Pre-Oscars News: Scott Rudin Stays In NY; Night Before Patrons Compete For iPads; Weinstein Bros Bash Feels Like Old Times

Mike Fleming

Heard at Saturday’s pre-Oscar party circuit: Though he’s the rare producer twice nominated in the same year for Best Picture honors for The Social Network and True Grit, Scott Rudin turned in his tickets for the Academy Awards. I’m told that … Read More »

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OSCAR SPOILERS: He’ll Present First Oscar

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned 2-time Oscar winner and Academy favorite Tom Hanks will be the first presenter and name winners in both the Art Direction and Cinematography categories right off the bat. Best Picture frontrunner The King’s Speech is up for both, so the … Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Co-Financier Skydance Targets ‘Star Blazers’ For Christopher McQuarrie

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and … Read More »

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HAMMOND: ‘Social Network’ & ‘True Grit’ Win At Guild Awards: What Does It Mean?

Pete Hammond

With The Social Network winning big with Film Editors, and True Grit doing the same across town with the Sound Mixers, Saturday represented the first night in several weekends when the big news was not The King’s Speech. Last night added a little surprise and diversity to an awards season that was … Read More »

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‘True Grit’ Wins Best Sound Mixing Award

The Cinema Audio Society consisting of Sound Mixers and Associates from the film and television industries handed out its 47th Annual CAS Award Winners Saturday. The Society was founded to create a proper channel of communication between the related sound crafts and between those instrumental to the production and distribution … Read More »

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OSCAR: Closest Races Down To The Wire

Pete Hammond

Get those ballots in, stragglers. Forget that many professional pundits and even casual observers of this year’s Oscar race have already called it. (…The King’s Speech wins Best Picture… Best Actor for Colin Firth… Natalie Portman gets Best Actress… The Fighter‘s Christian Bale and … Read More »

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OSCAR MOGULS: Brad Grey Q&A

The Deadline Team of Nikki Finke, Pete Hammond, and Mike Fleming have spent recent days interviewing the studio moguls to gauge their perspective on this very close Oscar race:

PARAMOUNT
20 Nominations
: 10 True Grit, 7 The Fighter, 2 How To Train Your Dragon, 1 Iron Man

DEADLINE’s Nikki Finke: You had the most Oscar nominations this year.
BRAD GREY: So every year for the last five years we have been very fortunate in that we have had a Best Picture nominee at Paramount. I certainly didn’t imagine that we would have two this year, and I’m thrilled that we do. But we were certainly hoping that we’d be in the race again. We’ve been supporting these pictures and there’s evidence by the box office that it’s been in a very profound way. I think they are both wildly deserving so it’s really nice that the Academy has recognized them.

DEADLINE: But how do you explain the most nominations of all studios?
GREY: I don’t know how you account for that, other than the fact that we are in business with great artists, great filmmakers, and really try to greenlight pictures that will have great emotion as well as great storytelling and great entertainment value. And what we look to do is to make pictures that will be commercially successful and/or critically successful, and hopefully both. We were fortunate in that the Coens really hit a bullseye with True Grit. They produced and directed a picture that is a family film for Christmas which is going to be their greatest financial success in their careers. And the picture will do over a quarter of a billion dollars around the world, which is a huge number. And critically people have responded, and audiences have responded. So we are thrilled with that and we are supporting them through this Oscar race and campaign. To my mind, we’ve already won. The Fighter is the same situation as far as I’m concerned. It’s a touching beautiful story directed by David O. Russell and I think it’s David’s best work. I love the fact that this will reinvent David and give David a greater opportunity in the future. And it is frankly all a testament to Mark Walberg’s passion because we were working with Mark for years on this project. And at first it was to be Mark and Brad Pitt, and then it was to be Mark and Matt Damon. And poor Mark kept training and retraining as people kept coming in and falling out. And then thankfully Christian Bale came in and did a stunning job with him under David’s direction. And the folks at Relativity stepped up, and our group did an extraordinary job of marketing of what in essence people were calling a boxing movie.

DEADLINE: Let’s talk about True Grit first. There already was a classic movie and John Wayne won an Oscar for it from a 42-year-old novel.  How do you say yes to a remake of that? And to a western?
GREY: Well, it’s my responsibility to decide what gets greenlit at our company. And for me it’s a very easy call when the economics are right to back Joel and Ethan in anything. There is very little that Joel and Ethan could come to me with that I wouldn’t support at the right price point because I am a huge admirer of theirs. And having grown up in the business representing talent and nurturing talent and surrounding myself with the best in talent, I consider them among that group. And so I just think we are fortunate to be in business with them. So now you get to True Grit, and they had a take on how to make the book something special and to really take those characters and turn it into what would be the most commercial work that they have done because it didn’t lend itself to great violence.

