Good Morning Oscar, November 2: Reboots & Ratings

One paper debuts a new awards forum, while another learns that Jean-Luc Godard is unavailable for comment

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, one paper debuts a new awards forum, while another learns that Jean-Luc Godard is unavailable for comment.

The Los Angeles Times has launched its new Awards Tracker column, a grab-bag compendium of contributions from a variety of writers intended to make up for the departure of its Notes on a Season columnist Pete Hammond and the relaunch of Tom O’Neil’s Gold Derby as a standalone site affiliated with but not hosted by the Times. The first-day tally is seven stories, three of them by O’Neil: two short news items and a longer bit of perspective on the British Independent Film Awards, which also receives a straight news piece from Susan King.

Also at Awards Tracker: Steven Zeitchik summarizes the five AFI Fest films most likely to be competing for Oscars, John Horn turns a short quote from his recent Danny Boyle interview into a three-paragraph piece on audience members fainting in “127 Hours,” and Nicole Sperling tries to act as if Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” was planning to ride the “Blind Side” mold into the Oscar race, when in fact boxoffice popularity is rarely a significant factor when it comes to Eastwood’s Oscar hopes. (The only one of Eastwood’s last five films to be nominated for Best Picture, “Letters from Iwo Jima,” was the lowest-grossing; the one that didn’t receive a single nom, “Gran Torino,” was by far the top grosser of the batch.)  (The Envelope)

Michele Williams and Ryan GoslingTed Casablanca revisits the ongoing saga of the NC-17 rating slapped on “Blue Valentine,” which will soon have a hearing before the MPAA’s appeals board. He spoke to producer Jamie Patricof, who says he’s “dumbfounded” by the rating. Patricof adds that he’d like to use “The Lovely Bones” and “Jackass 3D” in his appeal argument – but, says Casablanca, he won’t be able to because “filmmakers can’t reference ratings the MPAA has given to other flicks while arguing.” In that assertion, though, Casablanca is a few years behind the times: while precedent was indeed outlawed in the past, the rules were changed to allow it in 2007, not long after the release of the ratings-bashing documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated.” I don’t know if the “Jackass” argument will work, but it can certainly be made. (E!Online)

Is impending honorary Oscar winner Jean-Luc Godard anti-Semitic? Michael Cieply examines the question, and looks at what has thus far been a very mild controversy about the Academy’s selection of the elusive director to receive an honor at the November 13 Governors Awards, which Godard will not attend. The Jewish Journal, among other publications, has recently run articles criticizing Godard; AMPAS defenders like writer-director Phil Alden Robinson have come to his defense; and the Academy has mostly kept mum on the subject. The most predictable line in the entire piece, meanwhile, is probably this one: “Neither Mr. Godard nor his associates could be reached for comment on Monday.” (The New York Times)

The other  TIFF – the Tokyo International Film Festival, not the Toronto International Film Festival – announced its winners on Sunday, in the process making it clear that this is not the TIFF that has much bearing on the Oscar race. Israeli director Nir Bergman’s “Intimate Grammar” won the grand prize, while other winners included 98-year-old director Kaneto Shindo’s “POST CARD” (special jury prize), Gilles Paquet-Brenner (best director for “Sarah’s Key”), Fan Bingbing (best actress for “Buddah Mountain”) and Wang Qianyuan (best actor for “The Piano in a Factory”). (The Hollywood Reporter)