<p>Denzel&nbsp;Washington in &quot;Flight&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in "Flight"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Zemeckis's 'Flight' features Denzel Washington at his best in a powerful character study

The two-time Oscar winner gives a complex performance in the NYFF closer

NEW YORK -- The modest similarities between Robert Zemeckis's last live action film, 2000's "Cast Away," and his latest, "Flight," are interesting. Both begin with a plane crash that changes a man's life, a man who goes on a journey of finding himself and restarting his life anew. Both are films about rebirth. One chooses a tale of a company guy stranded on a desert island to convey the theme. The other chooses that of a pilot caught up in a malfeasance nightmare.

Each commits to film one of the most harrowing plane crashes ever seen*, but while Tom Hanks's time-obsessed protagonist in "Cast Away" learns to take his time through life, Denzel Washington's addiction-afflicted hero in "Flight" learns to admit his problem to the one person he's still fooling: himself.

And that's what the film is about. It may have elements of action filmmaking and courtroom drama, but it is, ultimately, a character study about the sickness of addiction. It captures the embarrassment, the denial, the rage and, crucially, the chronic fallibility that comes with it. The screenplay, from writer John Gatins, pulses with an authenticity that suggests personal experience, but married to a narrative that all but asks whether impairment might have sparked the inspiration to save a hundred lives in a bold way, it becomes something more complex.

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<p>Matthias Schoenaerts, Marion Cotillard and Jacques Audiard hit the red carpet for tonight's gala screening of &quot;Rust and Bone.&quot;</p>

Matthias Schoenaerts, Marion Cotillard and Jacques Audiard hit the red carpet for tonight's gala screening of "Rust and Bone."

Credit: AP Photo/Miles Willis

London fest prioritizes the people over the premieres

'Frankenweenie,' 'Rust & Bone,' 'The Hunt' among the festival's hits so far

LONDON - At no other festival I've attended is the faintly absurd bubble we film critics live in made more apparent than the BFI London Film Festival -- a buffet far more concerned with serving the public the best world cinema has to offer, whether or not another festival got to it first, than with providing media outlets with grabby exclusives and world premieres.

For me and many of my colleagues, a Cannes-premiered film like "Rust and Bone" is already old news, despite not having officially opened yet; for London cineastes in the real world, tonight's gala screening, with Marion Cotillard in attendance, is an eagerly anticipated event. That is as it should be: one of the things I love about my hometown festival is that it re-sparks thoughts and conversations about such films in a much more lively public context.

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<p>Ren&eacute;e Fleming</p>

Renée Fleming

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Exclusive: Renée Fleming to perform original song 'Still Dream' from 'Rise of the Guardians'

The song was written by composer Alexandre Desplat and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire

The Best Original Song race is starting to fill out. We've added a few more to our contenders page in recent days, including tracks from "Celeste & Jesse Forever" and "West of Memphis," but today comes the news that DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians" will feature a tune from acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming

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<p>Anne Hathaway in &quot;The&nbsp;Dark&nbsp;Knight&nbsp;Rises&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway in "The Dark Knight Rises"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hathaway, Hanks and Berry get lead Oscar pushes for 'Dark Knight Rises' and 'Cloud Atlas'

The studio steers clear of Hathaway's 'Les Misérables' campaign

One of the things we've been looking to get confirmation on regarding Warner Bros. Pictures' Oscar campaigns this year is just where Tom Hanks and Halle Berry would be pushed for Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis' "Cloud Atlas." Lead seemed to be the obvious call (both are the movie stars and have the most screen time across the various stories in which they appear and the characters they play), but it's always possible something like this puts everyone up for supporting.

It turns out the two will indeed go lead for the film. I suppose you can consider them contenders in our Best Actor and Best Actress galleries, then. The real surprise from the studio, however, is the decision to place "The Dark Knight Rises" star Anne Hathaway in the lead actress category as opposed to supporting. Is that indicative of a serious rallying or simply a smart decision to get out of the way of another film?

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<p>A scene from Andrea Arnold's &quot;Wuthering Heights.&quot;</p>

A scene from Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights."

Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

Interview: Andrea Arnold on 'Wuthering Heights,' crying to Mumford & Sons and having faith in a face

Her brilliant take on the Emily Brontë classic opens in Los Angeles today

In an era of filmmaking where producers and moneymen seem shyer than ever of original screenplays, hungry for the built-in audience of a known quantity, “This again?” is a question we seem to find ourselves asking on a weekly basis. That may most frequently be in response to high-concept Hollywood franchises and superhero movies, but it's no less applicable to the classic literary adaptation. This autumn alone has brought us new versions of oft-filmed chestnuts in “Anna Karenina” and “Great Expectations,” with Baz Luhrmann's “The Great Gatsby” narrowly scuttling out of the fray; each one invites a fresh round of comparisons, with varying assertions of redundancy or reinvention. 

It's all the more impressive, then, that British director Andrea Arnold's pared-back, wind-whipped and wholly remarkable adaptation of Emily Brontë's “Wuthering Heights” – which itself premiered only months after Cary Fukunaga's fresh take on another standard from the Brontë family canon, “Jane Eyre” – feels both very new and very necessary indeed. If Arnold's film, already on release in New York and opening today in Los Angeles, feels to some extent like the first true version of this dog-eared Yorkshire romance, that could be because it's the first film to realize that the story of farmgirl Cathy and founding Heathcliff's unfettered, ultimately damaging passion isn't really a romance at all. 

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<p>Ben&nbsp;Affleck in &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck in "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Argo'

Ben Affleck's Iran hostage thriller opens today

I've been high on Ben Affleck's "Argo" since way back at Telluride over a month ago. It is, I feel, the current Best Picture frontrunner. We've sussed out its zeitgeist potential, talked to Affleck, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston and pretty much covered all bases on the way to release, which is finally here. So if you make it out to see the film this weekend (and you should), hustle on back here and tell us what you thought. It's time for a wider audience to chime in. And feel free to rate the film via the tool above.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 91 -- 'Not Fade Away' drops on NYFF and surveying Best Supporting Actor

Oscar Talk: Ep. 91 -- 'Not Fade Away' drops on NYFF and surveying Best Supporting Actor

Also: Small films looking to stand out this season

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>Harvey Weinstein.</p>

Harvey Weinstein.

Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Christensen

Roundup: Harvey takes on the pirates

Also: Remembering Harris Savides, and 'Argo' is fighting fit

With a stacked -- and rather rewarding -- slate of films on my plate yesterday, I didn't get to see Harvey Weinstein's keynote speech at the London Film Festival. But no matter: Screen helpfully provides a transcript. It would appear that preservation and piracy were the two chief issues on his mind: he laid into Hollywood film execs for their limited knowledge of their film heritage ("I began to wonder if any of them had even heard of John Ford") and celebrated the French for their hard line on illegal content-sharing, which he claims has bolstered the local film industry, allowing them to finance such grown-up hits as -- and here come two wholly impartial examples -- "The Artist" and "The Intouchables." [Screen Daily]

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<p>Harris Savides on the set of Noah Baumbach's &quot;Greenberg&quot;</p>

Harris Savides on the set of Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg"

Credit: Focus Features

Tech Support: 'American Gangster,' 'Milk' and 'Zodiac' lenser Harris Savides dies at 55

DP frequently collaborated with Gus Van Sant, David Fincher and Noah Baumbach

Talk about having a ton of bricks dropped on your head. I hadn't heard that cinematographer Harris Savides had been ill, certainly hadn't known that he was on the ropes, but he has apparently passed away at the far-too-young age of 55. I don't know the cause of death but I know this one's a big blow to the industry.

Savides most often collaborated with filmmaker Gus Van Sant. He shot films like "Finding Forrester," "Gerry," "Elephant," "Last Days" and "Milk" for the director. But he also worked with David Fincher from time to time ("The Game," "Zodiac"), as well as Noah Baumbach ("Margot at the Wedding," "Greenberg"). His final work will be seen in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," which releases next year.

Savides always brought a delicate touch to his work. There was no blatant thumbprint because that wasn't his style. Yet the work was by no means anonymous. Quite the opposite, in fact, and the aesthetic Van Sant developed in his "Death Trilogy" ("Elephant," "Gerry" and "Last Days") is very much owed to Savides's work.

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<p>Mary&nbsp;Elizabeth Winstead in &quot;Smashed&quot;</p>

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in "Smashed"

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Interview: Mary Elizabeth Winstead on relating to toxicity in 'Smashed'

The actress makes a big stride in the Sundance fave

NEW YORK -- Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been developing quite the career for herself in the commercial sector. Parts in "Final Destination 3," "Black Christmas," "Grindhouse," "Live Free or Die Hard," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and "The Thing" have been a slow build for the actress, right up to this summer's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." But while she's always showed a spark that promised more, it didn't really hit full bloom until James Ponsoldt's "Smashed" premiered at Sundance back in January.

And indeed, the Sundance experience meant a great deal to Winstead, who grew up in Salt Lake City and always saw the fest as something of an El Dorado. "Sundance was always a big goal of mine, since I was a kid," she says. "It was always like this thing that was so close but I could never find my way into actually being a part of it. It was pretty emotional. Yeah, I think I broke down several times when I was there so it meant a lot."

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