DEADLINE: And that kid, Hailee Steinfeld…
GREY: She’s amazing. And they found her after looking at so many different actresses. And Jeff Bridges was extraordinary as Rooster Cogburn. So you take these two characters and you surround them with Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and everybody else, and I would bet on the Coen brothers every day. So that’s the show part. The business part was they made the picture at a very reasonable price.

DEADLINE: The budget was under $40 million, really?
GREY: Yes, we’re going to do very well, and they deserve it, and they will do very well. And we made a deal with them, as we have with so many others, where we kind of recalibrated how we make these talent deals so that once we recoup our money, everybody gets to share and everybody deserves to share. So the Coens will have the biggest payday of their career, but they have truly earned it. So that’s how you make True Grit: you bet on Joel and Ethan. And then you add to that the fact that Scott Rudin is, to my mind, one of the great producers that the industry has. So that’s a hell of a combination.

DEADLINE: Were you worried that Rudin would have divided loyalties because he also had The Social Network in the hunt for Oscars?
GREY: I just don’t think you can think that way. In the words of my dear friend and my hero Ron Meyer, he once told me when he was an agent that he had a conflict of interest the day he signed his second client. Scott is a producer who is prolific and making pictures at the same time at other studios and Scott happens to have an embarrassment of riches this year and so we share that.

DEADLINE: Many people were surprised True Grit became a Christmas family film.
GREY: I went to New York to sit with Joel and Ethan in October, and they were just cutting and very very nervous. And we had a Christmas date to hit because we saw it as a big family movie. And obviously that’s a different mindset than they are used to. Joel was saying, ‘Well, I know we can get this done, I know we can get this done’, and Ethan was saying, ‘Brad, please don’t make us make this date, please don’t make us make this date.’ And then I said to both of them: ‘Look, guys, if you can make the date, it will be well worth your while because the audiences will respond over Christmas. If you can’t, we will do our best to market and distribute this after Christmas, but you will regret it. So do your best.’ And they called me a week later and said, ‘We’re going to make the date’, and they did.

DEADLINE: Now on The Fighter, Paramount was developing it and then pulled out. Relativity comes in and cuts the budget by half. Why didn’t Paramount just cut the budget?
GREY: I think that is somewhat inaccurate. We supported Mark Wahlberg and tried to develop it for years with him. But it wasn’t coming together, and certainly wasn’t coming together at the price point that it was finally made at. And so we talked to Mark specifically about lowering the budget. But for any number of reasons, and I certainly can’t even tell you at this point why, it just never got there. But we didn’t want to derail Mark’s passion project, so we said ‘Try to figure this out.’ Relativity then stepped up at the price point that they were comfortable with. Read More »

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Scott Rudin Closing LA Office: Is His Move To Sony Imminent?

By | Saturday February 12, 2011 @ 8:42am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Scott Rudin announced to staff Friday that he will shutter his LA office at the end of the month. While Rudin’s decision was based on his desire to centralize his operation from his New York base, speculation … Read More »

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OSCAR: Now Every Campaign Enters Crucial Final Stretch

Pete Hammond

The Oscar ballots went into the mail today and should be in every one of the 5,755 voting members’ hands by tomorrow, or at least by the weekend depending on how long it takes some of them to travel … Read More »

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OSCAR MOGULS: Harvey Weinstein Q&A

Mike Fleming

What started as a wide open contest all those months ago remains a still impossible to predict one with just four weeks to go as The King’s Speech has erased The Social Network’s once-thought impenetrable lead. And if a photo finish is needed between these two front runners, could a third movie, a true spoiler, sneak in? The Deadline Team of Nikki Finke, Pete Hammond, and Mike Fleming have spent recent days interviewing the studio moguls to gauge their perspective on this very close Oscar race.

