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Oscars: Could the Academy move out of the Kodak Theatre? – Awards Alley

31 December 2011 1:22 PM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: With 2012 knocking at out door, let’s take one last run through the top Oscar stories of the day for the final Awards Alley for 2011. What is happening on the Oscar beat as the year draws to a close?

- The Academy is considering moving its Oscar ceremony out of the Kodak Theatre. “Our plan right now is to exercise this [option] and then see what happens, what goes on. We’re open,” Tom Sherak, president of the Academy, told THR. Interesting.

- Does Oscar “shamelessly lust after babes,” as this Gold Derby report suggests? And if so, what does that mean for Michelle Williams, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Tilda Swinton and/or Glenn Close?

- Listening to Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, stars of the silent film “The Artist.”

- The N.Y. Times gets a one-on-one with the great Brad Pitt, breaking down »

- Sean O'Connell

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Oscar voters “profoundly confused” by new ballots

31 December 2011 10:20 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: When the Academy shifted its rules regarding the Best Picture race – making it a more fluid process while eliminating the minimum number of films that might make it into the competition – those tracking the annual Oscar marathon predicted confusion once the ballots were in voters’ hands.

As such, THR Oscarologist Scott Feinberg now says that Academy members he’s hearing from are “profoundly confused by the new voting system,” which asks them to pick only five films for Best Picture, even though there could end up being as many as 10 (or as few as five) nominated.

“The reason that voters are only being asked to name five films instead of 10 is that the current ‘preferential’ voting system rewards films that appear highly on the most ballots, not films that merely appear somewhere on the most ballots,” Feinberg explains in his piece. “In other words, »

- Sean O'Connell

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2011: A Year in Review Part I

30 December 2011 7:27 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

2011 was one of the best years for film in recent years.  There are about 25 films that could have made my top ten list and each film in my top 5 could be my number one.  I saw about 100 films this year and I still wish I could have seen more.  I feel very comfortable with my top ten and I feel like it was a good representative of the year in film.  However I do feel that people looking at this article should go over to Sound On Sight and see all the staff’s individual lists, as well as the honorable mentions that just missed my list.  You will find a great collection of films on those lists.

1. Martha Marcy May Marlene

Directed by Sean Durkin

I saw Sean Durkin’s directorial debut in August and knew as soon as the last frame came up that this was the best picture of the year. »

- Josh Youngerman

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Michelle Williams Photos: 2011 Hollywood Actress of the Year

30 December 2011 9:48 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

HollywoodNews.com: Our selected actress to be our “2011 Hollywood Actress of the Year” is Michelle Williams. Her performances have established her as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after and respected actors earning her two Academy Award® nominations.

My Week With Marilyn Monroe ◄ Back Next ►Picture 1 of 15

Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn Monroe"

Photos by PRPhotos and The Weinstein Company

In 2011, Williams took on the iconic Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn opposite Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench. The film was released by The Weinstein Company on November 4, 2011. In addition, she stars opposite Seth Rogan in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, which made its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival.

Below video of Michelle Williams receiving her “Hollywood Actress Award” last October, 2011, at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Visit our YouTube page to see videos of this »

- Josh Abraham

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The Best Films of 2011

30 December 2011 8:40 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

After highlighting other areas in film this year (here), it is time to share our favorites. Compiled in eight separate lists featuring over 100 films, you will find everything we’ve loved over the last 365 days. It was difficult to cut down my personal list, as this year has been full of many quality films I would love to highlight, with almost 350 viewed. Our hope is one will use this feature to catch up on any missed films, revisit the ones that you’ve adored and give others a second chance. I kick off things below, then look for links at the bottom of each page to venture further.

