<p>Morgan&nbsp;Freeman previously won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in &quot;Driving Miss Daisy.&quot;</p>

Morgan Freeman previously won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in "Driving Miss Daisy."

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Morgan Freeman to receive HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille Award

The 'Dark Knight Rises' star gets the lifetime achievement treatment

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has tapped actor Morgan Freeman as the recipient of this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award, the organization's lifetime achievement prize. Recent honorees have included Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty.

Actress Amy Adams and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar were on hand at a press conference this morning to make the announcement. No, they have no connection to Freeman. But you know the HFPA and their celebrity fixation.

Freeman has been nominated for a Golden Globe five times, for the same five performances that netted him Oscar attention, in fact: "Street Smart" in 1987, "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989 (he won the Globe but lost the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot"), "The Shawshank Redemption" in 1994, "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004 (he lost the Globe to Clive Owen in "Closer" but won the Oscar) and "Invictus" in 2009.

Read Full Post
<p>The poster for Cameron&nbsp;Crowe's &quot;We Bought a Zoo&quot;</p>

The poster for Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Cameron Crowe's 'We Bought a Zoo' gets a nifty new poster

Will the film register this season?

With all the talk about the great "unknowns" this season, with "Young Adult" and "J. Edgar" having dropped over the last week and "War Horse," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" still to come, Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" has kind of fallen through the cracks of expectation. I haven't heard much about it and most seemed to disavow it after that saccharine-loaded trailer, but I'm actually looking forward to it with fingers crossed.

Details of the Jónsi-led soundtrack were recently revealed and I noted in a Best Original Song finger-to-the-wind post that the track "Gathering Stories" will be in the mix for that category. But what else could register for the film? Is Matt Damon lurking as a Best Actor possibility? Is the adapted screenplay up to snuff? I just don't know.

Read Full Post
<p>Stan Lee receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in&nbsp;January.</p>

Stan Lee receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Stan Lee lands another film honor

The PGA will give him its Vanguard Award this year

It's a good year for Stan Lee. "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" have laid the groundwork for "The Avengers" next year. He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January. The Visual Effects Society has tapped him for a lifetime achievement honor, and the awards just keep coming.

Today the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced that the comic book legend will receive its Vanguard Award this year. The prize recognizes achievements in new media and technology. Previous recipients include George Lucas, John Lasster and YouTube founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Will Wright.

“I am extremely appreciative that the Producers Guild has chosen me for this distinguished award,” Lee says in the press release. “I am eager to continue to expand comic book storytelling into the digital space and am honored to be awarded alongside such amazing visionaries.”

Read Full Post
<p>Oprah&nbsp;Winfrey:&nbsp;&quot;I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department.&quot;</p>

Oprah Winfrey: "I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department."

Credit: AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Oscarweb Round-up: Oprah's honor

Also: Gurus pick lead actor, animated feature and Searchlight debuts 'Shame' site

With the Governors Awards right around the corner, this year's recipients have been making the press rounds. When they were announced earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey's planned Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award fete was criticized by many who felt like she was known more for her TV work than her film work and therefore it was a stretch to extend her an honor that has gone to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Jerry Lewis over the years. Well, Winfrey says she gets it, and that she was surprised herself, but she also defends herself: "I don't think there's room for criticism in the do-good department." Let's get down to brass tacks. Do I win a car or what? [Associated Press]

Read Full Post
<p>Zhang Yimou (left)&nbsp;directs Christian Bale on the set of &quot;The Flowers of War.&quot;</p>

Zhang Yimou (left) directs Christian Bale on the set of "The Flowers of War."

Credit: Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Zhang Yimou's 'Flowers of War' set for Oscar-qualifying run

Meanwhile the Chinese filmmaker has already landed his first award

It’s been a momentous week for Chinese director Zhang Yimou. The Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations announced that the prolific (and often times controversial) director will be this year’s recipient of the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia-Pacific region. The honor will be awarded at the fifth annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards ceremony on Australia's Gold Coast on November 24.

The director’s previous achievements include the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, two BAFTA awards, Silver and Golden Lions at Venice and Berlin's Silver and Golden Bear. Zhang’s “Ju Dou” became China's first Academy Award-nominated film in the Best Foreign Film category in 1991 followed directly by his next film “Raise the Red Lantern.” The director’s latest offering, “The Flowers of War” has already been selected as China's official foreign language entry for this year’s Academy Awards.

Read Full Post
<p>After several years, Jonathan Franzen's bestseller &quot;The Corrections&quot; is reaching screens as an HBO series.&nbsp;</p>

After several years, Jonathan Franzen's bestseller "The Corrections" is reaching screens as an HBO series. 

Credit: Picador Publishers

Has Franzen's 'The Corrections' dodged a big-screen bullet?

HBO the perfect home for sprawling modern-classic novel

Since I first read Jonathan Franzen's National Book Award-winning novel nearly a full decade ago, "The Corrections" has been simultaneously my most anticipated and most dreaded of all mooted Hollywood prestige pics -- a project that has wavered from inevitability to promise to mirage in the years since the film rights were first snapped up.

Anticipated, because I love the novel as much as legions of other people: its ubiquity has done little to dim the brilliance of its densely knotted construction, jagged comedy and profound capacity for pain and empathy in its deconstruction of what makes and breaks the modern American family. Dreaded, because -- well, everything I just said. It's such a vast, heaving, emotion-sodden work that the odds would be against even the most judicious film treatment matching its breadth and tonal range; a less judicious one, meanwhile, could veer into unholy realms of soggy highbrow soap-opera.