With recent Producers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild wins and a whopping 12 Academy Award nominations (a number that only 11 other films in the Academy’s 83-year history have ever exceeded), The Weinstein Co’s The King’s Speech is gaining momentum after The Social Network became the front runner by dominating critics awards and winning the Golden Globe. And with it, Harvey Weinstein climbs back into a place where he thrives, smack in the middle of a Best Picture Oscar race, his 20th to date. He won with The English Patient (1996) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Chicago (2002), but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since he left Miramax and focused most of his attention on the ups and downs of his successor indie start-up. On a picturesque snowy day at the Stein Erikson in Deer Valley, Weinstein took time away from Sundance Film Festival dealmaking to talk to Deadline’s Mike Fleming about his two contenders, The King’s Speech and also The Fighter (Weinstein Co has foreign):

DEADLINE’s Mike Fleming: Explain why The King’s Speech is a Best Picture candidate?
HARVEY WEINSTEIN: The King’s Speech is a classic movie. To me, Oscar movies are the best achievement in motion picture. You look back years from now and say, ‘How great was that movie? When John Ford, an American director, put a mining town in Wales and won an Oscar for How Green Was My Valley, that was an achievement. Or A Man For All Seasons which is a classic motion picture that isn’t about today, or tomorrow. The King’s Speech will fall into that category. It’s about friendship, inspiration, and courage. I’m so sick of hearing the question of what’s relevant in this campaign. Just focus on what’s good. If you like True Grit, vote for that because it’s the best achievement in motion picture. If it’s Black Swan or The Social Network, do that. But putting tags on these movies, or finding the zeitgeist, is an insult to Academy members. And I’m hearing the backlash and them say, ‘I’m sick of being told what is relevant or what will get ratings for the network special.’ It’s ‘What’s great?’ Oscars are like Major League Baseball: as meaningful as Ty Cobb’s or Babe Ruth’s statistics when we look back. The Oscar is the greatest yardstick for motion pictures. To cheapen it with slogans, I find that horrendous.

DEADLINE: What do you mean, ‘slogans’?
WEINSTEIN: They say, ‘It’s not relevant. True Grit‘s not relevant. The King’s Speech is irrelevant.’ It’s crazy. It reminds me of when people used to say, ‘Let’s make movies in the 1960s because Easy Rider worked’. They made 27 movies like Strawberry Statement about the ’60s, and none of them worked. There’s always this thing, ‘What’s relevant?’ ‘What’s now?’

DEADLINE: By relevant, are you referring to the Facebook hipness of The Social Network versus a movie set on the eve of WWII?
WEINSTEIN: No. But even what you just said, I watch Casablanca and never think of it as a WWII movie. Its love story is as timeless as the song As Time Goes By. When Casablanca won Best Picture in 1940, maybe there was the same thing like The King’s Speech – some hip out-of-the-headlines movie that year that talked about something cool and new. True Grit is a classic movie, a Western for god’s sake. But it’s as contemporary as anything out there because of the way the Coen Brothers made it. It’s all about how Tom Hooper sees that period, and how the Coen Brothers see that period.

DEADLINE: The Social Network was a juggernaut with critics awards and the Golden Globes. How hard is that early momentum to overcome?
WEINSTEIN: We just have to give Academy members permission to vote their heart, as opposed to what somebody else is voting. Just vote for what you believe. That could be Black Swan, or True Grit, or The Fighter. They’re all excellent movies. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s about what happened before. What happened before is irrelevant. It’s what’s happening at this moment, now, and how you feel. The best thing for educated Academy members is for them to put their movies in the player and watch them again. Vote after the second viewing. The King’s Speech cost $14 million. How can we compete against movies that cost three times what we spent? And, yet, making that movie for $14 million is astonishing, more a Houdini act of conjuring than producing. To me, it’s about the words. Just like when I grew up and it was Robert Bolt’s screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia: ‘Why do you like the desert, Lawrence?’ ‘Because it’s clean.’ These are lines I will never forget in my whole lifetime. The King’s Speech is like that, and I think it will take its place alongside The Man For All Seasons, and some of the great movies that entertained and informed me. John Travolta said it best — I don’t know if he’s allowing me to say this — but he said the reason I’m voting for The King’s Speech is because it inspired me and we need inspiration. I feel the same way right now. We need inspiration.

DEADLINE: You are in a favorable position in one respect: you have a picture building gross at a time when the Oscar race is really building steam. Was this your strategy to wait until the nominations came out?
WEINSTEIN: 100%. I’ve been keeping my powder dry. The first time the movie went even semi-wide was last week when it was on 1,400 screens. This week, it’s on 1,600 screens. And by the weekend, we will gross $57 million. We’ll be higher than The Queen, and we haven’t even gone really wide yet. We will overtake The Social Network. The movie will outgross The Social Network. We’ll go wide, and then very wide, because we believe in the movie.

