News Nuggets: Can Mary Elizabeth Winstead score an Oscar nod for ‘Smashed’?

Oliver Lyttleton wonders if Mary Elizabeth Winstead can sneak into the Best Actress race for “Smashed“: “The film’s been picking up strong reviews since it premiered at Sundance, and to generalize a little, there seem to be two kinds of people: those who believe that Winstead has a shot at a nomination, and those who haven’t yet seen the film (this writer currently falls in the latter category, though if someone wanted to send a screener in the direction of London, we’d be grateful…). By all accounts, she’s terrific in the film, marking a real breakthrough in her career, and Sony Pictures Classics seem to agree, as they’re planning a major push for the actress.” INDIE WIRE

Stand Up Guys” opened the Chicago Film Festival: “The 48th Chicago International Film Festival, the main slate of which is composed of 18 films, opened on Thursday night with a big homecoming, of sorts: the world premiere of the Lionsgate comedy ‘Stand Up Guys,’ which was produced by Tom Rosenberg (an Oscar winner for ‘Million Dollar Baby’) and Gary Lucchesi and directed by Fisher Stevens, all Windy City natives … Making the evening extra special was the presence of some special friends that Rosenberg and Stevens brought along: the film’s legendary Oscar-winning stars Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin …” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Michael Moore wants to eliminate Oscar’s documentary rules: “Instead of making additional tweaks in an often-changed system that this year has overwhelmed voters with a glut of fourth-quarter screeners, Moore has decided that the best approach is to stop worrying about qualifying runs, reviews or TV movies vs. theatrical docs … ‘What I’m going to propose is that instead of going back to the drawing board and making up new rules, let’s just put an end to that right now. No more special documentary rules. How about we play by the same rules as every other branch?'” THE WRAP

What if Oscar’s acting categories were divided into original and adapted? “Another way of dividing the acting categories is to go with the distinction that’s been made with areas of filmmaking in the past: original and adapted. Currently that’s just for screenplays, but there used to be the divide with music score (the way things are going, they need to bring that back). And with the seemed grab for an Oscar that comes lately with some biopics (‘Hitchcock‘ this year and ‘The Iron Lady‘ last), adapted performance might be a very good idea. But would this include Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Lincoln‘? I think of it as being more for performances involving some mimicry of a real person able to be studied, so playing a famous figure before the 20th century — really, before the mix of sound with motion picture — is stretching it.” FILM SCHOOL REJECTS

Ben Affleck is tuning out Oscar buzz for his latest film, “Argo“: “Ben Affleck has heard the buzz, but he isn’t trying to hear any talk about his movie ‘Argo’ getting possible consideration for the Oscars. He says his main concern is to get the word out about the movie. It focuses on a real-life C.I.A. plot to pose as Hollywood filmmakers to free a group of American hostages being held during the Iranian revolution … He says with all the work he and the cast put into the film, he wants people to be able to see it, and let any Oscar talk come after that. ‘Argo’ opened Friday.” ASSOCIATED PRESS

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