Oscar news: Benedict Cumberbatch covers Time, Lana Del Rey songs in Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’

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As Mike Fleming notes: Today’s Oscar coup goes to The Weinstein Company, which got “The Imitation Game“’s Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover of a Time Magazine article on genius. Walter Isaacson, whose Steven Jobs bio is the basis for the Aaron Sorkin scripted film that Deadline revealed last night will move from Sony to Universal, wrote the piece on genius and Thomas Weber interviewed Cumberbatch. Deadline

RELATED: ‘Selma’ intensifies its march on Oscars: Can it go all the way?

Esther Zuckerman reports: Tim Burton and Lana Del Rey — two artists with macabre sensibilities and an interest in kitsch — are coming together this fall. Del Rey has written two new songs for “Big Eyes,” the movie about artist Margaret Keane. One is named after the film’s title and plays midway through the movie. The other, “I Can Fly,” will play over the end credits. Burton’s movie, which stars Amy Adams, follows Keane—known for her paintings of children with, yes, big eyes—and her struggle with her husband, who took credit for her work. EW

Greg Ellwood observes: It’s been over two months since Jean-Marc Vallee‘s “Wild” premiered at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival, but the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s best-selling memoir finally arrived in Los Angeles, and just in time for the heart of awards season. Fox Searchlight threw an impressive LA premiere for the film at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater Wednesday night and the location couldn’t have been more fitting. Star and producer Reese Witherspoon is pretty much a lock for a Best Actress nomination for her portrayal of Strayed, and co-star Laura Dern has an excellent chance of landing a supporting actress nod as the author’s mother. Best Adapted Screenplay isn’t out of the question and as more contenders fall by the wayside, Searchlight smartly isn’t giving up on a Best Picture nod. HitFix

RELATED: Oscar voters received these screeners so far: ‘Theory of Everything,’ ‘Whiplash’ …

CNN unspools its compelling documentary “Ivory Tower” on Thursday night. The film, which takes a hard look at the soaring cost of higher education, is directed and produced by Emmy-nominated filmmakers Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside The New York Times”) and Kate Novack. Having screened to success at Sundance in January, it is a strong contender in this year’s highly competitive Documentary Feature race at the Oscars. CNN

Bill Desowitz chats with hair, makeup and prosthetic designer Jan Sewell about the making of “The Theory of Everything,” in which Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking. As Sewell explains, “It was important to find the end look of Eddie in the wheelchair because I already knew what I would do to make Eddie look like the young Hawking. If I got the two ends, then I could do my timeline. I did a head cast and a mouth cast of Eddie, who I worked with previously on ‘Les Miserables.’ I needed to get mouthpieces and teeth made to get the effect of his jaw dropping. Eddie worked with movement coach Alex Reynolds and figured out how he was going to twist his body and head.” TOH

Sasha Stone laments: “The Oscar race on the one hand exists like an island in a sea of tentpoles, keeping “adult cinema” alive. The Oscar race is one of the few places no one is going to ask, “but will it play in China?” The Oscars are a much bigger industry than just the Academy. They are the last stop of a long Snowpiercer-like train of marketing, that includes other awards shows like the Golden Globes and the SAG awards.  For the chosen few, it can be a life changer.  On the other hand? It sucks the life out of every good thing.” Awards Daily

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