In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, honors come in, readers weigh in, and Carey Mulligan’s stock rises … because of “The Wizard of Oz.”
The Palm Springs International Film Festival, which had been lagging behind the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in announcing awards, adds three more honorees to its slate: “Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman will receive its Director of the Year Award, “The Hurt Locker” star Jeremy Renner will take home the Breakthrough Performance Award, and “Crazy Heart” composer T Bone Burnett will be awarded the Frederick Loewe Award for Film Composing. They’ll receive the honors on January 5 at the festival’s opening-night gala. (Palm Springs International Film Festival)
USA Today is asking readers to vote for the best movie of 2009. The poll has been up for a few days, and as of Wednesday night the readers were opting for “Star Trek” (left), with 26 percent of the vote, followed by “The Hangover” and “Up” (16 and 15 percent, respectively). “Up in the Air” – you know, the movie that’s wining all those critics awards – finishes last among the 10 contenders with only three percent.
Guy Lodge looks at the animated-feature category, and says “there’s every reason to hope for (and even expect) the category’s most broadly acclaimed field to date.” He goes on to heap particular praise on “Mary and Max” – praise with which I wholeheartedly concur, since I wrote my own piece on that twisted “miracle movie” on Wednesday as well. (In Contention)
Kenneth Turan lists his 10 favorite foreign films of the year, from “Coco Before Chanel” to “A Woman in Berlin.” Not one of them is eligible for the Oscar for foreign-language film. (Los Angeles Times)
Scott Feinberg does an exhaustive (obsessive?) job of reducing each acting contender’s role to a tidy narrative, and then finding past Oscar nominees and winners with similar narratives. According to his analysis, Carey Mulligan should win for “An Education” because Claudette Colbert, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers and Audrey Hepburn also won, and they all fit the narrative “a woman meets a man and learns to see the world anew through new eyes.” (Is that really the plot of “The Wizard of Oz,” his Garland comparison?) But Meryl Streep should also win, because Katharine Hepburn, Sissy Spacek, Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank all won with “a woman pursues her dreams and finds success against all odds.” It’s an impressive exercise, but I’m not sure I buy the idea that precedent means much in the way he lays it out. (And the Winner Is …)
Glenn Kenny went in thinking he was going to hate “Nine,” but he didn’t. “It’s quite efficient and energetic and makes you not mind quite so much that the songs themselves are pretty forgettable if not sometimes worse.” He also likes the “chicks in their underwear” factor. (Some Came Running)
Variety goes behind a paywall, and explains the move in six rather confusing paragraphs that talk about one in 10 visitors being asked to register, and nonsubscribers being limited to five pages per month, and how the people who remain and pay $248 per year are the people Variety really wants to reach.