"Real Steel" could find room in the sound categories this year.
"Real Steel" could find room in the sound categories this year.
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: Might the CLING and CLANG of 'Steel' register for sound?

Also: Streep and Close, queens of the 80s and is Eastwood intent on outing 'J. Edgar?'

A little below-the-line love in the round-up today as one of the stories linked is a sound profile of this weekend's box office champ "Real Steel" from the always impressive and dedicated SoundWorks Collection. The sound categories are always a bit of a question mark until later in the season, which the branch begins to get a listen to the various films in play. It's a tight-knit group that responds to great work within the field rather than pitching support behind Best Picture contenders for the sake of it.

Last year's nod for "Salt" in the mixing field was largely unexpected and reminds that there is always the potential for spreading the wealth in these fields. This year I've been wondering about the work in "Real Steel," where the rock 'em, sock 'em cling and clang of metal on metal could be showy and refined enough to draw a few ears from the branch. Perhaps. Anyway, let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

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Tristan Halilaj in Joshua Marston's &quot;The Forgiveness of Blood,&quot; disqualified as Albanian's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar submission.</p>
Tristan Halilaj in Joshua Marston's "The Forgiveness of Blood," disqualified as Albanian's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar submission.

Credit: Sundance Selects

Joshua Marston DQ'd (again) as foreign-language Oscar list hits 60

US director's film deemed not sufficiently Albanian to compete

You've got to feel a bit for Joshua Marston. Back in 2004, the American first-time director was looking like one of the frontrunners for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar as his buzzy Sundance hit "Maria Full of Grace" was entered as Colombia's official submission for the award -- until the Academy, deciding that the US co-production wasn't sufficiently Colombian to compete, disqualified the film from Competition. It went on to land scads of honors, including a Best Actress Oscar nod for newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno.

Fast-forward seven years, and it seems the guy still can't catch a break from the Academy. For his second feature, the internationally-minded director travelled to Albania to make "The Forgiveness of Blood," a somber study of the country's blood feud culture that, if not as memorable as his debut, was well-received at the Berlinale, where it landed him the Best Screenplay prize. Filmed in Albania with a local cast and mostly local crew, it was entered as the country's official Oscar submission; if not as heavily tipped for the award as Marston's last effort, it seemed he'd at least get to play this time.

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<p>&nbsp;A scene from Studio Ghibli's &quot;Arrietty,&quot; hitting US screens in February 2012.</p>

 A scene from Studio Ghibli's "Arrietty," hitting US screens in February 2012.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Cinejabber: A taste of one of 2012's treats

Open thread. The floor is yours.

Welcome, again, to Cinejabber: our free 'n' easy open thread for you to air whatever cinematic matters are on your mind. With Kris wrapped up in wedding preparations today, I'm filling in for him, but it's not all bad news -- you get a break from Batman-related headlines, for starters. (I kid because I love.)

With nothing specific on my mind as I enjoy my last free weekend before the London Film Festival devours my life for the rest of October, this seems as good a time as any to pitch an early flag for a delightful film that hasn't let go of my imagination since I saw it a couple of weeks ago -- the latest Studio Ghibli animated wonder "Arrietty" (or "The Borrowers" in some quarters).

I say early, though here in the UK I was late catching up to it -- the film opened here back in July, swiftly charming audiences and discerning family audiences alike. Based on the classic Mary Norton children's novel -- previously, and more gauchely, filmed as a live-action feature with John Goodman back in 1997 -- it's an adaptation that brilliantly fuses the gentle English classicism of the source with the Japanese studio's more floridly eccentric storytelling sensibility. Hayao Miyazaki was one of the screenwriters, and dare I say the new film achieves the balances even more elegantly than the master's own British kid-lit adaptation "Howl's Moving Castle."

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<p>A&nbsp;scene featuring the original song &quot;Fake I.D.&quot;&nbsp;in Craig Brewer's remake &quot;Footloose&quot;</p>

A scene featuring the original song "Fake I.D." in Craig Brewer's remake "Footloose"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Could a pair of original 'Footloose' tracks figure into the Best Original Song race...again?

The remake aims to walk in the footsteps of Kenny Loggins and Deniece Williams

When Herbert Ross's "Footloose" hit theaters 27 years ago, the film managed a brush with Oscar in the form of a pair of nominations for Best Original Song. Kenny Loggins's titular track blew up radio request lines and haunts Kevin Bacon to this day: The actor actually pays bands NOT to play the song when he attends weddings. (My colleague, Melinda Newman, recently posted the video for Blake Shelton's country re-do of the track.)

Deniece Williams's "Let's Hear It for the Boy," meanwhile, was a staple of junior high school dances for years after the film hit. Both songs lost the Oscar to Stevie Wonder's inarguable "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from Gene Wilder's "The Woman in Red," but Craig Brewer's remake of Ross's film could swing around for some retribution.

As it turns out, another pair of original songs were written this time around, though considerably different from the poppy jams of 1984. The first, "Fake I.D.," is a twangy country track performed by Big & Rich featuring Gretchen Wilson. It's used during a big dance sequence in the film. The second, Zac Brown's "Where the River Goes," is a soulful little tune from the country/southern rocker. It's used early on to establish the main character's journey to his new home in the south, before the story really begins to take off.

