<p>Bradley Cooper in &quot;The Silver Linings Playbook&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper in "The Silver Linings Playbook"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence shine in the trailer for 'Silver Linings Playbook'

David O. Russell's 'Fighter' follow-up will be part of TWC's awards arsenal

The Weinstein Company, as noted a few times already, has quite the slate of films to throw at the wall this awards season. But what will stick? Will Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" sweep through the branches as a favorite or will it just be seen as a fun romp? Will Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" find a welcome rhythm? Will "Lawless" and "Killing Them Softly" find a much warmer reception than they did at Cannes? And what of something like Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet," stealthy and unassuming?

"The Silver Linings Playbook" is part of all of this too. It was featured with "Django" and "The Master" at Cannes as part of a footage screening package and comes from "The Fighter" director David O. Russell. I've heard this and that about the film, about how Robert De Niro is finally not phoning it in, about how stand-out "it" girl Jennifer Lawrence is, etc. But I've also heard Bradley Cooper is a bit surprising with his performance, and judging by the recently released trailer, I can see immediately he's firing on different cylinders than usual.

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<p>BAFTA is giving its own voting system a polish.</p>

BAFTA is giving its own voting system a polish.

Credit: AP Photo/Adam Butler

As the Academy deliberates, BAFTA makes its own voting tweaks

January longlists to be scrapped and chapter voting reversed

Ah, BAFTA -- even when they're not making a conscious decision to do so, they seem to wind up shadowing the Academy. As Kris reported yesterday, AMPAS brass are meeting today to discuss potential changes to the voting rules for next year's Academy Awards. Earlier today, however, BAFTA beat them to the punch by announcing an overhaul of their own voting system. They'd cry "First!" -- but it's not the English thing to do.

The changes are considerable, and to my eye, come with both pros and cons -- but the chief takeaway, for better or worse, is that it makes the BAFTA voting system markedly more similar to that of the Oscars. That'll disappoint those who treasure the quirks of the Brits' previous voting system, which sometimes resulted in some rather distinctive winners. But since dramatically shifting their calendar to precede the Oscars in 2000 -- they used to take place several weeks after -- the BAFTAs having been falling ever more in line with the American awards, so this feels like a natural progression. 

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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum in &quot;Magic Mike.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lists: Top 10 performances in Steven Soderbergh films

With 'Magic Mike' on the way, a look at the actors who have excelled in his work

If it feels like just the other day that Steven Soderbergh released a new movie -- well, it pretty much was. Ahead of the supposed sabbatical from filmmaking he's threatening to make at the end of this year, the Oscar-winning director has been on a tear, perhaps hoping to churn out enough films in a short space of time that audiences won't miss him for a while. In the last 10 months, he's given us a double-shot of nifty genre action in "Contagion" and "Haywire," while this Friday sees the release of male-stripper comedy "Magic Mike" -- an unapologetically fizzy entertainment that is nonetheless scoring the director his strongest reviews in some time.

With 24 features now in the can for Soderbergh, it seemed appropriate to devote this week's edition of The Lists to his decidedly catholic, even eccentric, filmography, which runs the gamut from bright studio popcorners like "Ocean's Eleven" to classy prestige drama like "Traffic" to square-peg experiments like "The Girlfriend Experience" to such outright esoterica as "Schizopolis" -- but since I already offered a Top 10 Soderbergh films list a few years ago, I decided to shift focus to his equally wide-ranging work with actors.

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<p>Cheila Lima and Ciomara Morais in &quot;All is Well.&quot;</p>

Cheila Lima and Ciomara Morais in "All is Well."

Credit: LX Filmes

Portuguese immigrant drama 'All is Well' wins big at LA Film Fest

'Beasts of the Southern Wild' picks up yet another trophy

The Los Angeles Film Festival, like many of its kind that are heavier on gathering highlights from previous fests than securing enviable premieres, is more valuable to locals than it is to international observers -- which is largely why I didn't realize it had been going on until it wrapped yesterday, with an unveiling of Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike." I'd been distracted by the overlapping event in Edinburgh, after all. I doubt there's a day on the calendar when a film festival isn't unfurling somewhere.

Anyway, the LAFF largely came to my attention when I read a report on the festival's award winners, announced yesterday.  Some of the choices were to be expected: having already taken multiple prizes at Cannes and Sundance, Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" scored yet again, picking up the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, a further indication of the film's broad reach. Wherever it goes, it's not just critics singing the post-Katrina film's praises: regular moviegoers are knocked sideways by it too. That's a powerful combination, and one that has to be considered when weighing up the film's Oscar chances: early bird or otherwise, we have a genuine contender here.

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Jennifer Lawrence and AMPAS president Tom Sherak announce the Best Picture nominees for last year's Oscars
Jennifer Lawrence and AMPAS president Tom Sherak announce the Best Picture nominees for last year's Oscars
Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Academy Board of Governors to meet and discuss potential rule changes

Can we hope for some Best Picture amendments?

How did you feel about the Best Picture scenario last year? As in, the rule change -- implemented last June -- that set us up for a final slate of anywhere from five to 10 nominees, depending on what number of contenders managed 5% of the Academy's #1 votes? Because now might be the time to voice those concerns, in case anyone who matters might be reading.