DEADLINE: When very wide?
WEINSTEIN: Academy week. We’ll be on 2,500 screens Friday, off the nomination. And we’re going to do something special on Valentine’s Day for this movie that we’re still working out.

DEADLINE: You’ve been waging Oscar campaigns for a long time. What’s the biggest challenge now in positioning your film with voters?
WEINSTEIN: Frankly, we don’t have the same amount of money as some of the other studios are spending. When I was at Miramax, we could go toe-to-toe moneywise. Here, we’ll be outspent 4-to-1 by a lot of movies. By The Social Network, certainly. I think The Fighter is spending. When I was at Miramax, we could get in the ring. Now, I’m going to have to get a sling-shot to knock out some of these Goliaths.

DEADLINE: How do you compensate?
WEINSTEIN: Every morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Think of a good idea today.’ They are outspending us by a huge huge amount. I can only hope it’ll be like those big elections, where guys spent $130 million on a campaign and lost to the guy who spent much less.

DEADLINE: You are positioning yourself as the underdog.
WEINSTEIN: Moneywise? I think anyone who can count can see it. I once asked Warren Beatty to judge between Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan, because everyone said we were outspending them. He did something phenomenal, counted the ads. And, not by much, but Private Ryan did outspend us. Here, it’s not even close. Anybody can see the amount of ads, leaflets, and books that come to your house.

DEADLINE: You and Scott Rudin are the faces of this Oscar race. How is it you two always end up adversaries?
WEINSTEIN: I’m revealing this to Deadline: Scott and I have worked this whole thing out. I’ve gone to dinner with him three times this week, and I’ve got to tell you, he makes the greatest Baked Tagliolini I’ve ever had, better than Cipriani. We sit around the campfire, me and Scott, and go, ‘How can those writers be such suckers and believe this about us?’ Because we’ve worked it out. I said, ‘Scott, you win the critics’ awards. I’ll win the big one.’ Do you realize the publicity value Scott brought The Reader when he withdrew? I could never have afforded that P&A. We secretly work these things out. And I’m helping him on The Social Network. I’m the classic case of that guy who can’t even figure out the Blackberry standing as a symbol for all those ignorant people.

DEADLINE: There’s a famous story that when you clashed on The Hours over whether to hide Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose in the ads, Scott sent you cartons of cigarettes after you’d quit smoking.
WEINSTEIN: The nose thing on The Hours was definitely a source of contention with Scott. But listen, the movie worked. It won. Scott left me out of the Golden Globe acceptance speech that year, but I’m sure that was unintentional. At least, I’d like to think so. I’m hoping. He told me it was. Maybe he got nervous. I guess the implication of the cigarettes was that he wanted me to smoke again after three years or not smoking. But I take it in the spirit in which it was intended. Scott has a great sense of humor. I think he was kidding. He’s a tremendous producer, and I have a lot of respect for him. And a fierce competitor. But we’ve worked it out, like I said. I’m not doing a movie next year, he is, and I will take the following year. We’re going to alternate because this is just too much.

DEADLINE: Scott recently told me that one reason he withdrew from The Reader was that the movie didn’t clarify the point that Kate Winslet’s character committed suicide because she learned to read, and when she absorbed books on the Holocaust, she understood the enormity of the genocide and her part in it, so the guilt was too much. It was clear in Bernhard Schlink’s novel but Scott felt it wasn’t in the movie and, as a Jewish filmmaker, he couldn’t bear that.
WEINSTEIN: He’s the only one who thought that. Everyone else pretty much got it. The movie grossed $120 million, it was nominated for five Oscars, Kate won Best Actress and was celebrated all over the world, including Germany. If Scott missed that point…

DEADLINE: You think that point was clear?
WEINSTEIN: I definitely did, and ironically, that was never one of the points Scott brought up when he was leaving the movie. The first time I read that point was in your piece because Scott had always told me it was about the release date. He said he needed more time on the movie, but it was really that he had a lot of movies on his plate that year, The Reader and Revolutionary Road and Doubt. My deal with Scott was always that we could release the movie at that time, but there were delays on the film. In my mind, nobody was wrong and nobody was right. But it turned out to be a good decision to release The Reader on time, actually, when The Reader does $120 million, and cost $25 million, was a hit on video, sold to TV for a good price. Even though Anthony Minghella had passed away, to me that was an Anthony project. I felt custodial of it because my relationship with Anthony was so strong. I think in a way this movie ignited me, just lit me up. My reemergence in this industry with the kind of enthusiasm I have right now, I owe that to Scott Rudin. Because, when he couldn’t do it anymore, I had to step up to the plate.

