<p>Ben Affleck at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon in&nbsp;February</p>

Ben Affleck at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon in February

Credit: AP Photo

Ben Affleck to star in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

Warner Bros. acquiesces to the actor's desire to delay his next directing gig

When Ben Affleck was making the press rounds for "The Town" a few years back, I talked to him about his friend Matt Damon's career path. We discussed the fact that Damon had been gearing up to direct a film (which ended up being "Promised Land") for some time but he kept getting calls from the likes of Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers to star in their films. When you're an actor who wants to direct, you'd be a fool not to audit those classes, so to speak.

So I find it really interesting that in the midst of a strong and building filmmaking career that has already brought him a Best Picture Oscar (last year's "Argo"), Affleck has decided to star in David Fincher's adaptation "Gone Girl." It seems to me he may be taking note of his buddy's trek through the business, loading up on some crucial studies with master filmmakers. He already has Terrence Malick under his belt.

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<p>Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in &quot;Saving Mr. Banks&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

First trailer for 'Saving Mr. Banks' reveals the struggle to bring 'Mary Poppins' to the screen

Film hits theaters December 20

Yesterday Walt Disney Pictures gave us our first official look at John Lee Hancock's "Saving Mr. Banks" with a production still tease. Today, via Moviefone, the studio has dropped the first trailer for the film.

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<p>Alejandro Jodorowsky in &quot;Jodorowsky's Dune.&quot;</p>

Alejandro Jodorowsky in "Jodorowsky's Dune."

Credit: Sony Classics

Sony Classics picks up riotous cult-movie doc 'Jodorowsky's Dune'

HitFix's own Drew McWeeny is among the talking heads in this Cannes hit

One of the last films I saw at this year's Cannes Film Festival -- and consequently one I never got around to reviewing -- was "Jodorowsky's Dune." A straightforwardly constructed but vastly entertaining movie-lore documentary about cult Chilean-born auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky's elaborately failed quest to bring Frank Herbert's epic sci-fi novel "Dune" to the screen, it was one of the most audience-friendly breakouts of the Directors' Fortnight sidebar, and has now been picked up for US distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.

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<p>Last year's Best Original&nbsp;Song winner Adele performs at the 85th annual Academy Awards in February.</p>

Last year's Best Original Song winner Adele performs at the 85th annual Academy Awards in February.

Credit: AP Photo

Academy announces concert event for original score and song Oscar nominees

Event will be held on February 27

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that this year's Oscar-nominated original scores and songs will be featured in a live concert on Thursday, February 27, three days before the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony.

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<p>Cate Blanchett in &quot;Blue Jasmine&quot;</p>

Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine"

Credit: Sony Classics

Cate Blanchett is on fire in Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine'

The best performance in an Allen film in over a decade?

I think it's fair to go ahead and stand out here and say Cate Blanchett gives a tour de force performance in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." It's definitely the best thing she's done since "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" if not "The Aviator" or "Notes on a Scandal." She takes a shallow concept of a character, really, and injects it with so much withered spirit, flighty contempt and horrified dissatisfaction that you can't help but expect her name will be in the conversation for awards at the end of the year.

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<p>Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in &quot;Saving Mr Banks.&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in "Saving Mr Banks."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in first official still from 'Saving Mr Banks'

Stars enact some frosty body language between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers

You may have noticed a healthy showing for "Saving Mr. Banks" in Kris' updated sidebar predictions, and he's hardly out in the wilderness there. Sight-unseen buzz is strong for John Lee Hancock's first directorial effort since 2009 Best Picture nominee "The Blind Side," largely on the strength of good word (and a Black List mention) for Kelly Marcel's first feature script, which chronicles the brittle relationship between P.L. Travers, the Australian author of "Mary Poppins," and Walt Disney himself, as they sparred over his blockbuster adaptation of her children's novel.

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Dustin Hoffman

Credit: AFI

Dustin Hoffman nearly cries explaining the epiphany that made 'Tootsie' so meaningful to him

Archival interview reveals misogyny's impact on the film's development

Everyone has their reasons for making movies. Those reasons are different on a case-by-case basis and run the spectrum from superficial to profound, but you kind of live for this level of insight into a project and dedication to a deep, complex idea that really needs a medium like the cinema to fully explore it.

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<p>Angelina Jolie promotes her 2011 directorial debut &quot;In the Land of Blood and Honey.&quot;</p>

Angelina Jolie promotes her 2011 directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey."

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Bait: Universal sets Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' for Christmas 2014

Young British star Jack O'Connell to headline the Coens-scripted WWII drama

Welcome back to our long-dormant Oscar Bait column, in which we muse on the awards potential of a yet-to-be-produced project.

I'm afraid to say I've still not seen Angelina Jolie's 2011 directorial debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey," which never landed a UK distributor. The Bosnian War romance, shot in both Bosnian/Serbo-Croat and English-language versions, wasn't exactly a success, but it was no embarrassment either: it received some sympathetic reviews, played the Berlin Film Festival and nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. (Okay, I think we all know why, but still.)

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<p>Luminita Gheorghiu in &quot;Child's Pose.&quot;</p>

Luminita Gheorghiu in "Child's Pose."

Credit: Parada Film

Karlovy Vary Film Festival: 'Child's Pose,' 'Concussion,' 'Miele'

Catching up with highlights from Berlin, Sundance and Cannes

The 48th Karlovy Vary Film Festival closed over the weekend with a handful of juried awards for its premieres. I'm afraid I didn't see the winner of the festival's crowning Crystal Globe prize, Hungarian director Janos Szasz's WWII drama "The Notebook." I can, however, endorse the shared Best Actress award for the strong female ensemble of Lance Edmunds's painterly but ponderous US indie "Bluebird": Amy Morton, Louisa Krause, Emily Meade and Margo Martindale. Less so: a Special Jury Prize for British director Ben Wheatley's vastly disappointing "A Field in England." I caught up with the film in the UK on its unconventional multi-platform release (cinemas, DVD, VOD and terrestrial TV, all on the same day) last Friday, and will discuss it further at a later point.

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<p>Does the apocalypse of &quot;This is the End&quot; deserve some serious consideration?</p>

Does the apocalypse of "This is the End" deserve some serious consideration?

Credit: Sony Pictures

Taking stock of the Best Visual Effects race during the summer blockbuster season

How will films like 'Pacific Rim,' 'Iron Man 3' and 'The Great Gatsby' fare?

We're right in the middle of the blockbuster movie season. Some think it's been a lackluster summer slate. I haven't had major expectations for much of anything so I guess I'm okay with merely being satisfied so far, but with Guillermo del Toro's massive-scale "Pacific Rim" hitting theaters this coming weekend, it seems now would be a nice opportunity to look at the race for Best Visual Effects.

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