<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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<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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