Well, that was quick.
My guess at this point is that we'll hear the name of the director making "Episode VII" before the end of November. If Lucasfilm and Disney were willing to announce the hiring of Michael Arndt today, then it's obviously been in the works for a while, and they are most likely further along in the process than anyone guessed.
Star Wars.com posted another video today with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, and they evidently plan to post a new video every week. I think it's interesting to see how different their approach to talking to the audience is this time around than it was when they were gearing up for the prequel trilogy.
Since we now know that Michael Arndt is writing "Episode VII" and that he's already written treatments for the trilogy, the big question is who will direct, and Kathleen Kennedy talks at length about what attributes they're going to be looking for in a director. It should be no surprise that "enthusiasm for the series" is the most important thing. Kennedy is correct, of course, that there is a whole generation of filmmakers working today who were drawn to film in the first place by "Star Wars," and I don't think they'll have any trouble finding people who are interested in playing in this universe.
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Well, that was quick.
It's interesting that when people started listing A-list filmmakers they'd want to see tackle the next "Star Wars" film, Brad Bird's name came up more than almost any other. I've had faith in Bird's abilities as a storyteller for years, and as soon as I saw a rough cut of "Iron Giant," I was ready to declare the guy a national treasure. It wasn't until he made the jump to live-action filmmaking with "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' that he was suddenly at the top of every fanboy's wish list for pretty much every genre film in development.
I'm excited to see him develop original material, though, because I think he's got a strong voice and he's got a deeply-rooted love of genre. He's exactly the sort of guy we should be supporting in the creation of new properties instead of just dumping the familiar on him over and over. Sure, he'd make a great "Star Wars" movie, but I'd rather see whatever "1952" is from him instead.
The Oscars may seem some way off still, but the short film categories are already getting down to business. A couple of weeks ago, we got the official, er, shortlist for Best Documentary Short; now, Best Animated Short is the next category to whittle down the playing field.
Ten titles have advanced to the second voting stage, selected by the Academy's Short Film and Feature Animation Reviewing Committee from a pool of 56 entries. Interestingly, the press release states that three to five of the 10 will be nominated, though there haven't been fewer than five nominees in the category since 2000.
One of the most buzzed films of the Oscar season hits theaters today after having its "official" bow at AFI Fest last night. The film comes into the season with huge expectations and, by most accounts -- including, most definitely, my own -- it rises to them. But I don't expect the film will land so well with everyone, so I'll be curious to hear what others think. When you get around to it, do let us know your take in the comments section below. And as always, feel free to rate it above.
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.
I'm kind of hoping I can get to the theater while I'm in LA this week to see Sam Mendes' "Skyfall" again, which I quite liked. Guy was mostly positive on it, too. I'd particularly like to take it in on IMAX to soak in those beautiful Roger Deakins images. With much talk after the film opened early overseas (mopping up at the box office), it landed on these shores yesterday. So I'm very curious to know what our readers might think of it. If you get around to seeing it, come on back here and tell us what you thought. And as always, feel free to rate it above.
For Soundgarden fans, the rock band has, indeed, "Been Away Too Long." Thankfully, the group has unleashed an uneasy music video for that track to ease their mind.
The impressive clip is almost entirely in slow-motion, with a mental patient making her way through a ward that's between "Session 9" and "Shutter Island." The wintry setting also hosts German shepherds and gas-masked military guards and she flees through a maze of snow and skulls. It's actually pretty awesome, her attempt to escape and the shattering finale. The creepy director-genius Josh Graham helmed; the art director has also worked with Neurosis, so that makes some sense.
With Alan Cumming hosting, Matt Stone and Trey Parker on the winners list and Daniel Day-Lewis taking the stage with an Eastwooding routine, BAFTA/LA's Britannia Awards sound considerably more fun than their parent organization's February ceremony across the pond. Then again, that's often the case with awards shows the general public doesn't really know about -- though they'll have a chance to see for themselves when the ceremony is broadcast this Sunday on BBC America.
The Britannia Awards, which have been held by the British Academy's Los Angeles outcrop since 1989, aren't a competitive ceremony, but rather a celebration of a selected handful of individuals -- usually mostly British, though not this year -- deemed to have enriched the medium. It's not an award tied to specific films, though they often alight on artists who already have a clear presence in the awards season.
The AFI Fest closed last night with the "world premiere" (even if the NYFF let the cat out of the bag weeks ago) of "Lincoln," but not before handing out some awards. And the big winner was... well, Scandinavia. Swedish immigrant drama "Eat Sleep Die" took the Grand Jury Prize, and the superb Danish thriller "A Hijacking" (see my Variety review) took the Audience Award in the New Auteurs section, but the big winner from an Oscar perspective was Denmark's foreign-language submission "A Royal Affair," which underlined its serious contender status by taking the World Cinema Audience Award. Not many were paying attention when it won two prizes at Berlin in February, but this smart historical romance has grown in stature ever since. It wasn't the only foreign Oscar hopeful to take a gong: Kenya's first-ever entry, "Nairobi Half Life" was also rewarded. [AFI Fest]
The night that Sci Fi executives screened the "Battlestar Galactica" finale for critics and VIPs, we were told two things: 1)The channel's name was changing to Syfy, which was pronounced the same, spelled in a more goofy manner, but which, we all assumed, would be trademarkable in a way that "Sci Fi" was not; and 2)With the end of "BSG," The Channel About To Be Formerly Known As Sci Fi was also shifting away from the spaceships and other hard science fiction trappings in favor of more earthbound shows like "Warehouse 13" that would be the slightly weird second cousin to what was airing on USA.
It's been five weeks since "Glee's" breakupocalypse, and after tonight's episode, I'd be thrilled if the show went away for another five years.
By then Marley, Jake, Kitty, Unique and Ryder would have graduated high school and "Glee" could quit trying to make any of those duds happen and simply focus on the grown-up lives of the better, funnier, more diverse and interesting characters we've been following since season one.