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The Hush-Hush News Report 01.11.12: The Biggest Gamble Of 2012
Posted by Jeremy Wilson on 01.11.2012







Before you start reading, have you bookmarked 411Mania.com yet? It's the easiest thing in the world to do, and it'll get you your daily dose of entertainment news that much quicker! Typing the URL out in the address bar is such a pain, don'tcha think? Hell, make it your home page and it'll be that much easier for you!

Also, do you Twitter? If not, you should! And while you're at it, add these to your list of people that you follow so that you can get the latest updates! Come on Peeps, I and 411 need Twitter followers to validate our existence. Or something like that.











Well business (and the news) has certainly picked up here after the holidays! Not to mention, the long-awaited 411 Movie & TV Awards have finally come out (they're posted below). Just remember, they are STAFF picks – that means everyone at 411 was allowed to vote on them, not just the "movie" people. I know people are giving grief over X-Men: First Class being Best Movie, but it is what it is. When you have a large group of people who watch different numbers of movies, the chances are that "Best Film" is going to tend to be a bigger, more seen film. It could have been worse...it could have been Thor or god forbid Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Kidding of course...but you get the picture. Also, last week I posted my 10 Worst Films of the Year and said my Top 10 Best would come this week. Due to time constraints and things that popped up to keep me busy, I couldn't get them finished on time and get it to the point where I was happy. So they're delayed a week and will be included in next week's Hush-Hush News Report (I promise).

Anyway, last week I posted the duet from Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was cute and lovely and a nice way to slide on into the new year. THIS week, however, I'm starting out with something a bit different. This is the awesomely dark and atmospheric opening credits for David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I touched on the sequence in my review but it really deserves to be seen by everyone. They're that good. The song is Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" covered by Karen O.



Perfect way to intro into that movie and probably the best credits sequence I've seen all year (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was great as well). Now that you're in the proper mood (death and despair), on with the news...



New Spoiler-ific Photos From Prometheus





According to a report from Cinemart. new photos from Ridley Scott's highly anticipated "Prometheus" have surfaced showing a mask resembling the 'Space Jockey' from the 1979 "Alien." An insider told the site that the alien/creature featured in "Prometheus" will be "executed with very little CGI planned" and serves as a more concrete link between the two films. Questions have been swirling around whether or not "Prometheus" is actually a prequel to "Alien," is simply set in the same universe as that film or if they're not related at all. Most believe the new film to be a prequel and so these pictures – while unofficial – will further feed fans of the franchise and will set off fresh internet speculation as to whether or not this is similar to the 'Space Jockey' found in "Alien." That creature is was the pilot of the derelict spaceship found on Acheron and is thought to possess incredible intelligence, telepathic powers and possibly be the species that invented the Xenomorphs.



I can't say I love spoilers, but over the past few months there has been a serious lack of Prometheus info, beyond the recently released trailer. Something tells me that's about to change as we head into the home stretch before the film's release. I think people are generally burned out on spoilers and pics for The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers and really just want those films to come already. I believe there is still room for Prometheus to generate even more buzz and interest. HOWEVER, take this report – as always – with a grain of salt. While it looks and sounds solid enough, it is also one of those "we heard from a guy who had drinks with a guy who worked on the film." The pictures are cool and the info sounds sensible (especially depending on how strong a prequel this is), but we're never going to be sure unless it is confirmed. That said...I can't wait for this movie.


Riddick Back On Track, Starbuck On Board




It appears that Katee Sackhoff is in final negotiations to star alongside Vin Diesel in the third feature film in his sci-fi franchise, "Riddick." Sackhoff – best known as Starbuck in the rebooted "Battlestar Galactica" – will play Dahl, a Nordic mercenary who is tracking Riddick. In addition to Sackhoff – who soon begins work on a new western for A&E titled "Longmire" – will be joined by Jordi Molla ("Blow," "Colombiana") who is said to be playing the villainous Santana, the leader of an eight-man crew intent on killing Riddick. Sackhoff and Molla will be joined by Karl Urban who is reportedly reprising his role as Lord Vaako from "The Chronicles of Riddick."

The official synopsis for "Riddick" reads:

"Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction."

"Riddick" is directed by David Twohy The film does not currently have a release date, but production has resumed after a two-month break over financial difficulties.


I'm not sure the world needs another movie with Riddick in it, but if they're going to do it, I'm all for including Starbuck. There is not bigger fan of Katee Sackhoff and the Starbuck character than me. I think it's one of the great characters of the past 20 years, but Sackhoff has run into some unfortunate luck trying to capitalize on it. She's had notable stints on big shows liks Nip/Tuck and 24 but it hasn't translated into the kind of stardom I thought she would have after BSG wrapped. I also like Jordi Molla (that striking face), who has had a nice career and is best known to most for playing Hollywood baddies in decent action flicks. I can't say I'm on the edge of my seat in anticipation for Riddick, but Katee Sackhoff will help get me into the theater to see it. Unless it ends up being Direct-to-DVD (which I don't think is the case, but you never know).


