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Category: Matt Damon

Oscars 2012: Who's going to be on next year's best picture list?

Tree of life 
Are you as burned out on 2010's Oscar season as we are? If so, take a look into the future to see who we are going to be tired of by next February. We've compiled a completely arbitrary -- but intriguing -- list of what films could be making it to the winner's circle in 2012. Feel free to chime in with your predictions because, really, this time next year we will all likely have been proved wrong.

(Please note: these are in no particular order.)

1. "Contagion": Steven Soderbergh, Oscar winner for "Traffic," is back with another ensemble piece, this time an action-thriller centered on a team of doctors that must deal with a deadly disease outbreak. The film features an all-star cast with Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard, along with this year's nominee in the supporting actor category John Hawkes. It may be too "Bourne Identity" for the academy but it's not a bad place to start. (Opens Oct. 21)

2. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close": Stephen Daldry ("The Reader") helms this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel about a 9-year old boy who searches New York City for a lock that matches a key left by his father (Tom Hanks), who was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. Eric Roth ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") adapted the book and the pedigree of cast and filmmakers has Oscar written all over it. And for that extra boost, uber-producer Scott Rudin is behind this one too. (Not yet dated.)

3. "The Descendants": Alexander Payne ("Sideways") is finally back with a new film, seven years after "Sideways" was released. Payne adapted Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel about a Hawaiian land baron, played by George Clooney, who tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.(Not yet dated.)

4. "Tree of Life": Terrence Malick ("The Thin Red Line") has returned with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn starring in a story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s. The film has been kicking around a while but that seems to be more an issue of a corporate distribution shuffle than any knock against the film. (Opens May 27)

5. "The Iron Lady": Meryl Streep pairs up with her "Mamma Mia" director Phyllida Lloyd in this biopic of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The script is written by British playwright Abi Morgan and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" writer Michael Hirst. Jim Broadbent co-stars as Mr. Thatcher. The British-financed flick does not yet have a U.S. distributor.

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Oscar quote of the day: Matt Damon on bad award choices

"I think they get it wrong more often than they get it right," Matt Damon said of the Oscars in a 2009 interview with Parade. Not that he's offering to return his Oscar or anything -- Damon won the Academy Award for original screenplay for his 1997 film with Ben Affleck, "Good Will Hunting." This year, he didn't get a supporting actor nomination for his role in "True Grit," which received 10 nominations.

-- Tom O'Neil

Matt damon oscars

 Photo: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck celebrate their Oscar win. Credit: ABC


Matt Damon to receive Joel Siegel Award at Critics Choice Movie Awards

Matt Actor/humanitarian Matt Damon, who's currently starring with Jeff Bridges in 'True Grit," is set to receive the fourth annual Joel Siegel Award at the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards on Jan. 14. The announcement was made Wednesday morning.

The award is a tribute to the "Good Morning America" film critic and member of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., which presents the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, who lost his battle with cancer in June 2007.

"Matt personifies the values celebrated by the Joel Siegel Award," says BFCA President Joey Berlin. "Among his many charitable endeavors, Matt's work as co-founder of Water.org has inspired us to honor him."

The Critics Choice Movie Awards ceremony will be telecast on VH1 at 9 p.m. on Jan. 14.

-- Susan King

Photo: Matt Damon. Credit: Evan Agnostino / Associated Press


What does 'True Grit's' box-office run mean for its Oscar chances?

True grit 
In the last two weeks, "True Grit" has defied all box-office expectations. The Coen brothers' PG-13 western has grossed an astounding $86.7 million since it opened on Christmas weekend. It outranked the other new wide release, "Gulliver's Travels," its opening weekend by $18 million and in its sophomore session it lost only 1% of its value after Paramount added 36 theaters to its run.

Costing less than $40 million, the film is on track to outpace "Little Fockers" and "Tron: Legacy" in profitability and may wind up being the most successful holiday release of the season. In its very short run time, the film has already outgrossed the Coens' "No Country for Old Men," becoming the brothers' most commercially successful film of their 20-year-plus career. It's also the pair's highest-rated critical hit of their career.

What does all this mean for the film's Oscar chances? Despite the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. ignoring the movie completely (Paramount submitted it as a comedy and the foreign journalists apparently didn't get the film's humor) most year-end lists have included the Jeff Bridges-and-Matt Damon film. And now with its box-office performance being one of the few bright spots in this dreary holiday moviegoing season, "True Grit" may just get a more serious look from academy voters, beyond the best picture nod it's destined to receive.

Bridges and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld have already been recognized by the Screen Actors Guild  for their performances. But perhaps more guild love beginning Tuesday with the writers guild and producers guild noms will tilt the scale in favor of the brothers' first foray into the western.

-- Nicole Sperling

Photo: Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges in "True Grit." Credit: Lorey Sebastian/Paramount Pictures

 


Matt Damon: I knew the HFPA 'didn't like' Golden Globe-snubbed 'True Grit'

Getprev When "True Grit" was shut out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Tuesday, many in town were left scratching their heads. Even in advance of its Dec. 22 release, the Coen-brothers-directed western has been buzzed about by award pundits, with many predicting the film will earn Oscar nominations for best picture, best actor (Jeff Bridges) and best supporting actress (14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld).

But Matt Damon, who stars in the film as the hijinks-prone lawman La Boeuf, says he knew long before this week that "True Grit" wasn't going to get any love at the Golden Globes.

"I actually heard beforehand that [the HFPA] didn't like it. They'll tell you beforehand, like, 'I don't get it!'" Damon said, putting on a vaguely European accent to imitate a member of the HFPA, many of whose members hail from abroad.

As my colleague Steven Zeitchik noted earlier this week, the HFPA has never truly embraced westerns. They also just didn't find the film funny, according to one person who was in the room at a recent group screening.

But when asked what specific issues the HFPA had with "True Grit," Damon said he wasn't entirely sure.

"I actually didnít do the junket and the press conference with [the HFPA], because I was shooting, but even then, my publicist called and said, 'Yeah, the word from the junket was they didn't like it," he recalled. "And there's nothing you can really do in that situation."

Still, Damon is hopeful that Oscar voters will recognize "True Grit" when nominations are announced in January. He also has his own thoughts on how the awards process should be recalibrated.

"Those things really do matter for the bottom line of the movie," he said. "But the way I feel about awards is that the real barometer by which you measure a movie is that you should look at it 10 years later. That way, you could get the machinery out of the way, and all of the stuff bending the opinion based on the day. If a movie survives for 10 years, it all becomes a lot clearer."

-- Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Matt Damon in "True Grit." Credit: Wilson Webb / Paramount Pictures

RECENT AND RELATED:

Golden Globes snub 'True Grit,' 'Hereafter,' 'Black Swan's' Barbara Hershey, 'Get Low's' Robert Duvall

How 'The Tourist' got three Golden Globes nominations and 'True Grit' got nada


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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