I realized the window on rules and eligibility changes was swiftly closing (as typically we get an announcement in mid-June), so I shot off an email to Academy brass pulse-taker Steve Pond at The Wrap. He tells me the committees from each branch meet and recommended rule changes to the Board of Governors following the Oscars each year and that the board will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the recent recommendations and perhaps enact some actual changes. The delay, he reckons, could have something to do with figuring out how to implement online voting, which could impact some of the procedures.

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Benjamin Walker in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"
Benjamin Walker in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"
Credit: 20th Century Fox

Tell us what you thought of 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'

HitFix
D+
Readers
B-
Timur Bekmambetov's Tim Burton-produced nightmare makes hits theaters today

If you bother with it, that is. Which you really shouldn't. It's terrible. But hey, that's just one guy's take. Anyway, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" graces us with its presence this weekend, Seth Grahame-Smith's second writing credit of the summer. (Both of them leaving something to be desired, to put it delicately.) If you do decide to brave this thing, do tell us what you thought. And offer up a grade above if you so choose.

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<p>A scene from Pixar's &quot;Brave&quot;</p>

A scene from Pixar's "Brave"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Brave'

HitFix
B-
Readers
B
Pixar's latest hits theaters today

There's a lot of griping out there about "Brave" not being up to snuff and the downfall of Pixar, etc., etc. While I understand bemoaning the sense of sequelitis that is settling in with the company, I have to say, "Brave" doesn't deserve the barbs. It's a lovely story and a beautifully animated effort. I'm a fan, even if it is inarguable that it's not top-tier Pixar. They don't all have to be. We ran down the studio's top 10 films earlier in the week in anticipation of this weekend's release, but now the film makes its way to the public and you get your say. So offer it up in the comments section below if/when you get around to seeing it, and feel free to rank it above after you do so.

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<p>A scene from &quot;The Imposter.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

A scene from "The Imposter." 

Credit: Film4/Indomina Releasing

Edinburgh Film Festival: 'The Imposter,' 'Home for the Weekend'

One of the world's oldest film festivals kicked off its 65th edition yesterday

EDINBURGH - Once touted as the UK’s answer to Sundance, particularly when positioned against the more glamorous autumnal offerings of the newly shortened London Film Festival, the Edinburgh Film Festival has quietly gone into reboot mode in its 65th year. Actually, that irritatingly fashionable verb may be better replaced with “rebuild”: after the commercial and PR debacle of last year’s edition, whereby last-minute switches in management and a particularly granola programme had some prophesying the death of the world’s oldest continually-running film festival, newly appointed director Chris Fujiwara was handed awfully little with which to work.

Wisely, he’s decided not to bite off more than he can chew. This year’s Edinburgh lineup is unapologetically small in scale—even compared to recent years, when the festival could still filch the odd Cannes title, the selections here feel modest—but there are pleasing flashes of daring and eccentricity in the programming that at least suggest some renewed curatorial conviction: a Gregory LaCava retrospective, for example, wouldn’t have happened last year.

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<p>Aaron Johnson and Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina&quot;</p>

Aaron Johnson and Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Credit: Focus Features

First trailer for 'Anna Karenina' paints Keira Knightley against a lavish period backdrop

Will Focus Features have a huge Oscar player on its hands?

One of the films we certainly have our eye on in the upcoming film awards season is Joe Wright's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," with Keira Knightley in the titular role. If nothing else, we can assume the crafts on display will be lush and exceptional (given the talent involved), and indeed, the first trailer for the film indicates just that.

There is no shortage of lavish period pieces this year, actually. In addition to Wright's film there's Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," to say nothing of subtler period accents in films like "Argo" and "The Master."

Guy was a bit down on the film in the fields he was charged with predicting in our recent update, but I beg to differ. I don't think there's anything on the outside that indicates -- yet -- that there's much to worry about. Still, "sure things" are cast away in Oscar season after Oscar season. We'll have to wait and see how this one turns out.

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<p>Halle Berry and Keith David in &quot;Cloud Atlas&quot;</p>

Halle Berry and Keith David in "Cloud Atlas"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. sets October release for 'Cloud Atlas' while Searchlight renames 'The Sessions'

Prime Oscar real estate for both

October 26 is a pretty sweet spot to be opening a film you might want to pitch for awards, and Warner Bros. has just settled on that date for "Cloud Atlas," Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski's 165 minute adaptation of David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic novel, which follows six separate but connected narratives through an array of genres.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight had already set Ben Lewin's Sundance hit "Six Sessions" (formerly "The Surrogate") for that date, but they've also gone and re-titled it a third time. The film is now called simply "The Sessions" and is based on the life of poet, journalist and polio victim Mark O'Brien. John Hawkes has been receiving Oscar buzz for his performance as O'Brien (whose story has already been told in one Oscar-winning film, the 1996 short documentary ""Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien"), as has co-star Helen Hunt. HitFix's Drew McWeeny wrote of the film from Sundance that it gives Hawkes his "career-best role."

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