<p>Jeremy Irons in &quot;The Mission,&quot; the score for which was composed by Ennio Morricone.</p>

Jeremy Irons in "The Mission," the score for which was composed by Ennio Morricone.

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'The Mission' tops Variety composers' poll of the all-time greatest film scores

40 composers, from Michael Giacchino to Cliff Martinez, were surveyed

Variety published a music-focused Eye on the Oscars special today, and it's packed with interesting nuggets, from spotlights on individual composers in the awards race this year -- including "The Master"'s Jonny Greenwood, "Anna Karenina"'s Dario Marianelli and everything's Alexandre Desplat -- to a piece on the recent reversal of rules in the Best Original Song category, hailed by many branch voters as a victory for common sense.

The headlining feature of the special, however -- if only because the movie world is powerless to resist a Top 10 list -- is a poll of 40 working composers on the greatest film scores of all time. Participants range from Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino ("Up") to Coen Brothers favorite Carter Burwell to Cliff Martinez ("Drive"), with the list compiled by asking each one to name his/her three favorite scores. It's too small a survey to qualify as anything more than a bit of fun, but the results are surprising and inevitable in equal measure.

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<p>Keira Knightley in &quot;Atonement,&quot; one of Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's many award-winning productions.</p>

Keira Knightley in "Atonement," one of Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner's many award-winning productions.

Credit: Focus Features

'Les Mis' and 'Atonement' producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner to receive PGA's highest honor

Will that be the only award they win from the Producers' Guild this season?

I'm always slightly surprised when awards bodies choose to bestow a lifetime achievement honor upon a recipient already firmly in the running for a competitive prize that year. Something about it seems a tad gauche and redundant to me: why not single out a worthy candidate not already being feted throughout the season?

Still, it's a route the Producers' Guild of America has taken for the last few years with their highest career honor, the David O. Selznick Award Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. Last year, Steven Spielberg was given the award on top of his Producer of the Year nomination for "War Horse," and his equivalent citation in the animated field for "The Adventures of Tintin." (He won the latter, to boot.) The year before, Scott Rudin received the Selznick Award, just as he was favored by many to take the PGA prize for "The Social Network." (As it turned out, he didn't.)

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<p>A scene from &quot;The Painting,&quot; one of GKIDS' four Oscar hopefuls this year.</p>

A scene from "The Painting," one of GKIDS' four Oscar hopefuls this year.

Credit: GKIDS

Roundup: Can GKIDS crash the animation Oscar race again?

Also: Phoenix makes amends, and the most deserving Best Actor no-hopers

GKIDS was scarcely a blip on the radar when, nearly three years ago, they scored a shock Best Animated Feature Oscar nod for the very first film they distributed, "The Secret of Kells." Last year, they announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they pushed two of their foreign toons into the race, at the expense of, among others, blockbuster "The Adventures of Tintin." This year, as they jostle with four exotic offerings in the Oscar hunt, Rebecca Keegan looks at the rapidly rising profile of a company determined to bring some independent spirit and cultural diversity to the US animation market. "We haven't needed a $3-million Oscar campaign," says chief Eric Beckman. "Animators in L.A. are following what's happening outside the country. We show them the films and they either win people's hearts or they don't." [LA Times]

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<p>Sally Field in &quot;Forrest Gump.&quot;</p>

Sally Field in "Forrest Gump."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

On Sally Field and that phantom 'Forrest Gump' nomination

As the actress seeks her third Oscar nod, we remember one that got away

In Contention readers are generally a hawk-eyed bunch, quick to leap in with corrections when Kris or I make an honest error or suffer an accidental brain-fade, particularly on matters of Oscar trivia -- collectively, you can make for an intimidatingly officious subeditor. So it's all the more surprising that, over the past week or so, I've been corrected by three separate readers on a point I had right in the first place: that with her allegedly fiery performance in "Lincoln," Sally Field is seeking her first Oscar nomination in 28 years, and her third overall.

In each case, a reader either commented or tweeted to politely remind me that Field actually received her third Oscar nomination back in 1994, as a supporting actress in Best Picture shoo-in "Forrest Gump." And in each case, as much as I appreciated the gesture, I had to reply that, not to put too fine a point on it, she wasn't.

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<p>Garret Dillaunt and Alan Cumming in &quot;Any Day Now.&quot;</p>

Garret Dillaunt and Alan Cumming in "Any Day Now."

Credit: Music Box Films

Trailer for 'Any Day Now' promises a rare acting showcase for Alan Cumming

Music Box Films is releasing the indie drama on December 14

"Any Day Now" is one of those films that's been creeping steadily along the festival circuit since the spring, quietly amassing critical goodwill and prizes. The Tribeca, Chicago, Seattle, Woodstock and Outfest festivals may not command much attention individually, but when a film manages to walk away with the Audience Award from all of them, it clearly has something going on.

