Oscars news: Richard Linklater on casting ‘Boyhood,’ Secrets of ‘Into the Woods’

Jeff LaBrecque wonders, “How could Richard Linklater possibly cast the perfect 6-year-old who was also willing to commit the next 12 years of his life to a movie (‘Boyhood‘)? The anwer: “’I always joke, it must be like selecting the next Dalai Lama,’ says Linklater. ‘You put out things like, ‘Are you The One?’ It felt like that. There were so many considerations. This was such a long-term commitment, and by definition, it’s such a volatile element: a young person who’s going to grow up. Who knows what you’re going to get?’ There may have been great candidates in Los Angeles or New York, but Linklater preferred that Mason live in or around Austin. ‘We’re low budget, so we couldn’t have flown him in from far away,’ says Linklater. ‘It would’ve made him a tougher collaborator to not have him nearby [for the next 12 years]. Because I knew I wanted to be in his life a little more and really be a family member, and be able to call him up and go get lunch.’” EW

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

As Rebecca Keegan and Mark Olsen observe: “If laws of time and space were of no matter, the characters played by the performers in this year’s Envelope Actors Roundtable would make for a most unusual dinner party: a contemporary big-city lawyer struggling to reconcile with his small-town family, a WWII codebreaker forced to work and live in veiled secrecy, a world-renowned modern physicist racing against a debilitating physical condition, an actor looking for meaning in life against his fast-fleeting fame, and a man driven mad by the isolation of his family’s wealth and privilege.  Yet when Robert Downey Jr. (“The Judge”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”) recently met for a conversation those were the roles on the table — and it turns out there was much common ground in such topics as how to connect to a role, the importance of watching playback, the difficulty of physical transformation and the ever-present distractions and connections provided by social media.” Los Angeles Times

Greg Ellwood recaps 11 things to know about “Into the Woods.” Among them, this: “Rob Marshall thinks a major thrill is how it redefines actors you thought you knew. ‘I don’t think people knew that Chris Pine was funny like that, or could sing,’ Marshall says. ‘I don’t think people even know the full range of what Emily Blunt can do with her incredible humor and humanity and sensibility and warmth and her singing voice as this character. Even Meryl Streep; you think you’ve seen her do everything and then she sings this piece with such ferocity and depth and such power. That was such a surprise. When we were rehearsing that for the first time and watching what she was doing with this witch and bringing such vulnerability to the character, I thought, ‘No one has ever seen this from Meryl Streep.'” In Contention

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Scott Feinberg analyzes the ineligibility of Antonio Sanchez‘s score for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s “Birdman“: There is a fairly widespread sense that the music branch, which is comprised of 244 members, many of whom are quite elderly and some of whom haven’t written a note of music in decades is a bit narrow-minded, perhaps a tad out of touch and doesn’t always adjudicate disputes in a consistent manner. For instance, as one industry insider pointed out to me, it did not disqualify the scores for 2010’s ‘The King’s Speech,’ which draws heavily on music by Ludwig van Beethoven; 2006’s ‘Babel,’ which takes many cues from Hitoshi Sakimoto‘s work; or last year’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ which heavily sampled Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman‘s original songs from ‘Mary Poppins.’ But it did disqualify the score for last year’s ‘Frozen’ because it was apparently considered too song-heavy. And though it did disqualify Johnny Greenwood‘s score for 2007’s ‘There Will Be Blood,’ citing the same reasons that it has used for disqualifying ‘Birdman,’ it subsequently long-listed his score for 2012’s ‘The Master,’ which does the same thing.” THR

Bill Desowitz takes a listen to the top films in contention for the sound awards: “The sound category this awards season is highlighted by different war zones (“Fury,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Godzilla“), a gut-wrenching space adventure (“Interstellar“), and a bizarre fairy tale musical mash-up (“Into the Woods“). What they have in common is a sense of the natural and a sonic intensity.” Thompson on Hollywood

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