News Nuggets: Is Julia Roberts the MVP of all-star ‘August: Osage County’?

Guy Lodge calls Julia Roberts the MVP of the all-star cast from “August: Osage County,” the upcoming film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy Letts play. He contends that she nails the role of Barbara “with searing specificity” and that it “escalates in intensity in perfect sync” with co-star Meryl Streep. He calls it her finest work since winning an Oscar for the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich” but wonders if she will get another nomination because of category confusion. Even though she and Streep are basically co-leads, campaigners are asking voters to nominate her as a supporting actress. Hitfix.

In a lengthy chat this weekend at a BAFTA Life in Pictures event, two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson charms the audience with a career discussion. Topics included her collaborations with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, Richard Curtis, and Ang Lee, plus actors Dustin Hoffman and Anthony Hopkins. She is currently an awards contender for her role as author P.L. Travers in “Saving Mr. Banks.” Deadline.

After hosting the upcoming Academy Awards telecast, the next goal for Ellen DeGeneres is world peace. At a charity event Friday, she said her first Oscar gig “reached the world… so, that’s my goal.” She added, “I know a lot of these people. They’re on my show a lot…I get to play with all those people in the audience and make people happy, and hopefully, relax them.” Huffington Post.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” scores the biggest November opening ever in the United States with $161 million this weekend. The only movie with bigger box office this year was “Iron Man 3” with $174 million in May. The overall box office globally for the Jennifer Lawrence sequel is $307 million. Falling to second place is “Thor: The Dark World” with $14 million. Surprise hit “The Best Man Holiday” finishes in third position with $12.5 million. The Wrap.

Anne Thompson interviews awards contender Daniel Bruhl about his recent true life roles in “The Fifth Estate‘ and “Rush.” It is that second Ron Howard-directed film that is garnering the strongest notices. He plays legendary Formula 1 racer Niki Lauda, who had a near-fatal racing accident in 1976. In the video chat, Bruhl says he “leaned on Lauda for advice on how to make his portrayal ring true.” Thompson on Hollywood.

At the Hollywood Music in Media Awards on Thursday, Henry Jackman (“Captain Phillips“) won for Best Feature Film Score. Other top winners include “Inside Llewyn Davis” for Best Soundtrack and Jeff Beal (“House of Cards“) for Best TV Score. Awards Daily.

Singapore’s “Ilo Ilo” is the surprise Best Picture wininer at the Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. Director Anthony Chen said, “Singapore is a very little country and we made this film with a small budget, so we never dreamed of winning a best picture prize.” This year’s 50th anniversary jury was chaired by two-time Oscar champ Ang Lee. Other films in contention were “Drug War,” “The Grandmaster,” “Stray Dogs,” and “A Touch of Sin.” Hollywood Reporter.

American Cinematheque hosts a career retrospective for Christian Bale, “one of the most fascinating and accomplished actors working today,” at the Aero Theatre in Los Angeles. His new awards contender “Out of the Furnace” and Oscar-winning film “The Figher” will be screened on December 1. Previous movies “American Psycho” and “The Machinist” will be featured on December 2. American Cinematheque.

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