<p>Denzel Washington in &quot;Flight.&quot;</p>

Denzel Washington in "Flight."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Roundup: 'Ralph' rules box office, but 'Flight' takes off

Also: Haneke speaks reluctantly, and 'Wreck-It Ralph' for Best Pic?

The box-office headlines from the weekend have understandably been dominated by "Wreck-It Ralph," whose healthy opening gross (the highest ever for a Disney animated effort) helps its chances in a crowded Oscar race. But the runner-up on the chart, "Flight," made no less noteworthy a debut, taking just over $25m, despite a relatively modest release in 1884 theaters. That puts it roughly on pace with the last Denzel Washington starrer "Safe House," which took $40m from a wider release, though "Flight" has considerably more room to build. It's also considerably outpaced the $13m gross box office pundits predicted for the film, and nearly recouped its tidy $31m budget. Paramount distribution head Don Harris reckons the film's adult target market will be more in the mood for going to the movies once the presidential election and Hurricane Sandy are behind them. [Reuters]

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<p>Elle Fanning in &quot;Ginger &amp; Rosa.&quot;</p>

Elle Fanning in "Ginger & Rosa."

Credit: A24

'Best Exotic,' 'The Imposter' among British Independent Film Award nominees

Elle Fanning, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench nab acting nods

Last year, the British Independent Film Awards -- the UK industry's answer to the Spirit Awards, though the chasm between independent and studio product here is a narrower one -- made the most of a banner year for British cinema, with citations aplenty for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "We Need to Talk About Kevin," "Shame," "Tyrannosaur," "Weekend," "Kill List" and the like.

2012 has been a bit less bountiful, and that's reflected in a slate of BIFA nods that reads a tad repetitively, with a small handful of films dominating the list. "Broken," a debut feature from acclaimed theater director Rufus Norris that was rather indifferently received at Cannes in the spring, leads the field with eight nominations, while "Berberian Sound Studio," "Sightseers" and "The Imposter" are close behind with seven apiece. Lest that field strike some as a little too niche, meanwhile, crossover smash "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" holds up the more mainstream end of the independent spectrum, nabbing five nominations, including Best Film -- a showing that bodes well for its BAFTA chances in a few months' time.

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<p>&quot;Paperman&quot;</p>

"Paperman"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Disney's 'Paperman': an early favorite for the Best Animated Short Oscar?

The romantic ditty plays before 'Wreck-It Ralph'

The truth is something on the fringe is likely to win the Best Animated Short Oscar this year. "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" over "La Luna," "The Lost Thing" over "Day & Night," "Logorama" over "A Matter of Loaf and Death," "The Danish Poet" over "The Little Matchgirl" -- it happens. A lot.

That having been said, Disney's "Paperman," a delicate little love story that's greeting viewers of "Wreck-It Ralph" this weekend, is generating plenty of love and goodwill. It's a blend of hand-drawn 2D animation and 3D CG artwork. "The characters are modeled in CG and rendered in high contrast to create the modeling and shading, then merged with hand-drawn linework using a proprietary software program called Meander to create the final result," Jim MacQuarrie explains in a Wired piece, which also features an interview with the film's producer, Kristina Reed. "It looks like traditional 'classic' animation but with a sense of solidity and volume that’s more common to CG films." So maybe there's enough technical meat on its bones to grab the branch's collective brain in addition to its heart.

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<p>&quot;The&nbsp;Imposter&quot;</p>

"The Imposter"

Credit: Indomina Releasing

'The Imposter' and 'Sugar Man' lead with Cinema Eye Honors nominations

Other nominees include '5 Broken Cameras' and 'Detropia'

Following the International Documentary Association's breaking of the champagne on the hull of this year's documentary race, the Cinema Eye Honors have announced their list of nominees. "The Imposter" and "Searching for Sugar Man" led the way with five nominations each. Both are considered formidable competitors in this year's Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature. Check out the full list below.

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<p>Louis C.K. at the Emmy Awards in&nbsp;September</p>

Louis C.K. at the Emmy Awards in September

Credit: AP Photo/John Shearer

Louis C.K.'s love letter to New York and 'Saturday Night Live'

The comedian prepares to host tonight's show with thoughts on the week's turmoil

I've been so tied up in my own little world this week, toiling away, working on this and that, closed up in the apartment for the most part (typical when you're at your busiest in this line of work -- and this has probably been the busiest week of the season for me), mainly aware of the horrors of Sandy via the news like most of you. Which is a trip. Out here, uptown, we're fine. We're lucky. Just a number of blocks this way or that, many people aren't.

