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George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller were recognized as part of the ensemble of "The Descendants."
George Clooney, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller were recognized as part of the ensemble of "The Descendants."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Descendants,' 'Martha Marcy' lead the way for Gotham Award nominees

Fox Searchlight must be feeling good this morning

The 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Award nominations were announced this morning, effectively kicking off the precursor season. Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" and Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" were the big winners with three nominations apiece.

Considering that and given that Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" also showed up in the Best Feature category (the film's only nomination), I'm sure Fox Searchlight is smiling big today. The studio racked up an impressive eight nominations total (the other being a Breakthrough Director tip of the hat for "Another Earth" helmer Mike Cahill).

Most surprising is the absence of "it" girl of the year Jessica Chastain in the Breakthrough Actress category, which predictably includes the two ladies who'll surely duke it out for similar awards all year long: Elizabeth Olsen and Felicity Jones.

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Watch: Justin Timberlake raps his heart out in FreeSol's 'Role Model' video

Watch: Justin Timberlake raps his heart out in FreeSol's 'Role Model' video

It's the closest we're getting to new music from Mr. Sexyback

Given that we’re clearly not getting any new music from Justin Timberlake any time soon, as he’s made abundantly clear, JT fans should drink in his rap here on “Role Model,” the latest video from FreeSol, the rock/hip-hop unit from Memphis signed to Timberlake’s Interscope-distributed Tennman Entertainment.

Timberlake owns the song, especially since the gritty black and white video opens on him and his rap lasts through the whole first segment, plus he appears throughout. The tune is presumably about him as well, since, quite frankly, no one except their mamas and their superfans know who the guys in FreeSol are. We’re talking specifically about  lyrics like this: “I’m going in my own direction/if you don’t like it, you can cut your TV off...I’m not a role model...You follow me on my twitter/but that don’t mean that you know me.”

[More after the jump...]

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Taking questions for 10/21 Oscar Talk

Taking questions for 10/21 Oscar Talk

Offer up your burning queries

Alright, you know the drill. Rifle off your need-to-knows and Anne and I will address as many as possible. Make 'em good!

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<p>At least we know Garrett Hedlund could pull off the whole 'riding a cool motorcycle' thing</p>

At least we know Garrett Hedlund could pull off the whole 'riding a cool motorcycle' thing

Credit: Image

Warner Bros gives 'Akira' the greenlight with Garrett Hedlund eyed to star

So they're really going ahead with it, eh?

Looks like Akira and Tetsuo are set to battle it out again after all.

It also looks like the time Garrett Hedlund spent learning how to ride those lightcycles for "TRON Legacy" is going to pay off as he signs a deal to star in the film.

I can think of few films that make less sense for a Westernized live-action remake than the original animated "Akira."  It is, like "Godzilla," literally born from the ashes of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, an anxious SF parable about living with the unexpected consequences of the nuclear age.  There is a strange surreal paranoia to the original, which is a massive compression of the manga series, and the youth of the main characters is important because the story deals with young people inheriting the horror that resulted from the generation before them.  The storytelling in that film is oblique, and the iconography is very Japanese.

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<p>Madonna's &quot;W.E.&quot; could easily survive to a costume design nod given the branch's tendency to look past overall perceived quality of a film.</p>

Madonna's "W.E." could easily survive to a costume design nod given the branch's tendency to look past overall perceived quality of a film.

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Tech Support: Period pieces from 'Hugo' to 'W.E.' stand out for Best Costume Design

Other contenders include 'Jane Eyre,' 'The Help' and 'The Artist'

Every Oscar evening, the fashion police are out in full force grilling the (usually female) stars on their choice of attire as they march across the red carpet. Seldom, though, is so much attention paid to the individuals who designed the clothes that made the stars look so good on screen. However, excellent costume design can immeasurably impact the quality of a film.

It is worth noting, though, that good costume design does not necessarily equate to making the star "look good." Indeed, clothes are able to express a character in numerous ways, many of them extremely subtle, building the character through how he or she dresses, including possibly making the actor look run-down or impoverished.

That said, the Oscar for Best Costume Design does tend to award showy, extravagant work. Period pieces account for the overwhelming majority of nominees, with fantasy efforts comprising almost all of the rest. Rarely is a contemporary film nominated.

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The opening scene from &quot;The Dark&nbsp;Knight,&quot;&nbsp;which previewed in front of IMAX versions of &quot;I&nbsp;Am Legend&quot;&nbsp;in 2007
The opening scene from "The Dark Knight," which previewed in front of IMAX versions of "I Am Legend" in 2007
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Oscarweb Round-up: 'Dark Knight Rises' prologue to accompany 'Mission: Impossible?'

