Oscars: November 2006 Archives

LOS ANGELES — Timing isn’t everything when it comes to the Academy Awards — but it helps. Two big fall films — Martin Scorsese’s box-office success ‘‘The Departed’’ and Clint Eastwood’s faltering ‘‘Flags of Our Fathers’’ — are bookends for the benefits and hazards of releasing acclaimed films early in awards season, when they could either get a jump on front-runner status or be forgotten come Oscar time.

Is this the Grammys or the Oscars?

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When the hip-hop trio Three 6 Mafia copped this year’s best-song Oscar for ‘‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,’’ from ‘‘Hustle & Flow,’’ light bulbs went off over the heads of musicians and producers across the land. If this little-known act could get the gold for a risque song from a small, gritty film — and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could only find three nominees to field — then certainly a better-known artist could score with a traditional pop song from a mainstream movie hit. Thus, in the race to the Kodak Theatre, it’s not going to be quite as easy out there for a pimp this year. Here’s a list of potential contenders who have either recently released or are about to drop their bids for Oscar glory. They join a group that already includes Melissa Etheridge (’’An Inconvenient Truth’’), Jack Johnson (’’Curious George’’), and Randy Newman and James Taylor (’’Cars’’).

Want an Oscar? Make a biopic

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Actors playing Truman Capote and June Carter Cash won top honors this year at the Academy Awards. Next year, actors playing Queen Elizabeth II and Idi Amin could do the same. When biopics work, as Michael Apted, director of the renowned Loretta Lynn biopic “Coal Miner’s Daughter,? put it, ‘‘they work like gangbusters.’’ ...

Lifetime Achievement winner Altman dies

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After all those years and all those great, rambling films, the Academy earlier this year finally gave an Oscar to director Robert Altman. Alas, before we could see another film, he died yesterday.

Beyonce jealous of Chicago's Jen Hudson?

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In today's column, Bill Zwecker looks at the evidence that Beyonce is getting a little miffed at all the Oscar buzz surrounding not her but "Dreamgirls" co-star, and Chicago native, Jennifer Hudson ...

Brat Packer shies from Oscar speculation

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"Bobby," the Emilio Estevez-directed account of the night Robert F. Kennedy was shot and killed, has already generated a lot fo Oscar buzz — like, hey, let's nominate that for Best Picture. After a screening at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, Estevez, 44, was given a standing ovation. “I was weeping in the theater,? he admits. But he dodges any Oscar speculation ...

Documentary contenders focus on Iraq

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The war in Iraq figures prominently among the 15 documentaries that have qualified for consideration in the feature-length documentary category at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. The list, released Wednesday by the Academy’s docu branch, includes Patricia Foulkrod’s ‘‘The Ground Truth,’’ which offers up the testimony of veterans of the war; James Longley’s ‘‘Iraq in Fragments,’’ in which Iraqis detail their accounts of life in wartime; Laura Poitras’ ‘‘My Country, My Country,’’ which focuses on a Sunni doctor as he campaigns in the 2005 election; and Deborah Scranton’s ‘‘The War Tapes,’’ which accompanies a National Guard unit into action.

Oscar-winner Clooney takes second "sexiest" title

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He was The Man at last year's Oscar ceremony — all cool and class. Will he fill the same role this year? Remains to be seen, but George Clooney received at least one other honor this week (if you can call it that): He was named the "sexiest man alive" — for the second time — by People magazine.

Oscar's visual effects race sighted

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HOLLYWOOD — Capt. Jack Sparrow’s soul isn’t the only trophy tempting Davy Jones, the villain from ‘‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.’’ The creepy creation of visual effects supervisor John Knoll and his team at Industrial Light + Magic is considered by many to be a front-runner in what’s shaping up to be a heated race for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ visual effects prize. Still, the path to awards-season gold will be anything but smooth sailing.

Lions and tigers and bears ... animated!

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In an AP story today about 2006, the year of animated movies (yeesh, how many times we can watch computer-generated critters go for laughs?), writer David Germain noted that the glut of ’toons affects this year's animated-feature category.

What, no "World Trade Center"?!

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USA Today's "Road to Oscar" running Oscars watch is up again. Their updated chart looks at 10 top contenders for the big awards and forecasts their chances — and they don't seem to think many of the most talked-about films should have speeches ready, except two ...

Movie within a movie spoofs Oscar hype

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Christopher Guest & Co. return to the big screen with a film spoofing, of all things, The Gold Rush. Well, of what we're chronicling here — Oscar buzz and hype — and how it often short-changes you, the movie fan ...

Maggie Gyllenhaal: double the Oscars chances

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Cindy Pearlman, in today's Sunday Show, asked Maggie Gyllenhaal about the Oscar buzz surrounded two of her performances this year ...

Palance defined Oscar prowess

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Actor Jack Palance has died — of natural causes at his home in Montecito, Calif., surrounded by family, said spokesman Dick Guttman. He was 87. He played memorable tough guys in films such as ‘‘Shane’’ and ‘‘Sudden Fear,’’ but it wasn’t until he was in his 70s that he won an Oscar for his comedic self-parody in ‘‘City Slickers.’’ Oscar watchers, though, know him for one memorable moment.