24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: An Education

Predicting Oscar: Best bets for best picture

March 5, 2010 |  7:00 am

GraphicMuch like erratic swings in the stock market, the fates and fortunes of films in the Oscar race rise and fall with each passing awards show and critic's top 10 list.

A closer look at the winners from the film awards handed out so far this season would seem to indicate a clear favorite for best picture at the Academy Awards on Sunday: "The Hurt Locker."

The Kathryn Bigelow-directed film has been nominated by each of eight major industry guilds and critics groups that we looked at for the chart at left -- and it won half of the top honors.

The next closest competitor: "Up in the Air," with two wins and nominations from all but one group.

"Precious," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Avatar," ranked by number of nominations by the eight groups, round out the top five in the newly expanded field of 10 best picture nominees.

Down at the bottom of the list, with no nods among the eight groups: "The Blind Side," starring acting nominee Sandra Bullock. But just like the whims of the financial markets, you can never count a movie out until the final bell sounds.

-- Brady MacDonald


L.A. Times reviews of the 10 best picture nominees:

* The Hurt Locker
* Up in the Air
* Precious
* Inglourious Basterds
* Avatar
* An Education
* A Serious Man
* Up
* District 9
* The Blind Side

L.A. Times award show coverage:
* Critics' Choice
* Producers Guild
* National Board of Review
* Golden Globes
* Directors Guild
* Writers Guild
* Screen Actors Guild
* American Film Institute

About a writer: Nick Hornby's film-world reinvention

February 5, 2010 |  7:00 am

Nick Hornby made his reputation in moviedom by writing the books that other people adapt into hits. But as "An Education," the darkly sweet coming-of-age movie based on his script, takes its place among the Oscars' 10 best-picture contenders, Hornby is doubling down on his film bets.

Ho The novelist-cum-lyricist is affiliated with two films that are picking up steam. His wife, Amanda Posey, and her producing partner, Finola Dwyer -- also the team behind  "An Education" -- have  just reclaimed rights to the film adaptation of the Hornby-penned "A Long Way Down" and put a new screenwriter on it.

The 2005 serio-comic novel was first optioned by Johnny Depp’s burgeoning production company, Infinitum Nihil, which had hired “High Fidelity” co-writer  D.V. DeVincentis to write a draft. But Dwyer and Posey now have the rights back, and they’ve hired British writer Jack Thorne to take a stab.

Thorne is a writer on the British television series "Cast Offs," a mockumentary that explores the comedic and dramatic lives of six physically disabled people living together on a remote island. Given that "Long Way Down" is about four emotionally and mentally traumatized people who meet on a rooftop while trying to commit suicide, that may make him a surprisingly apt choice.

Hornby is also forging ahead with his own original script -- and it's not exactly what you'd expect from the sardonic voice of the male id. He's in the early stages of writing a family-animation tale titled "The Babymakers," which Posey describes as being about "the creatures inside the body who make babies." Hey, if Wes Anderson can do animation ...

Although Hornby did write the 1997 British screen version of his novel “Fever Pitch” (not the Jimmy Fallon one, a far looser adaptation from the Farrelly brothers), he still prefers not to adapt his own novels. “To me, the books feel like an end in themselves,” he said. “ People talk about books being turned into films. I don’t ever feel that the book has been turned into anything."

-- Steven Zeitchik and Rachel Abramowitz


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