Though I'd repeatedly heard the title on the fringes of various festival reports, I hadn't really clocked to what it is or what it's about -- not having had an opportunity to see it on my side of the pond -- until the film's newly released trailer landed in my inbox.

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<p>THR's 2012 Actor&nbsp;Roundtable</p>

THR's 2012 Actor Roundtable

Credit: The Hollywood Reporter

Arkin, Damon, Foxx, Gere, Hawkes and Washington in THR's Actor Roundtable

Six of the season's fixtures mull over fear and fame

I finally got around to watching The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Roundtable this morning, an annual gathering of top names in the awards race and always a solid, informative, open chat. Participating this year was Alan Arkin ("Argo"), Matt Damon ("Promised Land"), Jamie Foxx ("Django Unchained"), Richard Gere ("Arbitrage"), John Hawkes ("The Sessions") and Denzel Washington ("Flight").

Much of the discussion revolved around what fame and the business has meant on a deeper level for the actors, their socio-political invigoration as a result of being public figures and how fear still feeds them even in times of success. And for Damon, who took off at an early age ("Good Will Hunting" landed when he was 27-years-old), it was jarring to witness what the transition to stardom really meant.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Wreck-It Ralph.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Wreck-It Ralph."

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Roundup: Is there a Disney/Pixar identity crisis?

Also: Affleck recognized as a Modern Master, and 'Les Mis' cast goes Vogue

Are the Disney and Pixar animation brands beginning to merge into each other? Josh L. Dickey is asking the question, as he notes that Pixar's tradition-focused summer hit "Brave" seemed to borrow significantly from the classic Disney storybook, while Disney's current smash "Wreck-It Ralph" is a hi-tech, pop-savvy firecracker that seems more informed by the contemporary Pixar model of crossover entertainment. (Dickey also wonders if "Ralph"'s box office performance would be even more impressive if it had been released under the Pixar label.) Are the twin houses going to borrow more from each other from here on out, or should Disney be mindful of preserving its more old-school identity? With their next film a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale adaptation, perhaps the overlap is temporary. [Variety]

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<p>Jeff Bridges winning Best Actor at the 2009 Academy Awards.</p>

Jeff Bridges winning Best Actor at the 2009 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Oscar Bait: Will the Academy feel generous toward Jeff Bridges as 'The Giver?'

Philip Noyce in talks to direct long-gestating adaptation of Lois Lowry's novel

Kris inaugurated our Oscar Bait column, in which we muse on the awards potential of projects still in development or production, a few weeks ago with some thoughts on Tom Hanks's upcoming turn as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks." Unfortunately, we've neglected to revisit the feature since -- as the season ramps up, after all, it's a challenge to see as far ahead as February, let alone to films that haven't even been made yet.

But when promising news dropped last week concerning the long-forestalled film adaptation of Lois Lowry's "The Giver," I pricked up my ears. Pre-production talk doesn't tend to grab my attention, but in this case I was willing to make an exception -- not least because I'd been talking with friends about my desire for "The Giver" to eventually reach the screen only two days before. (Sadly, this power to magick a project into being seems to be a one-time deal: I've casually been inserting Wong Kar-wai's abandoned Nicole Kidman collaboration "The Lady from Shanghai" into conversations for a whole week, but no dice.)

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<p>Kellan Lutz and Kristin Stewart in &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.&quot;</p>

Kellan Lutz and Kristin Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Roundup: Why 'Twilight' beats 'Star Wars'

Also: 'Skyfall' and 'Lincoln' score, and Weinsteins' 'Populaire' lives up to its title

The cults surrounding "Twilight" and "Star Wars" may not look very similar, but what they do share is a near-evangelical belief in the cultural significance of their respective franchises. I wouldn't want to get in a fight with either of them -- let alone between them -- yet that's what UK critic Mark Kermode has done... and he's on the side of the Twi-hards. With "Breaking Dawn: Part 2" hitting screens this week, he isn't afraid to admit that he's excited. Claiming that most critics' dismissal of the series marks them as "out of touch," he adds: "I've had a lot more fun watching and arguing about the Twilight movies than I ever had with the Star Wars saga, that lumbering, narratively hobbled space opera which, we now learn, is to return to our screens for yet more boring instalments in the not too distant future."  Hey, I'm just the messenger. [The Guardian]

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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Craig in &quot;Skyfall&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig in "Skyfall"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tech Support: How an 0-34 trio of Oscar nominees helped make 'Skyfall' a sensation

Sound mixer Greg P. Russell, DP Roger Deakins and composer Thomas Newman are all eyeing their first win at the Oscars

When you stack up the Oscar records of cinematographer Roger Deakins, composer Thomas Newman and sound mixer Greg P. Russell, an amazing stat hits you in the face: 0-34. Three guys have gone to the Oscars 34 times and not once have they walked away with a trophy. And this year, each of them feature on one of the biggest critical and commercial hits of the year: Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."

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