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Oscars 2014: Karen O's 'Moon Song' for 'Her' was '10 years in the making' -- VIDEO

The courtship exhibited in Her might be unconventional, but you wouldn’t know that from Karen O’s “The Moon Song” — a sweet, simple ukulele ode to a long-distance love.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs vocalist scored her first Oscar nomination for the song, which Scarlett Johansson’s OS Samantha sings in the film, while Joaquin Phoenix’s lonely Theodore provides the instrumentals. Director Spike Jonze co-wrote the lyrics, and it was recently announced that Karen O would be performing the song at the Academy Awards on March 2.

Check out a Warner Bros. featurette backed by the quiet song after the jump. Framed by Amy Adams’ character reassuring us that “anybody who falls in love is a freak,” and set to some gorgeous clips from the film, we’re not promising that those who stick it out will make it to the end with dry eyes. Blame the Rooney Mara flashbacks. READ FULL STORY

'Her' and 'Captain Phillips' win Writers Guild Awards

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Spike Jonze’s philosophical sci-fi love story Her, and Billy Ray’s harrowing true-life hostage saga Captain Phillips earned best original and adapted screenplays, respectively, from the Writers Guild Awards on Saturday.

In the original category, Her was facing its four rivals for the Oscar: American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, and Nebraska, so its victory can be seen as a strong harbinger of where the Academy Award could go on March 2. In anecdotal sampling of Academy members, EW’s Prize Fighter has also determined that Her is far and away the front-runner for this category.

The WGA’s predictive powers are less assured in the adapted category, since guild rules excluded some top Oscar contenders this year.

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Critical Mass: Everyone has a crush on 'Her'

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With Her recently earning nominations from the writers and producers guilds, Spike Jonze’s oddball romance about a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) and his beguiling operating-system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) is emerging as a solid dark-horse in the season’s Oscar races. Not only do critics adore it, but it’s played well in extremely limited release since opening on Dec. 20. (It expands wide on Jan. 10.)

Set in an indeterminate near future, Her is the story of sad-sack Theodore Twombly. Recovering from a recent divorce, he works at an L.A. greeting-card company that composes intimate personal messages for loved ones. The women he encounters in his personal life don’t suit him — except for his one platonic female friend, played by a mouse-y Amy Adams — so he can’t help but be drawn to his new OS, a flirtatious and comforting presence who pulls him out of his malaise. “That the OS, which he calls Samantha, has the sultry, pack-a-day voice of Scarlett Johansson only heightens the case for why a man might fall for a piece of software,” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty. “Her soothing voice, awkward stabs at humor, and breathy, eager-to-please laugh are a balm for his wounded soul. She’s a perfect 10 made from 1s and 0s.”

Click below to see what other leading critics had to say before rushing out to see Her: READ FULL STORY

L.A., New York, and Boston Critics awards roundup: '12 Years a Slave', 'Gravity' dominate

Sunday was a busy day for film critics on both coasts. Boston, New York, and Los Angeles Film Critics announced their annual awards, adding fuel to the Oscar-prediction fire with a strong showing for 12 Years a Slave in the Best Picture arena.

Other repeat honorees include Blue Jasmine’s Cate Blanchett for Best Actress, 12 Years a Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor for Best Actor, Dallas Buyers Club’s Jared Leto for Best Supporting Actor, and 12 Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o for Best Supporting Actress. Cinematography awards mostly went to Emmanuel Lubezki for his work on Gravity, and Inside Llewyn Davis picked up a few nods for T Bone Burnett’s score. Some categories were more evenly divided: Alfonso Cuaron and Steve McQueen both got two Best Director acknowledgements for their work on Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.

Take a look at the complete roundup below.

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'Her' trailer: Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with Scarlett Johansson's voice -- VIDEO

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“The woman I’ve been seeing… Samantha? She’s an operating system.”

Yeah, so Theodore Twombly’s not exactly Rhett Butler. But in Spike Jonze’s Her, which opens in theaters on Dec. 18, Joaquin Phoenix gives a soulful performance as an introverted man who falls for the voice that organizes his hand-held device. Of course, the voice is Scarlett Johansson, so you can perhaps understand the attraction.

The film’s new trailer is accompanied by Arcade Fire’s “Supersymmetry;” the Canadian band scored the film and a version of the song plays over the closing credits. The music and the visuals can almost make you swoon as Theodore’s falling-in-love montage is missing only one thing — another physical person.

“Is it not a real relationship?” asks his pal played by Amy Adams.

Well… is it?