Jordan Raup’s Top 10 of 2011

Honorable Mentions:

10. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)

Here is living proof that 3D should only be used in the hands of veteran filmmakers. Martin Scorsese matches his adoration for cinema with a inquisitive eye into new technology in Hugo. »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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Lars von Trier, Kirsten Dunst, A Separation, John Hawkes: Online Film Critics Surprise Nominees

29 December 2011 8:32 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Like just about every Us-based critics group — year in, year out — the Online Film Critics Society has placed its focus on English-language productions this awards season. True, critics' fave The Artist, a French-made production, is in the running in several categories, including Best Film, but Michel Hazanavicius' comedy-drama is a) silent (which makes it seem less "foreign") b) set in Hollywood c) features several American/British actors in supporting roles. In any case, Terrence Malick's family drama The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain, topped the Online Critics list of nominees, with a total of seven nods. Those include Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (Malick), and supporting nominations for Pitt and Chastain (photo, with Laramie Eppler and Tye Sheridan). [Full list of Online Film Critics Awards nominations.] Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Albert Brooks, was next with six nods. The film itself, »

- Andre Soares

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The arts in 2012: film

29 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Peter Bradshaw picks his highlights of the year ahead

Shame (dir. Steve McQueen)

Artist and film-maker Steve McQueen follows up his award-winning Hunger with this study of Brandon, a compulsive sex addict in Manhattan, played by Michael Fassbender. Brandon is forced to consider his life choices, and their origins, when his equally troubled sister (Carey Mulligan) comes to stay with him in his bachelor pad. Released on 13 January.

Coriolanus (dir. Ralph Fiennes)

This has reportedly been a "passion project" for Ralph Fiennes for years: an adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, a play about a Roman military hero and autocratic leader who despises the people and the political arts of appeasing them. Rejected by Rome, he makes common cause with the city's enemy in order to wage a bitter war of revenge. Released on 20 January.

The Descendants (dir. Alexander Payne)

Payne, the director of Election, About Schmidt and Sideways, is known as »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Screenwriter Abi Morgan The Iron Lady Interview

29 December 2011 11:01 AM, PST | Collider.com | See recent Collider.com news »

In The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep stars as Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,  in an emotionally moving and inspiring performance. From the opening scene the film is immediately gripping, with an unexpected narrative.  The story glimpses into her political reign--seamlessly intertwining newsreel and rock ballads--but predominantly focuses on Thatcher's older life as she struggles with dementia. The film has many similarities to The Weinstein Company's pic from last year, The King’s Speech, in that it profiles a public figure, but chooses to spend most of the screen time on their imagined private lives, making for a film that hooks and involves audiences while educating them. At the press junket, I talked exclusively with writer Abi Morgan, who penned both The Iron Lady and Steve McQueen’s Shame. We talk about why she chose to focus more on Thatcher’s post-political life, the universality of the film, »

- Heather Warburton

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Oscars: Meryl Streep honored at Kennedy Center tribute – Awards Alley

29 December 2011 8:56 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: Meryl Streep’s “The Iron Lady” is starting to screen, as the Weinstein Company positions the actress for an Oscar campaign that will pit her against some formidable names (Viola Davis, Tilda Swinton and Glenn Close appear to be her closest competition).

But the race to honor Streep began weeks ago, when the acting legend received the Kennedy Center honors … and a loving tribute from some of her closest friends and professional “fans.”

Expect to hear plenty more about Streep in the coming weeks as the Oscar race heads into Phase Two. But before that begins, here’s a sweet, earnest tribute to an immensely gifted artist:

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:

- Harvey Weinstein

- The cast of “The Artist.”

- Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”

- Sir Ben Kingsley »

- Sean O'Connell

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Oscars: Why can’t kids compete at the Academy Awards? – Awards Alley

29 December 2011 8:45 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: Why do kids have a hard time breaking through at the Oscars?

It’s an interesting question, and one that is dissected over at Gold Derby this morning, where they point out that multiple Oscar-worthy performances from underage talents could be overlooked this season if the Academy’s tendencies disrupt the momentum of select campaigns.

That’s not to say kids are never nominated for the Oscar. Just last year, Hailee Steinfeld and Jennifer Lawrence competed in top categories for their work in “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone,” respectively. Abigail Breslin, Haley Joel Osment and Anna Paquin competed and, in the case of the latter, won for “The Piano.”

This year, I can rattle off a handful of young performers who should be in the discussion for Oscar consideration:

- Thomas Horn for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

- Daniel Radcliffe for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 »

- Sean O'Connell

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HollywoodNews.com’s Top 10 Movies of 2011 – Awards Alley

28 December 2011 4:01 PM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: You hear this complaint almost every year: “This was a terrible year for film.” It’s often made by moviegoers who didn’t go out of their way to find unconventional, challenging (and frequently rewarding) cinema.

