<p>Ryan Coogler's &quot;Fruitvale Station&quot; played Sundance and Cannes and The Weinstein Company thinks it will be a Best Picture player. Will it be?</p>

Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" played Sundance and Cannes and The Weinstein Company thinks it will be a Best Picture player. Will it be?

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Off the Carpet: Half-time

With six months in the books, how does 2013 shape up for awards so far?

It seems like just yesterday Ben Affleck was on stage at the Dolby Theatre accepting his Best Picture Oscar for "Argo" and one of the more dramatic awards seasons was drawing to a close. Since then we've had a refreshing handful of months away from the fray, but today, we're going to ruin all of that, just for a moment.

Last week Greg, Guy and I offered up our "for your consideration" Oscar picks from the year's first half that we'd like to see remembered come year's end. With that as a launching off point, and with today marking the actual mid-way point of 2013, let's really dig in. How has the year shaped up for awards hopefuls so far?

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<p>&quot;Pacific Rim:&nbsp;Tales from Year Zero&quot;&nbsp;cover art by Alex Ross</p>

"Pacific Rim: Tales from Year Zero" cover art by Alex Ross

Credit: Legendary Entertainment

How the comic book format allowed Travis Beacham to expand on the 'Pacific Rim' universe

'Tales from Year Zero' afforded the chance to be additive rather than adaptive

When Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim" crashes into theaters on July 12, you'll only be getting part of the story. The universe of the film was too big for one movie, you see. It inevitably spilled over the edges and left an excess of material without a home, but with so much to say.

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<p>Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in &quot;The Heat.&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in "The Heat."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tell us what you thought of 'The Heat'

The Sandra Bullock-Melissa McCarthy buddy comedy opens today

I  haven't yet had a chance to see "The Heat," but it's one of the summer studio movies I've been looking forward to most this year. Director Paul Feig's "Bridesmaids," if not a home run, made me laugh more than any film of its type in the last couple of years, and I'm a fully paid-up member of the Sandra Bullock fan club. (Why, yes, I do own a "Forces of Nature" DVD. Thanks for asking.) If you haven't been paying attention, this is Bullock's first leading role since winning the Oscar for "The Blind Side" nearly four years ago. Drew McWeeny didn't enjoy the film but gives it a respectable B- rating, while many critics seem to be higher on Bullock's chemistry with Melissa McCarthy than the film itself. Fine by me -- commercial movies headlined by two female stars are rare enough these days that I can accept some compromise. Is this buddy comedy worthy of them? Vote in the poll after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

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The top 10 movie presidents of all time

The top 10 movie presidents of all time

With 'White House Down' in theaters we look at the best of POTUS on screen

This weekend Roland Emmerich's "White House Down" hits theaters. While it's a minor romp that will either delight you or cause you to roll your eyes out of your head, it reminds of that old staple of the cinema: the movie president.

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<p>Pixar Animation&nbsp;Studio in Emeryville,&nbsp;Calif.</p>

Pixar Animation Studio in Emeryville, Calif.

Credit: AP Photo

Pixar strikes a compromise between original concepts and sequels

The animation studio plans to aim for one original film every year

I've certainly voiced my share of regret with regard to Pixar sequels. I'm honestly not against them in principal (some might argue the "Toy Story" films got better with each subsequent installment), but I do understand frustration from those who'd like to see the animation studio steer away from the brand expansion market and back to original concepts.

That said, it's odd to me that "Monsters University" seems to be such a last straw for so many. I couldn't stand "Cars 2," and yes, I'm pretty perturbed at the notion of my favorite Pixar film receiving the sequel treatment while a film that seems to be aching for it -- "The Incredibles" -- remains singular. But I was charmed by the new "Monsters," which landed to one of the biggest openings in the studio's history last weekend. It's not the poster child here, in my opinion.

Nevertheless, it seems Pixar has heard the moaning and taken it to heart. In an interview with Pixar president Ed Catmull, Buzzfeed reveals that the studio is planning to scale back on sequels and aim for one original film each year.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Nymphomaniac.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Nymphomaniac."

