Oscars News: Should Best Picture contenders fear Clint Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper’?

Gregory Ellwood asks if the rest of the Oscar Best Picture contenders should fear Clint Eastwood‘s “American Sniper.” He has already proven late season success before with “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006). On the other hand, he has also had contender duds like “Hereafter” and “J. Edgar.” The new film slated for December stars two-time nominee Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most decorated sniper in U.S. military history. Ellwood’s current top 10 for Best Picture predictions (in order): “Interstellar,” “The Imitation Game,” “Birdman,” “Unbroken,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Boyhood,” “Gone Girl,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Foxcatcher,” and “American Sniper.” HitFix

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Joshua Rothman reveals what the new film “Gone Girl” is “really about” in a new essay. He says that “you can read the book or you can see the movie, but you can’t fully embrace both versions, because they’ll occupy the same brain-space, obscuring one another. He enjoyed David Fincher‘s film “on its own terms, in all its abstract, intellectual, postmodern glory.” Rothman does incorporate spoilers about the movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, including “a big twist” that upends everything. New Yorker

Scott Feinberg states that three-time Oscar champ Colleen Atwood could accomplish something rare this year. She could be only the ninth costume designer ever to score two nods in one year. Her major contenders are “Into the Woods” starring Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt and “Big Eyes” starring Amy Adams. It has been more than a decade since this last happened with Ngila Dickson (“Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “The Last Samurai”). He interviews the 10-time nominee about her legendary career. Hollywood Reporter

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Birdman’ will change Michael Keaton’s life and ‘blow your mind’

Tim Gray brings official word that a record 83 countries are in the foreign language film competition for the next Academy Awards. Four countries entering for the first time: Kosovo (“Three Windows and a Hanging”), Malta (“Simshar”), Mauritania (“Timbuktu”), and Panama (“Invasion”). A reminder that this will also be the first year that the winning director’s name will be engraved on the trophy along with the country. Five nominees will be announced on January 15. Variety

Steve Pond reports on the completely redesigned Oscars.org website from the Academy. It is the first full redesign since 2008 and is now available to the public. It incorporates social media more than ever, is mobile-friendly, and features photos and graphics from the library and archives. One of the first activities available is a fan giveaway for red carpet bleacher seats to the next Oscars. The Wrap

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