News Nuggets: Why isn’t ‘Contagion’ on the Oscar radar?

Why isn’t “Contagion” getting more traction in the awards race? “There are three other factors: (1) ‘Contagion’ is an intellectual-technical chiller (as opposed to an emotional drama of some kind) and is therefore regarded as a kind of ‘genre’ film, and that kind of distinction rarely leads to awards chatter; (2) To some extent ‘Contagion’ is, let’s face it, emotionally dry or reserved, like many of [Steven] Soderbergh‘s films (a quality I’ve always rather enjoyed and in fact praised); and (3) It doesn’t contain one of those thematic echoes or undercurrents that Oscar-season films tend to have, nor does it deliver some basic recognizable truth.” HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Clint Eastwood discusses whether his “J. Edgar” subject might have kept a file on him: “There wasn’t too much to spy on, but no, I don’t suppose … But he might have, you never know. He probably spied on people who were critical of him. I wasn’t an antagonist as far as the FBI was concerned. I’m sure if I’d have come out and said ‘The FBI is a controversial organization,’ I’m sure that he probably would have said ‘Run a file on this guy.’ That’s strictly speculation. If anyone wants a file on me, they can have it.” EW.COM

BAFTA will pay tribute to Kenneth Branagh: “Branagh will be the subject of a celebration of his work on the silver screen, on both sides of the camera, at an event at the British organization’s central London headquarters Nov 18. Branagh is being touted during awards season for his return in front of the camera with his role as Laurence Olivier in Simon Curtis‘ ‘My Week with Marilyn,’ alongside Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Were the New York film critics wise to move up their awards voting? “A couple of days ago [New York Film Critics Circle chief John] Anderson was forced to delay the NYFCC voting by 24 hours (i.e., to 11.29) when Sony informed him that ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo‘ wouldn’t be ready for screening until 11.28. This was being pointed to as a sign that Anderson had overplayed his hand. ‘I guarantee you that next year the NYFCC date will be back to where it was before,’ one guy remarked. Maybe it will, and I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a good idea to ease up and arrange for all the big groups to start their voting on 12.5 or 12.8 … But somehow distributors found a way to work with the [National Board of Review]’s 12.1 voting day in years past, so was it that crazy for Anderson to create a new NYFCC date that was only 48 hours earlier?” HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Will Billy Crystal of Ricky Gervais be the better awards host? “If the Oscars have in fact embraced the ‘safe choice’ with Crystal — who once opened the show by wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask, embracing a smiling Anthony Hopkins and inviting him to dinner – then the Golden Globes are embracing their role as a contradictory identity to the Oscars with the choice to bring back Gervais — who once introduced Mel Gibson as a presenter by quipping, ‘I enjoy a drink as much as the next guy, unless…’ You can guess where he was going with that one.” HUFFINGTON POST

PBS’s two-part Woody Allen retrospective begins tonight: “Writer and director Robert Weide got unfettered access to one of the country’s great and most prolific directors whose private life and personal feelings about his work had never been adequately captured. Credit Weide, who spent a year and a half with Allen, including at home, traveling and on the set of a working film, for not botching such a grand opportunity.” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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