Akira Is Turning Into The Zombie Production That Just Won't Die




The Hollywood adaptation seemingly nobody wants to see come to fruition is still on life support, but its prognosis isn't great at the moment. The live-action "Akira" has been temporarily shut down by Warner Bros. for script rewrites and over budgetary and casting concerns. The film's producers and director (Jaume Collet-Serra) will spend the next few weeks ironing out the issues. The film's budget has already been halved from an original figure thought to be around $180 million, but it appears the studio wants further cuts (to around $60-70 million) to lessen the risk. It also appears the script continues to be an issue as the studio apparently wants another rewrite – this time from either Jonathon Nolan ("The Dark Knight," "The Dark Knight Rises") or Michael Green ("Green Lantern"). It is unclear if Nolan's involvement could save the troubled project or if he'd even be interested. Warner Bros. attempted much the same thing last year, bringing in screenwriter Steve Kloves (Harry Potter series) for an expensive rewrite.

However, it is apparent that Warner Bros. really wants this to go forward. One source told The Hollywood Reporter that "It's a very resilient movie. Warner Bros. just won't let it die." Meanwhile, Garrett Hedlund ("Tron: Legacy") is still signed on to play Kaneda at this point. Kristen Stewart, Helena Bonham Carter and Ken Watanabe were at last check all in various stages of negotiations for the film, while Michael Pitt and Dane DeHaan were finalists to play Tetsuo, Kaneda's brother.


So here's the thing. Hollywood – an industry that is all about the bottom line – wants to green-light a fairly expensive live-action adaptation of a Japanese manga that (while it has a large fanbase) doesn't have huge name cache here in the United States to begin with and whose most ardent fans want to see it die now and forever. You are going to cast Garrett Hedland, an actor who can't exactly be called a "star" that would open a huge movie, as its lead. You are going to "westernize" it, likely stripping what made the original so great in the first place. I get it, Warner Bros.; you own the rights and you desperately want to launch a new tentpole franchise that can replace Batman when Nolan is gone. Green Lantern didn't exactly work out for you and you just had to say goodbye to Harry Potter. We understand that you all are freaking out a bit. Seriously though, think this through. Watch what happens in a couple months with John Carter and then decide. Granted, Akira wouldn't be nearly the risk that Disney's John Carter is, but does anyone really see this incarnation of Akira working out? Speaking of John Carter...


Hollywood's Biggest Risk Of The Decade




The departure of MT Carney as Disney's President of Marketing has cast fresh doubts and new speculation on the fate of the year's biggest gamble – "John Carter." The film – based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume "Barsoom" series – has apparently gone wildly over-budget and faces an uphill climb to profitability, particularly with a March 9th release date. An underwhelming response to initial footage of the trailer only fed the perception that Disney let the production get out of hand. One film financier told TheWrap: "How does something like this get green lit? It's insane. The only people who could justify a budget like this are true superstar filmmakers like Peter Jackson, Steven Spieberg, James Cameron and George Lucas. Guys who have a proven history and who have created billions."

Another rival studio executive stated: "I've seen the trailer and they never explain what the hell is going on." [He later added] "Not releasing the film in the summer raises some eyebrows." A different producer added: "The trailer felt weak. It felt like ‘Cowboys and Aliens' with some guy running around the old west or I guess Mars."



Not all reaction and publicity has been negative however. Later footage from an extended trailer and TV spots has been greeted more positively and Andrew Stanton's ("Wall*e," "Finding Nemo") reputation is helping, particularly in light of fellow Pixar alum Brad Bird's well-received live-action debut, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol." Disney is trying to counter arguments against the risky production and keep skepticism from hurting it before it's even released. One producer who works with Disney says the studio is "bullish" on the project and initial test screenings showed audiences had a very favorable opinion for the most part. "I think it has a good shot of breaking even or turning a profit," J.C. Spink, a producer on "A History of Violence" and "The Hangover," told TheWrap. "At its core, it's a really cool story. I remember hearing rumors about ‘X-Men' and ‘Avatar,' and they turned out to be great movies. You can't make a judgment until a movie comes out."



In order to turn a profit, "John Carter" – with a reported budget of $250 million (that may not include marketing) – has to essentially be one of the highest grossing films ever, with Stanton himself declaring the film needs to rake in $700 million to justify a sequel. "John Carter" stars Taylor Kitsch ("Friday Night Lights") and opens on March 9th, 2012.


