<p>Bruce Dern will step in to accept the honor in place of the &quot;Saving Mr.&nbsp;Banks&quot; star.</p>

Bruce Dern will step in to accept the honor in place of the "Saving Mr. Banks" star.

Credit: AP Photo

Emma Thompson bows out of Santa Barbara film festival honor

Bruce Dern steps in to claim this year's Modern Master prize in her stead

Emma Thompson has bowed out of receiving the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Modern Master prize this year. "Nebraska" star Bruce Dern will be honored instead.

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<p>Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in &quot;Before Midnight.&quot;</p>

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in "Before Midnight."

Credit: Sony Classics

Roundup: The rise of real romance at the movies

Also: Dinging 'American Hustle,' and hope springs eternal for 'The Croods'

With apologies to any die-hard fans of "About Time," we're not exactly in a golden age for romantic comedies right now. Big-screen romance, however, is another matter: from "Before Midnight" to "Her" to "The Spectacular Now" to "Blue is the Warmest Color," 2013 was a rich year for films about love in its many complicated forms. Alexander Huls wonders if change is afoot: "It may be optimistic to declare the synchronous timing of these movies to be a new emerging status quo ... Still, I like to think prevalence could maybe mean change. Cinema, like nature, can abhor a vacuum. With no romantic-comedy revival in sight, and audiences’ ability to occasionally adapt, there’s a chance a different kind of romance could ascend. Or romantic comedies could at least evolve to adapt these characteristics." [The Atlantic]

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Q&A with 'The Case Against 8's' Ben Cotner and Ryan White

Q&A with 'The Case Against 8's' Ben Cotner and Ryan White

Sundance documentary jury winners discuss their five-year journey

PARK CITY - One of the most heartwarming stories of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival was the success of Ben Cotner and Ryan White's documentary "The Case Against 8."  The duo began working on the film almost five years ago and spent four years following the legal case to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot measure against gay marriage that surprised many by passing on the same night Barack Obama was elected president in 2008.  

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<p>Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n and Steve McQueen, side-by-side after sharing the PGA&nbsp;win last week.</p>

Alfonso Cuarón and Steve McQueen, side-by-side after sharing the PGA win last week.

Credit: AP Photo

Off the Carpet: How the BAFTA Awards could actually matter this year

Just two days after Oscar voting begins, the Brits could help swing the pendulum

When Alfonso Cuarón won the DGA prize Saturday night, I laid out my thoughts on why "Gravity" should be considered the de facto frontrunner in this year's Best Picture race. With a PGA award (albeit in this case half of one) and a DGA honor in tow, it tends to be a done deal this time of year. But this isn't a typical year by any stretch.

One thing that could end up playing against "Gravity" in the end is an elongated phase two. The Winter Olympics have stretched things out and that's brutal for any film looking to maintain a certain buzz wave. At the moment, "Gravity" is cresting high on that wave (with added killer, relentless, epic new TV spots on key programming like last night's Grammy Awards). But "12 Years a Slave" has been chugging along since the Golden Globes, steadily building steam. And it could hit a real high note just two days into the final phase of Oscar voting begins this year.

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<p>Helen Mirren at last year's BAFTA&nbsp;Awards.</p>

Helen Mirren at last year's BAFTA Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Helen Mirren to receive BAFTA Fellowship

The four-time BAFTA winner will accept the group's highest career honor

Turns out that you just can't keep Helen Mirren out of awards season. A week after the 68-year-old actress stunned everyone -- not least herself -- by beating Elisabeth Moss at the SAG Awards, it has been announced that she'll add one more trophy to her mantelpiece before the seasson is out: the BAFTA Fellowship for outstanding contribution to cinema.

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<p>&quot;The Lady in&nbsp;Number 6:&nbsp;Music Saved My&nbsp;Life&quot;</p>

"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"

Credit: Nick Reed Ent.

Stories of survival, forgiveness and artistry highlight Oscar's documentary short subject race

All five nominees this year have a shot at winning the prize

This year's documentary short subject Oscar race is a varied blend of profiles with a harrowing eye-witness account added for good measure. They tell stories of Holocaust survivors and earthworks artists, forgiveness, compassion and solidarity. It's a pretty strong assortment for voters to choose from with no clear winner from afar.

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<p>&quot;Dallas&nbsp;Buyers Club&quot; (and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman)&nbsp;Jared Leto pays tribute to Lou&nbsp;Reed and introduces Metallica at the 56th annual Grammy&nbsp;Awards.</p>

"Dallas Buyers Club" (and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman) Jared Leto pays tribute to Lou Reed and introduces Metallica at the 56th annual Grammy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Jeremy Renner, 'Skyfall,' David Fincher: Hollywood's 2014 Grammys presence

Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams had the best night of them all

Adele, Pharrell Williams and David Fincher were among the list of current and former Oscar nominees to win Grammys Sunday night.

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<p>Alfonso Cuaron (left)&nbsp;holds the 2014 DGA prize alongside presenter Ben&nbsp;Affleck.</p>

Alfonso Cuaron (left) holds the 2014 DGA prize alongside presenter Ben Affleck.

Credit: AP Photo

Alfonso Cuarón wins DGA prize for 'Gravity,' is Oscar next?

Soderbergh surprised with Robert B. Aldrich Award presentation

Surely coming as a surprise to precious few, "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuarón has just won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) prize for theatrical motion pictures. He beat out fellow Oscar nominees Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave"), Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") and David O. Russell ("American Hustle"), as well as "Captain Phillips" helmer Paul Greengrass to land his first such honor from the guild.

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<p>Miles Teller in <span class="st">Damien Chazelle's &quot;Whiplash.&quot;<br />
</span></p>

Miles Teller in Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash."

'Whiplash,' 'Rich Hill' and 'The Case Against 8' lead 2014 Sundance Film Festival winners

Who gets the big boost out on closing night?

The competition juries and audiences have spoken from Park City. "Whiplash" earned two key awards Saturday night, the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize and the U.S. dramatic audience award. These were impressive wins for director Damien Chazelle and distributor Sony Pictures Classics, who acquired the drama during the festival. Featuring impressive performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, the film focuses on a young music student (Teller) who is willing to go above and beyond to make it into a competitive jazz band at one of New York City's most prestigious music schools. It's the rare opening night film to take home the festival's top prize.

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Best and Worst of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: 'Cold in July,' Roger Ebert, 'Boyhood'

Best and Worst of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival: 'Cold in July,' Roger Ebert, 'Boyhood'

Plus: 'Young Ones,' 'Infinitely Polar Bear' and the terrible 'Low Down'

PARK CITY - It certainly won't go down as one of the greatest editions of the Sundance Film Festival, but reports of it being a bad or weak festival are completely off base.  There were few highs, few terrible lows (although some).  Instead, there were many good, very good, but not great films.  The festival experimented with mixing up the genres in the dramatic competition and for some longtime media it might have been off putting. Well, if they attended the public screenings they would have found audiences more engaged than usual. It was an experiment for the programmers and gave high profile debuts for movies such as "Life as Beth," "Dear White People" and "Cold in July."  Those are flicks that could have been relegated to the Midnight or NEXT sections in the past.  That's a win in our book.

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