In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, a new festival books the new Peter Weir, while the MPAA goes unhinged over some royal cursing.
Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” which initially couldn’t find a Hollywood distributor but is now getting a 2011 release (plus a 2010 qualifying run and Oscar campaign) from Newmarket Films, will launch the first Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival, which kicks off in Los Angeles on November 13, two days after the AFI Fest concludes. Other films will include “Made in Dagenham,” “Down for Life” and special presentations of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Kimberly Pierce’s Oscar-winning “Boys Don’t Cry.” In addition, Clint Eastwood will take home the Tolerance Award and the festival will screen “Gran Torino,” in which Eastwood plays a cranky old man with no tolerance whatsoever. (indieWIRE)
Patrick Goldstein is mad at the MPAA, again. The latest object of his ire: the “R” rating given to “The King’s Speech,” which was branded with the same tag as “Saw 3D” because of a scene (or two) in which Colin Firth’s King George VI tries to overcome his stammer by unleashing a torrent of profanity. For a ratings board armed with (imaginary) clickers to count F-words, the “R” was automatic; to Goldstein, that’s “crazy and unhinged.” He asks, “[I]f the MPAA is going to be subjective about how it views violence, allowing some scenes of torture but not others, then why on earth can’t it be subjective about language as well?” Because they’re the MPAA, that’s why. (The Big Picture)
The Britannia Awards, an annual show staged by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles, has lined up a slate of presenters for its Thursday night, Stephen Fry-hosted soiree, which will be televised by the TV Guide Network on Sunday. Participants range from Oscar-winning actors to sitcom stars and weight-loss spokespersons: the slate, which was announced in one fell swoop on Tuesday, consists of Valerie Bertinelli, Jerry Bruckheimer, Marion Cotillard, Rosario Dawson, Dakota Fanning, Jane Leeves, Jane Lynch, Wendie Malick, Carey Mulligan, Cillian Murphy, Kevin Spacey and Olivia Wilde. Honorees are Tony and Ridley Scott, Jeff Bridges, Michael Sheen and Betty White. (The Hollywood Reporter)
“It seems to me that there are two types of Oscar-wining Best Pictures,” writes Sasha Stone. “Those that are entertaining and those that are groundbreaking.” She thinks “The King’s Speech” is the former and “The Social Network” the latter, but uses her “state of the race” essay to explore a scenario that I think might well take place: the entertaining movie could win the Best Picture award, while the director of the riskier venture could be crowned Best Director. Considering that votes in the two categories are counted differently now that we have 10 Best-Pic nominees, splits are all but inevitable – and the one she proposes makes perfect sense, barring significant shifts in the race over the next couple of months. Then again, those shifts will probably happen, so all of this is premature. (Awards Daily)
“Toy Story 3” director Lee Unkrich (who talks to theWrap here) tells Michelle Kung about the film’s billion-dollar gross, the toys he invented and that Mattel now makes, and how his avid use of Twitter initially scared Pixar’s publicists, until “I … proved that I wasn’t going to say something stupid that would reflect badly on the company.” After making Pixar’s biggest moneymaker ever, I’d guess that the guy has the leeway to say an awful lot of stuff before he gets into trouble. (The Wall Street Journal)
On a slickly-produced HitFix video, Valerie Plame and Joseph Wilson talk about how surreal it is to see themselves portrayed onscreen in “Fair Game” by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. Former CIA operative Plame gives measured and politic answers to Gregory Ellwood’s questions, while one-time ambassador Wilson is sharper and blunter (as you might guess from the film). He brands George W. Bush “an un-indicted co-conspirator in an obstruction of justice,” and says that political enemies are no doubt looking to use possible inaccuracies in the film against the couple: “You can be darn sure that in Washington they are fact-checking every scene.” (Awards Campaign)