By MCN Editor

The Oscar Sidebar

Best Picture Release Dates:
Midnight in Paris – May 20, 2011
The Tree of Life – May 27, 2011
The Help – August 10, 2011
Moneyball – September 23, 2011
The Descendants – November 16, 2011
Hugo – November 23, 2011
The Artist – November 25, 2011
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – December 25, 2011
War Horse – December 25, 2011

• This year’s balloting rules allowed for the possibility of between five and ten Best Picture nominees, and for the first time in Academy history, nine films have been nominated in that category.

• With his two nominations for Original Score this year, John Williams now has a total of 47 nominations. He ranks second to Walt Disney as the most-nominated individual in Oscar® history. Among living persons, Woody Allen, who is also nominated twice this year for a total of 23 nominations, is second only to Williams.

• Meryl Streep extends her lead as the most-nominated performer in Oscar history with her 17th nomination this year.

• In the acting categories, nine individuals are first-time nominees. Two of the nominees (George Clooney, Meryl Streep) are previous acting winners. Only Michelle Williams was also nominated last year, for her leading role in Blue Valentine.

• Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, with their nominations for War Horse, now share the record for most Best Picture nominations for individual producers with seven each. Kennedy’s previous nominations were for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Color Purple (1985), The Sixth Sense (1999), Seabiscuit (2003), Munich (2005) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Spielberg’s other Best Picture nominations were for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List (1993), for which he won the award, Saving Private Ryan (1998), Munich and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006).

• With his nominations for directing and writing Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen passes Billy Wilder in becoming a seven-time double nominee for Directing and Writing on the same film.

• A Separation is the first screenplay written in Farsi to receive a Writing nomination.

• For the second time, George Clooney has received nominations in two different categories for two different feature films in the same year. He is nominated for his leading role in The Descendants and in the Adapted Screenplay category for The Ides of March. In 2005, he was named Best Supporting Actor for Syriana and was nominated in the Original Screenplay category for Good Night, and Good Luck.

• Pina is the first 3D film nominated in the Documentary Feature category.

• The Artist is the tenth predominantly black-and-white film to be nominated for Cinematography since 1967, when the separate category for black-and-white cinematography was eliminated. Previously nominated films were In Cold Blood (1967), The Last Picture Show (1971), Lenny (1974), Raging Bull (1981), Zelig (1983), Schindler’s List (1993), The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001), Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) and The White Ribbon (2009).

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima