The nominations for the 40th annual Annie Awards were announced today, and Disney had to be all smiles with 27 nominations across four feature films in play. And it was "Brave" and "Wreck-It Ralph" from that stable that led the pack, along with DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians," with 10 nominations apiece.
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Earlier today we launched this season's edition of The Circuit, which will track the ups and downs of the precursor circuit from the critics awards to the guild announcements all the way through the Oscars and more. But things will get serious later this afternoon as the New York Film Critics Circle sits down to hold its annual vote.
The job of the critics this time of year is to be honest about their view of quality, yes, but also to stand up for titles and individuals lost in the shuffle. Sometimes those calls line up with Oscar, sometimes not, but the road begins to get paved with these announcements. And the narrowing process -- particularly in a shortened phase one window -- is crucial.
Oscar buzz is a strange, unscientific and totally intangible thing -- even contenders being left out of the precursor can generate their own conversation with some assistance from the blogosphere. Nathaniel Rogers calls it The Noise, and right now he's hearing it for Nicole Kidman, whose Oscar chances for a brilliant out-of-character turn in Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" initially seemed to be shot down with the film's critical savaging. But Kidman's doing a stealth campaign, calling up sympathetic interviewers (including our own Greg Ellwood) herself, and it's paying off with some press at just the right time. Could she crack a still-thin Best Supporting Actress category? Though I think she's really a lead in "The Paperboy," I hope so, and so does Rogers: "You'd have to bring Daniel Day-Lewis's Honest Abe into the room to give her a worthy opponent for impossible commitment to the role," he writes. [The Film Experience]
So, this is the episode (and I'm not giving anything away here) which drives Kim to rip off her microphone, storm away from her castmates, and pull that ghetto move which involves grabbing the camera and cussing out the poor videographer holding it. Yes, it's a classy episode of "RHoA," complete with Kegal balls, breast obsession, fibroid tumors and Black Babygate. Yeah, no wonder Kim wanted off the show. With all this drama, her whining about having to downsize to a 7,000 square foot townhouse almost seems sane.
Boy, the Internet is gonna break today.
As if there weren't already a thousand breathless rants revving up on message boards everywhere about the "Justice League" rumor that broke a few hours ago, there's also a new "Star Trek Into Darkness" poster that reveals…
… well, I'm still not sure what it reveals.
The people who point out that the poster seems to mimic some of the imagery and layout of the posters for "The Dark Knight" are correct, and that's really no surprise. Marketing tends to have one truly new idea in film marketing every few years and then ten thousand echoes of that one new idea. Marketing is all about successfully selling something, so if there's a campaign that pushes a film to a billion-dollar worldwide gross, of course the marketing people are going to cannibalize that campaign for years afterwards, as often as they can until it doesn't work anymore.
The use of the Starfleet Delta emblem suggested by the shape of the destruction is a strong visual element… and definitely calls back those "Dark Knight" posters, which must be frustrating in a way. After all, if it works, and if that destruction plays a key, iconic part in the story that JJ Abrams and crew are telling in the new "Star Trek," then that's a good idea for the poster. But the comparison is going to dog them no matter what, and in the hour and a half since the poster arrived online, that's all I've seen.
I have a serious question for the team that Warner Bros. is putting together on what will no doubt be one of their biggest films of 2015: do you really want to spend the next two and a half year basically riding Marvel's tail, imitating every move they make, or do you want to start building a stand-alone film universe in which you can do almost anything?
I ask because right now, Warner Bros. is setting itself up for a fall. They are making choices that look from the outside to be made out of a kind of corporate fear instead of setting the stage for themselves in a way that will both excite fans and invite in new viewers. They are dealing with several different factors that seem to be causing this potentially-costly poor decision making, and they need to carefully consider what they're doing before they commit to things.
According to Latino Review this morning, Darkseid will be the threat that will unite Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and more, and if that's true, then more than ever before, it looks like they really are trying to do exactly the same thing "The Avengers" did, but skipping all the carefully-laid groundwork that made it so exciting when "The Avengers" finally happened. Darkseid is the ruler of Apokolips, and he has consistently proven himself to be one of the biggest threats in the DC Universe.
A review of tonight's "Homeland" coming up just as soon as I find a magnifying glass...
We all knew the Browns of "Sister Wives" were just one of many polygamist families living in the United States -- now we get the chance to meet another family on the show. The Dargers and the Browns head off to the beach for a vacation, and on the new episode of the TLC show, we learn how this new family is the same and different from the polygamists we already know and like. In the clip, Kody Brown also discusses the "emotional need" to come out.
What do you think of the Dargers?
A review of "The Walking Dead" mid-season finale coming up just as soon as I make assumptions about your sexual orientation based on your haircut...