Oscar Update: Best Actress Race Heats Up, ‘Dark Knight’ Sound Honors and More

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The Best Actress race is heating up with glowing reviews for Sally Hawkins in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky, which creates a heads up battle between Hawkins and Anne Hathaway as people begin weighing in on the category.

If you look at the Envelope’s picks, all but Kris Tapley at In Contention believe Hathaway will be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for Rachel Getting Married while only three believe Sally Hawkins will get the gold. Strangely enough, Tom O’Neil, who runs the Envelope but didn’t participate in the latest prediction, wrote a recent article headlined “‘Happy-Go-Lucky’ may have Sally Hawkins smiling at Oscar time“. O’Neil points out past Best Actress nominees from Mike Leigh flicks: Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, 2004) and Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies, 1996). O’Neil was alone a few weeks ago in suggesting Hawkins for an Oscar and that survey also shows a growing appreciation for Hathaway.

Hawkins isn’t going down without a fight however as Ryan at Awards Daily points out Hawkins’ spread in “W” magazine, which goes on to say, “Hawkins turns what could have been the most annoying character in the history of cinema into a highly nuanced, and unexpectedly endearing, psychological study.”

Salon.com’s review by Stephanie Zacharek declares Hawkins’ performance the year’s best. I wonder if it will become a battle of the pond or if the battle has already been won by Hathaway. I mean, why award a Blighty actress when you can award a stateside actress said to be acting against type? Personally I hate that argument because if that was the case where was Tom Cruise’s nomination for Collateral?

Moving along, Variety reports “Oscar music hopefuls have been given clearance to send out CDs to voting members of the Music Branch.” One thing I am curious about is it says the music must be “be identical to the music used in the finished film.” I wonder how often it changes on the score released to consumers compared to the finish product.

Over at Awards Daily they have opened a thread for you to add your voice to the Oscar prediction mayhem. If you comment let ’em know where you came from! Then again, you could also spread your voice just below. It’s up to you.

The Cinematheque in Los Angeles will explore the “sonic world” of The Dark Knight on October 27, which just shows some love is sure to be shown for Batman come award season just how much is the real unknown.

Remember how I reported on the fact that the Oscars will allow studios to upwards of $1.8 million. Get your TiVos ready to pause and fast forward over them.

Speaking of the Best Actress Oscar race, Tom O’Neil is wondering if Weinstein will pitch Kate Winslet in The Reader as a supporting actress so as not to compete with herself in Revolutionary Road. He also wonders the same about Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt. Don’tcha love how they can just fudge with the idea of whether these performances are lead or supporting? Silly if you ask me.

Josh Brolin is getting a small amount of buzz for his performance in W. but an Oscar nom seems unlikely.

IFC will release Hunger in December and the following bit of information was gained on Clint Eastwood’s well hidden Gran Torino straight from Clint’s mouth at USA Today:

“I’m a weirdo in it. I play a real racist . . . . But it also has redemption. This Hmong family moves in next door, and he has been in the Korean War, in the infantry, and looks down on Asian people and lumps everybody together. But finally they befriend him in his time of need because he has no relationship with his family.”

Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere is continuing to report anonymous third hand praise for Milk, and anonymous or not I am believing every good word I hear about this film based on that first trailer. This thing looks phenomenal. Here’s a snippet:

“I was able to catch an early screening of Milk in Portland this weekend, and can confirm that it’s stellar,” a critic friend wrote last night. “It’s impassioned and immediate, with beautiful use of light. It looks as if Gus Van Sant shot every major scene around 4:30 pm — not the ‘golden hour’ but that especially crisp hour right before.”

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