Oscars news: Reese Witherspoon on ‘Wild’ and ‘Gone Girl,’ Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’

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Reese Witherspoon has hit homeruns with her first two films as a producer: “Gone Girl” and “Wild.” In Tatiana Siegel‘s must-read profile, she talks candidly about optioning the rights to both books before they were bestseller, why she had to play Cheryl Strayed in “Wild” and how she reacted when David Fincher told her she was not right for the role of Amy in “Gone Girl.” THR

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

Anthony D’Alessandro delivers a fascinating in-depth interview with Best Actor frontrunner Michael Keaton (“Birdman“). As he notes in the intro, “Keaton couches his trajectory, which picked up during the ’00s with supporting turns in ‘The Other Guys’ and the recent ‘Robocop reboot,’ simply as: ‘I went through a lazy period. And (then) a hardworking, dedicated period.’” Deadline

Drew Taylor teases: “There were few movies out of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival that were more buzzed about or openly discussed than Chris Rock‘s ‘Top Five.’ This is something of a feat, especially considering the amount of Oscar-contending features that either debuted or screened there. And we’ve got a brand new clip from the movie, opening on Dec. 12th. So get ready to feel the buzz of the movie that swept Toronto.” Moviefone

As Randee Dawn observes, “Ridley Scott‘s new movie, ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings,’ may be many things, but a road movie might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Yet the biblical tale about a man looking for his god who helps a people flee enslavement is in many ways the original road story. ‘Isn’t almost every drama a road trip in effect?’ asks Scott. ‘Even if you’re not literally feet in the dust or on concrete. Epics largely come down to being road trips, metaphorical and physical journeys.'” Los Angeles Times

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

Andrew Barker chats with editor William Goldenberg, “who finds himself with two highly awaited, intense, based-on-a-true-story sagas hitting theaters: Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken‘ (edited alongside Tim Squyres) and Morten Tyldum’s ‘The Imitation Game.’ Goldenberg was last here in 2012, when ‘Argo’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ were nominated for editing Oscars, with the former winning him the statuette.” Variety

Bill Desowitz sits down with four of the creative folks — composer Hans Zimmer, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, sound mixer Gregg Landaker and costume designer Mary Zophres — “who talk bringing Christopher Nolan‘s space odyssey ‘Interstellar‘ to life.” TOH

1943 Best Picture champ “Casablanca” proved to be a winner again this week as the piano played by Dooley Wilson in key scenes was sold at auction for a whopping $3.4 million. As Andy Lewis notes, “the piano was likely built in 1927 and used in several productions. It features a modification made for the movie so that Rick (Humphrey Bogart) could open the lid from the rear to hide papers.” THR

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