DEADLINE: Are we going to see the whispering campaigns and the planted Oscar race badmouthing stories in the final weeks here?
WEINSTEIN: I don’t think so. I think the Academy is so sophisticated that when those kinds of whispers happen, everybody yawns, and moves on. It doesn’t mean anything. When we did The English Patient, they said the guy has Nazi sympathies. We weren’t making a documentary. We had a story that came from a novel. Just have the people see the film. Then they see the movie and think, ‘What in God’s name?’ And it’s clear to them that’s a publicist scraping the bottom of the barrel. And then it just goes away.

DEADLINE: When these things happened in the past, a lot of fingers pointed your way. Is that fair?
WEINSTEIN: No. It’s complete nonsense. And I strongly resent it. I’ve never done it. You’ve known me a million years, have I ever gotten on the phone with you and said, ‘Mike, this movie’s anti-Semitic,’ ‘Mike, this movie’s anti-abortion.’? I’ve never said it. You can produce journalist after journalist, and I keep saying, ‘Who’s the one I called and said it to? Who’s the one my staff called and said it to?’ There have been mistakes, yes, but never with that pointed antagonism. [In the past, when Nikki Finke has reported Oscar badmouthing about rival films coming from his old Miramax, Harvey blamed it on his outside Oscar consultants.]

DEADLINE: How did you come to be involved with The King’s Speech?
WEINSTEIN: Right after I read the script that was classical, emotional, inspirational. It made me cry and I had the same feeling when I read The English Patient, and Shakespeare In Love, and The Aviator. I put up half the money, supervised production. Everybody else was minority partners, a group of them. We put up the biggest stake and all day-to-day decisions on the production side were ours and Tom Hooper’s. We had back and forth input into casting, music, special effects, everything. Our input and advice was asked for.

DEADLINE: How much was the casting of Colin Firth because you’ve worked with him before?
WEINSTEIN: We go back further than that, and that history is a very important piece of the puzzle. In 1993, I cast Colin as a lawyer in Hour of the Pig. He lost the case, but he won my heart. We did The English Patient together, and I fought to get him in the movie. We did Shakespeare in Love, and there I had to go balls out. He had another movie, but I really wanted him to play Lord Wessex because that character couldn’t be standard arch-villain. I really wanted Joe Fiennes to have a mountain to climb, and that mountain was Colin Firth. It made it gray, instead of black and white, and he gave it integrity. Then we did two Bridget Jones movies together, A Single Man, The Importance of Being Earnest. We’ve done 10 movies together in 17 years. He’s part of my family and my life. Read More »

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‘The Rite’ #1, ‘The Mechanic’ #4; Best Picture Nominees Begin Oscar Bumps

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: The big news this weekend wasn’t just seeing whether domestic grosses were depressed on the post-blizzard East Coast (they weren’t), but also which movies received Oscar bumps given that the Academy Award nominations were announced this past Tuesday (all … Read More »

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OSCAR: Hammond Analyzes Nominations: Where Does The Race Head Now?

Pete Hammond

Has The King’s Speech, fresh off that Producers Guild win and now leading with 12 Oscar nominations, just gone to the front of the class? My guess is this one could be a squeaker. Presumed Academy Awards co-frontrunner and critics favorite The Social Network Read More »

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OSCAR: Category Nominations Per Picture

83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations

NOMINATIONS BY PICTURE
(In alphabetical order; does not include

Read More »

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OSCAR: Today’s Nominations By Picture

83RD AWARDS
Feature Films With 2 Or More Nominations
(No Short Films or Documentary Short Subjects.)

The King’s Speech – The Weinstein Company 12
True Grit – Paramount 10
Inception - Warner Bros 8
The Social Network - Sony Pictures Releasing 8
The Fighter – Paramount 7
127 Hours

Read More »

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83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations: ‘King’s Speech’ Leads With 12; ‘True Grit’ 10, ‘Social Network’ And ‘Inception’ 8 (But Nolan Blanked Again For Best Director)

BEVERLY HILLS: Beverly Hills, CA (January 25, 2011) – Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced today (Tuesday, January 25) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and 2009 Oscar® winner Mo’Nique. Sherak and Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award® for her supporting performance in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” announced the nominees in 10 of the 24 Award categories at a 5:38 a.m. PT live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives.

