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News Nuggets: Oscar voters confused by new ballots

31 December 2011 1:41 PM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

Ben Kingsley discusses "Hugo" and the future of cinema technology: "Some filmmakers are saying that if we stretch this technology any further, it's going to snap. We need to harness this technology into a tool for telling beautiful stories. If we just harness it for a chain of special effects, the audience will leave the cinema having eaten too much popcorn, and that’s about it. I think it's a bad investment to just patronize the audience and say, 'Oh, just give them special effects, they're fine because they have no attention span anyway.'" The Wrap Watch Deadline's "The Contenders" panel discussion in full: "Deadline Hollywood has always tried to innovate while other showbiz media outlets merely imitate. So I created a two-day event completely free to participants and invitees called ‘The Contenders’. Twelve studios and distributors, both major and indie, presented their Award contender films directly »

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

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

By Sean O’Connell 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 | | See recent news »

By Sean O’Connell 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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Christopher Lee Talks Saruman in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

31 December 2011 10:03 AM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set to return quite a few characters from The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy, but one of fandom's favorites is legendary actor Christopher Lee as Saruman.

While the character wasn't present in J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel, future literature noted that Saruman was quite active during the time of this adventure, and director Peter Jackson is going to focus on some of that history with his interpretation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Over the holidays, Christopher Lee brought a special message to his fans, offering some insight into Saruman's plight in this new movie. He also speaks out on his appearances in Hugo, The Wicker Tree, and Dark Shadows.

Check out the video below.

This is what Christopher Lee had to say about Saruman in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

"I did my part in about four days. What is extremely important is, »

- MovieWeb

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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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The Best of the Best Movies of the Year!

30 December 2011 12:09 PM, PST | | See recent news »

By Scott Mendelson This time, it’s the best of the best. Of course ‘best’ is a subjective term, so you might want to consider these my ‘favorites’. Despite what everyone likes to whine about at the end of every year, 2011 was in fact one of the better years in a good long time. Maybe it was the effects of the 2007 WGA strike wearing off, maybe it was just dumb luck, but on the whole, movies, especially mainstream movies, were pretty on-spot more often than they weren’t. But just as important, most of the year-end Oscar bait was actually quite good, so this is a year where I don’t have to half-heartedly apologize for having a list filled with movies nobody saw and mainstream pictures that no one admits to liking. Even if it took 1/3 of the year to really get cooking, 2011 was an uncommonly solid »

- Scott Mendelson

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Christopher Lee’s 2011 Christmas Message Video

30 December 2011 10:46 AM, PST | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Sadly, many of the great horror icons who appeared in films during the 50′s/60′s/70′s have passed, but not only is Christopher Lee still acting, he’s still involved in major productions such as The Hobbit and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.

As the year comes to an end, we have a new holiday message video from Christopher Lee that discusses his life in 2011 and what’s to come:

“Sir Christopher makes a resume of his career during 2011. He talks about his latest roles including ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Hugo’ and ‘Dark Shadows’ amongst other movies. He also discusses his Bafta Fellowship, becoming a member of the Law Society and Philosophical Society at Dublin University and his French Commander of Arts and Letters.”


- Jonathan James

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Michelle Williams Photos: 2011 Hollywood Actress of the Year

30 December 2011 9:48 AM, PST | | See recent news » 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 Dictator’ starring Sacha Baron Cohen – trailer review

30 December 2011 9:00 AM, PST | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

The Dictator

Directed by: Larry Charles

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly

Rating: Not Yet Rated

Release Date: May 11, 2012

Trailer Score: 5/10

Thoughts by Tsr: The first time Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles teamed up they delivered the outrageously funny Borat. Next they came together for Brüno, a film I liked, but certainly not one that reached the highs of their previous effort. So when I heard they would be teaming up again in a comedy that would have Sacha Baron Cohen playing an insane dictator, naturally I was excited. That’s why it hurts so much to say that I did not enjoy most of this trailer for The Dictator.

