in this year's Sundance fest, but I'm out of here tomorrow, so it's time to start winding coverage down. And one thing worth considering is the potential awards season impact of this year's 35th annual.

Read Full Post
<p>Matthias Schoenaerts and Armand Verdure in &quot;Rust and Bone.&quot;</p>

Matthias Schoenaerts and Armand Verdure in "Rust and Bone."

Credit: Sony Classics

'Amour,' 'Rust and Bone' divide spoils at France's Lumiere Awards

Jean-Louis Trintignant joins Emmanuelle Riva in the winners' circle

The Lumiere Awards -- in French film inustry terms, the Golden Globes to the Cesars' Oscars -- actually took place on Friday, but I missed the news in the Sundance crush. Anyway, better late than never, and you probably could have guessed anyway that Michael Haneke's "Amour" took the top prize, as well as Best Actor and Actress for Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. It wasn't a sweep, however: Haneke was foiled by Jacques Audiard and "Rust and Bone" in both the Best Director and Best Screenplay categories. Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see a newcomer award for Ernst Umhauer, a crafty presence in one my top 10 of 2012, Francois Ozon's "In the House." Full list of winners after the jump and at The Circuit.

Read Full Post
<p>Emile Hirsch (left),&nbsp;David Gordon&nbsp;Green (center)&nbsp;and Paul&nbsp;Rudd (right)&nbsp;at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival</p>

Emile Hirsch (left), David Gordon Green (center) and Paul Rudd (right) at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

Credit: Getty Images

David Gordon Green calls the economical 'Prince Avalanche' a conversation with himself

The director needed a palate cleanser after a number of bigger projects

PARK CITY - "I found a state park in Texas that had burnt in a forest fire, and before it started growing again, I wanted to film a movie in it." That is the simple thought process that led director David Gordon Green to make "Prince Avalance," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday afternoon. It was an area -- Bastrop State Park, southeast of Austin -- that he knew from hiking and the atmosphere spoke to him.

Read Full Post
<p>Mariel&nbsp;Hemingway in &quot;Running from&nbsp;Crazy&quot;</p>

Mariel Hemingway in "Running from Crazy"

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Mariel Hemingway opens up about suicide, molestation and her family's curse in 'Running from Crazy'

Barbara Kopple's doc is as fascinating as you'd expect from a film on the subject

PARK CITY - It's been another good year for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival from what I've heard. I, unfortunately, have missed most, though I did catch up with Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" today. In a word, excellent. But I'll cover that in another capsule post later on.

The only other doc I've been able to catch up with was actually one of my most anticipated films of the fest: Barbara Kopple's "Running from Crazy." An examination of the Hemingway family's unfortunate history of mental illness and suicide, the film is seen through the eyes of "the littlest Hemingway," actress and model Mariel.

It's a fascinating subject and Kopple is one of the great navigators of the form, having won two Oscars, for 1976's "Harlan County, USA" and 1991's "American Dream." Indeed, the latter is the only film to sweep Sundance's documentary award categories. So the stage was already set for this one to be captivating, and that it is.

Read Full Post
<p>Alexander Skarsg&aring;rd and Ellen Page at the Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Alexander Skarsgård and Ellen Page at the Sundance Film Festival.

Watch: Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgård on 'The East' and the indie-blockbuster balance

The thriller recently had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY - Ahead of its premiere last Sunday, Zal Batmanglij's second feature "The East" -- which I reviewed earlier this morning -- was one of the most curiously awaited titles of this year's Sundance fest, not least because his first collaboration with writer-producer-star Brit Marling, "Sound of My Voice," made such a splash in Park City two years ago.

With their reputations thus established, the pair could command some bigger names for their follow-up -- among them, "True Blood" star Alexander Skarsgård and Oscar-nominated actress Ellen Page. Both have key roles to play in this topical thriller on the theme of corporate terrorism, in which an intelligence agent (Marling) infiltrates The East, a mysterious group of left-wing anarchists bent on punishing corrupt corporations for their social and environmental misdeeds.

Read Full Post