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The nominations for the 25th annual European Film Awards have been announced, and Michael Haneke's "Amour" led the way with six nominations.
This could be the start of an awards roll-out for "Amour" that few are expecting (many still refrain from seriously considering it in the Best Picture race at the Oscars). Well, I suppose that streak would more accurately have begun with the Palme d'Or win in Cannes, but nevertheless, with a December release still to come and critics groups sure to spring for it, it's about to come on strong, I'm betting.
Thomas Vinterberg's "The Hunt" and Steve McQueen's "Shame" weren't far behind with five nods and Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" also had a strong presence with four nods. The European Film category was filled out with foreign film hopefuls "Barbara" (two nods), "Caesar Must Die" (which won top honors in Berlin back in February) and "The Intouchables."
Though most people know Jorge Garcia from his role as the mostly lovable lottery winner Hurley on "Lost" (and others might recall him from "Becker" or "Alcatraz,"), the actor is taking a turn for the mean on "Once Upon A Time" (Sun. 8:00 p.m. on ABC). As the giant who lives at the top of the beanstalk, he'll be facing off against Emma and Captain Hook, who hope to steal a magical compass from him that will transport them to Storybrooke. I talked to Garcia about the role, why he was glad to see Dr. Frankenstein and what he likes about having a full-time job.
Taylor Swift keeps her room at the top of the charts next week as “Red” is poised to sell up to 340,000 copies on the Billboard 200.
It’s unclear how much Hurricane Sandy hurt album sales, but Hits Daily Double postulates that Meek Mill, who has a strong Northeast fanbase, likely ends up with lower sales than he would have had there been blue skies and no power outages. Even so, he’s still a lock for No. 2 as “Dreams & Nightmares” will sell up to 180,000 units.
In addition to rapper Mill, four other artists bow in the Top 10. Rod Stewart’s first holiday album, “Merry Christmas, Baby,” lands at No. 3. Toby Keith’s “Hope On the Rocks” likely starts at No. 6. Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Psychedelic Pill” comes in at No. 8 with sales of up to 35,000, and Trans Siberian Orchestra’s latest Christmas opus, the “Dreams of Fireflies (On A Christmas Night)” EP at No. 9.
Filling in the rest of the top 10 are this week’s No. 2 set, Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” at No. 4. Jason Aldean’s “Night Train” at No. 5, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 7 and Pink’s “The Truth About Love” at No. 10.
“You don’t even know what you don’t know.”
Guillermo Del Toro is occasionally accused by fans of committing to way too many projects, more than he can ever possibly make. It helps if you understand that he knows full well that not all of those projects will ever happen. One of the things you have to do if you're a working director is develop a ton of projects at all times, because for every seven or eight films you develop, maybe one of them will actually make it in front of the camera. No one knows the pains of the development process as well as Del Toro, and he has become very canny about how he spearheads a dozen different things at a time so that he never finds himself without an active possible film when he finishes something else.
We talked earlier this week about why he took the job as a creative consultant at Dreamworks Animation, and how he's taken a very hands-on approach to his work there while also approaching the entire situation as a student, someone who wants to learn. I have a feeling we'll see an era of Guillermo animated films at some point, but for now, he's still happy to be a sounding board, a sort of idea factory for other artists to bounce off of. He giving most of his attention right now to "Pacific Rim," his giant-scale live-action monster movie coming out next summer, and early word from inside Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures has been incredibly effusive and passionate. It sounds like he's done something special, and there's one particular sequence in the film that Guillermo already describes as "the best scene I've ever done."
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Okay, well, I missed a few unseen contenders. I had a feeling I might since suddenly messages were being left on my phone from publicists pitching fringe hopefuls.
In addition to 16 of the Best Animated Feature Film contenders we have already thoroughly charted (and minus "Dino Time," which didn't bother -- who can blame them? -- and "Arjun: The Warrior Prince," which I had been led to believe by Disney would qualify), the Academy has announced five more qualifying titles for a big ole' list of 21. So that means we will definitely have a full slate of five nominees in the category, though that was already expected.
The other five are "Adventures in Zambezia" (which we had our eye on but never noticed a distributor come on board), "Delhi Safari," "Hey Krishna," "The Mystical Laws" and "Walter & Tandoori's Christmas." Check out the full slate below, as well as the aforementioned gallery running through most of the contenders, and let the guessing begin!
AFI Fest picked a fun and droll piece of work for its 2012 opener in Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" last night. (Greg Ellwood's review here.) As you'll hear me mention in this evening's podcast (coming later due to technical difficulties), I found it to be strikingly emotional, though, for its depiction of an artist's plight and the joy that comes with the release of bottled creativity. And I can't help but wonder if Academy members may feel the same way.
Films about the process have a long history of awards recognition, whether satirical or sincere. Things like Robert Altman's "The Player" and Spike Jonze's "Adaptation" come to mind, or "The Bad and the Beautiful" and "A Star is Born." And there is, of course, the highest echelon of the subgenre: "8 1/2." Oscar nominees all. Though sometimes masterworks in this vein can slip through the cracks. Just ask "Sullivan's Travels." And though it landed a pair of nods, "Singin' in the Rain" was mostly passed over.
I sincerely regret not going back to the House Of Blues last week after my interviews with the cast and the crew of "The Man With The Iron Fists" to see the RZA perform. It was an invite offered to all of the press who worked that day, and it would have been great to see him play some of the tracks from the preposterously fun soundtrack album, but I couldn't make it work.
Even so, I got to sit down with him and with Eli Roth and talk to the two of them about what went into the making of this big, gorgeous, super-sincere tribute to the films that have informed the RZA's aesthetic for as long as he's been a working artist. They were in a great rowdy mood, the result of finally completing what has been a major part of the RZA's life for several years now and an ambition for years before that.
I would not say I know the RZA, but I've sure seen a lot of kung-fu movies with him over the years. He was a regular at the Tarantino festivals in Austin, and perhaps the most insane, over-the-top, how-the-hell-does-this-exist kung-fu film I've ever seen with an audience was one of those screenings where he was right there with the rest of us, freaking out at every single great moment in "A Fistful Of Talons," including what may well be the craziest ending I've ever seen in a film.
That's not an exaggeration, either. The ending of that movie is one of the few things I've ever seen in a theater that made me leap to my feet, as if I were physically involved in what I was watching. It is sheer madness, and the audacity and the unashamed uber-violence… that all played into what an amazing shared moment it was. That seemed to be one of Quentin's goals as a festival programmer, that group experience, and perhaps the highest compliment I can pay to "The Man With The Iron Fists," which is a passion project directed by the RZA and co-written by him with Eli Roth, is that it feels like the sort of film that would play at a Tarantino fest, something he found on a shelf that no one else had ever seen, and it manages to pull off its ambitious goals without winking at the audience or becoming a mere post-modern exercise.
Dave Stewart is an artist whose livelihood thrives off of collaboration. The former Eurythmics founder these days splits his time between his guest-heavy rock albums, producing other artists’ work – frequently with acts who also show on his records – and managing film and TV projects via his company Weapons of Mass Entertainment. He was just one part of a five-person supergroup SuperHeavy, with Joss Stone, Mick Jagger, A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley, and they released their first full-length last year. He produced Stevie Nicks’ new album “In Your Dreams,” and the doc of the same name, which made its bow at the Hamptons Film Festival last month.