Oscar Talk: Ep. 99 -- The top 10 films of 2012

Oscar Talk: Ep. 99 -- The top 10 films of 2012

Other than a brief bit of business it's all about top 10 lists this week

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>Jackie Weaver and Robert De Niro in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Jackie Weaver and Robert De Niro in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Silver Linings Playbook' wins with Detroit film critics

'Lincoln' picks up two prizes

After leading the way with nominations recently, David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" has been crowned Best Picture by the Detroit Film Critics Society. David O. Russell won Best Director and Best Screenplay, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress and Robert De Niro took Best Supporting Actor. Check out the full list of winners below and as always, keep track of the ups and downs of the season via The Circuit.

Read Full Post
<p>Tom Hooper at the &quot;Les Miserables&quot; premiere in New York.</p>

Tom Hooper at the "Les Miserables" premiere in New York.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Roundup: Tom Hooper on the 'logic' of his Globes omission

Also: Guardian names 'The Master' 2012's best, and the year in posters

Kris maintained in his Globes analysis yesterday that the somewhat surprising omission of Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper from the Best Director lineup wasn't particularly significant, but it struck me as a slight setback for a film many pundits have pegged as a potentially monolithic frontrunner -- particularly given a musical-friendly streak at the Globes that has brought nominations for Alan Parker ("Evita") and Tim Burton ("Sweeney Todd"). (It may or may not be worth noting that "Dreamgirls" helmer Bill Condon missed this hurdle in 2006, presaging an unexpected Oscar shutout.) Hooper admits to being disappointed, but feels he may have been at a disadvantage given that the category's all-drama lineup: "At least there's some logic to it, and I'm certainly in good company with David O. Russell." [Huffington Post

Read Full Post
<p>Judd Apatow and Mike Nichols at MoMa</p>

Judd Apatow and Mike Nichols at MoMa

Credit: MoMa

Exclusive: Judd Apatow asks Mike Nichols for advice

The 'This is 40' director sat down with his idol for a MoMA discussion recently

Last month, "This is 40" director Judd Apatow and legendary filmmaker Mike Nichols ("The Graduate," "Primary Colors") sat down for a discussion at the Museum of Modern Art here in New York cheekily titled "Judd Apatow asks Mike Nichols for Advice."

It was a sober and thoughtful chat about varying philosophies on this and that. Apatow is a huge fan of Nichols and looks up to him as a mentor. He spoke early in the talk about how he and friend Owen Wilson first set out to write a script once upon a time by studying the structure and characters of "The Graduate," but the conversation soon led to comedy, naturally, and I thought Nichols had some particularly profound things to offer.

Read Full Post
<p>Richard Gere at the Paris premiere of &quot;Arbitrage&quot;&nbsp;last week</p>

Richard Gere at the Paris premiere of "Arbitrage" last week

Credit: AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Richard Gere on crafting a New York state of mind with Nicholas Jarecki's 'Arbitrage'

And how he was sold on the first-time director's 'movie guy' cred

BEVERLY HILLS -- For many on the circuit this season, the fall months have brought the bulk of the PR work, the glad-handing, the face-time. For a guy like Richard Gere, who stars in Nicholas Jarecki's "Arbitrage" and picked up a Golden Globe nomination this morning for his work in the film, it's been a much longer road.

Read Full Post
<p>Suraj Sharma in &quot;Life of Pi&quot;</p>

Suraj Sharma in "Life of Pi"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tech Support: 'Lincoln,' 'Life of Pi' and 'Anna Karenina' lead the race for Best Original Score

As always, international flavor abounds

We save the music categories to the end to analyze for two reasons. One is that it helps to have heard the music. While it obviously helps to have seen any contender before opining on its chances, I find that listening to the music is one that really cannot be compromised. It is easier to guess what the costumes or cinematography of a movie might be like. It's also nice to have the list of qualifying scores at the ready.

The second reason is that composers themselves are usually brought on to the films quite late. After the actors, writers, cinematographer, production designer and costume designer have all gone home, the composer is left by him or herself, watching a movie he or she had no part of shooting.

Bernard Herrmann‘s brief appearance in “Hitchcock” was, alongside the ending, my favorite scene in the movie. It also showed two very important aspects of film composing. First, it showed how composing is lonely, painstaking work with no one to keep you company save for the occasional appearance by the producer, editor, sound mixer or, most likely, the director. But second, when done well, film music can become iconic. From “Star Wars” to “Lawrence of Arabia” to “Gone with the Wind” to, yes, “Psycho,” many themes are simply unforgettable. They can also create mood and atmosphere.