For my money, this is the most interesting story of the first half of 2011 (yes, even bigger than The Avengers, which we all know is going to be huge). Somehow Disney green-lit this project and let costs spiral out of control. That, or they genuinely believe John Carter can approach the necessary grosses to rank alongside the biggest films of the year. It is a HUGE gamble on Disney's part and the ouster of Carney as marketing chief (she's in charge of marketing Disney films around the globe, including "John Carter") casts further doubt that the studio can pull this off with only 8 weeks before the film's release. The questions surrounding the release date are important as well; there is a reason films like this are brought out during the summertime. Yes, even mega-films (particularly Marvel films) can open in May, but March (when kids are still in school) is rare for this big a picture. Only one March release – Alice in Wonderland – has grossed over $700 million (it went on to gross over a billion dollars thanks in part to Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, a story everyone knew and 3D). That means John Carter is going to have to gross more worldwide than: Iron Man, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl to name a few. I'm one who always wants Hollywood to take risks and put faith in well-made, creative movies...but $250 million is a serious number and one that Hollywood will be watching attentively come March.

What do you think? Can John Carter exceed expectations and gross $700 million to garner a sequel? Or are we looking at one of the biggest bombs Hollywood has ever produced?


David Cross May Have Crossed A Line



Actor and comedian David Cross tore into his newest film, "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked," along with a Jewish producer who forced him to endure a 7-day cruise and wear a Pelican suit (things that apparently a stand-in could have done). Cross said filming "Chipwrecked" was "the most miserable experience I've ever had in my professional life," adding that the producer forced him at "legal point" to spend the week on the cruise ship, filming scenes in a massive full-body pelican costume (pictured below). Cross went on to say [the producer] was "the personification of what people think about when they think negatively about Jews."

He urged people not to see the film, saying it was nothing more than a "big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines." The movie, released December 16th, has raked in over $240 million worldwide.




Wow, Cross just destroyed his own movie. I love honesty as much as anyone else, but that's the kind of thing that can get you blacklisted. Maybe it won't, but by the end there even Conan was bit uncomfortable. I like Cross and he's right – those movies are garbage, the cinematic equivalent of giving kids Ritalin. It's also not the first time he's crapped on the series, but still...if I were that producer, the studio or Carnival, I'm not thrilled. Maybe he's contractually obligated to the series and is trying to extricate himself from it by badmouthing it. It might work, but at what cost? If he did these films because he needs the money, why bash them?


Universal Planning Bruce Almighty Sequel; America Yawns




Universal is apparently planning a follow-up to the 2003 smash hit "Bruce Almighty" with Jim Carrey returning to the role. Screenwriters Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel ("Hot Tub Time Machine," "Yes Man") have been brought on to write the script. Carrey would reprise his role as a TV reporter who gets to play God for a week. There is no word on if Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman would be brought back for the sequel and what kind of timetable the studio is looking for in releasing the film. The original "Bruce Almighty" made over half a billion dollars worldwide at the box office, but a follow-up starring Steve Carrell – "Evan Almighty" – was something of a bomb, only making about $175 million worldwide.



Sure, why not. It's another sequel/prequel/threequel/reboot/remake nobody was asking for, but when has that ever stopped Hollywood before? The first film wasn't great or anything, but it was harmless and relatively light fun. Jim Carrey kind of needs a new hit – it's been awhile. Oh wait, Mr. Popper's Penguins was actually a hit wasn't it. Eww. I really don't need this or am planning on see it, although, any chance Morgan Freeman gets to be God is fine by me.


Trailer Face-Off:


This week's trailer face-off showcases the two major wide releases hitting theaters this week: Contraband and Joyful Noise

Are you planning on seeing any or all of these? Which looks better? Let me know in the comments.



OR




And as an extra bonus, here are the first 5 minutes of Haywire, the action film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas and Michael Angarano. And they're pretty kick-ass if you're into that sort of thing. I have secretly high hopes for the film, even though a January release date makes my heart sink. Here's hoping...







This Week In Awards


This week we have nominations from the Directors Guild of America (which has been one of the stronger Oscar indicators in past years), as well as awards from the National Film Critics Society.

Directors Guild of America Nominations (DGA):

WOODY ALLEN
Midnight in Paris
(Sony Pictures Classics)
Mr. Allen's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Matthieu Rubin, Helen Robin
First Assistant Director: Gil Kenny
Second Assistant Director: Delphine Bertrand

DAVID FINCHER
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
(Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
Mr. Fincher's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Daniel M. Stillman
First Assistant Director: Bob Wagner
Second Assistant Director: Allen Kupetsky
Production Manager (Sweden Unit): Karolina Heimburg
Second Assistant Directors (Sweden Unit): Hanna Nilsson, Pontus Klänge
2nd Second Assistant Director (Sweden Unit): Niklas Sjöström
2nd Second Assistant Director (U.S. Unit): Maileen Williams
Unit Production Manager (Zurich Unit): Christos Dervenis
Unit Production Manager (U.K. Unit): Lara Baldwin
Second Assistant Director (U.K. Unit): Paul Taylor

MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS
The Artist
(The Weinstein Company)
Mr. Hazanavicius' Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Antoine De Cazotte
Production Manager (FR): Ségoléne Fleury
First Assistant Director (FR): James Canal
First Assistant Director (US): David Cluck
Second Assistant Director (US): Dave Paige
Second Second Assistant Directors: Karla Strum, Ricky Robinson

ALEXANDER PAYNE
The Descendants
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Mr. Payne's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: George Parra
First Assistant Director: Richard L. Fox
Second Assistant Director: Scott August
Second Second Assistant Director: Amy Wilkins Bronson

MARTIN SCORSESE
Hugo
(Paramount Pictures)
Mr. Scorsese's Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Charles Newirth, Georgia Kacandes, Angus More Gordon
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Richard Graysmark
Second Assistant Directors: Tom Brewster, Fraser Fennell-Ball
Production Managers (Paris Unit): Michael Sharp, Gilles Castera
First Assistant Director (Paris Unit): Ali Cherkaoui


Writers Guild of America:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"50/50," Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment
"Bridesmaids," Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios
"Midnight in Paris," Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics
"Win Win," Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight
"Young Adult," Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"The Descendants," Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures
"The Help," Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures
"Hugo," Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures
"Moneyball," Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY
"Better This World," Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front," Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures
"Nostalgia for the Light," Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films
"Pina," Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects
"Position Among the Stars," Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films
"Senna," Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency


National Society of Film Critics:

BEST PICTURE
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

BEST ACTOR
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
3. Into the Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
3. Midnight in Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Mysteries of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. The Tree of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

EXPERIMENTAL
Ken Jacobs, for "Seeking the Monkey King."

FILM HERITAGE
1. BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film.
2. Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès's "A Trip to the Moon."
3. New York's Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.
4. Flicker Alley for their box set "Landmarks of Early Soviet Film."
5. Criterion Collecton for its 2-disc DVD package "The Complete Jean Vigo."


411 Movie & TV Awards: here

BEST MOVIE
Runner-up: Hugo
Winner: X-Men: First Class

BEST BLOCKBUSTER
Runner-up: X-Men: First Class
Winner: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2

BEST COMEDY MOVIE
Runner-up: The Muppets
Winner: Bridesmaids

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
Runner-up: Green Lantern
Winner: The Hangover Part 2

BEST MALE PERFORMANCE
Winner (Tie): George Clooney- The Descendants
Winner (Tie): Joseph Gordon-Levitt- 50/50

BEST FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Runner-UP: Melissa McCarthy- Bridesmaids
Winner: Kirsten Dunst- Melancholia

BEST TV SHOW DRAMA
Winner (Tie): Breaking Bad
Winner (Tie): The Walking Dead

BEST TV SHOW COMEDY
Runner-up: Modern Family
Winner: Community

BEST MALE TV PERFORMANCE
Runner-UP: Louis C.K.- Louie
Winner: Bryan Cranston- Breaking Bad

BEST FEMALE TV PERFORMANCE
Runner-up: Amy Poehler- Parks & Recreation
Winner: Katey Segal- Sons Of Anarchy

BEST DVD/Blu
Runner-up: Citizen Kane 70th Anniversary blu
Winner: The Star Wars Saga blu

2012's MOST WANTED
Runner-up: The Avengers
Winner: The Dark Knight Rises








From Guest#0615 (Guest):
"And people, please stop telling others to "clean out their ears" and "that's how the character is supposed to sound." STOP IT. Seriously."

Except for, that IS how it's supposed to sound. You think Nolan would release an unfinished piece that needs major ADR work as a prologue? No, he released what he intends to. I'm sure they'll mess with the mix more (it was rather bass heavy with a lot of ambient noise for the "location") but bottom line is, you basically heard what your'e gonna get.

I'm an Avid editor and I can this is all but Nolan approved, or at least how much I can say.


Yes, actually I do think he'd release something that wasn't 100% totally polished. Martin Scorsese – a known perfectionist – showed off Hugo unfinished at the New York Film Festival in October a little over a month before it was to be released nationwide. There are still 7 months before we see The Dark Knight Rises in its finished form. Now having said that, I do agree that this is Nolan-approved. At no point have I thought this isn't what/how Nolan wanted to show. My opinion has and continues to be that Warner Bros will do something (most likely beg) if they get enough flak about it and find it concerning to the point of losing money off of word-of-mouth and multiple viewings. I don't think that's likely, but studios tend to care about those sorts of things. Of course, the bigger question is whether this is an audio problem at all, or whether it's actually due to Hardy's accent. That could be a bigger problem. I still don't think this is going to be a huge issue come July, but I guess we'll see. Plenty of time.

