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Category: Clint Eastwood

Oscar update: Leonardo DiCaprio in Clint Eastwood's 'J. Edgar'

J edgar

Thank goodness there's a detective on the Oscar case — and the granddaddy of them all, no less: J. Edgar Hoover.

A senior sleuth is needed. As Warner Bros. releases the trailer to "J. Edgar," Clint Eastwood's latest flick starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the patriarch of the FBI, we're reminded of the lousy luck both have had at the Academy Awards of late. The mystery is why. Their work and reputations are impeccable. One of them did spectacularly well at Oscars past. Can they rally now with this impressive collaboration delving into the complex drama of one of America's most beguiling leaders?

DiCaprio has been nominated three times by Oscar voters: twice in lead ("Blood Diamond" in 2007 and "The Aviator" in 2005) and once in supporting ("What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" in 1994). He probably could've ridden "The Departed's" best picture wave to win for lead actor in 2006, but he campaigned in supporting, not wanting to compete against his rival turn in "Blood Diamond" (in which, granted, he had more screen time) — and that bid fell between the Oscar cracks. He deserved nominations for "Catch Me If You Can" (2002) and "Gangs of New York," but got skunked.

Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars, for both producing and directing best pictures "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) and "Unforgiven" (1992). He was last nominated for directing and producing best picture contender "Letters From Iwo Jima," which lost to "The Departed." Despite high expectations, Eastwood's other recent flicks failed to generate much Oscar heat: "Hereafter" (2010), "Invictus" (2009), "Gran Torino" (2008), "Changeling" (2008) and "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006).

— Tom O'Neil


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Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in "J. Edgar." Credit: Warner Bros.

DGA announces list of presenters for Saturday ceremony

Martin Scorsese 
It will be a star-studded affair Saturday night at the annual DGA award ceremony, with such luminaries as Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese on hand to honor this year's best directors. Also attending will be a slew of this year's Oscar nominees, including Colin Firth ("The King's Speech"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone"), Melissa Leo ("The Fighter") and Natalie Portman ("Black Swan").

Other directors on hand to recognize the DGA recipients are Michael Apted, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola and DGA President Taylor Hackford. Carl Reiner will return as the host for the 63rd annual award show at which either Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan"), David Fincher ("The Social Network"), Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"), Christopher Nolan ("Inception") or David O. Russell ("The Fighter") will walk away with the top prize of the evening.

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Martin Scorsese. Photo credit: Abbot Genser/HBO.

Museum of Tolerance honors Clint Eastwood [video]

Clint Eastwood received an honorary award from the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles on Sunday night in recognition of his films that battle prejudice such as "Gran Torino." Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presented the prize; George Lopez was ceremony emcee. And Eli Wallach gave a tribute to his "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" costar that included a funny story of how they shared a bed one night while traveling through Spain.

Below are two clips from the event: Schwarzenegger's intro and Eastwood's acceptance speech (after the jump).


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Tracking the Oscar race for best director

The social network david fincher

Oscar voters usually choose their best pictures based upon who directs them, so award seers must pay special attention to this category while tracking the top derby. Over the past 20 years, the awards for best picture and director split only four times. That's 80% overlap. That's impressive.

To predict best picture, it's smart to think backward from the directors' category. Last year, "The Hurt Locker" won both races in part because it was time, finally, for a woman to win the helmer's trophy and the woman out front happened to be Kathryn Bigelow, the ex-wife of her chief rival, James Cameron ("Avatar"), the one-time "king of the Oscars" (back when "Titanic" swept) who is notoriously crusty and, some think, in need of a good humbling. Academy members, like everybody else, like to root for the underdog, so Bigelow's personal story probably had a lot to do with her Oscar romp.

Back in 2001, "A Beautiful Mind" won best picture and director even though the movie was under widespread media attack for having sugar-coated its real-life story. That's how hellbent Hollywood was to give Ron Howard his overdue Oscar for best director and so "A Beautiful Mind" got to go along for the ride in the corresponding best-picture race.

Being overdue is often a key factor to win. This year the prevailing view seems to be it should be David Fincher's turn since he previously proved himself a master of provocative little indies ("Zodiac") and big-studio epics starring A-Listers (best picture nominee "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").

However, there are other top contenders who are also notable directors overdue for Oscar glory: Darren Aronofsky, Christopher Nolan and Peter Weir.

Ben Affleck, "The Town"
Darren Aronofsky, "Black Swan"
Danny Boyle, "127 Hours"
James L. Brooks, "How Do You Know"
Lisa Cholodenko, "The Kids Are All Right"
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, "True Grit"
Clint Eastwood, "Hereafter"
David Fincher, "The Social Network"
Tom Hooper, "The King's Speech"
Christopher Nolan, "Inception"
David O. Russell, "The Fighter"
Lee Unkrich, "Toy Story 3"
Peter Weir, "The Way Back"
Edward Zwick, "Love & Other Drugs"

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Does 'Hereafter' have a 'Ghost' of a chance at the Oscars?

'Hereafter' has a lot in common with "Ghost" (1990). Both are commercial flicks about the afterlife pooh-poohed by some major film critics. And both were dismissed by many Oscar-watchers.

Hereafter ghostIn fact, Premiere magazine said in the summer of 1990 that "Ghost" had as much hope of reaping Oscars as "Ducktales the Movie." The New Yorker hated it, growling, "There's not a trace of wit or irony to it." The Wall Street Journal said, "'Ghost' isn't awful enough to be a great trash movie, but it often comes close."

"Ghost" ended up nabbing a surprise nomination for best picture, plus four other bids: music score, editing, original screenplay and supporting actress (Whoopi Goldberg as the kooky psychic). It won the last two.

"Hereafter" hasn't had a very good reception from film critics, scoring only 56 at Metacritic and 50 at Rottentomatoes, but it was just received enthusiastically by the folks who matter most: members of the motion picture academy. According to Steve Pond (The Odds, The Wrap), its official screening last Saturday night was "very well-received by an AMPAS crowd that I'm told filled as much as 85 percent of the 1,000-seat Goldwyn.  One Academy member who was at the screening said the reaction to the film was 'terrific,' with sustained applause at the end of the film. Others concurred, but thought the attendance might have been a bit overstated."

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