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    Oscar Talk: True Grit vs. Social Network, Party Circuit, Vulnerable Contenders, Spoilers, 2011 Picks

    During this week's Oscar Talk (on the jump), Kris Tapley and I debate the Hailee Steinfeld category issue for True Grit. He thinks she's best actress material, while I argue that she's a rookie who belongs in supporting. At Thursday night's The Social Network DVD party at Spago, producer Scott Rudin was all smiles (True Grit is also vying for best picture). He opted to compete in the supporting category, he said, because it would seem "brazen" to put a newcomer up for best actress. Besides, he argued, Mattie Ross is the instigator of the plot, not the protagonist. The movie is about Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges); he is the character that cha...

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    Oscar Race Questions: Nomination Ballots Due January 14

    There are several unknowns as we hurtle toward the end of balloting for Oscar nominations January 14. (Here's the schedule.) What we do know: the race for best picture is still between The King's Speech and The Social Network, the popular heart-tugger vs. the more cerebral critics' fave (see the vot...

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    USC Scripter Nominations Lift Winter's Bone, Ghost Writer

    The USC Scripter Award nominations are in. This award, which is voted on by a jury of industry critics, filmmakers, academics and screenwriters (including me), is given to films that are based on a literary source (anything original is not eligible, nor was Toy Story 3). It is a window into the ada...

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    The Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

    As western True Grit has taken off as the surprise hit of the Christmas season (topping a field of weak contenders), and has emerged a strong awards contender (with recent PGA and WGA nods), the usually taciturn Joel and Ethan Coen are on the promo trail. Here's a taste of their sound bites from var...

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    Writers Guild Nomination Surprises: Please Give, I Love You Phillip Morris

    The Writers Guild of America nominations --which do not consider non-Guild signatories and animation, so Toy Story 3, Winter's Bone, Another Year, The King's Speech and Blue Valentine were not eligible--boost the Oscar fortunes of original screenplays The Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right and Please Give. Among the adapted screenplays, 127 Hours, The Social Network and the Coens' True Grit were expected, while I Love You Phillip Morris and The Town show unexpected strength. Ben Affleck's Boston caper movie also made the Producers Guild top ten this morning, as did all the other narrative feature nominees except Please...

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    Producers Guild Top Ten Heralds Oscar Contenders The Town, True Grit

    The Producers Guild top ten could very well be the Oscar list. They include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Inception, The Fighter, The Kids Are All Right, The King's Speech, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3 and True Grit. The Town is the biggest surprise; left out are indie hopefuls The Ghost Write...

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    Toy Story 3 Tops Quentin Tarantino's Best of 2010

    Quentin Tarantino has posted his favorite movies of 2010, all twenty of them. Unlike many critics, Tarantino has no problem with citing movies that are popular hits. And he's seen his share of obscurities as well. Tarantino is an Academy member, though not a typical one. His taste is catholic, rangi...

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    Holiday Wrap: Weak Box Office, True Grit Takes on Little Fockers, Black Swan, King's Speech Score

    The box office continued tepid during what should have been a robust holiday period with North American families on vacation; it was down 26 percent from last year. For the year, the 2010 3-D-pumped domestic box office totaled $10.5 billion, down 0.3 percent from 2009's Avatar-inflated record of $10...

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    Oscar Talk: Late December Openings, Frontrunners, WGA and Oscar Music, DGA Predicts

    In Contention's Kris Tapley and I weigh the impact of year-end releases on the Oscar race. Will Another Year's Lesley Manville squeak into best actress contention, is Nicole Kidman hurt by the weak performance of Rabbit Hole? And what about frontrunner Natalie Portman's new pregnancy? What would it ...

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    Lousy Christmas Weekend Box Office: Little Fockers Beats True Grit, Best Coens Opening Ever

    At a horrendous Christmas weekend---which saw a 44% three-day drop in grosses over last year (flush with Avatar)---sequel comedy Little Fockers beat out adult western True Grit, the best--and widest--opening ever for a Coen brothers movie. It's likely that the well-reviewed oater will have longer le...

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