From Matt (Guest):
Can you please change what you write about in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress predictions section? Thanks.


To be fair (to me), I did put a little asterisk there that said "Updated as of December 28th". The fact was that everything was fairly slow over the holidays and the odds weren't updated and didn't change much– so I didn't see the point in writing new stuff about the same numbers. However, the holidays are over and the run-up to The Oscars is ramping up, so I'll be updating it every week and I promise I'll write new stuff. Everybody happy now?

From TheR (Guest):
That "trailer" of Lion King Rises is cool, someone stayed up real late at nite to do this. Congrats.


Yeah, I liked it. The internet never ceases to amaze and I find myself marveling everyday over some new example of individuals' creativity.

From Earl (Guest):
Saw both Iron Lady and (finally!) Bridesmaids today. Haven't seen The Help yet, but I so want Streep to win the Oscar. The movies flawed but good (and features Giles from Buffy!), but Streep is nothing short of brilliant. She hasn't even won an Oscar in 30 years. Surely THIS time she can get her elusive third Oscar.

Bridesmaids was funny and kind of touching, but don't know why Melissa McCarthy is getting award buzz (even a few wins). Yeah, shes funny of course, but doesn't really jump out at you enough to say "Wow! Give that woman an award!" Kristen Wiig herself does the best work in the movie.

I love that guys like Max Von Sydow and Christopher Plummer are big shots for Oscar success. These two are goddamn living legends of cinema.

World War Z as a Bourne-ish movie trilogy? Um, how does that relate to the book at all? I actually think the movie will be really good considering the star and director, but it seems to be pretty far removed from the excellent book.

Sucker Punch was a baffling movie for sure! When half the movie is just a story going through a girls head, hows the audience supposed to have any concern about the characters welfare inside those fantasy sequences? Considering the movie was sold on those sequences, when you watch it, its all just absolute filler material.
I liked Watchmen quite a lot (and the opening credits sequence is seriously one of my favorite pieces of cinema in a long time), and thought Dawn Of The Dead was a terrific movie...and much better than most remakes. But with Sucker Punch, Snyder just got lost in his own obsession with CGI backgrounds and moments that'll look cool in the trailers. Theres nothing holding it all together as a movie.


The problem for Streep is that she's nominated for everything. She is always going to not only be up against other actresses in a given year, but against herself and the idea that "she's Meryl Streep – she's won before and she'll be nominated again." That sounds ridiculous and it is – but the Academy Awards are often about more than simply the performance. I haven't seen The Iron Lady yet so I can't comment on the performance, but the film isn't really helping her out. Strong performances from strong films often win and I'm not sure The Iron Lady is going to get her over the finish line. She's a co-favorite, no doubt – but Viola Davis is going to be nominated from a likely Best Picture nominee, she's black and she's immensely respected by her peers. Streep herself might want her to win since they're such good friends and she's already won before (just speculation).

Count me as one of those people who thinks Bridesmaids is a touch overrated. I liked it and think it's a good comedy, but I'm rather stunned at the rapturous reception and swell of support it's gotten (and sustained) in the last eight months. If you had asked me in May what Bridesmaids' Best Picture chances were, I would have laughed at you, thrown stuff at you and bet a million dollars I don't have that it had zero chance. And yet, here we are and somehow Bridesmaids is a fringe Best Picture player with a strong likelihood of Melissa McCarthy getting a Best Supporting nod. Go figure.

I totally agree with you on Sucker Punch. I think the fantasy sequences are one of the biggest problems with the film precisely because the audience knows there is no consequence or significance to the action. It's all fluff and filler (and [the action's] not even particularly compelling at that). If he had mixed the time-line up and perhaps started out in one of the fantasy layers of her subconscious, then maybe it would have added some confusion for the viewer, forcing them to pay attention and invest in the characters, action and story. He didn't though and he went too far in the fantasy resulting in people just not caring.


From BenPiper (Registered):
McKellen was nominated for Fellowship.


There's 411's own Ben Piper making me look bad! He's right of course, Sir Ian was nominated in 2002 for Fellowship of the Ring. To be fair though (to me again!) I admit I was wrong, but I was thinking of '04 and Return of the King's year. That of course was the year the Academy finally got to blow its wad and give the franchise everything it could...except for a major acting award. The year one would have thought the Lord of the Rings franchise might have garnered recognition of some in the cast, no one was even nominated. And yes, I'm still a bit sore about it.