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees. Nominations ballots were mailed to the 5,755 voting members in late December and were returned directly to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the international accounting firm, for tabulation. Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members this weekend at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. All active and life members of the Academy are eligible to select the winners in all categories, although in five of them – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only if they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Here are today’s nominations:

BEST PICTURE
127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)
An Hours Production Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
INCEPTION (Warner Bros)
A Warner Bros. UK Services Production Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
A Relativity Media Production David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co)
A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
A Columbia Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Production Darla K. Anderson, Producer
TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
A Paramount Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
A Winter’s Bone Production Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

BEST ACTOR
JEFF BRIDGES – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JAVIER BARDEM – BIUTIFUL (Roadside Attractions)
JESSE EISENBERG – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
JAMES FRANCO – 127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)

BEST ACTRESS
ANNETTE BENING – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
NICOLE KIDMAN – RABBIT HOLE (Lionsgate)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – BLUE VALENTINE (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
CHRISTIAN BALE – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
JOHN HAWKES – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
JEREMY RENNER – THE TOWN (Warner Bros)
MARK RUFFALO – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
GEOFFREY RUSH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
AMY ADAMS – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
MELISSA LEO – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HAILEE STEINFELD – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JACKI WEAVER – ANIMAL KINGDOM (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (DreamWorks Animation)
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
THE ILLUSIONIST (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST DIRECTOR
DARREN ARONOFSKY – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
DAVID FINCHER – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
TOM HOOPER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co.)
JOEL AND ETHAN COEN – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
DAVID O. RUSSELL – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
ANOTHER YEAR, Mike Leigh (Sony Pictures Classics)
THE FIGHTER, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Paramount)
INCEPTION, Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros)
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (Focus Features)
THE KING’S SPEECH, David Seidler (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 HOURS, Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (Fox Searchlight)
TOY STORY 3, Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich (Walt Disney)
THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Aaron Sorkin (Sony Pictures)
WINTER’S BONE, Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (Roadside Attractions)
TRUE GRIT, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Paramount)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Algeria, Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Cohen Media Group) – A Tassili Films Production
Canada, Incendies (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Micro-Scope Production
Denmark, In a Better World (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Zentropa Production
Greece, Dogtooth (Kino International) – A Boo Production
Mexico, Biutiful (Roadside Attractions) - A Menage Atroz, Mod Producciones and Ikiru Films Production

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) – Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) – Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) – Roger Deakins

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit Through The Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) A Paranoid Pictures Production Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
Gasland – A Gasland Production Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Representational Pictures Production Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) – An Outpost Films Production Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Waste Land (Arthouse Films) – An Almega Projects Production Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

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‘No Strings Attached’ Reverses Recent Row Of Rom-Com Flop Openers: Possible $20.3M

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: Rentrak is having system issues so box office will be a bit late today. But Paramount was so worried about its No Strings Attached being a stinker that the studio didn’t even bother to give me a pre-release briefing. I don’t necessarily blame them: any movie starring Ashton Kutcher is probably a bomb since his last one — PG-13 Killers with Katherine Heigl — opened to only $15.8M for Lionsgate. And rom-coms, especially sexy R-rated ones (Ed Zwick’s Love And Other Drugs which opened to only $9.7M for Fox with Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal) have been stillborn at the North American box office with this caliber of star. But No Strings Attached surprised at the box office, not only coming in No. 1 but with a decent $20.3M. Exit polls showed 70% of the audience was female, meaning it should be the least affected by football on Sunday. As for CinemaScore,  40% of those aged under 25 gave the film an “A-” while 60% over 25 scored it a “B”. 

This $25 million-cost movie started out as a Black List script titled Fuckbuddies and written by Elizabeth Merriwether. Natalie Portman came on board as a producer and star for Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock’s The Montecito Picture Company, which co-financed in partnership with Coldspring and Paramount’s usual partner Spyglass Entertainment.

Natalie is hot after her Oscar-worthy transformative performance in Black Swan and now finds herself with 2 movies in this weekend’s Top 6. And perhaps risking overexposure because of her new pics opening in January, February, April, and May. Anyway, the pic took advantage of being the only wide opening this weekend and may hang on for $20M. (Remember, it took Ron Howard’s Dilemma starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James 4 days to even make that over the MLK long holiday.) The film had been tracking strong with 20-year-old females whom Paramount pursued aggresively not with traditional newspaper ads but instead with a big Facebook push of a sexy Red Band trailer. Meanwhile, Sony’s The Green Hornet 3D and Universal’s aforementioned Dilemma look to drop more than -35% each this weekend. Here’s the Top 10:

