<p>A scene from &quot;Wreck-It Ralph.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Wreck-It Ralph."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is there a Disney/Pixar identity crisis?

Also: Affleck recognized as a Modern Master, and 'Les Mis' cast goes Vogue

Are the Disney and Pixar animation brands beginning to merge into each other? Josh L. Dickey is asking the question, as he notes that Pixar's tradition-focused summer hit "Brave" seemed to borrow significantly from the classic Disney storybook, while Disney's current smash "Wreck-It Ralph" is a hi-tech, pop-savvy firecracker that seems more informed by the contemporary Pixar model of crossover entertainment. (Dickey also wonders if "Ralph"'s box office performance would be even more impressive if it had been released under the Pixar label.) Are the twin houses going to borrow more from each other from here on out, or should Disney be mindful of preserving its more old-school identity? With their next film a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale adaptation, perhaps the overlap is temporary. [Variety]

Read Full Post
<p>Jeff Bridges winning Best Actor at the 2009 Academy Awards.</p>

Jeff Bridges winning Best Actor at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Oscar Bait: Will the Academy feel generous toward Jeff Bridges as 'The Giver?'

Philip Noyce in talks to direct long-gestating adaptation of Lois Lowry's novel

Kris inaugurated our Oscar Bait column, in which we muse on the awards potential of projects still in development or production, a few weeks ago with some thoughts on Tom Hanks's upcoming turn as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks." Unfortunately, we've neglected to revisit the feature since -- as the season ramps up, after all, it's a challenge to see as far ahead as February, let alone to films that haven't even been made yet.

But when promising news dropped last week concerning the long-forestalled film adaptation of Lois Lowry's "The Giver," I pricked up my ears. Pre-production talk doesn't tend to grab my attention, but in this case I was willing to make an exception -- not least because I'd been talking with friends about my desire for "The Giver" to eventually reach the screen only two days before. (Sadly, this power to magick a project into being seems to be a one-time deal: I've casually been inserting Wong Kar-wai's abandoned Nicole Kidman collaboration "The Lady from Shanghai" into conversations for a whole week, but no dice.)

Read Full Post
<p>Kellan Lutz and Kristin Stewart in &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.&quot;</p>

Kellan Lutz and Kristin Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: Why 'Twilight' beats 'Star Wars'

Also: 'Skyfall' and 'Lincoln' score, and Weinsteins' 'Populaire' lives up to its title

The cults surrounding "Twilight" and "Star Wars" may not look very similar, but what they do share is a near-evangelical belief in the cultural significance of their respective franchises. I wouldn't want to get in a fight with either of them -- let alone between them -- yet that's what UK critic Mark Kermode has done... and he's on the side of the Twi-hards. With "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" hitting screens this week, he isn't afraid to admit that he's excited. Claiming that most critics' dismissal of the series marks them as "out of touch," he adds: "I've had a lot more fun watching and arguing about the Twilight movies than I ever had with the Star Wars saga, that lumbering, narratively hobbled space opera which, we now learn, is to return to our screens for yet more boring instalments in the not too distant future."  Hey, I'm just the messenger. [The Guardian]

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel&nbsp;Craig in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tech Support: How an 0-34 trio of Oscar nominees helped make 'Skyfall' a sensation

Sound mixer Greg P. Russell, DP Roger Deakins and composer Thomas Newman are all eyeing their first win at the Oscars

When you stack up the Oscar records of cinematographer Roger Deakins, composer Thomas Newman and sound mixer Greg P. Russell, an amazing stat hits you in the face: 0-34. Three guys have gone to the Oscars 34 times and not once have they walked away with a trophy. And this year, each of them feature on one of the biggest critical and commercial hits of the year: Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'."

Credit: Gracie Films

10 films advance to Oscar shortlist for Best Animated Short

And they range from Disney's 'Paperman' to a Maggie Simpson adventure

The Oscars may seem some way off still, but the short film categories are already getting down to business. A couple of weeks ago, we got the official, er, shortlist for Best Documentary Short; now, Best Animated Short is the next category to whittle down the playing field.