From The Great Capt. Smooth (Guest):
I liked 9,8,5, and the second half of 3 from the "worst" list. How dare you insult me?!?!?(kidding)


It's okay, I understand. Those first three are all big budget summer blockbusters which were all eagerly anticipated by many. I think they're garbage, but really the only two that pissed me off and would make me personally insult or question someone are #1 and 2 (oh boy, I'm asking for it now). Plus, I would never think of insulting you, especially since you're smart enough to read and comment here every week!

From Snyder (Guest):
is hardly a terrible filmmaker. Watchmen was excellent and 300 was a solid adaptation that was very true to the comic. I can't imagine Christopher Nolan would've picked a terrible filmmaker to direct Man of Steel.


It's almost sacrilegious to even mention Snyder in the same breath as Nolan. Anyway, I hated 300 and I think Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen are simply okay. Sucker Punch – a film Snyder had complete creative control over and a budget north of $80 million was atrocious. I don't know the exact machinations behind-the-scenes of Man of Steel, but I do know that they are rushing it and that Zack Snyder wasn't the first film-maker approached to direct. I trust Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer – a lot – but even the best can falter. I don't subscribe to the idea that the best and brightest can simply shit gold each and every time. I'm not saying Man of Steel is going to be total garbage; I'm doing my best to keep an open mind. But I can't lie and say I'm a huge fan of Zack Snyder or that I'm not more than a bit worried. I don't really think Nolan would let it get too bad, so here's hoping. Just...no slow-mo Superman please. Pretty please.

From XXX (Guest):
Emily Browning was awesome in sleeping beauty.

Boobies. Bush. and Ass


I think you've mistaken The Hush-Hush for an AJ Grey 'Daily Hotness' piece.

From Guest#3139 (Guest):
That made me want to watch the Lion King.


Original movie to movie mash-up to uploaded YouTube parody trailer and back to original movie. It's like the 21st century Circle of Movie Life or something.

From APrince66 (Guest):
The death of Bob Anderson is a huge loss. I personally love me a good ol' clash of blades, and this guy could nail it every time.


It's a huge loss. It does, however, remind us all of the individuals behind-the-scenes who get little pub and whose accomplishments – sometimes one of the biggest factors in the legacy of a particular film – get lost over time. Anderson will certainly be missed and hopefully his talents and contributions to film won't be forgotten. I'm a big fan of swordplay as well and it reminded me how few instances of it there actually in films nowadays.

From what? (Guest):
The King of Queens is hilarious! Jerry Stiller by himself makes that show!


Jerry Stiller in Seinfeld > Jerry Stiller in The King of Queens

From G-Walla (Guest):
""And people, please stop telling others to "clean out their ears" and "that's how the character is supposed to sound." STOP IT. Seriously."

Except for, that IS how it's supposed to sound. You think Nolan would release an unfinished piece that needs major ADR work as a prologue? No, he released what he intends to. I'm sure they'll mess with the mix more (it was rather bass heavy with a lot of ambient noise for the "location") but bottom line is, you basically heard what your'e gonna get.

I'm an Avid editor and I can this is all but Nolan approved, or at least how much I can say."

Yeah, I'm sure the character's supposed to sound nigh-unintelligible. If so, I don't mind admitting that Nolan's genius is lost on me.

"is hardly a terrible filmmaker. Watchmen was excellent and 300 was a solid adaptation that was very true to the comic. I can't imagine Christopher Nolan would've picked a terrible filmmaker to direct Man of Steel."

So, he does incredible adaptions. What is the source material of Man of Steel going to be? He's proven before he works better when there's an actual series of issues he copies, which ones of Superman is it going to be?


G-Walla got my back. I do think Nolan is a genius, but I (and apparently a few others) just don't understand why this had to be controversy in the first place. You all know where I stand on Snyder and my concerns for Man on Steel

From Guest#0410 (Guest):
I don't get all the Sucker Punch hate. Sure the film wasn't what it could have been but at it's worst it's mediocre and at it's best it's dumb fun/beautiful. It doesn't deserve to be on the worst of the year lists, especially not right at the bottom with all those horrid films.


I find it to BE one of those horrid films. Just because it's prettier and has a bigger budget doesn't make it any less of a piece of crap. At its worst, I think it's disgusting, infuriating garbage. I half expected Snyder to just throw in some hentai towards the end since he threw just about everything else at the screen (*by the way, the fact that it was PG-13 is a pathetic reminder of how screwed up the MPAA rating system continues to be*). That's only my opinion and you are certainly entitled to yours. The Hush-Hush will always welcome differing debate/discussion on film. That's what makes it interesting.

From Midz (Guest):
From reading more nerdy sites, World War Z is a fine piece of fiction so it has that as a solid base of what to do for the big screen correctly, it also helps that it has my favorite actor Pitt in it.

SuckerPunch, I went to see this with my wife because she said, ok it looks semi entertaining. As you can guess she wasn't that entertained with see what she saw. She even disliked the premise I think. I was fine with it actually as I didn't go in expecting to much, just what I saw Giant Samuri's and explosions. Even if you hate the film the use of Army of Me was very well done.

