<p>David Cronenberg (left)&nbsp;and Viggo Mortensen were both honored for their work on &quot;A&nbsp;Dangerous Method.&quot;</p>

David Cronenberg (left) and Viggo Mortensen were both honored for their work on "A Dangerous Method."

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

'The Artist,' Malick come out on top with Vancouver film critics

'A Dangerous Method' a favorite in 'Canadian Film' awards

After leading with four nominations from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" has won Best Picture and Best Screenplay from the group. Meanwhile, David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" got some love in Canadian spotlight categories. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Viola Davis won&nbsp;Best Actress for her performance in &quot;The Help.&quot;</p>
<br />

Viola Davis won Best Actress for her performance in "The Help."


Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Alliance of Women Film Journalists go with 'The Artist,' Hazanavicius

Michael Fassbender and Viola Davis win top acting honors

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has revealed its list of winners in 30 (!) categories after announcing a slate of nominees recently. The big winner in the traditional categories was "The Artist," which won Best PIcture and Best Director. Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Anna Paquin in&nbsp;&quot;Margaret&quot;</p>

Anna Paquin in "Margaret"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Round-up: Lonergan speaks... in the presence of his lawyer

Also: Jennifer Lawrence to announce Oscar noms, and dissecting the DGA picks

Okay, so you've probably got the message by now that we love "Margaret" around these here parts. So any word from the film's embattled writer-director Kenneth Lonergan is something we're going to seize upon, even if it's a fairly brief Q&A with Variety's Christy Grosz, recorded in the presence of his lawyer. Sadly, the film's continuing legal problems mean he can't cut loose on his desired edit (or indeed the one that we've seen), but he offers some nice insights on the writing process and what the eponymous Gerard Manley Hopkins poem means to him. Finally, he describes the #TeamMargaret phenomenon as "astonishing and wonderful." Right back atcha, sir. [Variety]  

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<p>Tom McCarthy at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Tom McCarthy at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Victoria Will

Interview: Writer/director Tom McCarthy on Wall Street, cinematic economy and ‘Win Win’

The WGA nominee's latest maintains a dim but inarguable presence in awards season

NEW YORK - There’s something oddly perfect about meeting “Win Win” writer/director Tom McCarthy in a small café in Chinatown with Gershwin's “Rhapsody in Blue” playing in the background. (Though that would feel slightly less charming when transcribing the interview weeks later.)

Firstly, it is the last sort of place one would imagine either McCarthy’s writing partner, Joe Tiboni, or their central protagonist, Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), to turn up. In fact, McCarthy recalls that Tiboni’s daily, cyclical routine consists of his self-described “triangle of death” from home to Dunkin’ Donuts to work and back again.

Secondly, it's difficult to not enjoy the novelty of speaking to the filmmaker about his restrained, deceptively simple suburban life offering with Gershwin’s exultant, experimental ode to urban chaos as a backdrop.

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<p>Kim Novak in &quot;Vertigo.&quot;</p>

Kim Novak in "Vertigo."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'The Artist' and the 'Vertigo' score: separating theft from tribute

Kim Novak reports a 'rape,' I report an overreaction

Ah, the trumped-up non-controversy. It's a kind of hazing ritual that many a certified Oscar frontrunner has to go through: remember the accusations of child actor neglect levelled at the makers of "Slumdog Millionaire," the supposed military inaccuracies (not to mention poor producer etiquette) of "The Hurt Locker," or even the revelation that a key set in "The King's Speech" had previously housed a gay porn shoot? These mildly tangy stories tend to be forgotten as quickly as they flare up, and rarely do much lasting damage, so it's just as well "The Artist" is getting it over with now.

I'm speaking, of course, of the ludicrous full-page Variety ad taken out against the film by, of all unexpected people, veteran Hitchcock blonde Kim Novak, who may not have made a film in 20 years, but is still gifted with an Oscar ballot -- one she presumably will not be using to vote for the French silent film she has more than a little melodramatically accused of "raping" her "body of work."

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Continue the discussion at HitFix's brand new message boards

A feature many of you requested is now a reality

A brief bit of business here. HitFix has been in the process of getting a slate of message boards off the ground, and as of today, they're live.

I imagine most of the discussion from those around these parts will be confined to the movies section, and specifically the Oscars and Golden Globes arenas. But HitFix being a unique collective of music, television and movie content, there are naturally other areas, too.