So I feel like I really need to take stock of that. Lots of friends, whether they be in New Jersey, upstate, Long Island, wherever, are still stuck in a bad spot. I haven't had a chance to go downtown and take in the full effect of what's gone on down there, and I should. I will. My heart sank a little when I saw the cover of this week's New York Magazine. Then it was lifted again when I read the mag's editors' letter and all the resilience it reflected. And as resilient as New York is, it's a city in need of a laugh right now, to say the least.

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<p>Mads Mikkelson in &quot;The&nbsp;Hunt&quot;</p>

Mads Mikkelson in "The Hunt"

Credit: Magnolia Pictures

'Amour' leads the field of 2012 European Film Award nominees

Last year's 'Shame' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' also pop up

The nominations for the 25th annual European Film Awards have been announced, and Michael Haneke's "Amour" led the way with six nominations.

This could be the start of an awards roll-out for "Amour" that few are expecting (many still refrain from seriously considering it in the Best Picture race at the Oscars). Well, I suppose that streak would more accurately have begun with the Palme d'Or win in Cannes, but nevertheless, with a December release still to come and critics groups sure to spring for it, it's about to come on strong, I'm betting.

Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" and Steve McQueen's "Shame" weren't far behind with five nods and Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" also had a strong presence with four nods. The European Film category was filled out with foreign film hopefuls "Barbara" (two nods), "Caesar Must Die" (which won top honors in Berlin back in February) and "The Intouchables."

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 94 -- Disney buys Lucasfilm as 'Hitchcock' opens AFI Fest

Oscar Talk: Ep. 94 -- Disney buys Lucasfilm as 'Hitchcock' opens AFI Fest

Also: It's time to talk 'Skyfall!'

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

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<p>&quot;Frankenweenie&quot;</p>

"Frankenweenie"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Academy announces 21 qualifying titles for the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar

'Dino Time' didn't bother but we get five unexpected players

Okay, well, I missed a few unseen contenders. I had a feeling I might since suddenly messages were being left on my phone from publicists pitching fringe hopefuls.

In addition to 16 of the Best Animated Feature Film contenders we have already thoroughly charted (and minus "Dino Time," which didn't bother -- who can blame them? -- and "Arjun: The Warrior Prince," which I had been led to believe by Disney would qualify), the Academy has announced five more qualifying titles for a big ole' list of 21. So that means we will definitely have a full slate of five nominees in the category, though that was already expected.

The other five are "Adventures in Zambezia" (which we had our eye on but never noticed a distributor come on board), "Delhi Safari," "Hey Krishna," "The Mystical Laws" and "Walter & Tandoori's Christmas." Check out the full slate below, as well as the aforementioned gallery running through most of the contenders, and let the guessing begin!

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<p>Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins in &quot;Hitchcock&quot;</p>

Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins in "Hitchcock"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

How will Sacha Gervasi's 'Hitchcock' fare with Oscar?

The quirky look at the legend could go either way

AFI Fest picked a fun and droll piece of work for its 2012 opener in Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" last night. (Greg Ellwood's review here.) As you'll hear me mention in this evening's podcast (coming later due to technical difficulties), I found it to be strikingly emotional, though, for its depiction of an artist's plight and the joy that comes with the release of bottled creativity. And I can't help but wonder if Academy members may feel the same way.

Films about the process have a long history of awards recognition, whether satirical or sincere. Things like Robert Altman's "The Player" and Spike Jonze's "Adaptation" come to mind, or "The Bad and the Beautiful" and "A Star is Born." And there is, of course, the highest echelon of the subgenre: "8 1/2." Oscar nominees all. Though sometimes masterworks in this vein can slip through the cracks. Just ask "Sullivan's Travels." And though it landed a pair of nods, "Singin' in the Rain" was mostly passed over.

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<p>&quot;Wreck-It&nbsp;Ralph&quot;</p>

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Wreck-It Ralph'

HitFix
A-
Readers
B+
Disney's Pixar-level home run hits theaters today

I haven't had a chance to really get out my thoughts on "Wreck-It Ralph" beyond those in the animated feature piece, but I'm kind of over the moon for it. It's Pixar-level storytelling out of Disney with top-notch voice acting -- moving, even -- and a beautifully animated instant classic. If that's drowning it in superlatives then I'm not worried because I know this one will have its fair share of fans and I'm curious how many are out there, so when/if you see the film this weekend, let us know what you thought. And, of course, feel free to rate it via the tool above.