Saw the Lion King Rises trailer earlier in the week, I love it when other nerds with actual talent get bored.


"...other nerds with talent get bored." Isn't that the slogan of the internet? I have to admit, World War Z is growing on me, slowly but surely. I don't think it's going to be one of the better films of the year, but Brad Pitt usually chooses really interesting stuff (minus the Oceans movies) and films you wouldn't exactly think of him starring in at first blush. I haven't read the novel (SO IF ANYONE HAS, PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS) but if it turns out how it sounds – 28 Days/Weeks Later meets Contagion – then it might be pretty cool. Can't wait to see a trailer on that one to get a better sense.





The Hush-Hush Racetrack Oscar Odds



How is it possible for Megan Fox to suck in the Oscars trailer? Seriously...


The following are the racetrack odds for this years Academy Awards courtesy of Gold Derby. The odds are the result of voting and analysis by "Experts". I've taken out (for this week at least) votes from the site's editors and users. In addition to the odds is the % chance to win, as are the nominees who I believe at this point will be nominated. *Updated as of January 10*

BEST PICTURE

The Artist – 6/5; 45% (last week: same)
The Descendants – 11/2; 16% (last week: same)
Hugo – 12/1; 8% (last week: 14/1; 7%)
The Help – 12/1; 8% (last week: same)
War Horse – 16/1; 6% (last week: 12/1; 8%)
Midnight in Paris – 20/1; 5% (last week: 25/1; 4%)
Moneyball – 25/1; 4% (last week: same)
The Tree of Life – 50/1; 2% (last week: same)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 50/1; 2% (last week: last week)
Bridesmaids – 50/1; 2% (last week: 100/1; 1%)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – 100/1; 1% (last week: 33/1: 3%)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – 100/1: 1% (last week: same)

Even I am a bit stunned at the fall from grace War Horse has experienced the past few weeks. Long considered one of the stronger Oscar favorites for much of the year, Steven Spielberg's WWI epic has gone from frontrunner to fringe over the course of this awards season. While critics' awards are nice and significant, it is the guilds who are a better indicator for Oscar glory. War Horse was never considered a strong contender for the critics, but was expected to gain momentum through the guilds. That hasn't happened; in fact, the film has lost so much steam that it has now become a fringe player in the race. The only guild recognition it has gotten is a nomination from the Producers Guild of America, who nominated 10 pictures this year. Since good money says there won't be 10 Best Picture nominees come Oscar time, that means War Horse is no longer a major contender. At this point, it appears the film is hanging on to a nomination, but it's closer than I think anyone thought it would be. At this moment it is a two-horse race with two more coming up strong from behind. The Descendants and The Artists remain the favorites with Hugo (yay!) and The Help certain locks at this point. Woody Allen's DGA nod also means the chances for Midnight in Paris getting a nomination have increased as well. That's five films who seemingly have nominations locked up; this leaves 2 or 3 more open slots if you agree that the number of nominations will be 7 or 8 this year. Right now, I'd say Moneyball and War Horse are in, but films like The Ides of March and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo close behind.

JEREMY'S NOMINEES:The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, The Help, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, War Horse


BEST DIRECTOR

Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) – 9/10; 53% (last week: 11/10; 48%)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants) – 4/1; 21% (last week: 3/1; 25%)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo) – 9/1; 10% (last week: 12/1; 8%)
Steven Spielberg (War Horse) – 14/1; 7% (last week: 14/1; 7%)
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris) – 33/1; 3% (last week: 100/1; 1%)
David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) – 33/1; 3% (last week: same)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) – 50/1; 2% (last week: 25/1; 4%)
Stephen Daldry (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) – 100/1; 1% (last week: 50/1; 2%)

David Fincher's shocking DGA nomination (over the likes of Steven Spielberg and Terrence Malick) has thrown not only his name, but his film as well, squarely into the Oscar race. Michel Hazanavicius remains the current favorite, but the inevitable backlash against the favorite has begun and The Artist does feel like its slipping. If another film overtakes his movie, Hazanavicius will struggle to maintain his favorite status. It doesn't help that he's going up against some real Hollywood heavyweights: Scorsese, Allen, Payne and either Fincher or Spielberg. Hazanavicius is the "no-name" of that group and the Academy may wrestle with whether they want him and the black-and-white, silent film, The Artist, to headline their show and awards. If the film and Hazanavicius can pull off the double, it will undoubtedly go down as the Weinstein Brothers' greatest Oscar campaign/achievement (in a long line of them).