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Barker (left) with &quot;Rust and Bone&quot; director Jacques Audiard (center) and &quot;Amour&quot; director Michael Haneke (right) at the Toronto Film Festival in September.</p>

Michael Barker (left) with "Rust and Bone" director Jacques Audiard (center) and "Amour" director Michael Haneke (right) at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Sony Classics co-chief Michael Barker remains positive on Oscar chances for 'Amour'

He draws a line between Michael Haneke's career now and Ingmar Bergman's in 1973

"Great last week, man," Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker exclaims when he hops on the phone to discuss the Golden Globe nominations for his company's films, "Amour" and "Rust and Bone." "Between Marion Cotillard getting nominations for SAG and Golden Globes and Emmanuelle Riva winning all those prizes from critics groups, and then 'Amour' winning Best Picture with LA film critics, 'Gatekeepers' and 'Searching for Sugar Man' chugging along, we're feeling pretty good."

Well, no need to report the facts. There they are. And it's good to be positive, because while these accolades have been great, the fact is Michael Haneke's "Amour" has had a bumpy day and a half. Particularly for star Emmanuelle Riva, who, while lauded by critics groups this season, failed to grab a notice from either the Screen Actors Guild or Hollywood Foreign Press Association (though she was remembered, among five other co-nominees, by the Broadcast Film Critics Association on Tuesday). Barker's not too glum about that, though. In fact, he says it was to be expected.

Read Full Post
<p>Animated adventure &quot;The Croods&quot; will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.</p>

Animated adventure "The Croods" will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

'The Croods,' 'Promised Land' among first Berlin competition titles

Ulrich Seidl will complete his 'Paradise' trilogy at the February fest

It may not get as much press as the sexier (and more summery) Cannes and Venice fests, but the Berlin Film Festival has quietly launched a number of major world cinema titles in recent years. Last year, "A Separation" began its golden run with a Berlinale premiere. This year, if you look down the list of 71 foreign-language Oscar hopefuls, you'll spot more Berlin titles than Cannes ones: "A Royal Affair," "Barbara," "Sister," "War Witch" and "Caesar Must Die" among them. (All that, and the festival introduced us to "Tabu" too.)

Still, while the festival is a must for aficionados of international film, it struggles to secure the A-list auteur fare and Hollywood fodder that would ensure broader media and public interest. Which is why, by their standards, nabbing the world premiere of DreamWorks Animation's "The Croods," over a month ahead of its March 2013 release, represents a pretty big get.

Read Full Post
Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz were nominated for supporting turns in "Django Unchained."
Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz were nominated for supporting turns in "Django Unchained."
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Golden Globe nominations breathe new life for 'The Master' stars, 'Django'

The power of Weinstein compelled them

The first thought that jumped to mind after today's Golden Globe nominations announcement was, "Not too embarrassing." Often enough awards watchers are looking to the HFPA to do what they do, fill out their list with dubious performances from movie stars and films that will guarantee a glitzy red carpet. And there's a little of that here, though in most cases, it's not as simple as that.

Richard Gere, for instance, gives one of his best performances to date in "Arbitrage," so it's a great excuse for HFPA to include him, and for quality work, thank God. Nicole Kidman's nomination for "The Paperboy" might have been dismissed as star-loving madness, too, except the Screen Actors Guild chalked her up for a nomination yesterday (and I have no idea what's going on there). And the lead actress, drama field could have been an excuse to shove in Halle Berry or something, but the group went with NYFCC-winner Rachel Weisz.

Read Full Post
<p>Suraj Sharma in &quot;Life of Pi.&quot;</p>

Suraj Sharma in "Life of Pi."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Life of Pi' tops with Las Vegas Film Critics

'Looper' picks up another screenplay award.

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society announced their picks yesterday, and clearly liked "Life of Pi" a lot more than most of their peers thus far: Ang Lee's effects-heavy spectacular took six awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and a Youth In Film citation for Suraj Sharma. They're the first group to celebrate the film, though they went a little more by-the-book for their acting picks. Further down, I'm liking the "Prometheus" call for Production Design. Check out the full list of winners after the jump, and catch up with the season thus far at The Circuit.  

Read Full Post