<p>Tom&nbsp;Holland in &quot;The&nbsp;Impossible&quot;</p>

Tom Holland in "The Impossible"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Tom Holland, 16-year-old star of 'The Impossible,' joins the Best Actor race

That rare moment when a studio does what's right by a young actor

I've written pretty much all I should about Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" at the moment. But to recap, I walked away thinking Naomi Watts was probably the film's best shot at an acting nomination for the raw emotion and embattled nature of her character in the film (which depicts one family's plight during the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004).

Otherwise, I figured that even though Ewan McGregor doesn't have as much to chew on as Watts (though he nails it when he's called upon), he'd probably get a lead actor push to go along with hers, while young actors Oaklee Pendergast, Samuel Joslin and Tom Holland (who play McGregor and Watts' sons in the film) would be shoved into the supporting ranks like so many child actors before them. Well, in the case of Holland, who largely anchors the film and is a definite lead by anyone's measure: not so fast.

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<p>&quot;Ernest &amp;&nbsp;Celestine&quot;</p>

"Ernest & Celestine"

Credit: GKIDS

GKIDS picks up 'Ernest & Celestine' for a fall 2013 release (UPDATED)

But the indie studio still has a lot to play with this year

Strike one potential animated contender from the list (which was just updated this morning). You might recall that Guy was a big fan of Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner's "Ernest & Celestine" at Cannes, offering that it's "schooled in the gentle economy of picture-book storytelling: its words are witty and well-chosen, yes, but it's the delicate visual construction of its parallel worlds that invites the most scrutiny and empathy." He then went on to declare that it deserved US exposure.

Well, it looks to get it, as hero to the independent animated film community GKIDS has just announced acquisition of the title. But it won't be bowing it in this year's race. It's being held for fall 2013, where it should be considered formidable amongst whatever usual usual studio fare will surely be in the conversation. The film is officially set for a North American debut at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, but I'm hoping it might pop up at Telluride first. That's where I discovered "Chico & Rita" a year before GKIDS picked up that unassuming but beautiful ditty, which went on to nail down an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film last year.

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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Off the Carpet: Getting out the vote

On the Oscars in an election year

The most important piece you're going to read on the awards season right now is Sasha Stone's "The Oscars in an Election Year" over at Awards Daily. Even if you chafe against her politics (with which I am personally aligned), you can't argue against the fact that she nails a certain truth: socio-political environment will impact reaction to art.

That's what's so great about movies, books, paintings, songs, etc. They are as much a direct reflection of the times as they are a nebulous Rorschach for them. Involuntary extrapolation can be as significant as clear-eyed reaction to a straight-forward treatise. And in an environment as heated, tense and divided as this, the art that escapes the cauldron is bound to be, if not willfully profound, then a fascinating looking glass, at the very least.

I hopped on iChat with Stone last week to chew on this idea a bit and do something I've been meaning to do for a while: really dig through the history of election years and the Oscars. Much of what follows is owed to that conversation and the ideas that came out of it. It's a fool's errand to try and tie any given election year down to the Best Picture winner, of course, but it certainly makes for intriguing considerations.

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<p>Robert Redford in &quot;The Company&nbsp;You&nbsp;Keep&quot;</p>

Robert Redford in "The Company You Keep"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Sony Classics picks up Redford's 'The Company You Keep'

The film is set for the Toronto and Venice film fests

Sony Pictures Classics has quite a few irons in the fire this season, as usual. There is the Cannes trio of Michael Haneke's "Amour," Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" and Pablo Larraín's "No." There is the recently acquired "At Any Price" from Ramin Bahrani. There are Sundance hits "Smashed," from James Ponsoldt, and "West of Memphis," from Amy Berg. And now, there is Robert Redford.

The movie star/director's latest, "The Company You Keep," is part of the slate of films announced for Toronto and Venice. It features a spectacular cast, including Redford, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Brendon Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Susan Sarandon and Brit Marling. With Sony Classics' just-announced acquisition of the title, I wonder if we might see the film pop up at Telluride first? They always come to Colorado with plenty to show.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Lost Loves,&quot; Cambodia's submission for the foreign language Oscar.</p>

A scene from "Lost Loves," Cambodia's submission for the foreign language Oscar.

Credit: N.D. Palm Film

Cambodia joins the foreign Oscar race... but what of 'Amour?'

Meanwhile, Germany, Mexico and Israel announce shortlists

Before I get to the second official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race, a word about the film that many have been casually assuming is the film to beat in the race: "Amour." Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or basked in critical adoration at Cannes and looks sure to stand as one of the year's most lavishly acclaimed films when 2012 wraps up. After the Academy broke with tradition last year by actually giving the prize to the critics' favorite -- Iran's "A Separation" -- you could be forgiven for liking Haneke's chances this time round, particularly given that his film should resonate with the Academy's older voters, who are legion.

First, however, it actually has to be entered into the race, and that's less of a sure thing than you might think. Though it's a wholly French-set, French-language production, three countries can lay claim to it: France, Germany and Haneke's home state of Austria.

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<p>Matt Damon received the BFCA's Joel Siegel Award in 2011 for his humanitarian and charitable efforts.</p>

Matt Damon received the BFCA's Joel Siegel Award in 2011 for his humanitarian and charitable efforts.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Matt Damon and John Krasinski join the season in Gus Van Sant's 'Promised Land'

Focus announces the fracking film will be released on December 28

Alright, make some room. Another potential Oscar play has joined the party.

