In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, the Academy faces (mild) money woes, and Daniel Day-Lewis writes love notes in character.
Three months ago, the Academy’s executive director Bruce Davis told me that the organization’s assets had taken a hit recently: “Our investments didn’t do so well over the last year or so. We’ve been used to getting another nice chunk of money from the portfolio, and that did not happen this year.” Now we have the details: Michael Cieply looks at the AMPAS annual report, which says that net assets fell from $235.3 million to $228.8 million in the past fiscal year, because of a net investment loss of $10.8 million. Income from the Oscar show rose about 3.5 percent, to $76.3 million, but the cost of the show saw a steeper 6.8 percent jump, to $33.2 million. (The New York Times)
Anne Thompson looks at this week’s results in Movie City News’ Gurus of Gold poll, says it’s good news for “Invictus” and “Nine,” and is convinced that when the critics start to weigh in with Top 10 lists, they’ll give a boost to the candidacy of “A Serious Man.” (That’s one of the reasons I put it at number seven on my G o’ G ballot.) She also says of the best-picture chances for “Inglourious Basterds”, “I confess to being at a loss where Quentin Tarantino is concerned.” (Thompson on Hollywood) (Left, Michael Stuhlbarg in "A Serious Man"; photo Focus Features)
At a press conference, singer-actress Fergie says that on the set of “Nine,” she’d find little love letters in her dressing room written to her character by Daniel Day-Lewis on the stationery of his character Guido. (PopEater) Vulture points out that Fergie’s character is “a prostitute Guido Contini meets when he’s 10 years old (her big scene is a flashback),” so the grown-up Guido would hardly have written her love letters. (New York )
Jeff Wells talks to Maggie Gyllenhaal and asks the question about her “Crazy Heart” performance: lead or supporting? He says it’s the latter. He’s right, however Fox Searchlight chooses to position her in the Oscar race. (Hollywood Elsewhere)
In his last post before moving to the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter’s Steven Zeitchikl makes a plea on behalf of “Sugar” for the original-screenplay category. (Risky Business Blog)
Oscar favorite “The Cove” wins the audience award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the largest documentary film festival in the world. Another shortlisted Oscar contender, “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” won a special jury award. Other big awards went to films not in the Oscar race, including “Last Train Home” (which took home the festival’s top prize), “Iron Crows,” “Six Weeks” and “Colony.” (IDFA)
Another documentary left off the Oscar shortlist, Joe Berlinger’s “Crude,” has also been extremely well-received on the international circuit, with 18 wins at festivals around the world, most recently at the Paris environmental film festival.