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Notorious lens flare addict J.J. Abrams takes the first steps toward recovery, just in time to shoot Episode VII. Also after the jump:

  • Yes, Samuel L. Jackson is still interested in Episode VII
  • No, Episode VII will not shoot in New Mexico
  • Daniel Day-Lewis has an interesting lunch date
  • The real story behind LucasArts‘ demise is revealed

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At times when you can watch a nucleus of interest form in Hollywood, and it is happening right now around screenwriter Jason Dean Hall. His script for American Sniper, based on the life of the late Chris Kyle, has been in development with Bradley Cooper, and it attracted Steven Spielberg, who now plans to direct the film.

Now Hall is poised to script an adaptation of the book Thank You for Your Service, which examines vets returning home with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As it turns out, Spielberg is reportedly interested in taking on that adaptation as well, potentially as a reunion with his Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis. Read More »

Here are the winners of the 85th Oscars. It was a rather strange year, with only the sixth tie in the history of the awards (for Sound Editing) an excess of references to Chicago, and a surprise win in the Best Director category for Ang Lee. (And those who expected Jessica Chastain to take the Best Actress award were surprised by Jennifer Lawrence winning the award, for Silver Linings Playbook.) Lee’s Life of Pi actually ended up being the night’s big winner, with four Oscars.

As expected, Ben Affleck‘s Argo took Best Picture, with producer Grant Heslov taking the opportunity to really highlight Affleck (also a producer) and give the director time to have the mic. And though the event was hosted by a comedian, Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis made the best jokes of the night — surprise, surprise, the guy was better than everyone else in the room.

For more commentary check out the night’s live blogRead More »

One benefit of making a film such as Lincoln is that the movie turns into more than just a story — as a portrait of American history Lincoln is something that has interest beyond the multiplex. And so we now have multiple TV news magazine pieces about the film and the process of creating it. The long-running show 60 Minutes profiled director Steven Spielberg and his creative process last year, and last night the show featured a new segment on Lincoln.

Is this high-stakes awards campaigning meant to combat the awards ascendancy of Argo? Or is this piece a genuine recap of the late life of Abraham Lincoln and an investigation into the film’s authenticity? It’s a bit of both, as you might expect, but thanks to interviews with Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Lincoln biographer Doris Kearns-Goodwin (where’s screenwriter Tony Kushner?) the segment is a fine account of the film. Read More »

At this point, the only thing standing between Ben Affleck and a Best Director Oscar would seem to be the pesky fact that he wasn’t nominated for the award. Nevertheless, Affleck and his film Argo have turned into an awards juggernaut, starting with the Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Director awards at the Golden Globes, and rolling through various critics groups before taking the ensemble cast award from the Screen Actors Guild, and the top awards from the Directors and Producers guilds.

And now, Argo has won Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Film at the BAFTAs. The list of winners, via the organziation’s press release, is below. Read More »

Most of you probably know some of the story of Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln: the director has wanted to make the film for years, but needed to secure the proper script, the proper actor, and timely financing. Things finally came together in 2011, and the result is Spielberg’s best film in several years, and a particularly timely movie that perfectly captures not only much of the essence of Abraham Lincoln and the time in which he lived, but also reflects our own culture and politics.

The new 20-minute “making of” special Lincoln: An American Journey is a fairly comprehensive account of the development of the film, complete with many detailed interviews and some great early pictures and footage. It’s a must-see for anyone who was moved by the film. Read More »

Later this week, Daniel Day-Lewis will almost certainly be handed his fifth Best Actor Oscar nomination for his work in Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln. Knowing that, the film’s history seems almost unreal.

Lincoln was more years than usual in the making as Spielberg struggled not only to lock down the right story to tell about the 16th President of the United States, but to find the right actor to play him. Spielberg’s first choice was Day-Lewis, who turned down the role on multiple occasions. The actor later recommended his friend Liam Neeson for the role, and he was attached for years before having to move on. Then, armed with a brand new script by Tony Kushner, Spielberg was finally able to land his original man, and the resulting performance speaks for itself.

The first time the actor turned down the lead role in Lincoln, the actor wrote the most powerful director in Hollywood a letter explaining his decision. You can now read that after the jump.

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There’s a lot to be said for timing when it comes to film awards, and in that respect things couldn’t have worked out better for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty. While most audiences won’t even have a chance to see the film until early next year, the first screenings of the movie have drawn rave reviews. And now it has picked up what will likely be the first of many awards.

Today the New York Film Critics Circle voted on awards for 2012, and Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln were the big winners, with nothing scored by The Master, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, or other potential awards faves. Kathryn Bigelow took Best Director and her movie won Best Film, which is the same dual wins the filmmaker enjoyed in 2009 before The Hurt Locker went on to Oscar success. Get the full list of recipients below. Read More »

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