24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Up in the Air

Eric Bana and 'Up in the Air' co-creator will collaborate

March 28, 2011 |  4:23 pm

Those enamored of 2009 Oscar nominee "Up in the Air" have been waiting with some anticipation to see what co-writer Sheldon Turner will do next.

Turner's dramatic thriller "By Virtue Fall" has, after all, been in various stages of development for a while now. The Golden Globe winner has been set not only to write but also direct "Virtue," which looks at two ATF agents who find themselves on opposite sides of the friendship divide after one sells out the other.

Eric Bana and Colin Farrell were both reported last year to be interested in the independently financed picture, and "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier had been on board to produce. Farrell wound up opting out, and Chartier says he's no longer involved with the project. But Bana is now very much on board, telling 24 Frames he hopes to make it his next movie after he finishes shooting "Blackbird," the thriller he's currently making with Olivia Wilde. (Of his character, Bana says drolly, "He's not a great guy.")

[Update, 5:49 p.m. The project has now been set up with Bill Block's international sales company and financier QED and is  set to star James Spader, Ryan Phillippe and Carla Gugino, according to a person who was briefed on the project but who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. Jennifer Klein, who is producing the movie, declined to comment.]

Turner has been a prolific writer who has penned screenplays for directors as diverse as Michael Mann and Thomas Bezucha, though his best-known produced credit is of course for Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air." (Turner also wrote the Adam Sandler remake of "The Longest Yard.")

"Virtue" occupies more genre territory than "Up in the Air." But given how Turner melded the serious and the entertaining on "Air" (he came up with, among other flourishes, Clooney's memorable line about anyone who's ever built an empire), it's one to keep an eye on.


Screenwriting credits, floating up in the air

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "Up in the Air." Credit: Paramount Pictures

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

Envelope Directors Roundtable: The importance of the audition

February 9, 2010 |  8:00 am

So how important is the auditioning process in the making of a film? It depends on whom you ask. James Cameron certainly has a different approach than Lee Daniels, for instance.

Directors Roundtable RELATED VIDEOS:

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James Cameron (and friends) on 'Avatar's' box office domination

Video: Kenneth Turan and John Horn on the Oscar best picture nominees

February 2, 2010 | 12:00 pm

By now, you know which films are up for best picture at the Academy Awards -- "Avatar," "The Hurt Locker," etc., etc. But did expanding the category from five to 10 nominees this year make a tangible difference -- say, in the nomination of films such as "The Blind Side" and "Up"? And what does former British prime minister Neville Chamberlain have to do with it all?

Find out the answers in the above video with Times film critic Kenneth Turan and writer John Horn, taken at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. 

More videos to come.

— Scott Sandell

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Looking for the Golden Globes' Dale Earnhardt Jr.

January 17, 2010 |  2:38 pm

For an awards season that looked so wide open just a few months ago, the race has grown surprisingly tight. The next lap of the film calendar's version of the Daytona 500 happens this evening at the Golden Globes, where a number of interesting contests will play out.

Dayt Who wins the latest round of the increasingly Quaritchian best-picture battle between "Up in the Air" and "Avatar," as the two face off in the battle for best-picture drama? Can Carey Mulligan retake some of the momentum on best actress? Can "Julie & Julia" take the last step and establish itself as a best-picture Oscar contender with a best-comedy win?

And, of course, who's most likely to pull a Christine Lahti and be in the bathroom when winners are announced? (Quick answer: the "Hangover" people.) Our picks for the winners (and backup choices) -- and perhaps some answers to these questions -- below.

We'll also be live-blogging from inside the Beverly Hilton throughout the telecast as actors, filmmakers and an assorted cast of characters make their way back stage. Follow us here at 24 Frames, and see you at the Hilton.

Best picture -- drama
1) "Up in the Air"
2) "Avatar"

Best picture -- comedy or musical
1) "Julie & Julia"
2) "It's Complicated"

Best actress -- drama
1) Carey Mulligan ("An Education")
2) Helen Mirren ("The Last Station")

Best actor -- drama
1) George Clooney ("Up in the Air")
2) Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart")

Best actress -- comedy or musical
1) Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia")
2) Marion Cotillard

Best actor -- comedy or musical
1) Daniel Day-Lewis (Nine")
2) Michael Stuhlbarg ("A Serious Man")

Best supporting actress
1) Julianne Moore ("A Single Man")
2) Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air")

Best supporting actor
1) Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds")
2) Christoph Waltz (ditto)

Best director
1) Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker")
2) James Cameron ("Avatar")

Best screenplay
1) Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner ("Up in the Air")
2) Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds")

Best original score
1) "Up"
2) "Avatar"

Best original song
1) "Cinema Italiano," "Nine"
2) "I Will See You," "Avatar"

Best animated feature
1) "Up"
2) "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Best foreign-language film
1) "The White Ribbon"
2) "A Prophet"

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Daytona 500


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