News Nuggets Roundup: Oscar hopes for ‘A Better Life,’ ‘Attack the Block’?

Rotten Tomatoes Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity predicts a surprising Oscar contender: “One of Atchity’s opinions focused squarely on ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2‘: ‘Harry Potter’s definitely going to be seen as one of the biggest movies of the year,’ said Atchity. ‘And I think that’ll get reflected at Oscar time. We’re going to see some Oscar nominations. As we all know, the Academy votes with their hearts as much as anything else, and there will be some last-chance nominations that happen with that one.’ He suspected the film could even get some acting nods.” EW.COM

The Academy announces its new plan for announcing Best Picture nominees: “According to our good friend Damien Bona, the AMPAS will break with tradition this year and not show the number of pictures that will be nominated on the big board behind the announcer. The other big change is that they won’t be alphabetical, so we can’t rule out a movie as its being announced.  I’ll never forget hanging on the phone with Kris Tapley as we waited to see if ‘The Dark Knight’ would be announced.   Kris kept saying, ‘as soon as they say “Frost/Nixon” it’s over.’ So this either going to get ugly or it’s going to be really fun.” AWARDS DAILY

Can politics help “A Better Life” in the Oscar race? “From the presidential race to the Oscar race, ‘A Better Life’ has longer odds. ‘What can we do to help this film?’ one frustrated awards consultant asked me while noting the stiff competition out there … But I say Oscar strategists just might want to look no further than the Hollywood-bashing GOP for some ironic help. After all, Republicans are giving immigration lots of TV time almost weekly during their contentious debates. Tagging on to presidential politics might be one way to keep the film talked about and relevant, even in the shadow of the all the big Academy Awards contenders to come in the last two months of the year.” DEADLINE

“Attack the Block” screeners sent to LAFCA: “The Sony/Screen Gems-released sci-fi pic was sent out to members of the L.A. Film Critics Association this week, although it’s unclear how much of a campaign the studio plans, if any. Does the British kid-oriented genre film have a shot at awards season, anyway? Last month at Awards Daily, Oscar pundit Sasha Stone entertained the idea of ‘Attack the Block’ having Oscar potential, even if it’s a long, loooong, longshot given its modest box office returns and Academy-alienating genre trappings. Where it could conceivably pick up steam, however, is with critic groups like LAFCA, who in previous years embraced studio-released genre pics like ‘Black Swan,’ ‘Inception,’ ‘District 9,’ and ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ though each of those honorees enjoyed a great deal more mainstream attention and acclaim.” MOVIELINE

PETA targets “We Bought a Zoo“: “Mere days after more than two dozen exotic animals were released from a private Ohio zoo — and killed by state police and authorities — the animal-rights group PETA is calling on Cameron Crowe to slap a notice on his upcoming feel-good film, ‘We Bought A Zoo,’ starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. PETA’s vice president, in a statement: ‘”We Bought A Zoo” conveys the misleading and downright dangerous message that no special knowledge — just a lot of heart — is needed to run a zoo. As the tragedy in Ohio gruesomely illustrates, wild animals aren’t Disney characters.'” VULTURE

IBM and FOX win Engineering Emmy: “IBM Corporation … and Fox Networks Group, a primary operating unit of News Corporation … announced today that they have jointly won an Engineering Emmy® Award for Innovation from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. According to the Academy, by improving the ability of media companies to capture, manage and exploit content in digital form, IBM and Fox have fundamentally changed the way that audio and video content is managed and stored.” PR NEWSWIRE

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