<p>Gael Garcia Bernal in &quot;No.&quot;</p>

Gael Garcia Bernal in "No."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Chile submits 'No'... will the Academy say yes?

Pablo Larrain's 1980s political satire was a critical sensation at Cannes

A flurry of new titles have been added to the pile of Best Foreign Language Film Oscars submissions -- which currently numbers 53 -- in the last day. Among them are films from such one-time nominees as Georgia and Vietnam, as well, hearteningly, the first ever entry from Kenya. I'm always pleased to see more African films in the mix.

Though I need to investigate the new additions further, only one of them immediately strikes me as newsworthy -- and it's a film I've been half-expecting and wholly hoping would show up here since its Cannes debut back in May. Given its combination of acclaim, awards and name appeal, you might have thought Pablo Larrain's superb political satire "No" a shoo-in to be Chile's submission, but there was always the realistic worry that the inscrutable politics of national selection would determine otherwise.

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<p>Helen Mirren eyes some more silverware.</p>

Helen Mirren eyes some more silverware.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Roundup: Helen Mirren to be honored at European Film Awards

Also: Variety might share stables with Deadline, and defending Chris Hemsworth

Well, it sure is nice to see Helen Mirren win an award for once. It was announced today that the Oscar-winning actress will receive this year's European Achievement in World Cinema Award at December's European Film Awards ceremony -- "a very meaningful honor," she said, while clearing some shelf space. Of course, there's the possibility that this won't be the high point of her awards season, with Fox Searchlight planning a Best Actress Oscar campaign for her turn as Alma Reville opposite Anthony Hopkins's "Hitchcock." In other Mirren news, she's reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth II on the West End in a new Peter Morgan play, to be directed by Stephen Daldry. Seats will no doubt be in high demand, so I'll graciously sit this one out. [European Film Academy]

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<p>Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year for &quot;A Separation.&quot;</p>

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year for "A Separation."

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Iran under pressure to boycott this year's foreign Oscar race

One year after winning for 'A Separation,' the country may not compete this time

The win for "A Separation" in the Best Foreign Language Film category at last February's Academy Awards marked a major breakthrough -- and not just because it marked the first time in donkey's years that the critics' favorite actually took home the prize. More significantly, Asghar Farhadi's searing marital drama made Iran the first Middle Eastern country the win this mostly Eurocentric award. 

Not that all of Farhadi's compatriots appreciated the gesture. The Iranian government has been famously suppressive of its more outspoken artists -- notably in the case of filmmaker Jafar Panahi, placed under house arrest and banned from producing films for 20 years for "making propaganda against the system" -- and "A Separation" had its own share own hurdles to overcome. Initially banned while still in production due to Farhadi's past criticisms of the administration, the film was used by certain factions as a political pawn after its success: Javad Shamaghdari, head of the government's cinema agency, labelled the film's Oscar win an anti-Zionist victory, much to the dismay of its makers.

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<p>Looks a little familiar, no?</p>

Looks a little familiar, no?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Les Misérables' poster harkens back to Broadway art with young Cosette

Tom Hooper's film is set for release on Christmas Day

Someone asked me today what looks like a Best Picture winner in these early days, with many things seen, a few still to come. With so many having marks against them it's difficult to get a gauge on what could be "the one," and of course, it's silly to be mulling something like that over when the season has so many more secrets to tell. But my knee-jerk reaction was Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables."

Why? Well, it's in the enviable position of still being a bit of a mystery, for starters. Hooper, of course, is coming off his big win for "The King's Speech" in 2010, which made him a commodity in Hollywood. The campaign is taking flight, the early notes revolving around the live singing employed by the film (which, frankly, from a sound mixing standpoint, makes it immediately more interesting in the musical realm than most). But more to the point, there's a lot of tangible thematic resilience in the story that could find the right stride in today's world. Well, let's just say there's a case to be made on that score by a smart campaign, anyway.

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<p>Not too shabby.</p>

Not too shabby.

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Bait: Tom Hanks sports his 'Saving Mr. Banks' Walt Disney stache at the Emmys

Kicking off a misguided new feature with John Lee Hancock's in-production biopic

I've been hearing more and more about John Lee Hancock's forthcoming "Saving Mr. Banks" ever since Tom Hanks was signed on to play Walt Disney in the film and, therefore, the screenplay review community gobbled it up and dissected it and word got out that it had a heck of a lot of potential. Apparently it's pretty damn good, and it presents a grand opportunity for Hanks, a five-time Oscar nominee who hasn't been recognized by the Academy since 2000's "Cast Away."

