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Those of you anxiously awaiting for Hugh Jackman to commit to another Oscar ceremony should probably line up for Broadway tickets, because you won’t be seeing him on the Oscar stage this year. Sources say Jackman has declined the job over the past few weeks, and while he won’t rule out hosting future ceremonies, he didn’t want to do it two years in a row.

Jackman certainly breathed new life into a ceremony that was getting more stale by the year—he showed enthusiasm and showmanship not seen on the Oscar stage since Billy Crystal’s better years. It also helped that the Academy made efforts to liven up the ceremony as well (although to mixed response).

So now the question remains, who should host the 82nd Academy Awards?

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/Filmcast Ep. 59 – Brüno (GUEST: Eric D. Snider)

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bruno posterIn this episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley praise the choice of Ryan Reynolds for The Green Lantern, finally get around to discussing some big changes to the Oscar nomination process, and analyze the social experiment that is Sacha Baron Cohen’s Brüno. Prolific online critic Eric D. Snider joins us for our review.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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In yet another attempt at maintaining the Academy Awards’ relevance, the Motion Picture Academy announced today that there will be 10 films competing for Best Picture at next year’s 82nd ceremony. This is the first time since 1943 that the Best Picture category has had so many contenders, and it seems to be a return to the earlier years of the Academy where it was not uncommon to have more than 5 nominees.

The move is clearly a follow up to the Academy’s revamping of the ceremony this year with Hugh Jackman, and will allow more crowd-friendly films to be in the running for best pic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good number of the choices next year have no chance of winning at all. It’s a smart move that will generate more public interest in the Oscars, and I can already see the mouths frothing of  fanboys and girls everywhere.

President of the Academy, Sid Ganis, had this to say on the change:

Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize. I can’t wait to see what that list of ten looks like when the nominees are announced in February.

The 82nd Academy Awards noms will be announced on February 2, 2010.

Discuss: Will this change make you more, or less interested in the Oscars? What else can the Academy do to help make the awards more relevant?

/FilmCast

frozen_river_posterIn this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley discuss their interpretations of the ending of Contact, lament the length of the Funny People trailer, ponder the greatness of Chris Klein’s career, and discuss their Oscar reflections. Special guest Laremy Legel joins us from Film.com, and Myles McNutt drops by from Cultural Learnings to share his thoughts on the Oscars.

Join us next Tuesday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST on Slashfilm’s live page as we review Rachel Getting Married.

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I know this will come as a shock to most of you, but when the 2008 Oscar nominations were announced the other day, a lot of people were upset that The Dark Knight got snubbed for Best Picture (and that Nolan got passed over for Best Director). Imagine that: Internet people getting upset that The Dark Knight is somehow not getting enough recognition. It’s wild, right?

All of the uproar led one Academy Award voter to state, “I plan on casting a write-in vote for [The Dark Knight] on the final ballot.” This raises the question: Could The Dark Knight win best picture as a write-in candidate? Hit the jump for the answer.
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Tracking the Piracy of 2008 Oscar-Nominated Films

Ever since the advent of DVD and bittorrent technology, it’s been inevitable: Studios that send out screeners to Academy members inevitably see those films end up pirated and downloaded on torrent sites. But just how extensive is the problem, and how has its pervasiveness changed over time?

In his post, “Pirating the 2009 Oscars,” Andy Baio from Waxy.org has put together a stunning and comprehensive analysis. Baio has been monitoring Oscar films and their rates of piracy for the past 6 years, most recently adding the 26 nominees for this year’s upcoming Oscar ceremony, which makes his list encompass a solid 211 films in total. Hit the jump for some of this year’s statistics.
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2008 Oscar Nominations Announced – What Do You Think?

Note: This post will be sticky’d to the top of /Film for the remainder of the day.

The Academy Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences announced the 81st Annual Oscar Nominations this morning. Some VERY quick observations:

  • While Heath Ledger received a Best Supporting Actor nomination, The Dark Knight did not secure a Best Picture nomination, nor a Best Director nomination for Christopher Nolan. However, it did receive a boatload of other technical nominations, including Best Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, etc.
  • The list of Best Picture noms is virtually the same from the Golden Globes, save Revolutionary Road has been replaced by Milk. In any case, I find both Best Picture nomination lists somewhat unsatisfying.
  • Kate Winslet did NOT get two acting nominations, as some had predicted (instead, only Best Actress, and for her performance in The Reader, not Revolutionary Road like at the Golden Globes). Taraji P. Henson, however, did get a nomination for Best Supporting actress, and I’m 100% rooting for her in this one.
  • Pleasant surprises: Richard Jenkins got a Best Actor nomination for The Visitor, Melissa Leo got a Best Actress nomination for Frozen River.
  • Biggest WTF: Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wrestler” did not receive a Best Original Song nomination, while Slumdog Millionaire received TWO nominations (out of three). I liked the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack, but that strikes me as a bit ridiculous.
  • This list puts The Curious Case of Benjamin Button at a whopping 13 Oscar nominations. However, Slumdog Millionaire is close behind, with 10 noms (if you count the two songs separately). Milk and Dark Knight both have 8, while Wall-E has 6, and The Reader, Doubt and Frost/Nixon each secured 5.
  • /Film commenter Joelnstuff points out (accurately) that Wanted received the same number of Oscar nominations as The Wrestler. Please excuse me while I weep.
  • What kind of twisted world do we live in where Pitt scores a Best Actor nomination for Benjamin Button but Cate Blanchett doesn’t get nominated for anything (including her far better performance in that same film)?

Hit the jump for the full list.
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Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released their shortlist of nine foreign-language films, which will be whittled down to five Oscar nominees on January 22:

Revanche – Gotz Spielmann, Austria
The Necessities of Life – Benoit Pilon, Canada
The Class – Laurent Cantet, France
The Baader Meinhof Complex – Uli Edel, Germany
Waltz with Bashir – Ari Folman, Israel
Departures – Yojiro Takita, Japan
Tear This Heart Out – Roberto Sneider, Mexico
Everlasting Moments – Jan Troell, Sweden
3 Monkeys – Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey

If you think there are a few notable omissions from this list, you’re not alone. Over at AICN, Harry Knowles decries the omission of Tomas Alfredson’s Let The Right One In, insisting that the system is broken:
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