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'My Week With Marilyn', 'Tinker Tailor' lead BAFTA longlists

With 16 inclusions each, My Week With Marilyn and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are leading the pack in the longlists for the 2012 British Academy Film Awards, which were announced today. In addition to making the cut for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, both films have their stars in contention. (Marilyn‘s Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Judi Dench, and Zoe Wanamaker, as well as Tinker Tailor‘s Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, John Hurt, and Kathy Burke, are all on the acting longlists.)

Following Marilyn and Tinker Tailor for the most entries on the BAFTA longlists were The Iron Lady (14), The Artist, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Midnight in Paris, War Horse (13 each),  The Help, Hugo, Drive (12 each), and The Ides of March and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 (11 each.) Notable exclusions from the BAFTA longlist include Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Melancholia, and Martha Marcy May Marlene, while major Oscar contender The Tree of Life earned just one mention in the cinematography category.

The longlist kicks off the first round of voting for the BAFTAs, which includes 15 entries in most categories. The five nominees will be chosen from these longlists in the second round. However, there are only five for animation and documentary in the first round of voting.  Nominations in all categories, including the shortlist for the Rising Star Award, will be announced on Jan. 17. Check out the entire BAFTAs 2012 longlist, including Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Documentary, Foreign Language Film, and Outstanding British Film here.  (Note: * marks  the five chapter picks.) READ FULL STORY

New York Film Critics Circle announces winners

After scoring the most nominations from the Spirit Awards, the acclaimed black-and-white silent film The Artist has now picked up top honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, winning prizes for Best Picture and Best Director. Sure-thing Oscar nominees Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep won the lead acting awards. Here’s the full list of winners:

Best Picture The Artist
Best Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Best Screenplay Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball
Best Director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Foreign Language Film A Separation
Best Actor Brad Pitt, Moneyball & The Tree of Life
Best Actress Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor Albert Brooks, Drive
Best Supporting Actress Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life, The Help, and Take Shelter
Best First Feature Margin Call
Best Non-Fiction Film Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Box office update: 'Footloose' on top with $5.6 million on Friday; 'The Big Year' D.O.A.

Alright, box office, you can perk up any day now. This lull is just getting ridiculous.

Paramount’s Footloose remake danced to the top of of the box office on Friday, with a slightly underwhelming $5.6 million, and it could be headed to first place with a $16 million weekend. Meanwhile, last weekend’s victor Real Steel dropped 45 percent from last Friday, down to $4.5 million,. The Hugh Jackman vehicle should find $14.5 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period.

Universal’s The Thing prequel started its run in third place with $3.2 million, and it will likely earn just $9 million by weekend’s end. The Ides of March and Moneyball filled up the next two spots on the chart with $2.2 million and $1.7 million, respectively. Ides may climb to $6.5 million, and Moneyball could bat up another $5.5 million. The Brad Pitt picture will likely get passed by Dolphin Tale, which also earned $1.7 million on Friday and may swim to a $6 million weekend.

The weekend’s other new wide-release, Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson’s bird-watching comedy The Big Year, couldn’t get off the ground, taking in a wretched $1.2 million, putting it in eighth place. It may earn only $3.5 million.

1. Footloose – $5.6 mil
2. Real Steel – $4.5 mil
3. The Thing  – $3.2 mil
4. The Ides of March – $2.2 mil
5. Moneyball – $1.7 mil

Check back tomorrow for the full weekend box office report.

Box office preview: ‘Footloose’, ‘The Thing’, and ‘The Big Year’ step into the ring with ‘Real Steel’

Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain to be campaigned in supporting categories for 'The Tree of Life'

Merie Wallace

It’s not a huge surprise, but today comes word from Fox Searchlight that the entire cast of The Tree of Life — notably Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain — will be campaigned in the supporting categories this awards season. It’s a strategy that’s been used for several ensemble films in the recent past, like Babel and Slumdog Millionaire. (Babel‘s Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi ended up scoring Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress, while Slumdog‘s Dev Patel earned a SAG nod in the supporting-male race.)

For Pitt, the move heads off any potential vote splitting between his performances in Tree of Life and Moneyball, since the latter is clearly a lead role. But for Chastain, it’s muddier: The actress, who’ll end up costarring in six films released in 2011, will now be the recipient of supporting campaigns for Tree and The Help, just for starters.

Clearly Searchlight is going with a “the movie is the star” approach with its Tree of Life campaign, a decision that will put the spotlight on reclusive director Terrence Malick. And hey, maybe the dinosaurs were the leads.

Dave on Twitter: @davekarger

Box office report: 'Dolphin Tale' jumps into first with $14.2 million; 'Lion King' now 10th highest-grossing film of all time

The Lion King finally gave up his box office throne, and now another animal reigns supreme!

