The Hollywood Reporter (#110 of 21)

Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Animated Feature

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Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Animated Feature
Oscar 2014 Winner Predictions: Animated Feature

If we pretend this contest is a legitimate one, The Hollywood Reporter may be right that The Croods stands a fighting chance here. Except that anything DreamWorks Animation does to remind voters of the cartoon's art and originality is to also remind them of its retrograde sense of moral values, which isn't so easily forgiven by the story's actual prehistoric setting. In the end, it seems that the sheer likability of the highest-grossing film in the category, Despicable Me 2, in which the franchise's resourceful minions happily bust out the cute once more, makes the cartoon a more viable contender, at least more so than Ernest & Celestine, a lovely little triumph in world-building that may be the film with the least chance of winning an Oscar on March 2nd.

Box Office Rap Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu

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Box Office Rap: Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu
Box Office Rap: Kick-Ass 2 and the Hollywood Reporter Snafu

Neill Blomkamp's Elysium topped the box office this past weekend, though its lead over the competition ended up being less than anticipated. However, if one were following The Hollywood Reporter's coverage on Friday, that margin was said to be even less, as writer Pamela McClintock claimed that “strong matinee business” suggested Planes was headed for a $30 million weekend, which was set to match that of the Matt Damon actioner. The actual for Planes ended up in third place with $22.2 million, over 25% less than initially reported. More troubling than the inaccurate figures, which are understandable given the unpredictability of internal weekend multipliers and whatnot, is the article's headline, which claims that Planes's performance is “breaking [the] animation curse,” allegedly created from underwhelming box-office openings by Turbo and The Smurfs 2. An animation curse? It's hard to argue for any curse, given the almost $640 million made worldwide by Monsters University and the $745 million made worldwide by Despicable Me 2, the latter of which is second to only Iron Man 3 as the highest-grossing domestic release of 2013.

Body of Work Lake Bell

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Body of Work: Lake Bell

LD Entertainment

Body of Work: Lake Bell

There's plenty more to Lake Bell than the casual viewer—or gawker—might think. On the big screen (It's Complicated), the small screen (How to Make It in America), and even online (Children's Hospital), the 34-year-old has shown her great gift for angsty comedy, and with things like this 2011 Maxim cover story, she's broadcasted her embrace of being a slinky sex symbol. She's merged both attributes in recent flicks like A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, and in New Girl, on which she briefly guest-starred. But Bell has tackled her share of straight-up drama, too, in projects like the short-lived series Surface, her recurring role on The Practice and Boston Legal, and, now, the girls-gone-primal survivor thriller Black Rock, which co-stars Kate Bosworth and the film's director, Katie Aselton. Highly rugged and often quite brutal, Black Rock sees its trio of female leads do all their own stunts, and suffer a great deal of bumps, cuts and bruises in the process. Was it a thrill for Bell to ditch the giggling and vamping and dive into no-frills combat?

“I mean, hell yes,” the actress says, calling in from L.A., “especially because I don't get this opportunity, ever. Well, in Surface I got to do it a little bit, but it's been many years since I've had the opportunity to let out my inner badass. Katie Aselton specifically did not want us to workout, train, or choreograph anything. She really wanted it to be messy, and real, so it felt very real and therefore a little more uncomfortable. In these movies, it takes you out of it sometimes when you see normal civilians all of the sudden rising to the occasion and doing a jiu-jitsu roundhouse kick or something. In order to sell this, we really kinda had to just go for it.”

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Picture

Despite the hysteria, it may not be appropriate yet to call a time of death on the decades and decades' worth of precedent that will be shattered when Argo wins Best Picture despite very conspicuously not being nominated for its director, not having even remotely close to the year's highest nomination tally (it trails behind four other films), and not having even a halfway plausible shot at winning more than two other categories aside from this one. After all, there's still one tradition working in the movie's favor. It's going to win the all-important Oscar for Best Editing, some would say for how exhilaratingly it crosscuts between a grim interrogation at a Mehrabad Airport checkpoint, Walter White barking out commands in D.C., and Alan Arkin and John Goodman being humorously cockblocked from answering their telephone by archetypal union (i.e. guild) workers, whereas others would say for how ruthlessly it edits out any historical perspective that doesn't turn the Iranian populace into swarthy pod people.