I’m fairly certain that a few from Cannes will also get play, specifically Javier Bardem’s performance in Biutiful, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams from Blue Valentine, and Another Year should do very well. But there is only so far that has rung that bell. It will have competition, no doubt, in Toy Story 3 which is coming soon to a theater near you. But since we’re keeping score and all of that…

Deadline: Sources say the Warner Bros sequel made a very strong $17.5 million on its rare Thursday opener (including $3M midnight showings in about 2,000 venues). That compares very favorably to the original’s $26.7M opening Friday as well as Indiana Jones’ pre-Memorial Weekend $25M Thursday debut. So now estimates have Sex And The City 2 earning $60+M for the 4-day weekend, and $75+M for the 5-day holiday. The original did $57M for its 3-day weekend.

There’s been a lot of discussion the past few days about Oscar-caliber Ellen Page taking a role in an HBO series when some feel she should be pursuing more prestige in feature films. But there’s little doubt that the reason top-quality programs on the small screen can attract the best talent in front of the camera is because the standards for the very best of television meet or surpass many films at the multiplex. Part of that equation is the impeccable people working behind the camera.

Bound to be one of the biggest names nominated at this year’s Emmys is composer Hans Zimmer who’s more familiar for explosive percussion driven by timpani thunder in movies like The Dark Knight and Gladiator. For HBO’s intimate epic The Pacific, Zimmer turns his skill to themes so subtle and tender they quietly wring our emotions like a compassionate hand to the forehead. One of those themes is featured here in a clip called Homecoming — but the title almost feels redundant because the music itself evokes return from arduous journey so eloquently.

  • Hans Zimmer is given “composer” credit for the music in episodes 1-7.
  • Geoff Zanelli is credited as “composer” on all 10 episodes.
  • Blake Neely is “composer, conductor, orchestrator” for the series.

You can listen to Zimmer’s main theme for The Pacific after the cut, and find close to a dozen more sound clips through related links on the youtube sidebar.

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JustJared has the pics. ¬†The producer of the film, Christine Vachon, is on Twitter (@kvpi)¬†and she occasionally sends out updates. ¬†The latest was that Kate Winslet was “feeling fine” and production was resuming. ¬†Her latest Twitpic after the cut.

Evan after the cut.

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Paul Maher over at Pop Matters writes up a rather intense look back at Terrence Malick, where he’s been, what he’s been doing, and then gathers up more bits and pieces culled from various sources about the mysterious film.¬†
A quote from Angelina Jolie:

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I think that the hatred directed towards this film is a whole lot of hypocrisy run amok. ¬†No, it’s not “giving the women what they want,” it’s allowing female characters to wade in the same thick soup of shit male characters do. And somehow, that has stirred up a whole lot of hate. ¬†Like Sarah Palin hate.

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Today feeling trapped in a loop of Letterman’s “Is this anything?”

Slim pickings for awards prospects when Jonah Hex is the best antidote for Sex and the City 2. But those are the cards we’re dealt today.

Sex and the City 2 stands a good chance of being The Proposal of 2010 — a megabucks rom-com blockbuster with the worst reviews of the year. Currently clocking in with a 33 on Metacritic, 80% of the reviews give SATC2 a score of 50 or lower — and that’s not counting the scathing appraisal from Andrew O’Hehir whose subtitle I’ve borrowed for the headline above. Guaranteed to be a rating of 10 or possibly even ‘0’ when it’s factored in, Salon’s review isn’t going to do that Metacritic average any favors.

Sometimes a movie is so disastrously appalling the only entertainment value it can spawn is the withering flair of a critic’s unleashed wrath, and O’Hehir’s review is a deliciously bitter read. He doesn’t simply dissect the corpse; he explains the cause of death with forensic precision. And he describes with sincere regret the vandalism and violation Michael Patrick King has inflicted on four unique creations who were once worth watching.

It would have been more merciful for writer-director Michael Patrick King to have rented Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda out to the “Saw” franchise, or to Rob Zombie, so we could watch them get shot in the head or skinned alive by Arkansas rednecks. Instead of that, we get something that’s truly sadistic: the SATC girls as haggard specters, haunted by their freewheeling ’90s past and stupefied by the demands of work, marriage and/or motherhood. This bloated, incoherent movie mimics an SATC episode in structure — vague social relevance at the beginning and the end, conspicuous consumption in the middle — with virtually none of the wit or panache, and seems devoted to destroying our affection for these characters…

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Discreetly sidestepping any explicit mention of Nikki Finke, Deadline reports that Diane Keaton will star as Tilda, a Nikki-esque online journo in HBO’s upcoming series.

The project centers on Tilda (Keaton), a powerful female online Hollywood journalist with a no-holds-barred style. Ellen Page will play Caroyln, a morally conflicted creative assistant caught between following the corporate culture of the studio she works for and following Tilda, who has taken a keen interest in her. Condon and Tell Me You Love Me creator Cynthia Mort wrote the script and are executive producing the pilot, which Condon is attached to direct.

From ICSfilm.org, how someone who’s been going to Cannes for 17 years, Cedric Succivalli,¬†ranked the films he saw.

01. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives *****
02. Of Gods and Men ****1/2
03. On Tour ****1/2
04. Certified Copy ****1/2
05. Another Year ****1/2

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The Playlist posted this pic of Jessica Chastain in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, and was then reposted over at Hollywood-Elsewhere. ¬†Since they were complaining about the darkness of the photo, I ran it through Photoshop to lighten the faces. ¬†I don’t know if it makes a difference or not.

