Oscars news: Reese Witherspoon goes ‘Wild,’ ‘The Imitation Game’ honored at Palm Springs film festival

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Greg Ellwood chats with the “Wild” women: “Watching your life flash before your eyes on the big screen can’t be easy. It can be even more emotional if you’re watching it in person on set. Cheryl Strayed can now join that select club. The author of the bestselling novel ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,’ Strayed has seen a dramatic moment in her life brought to the big screen by director Jean-Marc Vallee and producer and star Reese Witherspoon. The movie ‘Wild’ tells the tale of her 1,100-mile trek on the Pacific Coast Trail and how it brought closure to a difficult time in her life.” HitFix

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 19 categories

For Cara Buckley, “one of the weirdo aspects of being the Bagger is going to the many, many promotional lunches and dinners that studios hire well-connected publicists (usually named Peggy) to throw. Invitees routinely include a carefully curated group of Academy members, industry folks, bloggers and journalists, along with the director and star-studded talent, who in turn are democratically sprinkled throughout the room – an Edward Norton here, a Naomi Watts there, a Mark Ruffalo yonder — and tasked with turning on the charm.” New York Times

The cast of “The Imitation Game” will receive the Ensemble award at the Jan. 5 gala that is the centerpiece of the Palm Springs Film Festival. The film, which tells the story of WWII codebreaker Alan Turing, stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Charles Dance and Mark Strong. Previous winners of this prize include the casts of “American Hustle,” “Argo,” and “The Social Network.” PSIFF

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

As Sasha Stone observes, “There are always complaints about the Oscar race – the choices are too narrow, the pundits don’t do a good enough job of keeping the options as open as possible, the movies are too boring, the movies are too independent, the movies are bad. But this year, in the wake of the New York Film Critics, it seems like it’s open season on the five frontrunners for Best Actress. This is disheartening to me because of all of the categories in the Oscar race why pick on actress — the one category that has so few contenders?” Awards Daily 

Scott Feinberg reports, “that The Weinstein Co., which acquired ‘The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby‘ after its North American premiere at Toronto in 2013, has made a internal decision to aggressively get behind Jessica Chastain for a best actress nom (Oscar and Golden Globe) for her work in the film, an indie about the dissolution of a marriage that was a years-in-the-making passion project for old friends Ned Benson, Chastain (who’s also a producer on the film) and Chastain’s best friend/fellow actress Jess Wexler.” THR

Christy Grosz looks behind the lens and discovers “often a single scene in a film can sum up the whole of the story in a far more emotional way than the most eloquent dialogue. Here, four cinematographers talk about their most evocative scenes from their current films and how they came to be.” Los Angeles Times

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