Also: Excerpting Roger Ebert on Martin Scorsese and Michelle Williams's potential Oscar curse

Four years ago it was a shrewd move on the part of Warner Bros. to attach the opening five or six minutes of "The Dark Knight" to IMAX versions of the studio's "I Am Legend." It brought more people to that film (and to the higher price point of IMAX) and it was a great way of drumming up interest in the summer 2008 film as far back as December of 2007. It was also the only footage Heath Ledger ever saw of his work in a slick presentation. This year, the studio is apparently looking to turn the same trick, though rather than go with WB's own December opener "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," they reportedly will be attaching eight minutes of footage to Paramount's "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol." [/Film]

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<p>Christina Applegate and Will Arnett in &quot;Up All Night.&quot;</p>

Christina Applegate and Will Arnett in "Up All Night."

Credit: NBC

The Morning Round-Up: 'Up All Night,' 'Suburgatory,' 'Happy Endings'

How did last night's comedies work out?

Once again, mid-week seems a good time to offer brief thoughts on shows I've seen but don't have a whole post's worth of things to say about. Today, in order, quick reviews of "Up All Night," "Suburgatory" and "Happy Endings,"  coming up just as soon as I have full spa access for my birth...

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<p>Sarah Paulson and Elizabeth Olsen discuss &quot;Martha, Marcy, Mae, Marlene.&quot;</p>

Sarah Paulson and Elizabeth Olsen discuss "Martha, Marcy, Mae, Marlene."

Elizabeth Olsen reveals 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' almost had a 'First Wives Club' moment

Olsen and Sarah Paulsen discuss their onscreen sisterly relationship

The more you learn about Elizabeth Olsen's performance in Sean Durkin's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" the more remarkable it becomes. Whether talking to Durkin, her co-stars John Hawkes or Sarah Paulson or even Olsen herself, you have to wonder how quickly the 22-year-old will be battling Jennifer Lawrence or Kristen Stewart for the title of bet actress of her generation.  But first, let's focus on "Martha."

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<p>A scene from Wednesday's &quot;America's Next Top Model&quot;</p>
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A scene from Wednesday's "America's Next Top Model"

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Coco Rocha'

For some reason, Tyra gets the models to play flag football
Question of the week for all you fashion fans: What is a classy supermodel like Coco Rocha doing on the same show as Bianca Golden, aka (as Lisa puts it) that “spoiled little brat”? It’s as if an A-list movie star, say, Drew Barrymore, was slumming it as a spokesperson for Cover Gir- uh, never mind. 
 
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<p>Connie Britton in &quot;American Horror Story.&quot;</p>

Connie Britton in "American Horror Story."

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story' - 'Murder House': Seriously, how stupid are you? Get out of the damn house already!

The Harmons find that moving out isn't as easy as they thought

Okay, we're now up to the third of three "American Horror Story" episodes FX sent out in advance of the premiere, and likely the last episode of the show I'll watch. But before I sign off, I'm again curious how people are finding the show.

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<p>Idris Elba as &quot;Luther.&quot;</p>

Idris Elba as "Luther."

Credit: BBC

One crazy cop: 'Luther' season 2 in review

Idris Elba continues to be great, but how did the four episodes stack up?

Because season 2 of "Luther" debuted on BBC America right in the middle of the network TV premiere crunch, and because the series ran here so far after it aired in the UK, I decided to wait until all four episodes had aired before weighing in on the season. That way, everyone's on the same page, no spoilers, and I actually had time to watch it all (which I didn't a month ago). Some quick thoughts on this season coming up just as soon as I roll my dice...

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<p>This would definitely ruin an evening.</p>

This would definitely ruin an evening.

Credit: Screen Gems

Joe Cornish discusses 'Attack The Block' sequels and spin-offs

Plus some quick thoughts on 'Tintin' and 'Ant-Man' and Edgar Wright

It seems like 2011 has been a pretty good year to be Joe Cornish.

After all, he released his first film as a writer/director this year, the instant cult classic "Attack The Block," and he's also got a co-writing credit on the new Steven Spielberg animated film "The Adventures Of Tintin."  Add to that the work he's been doing with Edgar Wright on the still in-development Marvel movie "Ant-Man," and this is pretty much as good a year as you can have as a filmmaker.

When I introduced the film at its first screening this year and then held the Q&A with Cornish afterwards, it was the kickoff to what has apparently been a non-stop media parade for him, and when he called last week, I told him how much I've enjoyed seeing everything unfold for the film in the meantime.  "I appreciate that.  Thank you.  The support from the, as you'd call it, blogosphere has been the absolute lifeblood of this film, and I'm very appreciative of all the support."

That's the point, though.  When I love a movie, the only thing I can do to help is to keep talking about it as much as possible.  I told him it was strange seeing the movie at home for the first time because I missed hearing all the reactions that were part of each public screening I went to for it.  "Well, hopefully, if people haven't seen it, they can have friends over and make an event of it and turn the lights out."

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