The image shows Chastain with a crew member inside a ’50s Texas home. We presume this is the family home she shares with her husband,¬†played by¬†Brad Pitt, and their son, in what is being¬†described as a drama that ferries between a father in the 1950s (Pitt) and his son Jack (Sean Penn), now grown up decades later.

The Playlist goes on:

Just to confuse you a bit more, composer¬†Alexandre Desplat¬†added that the film is “a deep story about love, how you transmit love, through your family; from the parents to the children. And the evolution of mankind… since the creation,” possibly hinting the¬†inclusion of dinosaurs in either the feature itself or an IMAX companion documentary titled “The Voyage Of Time,” which¬†may or may not just be a codename for the FX-heavy sequences in “The Tree Of Life.” Still with us?

The Before, after the cut.

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Shrek Forever After had been projected to rake in more than $105 million over the weekend, but could only stir up $70 mil in spite of inflated 3D prices (approaching 20 bucks a pop for IMAX 3D tickets in some cities). As the price for 3D seating has jumped 22% from last year, Vulture wonders if Shrek underperformed because fewer folks are wiling to pay an egregious ogre troll toll.

People happily paid a surcharge to see Avatar because it was something they‚Äôd never seen before ‚Äî but they‚Äôve definitely seen the Shrek gang before… In the teeth of a recession, movie attendance jumped 4.5 percent in 2009 and the industry saw a record haul of over $10 billion, because people decided that going to the movies was actually their cheapest entertainment option. But with the jacking-up of 3-D prices, that may no longer be the case. And studios fear that a backlash may be starting, just in time for the release of all the pricey 3-D blockbusters that they green-lit after Avatar.

“We cannot control what [theaters] charge,” said an exasperated top distribution executive at a major studio. “And we have to be very careful what we say about this: It’s illegal for us to even think about speaking to them about what they charge. But this is insanity.”

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Two big differences this year will ultimately affect the outcome of the race. The first is that there were ten Best Pic nominees.¬† The second is that they moved the Oscars back to March, not quite late March like they used to be – but at least they’re in March.¬† Changing the date changes the pattern of the way the Academy chooses its winners because there is more time to think about the general consensus.¬† The general consensus is set in place over at the Gurus of Gold, which has your usual suspects in first place — the only categories have some disagreement are Best Picture and the two screenplay categories.

One question that keeps nagging at me is the idea of The Hurt Locker, a tiny movie hardly anyone saw, actually winning Best Picture. It has everything going for it except that Avatar is more popular, Inglourious Basterds won the SAG.  What it has in its favor, of course, is that it has won when large voting bodies have come together, most importantly, the DGA. One crucial loss was the SAG ensemble vote.

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The post nominations flurry has died down a bit. I felt less heat around these nominations than usual. Part of that was the smallish pool from which to choose this year, and part of it was that ten nominees for Best Picture turned out to be what we suspected it would be – the top ten, or thereabouts, that usually collect during the season. I wanted to hear the perspectives of others, however, so with no further ado. The seventh in a series of discussions about the Oscars with a variety of writers and thinkers around the web.

The participants:

Damien Bona, Inside Oscar
Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today
Pete Hammond, The Envelope
Tom O’Neil, Gold Derby
Moises Chiullan, Hollywood-Elsewhere
Melissa Silverstein, Women and Hollywood
Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema
Nathaniel Rogers, The Film Experience
Erik Childress, eFilm Critic, Cinematical

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Best Picture

* “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
* “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
* “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
* “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
* “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
* “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
* “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
* “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
* “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
* “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

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(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA)

There have been a very small handful of women who have gotten Directors Guild nominations. None had any chance of winning. Sixty two years of awards and not a single woman or black man (or black woman) has ever won the DGA. The DGA is the single most important guild in the Oscar race. Regular readers will recognize one of Awards Daily’s mantras clearly in play this year: the director is the star of the Best Picture race.

The best picture race is not over, however. We do have, without a doubt, our bonafide frontrunner. As we enter what advertisers like to call Phase II, we now have a true competition on our hands for the top prize. How do we know this? Jim Cameron did not win last night. Avatar did not win the PGAs. Had it won both of those awards, this race would only be a matter of the clock ticking down. That is because it would have been business as usual in Hollywood — the rich get richer and the white men prevail. It is unheard of, not only in the last ten years that I’ve been Oscar watching, but in all of Oscar’s history, to anoint a film that has not made a good amount of money for the industry that birthed it. In a year with ten Best Picture nominees and a desire to up the ratings, it seems even more shocking that this tiny film, this brilliant, unforgettable masterpiece is making its way through a very difficult awards season and coming out the winner.

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(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
TV Movie:
Taking Chance
Television Series
: Mad Men
Comedy Series:
Modern Family
– The Cove
– Obama Inauguration
Reality TV
– Build it Bigger

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Okay, Awards Daily readers, here is your chance. This contest will be a little harder than the SAG contest because I threw in a tie-breaker or two.  GO FOR IT.

Meanwhile Tom O’Neil has assembled a big list of people who are predicting the winners! Check it out at Gold Derby.

And what does it mean? A couple of weeks ago, I wrote on my Facebook page that I thought, in the end, The Hurt Locker would win Picture, Director and Screenplay. But that was before Avatar became Avatanic (coined by reader Loyal and others). The Golden Globes double win, combined with the news of its unstoppable box office, combined with the Academy’s desire to flood the Oscars and the industry with cash seemed to be pointing to Avatar.

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