<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Solomon Northup wins his first award of the year for '12 Years a Slave' at USC Scripter Awards

Read John Ridley's acceptance speech on his and the author's behalf

The USC Scripter Awards are one of my favorite events of the film awards season. Yes, they are unique in that they recognize the authors of both screenplays and source material, and can often present a unique slate of honorees, but it's also a lovely personal excursion when I can make it, as the echoes of my days toiling away on various papers and thesis efforts in the halls of the Doheny Library make it an annual homecoming for me.

This year's 26th annual ceremony made for a wonderful evening as not only was the master himself, "Chinatown" screenwriter Robert Towne, in the house to receive the Literary Achievement Award, but Solomon Northup himself was able to land his own prize this season due to the unique nature of the proceedings. John Ridley shared the award with the late Northup as "12 Years a Slave" beat out fellow adaptations "Captain Phillips," "Philomena," "The Spectacular Now" and "What Maisie Knew."

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<p>&quot;The Great Gatsby&quot;</p>

"The Great Gatsby"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Gravity,' 'Her,' 'The Great Gatsby' win Art Directors Guild Awards

All three are in contention for the Production Design Oscar

Oscar-pool betters looking for tips in the Best Production Design race shouldn't be too reliant on the Art Directors Guild Awards: in their 17 years of existence, the Academy has agreed with one of their selections on 10 occasions. Last year, they did not -- while the ADG plumped for "Anna Karenina," "Life of Pi" and "Skyfall,"  the Academy surprised most pundits by picking "Lincoln" instead.

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<p>Forest Whitaker in &quot;Two Men in Town.&quot;</p>

Forest Whitaker in "Two Men in Town."

Credit: Berlin Film Festival

Review: Forest Whitaker hits a dead end in dry desert thriller 'Two Men in Town'

Rachid Bouchareb can't get back on track in his latest American-set feature

BERLIN - Just as no book should be judged by its cover, no film should be judged by its title -- though that doesn't stop us from occasionally doing so anyway. It's fair to say that any expectations set up by the title "Two Men in Town" are met by French-Algerian director Rachid Bouchareb's drab, western-infused thriller: it features at least two men, it's set in something more or less resembling a town, and it's sufficiently listless to make you believe no one could be bothered to think up something more flavorful. "Two Magnificent Men in Town." "Two Men in [Insert Town Name Here]." I'm just spitballing.

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<p>Robert Redford at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Robert Redford at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

Robert Redford tribute provides an emotional grace note at Santa Barbara festival

An evening not nearly long enough ended with a touching ode

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Friday night ended up providing one of the most emotional moments I've seen in all my years of attending the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It came at the end of a very long evening saluting the career of actor Robert Redford, one that wasn't even long enough, actually, as the timeline had to top out at "Ordinary People" lest the celebration spill over far too much. And it was a grace note representative of the heart of this festival.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Captain Phillips&quot;</p>

A scene from "Captain Phillips"

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Captain Phillips' and 'American Hustle' win industry editing honors

'Frozen' and '20 Feet from Stardom' also walk away with hardware

Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" hasn't missed a beat since that pair of surprise Oscar misses in the Best Director and Best Actor categories a few weeks back. The film pulled out a Best Adapted Screenplay WGA win last weekend and Friday night it routed fellow Best Picture nominees "Gravity," "Her" and "12 Years a Slave" to win the ACE Eddie Award for dramatic feature film editing. "American Hustle," meanwhile, bested "Nebraska" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" to claim the comedy/musical prize.

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<p>Christopher Rouse winning the Best Film&nbsp;Editing Oscar for &quot;The&nbsp;Bourne&nbsp;Ultimatum&quot;&nbsp;in 2008. Could we see a similar sight on March 2?</p>

Christopher Rouse winning the Best Film Editing Oscar for "The Bourne Ultimatum" in 2008. Could we see a similar sight on March 2?

Credit: AP Photo

Film editor Christopher Rouse on Paul Greengrass, Oscar nominations and 'Captain Phillips'

'It’s the richest and best creative relationship I’ve ever had.'

Filmmaker/editor relationships may not have the iconic status of relationships between directors and certain actors or producers or even cinematographers, but there are exceptions to this. For instance, no one has been as integral to Martin Scorsese's career as Thelma Schoonmaker. Much of Steven Spielberg's work has been shaped by the great Michael Kahn.

Usually these sorts of collaborations are marked by something special at the core of the relationship, and over the past decade, a similar one has begun to blossom in this light: Paul Greengrass and Christopher Rouse. Rouse has worked on nearly all of Greengrass' films, dating back to 2004's "The Bourne Supremacy," and even though their collaborations number just five, to think of one artist without the other is now a bit difficult.

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<p>Woody Allen in 2011.</p>

Woody Allen in 2011.

Credit: AP Photo

Woody Allen speaks out and it appears he's had enough

Will this end anytime soon?

To say this awards season has not gone as expected is something of an understatement. No one could have anticipated that perhaps the closest best picture race this century would be overshadowed by twenty one year-old allegations surrounding Woody Allen and his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow.  After almost two decades of silence, a series of tweets during the Golden Globes from Mia Farrow, Dylan's adoptive mother, and her brother, Ronan Farrow, has snowballed into a dramatic series of statements that has once again dragged these unproven allegations into something of a public spectacle.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Captain Phillips.&quot;</p>

A scene from "Captain Phillips."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Roundup: On writing, or writing down, 'Captain Phillips'

Also: Channing Tatum's Team Oscar, and clothing 'The Grandmaster'

Not everyone was expecting "Captain Phillips" writer Billy Ray to take the WGA Award last weekend -- though Kris, I believe, called it. Anyway, it seems to have been a popular win, and while he seems unlikely to repeat that triumph on Oscar night, it's nice to see one of the season's most formidable also-ran films get a moment in the sun. Ray himself has now written a good piece about his experience of writing the film -- in which he refuses to claim much credit: "I like the feeling I get when I'm working on a true story — a sense of authenticity, that I'm really reporting and not just writing ... [Phillips], like the movie itself, is real and unvarnished, imperfect but thoroughly human. I always felt there was a real nobility in that; my job was simply to capture it. In that sense, it's really Captain Phillips who wrote this movie — I just wrote it down." [LA Times]

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin&nbsp;Scorsese and Jonah Hill at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film&nbsp;Festival</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Jonah Hill at the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: AP Photo

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio look back on a fruitful collaboration

The director and actor received Santa Barbara's Cinema Vanguard Award Thursday

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio hit the stage at the Arlington Theatre Thursday night as co-recipients of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award. A two-hour discussion, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, covered all bases of their 12-year pas de deux, including, of course, their introduction to each other's work.

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<p>Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in a scene from &quot;Dallas Buyers Club.&quot;</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in a scene from "Dallas Buyers Club."

Credit: Focus Features

Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey breaks down key 'Dallas Buyers' scene

The balance between sincerity and sentiment

The unexpected love thrown to "Dallas Buyers Club" by the Academy was on of the best surprises when the Oscar nominations were announced last month.  The film's 6 nods are a testament to the moving direction of Jean-Marc Valle (he earned an editing nod), the smart script by  Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack and, obviously, the career best performances from stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner and other unheralded members of the film's ensemble. McConaughey and Leto are the frontrunners in the best actor and best supporting actor categories respectively and have deservedly swept the equivalent Golden Globe and SAG Awards honors.  

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