THE FINISH LINE: Angelina Jolie Honored by U.N.; Anna Paquin's 'Margaret' Tanks

Today's recommendations of important, interesting and eccentric stories pertaining to the awards race.
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Angelina Jolie

Today's recommendations of important, interesting and eccentric stories pertaining to the awards race...

  • Justin Harp reports that Angelina Jolie, the humanitarian, actress and writer-director of the December release In the Land of Blood and Honey, which is about the Bosnian War of 1992-95, has been honored by the United Nations at a gala ceremony in Switzerland. "The U.N.'s High Commissioner for Human Rights paid tribute to Jolie's 10 years of service as a Goodwill Ambassador," Harp writes, adding that "Jolie addressed those in attendance at the dinner, saying that working with the UN has taught her the importance of compassion." -- Digital Spy
  • Manhola Dargis bemoans the fact that "late-summer, early-fall festivals like Telluride and especially Toronto are now too often seen as warm-ups for the Oscars," while acknowledging that "both events solicited that attention, and grew more influential as a result." A.O. Scott concurs, arguing that "the Oscars themselves have assumed a disproportionate and in some ways destructive importance. They are the reason the fall release schedule is so crowded with 'serious' -- that is non-action, non-franchise, non-rom-com -- movies." (To which I say: why is that a bad thing?) With regard to the Oscars, at least Scott is honest enough to admit, "I will of course be watching." -- New York Times
  • Jeff Wells posts the trailer for Oscar front-runner War Horse, which was released Tuesday, and, in his inimitable way, communicates that he is cautiously optmistic about its prospects. "[It] is a Steven Spielberg film, all right. Sound and fury, emotion on its sleeve, very handsome photography, first-rate actors conveying sensitivity and compassion. But beware of any shot of any young actress with a tear running down her cheek. Beware of dolly-in shots of handsome young farm lads. Beware of title cards that say 'touched by kindness' and 'hope survives.' Beware of French horny orchestral music that tries to melt you down." -- Hollywood-Elsewhere
  • Kris Tapley admits that he "can toy with some pretty unlikely predictions in the early stages," but says that he thinks Asghar Faradi's moving Iranian film A Separation, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in February, will score an Oscar nod not only for best foreign language film but for best original screenplay as well. I actually don't think it's an outlandish prediction at all -- in fact, at a lunch for Faradi last week, Sony Pictures Classics co-chiefs Michael Barker and Tom Bernard mentioned that they fully intend to push the film in both categories. -- Hitfix
  • Thelma Adams unearths a clip of Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, the two stars of this year's black-and-white silent masterpiece The Artist, dancing together in OSS 117 -- Lost in Rio (2009). Both films were directed by Bejo's husband, Michel Hazanavicius (and the more recent film features even more complex dancing by the two actors). -- Thelma Adams
  • Will Leitch runs the numbers and comes to the rather sad conclusion that Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, which stars big names such as Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, and Anna Paquin, and which was finally released Friday (by Fox Searchlight) after spending six years in post-production hell, sold a mere 624 tickets over the weekend. -- Yahoo!
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