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

Tom Holland and Naomi Watts in "The Impossible"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

With 'The Impossible' and 'Perks,' Summit has a one-two awards season punch

Bayona and Chbosky bring exciting visions to two completely different stories

Three years ago Summit Entertainment surmounted considerable odds -- a 17-month viewing window, a Goliath "game changer," low box office numbers that became the story -- to claim the Best Picture prize for Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." It was a pretty significant moment. The house that "Twilight" built had secured the industry's highest honor.

Things have changed a bit since then. Obviously, the biggest event has been Lionsgate's acquisition of the company, which yielded plenty of personnel changes. But in the frame of awards season, Summit has been there when it had the goods. Last year brought "50/50," a near-Oscar player that had a good time at the Independent Spirit Awards, and summer release "A Better Life," which brought a surprising Best Actor nomination for star Demián Bichir. This year, they have another one-two punch, a pair of films that couldn't be more different but that nevertheless showcase strong directorial voices.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence in &quot;The Hunger Games.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games."

Credit: Lionsgate

Casting Society of America announces its 2011/12 award nominees

'The Artist,' 'Drive' and 'The Hunger Games' among those up for honors

Whenever the conversation about potential new categories at the Academy Awards rolls around among award geeks, a Best Casting prize (generally in tandem with one for Best Ensemble) will usually be one of the first suggestions. It's a worthy idea, but one that -- like the oft-suggested category for stunt work -- I fear would prove useless in practice. Casting may be one of the most vital contributions to the filmmaking process, but I doubt most laymen would be able to discern what it actually entails. They struggle enough with sound editing without having to judge off-screen disciplines too.

I strongly suspect an Oscar category for Best Casting would just wind up dully adding to the laurels of sundry Best Picture winners, brilliantly cast or otherwise. You might expect the Casting Society of America's awards to take a different tack, but no: despite landing far outside awards season, the nominations for their Artios Awards check off most of the same 2011 contenders all the other guilds did seven months ago, with a few 2012 early birds thrown in for good measure.

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<p>Tony&nbsp;Scott at a Mexico City event for 2004's &quot;Man on&nbsp;Fire&quot;</p>

Tony Scott at a Mexico City event for 2004's "Man on Fire"

Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Tony Scott remembered by friends and colleagues

The late director made a real impact on artists in his industry

I don't know what to write about Tony Scott. I saw the news late last night and the Twitter frenzy around it. Everyone, it seems, is so quick to have something to say in these instances. Armchair psychology, knee-jerk career analysis, etc. It's to be expected but I usually just go a bit numb with something like this. Scott is one of the biggest names in this industry to take his leave and, well, it's just awful. And not for Tony, really. For the wife and two kids he left behind.

I was going to offer up the usual "we don't know why these things happen" line, but it's now being reported that Scott recently learned he had inoperable brain cancer. "If true and Tony was terminal, then he died as he lived: Full blown, full speed and down to the very last second," director Joe Carnahan, who has been on a tear about what Scott has meant to him, Tweeted recently.

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<p>Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in &quot;To the Wonder.&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams in "To the Wonder."

Credit: FilmNation Entertainment

'To the Wonder' to continue Malick's autobiographical focus?

Synopsis suggests director's latest may be drawn from his romantic past

With screenings of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" suddenly popping up all over the place -- to the consternation, I believe, of Venice festival brass, who usually secure world premiere slots for their Competition titles -- Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" stands as the greatest unwrapped enigma of the fall festival season. Typically for the publicity-shy director, details of the narrative and stylistic construction of his latest have been spare. There's been no trailer. No poster, either. And while a single still has been floating around online for over a year, no others have joined it to show us what visual poetry Emmanuel Lubezki might have up his sleeve this time round.

We've known for some time that "To the Wonder" -- the first film of Malick's career with a more or less contemporary setting -- is a romance of sorts, centering around a reunion between childhood friends Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams. The synopsis from production company FilmNation offers a few more specifics -- as well as an explanation of the film's only superficially oblique title -- that suggests the autobiographical urges that propelled last year's "The Tree of Life" may once more be at play here.

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<p>Keanu Reeves (left)&nbsp;and Martin&nbsp;Scorsese in &quot;Side by Side&quot;</p>

Keanu Reeves (left) and Martin Scorsese in "Side by Side"

Credit: Tribeca Films

'Side by Side' reflects a watershed moment in the history of film

The great celluloid vs. digital debate really opens up for the layman

I'm not really sure what's left to be said in the great film vs. digital debate, but if nothing else, Christopher Kenneally's "Side by Side" brings things to a head nicely as it represents the layman's way into the discussion. These things always reach broader consideration last and no film, to date, has been as thorough and definitive as this.

A year after "Hugo" brought concepts of film preservation into a narrative fold and fed a meta fire throughout a season very much about Hollywood and the history of cinema, the debate rages on. That film's director, Martin Scorsese, the great protector of celluloid, appears to be throwing in the towel, while recent pop-up screenings (with one more still to come) of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," shot on 65mm, doubled as a benefit for Scorsese's film preservation-dedicated Film Foundation. These are very divided, even contradictory times.

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<p>&quot;The Godfather&quot; is the highest-ranking Best Picture winner on the Sight &amp; Sound list.</p>

"The Godfather" is the highest-ranking Best Picture winner on the Sight & Sound list.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Cinejabber: Best Picture, critic style

What happens when you fuse Oscar's Best Picture list with the S&S poll?