1. No Strings Attached (Paramount) NEW [3,018 Theaters]
Friday $7.3M, Saturday $8.2M, Weekend $20.3M

2. The Green Hornet 3D (Sony) Week 2 [3,584 Theaters]
Friday $5.1M, Saturday $8.7M, Weekend $18.1M (-31%), Cume $63.4M

3. The Dilemma (Universal) Week 2 [2,943 Theaters]
Friday $3M, Saturday $4.5M, Weekend $9.9M (-33%), Cume $33.5M

4. The King’s Speech (Weinstein Co) Week 9 [1,680 Theaters]
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.9M, Weekend $9.1M, Cume $58.6M
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AMPAS Narrows Makeup Contenders

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup category for the 83rd Academy Awards.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Barney’s Version”
“The Fighter”
“Jonah Hex”
“True Grit”
“The Way Back”
“The Wolfman”

On Saturday, January 22, all

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‘True Grit’ Beats ‘Little Fockers’ Yet Again; Box Office For Relativity Film Doesn’t Suck

SUNDAY AM: Knowing it was going to be a boring box office, I took off Saturday. First, I have zero interest in country music. Sony/Screen Gems’ Country Strong, which expanded into 1,424 theaters and made $7.3M in wider release, hitting the “high end” of the studio’s expectations, with a “B” CinemaScore. The only other tidbit of interest is that a Relativity genre movie finally had an opening that didn’t suck in even if audiences gave it only a “C+” CinemaScore and its budget was a too-big $40 million. This nonsense about medieval knights and witches, again something in which I have zero interest, did around $10.7 million for the weekend. Because all the bigwigs were at the Palm Springs Film Festival for The Fighter, the Relativity spin machine was keeping its other movie’s news under wraps – probably more used to handling losers at the box office.

Meanwhile Oscar-touted movies keep racking up bigger cumes. So how does Sony Pictures continue to remind awards voters about The Social Network when it was released way back in September? If you’re Jeff Blake, you decide to re-release the Facebook origins story in about 600 nationwide theaters this weekend to take advantage of all the critical acclaim and awards hype. And then launch the DVD on January 11th with more than 8 hours of bonus extras. But you also fete the fact that The Social Network will pass $200 million at the worldwide box office within the week. The Social Network has grossed more than $94 million in the U.S. after adding another $650K to its cume.

Here are the Top 10 grosses:

1. True Grit (Paramount) Week 3 [3,124 Theaters]
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15M, Cume $110.4M

2. Little Fockers (Universal) Week 3 [3,675 Theaters]
Friday $4.2M, Saturday $6.3, Weekend $13.7M, Cume $127.9M

3. Season Of The Witch (Relativity) NEW [2,816 Theaters]
Friday $3.7M, Saturday $4.3M, Weekend $10.7M

This supernatural pic made with Atlas Entertainment had a too-big production budget of $40M although Relativity claims pre-sales and tax credits are estimated to cover “a minimum of 75% of that”. This one should earn out because box office combined with the foreign output deals and Relativity’s Netflix arrangement make this the first decent opening for the company in a long time. Somehow, Nicolas Cage (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, National Treasure, Ghost Rider) and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Hellboy II) got roped into this. As I said, audiences gave it only a “C+” CinemaScore, and exit polls showed its moviegoers were 52%/48% male vs female, 39%/61% under vs over age 25, and 31%/69% Caucasian vs non-Caucasian (including 36% Hispanic, 14% Asian, 10% African-American, and 9% Other).

4. Tron: Legacy 3D (Disney) Week 4 [3,013 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Weekend $9.8M, Cume $147.9M

The big news here is that the Disney action pic’s international is up to $143.2M (including $17.6M this weekend), as Tron: Legacy 3D opened strong in Italy this past week and is now in release in 43 territories representing 75% of the international market. It will soon expand to China, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and France. New global cume is $291.1M which helps with that $170M budget and $120 worldwide marketing cost. 

5. Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [1,584 Theaters]
Friday $2.3M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $8.3M, Cume $61.4M

6. Country Strong (Screen Gems/Sony) Week [1,424 Theaters]
Friday $2.5M, Saturday $3M, Weekend $7.3M, Cume $7.4M

Sony today said this “hit the high end of our expectations” as the Gwyneth Paltrow pic featuring lotsa country music stars expanded from its 2-theater platforming in Nashville and Los Angeles. Opening weekend exits had a core audience of women who made up 73% of ticket sales and 49% of those were under 30. The film earned a “B+” CinemaScore among women and a “B” overall.

