<p>Emma Thompson at the AFI&nbsp;Fest premiere of &quot;Saving Mr. Banks&quot;</p>

Emma Thompson at the AFI Fest premiere of "Saving Mr. Banks"

Credit: AP Photo

Emma Thompson tapped for Santa Barbara fest's Modern Master Award

'Saving Mr. Banks' star is only individual to win Oscars for both acting and writing

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced today that it will bestow its highest honor, the Modern Master Award, to "Saving Mr. Banks" star Emma Thompson at the 29th edition of the fest on Feb. 8, 2014.

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Angela Lansbury and Emma Thompson at the Governors' Awards -- shouldn't their Oscar shows be at the same time?
Angela Lansbury and Emma Thompson at the Governors' Awards -- shouldn't their Oscar shows be at the same time?
Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: Should honorary Oscars return to the telecast?

Also: Down with character posters, and the documentary Oscar glut

I know, I know, I link to Mark Harris a lot in these roundups. But he's always a pleasure to read, and rarely more on-point than in his impassioned piece about last weekend's Governors' Awards -- the separation of which from the Oscar telecast is an issue that still gets his goat, particularly in a year when the speeches of Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury and Steve Martin would all have made good television for a relatively mainstream audience. "Of all the ways of nodding to the past, it is grotesque that the only one that has survived on the main telecast is the in memoriam roll call," he writes. "It’s pious sentiment, and also profound hypocrisy, to bow to Hollywood history by honoring those who are no longer around while shoving its living representatives off to November lest they ruin your TV show." Do you think he has a point? I do. [Grantland]

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<p><span class="tooltip" id="previewtooltip_7967752c588d4c4facfe4342ddd6b3a2" style="top: -118px; left: -481px; display: block;">Mark  Wahlberg mingles with  Charlize Theron and Peter Berg at AFI&nbsp;Fest premiere of &quot;Lone Survivor.&quot;<br />
</span></p>

Mark Wahlberg mingles with Charlize Theron and Peter Berg at AFI Fest premiere of "Lone Survivor."

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Off the Carpet: The Oscar season has never been so stuffed

Tons of events and a lot of great movies make this one to remember

I honestly didn't know my iCal application could hold this many events. The reminder jingle on my phone is going off constantly, jogging my memory of this shindig or that Q&A. The circuit has, in no uncertain terms, become unhinged with phase one glut, and it seems like it's only getting worse...depending on how you look at it.

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<p>Saoirse Ronan at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;How I Live Now.&quot;</p>

Saoirse Ronan at the Los Angeles premiere of "How I Live Now."

Credit: AP Photo/Richard Shotwell

Saoirse Ronan on 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and taking direction from Ryan Gosling

The 19-year-old Oscar nominee once harbored dreams of waitressing
Something seems different about 19-year-old Saoirse Ronan from the moment the camera lands on her delicate, determined features in Kevin Mcdonald's youth-in-peril drama "How I Live Now," and it's hard to place exactly what it is. It's not the questioning Transatlantic accent, though that takes some getting used to. That piercing, pale-eyed gaze is one we know well by now, and the same goes for her quietly assured performing presence -- both present and correct in this unusual, genre-melding adaptation of Meg Rosoff's acclaimed teen novel.
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<p>Jason&nbsp;Sudeikis (left)&nbsp;and Will&nbsp;Forte in probably one of my favorite &quot;SNL&quot;&nbsp;sketches of their era</p>

Jason Sudeikis (left) and Will Forte in probably one of my favorite "SNL" sketches of their era

Credit: AP Photo

Will Forte talks 'Nebraska' with fellow 'SNL' alum Jason Sudeikis

On the nature of truth in drama with two of the funniest guys around

LOS ANGELES — Paramount brought out some artillery on behalf of "Nebraska" star Will Forte Sunday afternoon as the actor's fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Jason Sudeikis moderated a post-screening Q&A with the Best Supporting Actor hopeful for a capacity audience filled with mostly Screen Actors Guild members.

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<p>Scarlett Johansson at the Rome premiere of &quot;Her.&quot;</p>

Scarlett Johansson at the Rome premiere of "Her."

