News Nuggets: Could ‘Skyfall’ be unexpected Oscar bait?

Will the Academy be overwhelmed by new documentary rules? “In recent days the more than 160 members of the documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have received a box of about 80 DVDs of nonfiction features they are expected to watch before submitting ballots next month, ranking their top 15 choices. This haul comes with a letter suggesting specific films to focus on. And it follows about 30 to 40 films that members were sent over the summer, with the Academy promising to deliver 10 or more later this month. ‘In theory this new system seems very democratic — everybody gets everything,’ said Kate Davis, an Academy member and documentarian whose films include ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Stonewall Uprising’ (directed with David Heilbroner). ‘In practice I think it’s going to overwhelm many voters.'” NEW YORK TIMES

Why would anyone want to be the host of the Oscars? “There’s still the question of why [Seth MacFarlane], or anybody, would take what has to be the most thankless job in showbiz. Awaiting any Oscar emcee are a cadre of movie critics (ahem), plus millions of bloggers and tweeters, waiting to tear the host apart for any fault in the show. And no matter what goes wrong — whether it’s an idiotic musical number, an extraneous montage or a fatuous acceptance speech — ultimately the emcee takes the rap.” SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

Could “Skyfall” turn out to be unlikely Oscar bait? “Gotta be a legitimate awards season player right? … The director is Sam Mendes (‘American Beauty’) and some of the teased talent includes Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Roger Deakins, John Logan, Thomas Newman, Dennis Gassner and Chris Corbould.  And the actor with the increasingly impressive prestige credits is none other than the current 007, Daniel Craig. To the mainstream media and the industry as a whole, ‘Skyfall’ is just another highly-anticipated thriller and nothing more. Or is it?” HITFIX

Additional casting announced for Broadway run of “The Other Place“: “The Broadway premiere of ‘The Other Place,’ Sharr White‘s mysterious play about a doctor whose life is shaken, will feature the previously announced Laurie Metcalf, reprising her earlier Off-Broadway performance, plus Daniel Stern, Zoe Perry and John Schiappa. Manhattan Theatre Club announced casting for the Joe Mantello-directed production on Oct. 3. Performances will play the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre starting Dec. 11 prior to a Jan. 10, 2013, opening.” PLAYBILL

Bernardo Bertolucci celebrated by the American Cinematheque: “The influential, Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci is being feted by the American Cinematheque and UCLA Film & Television Archive with ‘Bernardo Bertolucci: A Retrospective,’ which features rare 35-millimeter prints from Italy. The festival begins Thursday at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica with ‘The Conformist,’ the 1970 film that put Bertolucci on the international map. Jean-Louis Trintignant headlines this tale about a weak-willed Italian who becomes a pawn for the Fascists. Screening Friday evening is the 25th anniversary celebration of ‘The Last Emperor.’ On tap for Saturday is his controversial — initially it was rated X — epic ‘1900,’ starring Gerard Depardieu and Robert De Niro. Scheduled for Sunday are 1990’s ‘The Sheltering Sky,’ with Debra Winger and John Malkovich, and the 1998 romantic drama ‘Besieged.'” LOS ANGELES TIMES

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