Oscars news: ‘American Sniper’ to set more box office records, Eddie Redmayne (‘Theory of Everything’) charms

Looks like “American Sniper” will break two more box office records this weekend: “The biggest second weekend of any January wide release in Fandango history and second weekend sales that are bigger than the first weekend sales of the previous top January openers (‘Lone Survivor’ and ‘Ride Along’) on Fandango. “‘American Sniper’ is unstoppable and its hot daily ticket sales show no signs of letting up,” says Fandango Chief Correspondent Dave Karger. “Clint Eastwood‘s award-nominated film is currently on track for an historic second weekend, as it continues to smash January records.'” Fandango

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Lisa Kudrow (“The Comeback“) will preside over the Los Angeles side of the bicoastal WGA Awards ceremony on Feb. 14 while Larry Willmore (“The Nightly Show”) will emcee the Gotham portion of the proceedings. Among those being feted by the guild out west are Pedro AlmodovarHarold Ramis and Shonda Rhimes while Paul Haggis and Norman Lear are to be saluted in the east. Voting ends on Jan. 29. WGA

Says Gwynne Watkins, “Eddie Redmayne has tough competition for the Academy Award for Best Actor. But one thing’s for sure: He’s winning the press tour. While promoting his performance as astrophysicist Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything,’ the 33-year-old British actor has continually come across as sweet, accessible, self-deprecating and, most importantly, never dull.” The first of his six winning stops on his charm offensive: “January 15:  A few minutes after receiving his Best Actor nomination, an adorably groggy Redmayne gets on the phone with Yahoo Movies. ‘I’ve been in a deep, dark sleep, and suddenly there was this rap on the door,’ he tells us, ‘and I’ve now gone from naught to 100 miles an hour in the space of about three and a half minutes. So I don’t quite know what planet I’m on, but it’s a good one to be on.’” Yahoo Movies 

See early Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Carey Purcell reports on Thursday’s Casting Society of America’s Artios Awards ceremony: “Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman, who appeared in the movie musical ‘Into the Woods‘ surprised director Rob Marshall with a musical performance before presenting him with the New York City Apple Award, which recognizes individuals who have made special contributions to the New York entertainment industry through their collaboration with casting directors. The CSA presented Richard Linklater (‘Boyhood‘) with the Career Achievement Award and Ellen Lewis (‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) with the Hoyt Bowers Award. Playbill

Glenn Whipp observes, “‘Boyhood‘ premiered 368 days ago at the Sundance Film Festival, ‘sneaking up on people,’ as writer-director Richard Linklater puts it, despite the fact that he had spent the previous 12 years making this singular coming-of-age story. Now, after winning the Golden Globe Award for best picture drama and countless prizes from critics’ groups, Linklater’s $4-million movie isn’t taking anyone by surprise. Nominated for six Oscars, including nods for picture, director, screenplay and actors Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, ‘Boyhood’ stands as the award season’s kingpin.” Los Angeles Times

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