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Mo'Nique and Tom Sherak announcing the 2010 Academy Award nominations earlier this year</p>
Mo'Nique and Tom Sherak announcing the 2010 Academy Award nominations earlier this year

AMPAS president Sherak promises a younger, more diverse Academy

Academy also pledges to embrace new media

Last week, Sasha Stone held one of her Oscar Roundtable discussions at Awards Daily, where one of the issues raised was the Academy's recent flurry of rule changes, particularly in the Best Picture category.

I responded as follows: "What concerns me is that the frantic adjustment and re-adjustment of the rules in the last two years alone indicates an organisation with no sense of consistency or confidence in itself. Solid, well-run, influential institutions don’t keep shifting the goalposts like this. This is supposedly the most senior, prestigious collective of film professionals in the world — they should be calling the shots, but instead they look desperately concerned about how they’re perceived."

Mark Harris put it more tartly: "They’ve been throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, and all it’s gotten them is a shit-covered wall."

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<p>&quot;The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn&quot; is less than three weeks from its world premiere in Europe.</p>

"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" is less than three weeks from its world premiere in Europe.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Britain braces quietly for 'Tintin'

Spielberg's return only weeks away for UK audiences

While Americans have to hold tight until December, it's less than three weeks until "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" hits UK screens. If I'm being honest, however, it hardly feels that way. Given what a rare treat it is to have a two-month head start on the US with a big-league blockbuster -- and Steven Spielberg's first film in three years, at that -- you'd expect the British marketing to have gone into overdrive for a project in which many comic-book sentimentalists have a rooting interest, and yet I'm surprised at how low the film's profile is, this near to its unveiling.

A fleshed-out UK trailer only dropped two days ago, leaving rather a tight window in which to whip up public anticipation. Looking around London over the past week, the film's outdoor advertising presence is surprisingly low-key, while it's less than ubiquitous on the local blogosphere. I find myself wondering what proportion of regular moviegoers have the film on their short-term radar.

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Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in &quot;The Iron Lady&quot; is &quot;spine-chilling,&quot; according to co-star Olivia Colman.</p>
Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" is "spine-chilling," according to co-star Olivia Colman.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Olivia Colman bigs up 'Iron Lady' co-star Streep

Meanwhile, British actress earns UK raves for 'Tyrannosaur'

In a perfect world, Olivia Colman would be as heavily tipped for the Best Actress Oscar as Meryl Streep -- sight unseen in the latter star's case, while the little-known Brit's stunning breakout performance in "Tyrannosaur" has been wowing critics since her film's Sundance debut. 

Of course, this is no perfect world, and Colman, together with her tiny, downbeat film will have to fight tooth and nail for even a percentage point of the media attention given to Streep -- though in a curious twist of the season, it's the American megastar who could give this darkest of horses her biggest boost in the race. For Colman will next be seen opposite Streep herself, playing Margaret Thatcher's daughter Carol in "The Iron Lady" -- an appearance that should raise her profile immensely going into awards season.

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;The Ides of March&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "The Ides of March"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'The Ides of March'

George Clooney's political drama hits theaters today

We've said about all we can say about George Clooney's "The Ides of March" around these parts. Guy was reserved about the film in Venice and used the occasion of the film's release to launch a list of the top 10 films about politics. I was over the moon about it in Los Angeles and am willing to stake plenty on its Oscar chances, despite naysayers. And Anne and I had plenty to say about it and the film's critical reception this morning. But today, the film is opening wide across the country. So many of you will get a load of it yourself this weekend. I'm eager to hear what you have to say, so hurry on back here when/if you get around to seeing it and give us your thoughts.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Oscar Talk: Ep. 64 -- Digging into the lead categories

Also: Talking NYFF opener 'Carnage' and critical reaction to 'The Ides of March

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.

Anne is calling in today from New York where she's on hand for the New York Film Festival. Much of what's there she (and I) have already seen, but there are one or two treats for folks like her who hit just about every major festival, including the big premiere of "My Week with Marilyn" (and whatever Monday's super secret work-in-progress secret screening might be). But there's plenty to talk about otherwise, so let's see what's on the docket today...

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<p>&quot;Arthur Christmas&quot;&nbsp;could seize the day if doubts and re-considerations plague a few of this year's contenders.</p>

"Arthur Christmas" could seize the day if doubts and re-considerations plague a few of this year's contenders.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: 'Christmas' poised to strike?

Also: How the Ultimate Warrior broke Ryan Gosling's heart and Kenneth Branagh talks 'Marilyn'

Linked in today's round-up is my colleague Greg Ellwood's London interview with "Arthur Christmas" director Sarah Smith and a piece from Steve Pond expanding a bit on the recent news that the feature animation branch is still in the process of determining the eligibility of performance capture productions in that race. I'll write a bit more about the category in due time, but I find myself wondering, if films like "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" are ultimately deemed eligible in the field, that's really only half the battle.

What if the stigma of the technology keeps branch members from voting for it? Just a curiosity, really. And there are no shortage of contenders, like "Arthur Christmas" (from the well-regarded Aardman animation studio, waiting in the wings to slide into the line-up. Anyway, more later. Let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...

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