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Awards, Academy Controversy, Sundance & More: This Week on Indiewire

Awards, Academy Controversy, Sundance & More: This Week on Indiewire

With Sundance less than a week away, overseas festivals announcing lineups and the Academy revising their documentary rules, Indiewire saw a flurry of activity this past week. Get caught up by checking up on the highlights below.


Academy Officially Announces New Doc and Short Film Rules
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences officially announced their anticipated rule changes. The New York Times broke the story this weekend that the Best Documentary process would be receiving an overhaul, which will require all films to get an LA Times or NY Times review in order to qualify and will allow the academy to vote on the final five nominees by viewing the films online or on screeners (previously, it was required that those voting must have seen all five films theatrically)…

Rosie O’Donnell Trashes Critics at National Board of Review Gala
After starting an hour late, the National Board of Review 2011 Awards Gala, which celebrates a slate of winners who were announced more than a month ago, blandly plugged along.

Joss Whedon Film to Kick Off 2012 SXSW
The 2012 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival will open March 9 with the world premiere of the mind-bending horror pic “The Cabin in the Woods,” directed by Emmy-nominated writer Drew Goddard (“Lost”) and co-written by Joss Whedon. Whedon will also be on hand in Austin, TX to take part in a conversation panel on March 10.

Academy-Snubbed ‘Interrupters’ Wins Cinema Eye Prize
At last night’s documentary community love fest that is the annual Cinema Eye Honors, Steve James’ Oscar-snubbed “The Interrupters” took home the award for best feature film and best director. “The Interrupters” examines a group of Chicago citizens who organize to intervene in street disputes.

Berlinale Announces 2012 Competition Slate
The 2012 Berlinale has announced ten additional films as part of its Competition lineup, including Billy Bob Thornton’s “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” In addition, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey” will screen as a Berlinale Special screening.

Critics Choice Award Winners
The Critics Choice Awards – handed out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association – were announced tonight in Los Angeles, with Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist” scoring wins for both best picture and best director, as well as nods for costume design and original score…

Four Minute Trailer for the Peter Jackson ‘West of Memphis’ Doc Hits
The trailer for the “other” West Memphis Three documentary, Amy Berg’s Peter Jackson-produced “West of Memphis,” has landed…

Fox Searchlight Gives ‘Margaret’ an 11th-Hour Oscar Push
Oscar ballots are due tomorrow at 5 p.m., but as LA Weekly reported, Fox Searchlight has booked Kenneth Lonergan’s long-delayed, virtually ignored “Margaret” for a one-week run at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles, along with sending screeners to all Academy members and making star Anna Paquin available for interviews…

Catherine Deneuve is This Year’s Recipient of the Chaplin Award
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has chosen French icon Catherine Deneuve as this year’s recipient of their annual Chaplin Award. The 39th Chaplin Award Gala will be held in Alice Tully Hall on April 2…


New Reviews This Week
Who said January has nothing to offer in the new releases category? If you’re looking for a film about gospel singing goodness, a film where Giovanni Ribisi and Ben Foster continue their slow morph into becoming the same person, or a film that will destroy any nostalgic love that you had towards Fruity Pebbles, this weekend is filled with antidotes to the pre-Oscar doldrums. Just be warned that the latter is probably better than most others…


‘The Queen of Versailles’ Lawsuit: How Not to Salvage an Online Reputation
By now, we’re not surprised when a Sundance Film Festival documentary finds controversy. In 1998 it was “Kurt and Courtney;” in 1998, “Frat House,” in 2010 it was “Catfish”…

How MMA Superstar Gina Carano Turned Action Hero in ‘Haywire’
Gina Carano, 29, widely considered to be the face of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts, breaks out on the big screen in her first lead role as Mallory Kane, the take-no-prisoner action heroine of “Haywire,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. In the thriller, Carano’s character, a freelance covert operative, gets double crossed and does everything in her power (namely, killing a bunch of men) to clear her name…

Steve James Weighs in on the New Doc Rules
It’s been a good week for Steve James. His documentary “The Interrupters” won best director and best film at the Cinema Eye Honors Wednesday night; on Thursday, he received a DGA nomination. What “The Interrupters” didn’t do this year, of course, was make the Oscar shortlist — something that’s viewed as an egregious oversight (much like his “Hoop Dreams” snub 17 years earlier) and as a case study for why the Oscar’s documentary rules were in dire need of an overhaul…

Do We Have the Right to be Frustrated with Palm Springs Fest?
Call it a case of situational ethics. In an American filmgoing environment in which audiences appear increasingly reluctant to shell out for tickets to foreign-language films (a nice woman at a holiday party explained it thusly: “I like reading, but I don’t like reading while watching a movie”) and distributors are becoming pickier over which foreign-language films they will sink limited resources into for marketing and exhibition, an American festival that carves out over 75% of its 187-film program for these very films should be applauded for bravery…

Who Will Win and Who Should Win the Golden Globes
This weekend, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and, against all odds, Ricky Gervais) are back to honor the “best” in film and television from the past year at the Golden Globe Awards…

Adele Romanski Sends Two Lovers Into the Woods to Fall Apart
“I think I was nervous,” Adele Romanski told Indiewire on her emotions approaching her first feature as a director.  “I didn’t have a lot of time to be nervous.  When we were going out to do this, it was right when ‘The Myth of the American Sleepover’ and ‘The Freebie’ [two films Romanski produced that were released last year] were making their festival runs…

With Kickstarter’s Year in Review, Public Shows There’s Other Ways They’ll Support a Project
If you haven’t already stopped by Kickstarter’s Year in Review page on their website, it’s high time you did so.  The company’s strategy for presenting their data and their projects in interesting ways (exhibit A, B, C) is unrivaled and on full display on this page…


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