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Category: War Horse

Oscars 2012: 'The Help' has biggest box office among nominees

January 24, 2012 |  7:09 am

The Help has sold more tickets at the box office than any other best picture nominee
Of this year's best picture nominees, "The Help" has been seen by the most American moviegoers.

The civil rights drama released last August has sold $169.6 million in ticket sales -- more than double the domestic gross of any of the other eight films nominated for the top prize at the Oscars.

The Brad Pitt baseball film "Moneyball" takes the runner-up position with $75.5 million, while Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" -- a World War I epic still in many theaters nationwide -- has so far collected $72.3 million.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscar nominations

Martin Scorsese's  "Hugo" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" each have a tally of around $56 million. The family drama "The Descendants," meanwhile, just crossed the $50 million mark at the box office last weekend.

The nominees with the least commercial appeal include "The Tree of Life" ($13 million) and "The Artist" ($12 million) -- although the latter, a silent picture, has yet to expand beyond 700 theaters. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" has grossed only $10 million, but it just opened in cinemas across the country last weekend.

When the Academy Award nominations were announced in 2011, the eventual best picture winner "The King's Speech" had grossed about $57 million. The film featuring Colin Firth ended up with $138.8 million in sales. The year before, "The Hurt Locker" saw far less of a box office boost from its win, collecting an underwhelming $17 million in all.

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Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

--Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Viola Davis, left, stars with Octavia Spencer in "The Help." Credit: Walt Disney Studios


DGA to Fincher: Sorry about last year, can we make it up to you?

January 9, 2012 |  3:47 pm

Rooney Mara stars in David Fincher's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Now let us just say from the outset that it is possible that Directors Guild of America voters simply liked David Fincher's mesmerizing way with bleakness in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" more than Steven Spielberg's shout-outs to John Ford in "War Horse." Certainly, members didn't share Fincher's sentiments that "Dragon Tattoo" might be just a tad too dark for awards consideration.

But there has to be something more to today's DGA Awards nominations that put Fincher in alongside Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), doesn't there? DGA voters clearly dig Fincher, handing him his third nomination in four years. Of course, they haven't liked him enough to actually give him the award in this category, even last year when most had Fincher winning for "The Social Network." Could this year's nomination be viewed as an attempt to put that whole giving it to Tom Hooper thing behind them? Or could it merely be another signal of a changing of the guard? (Spielberg hasn't been nominated since 2005's "Munich" -- not that he has given voters much reason or occasion to look his way.)

Fincher won't win this year, either. But, taken with the Producers Guild nomination for "Tattoo," it is possible that both he and the movie will now show up among the Oscar anointed. More often than not, four of the five DGA nominees go on to receive Oscar nods. Figuring that Scorsese, Hazanavicius and Payne are locks and that Allen seems increasingly likely to receive his first director's nomination since "Bullets Over Broadway," the question now is: Will the DGA slate sweep in clean with the motion picture academy, as has happened twice in the past decade? Or can Spielberg slip in, aided by the academy's older sentimentalists?

A third option and, admittedly, one that with today's news and previous snubs from the PGA, Screen Actors Guild and Writers Guild seems something of a pipe dream, is that academy voters will go the auteur route and nominate Terrence Malick. "The Tree of Life" has its hard-core disciples, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who hit the eject button once the dinosaurs showed up. Oscar prognosticators have long assumed that "Tree" had enough bedrock support to win nominations for picture (provided devotees slotted it No. 1 or No. 2 on their ballots), director and cinematography. Now only director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki seems a safe bet.

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 -- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Rooney Mara stars in David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia TrStar


'War Horse' offers old-school polish and emotion, critics say

December 23, 2011 |  2:06 pm

War Horse
"War Horse," Steven Spielberg's second horse in the awards season race, arrives on the heels of his animated film "The Adventures of Tintin." A drama about the special bond between a boy and his horse separated by the horrors of World War I, "War Horse" is based on the 1982 children's book by Michael Morpurgo and its recent stage adaptation, a huge success in London and New York. Reviews for "War Horse," which opens Sunday, have been favorable, though not faultless, with many critics commending Spielberg's classical approach.

Times critic Betsy Sharkey says the film "has the sweep of a classic John Ford movie, the sentiment of Frank Capra and a spirited steed named Joey who will steal your heart. The film itself … is more difficult to love." Structurally, Sharkey says, "War Horse" is "the purest sort of love story," following the traditional three-act structure of introduction, separation and reunion. It's slow to start, "with the earlier scenes flat and too many subplots … that don't pay off," but the pace picks up when the war begins. Ultimately, Sharkey says, it's Joey's film: "The incredible emotive power of this horse and the way in which the filmmakers were able to translate it on-screen are what stay with you."

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