Oscars news: Matthew McConaughey lauded by ‘Interstellar’ director Christopher Nolan

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Kris Tapley takes us inside the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton where Matthew McConaughey was being honored by the American Cinematheque on Tuesday. Among those singing the praises of last year’s Best Actor Oscar champ (“Dallas Buyers Club) was “Interstellar” helmer Christopher Nolan: “There’s no question that this is a performer who can’t say, ‘Pass the salt,’ without it being truthful, without meaning something …I’ve never worked with an actor so relentless in his pursuit of truth in everything he does.” In Contention

And this year’s Best Actor Oscar frontrunnerMichael Keaton (“Birdman“), is to be feted at the Santa Barbara filmfest the weekend before final voting by academy members commences. He will pick up the Modern Masters prize on Jan. 31. Last year, Bruce Dern collected this kudo just after reaping an Oscar bid for “Nebraska.” Emma Thompson was to have been honored in 2014 but had to cancel due to work; she ended up being snubbed for “Saving Mr. Banks.” SBIFF

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Glenn Whipp wonders why “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is not ranked higher in our Best Picture chart and posits: “The doubt about Budapest’s Oscar chances can be boiled down to two issues — timing and past performance. The movie arrived in theaters on March 7 and came out on home video in June. That’s an eternity for academy members now facing a daily barrage of screening invites and DVDs arriving in the mail. Los Angeles Times

Anne Thompson chats with Oscar-nominated producer Fisher Stevens (“The Cove”) about his new film “Mission Blue,” which “documents the life work of pioneering oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who is still jumping into the ocean at age 79. She shows us what the ocean was like when she first explored it back in the 50s. The not-for-profit film has been re-edited since playing the Berlin, Santa Barbara (our review here) and Ashland film festivals.” Thompson on Hollywood

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Scott Feinberg showcases “Timbuktu,” the first-ever entry from Mauritania in the Foreign-Language Film Oscar race: “The heartbreaking French-language drama, which premiered in competition at May’s Cannes Film Festival before making its way to this month’s New York Film Festival, centers on the 2012 takeover of the titular town in north Mali by Al Qaeda militants. Mauritanian-born Sissako was raised in Timbuktu, and the namesake project is the second of his five solo directing efforts to be selected for the most prestigious of film fests.” THR

Three-time Golden Globes emcee Tina Fey has some sage advice for rookie Oscarcast host Neil Patrick Harris: “Sing because you can. Just sing the whole time.”  E! Online

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The Academy will celebrate the 20th anniversary of 1994 Best Picture nominee “The Shawshank Redemption” on Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The evening will feature an onstage discussion with writer-director Frank Darabont, who received an Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay, Best Actor nominee Morgan Freeman, and star Tim RobbinsOscars

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