Oscar Update: ‘Social Network’ Buzz and ‘All Good Things’ for Magnolia

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It was just announced the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award will go to producer-director Francis Ford Coppola and Honorary Awards to historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, director Jean-Luc Godard and actor Eli Wallach. All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 2nd Annual Governors Awards dinner on Saturday, November 13, at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland Center.

Keeping on the honorary theme, the Screen Actors Guild has named Ernest Borgnine as the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Award’s Lifetime Achievement recipient. Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard said, “Whether portraying brutish villains, sympathetic everymen, complex leaders or hapless heroes, Ernest Borgnine has brought a boundless energy which, at 93, is still a hallmark of his remarkably busy life and career. It is with that same joyous spirit that we salute his impressive body of work and his steadfast generosity.”

Borgnine is best known for the beatdown he gave Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity, his roles as Dutch Engstrom in The Wild Bunch and General Worden in The Dirty Dozen as well as the Oscar he won for Marty among many, many other performances. You will see him next in Summit’s Red on October 15.

Next we move to news of a new and confirmed contender as Magnolia Pictures has picked up Andrew Jarecki’s All Good Things starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst and Frank Langella for a December theatrical release. The film has always been considered a possible contender, but without festival showings or a distributor it was hard to take it too seriously. Of course, I’d say a pick-up by Magnolia doesn’t give it much of a shot at Best Picture considering they aren’t exactly a studio with enough money for a massive For Your Consideration campaign, but this could certainly do something for Gosling, though it’s more likely his role in Blue Valentine with the backing of the Weinsteins would get a nod before his part here.

All Good Things was inspired by the story of Robert Durst (Gosling), scion of the wealthy Durst family. Durst was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Kathie (Dunst) who disappeared in 1982 and was never found. The original script was developed by Jarecki, Marc Smerling, and Marcus Hinchey and written by Smerling and Hinchey.

Photo: Columbia Pictures

Finally we come to David Fincher’s The Social Network, which has received some positive buzz recently from Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers and Scott Foundas for the New York Film Festival of which it will serve as the opening night film on September 24 prior to its October 1 release.

Travers didn’t necessarily offer up a review as much as he posted on Twitter the following, “David Fincher’s Social Network is the 1st film I’ve given **** in 2010. It’s the movie of the year that also brilliantly defines the decade”.

As for Foundas, well, he also loved it and offered a full review, even though it seems a little unethical to call it a review considering his position as one of the Festival’s programmers. Here is a snippet courtesy of In Contention because I didn’t want to spoil the film and read it for myself, so hopefully Kris Tapley pulled a worthwhile segment:

David Fincher’s The Social Network is big and brash and brilliant… It is nominally the story of the founding of Facebook, yes, and how something that began among friends quickly descended into acrimony and litigation once billions of dollars were at stake. But just as All the President’s Men–a seminal film for Fincher and a huge influence on his Zodiac–was less interested by the Watergate case than by its zeitgeist-altering ripples, so too is The Social Network devoted to larger patterns of meaning. It is a movie that sees how any social microcosm, if viewed from the proper angle, is no different from another–thus the seemingly hermetic codes of Harvard University become the foundation for a global online community that is itself but a reflection of the all-encompassing high-school cafeteria from which we can never escape. And it owes something to The Great Gatsby, too, in its portrait of a self-made outsider marking his territory in the WASP jungle.

That’s all for now. I will be at the Toronto International Film Festival from September 8 – 16 so be sure to tune in then when I’ll be offering up reviews from the fest for several films likely to be competing for an Oscar this season. If you haven’t checked out the line-up click here for my latest update.

For all my latest Oscar race coverage be sure to bookmark “The Contenders” section of the site and weigh in with your thoughts and early predictions below.