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The State of the Race: Gravity Changes the Game but will it Change the Academy?

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What would be the film that would drag the Academy kicking and screaming into the modern era? Would it be a Jim Cameron 3-D sci-fi epic? Nope. Would it be Martin Scorsese brilliantly utilizing the up-to-the-minute technology of today to bring to life the origins of film itself? No. The Academy hews close to its own beginnings. Nuts and bolts filmmaking that relies mostly on acting, directing and writing. Visual…

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Sandra Bullock, Jessica Chastain Challenge Hollywood’s All-Male Status Quo

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In her new column on the Oscar race for Women and Hollywood at Indiewire, Susan Wloszczyna celebrates the longevity of Sandra Bullock’s career arc. When you look at where she started and now, where she’s landed with Gravity you can’t help but marvel at the ways she’s redefining not only her career but the potential trajectory for actresses over 40 in Hollywood. Last year’s Zero Dark Thirty made $95 million,…

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Best Actress – Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock Strongest Heading into Race

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With several potentially pivotal roles left to be seen — Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks and Amy Adams in American Hustle, two names seem like they might dominate the category when the critics start handing out their awards. Those awards will then influence the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice, the Screen Actors Guild and ultimately, the Oscars.  The Golden Globes often reflect the early part of the race, not…

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The State of the Race: The New American Hero

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“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” – Emerson There is no doubt that America is changing. You can feel the old ways reaching out their talons to pull us back into the past but it isn’t going to work. With asshats in silly costumes representing the Tea Party driving our government to shut down for the first time in 17…

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Best Actor Race – Most Competitive in Years

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In competitive years for Best Actor surprising results have often emerged. When Jack Nicholson for About Schmidt was up against Daniel Day Lewis for Gangs of New York, Michael Caine for the Quiet American and Nicolas Cage for Adaptation, Adrien Brody won for The Pianist. In 2011, when George Clooney for The Descendants was up against Brad Pitt for Moneyball, Demian Bichir for A Better Life, and Gary Oldman for…

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The State of the Race: Will There be a Hillary Effect on the Oscar Race?

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Imagine as we enter Oscar race 2013 three strong films written and directed by women, with leading women at the forefront, one of which is crowned the early frontrunner to win. Imagine an Oscar race where it didn’t matter anymore. Maybe it’s the same year Kathryn Bigelow, Angelina Jolie and Jane Campion all have Oscar frontrunners. Even though it’s 2013, 86 years after the Oscars began, it seems an impossibility….

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Rush and Prisoners to Hit Theaters – Hover on the Fringes of Oscar

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The best thing Rush has going for it in the Oscar race is that it has a great Oscar story attached to it, and that is that Ron Howard couldn’t get the thing made and had to scramble around for funding — kind of amazing when you think about it. How could anyone say no to race cars and Chris Hemsworth? Maybe the mild bummer of it being a true…

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The State of the Race: The Ghosts of Our American Past Told Through Three Movies

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2013 will end up being about a lot of things when the dust settles. It will be yet another year where most of the films in the Best Picture race are driven by the male narrative — give or take a Gravity. It will be the year that directing vets like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, George Clooney, David O. Russell take on the new guard, like Steve McQueen,…

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12 Years a Slave wins Audience Award at Toronto

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It’s beginning to look like our Best Picture frontrunner, Steve McQueen’s 12 years a Slave, is indeed picking up major steam. While it’s true that the audience award doesn’t always equal Best Picture, like last year’s Silver Linings Playbook. 12 Years still has to face the major critics’ reviews, potential controversies, and box office. But. But. Our review is here.

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The State of the Race: I’ll Stand on the Ocean Until I Start Sinking

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The central theme of many of 2013’s best and most important films is survival – in both literal and metaphoric ways. 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, All is Lost, and Dallas Buyers Club are all about a protagonist’s literal struggle to survive. While other films dip more figuratively into survival. In Before Midnight, the marriage must survive. In The Butler, survival depends on taking a job that goes…