Oscar news: Rave reviews for ‘Interstellar,’ four locks for Best Actor

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Sasha Stone observes: “This is probably the push “Interstellar” needed to get it firmly into the Best Picture race, which A.O. Scott (The New York Times) and Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) have just done. It was teetering for a while, with mixed reviews but the two coasts have pretty much sealed the deal.” Awards Daily 

Oscar experts: ‘Boyhood’ will win 5, ‘Interstellar’ 4, ‘Birdman’ 2

Anne Thompson delivers key insight into one of the most competitive races this year: “The Best Actor field is always more crowded than Best Actress, and this year is no exception. There are four locks for nominations, and a strong field of actors vying for the fifth slot, where anything can happen.” Thompson on Hollywood

Tim Gray drills down into the Documentary Features race and reports: “In a year with few front-runners, Laura Poitras’s ‘Citizenfour‘ seems destined to win a slew of critics awards. The Edward Snowden documentary has been a media darling since its New York Film Fest debut; critics have given it a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; and it was anointed with an International Documentary Assn. nomination, while many good films were shut out. However, its Oscar chances are iffier. The 210 filmmakers in the Academy’s documentary branch look at things differently than critics, reporters and festgoers.” Variety

Oscars flashback: How smart or stupid were Experts at this point last year? 

Matt Patches chats with jazz drummer Antonio Sanchez about making his debut as a composer with “Birdman“: “He composes every time he performs; holding a Masters in Jazz Improvisation from Boston’s New England Conservatory, Sanchez can take a drum kit to both ends of the universe and back while riffing off a single sound or concept. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s late night curation served him well.” In Contention

Nicole Sperling writes: “It’s only natural to begin our four-month Oscar discussion with what’s sure to be the most contentious race of all: the Best Actor category. Though it’s only November, this is already one crowded arena, filled with performances that span continents, explore disease, and wrestle with failure. And unfortunately, the race can’t hold them all.” EW

Richard Zoglin has written a crackerjack biography of Bob Hope, who hosted the Oscars a record 19 times. In his new book “Entertainer of the Century,” he counts down the wag’s top 10 witticisms, with this one topping the list: “Welcome to the Academy Awards. Or as it’s known at my house, Passover.”  Vulture

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