You've probably noticed the Fox ads decorating a number of sites (including this one) pimping Andy Serkis's motion capture performance in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." It's apt language -- "The time is now." -- and a commendable play even if it is the steepest of uphill battles. In this morning's Oscar Talk podcast we'll talk a little more about it, but it's worth it to stir the conversation at least to the point that those who walk in Serkis's footsteps in the form, or perhaps Serkis himself down the line, will benefit and maybe be taken a little more seriously in the awards season. The buzz on the matter has been swirling ever since Tom Roth made some public comments about it, and that buzz has made its way across the pond. [Guardian]
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It's December, which is list-making time in the entertainment journalism business, and I've noticed a lot more chatter this year on Twitter between different critics as they try to figure out their best-of and worst-of lists. The other day, someone asked whether NBC's horrible "Wonder Woman" pilot - which never aired, but leaked briefly on the Internet - should be eligible. That got me thinking about ye olden days of the '70s and '80s when TV networks would actually air some of their unsold pilots, especially when they were two hours long and could be presented as a TV-movie, or if they had something special that the network could promote one time, even if no one felt it would work as a series.
One example of the latter kind of Busted Pilot Theatre was the show that gave my blog its name: 1989's "What's Alan Watching?," a one-hour family comedy starring a pre-"Parker Lewis Can't Lose" Corin Nemec as Alan Hoffstetter, a suburban teenager who tried to escape his unhappy life by spending hours in front of the TV, often having fantasies where the TV characters would talk to him.
The Satellite Awards don't get much respect on the precursor beat, and there's a reason for that: no one really seems to know who votes for them, they appear to be supremely undiscriminating with their lengthy nominee list, and their choices are frequently as head-scratching as they are admittedly inspired. (Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Best Supporting Actor nominee Colin Farrell in "Horrible Bosses.")
Still, as ridiculous as they are in many ways, I find it impossible to dislike an awards body that has so little regard for its own precursor status -- you certainly can't accuse a group who nominates John Michael McDonagh, debut helmer of "The Guard," for Best Director of trying to anticipate the Oscar race. And it's hard not to be a little tickled by a nominee list that is jointly led, with eight nods apiece, by two films at such opposite ends of the bait spectrum: "War Horse" and "Drive."
About a week ago, I made the joke that things were starting to get ugly on the whole "Dr. Who" movie thing, but I didn't realize that it was going to really heat up, and tonight on Twitter, things got very confusing very quickly.
This all began when Variety ran a story a few weeks back in which David Yates was named as the director of a "Dr. Who" bigscreen film. Yates talked about how they were looking for writers and just starting development on the project. "We're going to spend two to three years to get it right. It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena," he said. Those are some pretty specific quotes, and Yates also said he was going to be working with Jane Tranter, BBC Worldwide's LA-based exec VP of programming and production.
The thing is, no one said anything to Steven Moffat, and that's a problem.
Tonight at around midnight LA time, Moffat tweeted the following:
"To clarify: any Doctor Who movie would be made by the BBC team, star the current TV Doctor and certainly NOT be a Hollywood reboot."
He followed that up about ten minutes later with a second tweet:
It may seem like a lost opportunity to some, but when sitting down with Ralph Fiennes last month the last thing I wanted to discuss was his role as Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" films or what he'd bring to the "Clash of the Titans" sequel, "Wrath of the Titans," next year (That said, I couldn't resist trying to ask about his role in the new James Bond film "Skyfall," shooting next month, but he smiled and said he couldn't say anything). No matter, the subject this day was Fiennes' impressive directorial debut, "Coriolanus."
There's only seven people left, which is surprising given how long this season has seemed to be. Still, it's fun to see Molly Sims trying on Heidi Klum's mannerisms week after week like designer gowns, struggling to determine which (if any) fit. I think Klum's weird, gleeful malevolence is really one of a kind, so I think Sims will just have to come up with some schtick of her own.
A review of tonight's "Parks and Recreation" coming up just as soon as I eat an unreasonable amount of St. John's wort...
A review of tonight's "Community" coming up just as soon as I review frozen pizza on YouTube...
Are we ready for another "X Factor" double-elimination?
I'm not sure if I am. Yes, I know exactly which two performers I'd eliminate this week -- Chris and Marcus, I'm looking mournfully at you -- but I don't expect that they're the two singers America is likely to eliminate, resulting in almost inevitable disappointment.
Using this picture of Marcus is a spoiler risk. I understand that. His chances of departing are fairly high. But it's such a colorful and lively picture that I had to use it.
Click through for my live-blog of tonight's elimination proceedings, including a performance by British rapper Tinie Tempah, who I couldn't pick out of a lineup.
If there is any section of Sundance that I can claim as my own here at HitFix, it is Park City at Midnight. Just as Greg Ellwood is our primary guy for the Competition sections, since those are the film most likely to end up in the conversation about awards as the year progresses, it makes sense for me to cover the midnight movies because I am King Nerd of the HitFix team.
This year's line-up is immediately interesting, and it's funny how many overlaps I can already see in this year's programming, places where you'll have one person in Park City to represent several films. Makes sense, too. There's a momentum that starts to gather around certain people, and sometimes they're just having a moment and it seems like everything's ready at the same time. It's not just at festivals, of course. Steven Spielberg's having a big fat crazy December in theaters in the US, with both "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "War Horse" opening within days of one another. But when it happens at a festival, it can create some really strange and fun echoes that link films that otherwise have nothing in common.
The Academy announced today its list of 10 animated shorts that will compete for nominations in the category. This has become a favorite race to follow in these later stretches, I must say. The only film of the bunch that I have seen is Pixar's "La Luna," which could walk away with the prize. (It's the studio's best animated short in years; my thoughts from Telluride can be found here.)
The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles, the press release notes. Branch members will now select three to five nominees. Screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January.
The 84th Academy Awards nominations -- in case you need reminding -- will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. We'll know then which of these made the cut.
Check out the full list of shorts below.