News Nuggets: The Academy amends eligibility rules for documentaries

The Academy considers a drastic amendment to its documentary eligibility rules: “In a move to trim the number of documentaries submitted annually for Oscar consideration, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is poised to require a movie review from The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times to qualify a documentary feature for the Academy Awards. Ric Robertson, the Academy’s chief operating officer, confirmed the plan on Sunday after word of it began circulating among documentary filmmakers and their supporters. In a phone interview Mr. Robertson said it would be made public this week and would apply to films qualifying for the 2013 ceremony.” NEW YORK TIMES

James Franco explains why Andy Serkis deserves more credit from actors: “The new ‘Planet of the Apes’ film, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes,’ belongs to Andy Serkis. Narratively it was always his film: I play an emotionally stilted scientist who in the process of mistakenly unleashing a lethal virus on the human race, learns to care for others; Serkis gets to play Caesar, essentially Che Guevara in chimp form … But this narrative structure is only half of the story; there is also an acting revolution that has taken place.  Andy Serkis is the undisputed master of the newest kind of acting called ‘performance capture,’ and it is time that Serkis gets credit for the innovative artist that he is.” DEADLINE

NBC signs Alec Baldwin for another season of “30 Rock“: “‘We have Alec for this season and next season,’ Robert Greenblatt said. ‘We quietly did that in the fall.’ But how, asked a critic, did the famously outspoken Baldwin keep quiet about it? ‘He’s loud about certain things and quiet about other things,’ Greenblatt said. So does that mean we can assume the show will be renewed? Not necessarily, said Greenblatt, who gave the standard network response that the decision will be made closer to the network’s upfront presentation in May.” EW.COM

Woody Harrelson discusses his feelings about an earlier cut of “Rampart“: “Upon Harrleson’s first viewing of the film he ‘didn’t like it for a number of reasons,’ he explained to The Hollywood Reporter. After he saw the first cut, which deleted many ‘big scenes,’ Harrleson fell into a deep depression. ‘[It] was probably one of the worst periods in my professional life — the depression over it. I was so depressed over it and didn’t know how to deal with it. I felt the editor had swayed Oren [Moverman, the director],’ he said.” MOVIEFONE

Harvey Weinstein explains why he delayed the release of “Wettest County”: “Harvey Weinstein offered an explanation for the postponement, citing a media strategy that aims to capitalize on the post-‘Dark Knight Rises’ appeal of Hardy as well as a release template followed by other action-tinged dramas. ‘We have a star in Tom Hardy who’s completely anonymous right now. If you go to a line at the ArcLight nobody would know who he is,’ Weinstein told 24 Frames. But the film executive said that would change with the release of Hardy’s Batman picture (Hardy plays the villain, Bane) in July. ‘He’s going to be a huge movie star by August,’ Weinstein said.” LOS ANGELES TIMES

Tony-winning “Billy Elliot” ended its Broadway run this weekend: “According to a spokesperson for the 2009 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, ‘Billy Elliot the Musical,’ all four young actors who currently rotate in the role — Tade Biesinger, Julian Elia, Joseph Harrington and Peter Mazurowski — were part of the final performance. Each of the four actors played a section of the musical, which concerns a young, motherless, impoverished boy, who discovers his gift for dancing. The four actors also took their curtain call together, and then they were joined by the original three Tony-winning Billy Elliots (David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish) as well as several other past Broadway Billys.” PLAYBILL

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