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The truth is something on the fringe is likely to win the Best Animated Short Oscar this year. "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" over "La Luna," "The Lost Thing" over "Day & Night," "Logorama" over "A Matter of Loaf and Death," "The Danish Poet" over "The Little Matchgirl" -- it happens. A lot.
That having been said, Disney's "Paperman," a delicate little love story that's greeting viewers of "Wreck-It Ralph" this weekend, is generating plenty of love and goodwill. It's a blend of hand-drawn 2D animation and 3D CG artwork. "The characters are modeled in CG and rendered in high contrast to create the modeling and shading, then merged with hand-drawn linework using a proprietary software program called Meander to create the final result," Jim MacQuarrie explains in a Wired piece, which also features an interview with the film's producer, Kristina Reed. "It looks like traditional 'classic' animation but with a sense of solidity and volume that’s more common to CG films." So maybe there's enough technical meat on its bones to grab the branch's collective brain in addition to its heart.
Following the International Documentary Association's breaking of the champagne on the hull of this year's documentary race, the Cinema Eye Honors have announced their list of nominees. "The Imposter" and "Searching for Sugar Man" led the way with five nominations each. Both are considered formidable competitors in this year's Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature. Check out the full list below.
I've been so tied up in my own little world this week, toiling away, working on this and that, closed up in the apartment for the most part (typical when you're at your busiest in this line of work -- and this has probably been the busiest week of the season for me), mainly aware of the horrors of Sandy via the news like most of you. Which is a trip. Out here, uptown, we're fine. We're lucky. Just a number of blocks this way or that, many people aren't.
So I feel like I really need to take stock of that. Lots of friends, whether they be in New Jersey, upstate, Long Island, wherever, are still stuck in a bad spot. I haven't had a chance to go downtown and take in the full effect of what's gone on down there, and I should. I will. My heart sank a little when I saw the cover of this week's New York Magazine. Then it was lifted again when I read the mag's editors' letter and all the resilience it reflected. And as resilient as New York is, it's a city in need of a laugh right now, to say the least.
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!