I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but this certainly wasn’t it. To me, this almost feels like a character that Adam Sandler would play. Even more disheartening is that it reminds me »

- Shane T. Nier

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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. »

- (

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The Top 10 Lines Of Dialogue In 2011 Movies

30 December 2011 6:22 AM, PST | | See recent Cinema Blend news »

We might have bitten off more than we can chew with this year-end list. In trying to single out the top 10 lines of dialogue from 2011, we found ourselves trimming away choice soundbites from such outstanding scripts as Tom McCarthy.s Win Win; Mike Mills. Beginners; the hilarious and infinitely quotable The Trip; John Logan.s rich Hugo screenplay; or Steve Kloves. final Harry Potter adaptation. But there can be only 10. So here are our choices for the Best Lines of Dialogue in 2011, with explanations as to why we cared so deeply about the words that were said. #10: "With pleasure." Jean Dujardin, The Artist 
The first line of dialogue spoken in Michel Hazanavicius. The Artist, significant because it comes at roughly the 99-minute mark of a 100-minute movie. The director.s impossibly charming ode to Old Hollywood plays with sound in a clever nightmare sequence, but speech . as was the »

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Daily Briefing. Pasolini, Picard, Offscreen, Lists and Letters

30 December 2011 4:59 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

"The second-to-last interview that Pier Paolo Pasolini gave before he was murdered in 1975 (a case that still remains mysterious) and that was long believed lost has turned up," reports the New Yorker's Richard Brody. "Eric Loret and Robert Maggiori tell the story in Libération — Pasolini was introducing his work in Sweden, a round-table discussion was recorded for broadcast, then held, then lost, until his Swedish translator, Carl Henrik Svenstedt, recently found his personal recording of the talk. The Italian weekly L'Espresso has published a partial transcript of the discussion, along with the audio recording." And he's got excerpts. For example: "I consider consumerism to be a Fascism worse than the classical one, because clerical Fascism didn't really transform Italians, didn't enter into them. It was a totalitarian state but not a totalizing one."

In other news. "This month Offscreen groups together (four of the five) essays that attempt to illuminate »

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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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I Saw The Devil: Austin Film Critics Biggest Surprise Winner

29 December 2011 7:44 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Lee Byung-hun, I Saw the Devil This year, the Austin Film Critics went for some unusual — though not exactly "surprising" — choices. Well, with one exception: Jee-woon Kim's revenge thriller I Saw the Devil, their Best Foreign Language Film. To date, Us-based critics have gone instead for Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, or Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins. Earlier this year, I Saw the Devil, about a young man (Lee Byung-hun) out to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife, won an Asian Film Award for Best Editing. [Full list of Austin Film Critics winners.] Martin Scorsese's 3D ode to the magic of movies, Hugo, was selected as the Best Film of 2011. Elsewhere, Us critics have been leaning more heavily toward another ode to the magic movies, Michel Hazanavicius' black-and-white silent comedy-drama The Artist, which, curiously, failed to top any of the Austin Critics' categories. Take Shelter's »

- Steve Montgomery

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Christopher Lee Talks The Hobbit, Hugo and Dark Shadows

29 December 2011 4:34 PM, PST | | See recent news »

In a Christmas address by the incomparable Christopher Lee, the actor remarked on his completed works of 2011 (including a tongue-in-cheek clarification of his role in The Wicker Tree). More notably, Lee also touched on his role in Hugo and his working relationship with director Martin Scorsese, his own personal vitality (Lee will turn 90 in 2012) and his work in Dark Shadows with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Oh and you might have been wondering about his reprisal of the role of Saruman in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit movies. Not to worry as Lee goes into some detail about his involvement and it’s safe to say the actor’s work has been completed on both films. Hit the jump to check out the video. Thanks to TheOneRing for posting Lee’s Christmas message. While it’s nice to hear holiday well wishes from someone like Lee, many of you will »

- Dave Trumbore

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'Hugo's' Ben Kingsley: 'I Can't Act in 3D'

