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Hollywood's Awards and Industry Insider
Oscars 2016: It's not too early to consider the next best picture race

Weeks before the Oscars were handed out Sunday, studios were already taking meetings with awards consultants for next year’s best picture contenders. What movies might we be hearing about again (and again ... and again) later this year? An early stab at a top 10, in alphabetical order:

“Brooklyn,” (Fox Searchlight, release TBA): Searchlight paid $9 million at Sundance for this exquisite immigrant love story — and that might end up being a bargain price. Set in 1950s New York, it follows a homesick Irish woman (Saoirse Ronan) struggling to adapt to her new life until she meets a sweet Italian plumber (Emory Cohen). It’s beautifully crafted, emotionally turbulent and sports a superb lead turn by the 20-year-old Ronan, making good on the promise she first showed in “Atonement.”

“Carol,” (The Weinstein Co., fall): The latest from Todd Haynes (“Far from Heaven”), a drama about a married woman (Cate Blanchett) embarking on a lesbian romance with a younger woman (Rooney Mara) in the early...

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Oscars 2015: 'Boyhood' undone by its outsized Oscar campaign

Ask awards consultants the two words they fear the most, and they'll tell you in a heartbeat: Oscar front-runner.

That's because when you're the movie to beat, you're also the movie to target. Or, in the case of "Boyhood" this year, the expectations associated with being the top dog end up becoming your undoing.

Yes, "Boyhood" became the target of whisper campaigns (another two words awards campaigners hate), with competitors complaining about a perceived lack of diversity in the film or griping anonymously, "If you gave me 12 years to make a movie, I could get an Oscar nomination too." Never mind that the dozen years Richard Linklater spent making "Boyhood" came from an artistic impulse to examine the passage of time and how we perceive that passage. Or that he made several other excellent movies during that same 12-year period. 

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

That kind of sour-grapes jealousy, aimed at debunking "Boyhood's" singular achievement, didn't doom the movie. But as it piled up...

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Oscars 2015: Diversity onstage stands in stark contrast to nominees

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar nominations in January, the absence of any minority group nominees in the acting categories — for only the second time since 1998 — triggered a backlash of criticism and threats of protest.

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FOR THE RECORD:

Oscars diversity: In the Feb. 24 Section A, an article about an increase in minority presenters at the Oscars omitted the byline of Times staff writer Lorraine Ali, who co-reported the story with Rebecca Keegan. —
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But Sunday's Academy Awards show boasted the most diverse group of performers and presenters in Oscars history, as 15 minority presenters, including Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Lopez, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Kevin Hart and Oprah Winfrey, took the stage to deliver the evening's awards.

It wasn't by accident.

In the 2012 telecast, there was just one black presenter — Chris Rock. When producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron took over the following year, they made it a priority to...

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'Birdman' director Alejandro G. Inarritu plunges into new risks

Filmmakers coming off a big Oscar win tend to take a year or more to sift through their options. Ang Lee, who won the director Oscar in 2013, still hasn't started shooting his next film.

But "Birdman's" Alejandro G. Iñárritu — winner on Sunday of the best picture, directing and screenplay trifecta — isn't experiencing any Riggan Thomson-like dithering.

Iñárritu has spent the last five months shooting western-flavored movie "The Revenant" in and around Calgary with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, and will continue doing so at least until April. The director's awards-season stops were often built around trips to Los Angeles (where he lives with his family) from rural Canada, where he and cinematographer Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki have been scouting or shooting in harsh conditions.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

"The Revenant" examines a 19th century frontiersman (DiCaprio) who is mauled by a grizzly bear and the complicated consequences that ensue for both him and his men. As a period...

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Oscars 2015: Academy addresses Joan Rivers' 'In Memoriam' absence

In the wake of fan outrage that Joan Rivers was not included in the Oscars' annual "In Memoriam" segment honoring Hollywood figures who have died in the last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a statement to The Times on Monday:

"Joan Rivers is among the many worthy artists and filmmakers we were unfortunately unable to feature in the In Memoriam segment of this year's Oscar show. She is, however, included in our In Memoriam gallery on Oscar.com."

Rivers, who died at age 81 in September, was best known as a comedian and TV personality, though she appeared in a number of films. In a 2010 documentary about her, Rivers expressed frustration at not being recognized for her acting accomplishments. "My career is an actress' career," she said. "And I play a comedian."

Over the course of her career, Rivers also became a frequent, formidable presence on red carpets, including at the Oscars' own doorstep, where she helped to make a spectator sport of sizing up...

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Talk Oscars with The Times' Rebecca Keegan and Glenn Whipp

Last night's Oscars had its moments: Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez getting fired up by Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech. Common and John Legend getting everyone in the Dolby Theatre on their feet with their rousing performance of "Glory" from "Selma." And Lady Gaga making the hills come alive.

Los Angeles Times writers Rebecca Keegan and Glenn Whipp will talk about those moments as well as the good, bad and weird highs and lows of the 87th Academy Awards in a live chat today at noon PST.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015

Did the Oscars defeat host Neil Patrick Harris? Did the briefcase in the running gag contain the night's funny jokes too? We'll talk about the show, the big wins for "Birdman" and anything else that comes to us as we gradually come into consciousness on this beautiful post-Oscars morning. Join us, won't you?

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