Peter Jackson explains why Andy Serkis deserves awards consideration for his performance as Gollum in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey": "It’s just going to take an understanding — an understanding that it is a pure acting craft. There’s a suspicion that somewhere between Andy and the finished result other people are involved. Obviously there is a visual effects component; there is a CGI creature, and compositing and lighting and various things. But motion capture now is so well developed that every muscle in Andy’s face is replicated on Gollum’s face. And everything Andy does is accurately translated to Gollum. It is the closest thing to digital make-up." EW.COM
Layoffs announced at Oscar statues company: "R.S. Owens, the Chicago-based company that makes Oscar and Emmy statuettes, is laying off 95 employees, more than a third of its 251-person workforce. The company notified the Illinois Department of Commerce this week that the permanent layoffs in the 250-person company will take effect on Dec. 17. That's the day the purchase of R.S. Owens by the Indianapolis-based St. Regis Crystal Inc. will be completed. The company has been the supplier of Academy Awards statuettes since 1982. It also makes awards for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, MTV Video Music Awards and 'American Idol.'" THE WRAP
Little-known Al Walser ambushes the Grammy's Dance Recording category: "When the latest Grammy nominations were announced this week, dance music fans, artists and pundits alike scratched their collective heads at the inclusion of one Al Walser alongside much more recognizable names such as Deadmau5, Skrillex and Calvin Harris in the category of Best Dance Recording. While more mainstream onlookers might have just mistaken the name for an emerging new artist landing a monumental break, even the most diehard fans of electronic dance music (more commonly known these days as EDM) were left wondering who exactly was Al Walser, and how in the world did he end up with a GRAMMY nomination?" KROQ
Scott Feinberg considers the impact of critics' awards on the Oscar race: "When a film or performance receives recognition of this sort, it is, of course, never a bad thing, but the extent to which it actually helps them with Academy members is debatable. Few critics' year-end favorites or critics groups' choices have historically correlated with many choices of the Academy, which tends to embrace more accessible and widely appealing films and performances than they do. Two years ago, for instance, 'The Social Network' topped many critics' top 10 lists and was voted best film by virtually every major critics group, but still lost to 'The King's Speech' when people who actually make films got the chance to voice their opinion through guild awards and ultimately the Academy Awards." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
LA Film Critics Association secretary Justin Chang gives an insider account of the group's voting: "The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.'s decision to give best picture to Michael Haneke's 'Amour' came as a surprise even to some of us who attended yesterday's 5 1/2-hour meeting, following several rounds of voting that had heavily favored 'The Master' and 'Beasts of the Southern Wild.' Indeed, a showdown between those two American indie darlings seemed imminent from the moment the first three prizes were handed out ... In category after category, fans of Paul Thomas Anderson's cool-toned psychodrama and Benh Zeitlin's exuberant post-Katrina fairy tale seemed to represent the dominant voting blocs, though with a healthy measure of overlap between the two." VARIETY
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