7. The Fighter (Relativity/Paramount) Week 5 [2,528 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3M, Weekend $7M, Cume $57.8M

8. The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co) Week 7 [758 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.8M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $33.2M

9. Yogi Bear 3D (Warner Bros) Week 4 [3,288 Theaters]
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $3.3M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $75.6M

10. Tangled (Disney) Week 7 [2,383 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $2.5M, Cume $5.2M, Cume $175.9M

This Disney juggernaut added another $26.3M from overseas and opened at #1 in all 10 of this weekend’s debut territories, including Australia, Brazil, Greece, New Zealand, Argentina, and Columbia. The film is currently in release in 43 territories representing approximately 55% of the international market.  Read More »

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OSCAR: Scott Rudin Q&A On ‘The Social Network’ And ‘True Grit’

Mike Fleming

Many Hollywood producers go their whole careers hoping just once to field a Best Picture contender in the Oscar race. Scott Rudin, who won in 2008 for No Country For Old Men, this year has not one but two films with real shots to win the ultimate category. There’s little doubt that his The Social Network and True Grit will make the lineup for the 10 Best Picture nominees. Earlier today when the Producers Guild announced their nominees, Rudin became the first producer to receive two feature nominations in the same year, to go with the  David O. Selznick Achievement Award he’ll also receive at the ceremonies. Campaigning for one film is a challenge for any producer. For one as hands on as Rudin, it’s a lot to navigate.

DEADLINE: It’s rare to be the main producer of two films in the Best Picture hunt. It must be like a father having two kids in the same beauty pageant…
RUDIN: First of all, I don’t want to talk about myself as the main producer, I had great partners on both. I’m working with both these teams again and part of the reason this works is we all share. But it’s a great thing to have two movies people like. The Oscar stuff is fantastic, rewarding and in some ways exciting, but it’s not why you do it. You do it because you want to hold your own work to a standard of excellence. It’s a bonus when other people agree you’ve achieved it, but, in the end, I’m really trying to feel good about my work. That’s my goal, to feel like I’ve done the best I could. When I’ve done that, anything else that happens is a bonus.

DEADLINE: The Social Network has passed $200 million at the worldwide box office, and True Grit has been the Coen Brothers’ highest grossing movie ever. What does this tell you?
RUDIN: They’re just good. I also don’t buy the idea that audiences don’t enjoy dramas. I think that audiences historically have just not responded to weak films. I got really lucky this year with two strong films from fantastic filmmakers. That’s why both worked, along with the advantage of being well marketed by both studios. A couple of years ago, either movie might conceivably have gone out through a specialty division. Neither would have reached anywhere near the level of gross they did. Because you are looking at two movies that opened in 2,200 and 3,000 screens respectively. That’s got to be powered by a decent amount of advertising money. There’s no way to bet halfway. Part of the reason you’re looking at them turn into blockbusters is that the studios that made them loved them, believed in them, and chased them. The chase is a big part of this.

DEADLINE: Chase means spend. Is convincing studios to do that on non-sequels a challenge?
RUDIN: The challenge is convincing the people paying for it that there is an upside in going for it in a big way. In the case of Social Network, we had a handful of LA screenings and the movie was, frankly, rapturously received. It was by far the best critical response I’ve ever had on anything. We thought it would be great if the film opened the New York Film Festival. They were the first people to see it, the screening finished, and they called and said, ‘You have opening night. We love the movie’. That movie was ratified, immediately. With True Grit, while we never had a screening of the movie, the people who paid for it thought it was a big rousing romantic adventure. All of us felt it clearly had the potential to be the most successful Coen Brothers movie ever, which it is now. They deserve it. They did a brilliant job on it. Part of the job is carrying the studio along with the making of the film, so people understand you’re making a film that you believe has the capacity to work in a big way.

DEADLINE: These are two very different projects. How did you support each as producer?
RUDIN: They needed very different things. In the case of True Grit, it has always been, pulling together the financing, pulling together the cast, running the marketing, giving them what they need. They need no help of any kind making the movie. They don’t want it, and I wouldn’t presume there was anything I could tell them about the making of a movie. We worked great together because we know what we each do and that’s a very comfortable place. There are aspects of the movie they’re very happy to run on their own, and aspects they are happy for me to run alone. We got that very clear and right the very first time we worked together on Raising Arizona, so I go back with the guys basically to the very beginning of their careers.

DEADLINE: Will they take a script note from you?
RUDIN: Yes. I have done that, and I do. We did a lot of work on the script of No Country, and on True Grit. There are big differences between Charles Portis’ book and this movie Read More »

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