JEREMY'S NOMINEES: Michel Hazanavicius, Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg


BEST ACTOR

George Clooney (The Descendants) – 10/11; 52% (last week: 21/20; 49%)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist) – 4/1; 21% (last week: same)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball) – 9/2; 19% (last week: 7/2; 22%)
Michael Fassbender (Shame) – 25/1; 4% (last week: same)
Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar) – 50/1; 2% (last week: 33/1; 3%)
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) – 100/1; 1% (last week: same)

George Clooney is the heavy favorite, but Pitt and even Dujardin are still in the race. Pitt is an intriguing choice in particular as Moneyball's chance of scoring a Best Pic nod have increased with the struggles of War Horse. Pitt is also very well liked and hasn't won before (while Clooney has). Fassbender's rather stunning failure to garner a SAG nomination casts fresh doubts on whether the Academy will honor him, or if they'll go in a different – safer – direction.

JEREMY'S NOMINEES: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jean Dujardin, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender


BEST ACTRESS

Viola Davis (The Help) – 3/2; 40% (last week: 13/8; 38%)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) – 9/5; 36% (last week: 15/8; 35%)
Michele Williams (My Weekend with Marilyn) – 11/2; 16% (last week: 9/2; 18%)
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs) – 25/1; 4% (last week: same)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) – 33/1; 3% (last week: same)
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) – 100/1: 1% (last week: same)

Viola Davis and Meryl Streep remain the co-favorites with Michele Williams stalking as the dark-horse behind them. The only question left in filling out the field is whether the Oscars will fall in line with SAG, or if the Academy surprises everyone and nominates the deserving Rooney Mara in place of Swinton or Close. At this moment, I don't see it.

JEREMY'S NOMINEES: Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Michele Williams, Glenn Close, Tilda Swinton


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Christopher Plummer (Beginners) – 4/9; 68% (last week: 8/15; 66%)
Albert Brooks (Drive) – 6/1; 14% (last week: 11/2; 15%)
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) – 12/1; 8% (last week: 14/1; 7%)
Jonah Hill (Moneyball) – 25/1; 4% (last week: 33/1; 3%)
Nick Nolte (Warrior) – 33/1; 3% (last week: same)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) – 50/1; 2% (last week: 25/1; 4%)
Alan Rickman (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) – 100/1; 1% (last week: same)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult) – 100/1; 1% (last week: same)
Ben Kingsley (Hugo) – 100/1; 1% (last week: same)

I know I'm repeating myself, but this remains Christopher Plummer's award to lose. This was all but confirmed when Albert Books shockingly failed to receive a SAG nomination. Even though Plummer has been the odds-on favorite for months, Brooks has received a ton of great press and recognition from critics' groups. I still think he gets an Oscar nomination, but the lack of SAG support hurts. It appears a groundswell of support has also emerged for Nolte and Hill, both of whom received SAG nominations.

JEREMY'S NOMINEES: Christopher Plummer, Keneth Branagh, Albert Brooks, Nick Nolte, Jonah Hill


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Octavia Spencer (The Help) – 9/10; 53% (last week: 1/1; 50%)
Berenice Bejo (The Artist) – 6/1; 14% (last week: 11/2; 15%)
Jessica Chastain (The Help) – 15/2; 12% (last week: 9/1; 10%)
Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) – 12/1; 8% (last week: 8/1; 11%)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) – 14/1; 7% (last week: 16/1; 6%)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) – 50/1; 2% (last week: same)
Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) – 50/1; 2%
Vanessa Redgrave (Coriolanus) – 100/1; 1% (last week: 33/1; 3%)
Judy Greer (The Descendants) – 100/1; 1% (last week: same)

The power of The Help compels you! This race is starting to shake out and the only question that remains is whether or not the Oscars are going to match up with SAG nominations down the line. Spencer is the favorite and really the only mortal lock at this point, but Bejo is likely helped by the strength of The Artist. At this point, I think momentum is behind Melissa McCarthy to score a nomination and Janet McTeer's SAG nomination and the strength she's shown during this awards season is almost bigger than her more prominent co-star (Glenn Close). That leaves one spot and this is where things get interesting. Jessica Chastain is the woman of the moment and has had a hugely impressive year, but can The Help score a second nomination in this category and third acting nomination overall? Or can the strength of The Descendants and good notices for Shailene Woodley carry her forward? I think it's close, but right now I'm leaning towards Chastain (yes, her role in Take Shelter is the THIRD different performance to make the list in this category in the past month!) and The Help.

JEREMY'S NOMINEES: Octavia Spencer, Berenice Bejo, Melissa McCarthy, Janet McTeer, Jessica Chastain (The Help)






Trailer of the Week: ATM




Funny Video of the Week: Pingu's The Thing




That's all for this week. Let me know what you think in the comments section. For now, this is Jeremy Wilson, off the record, on the QT...



...and definitely, "Hush Hush!"





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