Now that the nominations have been announced, it seems like a good time to go ahead and point you to our interviews with various individuals who woke up to good news this morning. This list is on-going as we still have things in the pipeline, so it will inevitably be added to throughout the rest of the month. Check out the list below and we'll update it as we go.
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I am no fan, to put it gently, of John Williams's chintzily instructive and inevitably Oscar-nominated score for "War Horse," but I'll admit I've been feeling the need for it all day. Williams is a master in the art of telling you how to feel, and several hours after hearing this years Academy Award nominations, I could really use some plaintive strings or percussive rumbling to tell me what on earth I'm supposed to feel about them.
Am I happy they took a chance on some adventurous arthouse fare like "The Tree of Life" and "A Separation?" Am I dismayed they haven't yet caught wise to Michael Fassbender? Am I perplexed that they seem to be actively sabotaging the admittedly inessential but once-entertaining Best Original Song category? Am I pleased that the animation branch showed some solid brass balls this year, even as I question the wisdom of their choices? Am I concerned that their barometer for the year's best documentaries bears no relation to anyone else's? Am I satisfied I predicted 73 out of 104 nominations, even if I hated myself for making some of those predictions in the first place? I'm certainly annoyed I have to see the wildly unalluring "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" now, after thinking I might just have dodged that bullet.
Why do the Oscar voters hate songs so much? Once again, the music branch has shown utter contempt for contemporary songwriters as they nominated only two tunes in the best original song category out of the 39 deemed eligible. What an insult.
A few years ago the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences changed the way it nominated songs, making it much harder for a tune to qualify. The Academy now holds a session to screen movie clips featuring the eligible songs. The members of the music branch then assign the songs a score. Those scores are then averaged; to be eligible a song must receive an average score of 8.25 or more (if only one song achieves that criteria, the second highest score is also selected). If two or more songs achieve the 8.25 benchmark, they will be the nominees up to a total of five.
Tech Support: 'The Artist,' 'Hugo,' 'Dragon Tattoo' and 'War Horse' feature heavily in Oscar's crafts categories
This morning, many crafts artists in Hollywood (and elsewhere in the world) found out that they are heading to the Kodak Theatre for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. The thrill they are experiencing must be difficult to describe.
The reaction of many to the nominations has simply been “wow.” While I wasn’t as floored as some, I confess to being surprised by many of this morning’s events, and the crafts categories proved no exception.
Before embarking on analysis of the individual categories, two trends should be noted: first, in the vast majority of categories, previously nominated veterans were tapped over up-and-comers. Second, with a few exceptions – notably “The Artist,” “Hugo” and “War Horse” – films either tended to be embraced across the board or confined in their nominations to one or two branches.
So now, on to the individual categories…
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.
Today Anne is still up in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival while I'm back home in Los Angeles. We're joined today by Guy Lodge to discuss a little bit of business that dropped this morning, so let's see what's on the docket today…
Bruce Springsteen will kick off a 19-date U.S. tour two weeks after his new album, “Wrecking Ball,” comes out.
The Boss had already announced a European tour that started in May, but today he confirmed rumors that the E Street Band would have a short U.S. swing before crossing the Atlantic.
The tour opens March 18 at Atlanta’s Philips Arena and closes May 2 at Newark, N.J’s Prudential Center. The European leg kicks off May 13 in Seville, Spain. “Wrecking Ball” comes out March 6. Springsteen is slated to deliver the keynote address at this year's South By Southwest March 15.
For those of us who are fans of "Drive," no nomination was more important this morning than Albert Brooks in the best supporting actor category. However, after Brooks surprisingly failed to land the equivalent SAG Awards honor, many began worrying he wouldn't make the Oscar cut. That sadly came to pass as Max Von Sydow was the surprise fifth nominee for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."
In the new FOX drama "Touch," Kiefer Sutherland plays a single dad whose son Jake — diagnosed for much of his life as severely autistic — is revealed to have a special, near-superhuman ability to identify and manipulate the patterns in the universe that appear to most of us to be a series of isolated, random events.
With “The Adventures of Tintin” out of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race, Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” can breathe a bit as it feels like the field’s frontrunner. In any event, it’s the standout as far as I’m concerned.
In light of its nomination this morning, Paramount was quick to announce that the studio will re-release the film for a one-week limited engagement at the Arclight Hollywood beginning this Friday, January 27th.
A Spaghetti Western animated comedy about a chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) who is unleashed from his enclosed glass terrarium only to find himself the (unqualified) leader and hero of the town of Dirt, it is one of the films that is markedly filled with homage this season. It feels like a film lovers' film to some degree, though its charms have also reached into the hearts of the audience at large.
The release of Adam Lambert’s sophomore set, “Trespassing,” is still two months away, but the “American Idol” runner up revealed the album cover via Twitter late Monday night.
Lambert also divulged that he has a major hand in all facets of “Trespassing”: he is the album’s executive producer and creative director. He made a special shout out to Lee Cherry, his art director and photographer.
It's been a busy morning. The nominees are out. About a thousand different variations of "it's humbling and exciting" are coming through from the various contenders. And all eyes are fixing on February 26. But as we transition into phase two of the 2011-2012 film awards season, it's worth it to pause and consider what we might have learned today.
Each and every year, the eventual slate of Oscar nominations reflects a number of key things about the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Often they solidify already agreed-upon truths, but sometimes other things are illuminated. It's silly, of course, to be overly reductive and chalk the Academy up as a singular entity. It's a wide-ranging group with a bunch of different perspectives bouncing around within its ranks, but nevertheless, when they get together to tap the year's excellence in this and that, it's an eye-opening experience.