Oscar nominee Tim Reckart to direct The Lamb for Sony

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Tim Reckart — who was nominated for an Oscar two years ago for his short film Head Over Heels, about a husband and wife who have grown so far apart that one of them now lives on the floor while the other one lives on the ceiling — has been tapped to direct The Lamb for Sony Pictures Animation, it was reported today by Variety.

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Watch: Trailers for the Oscar-nominated short films, which will be coming to theatres January 30

OSCAR_SHORTS_2015_Poster_1500px_highSay what you will about the Oscars — the politics, the obsession with celebrity, and so on — but one of the things I like about them is how they can shed a light on films that normally wouldn’t get a lot of attention.

Case in point: the short-film categories. Five animated films, five documentaries and five dramatic films are nominated in those categories every year, and over the past decade, thanks to ShortsHD, these films have been made available to the public via streaming online and screenings at theatres around the continent.

This year’s nominees will start making the rounds on January 30, three weeks before the winners are announced February 22 — and you can watch trailers for all of ’em below the jump.

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Oscar winners slipping at the box office — 2014

americansniperI devoted posts to this subject in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013 — so here’s the post for 2014.

2005 marked the first time since 1996 that the Best Picture winner did not gross at least $100 million, the first time since 1985 that not one of the Best Picture nominees grossed at least $100 million, and the first time in living memory that the Oscar did not go to one of the Top 25 films in North America. In fact, the winner that year — Crash — grossed a mere $54.6 million and ranked way, way down at #49.

Ever since then, the Oscar for Best Picture has alternated between relatively big hits and somewhat smaller box-office performers. But that trend could end this year, as the Academy now seems poised to reward two small films in a row.

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Oscar nominations — my own two bits, and a complete list

grandbudapesthotelIt is extremely rare for a film to win Best Picture without also being nominated for its director, its film editing, and its screenplay. So it looks like this year’s top Oscar will go to one of three films: Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel or The Imitation Game. But there are exceptions to every rule, and we can’t entirely rule out Birdman, which is tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel for the most nominations of any film this year; Birdman was snubbed in the film-editing category, but that could be because the film was seamlessly edited to look as though it was all filmed in one long take.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings interview round-up: production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates

vlcsnap-2014-12-30-11h47m23s59Now that it is out there for everyone to see — and now that it is failing with critics and audiences alike — it seems highly unlikely that Exodus: Gods and Kings will be remembered for any major awards come Oscar time. The film has already, in fact, been snubbed by the Academy’s visual-effects and makeup & hairstyling branches, which neglected to include Ridley Scott’s Bible epic on their shortlists.

There is still hope for some of the other below-the-line talent, though, a few of whom are still promoting the film — and their role in making it — in the trades and other outlets. What follows is a round-up of some of the more recent interviews.

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Watch: Noah is one of seven films shortlisted for the Oscar for best makeup & hairstyling (for humans and animals)?

vlcsnap-2013-11-14-10h51m29s106Noah may have been snubbed when it comes to visual effects, but today the Academy announced that Darren Aronofsky’s Bible movie is one of seven films that made the shortlist for the Oscar for Best Makeup & Hairstyling.

The other six films are The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent and The Theory of Everything. Three of these films will advance to the next round when the Oscar nominations are announced January 15.

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