After its solid $19.2 million debut last weekend, Warner Brothers’ 3D family film Dolphin Tale jumped into first place this time around, dipping just 27 percent to $14.2 million. The film, which earned an “A+” CinemaScore grade, is playing very well to families, and it should continue to enjoy small drops (which is a shame if you’re a pun-happy box office writer dying to use the word “dive!”) in the weeks to come. After ten days, Dolphin Tale, which cost $37 million to produce, has earned $37.5 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Moneyball' leads Friday with $3.9 million, but 'Dolphin Tale' should win weekend

Brad Pitt’s baseball drama Moneyball scored with audiences once again yesterday, dipping 42 percent from its debut last Friday to $3.9 million, leading all films at the U.S. box office. The film will earn about $13 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period and lift its total to almost $40 million.

In second place on Friday was Warner Brothers’ 3D flick Dolphin Tale, which earned a strong $3.5 million. Given its huge family appeal, Dolphin Tale should get a big bump on Saturday and Sunday, and it will likely surpass Moneyball to win the weekend with $14 million. The Lion King 3D, which came in third place with $3.3 million, could pass Moneyball as well, though it will probably finish somewhere in the $13 million range.

Sherwood Pictures’ Courageous, a Christian-based film about four police officers, came in fourth place. Courageous grossed $3.1 million on its first day, more than enough to cover its tiny $2 million budget. Thanks to post-church crowds, Courageous should see a slighter dip than most films on Sunday, and it may finish the weekend with $9.5 million in just 1,161 theaters.

The weekend’s other three newcomers filled up the next three spots on the chart. 50/50 found $2.9 million and could earn $8.5 million this frame. Dream House scared up $2.7 million, and it may find $7.5 million overall. What’s Your Number? only managed $2.1 million, and its headed for about $5.5 million debut.

Check back tomorrow for the full weekend report.

1. Moneyball – $3.9 mil
2. Dolphin Tale – $3.5 mil
3. The Lion King 3D – $3.3 mil
4. Courageous – $3.1 mil
5. 50/50 – $2.9 mil
6. Dream House – $2.7 mil
7. What’s Your Number? – $2.1 mil

Follow Grady on Twitter and Google+

Box office preview: 'The Lion King' defends its throne against four newcomers on busy weekend

Simba always said, “I’m gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware!” I always figured he was talking about Pride Rock — who knew he was actually talking about the box office?!

For the last two weekends, The Lion King 3D has been an unstoppable force at theaters, and it has racked up an impressive $66.4 million in just 13 days. Despite the arrival of four new releases last frame, Lion King managed to retain its box office throne, but will it be able to do the same thing this weekend, when four more new releases – 50/50, Dream House, What’s Your Number?, and Courageous — hit theaters? It could be a very close battle, as six different films have a legitimate shot at coming in first place. Who will reign supreme?

Check out my weekend box office predictions after the jump: READ FULL STORY

'Moneyball': How audiences fell back in love with screenwriting. Plus, Brad Pitt's sexiest dimension

Moneyball, the crackerjack true-life baseball movie starring Brad Pitt as the quirky, embattled, visionary Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (a name born to be a movie character), took a lot of people, including me, by surprise. A baseball drama with a star as big as Brad Pitt might have seemed like the perfect summer movie, so you had to wonder a bit why it wasn’t one. Then too, given the film’s late-September, quasi-no-man’s-land release date, it didn’t exactly sound like awards material either (though people have already started to talk about it in that way). Baseball movies, for whatever reason, have historically been underachievers at the box office (Moneyball‘s $20.6 million take makes it the all-time opening-weekend champ for a baseball flick), so the expectations were at a relatively low ebb when I first saw the movie a couple of weeks ago at the Toronto International Film Festival. (What was a baseball movie doing at TIFF anyway?) Yet from that moment, right up until this very moment, I have yet to meet anyone who’s seen Moneyball who doesn’t like it a lot. The picture is incredibly shrewd entertainment, lively and original and full of surprise, directed and acted with great passion and skill. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Lion King 3D' defends crown with $22.1 mil


Four new movies were no match for the feline phenom The Lion King 3D, which ruled the box office for the second weekend in a row with $22.1 million, according to studio estimates. The 1994 Disney classic dropped only 27 percent — an incredibly impressive hold considering this is the re-release of a 17-year-old film that’s coming out on Blu-ray/DVD in one week. The 3-D version has now grossed $61.7 million, bringing The Lion King‘s cumulative tally to $390.2 million. Disney says it plans to extend what was originally intended to be just a two-week release, although details are still being ironed out. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Moneyball' leads off with $6.8 mil on Friday, but should lose weekend to 'Lion King 3D'

Moneyball won the opening game but will likely lose the weekend series. The $50 million baseball drama, starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, led the pack on Friday by grossing an estimated $6.8 million. That places the PG-13 movie, which has earned some of the most glowing reviews of the year, on track for a solid $19 million weekend. Moneyball also has a shot of beating 2006′s The Benchwarmers, which currently holds the best debut for a baseball movie with $19.7 million.

But despite its Friday victory, Moneyball will probably fall behind The Lion King 3D by the end of today. READ FULL STORY

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