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Sex or sweeties in first clip from Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac'

It's fair to say the film isn't revealing its hand just yet

Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" -- a supposed sexual odyssey with a starry cast including Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Uma Thurman, among others -- is currently enjoying such a feverish level of anticipation that it could announce a new typeface for its credits and the internet would collectively freak out for a minute. So it's inevitable that the first, minute-long clip to be revealed from the film has been eagerly seized upon by the web -- and even more inevitable that von Trier has punked us with a wholly chaste clip that, alluring as it is, doesn't reveal much of anything (or any of its famous faces). Come on, you didn't think Lars was going to let the cat out of the bag just yet, did you?

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<p>Ilkka Koivula in Aki Kaurismaki's &quot;Tavern Man,&quot; part of &quot;Historic Center.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Ilkka Koivula in Aki Kaurismaki's "Tavern Man," part of "Historic Center." 

Credit: Urban Distribution International

Edinburgh Film Festival: Auteurs at play in 'Historic Center,' and other short treats

Also: one to watch in the Best Animated Short Oscar race?

One of the pleasures I’ve allowed myself at this year’s Edinburgh fest is more time than usual to graze the handpicked short film programme – annually a point of pride for the festival, though inevitably swamped in the attention stakes by even the most negligible features in the lineup. That’s understandable: it’s hard to cover films that your readers have no certain way of accessing, and even with advances in online exhibition, distribution of shorts remains a niche affair. Taking aside from the annual release of those fortunate shorts rather randomly singled out by the Oscars, civilian cinemagoers are unlikely to see any at all.

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<p>&quot;Looper&quot;&nbsp;star Joseph Gordon-Levitt was invited to join the actors branch</p>

"Looper" star Joseph Gordon-Levitt was invited to join the actors branch

Credit: AP Photo

Jason Bateman, Lena Dunham and Prince among 276 invited to join the Academy

As well as...Chris Tucker?

The Academy has announced its annual list of invitees to its esteemed membership, including 276 names from actors Jason Bateman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jennifer Lopez and Milla Jovovich to directors Steve McQueen, Todd Phillips and last year's wunderkind Benh Zeitlin.

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<p>Stark Sands, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis.&quot;</p>

Stark Sands, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake in "Inside Llewyn Davis."

Credit: CBS Films

'Inside Llewyn Davis' soundtrack, featuring Justin Timberlake and Marcus Mumford, out in September

The T Bone Burnett-produced folk collection is sure to be a hipster favorite

American audiences will have to wait until December 6 to see "Inside Llewyn Davis," the Coen Brothers' folk-scene study that wowed critics (and Steven Spielberg's jury) at Cannes last month. But take heart: you can hear it -- well, sort of -- a few months earlier, as the film's excellent (and highly integral) soundtrack is released on September 17. That's in time for Grammy consideration, by the way -- and while it won't be eligible for any music Oscars, they may as well start engraving the Best Compilation Soundtrack Grammy statuette right now.

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<p>Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in &quot;White House&nbsp;Down&quot;</p>

Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in "White House Down"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'White House Down'

Roland Emmerich's 'Die Hard' rip-off explodes onto screens this weekend

There's a lot of apologizing for Roland Emmerich's "White House Down" going on out there. On one hand, I get it. It's fun. Etc. And I've certainly been an Emmerich apologist in my time. On the other hand, the film is so PAINFULLY derivative and you can only roll your eyes so many times in a film before it just stops being an enjoyable experience, no? I just didn't realize you could get paid for a script that so liberally cribs another ("Die Hard"). Right down to the Beethoven. Noted. Anyway, HitFix's Drew McWeeny is on my side of the line, calling the film "inconsequential summer programming." But let's hear what you have to say about it. Rifle off your thoughts in the comments section below when and if you see the film, and feel free to vote in our poll, too.

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