Tech Support: Visual effects Oscar race features apes, raccoons and 'Interstellar'

Tech Support: Visual effects Oscar race features apes, raccoons and 'Interstellar'

Can Paramount bring 'Noah' back around for some below-the-line love this year?

The Best Visual Effects is often the place where the Academy recognizes what it is frequently accused of avoiding elsewhere: mainstream spectacle. Blockbusters reign in this category, at least at the nomination stage, with fantasy films, franchises and other money-makers always featuring prominently. The branch also has its specific fetishes, at least historically (talking animals immediately jumps to mind), though, in recent years, it has seemingly been all 3D, all the time.

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<p>George Clooney in &quot;Tomorrowland&quot;</p>

George Clooney in "Tomorrowland"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

George Clooney invites you to a 'miraculous place' in first 'Tomorrowland' trailer

The film hits theaters next summer

I haven't been following Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland" too closely and I imagine that's how they want it. The air of mystery has been maintained throughout, but audiences at New York Comic-Con got a peek Thursday afternoon, and now so can you.

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Patti Smith talks 'Noah' original song 'Mercy Is' and still feeling intimidated

Patti Smith talks 'Noah' original song 'Mercy Is' and still feeling intimidated

The punk rock legend reflects on film, lullabies and Old Testament sadness

Patti Smith loves movies. A few days before we chatted about her Best Original Song contender "Mercy Is" from Darren Aronofsky's "Noah," Smith and her friend Ralph Fiennes took in two screenings at the currently running New York Film Festival: Mike Leigh's "Mr. Turner" followed by Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice." The double feature was "quite a juxtaposition," she says with a laugh (Smith enjoyed both films). And it's her taste for movie-going that landed her a job writing the haunting melody that underscores Aronofsky's film. The two first met when they bumped into each other at the Venice Film Festival, catching one another at films and chatting between screenings. Three years later, their off-the-cuff conversation is now an Oscar-eligible single.

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The Humbling
Credit: Millenium Entertainment

Al Pacino is a talentless has-been in first trailer for 'The Humbling'

Can smooching Greta Gerwig save his soul?

The first trailer for Barry Levinson's "The Humbling" teases so much that could — should? — go right. There's Levinson, whose never let his eclectic career hit an easy groove; There's star Al Pacino, a legend everyone's gunning for no matter how many "Righteous Kill"-like duds come along; There's the esteemed Philip Roth providing source material with Buck Henry adapting; And there's Greta Gerwig, one of the strongest young actresses in the business. Throwing Dianne Wiest, Charles Grodin, and Dan Hedaya on top is like a sundae with three cherries.

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Wild Tales
Credit: Sony Classics

We've already broken the record for foreign language Oscar submissions

77 countries have already declared ahead of the Academy's official announcement

The Academy has not yet unveiled the official list of contenders for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race (expect a press release some time this week), but keeping track of the entries as the various countries have submitted, we can go ahead and report that we've already broken last year's record of 76.

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Contender Countdown: Should the Best Picture frontrunners fear 'American Sniper?'

Contender Countdown: Should the Best Picture frontrunners fear 'American Sniper?'

Don't discount 'Gone Girl' yet

If it's mid October that means a number of expected Best Picture contenders are increasingly becoming questionable players. Guess things are getting serious, huh?

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Jeremy Renner doesn't need to justify being in 'The Avengers' franchise or 'M:I-5'

Jeremy Renner doesn't need to justify being in 'The Avengers' franchise or 'M:I-5'

Whether its a superhero or 'Kill The Messenger' he chooses what he's passionate about

The film has gone a bit under the radar, but Michael Cuesta's "Kill the Messenger" deserves your attention this weekend. Based on the true story of journalist Gary Webb (Jeremy Renner), the film chronicles how the San Jose Mercury News beat writer discovered that the CIA was knowingly funding drug smuggling into the United States during the 1980s. It's not an exaggeration to say breaking the story destroyed his life.

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<p>&quot;Guardians of the Galaxy&quot;</p>

"Guardians of the Galaxy"

Credit: Marvel Studios

'Guardians,' 'Gone Girl,' 'Interstellar' scores get a jump on awards season

Honors to be presented at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards in November

Somehow over the years the Hollywood Music in Media Awards have escaped me. The event's fifth annual slate of nominees were announced today, and it's a pretty standard assortment of names we've been considering at the forefront of this year's Best Original Score Oscar race, from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to Hans Zimmer to the ubiquitous Alexandre Desplat.

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<p>&quot;Unbroken&quot;</p>

"Unbroken"

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tech Support: Films like 'Interstellar' and 'Into the Woods' set for Oscar's craft races

Kicking off the ninth season of 'Tech Support' here at In Contention

Welcome back to the ninth season of Tech Support here at In Contention. The crafts coverage banner has become somewhat of a staple here at this site, as we seek to shine light upon the below-the-line artists whose crafts make our movies immeasurably richer. And over the next 10 weeks we will analyze each of the Academy's craft Oscar races: Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. The order will be mixed, to keep things fresh between audio and visual categories, and complement new releases and developments in the race as a whole.

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Trash

Stephen Daldry's 'Trash' applauded at Rio Film Festival for its non-Brazilian Brazilianness

But will it ever makes its way to American shores?

Are we ready for the "Brazilian answer to 'Slumdog Millionaire?'"

Rio Film Festival audiences quickly granted "Trash," the latest from "The Hours" director Stephen Daldry, that label after the the film pleased crowds with comedy, child wonder, and "offshore" energy (as trades love to refer to it). Polling attendees after the film's applause-filled premiere, a Variety reporter found many locals agreed that, despite "Trash" not being a true Brazilian movie, "it is not non-Brazilian in the best sense." Many praised it for being more entertaining than most "favela" (or, Latin America slum) dramas.

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