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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2007 at 10:21 AM

I just caught a podcast between LA Times Oscar man Tom O'Neil and Maxim Magainze film critic Pete Hammond on the state of the Oscar race six months into 2007.  Hammond had a couple of interesting observations.  He (like me) believes that Julie Christie ("Away from Her") Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") and Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart") are probably locks for Best Actress (Jolie by virtue of a big campaign).  Hammond really likes Don Cheadle's performance in "Talk to Me" and says that it's one that the Academy would embrace. 

In terms of upcoming films, Hammond thinks that "In the Valley of Elah," directed by Paul Haggis, "Charlie Wilson's War," directed by Mike Nichols and "Lions for Lambs" directed by Robert Redford are all in the upper tier of Oscar contenders.  O'Neil remarked that he thought "Charlie Wilson's War," which stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman is the "big Oscar frontrunner."  

They spoke briefly about "No Country for Old Men," and Hammond said, "it may be too violent for the Academy." 

Hammond also said to be on the lookout for "3:10 to Yuma," James Mangold's remake starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.  "It's terrific," he said.    "Gone Baby Gone," which didn't strike O'Neil's interest, is "very well made," said Hammond.  "It's 'The Departed' meets 'Mystic River.'"  The film is directed by Ben Affleck. 

In terms of individual performances, Hammond said Halle Berry's role in "Things We Lost in the Fire" is "her best since 'Monster's Ball.'"  Christian Bale's performance in "Rescue Dawn," is "his best performance on screen."  He also described Steve Zahn's supporting role in that film as "wonderful." 

They're looking forward to: "Michael Clayton," "The Darjeeling Limited," "Atonement," and "The Kingdom." 

Festivals to follow closely:  Telluride, Venice, New York and Toronto.

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