Oscar Talk: Ep. 100 -- Looking back, from 'Hurt Locker' to 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Oscar Talk: Ep. 100 -- Looking back, from 'Hurt Locker' to 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Also: Best Animated Feature and is it worth it to report on 'whisper campaigns?'

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

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<p>Wes Anderson on the set of &quot;Moonrise Kingdom&quot;</p>

Wes Anderson on the set of "Moonrise Kingdom"

Credit: Focus Features

Utah critics award 'Zero Dark Thirty,' Wes Anderson

Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence tie for Best Actress

The Utah Film Critics Association has announced its 2012 winners, and, big surprise, "Zero Dark Thirty" took top honors. But the group went in a couple of different directions elsewhere, tapping Dwight Henry for Best Supporting Actor, Wes Anderson for Best Director and "Indie Game: The Movie" for best doc. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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"The Intouchables"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Nine foreign language finalists announced by Academy

Which five will make the cut?

The Academy has announced the nine finalists for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Seventy-one films were submitted from countries around the world.

High-profile snubs include "Barbara" from Germany, "Lore" from Australia, "Fill the Void" from Israel, "After Lucia" from Mexico and "Blancanieves" from Spain.

Check out the full list of finalists below. Guy will circle back later today with commentary on the list.

The nominees will be announced on January 10, 2013.

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<p>Anne Hathaway in &quot;The Devil Wears Prada.&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Roundup: Anne Hathaway to be honored by Costume Designers' Guild

Also: Foreign-language shortlist looms, and potential whisper-campaign victims

The Costume Designers' Guild, which will hold its 2012 award ceremony on February 19, has announced a list of honorary award winners that includes costume designers Judianna Makovsky (a three-time Oscar nominee previously rewarded by the Guild for "Pleasantville" and the first "Harry Potter" film) and Eduardo Castro, as well as TV producer Lorne Michaels. The biggest name being honored, however, is Anne Hathaway, who's likely to be well-practiced in accepting trophies by mid-February. She'll be receiving the Spotlight Award, and while I'm not sure what the criteria are, Hathaway makes sense as a thespian ambassador for the art of costume design, given how many of her roles, from "The Devil Wears Prada" to "Les Mis," have played with image and costume. Or perhaps the Guild simply wants a piece of the season's likely golden girl. [CDG]

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<p>Jessica Chastain in &quot;Zero Dark Thirty.&quot;</p>

Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Review: Bigelow conquers talk and action in unflinching 'Zero Dark Thirty'

The film opened in limited release yesterday

Kathryn Bigelow deserves credit for many, many things about her tremendous military thriller "The Hurt Locker," but she'd be the first -- and probably the gladdest -- to admit that the simple fact of her gender isn't one of them. That didn't stop multiple media commentators from sanctifying her as some kind of poster girl for "anything you can do, I can do better"-style feminism in Hollywood, as if a woman could only direct a stone-cold action picture as a reproach to the men who handle most such fare, and not merely because it's what she's good at -- and has been good at for over 20 years.  

Bigelow bore this unsolicited symbolic weight with patient, if seemingly weary, grace all the way to the Oscar podium, offering multiple polite statements to the effect that she's not so much a "woman filmmaker" as a woman who makes films, and refusing the Academy's unspoken invitation to turn her history-making Oscar acceptance speech into a self-aggrandizing soapbox stand.

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<p>&quot;Rise of the Guardians&quot;</p>

"Rise of the Guardians"

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Black Film Critics Circle springs for 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'The Intouchables,' 'Rise of the Guardians'

Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain steam roll right along

The Black Film Critics Circle has jumped on the "Zero Dark Thirty" bandwagon, handing the film Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress honors. "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" each won a pair of awards, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) for the former, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Ensemble for the former. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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<p>Lucy Alibar at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild&quot;</p>

Lucy Alibar at the Los Angeles premiere of "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: AP Photo/Todd Williamson

For writer Lucy Alibar, 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' couldn't be more personal

How an intimate play exploring her relationship with her father became one of 2012's most lauded indie films

As indie sensation "Beasts of the Southern Wild" makes its way through the awards season, and director Benh Zeitlin and star Quvenzhané Wallis pick up countless breakthrough prizes along the way, it would be worth bearing in mind how the identity of the film grew from a little play by writer Lucy Alibar.

In the stage production "Juicy and Delicious," there is no little girl. There is a boy, whose father is dying, much like Hushpuppy's in the feature film, and for Alibar, it was a way of working through emotions she was feeling in the midst of a health scare with her own father.

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<p>Four songs from&nbsp;&quot;Django Unchained&quot;&nbsp;qualified for Best Original&nbsp;Song, more than any other film.</p>

Four songs from "Django Unchained" qualified for Best Original Song, more than any other film.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: International lineup of Best Original Song contenders presents a great opportunity

From Adele to Paul Williams, Ennio Morricone to Bombay Jayashri

With the recent reveal of the Academy's list of Best Original Song qualifiers -- all 75 of them -- the music branch has a wide swath of popular artists to choose from. Of course, the branch tends to focus on the work itself, not necessarily the talent involved, but it's worth mentioning that Fiona Apple, Florence + the Machine, Karen O, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Keith Urban, Mumford and Sons, The Bootleggers & Emmylou Harris, Arcade Fire, Dolly Parton, Katy Perry, Paul Williams, Jordin Sparks and Norah Jones are all in the mix. That's quite the role call.

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<p>Jason Clarke in &quot;Zero Dark Thirty.&quot;</p>

Jason Clarke in "Zero Dark Thirty."

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Roundup: Senators take on 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Also: Ann Dowd's self-funded Oscar dream, and 2012's most overlooked gems

Looks like the debate over the depiction of torture in "Zero Dark Thirty" isn't going to end any time soon. Three US senators, all in positions concerning national security, have taken it upon themselves to dismiss the film's portrayal is "grossly inaccurate and misleading" in an open letter to Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton. "'Zero Dark Thirty' is factually inaccurate," they write, "and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama (sic) bin Laden is not based on facts, but rather part of the film's fictional narrative," They further accuse the film of having "the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner." There is plenty to counter in such claims -- both regarding the events on screen and their relative fictional status -- so I expect this conversation to continue. [Variety]

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Ben Affleck

Credit: Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

Ben Affleck sets the record straight on 'Justice League'

The 'Argo' director recently praised Marvel's 'Avengers' build and welcomed smart genre projects

The internet was abuzz a few months back when what turned out to be an overzealous report put Ben Affleck in the driver's seat of the planned Warner Bros. team-up film "Justice League." The report was soon enough shot down and everyone went about their business, but in a recent interview about his work on "Argo," Affleck said he hated talking about it in the media at all because the eventual stories shed a negative light on the project.

"I just want to make it clear because it’s not like I had something to even pass on," he said. "Because someone will eventually do 'Justice League' and they'll go, like, 'Ben Affleck passed on it,' and it won't be true. So I don’t mind setting the record straight. It's one of those things where the closest I came was some people talked to me about it like at a meeting. They were like, 'Here's the stuff we’re doing,' you know? 'Here’s what we're looking at.' That kind of thing. And they suggested it. But I don’t think there’s a script. I don’t think there’s anything."

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