News Nuggets: Weinstein sends ‘Intouchables’ screeners to Oscar voters

Pete Hammond reports that the Weinstein Company has sent French Oscar hopeful “The Intouchables” to Academy members: “Every Oscar season the race is on to see who can put out the first DVD screener sent to Academy members. Well, the race is over for 2012: The Weinstein Company is mailing screeners today of their hit French import ‘The Intouchables’ to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got one over the weekend … Millennium mailed a commercial DVD of ‘Bernie‘ to press a couple of weeks ago with Oscar aspirations attached, but this is the first official manufactured screener for Oscar voters (the Academy has strict rules about packaging and does not allow commercial DVDs to be sent to members).” DEADLINE

International Cinematographers Guild announce Billy Bitzer Award honorees. From the press release: “The International Cinematographers Guild’s (IATSE Local 600) Eastern Region will present its 2011/2012 Billy Bitzer Awards to retired 1st assistant cameraman George Berrios (‘Malcolm X,’ ‘Diner,’ ‘Tin Man’) and posthumously to cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, ASC (‘First Blood,’ ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’) at New York’s Tribeca Film Center on November 17. Named for D.W. Griffith’s cinematographer (‘The Birth of a Nation,’ 1915, ‘Intolerance,’ 1916), the Bitzer awards recognize career achievements and union work.”

Lena Dunham describes meeting Louis C.K. at the Emmys: “Dunham met the comedian’s comedian, who she described as having ‘a f**k-this-scene vibe,’ at this year’s Emmys, where they were both nominated for their fringe comedies. Gushing over the funnyman the way most 15-year-olds might gush over meeting a moppy-haired One Direction singer, Dunham described her guru-esque meeting with Louie. During a commercial break, he walked over to her, gave her a hug and told her, ‘What you’re doing is important.’ This moment is not only moving (Dunham has played it over and over again a million times in her head), but it’s just about the most perfect interaction between two people whose work on television occupies a similar, mass-audience-confounding plane.” HOLLYWOOD.COM

Is “Searching for Sugar Man” a lock for an Oscar nomination? “The debut of Malik Bendjelloul, which tells a kind of musical fairy tale about singer-songwriter Rodriguez, who was a huge star in South Africa and never knew of his fame there for decades, is astonishingly popular. I’ve seen long standing ovations at film fests for this doc. I’ve interviewed multiple filmmakers, many of which are Academy members, who cite it as their favorite of the year (this is probably the best reason to trust this one). And with $1.4 million, it’s made even more money (theatrically anyway) than ‘Marley,’ a biography of possibly the world’s biggest recording artist.” FILM SCHOOL REJECTS

Korean director Kim Ki-duk discusses the Oscar potential of his Best Foreign Film hopeful “Pieta“: “Our U.S. distributor noted that the film’s subject matter is very interesting but some scenes could be overwhelming psychologically. I think if you can bear the beginning, the interest of the subject matter and storyline soon become evident. ‘Pieta’ delves into the discord of human relations within an extreme capitalist system, as it shows how family gets disrupted and money creates distrust between people. I think this is a universal experience not only in South Korea but also in Europe and U.S.” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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