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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.
So, allegedly Kris Humphries, the about-to-be ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, is now grousing that he's become the victim of unfair editing on the E! show "Kourtney and Kim Take New York." Given that Humphries is featured in the season premiere implying his then-wife had eaten too much wedding cake, farting in Kim's face and having a fit when he sees his wife taking yoga lessons from a mostly naked male instructor, this doesn't seem like an unreasonable reaction, if it's true. You have to hope that producers and editors had to tweak the existing footage to make Humphries look this bad.
The National Board of Review announced their 2011 year-end winners today and provided a number of surprises.
Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" won both best film and best director besting other contenders including the NYFCC winner "The Artist," Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" and Lars von Trier's "Melancholia."
Presumptive best actor frontrunner George Clooney won best actor while Tilda Swinton shocked to win best actress for her riveting work in "We Need To Talk About Kevin." Christopher Plummer picked up yet another best supporting actor win for "Beginners" and Shailene Woodley finally found love for her work in "The Descendants" in the best supporting actress category.
The NBR spread the wealth to other films including "50/50" (best screenplay), "Like Crazy" (Felicity Jones, Breakthrough Performance), "Rango" (best animated feature), "The Help" (best ensemble), "Margin Call" (debut director) and "A Separation" (best foreign language film.
A full list of this year's winners as well as the organization's top ten picks are as follows as well as come quick commentary in how this relates to the long-term Oscar race from this pundit.
Bruce Springsteen will be the keynote speaker at 2012’s South By Southwest Music and Media Conference. The Boss follows in the footsteps of such acts as the late Johnny Cash, Robert Plant, Pete Townshend and Neil Young. He will speak March 15 at the Austin event.
Next year is already shaping up to be a big one for Springsteen and The E Street Band. Two weeks ago, he announced that a new album and tour will occur, and since then, we’ve gotten the European dates (see below) and now this. Rumors are that there may be some U.S. dates before the European tour starts in May. Plus, you just know that there’s going to be some awesome secret show in Austin.
Not so fast, "The Artist." After Michel Hazanavicius's silent love letter came out earlier this week in the front of the Best Picture landscape (nailing down five Independent Spirit Award nominations and winning the New York Film Critics Circle's Best Picture prize), Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" has planted a flag in the race today by claiming the National Board of Review's prize for best film of the year.
The film also won the Best Director prize for Scorsese, and overall, I'm a bit surprised. But happily. I was worried for a moment there we might have a steamroller this season.
"The Artist" did manage to crack the NBR's top 10 list, which also included Best Picture hopefuls "The Descendants" and "War Horse," and somewhat surprisingly left room for Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" and Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." And the organization being the Clint Eastwood devotees that they are, "J. Edgar" naturally showed up, too.
There was lots of action going on behind-the-scenes at the Grammy Nominations Concert. For what was happening on stage, check out Katie Hasty’s blog. Below, we bring you the good stuff you didn’t see on TV.
Bruno Mars was full of good-natured bluster after snagging six nominations (the man is on a roll: the newcomer had seven last year). When asked if he expect to receive such a bounty, he replied “Ye-ah. What do you think? I was doing it for fun?” After he finished laughing, he more seriously added, “You know what, this awards stuff.. I’m trying to get used to it. It’s hard for me because [fellow album of the year nominees] Adele is incredible, Kayne West is incredible...The fact that this album got recognized and I’m being categorized with these acts, I guess that’s the craziest part for me because I’m a fan of all this music. I’m just trying to enjoy these little moments like this.” “Grenade’s” nomination for song and record of the year was especially gratifying, he added, flanked by his fellow members in his production team, The Smeezingtons, because that was the song that we worked the hardest on. Out of all the songs that we were fortunate to be part of this year, we were the most proud of that one.”
Triple nominee Jason Aldean was planning to throw down in his hometown in Georgia this weekend to celebrate his nods, but he admitted he remained a little baffled by events that happened earlier in the week. At Monday night’s taping for CMT's Artists of the Year special, honoree Aldean and Hank Williams Jr. were performing Aldean’s current hit, “Tattoos On This Town.” After one take, Bocephus walked off, never to return. In a non-explanation, he later issued a statement saying that he left because “it didn’t feel right, it didn’t sound right. I didn’t want to disrespect him.” We asked Aldean for his take: "I think when it comes to Hank, the only thing that you can predict about Hank is that he’s unpredictable,” he says. “I’m still a huge fan. He’s one of my idols, one of the guys that I grew up listening to. I’m a huge fan and, you know, it was a little weird, but it’s Hank Jr., what are you going to say?”
[More after the jump...]
Okay, "Dallas" was never exactly "Masterpiece Theater." It was a big, soap drama set in Texas that ran for 13 seasons and was such a massive hit that the question of who shot J.R. inspired one fan to offer star Larry Hagman 1 million British pounds to reveal the answer (he didn't know). While primetime soaps haven't hit the same highs since, it's no shock that TNT is trying to update the formula. The trailer promises oil, infighting and the usual soapy goodness, if you're into that sort of thing.
Young Jeezy's new album is so most definitely coming no joke, and his newest track touts a very serious guest of starpower. Eminem joins Jeezy's CTE label signee Freddie Gibbs on "Talk to Me," the latest track to arrive from "TM103."
It's a little slower of a jam than I was expecting, and it feels like Eminem's hook is carrying it more than it should. Drumma Boy's beat seems to require the ATL MC to drag it out, like he's still fitting out some syllables. Still, I think it may be a grower of epic proportions, much more than the rapper's collaboration with Jay-Z and Andre 3000 on "I Do" (though Andre was CUTTING IT UP).
"TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition" is out Dec. 20, now. Click here for more info on other guests.
As we await the National Board of Review announcement, let's go ahead and knock this out. Anne and I will of course be giving our thoughts on the NYFCC, Indie Spirits and NBR announcements, as well as the Gothams and probably a bit on "We Bought a Zoo." Tell us your need-to-knows outside of that and we'll try to address a few. Keep it interesting, stay away from stuff we've already covered, etc.
The Bowerbirds are back with, literally, more electricity.
The indie-acoustic crew has increasingly plugged in on each album, with this new set "The Clearing" sounding like it will be no exception. The North Carolina-based couple-duo of Beth Tacular (spec-tacular!) and Phil Moore have unleashed the first view into the darkness -- that is, "Tuck the Darkness In," which provides about a minute and a half of guitar bliss at the end.
Bowerbirds' story is intriguing, considering they're absolutely 100% tree-hugging hippie Earth-love rural dwellers, and they are 0% obnoxious about it. Their lyrics have been consistently intelligent and uncloyingly endearing, with lots of natural imagery, like romantic poetry for ecological responsibility.
There's usually a fair amount of disparity between the Grammy nominations in the 'Visual Media' music categories and the choices of the Academy's music branch -- not least because they work on such different calendars. Still, with the Best Original Song race currently looking so sparse (seriously, just hand the Muppets their Oscar now and skip the formalities), we may as well take what signs we can get.
The Grammy race for Best Song Written for Visual Media highlights three eligible compositions I hadn't really thought to include in my predictions. I highly doubt the Academy will share Grammy voters' enthusiasm for Justin Bieber, and I'm not even sure how concert films would fare under their context-oriented voting system, but nevertheless, chalk up the Diane Warren-written "Born to be Somebody" from "Never Say Never" on the longlist.
Warren is also nominated in the category for Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque," the song the Academy deemed less integral to its film than something Randy Newman scrawled on the back of a matchbook for "Toy Story 3," but why reopen old wounds?