Good Morning Oscar, December 31: Counting Down

Wishlists, big guns, critics polls, big audiences … Happy New Year

Wishlists, big guns, critics polls, big audiences … Happy New Year.

Hailee SteinfeldA New Year's wishlist from Guy Lodge. He'd like a foreign-made movie other than "The King's Speech" in the Best Picture race; he wants Oscar voters to ignore the Supporting Actress campaign ads and put Hailee Steinfeld (left) in the Best Actress category, where she belongs; he wants "a good night's entertainment" out of the Oscar show; and he wants a bunch more stuff as well. Good luck with all of it, Guy. (In Contention)

The New York Times brings out the big guns – film critics A.O. Scott and Manhola Dargis – to celebrate a pair of awards contenders. Scott rhapsodizes the "inky, unhinged fairy tale" that is "Black Swan," and particularly about star Natalie Portman, who he says "seems … to be participating in the invention of a new kind of screen performance." And Dargis tackles Christian Bale in "The Fighter" by focusing on a single scene from early in the film in which, she says, "In one minute of screen time Mr. Bale, ably assisted by his director, the cinematographer and editor, has replayed the entire tragic sweep of Dicky’s life, with its bruising knockdown fights and addictively crippling highs." Can we now see the Times critics champion some underdogs rather than frontrunners, just for a change of pace? (The New York Times)

indieWIRE has been doing a couple of different critics polls lately. In one, which surveyed 125 critics from around the country, "The Social Network" (surprise, surprise) came out on top. In a new poll of the site's own editors and contributors, though, "Black Swan" has emerged as the most-mentioned film, with "Social Network" and "Carlos" not far behind. (indieWIRE)

Darren Aronofsky talks to John Hiscockabout making "Black Swan," about the punishment he puts his cast through, and about how it's really hard to make "films that are different" in today's multiplex world. There's a good quote about why he was drawn to a real change-of-pace in the comic-book spinoff "The Wolverine": “With every movie of the five I’ve done so far, I’ve been the only person in the room who wants to make it,” he laughs. “So I’m kind of excited about the challenge of trying to make a movie that everyone wants to make.” (The Telegraph)