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I ran an excerpt from my conversation with Sam Worthington not long after I sat down with him to discuss his new film "Man On The Ledge," and we ran that one bit because he was talking specifically about his next film, "Wrath Of The Titans."
We spoke far longer about "Man," though, and I find Worthington's evolution as a leading man very interesting. By the time most audiences saw him for the first time, he'd already been given several huge roles in "Avatar" and "Clash Of The Titans." That seems to be a newer phenomenon, when someone gets anointed a movie star before they've really been seen by audiences, and it doesn't always work.
In Worthington's case, I see exactly why he was cast in those big roles, and I can also see why some audiences just haven't warmed to him. He's not terribly interested in being a giant movie star, and I get the feeling that some of the attention has been difficult for Worthington. In every conversation we've had so far, it strikes me that he really wants to just get better at his craft, pushing himself whenever possible. In "Man On The Ledge," he's playing a normal guy, and he can't really hide behind giant CGI effects or a high concept.
There's going to come a point somewhere down the road, probably sooner than I would like, when my two sons start to ask me questions about drugs, and I'm going to have to make some hard choices about what to share with them about my various chemical indiscretions over the years.
One of the ways I'll make the conversation easier is through the use of specific films as examples of how things feel when you're altered. And now, after tonight's midnight screening at Sundance, I can add "John Dies At The End" to the list of films that I can use to illustrate how it feels when you have intentionally attempted to alter reality through the use of some sort of outside influence. Based on a novel by David Wong, one of the founding voices of Cracked.com, "John Dies At The End" tells the story of what happens when two friends are exposed to a profoundly bizarre drug that is nicknamed "Soy Sauce," which enables them to see an invisible world full of monsters and doorways to other dimensions and things too strange to describe.
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.
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.