Watch. READ FULL STORY

Golden Globes refuse to consider Scarlett Johansson's 'Her' performance -- BREAKING

The Golden Globes will not be speaking up on behalf of Scarlett Johansson’s voice.

The vocal performance by the actress in Spike Jonze’s new romantic drama Her has been ruled ineligible by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for a supporting actress bid, according to sources close to the submission process. The final decision came today after an appeal from distributor Warner Bros.

Just last week, the Rome Film Festival gave Johansson its Best Actress award for the film.  READ FULL STORY

On the scene with Spike Jonze, Joaquin Phoenix, Rooney Mara, and more at the premiere of 'Her'

The New York Film Festival screened Spike Jonze’s Her — his first solo writing feature — on its closing night, Oct. 12. Jonze, along with cast members Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde, arrived on the red carpet at Alice Tully Hall to celebrate the film’s world premiere.

The movie centers on Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly, a lonely, big-hearted man who falls in love with his Siri-like operating system “Samantha” (smokily voiced by Scarlett Johansson) while coping with his recent divorce. Set in a futuristic version of Los Angeles, Theodore works as a ghost writer for BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, dictating heartfelt missives from loved ones who can’t string the words together themselves. Sensitive and reclusive, he finds fulfillment through his complicated relationship with “Samantha.”

For director Jonze, the premiere was a special homecoming. “The New York Film Festival means a lot to me,” Jonze said before the screening. “This is where I got to premiere my first film, Being John Malkovich.” Accompanied by his family and most of his cast — except Johansson, who “is in the ether with us as she is in the movie,” he said — Jonze presented his highly anticipated film to a full house.

Though Phoenix showed up to the premiere with Jonze, the elusive actor didn’t stop for comments on the red carpet, instead racing inside early. But Mara, who plays a pivotal, albeit small, role as Theodore’s ex-wife, gamely talked about her part and how Theodore’s lengthy, but failed relationship with her character drives his need. “You see our relationship unfold,” Mara told EW. “We’ve been together many, many years, and you see all the stages of it.”

In fact, Jonze was reluctant to cast Mara as Theodore’s heartbreak because she seemed too young for Phoenix. “Joaquin is older than me, but he feels kind of young, he has a young spirit,” Mara said. “When I read the script, it was just so powerful, I loved it so much, so even though Spike thought I was too young, I went after it and convinced him to hire me.”

Kent Jones, the festival’s director of programming, echoed Mara while introducing Her: “[Spike] made a film that, when we saw it, we instantly fell in love with,” he said. Jones added that the selection committee wanted the film to close the festival because it mixed lighthearted humor with deeply haunting themes of human emotion, loneliness, and melancholy.

And with the diverse subject matter covered in Her, Mara said, it’s tough to pinpoint just one lesson from Theodore’s relationships.

“There’s so many thought-provoking ideas, and I don’t think there’s one thing to take away from it,” the actress said, shaking her head. “Every day while shooting it, I would drive home and have a million things running through my head about relationships, about everything; I think that’s kind of what happens when you see the film as well.”

Her opens in select theaters Dec. 18 and nationwide Jan. 10, 2014.

Spike Jonze on his new movie 'Her' -- EXCLUSIVE

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The first trailer for Spike Jonze’s new movie Her was released last week and generated a rush of positive buzz. The film is set in the near future and stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore, a lonely, soon-to-be-divorced writer who buys a new computer operating system named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Samantha is so human and intuitive that Theodore begins to fall in love with “her.”

Prior to the release of the trailer, that description of the plot inspired a raft of Siri jokes, but the tone of the trailer is so full of longing and loss that those flip jibes fall flat once you’ve seen it. Jonze, 43, has not made a film in four years and first conceived of Her while working on his last, Where the Wild Things Are. He spoke with EW about Her and why he wanted to make it.
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Joaquin Phoenix falls for Scarlett Johansson's voice in 'Her' trailer -- VIDEO

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Bad movies can look great in a 150-second trailer. And great movies can’t always be fully appreciated in a brief collage of moments. You simply never know about a movie until you actually see it, so I never let a coming attraction push me too far either way. But… the trailer for Spike Jonze’s Her looks amazing, emblematic of his most original, provocative work, like Adaptation. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a depressed writer whose life changes when he starts using the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system to organize his life. It is a she, named Samantha, and she sounds an awful lot like Scarlett Johansson. As Theodore begins to emerge from his cocoon of gloom — reuniting with his Master co-star Amy Adams — he and Samantha grow closer than you and Siri ever did.

Watch the promising first look at Her below. READ FULL STORY

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