So if you haven't already, sign up for a HitFix account and then feel free to dive in and kick-start the discussion yourselves!

<p>A scene from &quot;War Horse&quot;</p>

A scene from "War Horse"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

'War Horse,' Scorsese win with North Texas critics

George Clooney and Viola Davis win top acting honors

The North Texas Film Critics Association (yep) has gotten together to announce this year's list of winners. And it was "War Horse" that came out of top, with Martin Scorsese winning directing honors. No were to be found "The Artist." Check out the full list of winners below.

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<p>Emmanuel Lubezki's lensing of &quot;The Tree of Life&quot; has dominated the cinematography conversation this year.</p>

Emmanuel Lubezki's lensing of "The Tree of Life" has dominated the cinematography conversation this year.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

DPs indulge in some mutual appreciation

Top lensers share their 2011 favorites, as ASC announces tomorrow

We've reached that point in the season where one has to actually keep a diary to remember which precursor announcements are landing on which days -- as far as the guilds go, the actors, producers, writers, art directors and now the directors have all had their say, while the American Society of Cinematographers will join their ranks tomorrow.

I'd like to say I'm anticipating a surprise or two, but Best Cinematography is rapidly starting to feel like the most cemented of the craft categories. At least three of the five slots are spoken for, with a couple of ubiquitous titles jostling to fill the other two. The odds don't favor an exotic and/or pulpy interloper like "House of Flying Daggers" or "The Black Dahlia" making things a little more interesting this year.

"The Tree of Life," "Hugo" and "The Artist" all seem comfortably locked in for nominations from both the Guild and the Academy, with the eventual winner likely coming from that trio. A week ago, I might have said the same for "War Horse," but Steven Spielberg's lavish WWI epic is performing so dismally with the guilds thus far that I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it missed the cut tomorrow. Still, Janusz Kaminski is an industry favorite and the film's rampant (if peculiarly lit) pictorialism is catnip in this department: I'm not going to bet against it just yet.

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<p>Vanessa Redgrave in Roland&nbsp;Emmerich's &quot;Anonymous&quot;</p>

Vanessa Redgrave in Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous"

Credit: Columbia Pictures

'Artist,' 'Harry Potter' and 'Hugo' among Academy's makeup finalists

'J. Edgar' and 'Green Lantern' won't be advancing

The Academy has announced seven advancing finalists in the race for Best Makeup, and among the chosen are the Meryl Streep-starrer "The Iron Lady," which transformed the beloved actress into former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Another film that transformed a recognizable actor into a famous political figure, Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," was snubbed, as was comic book blockbuster "Green Lantern" (which featured impressive, heightened work on actor Peter Sarsgaard but was obviously not well-received by critics or audiences).

The makeup branch tends to go its own way, though, regardless of perceived quality. And the branch can often throw a curve ball, as it did two years ago by advancing and ultimately nominating Paolo Sorrentino's "Il Divo" and again this year by standing up for Joann Sfar's Serge Gainsbourg biopic "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life."

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<p>Sean&nbsp;Penn with Oprah&nbsp;Winfrey on a visit to Port-au-Prince, Haiti last month</p>

Sean Penn with Oprah Winfrey on a visit to Port-au-Prince, Haiti last month

Credit: AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

Sean Penn to receive Joel Siegel Award at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards

Actor to be honored for his commitment to philanthropic endeavors

George Clooney will present Sean Penn with the Joel Siegel Award at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards this coming Thursday. Siegel was the “Good Morning America” film critic for over a quarter of a century as well as a BFCA member. The award is meant to “honor those who understand, as Joel did, that the greatest value of celebrity is as an enhanced platform to do good works for others.”

Among other charitable and political endeavors he is and has been associated with, Penn founded the J/P Haitian Relief Organization in the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. “We are extremely proud to be able to make this presentation to Sean on this night in particular, exactly two years after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti,” BFCA President Joey Berlin said via press release. “While it was heartening to see such an outpouring of support and aid for the Haitian people in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the long-term commitment made by Sean and his organization is particularly notable. The Joel Siegel Award was created to spotlight such above and beyond efforts by the leading lights of our industry and its spirit is truly personified by Sean Penn.”

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