29 December 2011 4:18 PM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Perhaps this is one of the perks of knighthood:  Before Sir Ben Kingsley even enters the restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, there's a table in the corner waiting for him, with two pots of tea and a basket of pastries. When he sits down, though, there's nothing terribly stuffy or regal about the Oscar-winning actor who plays silent film pioneer Georges Melies in Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." Rather, Kingsley is affable, articulate and eager to talk about acting, storytelling and the director who, he says, sees everything on »

- Steve Pond

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Hugo, Michael Shannon, Tilda Swinton: Austin Film Critics Winners

29 December 2011 3:03 PM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Asa Butterfield, Sacha Baron Cohen, Hugo I Saw The Devil: Austin Film Critics Biggest Surprise Winner Best Film Hugo, directed by Martin Scoresese Top Ten Films (runners-up) Drive by Nicolas Winding Ref Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen Attack the Block by Joe Cornish The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius Martha Marcy May Marlene by Sean Durkin I Saw the Devil by Jee-woon Kim 13 Assassins by Takashi Miike Melancholia by Lars von Trier Best Foreign Language Film I Saw the Devil, South Korea, directed by Jee-woon Kim Best Director Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive Best Actor Michael Shannon, Take Shelter Best Actress Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin Best Supporting Actor Albert Brooks, Drive Best Supporting Actress Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter Best Original Screenplay Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen Best Adapted Screenplay Drive, Hossein Amini Best Cinematography The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki Best Original Score Attack the Block, »

- Steve Montgomery

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Angie’s Top 10 Movies of 2011

29 December 2011 12:00 PM, PST | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

[1] I find it difficult to say whether 2011 was an unusually strong or unusually weak year for films. As in any year, there were pleasant surprises and disappointments alike. If I had to pinpoint the one thing my favorites tend to have in common, though, it's a sense that each of them were made with great love by people who cared desperately about them. I don't think there's anything anyone can say at the start of a top 10 list to totally deflect the disgruntled comments from readers who incensed to see that X made my top 10 when Y didn't, etc., but I'm still going to throw out the usual caveats. There are certainly deserving films that were left off just because I forgot about them, or because I missed the theatrical run, or because I couldn't fully appreciate them due to my own biases, or what have you. I also want »

- Angie Han

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The Tree Of Life, Drive Top Online Film Critics Nominations

29 December 2011 11:47 AM, PST | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Jessica Chastain, Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life Lars von Trier, Kirsten Dunst, A Separation, John Hawkes : Online Film Critics Surprise Nominees Best Picture The Artist The Descendants Drive Hugo The Tree of Life Best Film Not in the English Language 13 Assassins Certified Copy A Separation The Skin I Live In Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Best Animated Feature The Adventures of Tintin Arthur Christmas Kung Fu Panda 2 Rango Winnie the Pooh Best Director Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist Terrence MalickThe Tree of Life Nicolas Winding RefnDrive Martin ScorseseHugo Lars von TrierMelancholia Best Lead Actor George ClooneyThe Descendants Jean DujardinThe Artist Michael FassbenderShame Gary OldmanTinker Tailor Soldier Spy Michael ShannonTake Shelter Best Lead Actress Kirsten DunstMelancholia Elizabeth OlsenMartha Marcy May Marlene Meryl StreepThe Iron Lady Tilda SwintonWe Need to Talk About Kevin »

- Steve Montgomery

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Top 7 Films of 2011

29 December 2011 9:00 AM, PST | The Scorecard Review | See recent Scorecard Review news »

We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10. Or in this case, I give you 14 films.

Two themes seemed to keep popping up in 2011; nostalgia and forgetting. The forgetting specifically came in the form of Alzheimer’s disease. Friends with Benefits, A Separation, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Descendants, and 50/50 all had a key character with Alzheimer’s. On the flip side, nostalgia seemed central to many films. The Artist is an homage to silent films, while Hugo pays tribute as well. The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh told stories that could have existed when those timeless characters were first created (tapping in to our nostalgia). Young Adult exists because of high school nostalgia. Super 8 is the nostalgia of Steven Spielberg through the eyes of J.J. Abrams. Midnight in Paris is most-definitely an obvious nostalgia for Paris in the 1920s.

Don’t forget to remember. That »

- Jeff Bayer

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