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21 HRS

New York Film Fest: 'Whiplash' Continues to Drum Up Major Oscar Buzz

New York Film Fest: 'Whiplash' Continues to Drum Up Major Oscar Buzz

It's not easy for a tiny indie to land a best picture Oscar nomination. Those that do are generally handled by savvy distributors which carefully nurture word-of-mouth buzz over the course of an awards season, largely by taking their contender from one film festival to another. That worked, in recent years, for Amour, An Education, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Tree of Life and Winter's Bone. And my sense is that it may work again this year for Whiplash, a powerful drama that is being handled by Sony Pictures Classics.

Following stops at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto, the film — which is about an ambitious young drummer (Miles Teller) at a Juilliard-like conservatory and his complicated relationship with one of its most revered but feared instructors (J.K. Simmons) — screened at the New York Film Festival on Sunday night, where its end credits were met with lengthy applause and its talent were introduced to a standing ovation at a post-screening Q&A.

Read more 'Whiplash': Sundance Review

This was no aberration: The film has received similar receptions at the other aforementioned fests — it won both the grand jury and audience awards at Sundance — and response to it at the NYFF press screening was described to me by SPC co-chief Michael Barker as better than any he can remember since Boogie Nights' 17 years ago.

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1 day

FEINBERG FORECAST: How the Oscar Race Is Shaping Up During New York Film Fest

FEINBERG FORECAST: How the Oscar Race Is Shaping Up During New York Film Fest

Every week through the 87th Oscars on Feb. 22, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter's lead awards analyst Scott Feinberg will post an updated "Feinberg Forecast," wherein he presents a summary of major developments since the last update that helped to shape his current opinions and then lists his revised projections. For more about Feinberg and how he arrives at his projections, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Factoring into this week's Feinberg Forecast …

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2 DAYS

New York Film Fest: 'Maps to the Stars' Gets Laughs But No Oscar Campaign

New York Film Fest: 'Maps to the Stars' Gets Laughs But No Oscar Campaign

After Billy Wilder screened his Hollywood send-up Sunset Blvd. for an industry crowd prior to the film's release, the lights in the theater came up and Louis B. Mayer reportedly shouted at him, in front of a room full of A-listers, "You have disgraced the industry that made and fed you! You should be tarred and feathered and run out of Hollywood!" Wilder calmly walked over to him and replied, "Go fuck yourself."

With Maps to the Stars, which screened at Alice Tully Hall on Saturday night as part of the New York Film Festival, David Cronenberg — another revered filmmaker who was born outside of America and who has always looked a bit askance at Hollywood, opting instead to make his films in his native Canada — has made a satire of his own about the film colony and more or less told its population the same thing that Wilder told Mayer.

Read more John Cusack Blasts Hollywood Studio System, Ageism

That is good for a few laughs, but, for a film that is not of the caliber of Sunset Blvd., or even The Player, it won't help its Oscar prospects. Then again, those were fairly limited to begin thanks to the film's unconventionality — probably to Julianne Moore, who was awarded the Cannes Film Festival's best actress prize but would compete stateside in the best supporting actress category — and are further hindered by the fact that the film's U.S. distributor, Focus World, apparently intends to push it only for Golden Globes.

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2 DAYS

New York Film Fest: ''71' Offers Showcase for 'Unbroken' Star Jack O'Connell

New York Film Fest: ''71' Offers Showcase for 'Unbroken' Star Jack O'Connell

'71, a drama about a harrowing chapter of The Troubles of Northern Ireland that marks the feature directorial debut of the Algerian-French filmmaker Yann Demange, completed the fall film fest trifecta on Saturday night when it screened at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall as part of the ongoing 52nd New York Film Festival. The film, which had its world premiere back in February at the Berlin Film Festival, previously screened at Telluride and Toronto, and at its New York showing it was greeted by a long, partially-standing ovation.

Much of the interest in '71 centers around Demange's casting of Jack O'Connell, who will also play the lead role in Angelina Jolie's highly-anticipated Oscar hopeful Unbroken. In the former, the 24-year-old plays the main role of Gary Hook, a young British soldier who becomes separated from his unit during a riot on the streets of Belfast and goes through hell trying to get home. In the latter, he'll be playing World War II POW Louis Zamperini in another tale of men in battle.

O'Connell also appears in David Mackenzie's Starred Up, which was shot simultaneously with '71 but premiered at last year's Telluride Film Festival and was released last month, to rave reviews. If his quiet but sturdy performance in that film and in '71 are any indication, then Jolie may have struck oil. Certainly Demange did, and he knows it: "He's the bollocks, as they say," the director said of his star during a post-screening Q&A.

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2 DAYS

New York Film Fest: Ethan Hawke Reflects on His 'Boyhood'/'Seymour' Moment

New York Film Fest: Ethan Hawke Reflects on His 'Boyhood'/'Seymour' Moment

There are few people in the film industry who are better liked or more respected than the actor-writer-director Ethan Hawke. For this reason, many are surprised to learn that the 43-year-old, who is celebrating his 30th year in the business, and who will receive a career tribute at the New York Film Festival on Tuesday night, has received only one Oscar nomination for acting, 13 years ago for Training Day, despite giving a litany of great performances in memorable films over the years.

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New York Film Fest: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Opens Fest, But Is It an Oscar Movie?

New York Film Fest: David Fincher's 'Gone Girl' Opens Fest, But Is It an Oscar Movie?

David Fincher's Gone Girl, an adaptation of Gillian Flynn's 2012 best-selling novel about the marriage of Amy and Nick Dunne — 8.5 million copies sold — that was scribed by Flynn herself and stars Rosamund Pike (Amy) and Ben Affleck (Nick), opened the 2014 New York Film Festival on Friday night with multiple screenings at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and a lavish afterparty at Central Park's Tavern on the Green.