It's been a while, but welcome (back) to Cinejabber, your weekend space to spill whatever film-related thoughts are on your mind.

For me, it's still the Sight & Sound poll -- the gift that keeps giving. Or taking, perhaps: it's certainly vacuumed up far too much of my free time. Just as the analyses and arguments over the Top 100 announced at the start of the month had begun to dissipate, the conversation was re-juiced when they released the full results online, cross-referencing all 846 individual Top 10 lists from the critics' poll contributors. I already revealed my list on these pages last week again, but here it is in Sight & Sound format, with additional commentary.

Just last night, Kris was bemoaning the lack of a single vote for Sidney Lumet's "Network." It's one of several high-profile (and Oscar-guzzling) American films -- ranging from "Schindler's List" to "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to "The Silence of the Lambs" -- that don't feature at all in a pile of over 2000 titles that does include such timeless classics as "Hitman," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "The Sapphires." (Okay, I like one of those. But, well, you know.) I like these odd anomalies, a sign of a list built by unconnected individuals rather than a committee, though not everyone is equally amused.

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<p>If Mr.&nbsp;Finch was still with us, he'd surely be &quot;mad as hell&quot;&nbsp;about this.</p>

If Mr. Finch was still with us, he'd surely be "mad as hell" about this.

Credit: MGM/UA

Sidney Lumet's 'Network' robbed by critics' Sight & Sound poll


I kept looking through the "N-O" section. Surely I missed it. Is there a "next page" link? No. Am I in the right...no, I'm not on the wrong page. I'm in the "all films" section. Let me search by director, for the Lumet films. There's "Dog Day Afternoon." There's "Night Falls on Manhattan." There's "12 Angry Men." One vote each. Maybe it's a glitch. Only three Lumet films? I'm getting side-tracked.

Finally it just settled: 846 top 10 lists from correspondents in 73 countries citing 2,045 different films, and not one of them -- not a single one -- thought 1976's "Network" deserved a mention. "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" gets to call itself one of the lot, but not one of the greatest films of all time, indeed, the greatest screenplay of all time.


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<p>A scene from &quot;Death for Sale,&quot; Morocco's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.</p>

A scene from "Death for Sale," Morocco's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Credit: Entre Chien et Loup

Morocco strikes first in the foreign language Oscar race

Meanwhile, Denmark's submission committee has a tough choice to make

I'm surprised it's taken this long for me to have to write one of these posts -- international submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar usually start trickling through in July or so. So expect a lot more of these announcements before the October 1 deadline for submissions. We'll be keeping track of them -- or doing our best to, as they begin flooding in in the thick of festival season -- on our Contenders page for the category.

Anyway, Morocco is first out of the gate this year, having selected Faouzi Bensaidi's socially-minded thriller "Death for Sale" as their best hope for awards glory. Perhaps the country's selectors are feeling a little more confident, having unexpectedly cracked the nine-film longlist for the first time back in January with the under-the-radar prison drama "Omar Killed Me," and therefore having come tantalizingly close to their first Oscar nomination. Not a prolific film industry by any means, Morocco has only entered the race eight times since 1977.

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<p>John&nbsp;Hawkes in &quot;The Sessions&quot;</p>

John Hawkes in "The Sessions"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

John Hawkes steals the heart in 'The Sessions'

Plus: Check out the Oscar-winning 1996 doc 'Breathing Lessons' and the new poster

One of the first screenings I caught here in New York this week was Ben Lewin's "The Sessions," which I saw yesterday. The film debuted at Sundance (where it was called "The Surrogate") to much acclaim and became an instant contender for Best Actor (John Hawkes) and Best Actress (Helen Hunt). William H. Macy's supporting performance could also be a player.

It's a very emotional film, ultimately, even if it gets there with a lighter touch. Much of that has to do with Hawkes's fantastic performance, carving an endearing portrait of real-life polio sufferer Mark O'Brien. O'Brien was a Berkeley poet and journalist who spent the majority of his waking hours in an iron lung and, toward the end of his life, wanted to know the pleasure of being with a woman. But the film ends up being about way more than the physical joy of sex, navigating a path of spirituality and humanity toward that most important of life's offerings: intimate human connection.

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<p>The 50th annual&nbsp;New York&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

The 50th annual New York Film Festival

Credit: Film Society of Lincoln Center

'Amour,' 'Hyde Park on Hudson' and more set for 2012 NY fest

The 50th annual slate has been revealed

Okay, so, I said it yesterday, but to reiterate: a busy week for NYFF. Robert Zemeckis's "Flight," Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" and David Chase's "Not Fade Away" have been tapped for big world premieres, and today, the full line-up has been unveiled by Film Society of Lincoln Center.

As usual, there are some Cannes carry-overs, chief among them Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning "Amour." Also in the mix are Christian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills," Leos Carax's "Holy Motors" and Pablo Larrain's "No," among others.

Continuing along the fall festival circuit will be Brian De Palma's "Passion" (already set for Toronto/Venice and a potential Telluride play, too), Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha" (set for Toronto) and Olivier Assayas' "Something in the Air" (Venice). And there is another world premiere noted: Allan Berliner's "First Cousin Once Removed."

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