Read Full Post
<p>Indeed, sir.&nbsp;&quot;Peace out.&quot;</p>

Indeed, sir. "Peace out."

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Brett Ratner issues statement after resigning as Oscarcast producer

The 'Tower Heist' director steps down in the wake of homophobic slur controversy

I'm happy to have dedicated the least possible amount of column inches to this Brett Ratner situation. But the actual news of the thing is today's announcement that he is, indeed, after many called for his head in the wake of his using a gay slur at a Q&A last week, out as producer of this year's Oscar telecast. (Kudos to The Hollywood Reporter's "The Race" blog for landing the initial scoop.)

It was the only play. I know it was a tough decision for all involved (not that it should have been, but relationships are tough to just gloss over). But it was the right one. It was a PR nightmare, a picket line on Hollywood Boulevard waiting to happen. It's just not what you want overshadowing what is meant to be a celebration of the year's finest filmmaking.

Alas, this will be Ratner's legacy. This will be what he's remembered for. The easy joke is, "Well, it wasn't going to be his films." Whatever. He's a working filmmaker who gets the job done and keeps the suits happy. And some of his films are entertaining. I'll never begrudge him that. And I was actually getting a little bit excited for the prospects of his Oscar stint, especially with the announcement of a fresh crop of comedy writers for the show.

Read Full Post
<p>Otto Preminger's &quot;The Man With the Golden Arm,&quot; one of several iconic poster designs by Saul Bass.</p>

Otto Preminger's "The Man With the Golden Arm," one of several iconic poster designs by Saul Bass.

Credit: United Artists

AMPAS tips its hat to Saul Bass

Academy joins with Museum of Modern Art to celebrate designer

Quick, how many title sequence designers can you name? I'm willing to bet most of you got no further than Saul Bass, which says more about him than it does about us -- the man responsible for some of the most ubiquitously reprinted poster and credit designs in film history may never have made a feature, but he's acquired the kind of hushed, revered status most cinephiles reserve for auteurs. (He did, however, direct several shorts, nabbing an Oscar for one of them.)

Even those of you who don't know his name know his work: the credit sequences of "Vertigo," "Psycho," "West Side Story" and several 1990s Martin Scorsese pictures; multiple iconic posters, ranging from "The Man With the Golden Arm" to "The Shining"; away from the movies, the corporate logos of AT&T and Kleenex. I have little choice but to think of Bass at least once a day: a poster storyboard of his opening titles for "Anatomy of a Murder" adorns my living room wall. As the son of a graphic designer, I was raised to be hyper-aware (not to mention hyper-critical) of movie credits: Bass, I was taught, was the gold standard. 16 years after his last film job (the title sequence of "Casino," released one year before his death), he remains so.

Read Full Post
<p>B&eacute;r&eacute;nice Bejo in &quot;The Artist.&quot;</p>

Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Can 'The Artist' break costumer Mark Bridges's Oscar duck?

Offbeat Hollywood designer still waiting for his first nom

As someone who tracks the awards season for at least part of a living, it goes without saying that I've said some geeky things in my time. And few have been geekier than my involuntary exclamation, while discussing the Oscar prospects for "The Artist" with a colleague last week, along the lines of: "I just hope to God it gets a Best Costume Design nomination!" My colleague looked understandably flummoxed: even allowing for my keener-than-average interest in the technical categories, it seems a peculiarly specific wish. The 1920s threads in "The Artist" are top-notch, of course, as is every craft aspect of the handsome monochrome period piece. Why this category? 

The answer lies not in the clothes as much as the man behind them. Costume designer Mark Bridges is one of the very best in his field, a singular artist whose imagination is equally fired by contemporary and period settings, whose visual wit and personality shine through even in projects that aren't obvious sartorial showcases. Over two decades in Hollywood, his designs have graced everything from austere Paul Thomas Anderson dramas to fluffy teen comedies to a Cirque du Soleil special, and he has precisely zero Oscar nominations to show for it.

Read Full Post
<p>Kevin&nbsp;Costner stars in Clint Eastwood's 1993 &quot;Unforgiven&quot;&nbsp;follow-up &quot;A&nbsp;Perfect World.&quot;</p>

Kevin Costner stars in Clint Eastwood's 1993 "Unforgiven" follow-up "A Perfect World."

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Lists: Top 10 performances in Clint Eastwood films

What do Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner and Jessica Walter have in common?

After bowing at AFI Fest just a few days ago, Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" is set for release nationwide later this week. And with it comes a pair of performances, from Armie Hammer and particularly Leonardo DiCaprio, that could spark up Oscar consideration as the season moves forward.

Eastwood has often been called an actor's director, and indeed, actors love working with him. He trusts them to find their way into a performance quickly. He does few takes and doesn't even call "action." It's an organic process and by most accounts, actors feel at ease under his direction. With 32 films under his belt, it's no wonder he knows what he wants and how to get it, even if the quality of the outcome can so frequently be up for debate.

With that in mind, it seemed like a good opportunity to dedicate an installment of The Lists to the greatest performances Eastwood has ushered to the screen. With 32 films come plenty of possibilities, and the cream of that crop does indeed make for a list of highly accomplished portrayals, I think.

Read Full Post