1. “Legendary Producer Saul Zaentz Dies at 92.” Succumbing to complications from Alzheimer’s, the music industry vet turned Oscar-winning producer passed away Friday at his San Francisco home.
“Incredibly, two of his best picture Oscars were his first two films: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Amadeus. His third film was the internationally acclaimed The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), nominated for a pair of Academy Awards. He teamed with fledgling producer Michael Douglas on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The Jack Nicholson-starrer based on Ken Kesey’s novel earned Zaentz his first Academy Award, which he shared with Douglas. The film took home the top five Oscars, a rare achievement.”
2. ”Inside Llewyn Davis Sweeps National Society of Film Critics’ Top Awards.” The Writers and Producers Guilds may have passed it over, but the NSFC fell hard for the Coen Brothers’ latest.
“The 56 member-strong National Society of Film Critics today helped CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis bounce back from its PGA and WGA snubs, awarding the 1960s-set folk music drama Best Picture, Best Director for Joel and Ethan Coen, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac’s turn as the eponymous singer-songwriter, and Best Cinematography. The boost came the same day CBS took out a full-page For Your Consideration ad in the New York Times pulling a select portion of this Dec. 30 Tweet by NYT critic A.O. Scott: ‘I’m gonna listen to the Llewyn Davis album again. Fare thee well, my honeys.’ Whatever works?”
3. “Liz Cheney Quits Wyoming Senate Race.” Bringing a sudden end to her “unsteady” challenge to incumbent Michael Enzi, Cheney claimed “serious health issues” in her family prompted the discontinuing of her campaign.
“Since Ms. Cheney, 47, the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, declared her candidacy in July against Mr. Enzi—a well-liked, three-term Senate veteran—she not only never gained traction but also wound up causing deep rifts among longtime friends and even within her own family. Her task was always going to be difficult. Unlike some of the other sitting Republican senators who have been challenged in primaries in recent years, Mr. Enzi has a solidly conservative voting record and he did not present the sort of vulnerabilities Ms. Cheney could exploit. But Ms. Cheney never was able to focus much on her opponent, spending much of her five-month candidacy fending off distractions to her campaign.”
4. “Oscar Symposium: The Fifth Spot (Part One).” In a new symposium over at Nathaniel Rogers’s The Film Experience, Nathaniel, Christopher Rosen (The Huffington Post), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), and yours truly talk Oscars and who, if anyone, can displace the most vulnerable comers in major races.
“Things that are awesome that come in sets of five: fingers, boy bands, the filmography of John Cazale, golden rings to be used for Olympics or in song, toes, Oscar nominees… It always comes back to the Oscars here at The Film Experience, don’t you know? This year we’re starting a new mini-symposium tradition at the Film Experience in which we gather to discuss the fifth spot. There’s no point in debating the locks but usually at least one spot is up for grabs. These “what ifs” we’re discussing become moot on January 16th when the nominations are announced but they’re fun while they last (10 more days!).”
5. “GOP Congressman Aaron Schock Has His Glass Closet Shattered.” Having already repeatedly shot down gay rumors, anti-gay, GOP congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois may have finally been outed by journalist Itay Ahod.
“Early [on Friday], Hod—who is also gay—posted a long note on Facebook wondering why no journalist has ever outed Schock, who he claims has been caught by a journalist in the shower with his male roommate as well as in gay bars by TMZ. ‘Doesn’t the media have an OBLIGATION to expose hypocrisy?’ Hod goes on to defend outing the ‘certain GOP congressman’ before posting a link to ‘The 7 gayest Aaron Schock Instagram posts of 2013’ juuuuust to make sure we’re all on the same page.”
Video of the Day: Speaking via webcam to Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil, Martin Scorsese says he finds the Wolf of Wall Street controversy “exciting”:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.