Colin Firth and fellow King’s Speech cast-members talk about the inspiration for their performances in Huffington Post video interview.

Paramount offered passes to advance screenings of True Grit last night in a dozen cities across the country. If you were one of the lucky witnesses at these events, please let us know what you thought. The rest of us will have to be content with this clip and another one after the cut.

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One of the most ardent advocates for Conviction has to be Indiewire’s Anne Thompson, who interviews Sam Rockwell, and also interviewed other cast members, like Juliette Lewis and Hilary Swank. Here is what she says about Rockwell:

Finally, Conviction brings Rockwell the role of his career, playing the real-life rebellious, angry, volatile Kenny Waters, who grew up neglected and abused on the wrong side of the tracks and ended up with a murder conviction, in prison for life. His sister, Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), finished high school, put herself through college and law school, over eighteen years, in order to figure out a way to prove that he was innocent of the crime. Rockwell is able to show us how this guy feels—angry, hopeful, suicidal, never sure if it will work out, hanging on to his sister to find a way out. It’s tough, real, upsetting stuff. The climactic prison scenes had to be shot over again because the grueling 16-hour day’s shoot was ruined by an airport X-ray. But doing it over made it even better, director Tony Goldwyn told me in Toronto. While two-time Oscar winner Swank gives yet another stellar performance, Rockwell, who is an actors’ actor, should finally earn some of the recognition that he deserves.

Living in Cinema‘s Craig Kennedy also went to bat for Rockwell in our podcast series, making a point to note how many times Rockwell has brought it but never seems to get any recognition.

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“I say it here, it comes out there.” I don’t know if anyone else has been giving this any hard consideration but Jeff Wells and I touched on this in our last Oscar Poker podcast – this idea of Michael Douglas kind of smashing the competition in the supporting category for Wall Street 2. Deadline’s Pete Hammond says he has no official confirmation but that Fox is maybe leaning in that direction.

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The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers has prompted me to start giving some thought to the supporting categories. They feel blown out at the moment. Nat built this chart, and wrote a must-read post, to illustrate how supporting actors often get categorized:

So, Nat right mentions the assumed frontrunners right now – namely Geoffrey Rush who is a force to be reckoned with and seems to have the statue in hand — just by saying that one can jinx it, but the truth is – Rush’s is going to end the year, I feel sure, as one of the very best period, supporting OR lead. It’s the combination of his great work, his BODY of work, and the likability of his character.¬† But aside from Rush, what other names are churning around?

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Waltz is going to be a tough contender to beat come Oscar time in the supporting category. We’re probably looking at at least a two-man race, with Waltz and Stanley Tucci either for Julie & Julia (which is, I might add, looking a lot better as a Best Pic nominee) or for The Lovely Bones. Waltz is magnificent in Inglourious Basterds, arguably among the best performances of the year so far. The Fest also announces the Hollywood World Awards:

The Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards, presented by Starz, are pleased to announce that Christoph Waltz and Father Rick Frechette will be recognized for their outstanding achievements at the festival’s Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony, as well as the nominees for the “Hollywood World Awards” — “Bright Star” (UK/Australia), directed by Jane Campion, “I Am Love” (Italy), directed by Luca Guadagnino, “Lourdes” (France/Austria), directed by Jessica Hausner, “A Prophet” (France), directed by Jacques Audiard, and “The White Ribbon” (Germany/Austria), directed by Michael Haneke.

Phil Bronstein, editor of the SF Chronicle (and Sharon Stone’s ex) writes up the premiere of Milk. He writes of Josh Brolin:

I’d walked the District 8 neighborhood with Dan White, doing a few stories about this seemingly earnest guy a bit in over his head. Josh Brolin’s hair-perfect presentation of the White character in the film was as eerily pitch-on as his George W. Bush. I sat across the aisle from Brolin at the premier and occasionally had to look over to gut check that it wasn’t Dan in the chair, as much as he was on the screen.