See more Spoiler Alert! 'Gone Girl' and 11 Other Movies With Big Twists

The New York Film Fest has a hit-or-miss track record with opening-night films in recent years: Mystic River (2003), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), The Queen (2006), The Social Network (2010), Life of Pi (2012) and Captain Phillips (2013) all went on to land best picture Oscar nominations — but Celebrity (1998), The Darjeeling Limited (2007) and Carnage (2011) were entirely ignored by the Academy.

Into which grouping will Gone Girl eventually fall?

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5 DAYS

Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Desert Dancer' U.S. Premiere Will Kick Off 30th Edition

Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Desert Dancer' U.S. Premiere Will Kick Off 30th Edition

Richard Raymond's Desert Dancer, a drama about a young dancer in present-day Iran that stars Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto, will kick off the 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the historic Arlington Theatre on Jan. 27, 2015, the fest's organizers announced this week. SBIFF also announced that its Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking, which hasn't been presented in five years, will go to the Cousteau family.

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6 DAYS

Oscar Season Kicks Off in Hollywood With 'Birdman' and 'Chef' Events

Oscar Season Kicks Off in Hollywood With 'Birdman' and 'Chef' Events

If Tuesday evening's Hollywood Reporter awards season kickoff party wasn't proof enough that the Oscar race has now made its way from Telluride and Toronto to Hollywood (en route to New York, where the New York Film Festival gets underway on Friday), then a flurry of other awards-related gatherings held simultaneously across town — including an Open Road Films party celebrating the DVD/Blu-ray release of Chef and a Fox Searchlight special screening of Birdman — certainly should be.

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1 week

Field of Foreign-Language Oscar Contenders Begins to Come Into Focus

Field of Foreign-Language Oscar Contenders Begins to Come Into Focus

A year after a record 76 countries entered the race for the best foreign-language film Oscar, and with this year's Oct. 1 deadline for countries to name their official submission nearing, 2014's field of international Oscar hopefuls is starting to come into focus.

More than 50 nations have already made their selections, including perennial contenders France, Sweden, Japan, Israel, Germany and Denmark. Among the major film-producing countries that have yet to announce a pick, but surely will, are Italy, Spain, Argentina, Russia and China. (To be considered, a film must have screened in its home country for seven consecutive days between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.)

In January several hundred L.A.-based Academy members will select six submissions for a shortlist; then the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee will add three more submissions, addressing any glaring oversights, and the full shortlist of nine films will be made public. Then two specially-invited committees — one on each coast — will view the nine films and vote to determine which five will be nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar.

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Sony Classics' Michael Barker, Tom Bernard Inducted Into French Legion of Honor

Sony Classics' Michael Barker, Tom Bernard Inducted Into French Legion of Honor

Just hours after France named Saint Laurent as its submission for consideration in this season's best foreign-language film Oscar race, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, whose Sony Pictures Classics will distribute that film in the U.S., were presented with France's highest military and civilian honor, the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, at a ceremony at the French Consulate in New York.

Saint Laurent is only the latest in a group of of roughly 90 French films distributed in the U.S. by Barker and Bernard's various ventures over the past 30-plus years — at United Artists (1980-1983), Orion Classics (1983-1991) and Sony Classics (1992-) — and, come January, could join many of them in the elite club of Oscar nominees.

Before presenting Barker and Bernard with their medals, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius praised the duo for their "unique place in the realm of French cinema, distributing the largest number of French films in America and Europe." He added, "Without your dedication and passion, French cinema would not have reached the American audiences that it has."

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1 week

Can 'True Detective' Star Michelle Monaghan Land an Oscar Nom for 'Fort Bliss'?

Can 'True Detective' Star Michelle Monaghan Land an Oscar Nom for 'Fort Bliss'?

Michelle Monaghan, one of the most underappreciated actresses working today, has starred in two films — both tiny indies — in which she portrays a character employed in a stereotypically masculine job who is struggling to juggle her work responsibilities with the stereotypically feminine responsibility of raising a young child.

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1 week

FEINBERG FORECAST: The Race Takes Shape a Week Ahead of the New York Film Festival

FEINBERG FORECAST: The Race Takes Shape a Week Ahead of the New York Film Festival

Every week through the 87th Oscars on Feb. 22, 2015, The Hollywood Reporter's lead awards analyst Scott Feinberg will post an updated "Feinberg Forecast," wherein he presents a summary of major developments since the last update that helped to shape his current opinions and then lists his revised projections. For more about Feinberg and how he arrives at his projections, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Factoring into this week's Feinberg Forecast (to which the best cinematography, best film editing, best makeup and hairstyling, best original score and best production design categories have been added)...

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2 WKS

Toronto: Al Pacino's 'Manglehorn' Still Lacks U.S. Distributor

Toronto: Al Pacino's 'Manglehorn' Still Lacks U.S. Distributor

One of the most special things about this year's Toronto Film Festival, which wrapped up earlier this week, was seeing Al Pacino in top form in not one but two special presentations screenings.

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Tonys: 'Love Letters,' 'Boyhood' and the Many Ways of Depicting the Passage of Time Through Art

Tonys: 'Love Letters,' 'Boyhood' and the Many Ways of Depicting the Passage of Time Through Art

As much as anything, Gregory Mosher's new Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney's 1988 dramedy Love Letters — which opened Thursday night at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, will be running there through Feb. 15 (see THR's review) and may well contend for Tonys next spring — made me think about the wide variety of ways in which the passage of time can be conveyed through the different art forms.

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