News Nuggets: Sundance announces its 2012 festival lineup

Sundance announces the films competing in next year’s festival: “Love and sex, not necessarily in that order. Bleak self-scrutiny. Quirk, sometimes in the extreme. The Sundance Film Festival is nothing if not itself. Festival programmers announced their competition lineup on Wednesday, and all of those perennial themes are well represented … The competition lineup includes 58 films, culled from 4,042 full-length submissions, a 6 percent increase in submissions over last year.” NEW YORK TIMES

Mark Harris does the math on why Best Actress nominees get less respect than their male counterparts: “From 1999 to 2005, the haute-austere Village Voice Film Poll, in which select critics are invited to choose rarefied favorites and grind artisanal axes, abolished the division altogether, consolidating both genders into one ‘best lead performance’ category. But even the Voice eventually gave it up, acknowledging that there’s a big difference between pretending the playing field is level and actually working to level it. Because Best Actress isn’t a separate-but-equal classification after all — in the eyes of Academy voters, it’s separate and lesser.” GRANTLAND

Critics lobby for “Margaret” screeners: “… Academy folks and critics are keeping UPS and FedEx workers busy as For Your Consideration screeners for pretty much every movie that was made in 2011 are shipped in the hopes they will earn some critical love … But one movie that isn’t getting sent around is Kenneth Lonergan‘s long-delayed “Margaret,” which landed in theaters this fall with a very limited release and promptly disappeared. But a groundswell is building to not only get the movie to those who weren’t able to see it, but to give the film a shot at potential awards season recognition that some think it deserves.” INDIEWIRE

S.T. VanAirsdale emplores critics to consider the scene-stealing dog from “The Artist“: “Retrograde union and Academy rules may prohibit a similar showing for Uggie in categories historically reserved for humans, but it’s time for critics and awards bodies like NBR and the Golden Globes to take a good hard look into Uggie’s huge eyes and huger talent and reverse the discriminatory trend that prohibits recognition of this level of animal artistry. Moreover, with Uggie already well past age 8, he is pushing 60 in dog years. We all know what that means: Uggie is due. It is his time.” MOVIELINE

General Hospital” replaces its controversial long-running showrunner, Jill Farren-Phelps: “Taking over the reins at ‘GH’ will be Frank Valentini, who had been with ‘One Life to Live‘ since 1985 and served as EP there since 2003. The well-regarded show boss became a free agent last Friday when Prospect Park formally abandoned its plan to keep the Llanviewers alive via an online video hub. ‘OLTL’ airs its series finale on Friday, Jan. 13; the lifestyle show ‘The Revolution’ seizes the soap’s time slot the following Monday.” TV LINE

Several films in this year’s Oscar race closely examine masculinity: “Many of the films that have begun to rack up statuettes and nominations on the sometimes gilded, sometimes barbed path to the Oscars … deal with the existential crises of men. There are real-life figures grappling with their place in history (Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role of Clint Eastwood’s ‘J. Edgar‘), fictional figures contending with the weight of their cultural forebears (Owen Wilson as a dissatisfied screenwriter in Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris‘) or classic archetypes facing an uncertain future (the silent screen actor at the advent of sound in ‘The Artist’).” NEW YORK TIMES

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