Good Morning, Oscar: October 15

One contender drops out, “Amelia” goes on the offensive, and Jason Reitman makes a pie chart.

 In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, one contender drops out, “Amelia” goes on the offensive, and Jason Reitman makes a pie chart.

Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life,” which Apparition had scheduled for a Christmas release, is now out of 2009 and out of this year’s Oscar race. (Damn.) The famously deliberate Malick hasn’t finished it yet, and Apparition chief Bob Berney admits that the 2009 release date was always a bit of wishful thinking. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Jason Reitman has created an actual pie chart to track all the questions he’s repeatedly asked on his “Up in the Air” promotional tour. “What’s it like working with George Clooney?” is now in the lead, followed by questions about what his movie says about the economy. Questions about music come in last. (Funny, that’s what I talked to him about when I met him.) If he keeps updating the damn chart, the guy’s gonna make subsequent interviewers too self-conscious to ask him anything.

The winner is "What is it like to work with Clooney?" I will ... on Twitpic

The schedule for the AFI Fest in Hollywood is complete. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” opens the fest on October 30, “A Single Man” closes it on November 7. In between are career tributes to Christopher Plummer and Viggo Mortensen, gala screenings of “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” “Precious” and “Everybody’s Fine,” and several of the films entered in the foreign-language Oscar race, including “A Prophet” (France), “I Killed My Mother” (Canada), “Police, Adjective” (Romania), “Mother” (Korea) and “About Elly” (Iran).  (IndieWIRE)

At Film Experience, Nat Rogers, who says he feels like the last blogger to see “Precious” (I can vouch for the fact that he’s not), finally gets a screening and declares that it lives up to the hype. He also says that Mo’Nique has the best supporting actress Oscar wrapped up. Maybe that’s why other people have been spreading stories about how she’s killing her chances by being difficult. 

Sasha Stone surveys the best actor race and finds seven strong bets (Sharlto Copley? Clive Owen?), two dark horses (Michael Sheen, Viggo Mortensen) and six yet-to-be-seen question marks (including Christopher Plummer, who’s being pushed in the supporting category by Sony Classics). There are some heavy hitters in that last category (Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Robert De Niro), so look for this particular landscape to change before long. (Awards Daily)

The more people talked about how Fox Searchlight’s lack of “Amelia” screenings could mean trouble, the more likely it became that we’d start seeing stories about how the movie isn’t in trouble after all. The first of those arrived Wednesday in Notes on a Season, in which Pete Hammond explains (based on word from inside Fox) that the movie wasn’t ready until now, but that it’s really, really good.

The Netherlands has changed its mind, and changed its submission in the Oscar foreign-language film race. Or, rather, the Academy has changed the Netherlands’ mind by disqualifying the country’s initial submission, “The Silent Army,” for being a re-edited version of a film that was initially released before the eligibility period. The new submission, “Winter in Wartime,” centers on a teenage boy who hides a wounded British pilot during the final summer of World War II. Sounds like a good fit for the Academy’s foreign-language voters. (In Contention)

Movieline uncovers some of the recent emails that Wes Anderson sent his crew while directing “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Actually, Movieline doesn’t uncover anything — they make stuff up. Some of it’s funny. “And not too much cuff. He’d never show too much cuff. There might be too much cuff.”