Ten titles have advanced to the second voting stage, selected by the Academy's Short Film and Feature Animation Reviewing Committee from a pool of 56 entries. Interestingly, the press release states that three to five of the 10 will be nominated, though there haven't been fewer than five nominees in the category since 2000.

Read Full Post
<p>A scene from &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

A scene from "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Lincoln'

HitFix
A-
Readers
B+
Steven Spielberg's look at the 16th President hits theaters today

One of the most buzzed films of the Oscar season hits theaters today after having its "official" bow at AFI Fest last night. The film comes into the season with huge expectations and, by most accounts -- including, most definitely, my own -- it rises to them. But I don't expect the film will land so well with everyone, so I'll be curious to hear what others think. When you get around to it, do let us know your take in the comments section below. And as always, feel free to rate it above.

Read Full Post
Oscar Talk: Ep. 95 -- Everyone's predicting, 'Lincoln' and 'Skyfall' land

Oscar Talk: Ep. 95 -- Everyone's predicting, 'Lincoln' and 'Skyfall' land

Also: Digging into Best Cinematography

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.

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel&nbsp;Craig in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Skyfall'

HitFix
B+
Readers
B+
50 years of Bond comes to this

I'm kind of hoping I can get to the theater while I'm in LA this week to see Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" again, which I quite liked. Guy was mostly positive on it, too. I'd particularly like to take it in on IMAX to soak in those beautiful Roger Deakins images. With much talk after the film opened early overseas (mopping up at the box office), it landed on these shores yesterday. So I'm very curious to know what our readers might think of it. If you get around to seeing it, come on back here and tell us what you thought. And as always, feel free to rate it above.

Read Full Post
<p>Daniel Craig at the BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards on Wednesday.</p>

Daniel Craig at the BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards on Wednesday.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Day-Lewis, Craig, Tarantino honored at Britannia Awards

The BAFTA/LA event will be broadcast on Sunday

With Alan Cumming hosting, Matt Stone and Trey Parker on the winners list and Daniel Day-Lewis taking the stage with an Eastwooding routine, BAFTA/LA's Britannia Awards sound considerably more fun than their parent organization's February ceremony across the pond. Then again, that's often the case with awards shows the general public doesn't really know about -- though they'll have a chance to see for themselves when the ceremony is broadcast this Sunday on BBC America.

The Britannia Awards, which have been held by the British Academy's Los Angeles outcrop since 1989, aren't a competitive ceremony, but rather a celebration of a selected handful of individuals -- usually mostly British, though not this year -- deemed to have enriched the medium. It's not an award tied to specific films, though they often alight on artists who already have a clear presence in the awards season.

Read Full Post
<p>Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen in &quot;A Royal Affair,&quot; Denmark's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar</p>

Alicia Vikander and Mads Mikkelsen in "A Royal Affair," Denmark's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Roundup: Oscar hopeful 'A Royal Affair' wins big at AFI Fest

Also: THR's actors' roundtable, and Virginia loves 'Lincoln'

The AFI Fest closed last night with the "world premiere" (even if the NYFF let the cat out of the bag weeks ago) of "Lincoln," but not before handing out some awards. And the big winner was... well, Scandinavia. Swedish immigrant drama "Eat Sleep Die" took the Grand Jury Prize, and the superb Danish thriller "A Hijacking" (see my Variety review) took the Audience Award in the New Auteurs section, but the big winner from an Oscar perspective was Denmark's foreign-language submission "A Royal Affair," which underlined its serious contender status by taking the World Cinema Audience Award. Not many were paying attention when it won two prizes at Berlin in February, but this smart historical romance has grown in stature ever since. It wasn't the only foreign Oscar hopeful to take a gong: Kenya's first-ever entry, "Nairobi Half Life" was also rewarded. [AFI Fest

Read Full Post