Good Morning Oscar, October 28: Class Participation

Oscar goes collegiate, and documentaries get ambitious

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Oscar goes collegiate and documentaries get ambitious.

Hey kids: You too can cover the Oscars from the red carpet and the press room! The Academy on Wednesday announced its third “Oscars Correspondent Contest,” in which teams of college journalists can submit videos to win a trip to Los Angeles plus press credentials to cover the 83rd Oscar show. AMPAS has the rules for the contest, the first round of which runs until December 6. If I told you that covering the Oscars from the carpet and press room is not all it’s cracked up to be, would you listen? Of course you wouldn’t. And besides, it actually is pretty cool. (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

Waiting for "Superman"We know the Academy wants the expanded Best Picture roster to find room for foreign-language films and documentaries – AMPAS president Tom Sherak told me as much last Spring, and said he was looking into ways to make that happen. And Peter Knegt wonders if this remarkable year for non-fiction films could be the year that a doc gets into the Best Pic lineup, and decided that “it’s not entirely reasonable” to rule out the possibility of “Waiting for ‘Superman’” turning the trick. The problem, as I see it, is simply one of numbers: Best Picture nominations are made by the entire Academy membership of almost 6,000, and you need a good chunk of those voters to put your film at or near the top of their ballots. Given the built-in excuse that docs have their own category, I don’t think enough voters see even the most compelling documentaries; unless you’ve got a sensation like “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a non-fiction film would have to have enough juice to become that screener that every Academy member simply must  watch to have a chance. And I can’t see any of this year’s fine docs becoming that film.     (indieWIRE)

“Black Swan,” “Another Year,” “The King’s Speech” and the Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” may all be Oscar contenders, but at the London Film Festival they’re losers one and all. Those films became also-rans on Monday when the fest announced that its jury, chaired by actress Patricia Clarkson, has chosen the Russian drama “How I Ended This Summer” for its Best Film award. Guy Lodge has the breakdown, which also includes prizes to Joanna Hogg’s “Archipelago,” Clio Barnard’s “The Arbor,” Michael Rowe’s “Leap Year,” Phan Dang Di’s “Don’t Be Afraid, Bi!” and Janus Metz’s “Armadillo.” The only Oscar hopeful who got to the podium was “127 Hours” director Danny Boyle, who won the fest’s top career-achievement honor, the BFI Fellowship. (In Contention)

“The Kids Are All Right” has made its way to England, so Kira Cochrane sits down with director Lisa Cholodenko to talk about sperm donors and gay movies. The meat of the story comes when Cholodenko blasts the preponderance of gay-themed movies that are filled with death and tragedy; “the gay martyr movie,” she calls them. “I think people have found ‘The Kids Are All Right’ incredibly fresh because it’s like, finally, somebody doesn’t have to die,” she says. (The Guardian)