Credit: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

McConaughey and Johansson win in Rome, as 'Her' campaign gathers pace

The actress looks to become the first-ever Oscar nominee for a voice performance
The Rome Film Festival isn't traditionally a headline-grabbing event -- in terms of prestige and pulling power, it's still emerging from the shadow of Venice, the former ward of Rome festival director Marco Mueller. And sure enough, not even a Best Film win from the James Gray-led jury will get many people talking about Alberto Fasulo's "TIR," an Italian hybrid documentary about a truck driver's lonely life on the road. (Even that choice seems to echo the Venice fest, after the surprising Golden Lion win for Italian highway documentary "Sacro GRA" in September.)
 
Still, with their acting awards, Gray's jury -- intentionally or otherwise -- secured a bit of media attention for the festival with two very starry choices. Matthew McConaughey took Best Actor for "Dallas Buyers Club," while Scarlett Johansson was their Best Actress pick for "Her."
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<p>Ethan (left)&nbsp;and Joel Coen at the AFI&nbsp;Fest premiere of &quot;Inside Llewyn&nbsp;Davis&quot;</p>

Ethan (left) and Joel Coen at the AFI Fest premiere of "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Credit: AP Photo

Joel and Ethan Coen discuss 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' long-time collaborations and the allure of New York

Also: Thoughts on filling the very big shoes of cinematographer Roger Deakins

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — "Inside Llewyn Davis" is the Joel and Ethan Coen's 16th feature to date. Starring Oscar Isaac as a shade of New York folk singer Dave Van Ronk, it tells the story of the scene that Bob Dylan came into, the calm before a storm. It's a love letter to music of the era, making for a potent collaboration — their fourth — with music maestro T Bone Burnett.

The filmmaker siblings are notoriously difficult interviews, though in most of my experiences with them it's been pleasant. You just can't drop the usual mundane queries and expect excitement. But when you key on to something they really want to discuss, usually something that has nothing to do with the film at hand, they light up. They don't suffer too much heady consideration about their work and remain pragmatic, almost refreshingly so, in the face of such things. Nevertheless, they collectively make for one of the most vital voices in all of American art.

I recently sat down with the duo to discuss, among other things, long-standing collaborations, the allure of stardom and the romance of New York City. Read our back and forth below.

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<p>Sandra Bullock at the Hollywood Film Awards last month.</p>

Sandra Bullock at the Hollywood Film Awards last month.

Credit: AP Photo

Roundup: Bullock joins McConaughey on Palm Springs honor roll

Also: 2013's best undistributed films, and campaigning at the Governors' Awards

As I wrote last week, the Palm Springs Film Festival makes a habit of giving their annual Desert Palm Achievement Awards to surefire Best Actor and Actress Oscar nominees, and they've almost certainly maintained that record this year. Matthew McConaughey was recent named the first recipient; now he's joined by "Gravity" star Sandra Bullock -- "the epitome of cinematic talent and versatility," in the words of fest chairman Harold Matzner. (I bow to no one in my love for Bullock, but... the epitome?) The actress, currently Cate Blanchett's chief challenger in the Best Actress race, will be presented with the honor at the festival's awards gala on January 4. [PSIFF]

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<p>Christian&nbsp;Bale</p>

Christian Bale

Credit: AP Photo

Christian Bale says to expect 'shocking stuff' from Ridley Scott's Moses epic 'Exodus'

The 'Out of the Furnace' star comments on a different Moses for a different era

At the AFI Fest premiere of "Out of the Furnace" last weekend, director Scott Cooper pardoned the absence of Christian Bale by quipping, "He's parting the Red Sea as Moses in the Canary Islands, but he really wanted to be here." Indeed, Bale has been hard at work filming Ridley Scott's "Exodus" these last few weeks, and the actor told HitFix in a recent interview that audiences can expect a far cry from what Charlton Heston and Cecil B. DeMille delivered 60 years ago.

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<p>Jared Leto at the Los&nbsp;Angeles premiere of &quot;Dallas Buyers Club&quot;</p>

Jared Leto at the Los Angeles premiere of "Dallas Buyers Club"

Credit: AP Photo

Jared Leto hopes the Focus legacy will live on with new regime after 'Dallas Buyers Club'

One last hurrah on the circuit brings with it a lot of incentive

As awards season trudges forward, the two weeks surrounding AFI Fest have easily been more packed with fetes and soirees than ever before. And on Sunday afternoon, it was Universal and Focus holding events for Oscar hopefuls "Rush" and "Dallas Buyers Club" respectively.

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