Oscars news: The secrets of ‘Into the Woods,’ ‘The Immigrant’ lands in race

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Seth Abramovich delves into “Into the Woods” in this fascinating feature. Among the tidbits he uncovers: “The vengeful Witch who imprisons Rapunzel in a tower looms just a little bit larger than the other characters. The part required an actress of a certain age with a big range and powerful pipes. Rob Marshall immediately thought of Meryl Streep. If she could belt out ABBA tunes — as she had in 2008’s ‘Mamma Mia!,’ her biggest hit ever, grossing $600 million worldwide — she could handle Sondheim. There was just one problem. Streep had a no-witch policy.” THR

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 19 categories

Meriah Doty chats with “Boyhood” star Ellar Coltrane and learns “he was initally tentative about the idea of a career in acting. But in the past week he has taken a clear step to pursue future roles — by signing on with high-power talent agency UTA. Though, he tells Yahoo, he’s determined to keep his feet on the ground, and ultimately plans to attend college.” Yahoo!

As Scott Foundas reports, “Harvey Weinstein is adding yet another film to his unpredictable roster of awards season contenders: James Gray’s 1920s period drama, ‘The Immigrant.’ The decision was likely influenced by the film’s star Marion Cotillard landing two more best actress prizes (from the Boston Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online) to a haul that already included a citation from the New York Film Critics Circle and a Spirit Awards nomination.” Variety

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Pete Hammond notes: “Norway-born Morten Tyldum seemed an unlikely choice to direct the very British drama, ‘The Imitation Game.’ After all, the director never had made an English-language feature before. However, he did win awards and notoriety for his three previous features: the comedy ‘Buddy’ (2003), ‘Fallen Angels’ (2008), and the internationally acclaimed thriller ‘Headhunters,’ the most successful film in Norwegian history as well as 2012’s highest-grossing foreign-language picture in the United Kingdom. But it was Tyldum’s unique understanding and clear-eyed take on the Alan Turing story that sold ‘The Imitation Game’ producers Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman. And now there’s major Oscar buzz as the director enters a new phase of his career. Deadline

This year’s Oscarcast may have a first-time host in Neil Patrick Harris but a seasoned vet will head the  writing team: Dave Boone, a veteran of eight Oscar telecasts, won two Emmys for his work on the 63rd and 64th Tony Awards, and received nominations for all three subsequent shows. He also earned nominations for his work on the 84th Oscars, hosted by Billy Crystal, and the 70th and 71st Golden Globe Awards telecasts. Oscars

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