Oscars news: Behind the scenes of ‘The Imitation Game,’ Best Picture breakdown

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Anne Thompson introduces a must-read interview thus: “Look up the credits of ‘The Imitation Game‘ and you will see that the producing team of Ido Ostrowsky and Nora Grossman have not produced any other movies. And yet the first time out of the gate their period British biopic of Enigma codebreaker Alan Turing is the Weinstein Co.’s top dog in this year’s awards race, and could earn Benedict Cumberbatch his first Oscar nomination. TOH

Oscar experts: Eddie Redmayne narrows Michael Keaton lead, ‘Selma’ cracks top five

In a provocative piece, Kyle Buchanan writes: “This movie year has been packed with women doing wonderful work, and though those performances might not all have come in conventionally Oscar-worthy movies and will therefore likely be overlooked by the Academy, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy. If the Oscars would simply deign to include these eight terrific women (all of whom are considered major long shots, if they’re being considered contenders at all), maybe we could liven up the meager female categories after all.” Vulture

Jenelle Riley observes: “Every best picture winner since 2008 has played the fest (sometimes after first screening to Telluride tastemakers), with the two closely spaced fests coming to be viewed as the start of awards season. Playing Toronto — and winning kudos there — gives a film time to build buzz and be perceived as the movie to beat. That psychology seems to come in handy in fending off latecomers. Last year, the two frontrunners were ’12 Years a Slave’ and ‘Gravity,’ both of which screened in Toronto. While others films — from ‘American Hustle’ to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ — came along to attempt to challenge their status, in the end, it was a ’12 Years’-‘Gravity’ showdown.” Variety

Oscar voters get Thanksgiving bounty of Animated Feature screeners:
‘Big Hero 6,’ ‘Dragon 2,’ ‘Lego Movie’

For Sasha Stone, “Once the weekend is over we’ll be headlong into the early critics awards. The cards pretty much fall from there. Over these next few weeks Academy members will face a daunting screener pile. There will be some they’ll be more eager to watch (‘Gone Girl’) than others. The selection of films up for Oscar then go up before their whole family for discussion. That is how we all ended up in the mess we’re in. You have to figure – it’s not Best Picture of the Year but rather Best Picture any of us can stand, mostly, during the holidays.” Awards Daily

Chris Willman notes: “The Academy moved beyond recognizing primarily orchestral work when voters rewarded Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross‘ electronic score for ‘The Social Network’ four years ago. A couple of this year’s choices tread even fresher ground: Hans Zimmer‘s largely pipe organ–based music for ‘Interstellar,’ and Antonio Sanchez’s daringly all-drums ‘Birdman‘ score. THR

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