Oscar news: Julianne Moore (‘Still Alice’) feted by Palm Springs fest, ‘Citizenfour’ leads Cinema Eye noms


Julianne Moore, who sits atop our Best Actress chart for “Still Alice,” is to be feted by the Palm Springs Film Festival at its Jan. 3 gala. Also making the trek to the desert will be Best Actor honoree Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”). Expect a slew more of such announcements in the coming days for this key stop on the road to the Oscars. PSIFF

And Tim Gray reviews Wednesday’s AFI screening of “Still Alice”: Moore gives a moving and nuanced performance in a smart and tender film directed and written (from Lisa Genova’s novel) by Richard Glatzer and Wash WestmorelandKristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin give excellent supporting performances and are worth some consideration. Variety

Red-hot Oscar contender “Citizenfour” picked up a leading six nominations for the Cinema Eye Honors, including a bid for Best Documentary Feature. Others contending for that top award are: “Life Itself,” “The Overnighters,” “20,000 Days on Earth,” and “Virunga.” Of this quintet, only “Citizenfour” was also cited by the rival International Documentary Assn.  Cinema Eye

Oscar experts: ‘Boyhood’ will win 5, ‘Interstellar’ 4, ‘Birdman’ 2

Sasha Stone writes: Hilary Swank gives one of the best performances of the year in Tommy Lee Jones’ “The Homesman.” During the festival circuit it couldn’t quite catch a break. It screened opposite the first “Birdman” screening in Telluride and against the “Selma”/”American Sniper” screening at the AFI Fest. Despite that, reviews are beginning to trickle in. The ending, as expected, have given some critics pause, especially those who call it a feminist western. I’m not sure what that means as I could think of five different ways this movie might have become a feminist western. Those looking for that kind of correctional uplift are going to be in for a surprise. This film, as entertaining as it is, makes a stark statement about women and their worth then, and in many ways where Hollywood is concerned, now. Awards Daily

As Esther Zuckerman observes: This isn’t the “Annie” you know. In a new clip, Quvenzhane Wallis sings an entirely new song written for the film by “Chandelier” singer Sia and Greg Kurstin. The song is perhaps more radio-ready than some of the musical’s saccharine hits. (Though “It’s The Hard Knock Life” has had its moments. Jay Z, after all, is a producer on the new film.) Wallis’ voice sounds sweet on the track, which her character sings at the Guggenheim Museum. EW

Oscars flashback: How smart or stupid were Experts at this point last year? 

Kris Tapley notes: Timothy Spall has already picked up an award for his performance as J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh‘s meticulous biopic “Mr. Turner.” He won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where the film first premiered. He has also received a European Film Awards nomination for his work, a character actor who has picked up the leading man ball and run with it…perhaps even all the way to an Oscar nomination. I spoke to Spall this week about the opportunity, which he particularly relishes for being a shared experience with a longtime collaborator like Leigh. In Contention 

For Glenn Whipp: There is a long-running misconception that members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences love only underdog biopics, literary adaptations and anything in which Meryl Streep speaks with an accent. But if you look at the list of the 500-plus movies that have received best picture nominations since the earliest awards were handed out in 1927, you’ll see a surprising number of titles that stray from the straight dramatic film — comedies and genre stories that encompass fantasies, thrillers, westerns and sci-fi epics. Los Angeles Times

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