Guy Lodge thinks "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva would be the Oscar frontrunner if it were an American film: "... it's the kind of showcase performance, with its self-evident degree of difficulty and devastating audience connection, that most Academy voters wouldn't hesitate to recognize if it came from within their ranks: if 'Amour' were an equivalently acclaimed US indie and a revered veteran like, say, Gena Rowlands were in Riva's place, I'd wager the Best Actress race might already be over. Yet ask many an awards pundit about Riva's chances, and they'll tell you the 85 year-old star will be lucky just to get the nomination – a feat, incidentally, that would make her the oldest lead acting nominee in Academy history. Subtitles remain a tricky barrier to any Oscar campaign, and Riva is in no position to do the extensive industry gladhanding generally required to surmount it." IN CONTENTION
Tony-winning "The Lion King" celebrates 15 years on Broadway: "The multiple Tony Award-winning musical The Lion King will celebrate 15 years on Broadway Nov. 13 at the Minskoff Theatre. Most of the musical's creative team will reunite for a one-night only celebratory performance Nov. 18 as a benefit for The Actors Fund ... In related news, 'Inside The Lion King,' which is described as 'the first immersive, pop-up exhibit ever created for a Broadway show,' arrives adjacent to Bryant Park for a limited time to celebrate 'Lion King's' 15 years on Broadway. Musical theatre enthusiasts can experience – and interact with – the music, sets, costumes, movement and show history of the Tony-winning production." PLAYBILL
"Lincoln" has Oscar potential, but could be a tougher sell to audiences: "'Lincoln,' an early favorite to win Oscar nominations, is no shoo-in at the box office. The movie, opening today in limited release, chronicles the 16th president’s campaign to end slavery, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It faces competition from two of the biggest pictures of the year -- 'Skyfall,' the latest James Bond installment, and the finale of the 'Twilight' vampire series ... 'Lincoln' is estimated to generate $94 million in North American ticket sales, according to researcher BoxOffice.com, which may mean it will lose money unless it pulls in crowds overseas. '"Lincoln" needs to catch on internationally to be profitable,' said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. 'Ninety-four million domestically would be seen as successful, but success at home is not enough these days. I’m sure they spent a lot of money marketing it.'" BLOOMBERG NEWS
AFI Fest announces its prize winners, including Audience Award winner "A Royal Affair". From the press release: "AFI Fest 2012 presented by Audi announced today the features and short films that are the recipients of this year’s Audience and Jury Awards ... 'It has been an incredible year in film and we’re grateful for having had the opportunity to showcase so many wonderful films,' said Jacqueline Lyanga, Director of AFI Fest. 'Our desire is to have these films reach an even wider audience after these eight festival days, and that our jury and audience awards contribute to building an audience for these films.'" AFI
Joaquin Phoenix clarifies his comments about the Oscars: "Phoenix has now clarified his comments, insisting he didn't mean to put the Academy Awards in such a negative light because his previous nominations gave him a massive career boost. He tells the Sydney Morning Herald, 'You know what it's like, you sit and you bulls**t (in an interview) for a couple of hours. You just miss so much of what someone says when it's written down. I guess I sound like a d**k. I didn't even know that I was in a position to do something that would cost me something. But I know that first of all, I wouldn't have the career that I have if it weren't for the Oscars.'" WENN.COM
Jon Weisman wonders if there be another Oscar split between Best Picture and Best Screenplay: "'Did these films write themselves?' In the eyes of Oscar voters, the answer to that question has almost always been no: A best-picture nominee could virtually count on a screenplay nomination -- until recently. With awards season already percolating, it's high time to for a look at the screenplay races. And the changes in voting last year offer food for thought that will be troubling to some, but a source of hope to others ... during an eight-year period, only four nominated pictures didn't receive noms for screenplay. Then in 2011, the Oscars matched that total in a single year. The screenplays of best picture nominees 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,' 'The Help,' 'The Tree of Life' and 'War Horse' did not, apparently, impress the Acad. In contrast, 'Bridesmaids,' 'The Ides of March,' 'Margin Call,' 'A Separation' and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' all received original or adapted screenplay bids, while failing to secure best picture noms." VARIETY
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.