Hanks was on hand at the Emmys last night, to collect his trophy for Outstanding Mini-Series or Movie as a producer of HBO's "Game Change." (He's won five of those now, by the way, for "The Pacific," "John Adams," "Band of Brothers" and "From the Earth to the Moon," in addition.) He showed up sporting, it would appear, the mustache he's rocking out as Disney in the new film, and it got me thinking of a spit-ball sort of column we could throw up every once in a while to place unnecessary pressure on upcoming films and performances that, on paper, look like they could be awards contenders. This certainly seems like one of them.

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<p>Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks both won Emmy Awards last night for &quot;Game Change.&quot;</p>

Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks both won Emmy Awards last night for "Game Change."

Credit: AP Photo/Jordan Strauss

Roundup: The Emmys go to the movies

Plus: 'The Hobbit' meets the Queen, and celebrating Tom Hardy's 'Lawless' knitwear

Last night's Emmy Awards dwarf any movie news today. I didn't watch them myself -- the Oscars may be silly, but at least they can't repeat their mistakes year after year -- but I'm amused at how the TV industry puffs its chest about producing superior entertainment to Hollywood... only to fawn over movie stars (or at least former movie stars) when it comes to dishing out awards. As you've probably heard, Julianne Moore, Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner, Claire Danes and Tom Hanks (as a producer) all took home trophies, many of them deservedly -- though when Maggie Smith's sleepwalking schtick manages to beat out A-grade work by Christina Hendricks that would dazzle on any size of screen, you have to wonder if the voters really know their medium. Anyway, HitFix's resident TV ace has more informed thoughts. [What's Alan Watching]

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<p>Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in &quot;Sister.&quot;</p>

Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in "Sister."

Credit: Adopt Films

Denmark's 'A Royal Affair,' Switzerland's 'Sister,' Israel's 'Fill the Void' among the latest foreign Oscar entries

With the deadline looming on October 1, the competition is already tight

With a little over a week to go before the official deadline -- though there are always a couple of stragglers and switches afterwards -- submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar are now flooding in faster than I can write about them. The last two days, in particular, have brought in a bounty of high-profile new entries, many of them laden with festival awards and acclaim.

Perhaps it's simply because I've seen more of the submissions -- 15 at present, with the upcoming London Film Festival set to bulk up that number a bit -- than is usual for me at this early point in the game, but even with another 20 or so entries still to be announced, this is looking like an unusually high-class crop of contenders. Not only are a great many strong films in the running, but many of those are, to some degree at least, Academy-accessible. The shortlisting process is going to be ugly; the race for nominations competitive. And while most pundits agree that "Amour" (with some heat from "The Intouchables") is leading the race for the win, that's not to say there aren't equally (or even more) deserving films in the mix.

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<p>A scene from &quot;The&nbsp;Perks of Being a Wallflower&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Tell us what you thought of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

Stephen Chbosky's self-adaptation opens this weekend

I was very impressed with the level of confidence exuded in Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." We've spoken to the writer/director about the film, praised Logan Lerman's leading performance to the heavens and spoken about it in the podcast. But now the film makes it to theaters after a Toronto bow and you'll all get a look for yourselves. So assuming you make it out to see it, head on back here with your thoughts. And as always, feel free to rate the film via the tool above.

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<p>Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"</p>

Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Trouble with the Curve'

The Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams drama hits theaters this weekend

A handful of releases this week so we'll start with Robert Lorenz's "Trouble with the Curve." I'm quite the fan, and as you heard in Friday's Oscar Talk podcast, Anne is, too. I still wonder how the Academy will respond but I'm also interested in what you guys have to say. So if/when you get around to it, head on back here with your thoughts. Also, feel free to rate it via the tool above.

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<p>Matt Damon in &quot;Promised&nbsp;Land&quot;</p>

Matt Damon in "Promised Land"

Credit: Focus Features

Matt Damon fights for the soul of America in the trailer for 'Promised Land'

Gus Van Sant's latest was recently added to the season

Not to be outdone the day after Fox Searchlight dropped "Hitchcock" on the season, Focus Features would like to remind everyone of its own last-minute addition: Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land." The film, starring and written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, has launched its first trailer and it's clear it's dealing in shades of shifting American values. That could be very powerful this season.

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