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Newsletter: Clint Eastwood is 89 and still making good movies, like ‘Richard Jewell’

Paul Walter Hauser and Clint Eastwood arrive for the AFI Fest premiere of “Richard Jewell.”
“Richard Jewell’s” lead actor, Paul Walter Hauser, and director Clint Eastwood arrive for the film’s AFI Fest premiere.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“I’d like a street named after him,” Clint Eastwood said after the AFI Fest world premiere of his film “Richard Jewell.” “He deserves even more.”

With his latest film, Eastwood has given the late security guard something more: a monument to Jewell’s heroism and a portrait of its shattering aftermath, an arc Eastwood calls a “great American tragedy.”

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

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‘Richard Jewell’ earns ovation as it enters awards race

The arrival of a new Eastwood movie often prompts critics to jump to attention and declare the effort his best since ... “Million Dollar Baby.” Or is it “American Sniper”? “Letters From Iwo Jima”? Maybe “Sully”?

It’s not like the Rolling Stones, where everyone seems to land on the same two albums: “Some Girls” or perhaps “Tattoo You.”

My point, friends, is that Eastwood, at age 89, continues to deliver strong work. (Let’s not talk about “The Mule,” though, OK?) And his latest, “Richard Jewell,” is a solid, sobering and surprisingly funny effort. I wrote about its AFI premiere this week and how the film navigates Jewell’s story from hero to suspect and the media frenzy that engulfed him. The movie arrives in theaters on Dec. 13.

Robert Pattinson earned a Spirit Award nom for “The Lighthouse.”
Robert Pattinson earned a Spirit Award nom for “The Lighthouse.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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Nominations announced for the A24 (a.k.a. Spirit) Awards

Film Independent announced its Spirit Award nominations Thursday. And it wasn’t at all surprising to see the superb indie distributor A24 dominate the lists.

Times film writer Mark Olsen covered the nominations because ... of course ... his Twitter handle is @IndieFocus, and he writes about the indie film world for The Times with an informed, passionate perspective.

A24’s “Uncut Gems” and “The Lighthouse” each had five nominations. I’ve plugged my “Lighthouse” feature with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in this space before, but did you know that I then went back and did a separate interview with just Pattinson in which we barely discussed “The Lighthouse” and instead homed in on fame, the pointlessness of preparation and nerding out at Amoeba Music?

“They tried to teach me the value of talking points,” Pattinson remembered of a media training class he was forced to take while making the “Twilight” movies. “‘Stick to the points.’ And maybe that does work. I see all these other actors doing it. But I can’t ever remember the talking points. I can barely remember my lines! I’m not going to sit at home and try to remember my interview lines.”

Lulu Wang, director of “The Farewell.”
Lulu Wang, director of “The Farewell.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Will Oscar voters pay attention to women directors this year?

I wrote a column this week predicting nominees for the directing and cinematography Oscar races. But really it was a column noting how many of this year’s best movies were directed by women and hoping that awards voters might somehow notice. In the Oscars’ 91-year history, men have earned 350 directing nominations; women have five.

Feedback?

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I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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