We've been speculating for some time that either Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" (Fox Searchlight), Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" (Relativity) or Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" (Focus) could be last-minute additions to the season. Gervasi's film, it appears, is sticking with a 2013 launch, while Cooper's -- which came *this* close to peeking out this year -- will hold off as well.

But Focus has just announced that Van Sant's film, from a screenplay by Matt Damon and John Krasinski (based on a story by author Dave Eggers), will indeed hit the ground running in 2012. The film, starring Damon and Krasinski, along with Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook, will miss the festival circuit but it's set for release New York and Los Angeles on December 28.

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<p>A scene from Tim Burton's &quot;Frankenweenie.&quot;</p>

A scene from Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Frankenweenie' to open 56th BFI London Film Festival

Tim Burton's animated feature will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest

The BFI London Film Festival has enjoyed mixed fortunes with its opening night slot in recent years. They lucked out in 2008 and 2009, securing highly anticipated world premieres in "Frost/Nixon" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox," attracting unprecedented international media attention to a festival that had never been noted for such publicity coups: its chief purpose, after all, is to bring the highlights of Cannes, Venice, Toronto and the like to local film buffs who don't have the luxury of festival-trotting for a living.

It was an exciting development, but it couldn't last: for the last two years, former LFF director Sandra Hebron kicked off the festival with films that had already premiered in Toronto. And while "Never Let Me Go" was a respectable choice -- if a bit on the glum side for curtain-raising duties -- last year's choice of Fernando Meirelles's dismal, critically savaged "360" (which only recently slumped in and out of US and UK cinemas) was calamitous.  

In that respect, Hebron set her Australian successor, Clare Stewart, a pretty low bar to clear. Happily, one needn't have seen "Frankenweenie" to know that she's done so pretty comfortably.

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<p>Daniel Day-Lewis in the poster for &quot;Lincoln.&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in the poster for "Lincoln."

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Daniel Day-Lewis does some serious thinking in the first poster for 'Lincoln'

Steven Spielberg's biopic hits theaters November 9

It may still be gloriously summery -- where I am, at least -- but I'm feeling an intangible autumnal chill this week, as the upcoming prestige-movie season, and all the awards talk that comes with it, looms ever larger. Venice kicks off the fall festival circuit in exactly one week's time, I'm attending screenings with embargoes signed in blood, and every day seems to bring another new poster, trailer, clip or press release for a film with the O-word on its mind. (Yesterday's announcement of the Golden Globes voting schedule just about had me burying my head under the couch cushions, begging for another few months of sun.)

Today, then, marks the first move in the marketing campaign for "Lincoln" -- a sober monochrome one-sheet that quite clearly establishes, in case you thought otherwise, that Steven Spielberg's presidential biopic (and sight-unseen Oscar threat) won't be reframing Honest Abe's life story as a romantic comedy. It's not a terribly inspired poster, though I suppose it carries the requisite gravitas -- between the shot of Daniel Day-Lewis's artfully made-up profile and the grainily etched black and white of the imagery, it recalls nothing so much as a weathered penny coin in its iconography. That's surely no accident.

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<p>Robert Pattinson in &quot;Cosmopolis.&quot;</p>

Robert Pattinson in "Cosmopolis."

Credit: Entertainment One

The Lists: Top 10 performances in David Cronenberg films

As 'Cosmopolis' goes wide on Friday, we round up Cronenberg's best thesps

After a divided reception at May's Cannes Film Festival (and a UK release earlier this summer), David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" finally opened for New York and Los Angeles audiences on Friday. On Friday, meanwhile, it opens wide, exposing itself itself to hordes of Robert Pattinson fanatics who might well find themselves baffled by Cronenberg's (or rather Don DeLillo's) chilly, talky, unapologetically freeze-dried essay on the alienation of the One Per Cent. They'll do anything for love, those Twi-hards, but I'm not sure they'll do that. 

The Pattinson fans that decide to give it a skip, however, will ironically be missing their idol's best screen work to date. Many sneered when it was announced that the veteran director would be working with the modern matinee idol, not an actor yet treasured for immense range -- but his pinched, low-temperature charisma has found its perfect manipulator in Cronenberg, a director who has seemingly always been as interested in a star's physique as their technique. In my review of "Cosmopolis," I noted "the effectively slippery [energy] inherent in Pattinson’s compellingly blank screen presence," which perhaps sounds more backhanded than I intended; it's harder than it looks to play a cypher. 

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<p>Nicole Kidman at the Cannes premiere of &quot;The Paperboy&quot;&nbsp;in May</p>

Nicole Kidman at the Cannes premiere of "The Paperboy" in May

Credit: AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau

NYFF adds tributes to the program for the first time

Actress Nicole Kidman and program director Richard Peña to be feted

This year's New York Film Festival just keeps expanding. Yesterday it was revealed that anniversary screenings of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Princess Bride" would be on the docket for the 50th annual, and today, it's been revealed that, like Telluride and AFI Fest, NYFF has added a tribute element to its proceedings.

The first-ever honorees will be actress Nicole Kidman -- whose film "The Paperboy," from director Lee Daniels, was also added to the line-up today -- and NYFF Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center Richard Peña.

"Richard Peña has been the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival since 1988," the press release states. "At the Film Society, he has organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema."

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