And of Penn:

Sean is pretty remarkable in the movie. I don’t know how you go from the scorching, tormented Irish thug in “Mystic River” to such a convincing Jewish/gay icon and diva in the same lifetime without some genius in there. I told him something like that, though scaled down, at the City Hall party afterwards. We’d hardly spoken since the fugue-like struggles he and I had over editing his Iran and Iraq pieces for the paper, nose-to-nose in the back of Tosca, manhoods challenged, accusations of traitorous conduct, duels with pistols suggested.

Isn’t it interesting that these Oscar movies are taking us back through history? Nixon, Harvey Milk among them?

Tom O’Neil got a scoop, a Scott Rudin scoop, when attending a special screening for Doubt. In case you missed it, The Soloist was pushed to 2009 and thus, they had no shot but to pull it from the AFI fest lineup. That giant hole has not been filled, though producer Scott Rudin is slightly nervous about Doubt being tossed out there to the hungry lions so early in the game. But is it early? Right about now is the time for buzz to start building if anyone expects to win critics’ awards. Not everyone can be Paul Thomas Anderson and win awards before everyone else sees the film. Here’s Tom O’Neil:

Sources tell Gold Derby that AFI was reluctant to replace “The Soloist” after news broke last week that its release will be delayed till next March, but DreamWorks execs pressed hard for it being swapped out, leading to an initial stand-off. Only when DreamWorks made it clear that it could not guarantee that “The Soloist” stars, who voiced queasiness about such an advance debut, would appear on the AFI red carpet did pressure build on the fest to buckle. Obviously, “The Soloist” would have to be replaced with another prestige film whose stars would agree to last-minute plans be in L.A. next week. Few options seemed to be immediately available, but Scott Rudin rallied his team to meet the challenge. Apparently, that means that stars Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams will be in attendance.

“It was hard enough to pull everything together in such a short time,” Rudin said, “but to do it before we even had the first industry reaction to the film ‚Äî that was the hardest part. But we did it and I’m glad we did.”

The article then talks about Rudin having test screened the film already and screened it to several long-lead critics but he doesn’t know what they think because they haven’t published their reviews. I guess I’ll just have to say it: The Soloist must really suck balls.

I’ve been looking forward to Doubt all year. I hope it is as good as it looks. I’m imagining how the SAG voters are take to this one. Gee, you think they’ll like it?


It’s fitting that “Nobody knows anything” got dropped as a banner slogan around here, because this year everybody knows at least one thing: Heath Ledger will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Done deal. Fait accompli.

In a season when we’ll be stressing over all kinds of votes, one race is a virtual certainty. The same as last year when we began chanting that Cate Blanchett was guaranteed to be nominated (twice). The same way we knew that Javier Bardem would be nominated, and the strength of that role gave us solid confidence to say he’d ride the crest of that early acclaim all the way to Kodak stage. We only needed to see that performance once to know it would be next to impossible to top. It hardly mattered what movies or roles were yet to come, because there was simply no doubt. We said it last summer and stuck to our guns (and our only regret was not betting tons of money on it).

It’s time to stop waffling and step up with the same confidence this year. It’s pretty amazing to me that there are holdouts who still have reservations and misgivings about Heath Ledger even being nominated. I’m ready to take a stand and say he’s not only sure to be Oscar-nominated — he’ll win it.

Peter Finch, Spencer Tracy, and James Dean. You’ll be hearing those names propped up a lot over the next few months, as proof of many a theory. But while many experienced handicappers are busy pulling up parallel posthumous Oscar circumstances from 30 or even 50 years ago, at Awards Daily we’ll try hard to base our forecasts on data that’s not 5 decades old. Sure, it’s cute to trot out trivia about how passing away sure didn’t do much to enhance James Dean’s chances of winning, but I think we can do better than that type of old-timey Farmer’s Almanac frost-watching, don’t you?¬† Let’s look at the facts and see how close we can come to nailing this category down, after the cut.

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