A simple scan of the films we’ve included in our annual Top 10 list – as well as the 10 follow up titles – will tell you that there were plenty of films worth celebrating in 2011 … and there will be even more coming next year.

But before we jump ahead, with the New Year arriving in a few days, let’s run through the best films we managed to see in 2011. We expect our coverage for most of these movies to extend into January and February as the Oscar race continues. But for now, these are the movies that moved us most. If we missed any, let us know in our comments section:

Hollywoodnews. »

- Sean O'Connell

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Staff List: The 30 Best Films of 2011

28 December 2011 3:26 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

With more movies in limited and general release than ever before, 2011 was a ridiculously crowded year for both casual and discerning moviegoers alike. One by-product of the glut is a refreshing lack of consensus; so many films have been championed in so many corners – while those same films get trashed in others – that our cultural need to rally behind obvious points of praise and awareness have been gloriously undercut. 2011 was the year to see and love films that spoke to you, and to be prepared to argue the case with fellow cinephiles. In other words, 2011 was the year the gloves came off. To say that none of the 30 films on our staff-voted list is universally beloved is putting it mildly; but then, that’s the nature of polls like these.

Every year we’ve run this poll, there’s been a runaway winner; this year, the top 2 films were tied »

- Simon Howell

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Film Feature: The 10 Best Overlooked Films of 2011

28 December 2011 1:22 PM, PST | HollywoodChicago.com | See recent HollywoodChicago.com news »

Chicago – Some films never get a fair shot with audiences. They open in a handful of art house theaters scattered throughout the country before inconspicuously landing on DVD. Passionate movie lovers are left with the task of championing these unjustly obscure titles and helping them to acquire the audience they deserve.

Before I reveal my picks for the top ten Best Overlooked Films of 2011, here are the ten runners-up:

Autoerotic

Autoerotic

While Steve McQueen’s magnificent art film, “Shame,” plunges into the dark depths of sexual addiction, Joe Swanberg and Adam Wingard’s “Autoerotic” takes a decidedly more playful approach to similar material. Though Swanberg has made a series of uncommonly intimate films about the sex lives of twentysomething Chicagoans, he’s never attempted a film as overtly comic as this one, and Wingard proves to be an ideal collaborator. “Autoerotic” is easily Swanberg’s most accessible film to date, »

- adam@hollywoodchicago.com (Adam Fendelman)

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Sound on Sight Podcast Rewind: Episode #290: ‘Drive’ / ‘Shame’ / ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

28 December 2011 12:49 PM, PST | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

With the year coming to an end, we decided to re-post one of our most popular poodcast of the year. In episode 290, Justine and Ricky D are back from the Toronto International Festival to discuss three of the best films of 2011: the sophomore effort by Steve McQueen, Shame, the long-awaited return of acclaimed director Lynne Ramsay with We Need To Talk About Kevin, and finally Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, which is also out wide this weekend.

Download the show in a new window

Music Playlist:

Chromatics – “Tick of the Clock”

College – “A Real Hero”

Kavinsky & Lovefox – “Nightcall”

Desire – “Lovespell”

Listen on iTunes RSS feeds Twitter Facebook Tumblr

  »

- Ricky

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The Top 10 Endings of 2011

28 December 2011 12:00 PM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

You’ve read our Top 10 Openings of 2011 and now we have the other side of the spectrum. Don’t you hate it when you walk out of the theater and just moments later you forget what happened? If this occurs during every film then I urge you to see a doctor, but most of the time it conveys how important an ending is. A great one can lead to endless discussion or can even make the preceding film just a touch better. Whether they are jarring, harmonious or anywhere in between, we’ve counted down our ten favorites of the year. Check them out below and of course, beware of spoilers.

10. Hugo (Martin Scorsese)

Moments after Martin Scorsese and Ben Kingsley dropped a load of dust into the theater, we’re treated to a little coda for this incredible film. Scorsese indulges himself in another gorgeous, extended shot that sweetly »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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The Top 10 Openings of 2011

28 December 2011 8:17 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

The first few moments of a film can be precious. Landing an ending is vital, but a great initial hook can set that perfect tone to invite us into the story. We’ve had some excellent openings this year and have rounded them up below, with some providing a pleasant montage to ease us in, while others can haunt or foreshadow what is to come. Check out our top ten and let us know your favorites. You can also see our Top 10 Endings of 2011 for the other side of things.

10. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)

Much like how the film’s protagonist dabbles in life in the past, so does Woody Allen, harkening back to his visual love letter to New York in Manhattan and bringing it to Paris. From the shots of the urban landscape in inclement weather (New York in snow, Paris in rain) to trains slowly gliding by major works of architecture, »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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Gary Oldman retrospective planned for ArcLight Hollywood – Awards Alley

28 December 2011 7:49 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: Gary Oldman has been receiving some of the finest reviews of his career for playing retired spy George Smiley in Tomas Alfredsson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” … and when you think about the performances Oldman has turned in over the years, that’s saying a mouthful.

So, it’s appropriate that the ArcLight Hollywood will honor Oldman’s legendary contributions to film history with a 6-movie retrospective early next year. Oldman even plans on being at the ArcLight on Wednesday, Jan. 11, following a showing of Focus Features’ “Tinker, Tailor” for a special Q-and-a hosted by Matt Holzman of Kcrw’s “Matt’s Movies.”

More information, from a release:

Focus is co-hosting the free-admission 3-night series with radio station Kcrw (www.kcrw.org), 89.9-fm in Los Angeles. Matt Holzman, host of Kcrw’s Matt’s Movies screening series, will conduct the live Q&A with Mr. »

- Sean O'Connell

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Oscars unveil official Academy Awards poster – Awards Alley

28 December 2011 7:36 AM, PST | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

By Sean O’Connell

hollywoodnews.com: The theme for next’s year’s Academy Awards telecast will be “Celebrate the Movies In All of Us,” a fitting motif as many of the films expected to compete celebrate the legacy that Hollywood has had on all of our lives.

The Artist,” “My Week With Marilyn” and “Hugo” are just three of the films that throw parties for the art and craft of moviemaking, and so the tagline for the Oscars – revealed this morning on the evening’s official poster – of “Life. Camera. Action” fits like a glove.

One month from now, we’ll know with certainty which films will compete for Oscar’s top prize. Several pundits still have Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” as the film to beat, though a few movies have climbed the ranks as of late to make it a legitimate competition.

Gold Derby, which diligently tracks the competition, »

- Sean O'Connell

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The /Filmcast: Bonus Ep. – Shame (Guest: Stephen Tobolowsky)

28 December 2011 7:30 AM, PST | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

In this episode, Dave chats with Stephen Tobolowsky [1] about Steve McQueen's controversial new film, Shame. Is the Michael Fassbender nudity worth the price of admission? The answer may surprise you. Come see Stephen and David Live at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle on January 7th, 2012 [2]! You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(At)gmail(Dot)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Live broadcasts will resume in 2012. Download [3] or Play Now in your Browser: [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/slashfilmcast/Shame.mp3] Subscribe to the /Filmcast: [4] [5] [1] http://www.stephentobolowsky.com [2] http://stgpresents.org/artists/?artist=1751 [3] http://traffic.libsyn.com/slashfilmcast/Shame.mp3 [4] http://feeds.feedburner.com/filmcast [5] http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=281400220 »

- David Chen

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Michel Hazanavicius/The Artist, Immigrant Drama A Better Life: Phoenix Film Critics Awards

27 December 2011 7:34 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist won another award earlier today from Us-based film critics. The Phoenix Film Critics Society chose the French-made (mostly) silent comedy-drama as the Best Film of 2011. Hazanavicius (right) was also chosen as Best Director and as the writer of the Best Original Screenplay, while The Artist's leading man, Jean Dujardin, was the Best Actor and the film's leading lady, Bérénice Bejo, was the Best Supporting Actress. (Sometimes there's a fine line between what amounts to a leading or a supporting role.) Additionally, The Artist was cited for Best Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design. [Full list of Phoenix Film Critics winners.] Despite The Artist's sweep, several other movies managed to come out victorious in Phoenix as well: Martha Marcy May Marlene's Elizabeth Olsen was a relatively unusual choice for Best Actress — Michelle Williams has been dominating that field for My Week with Marilyn, though Olsen has been often »

- Steve Montgomery

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