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January 07, 2008

Tim Burton christens party season


By Borys Kit

A filmmaker who's obsessive about the look of his own movies seems to feel just as strongly about his colleague/competitor's work.

Tim Burton, who attended back-to-back events in L.A. on Friday night in honor of "Sweeney Todd," said he's missed out on seeing most of the awards contenders this year, what with globetrotting to promote his slasher musical and becoming a father for the second time.

But he won't watch the screeners. He prefers to see movies in their natural habitat, the darkened theater.

Friday's activities, hosted by Dreamworks/Paramount and Warner Bros. International, were the first awards-related events of '08. There was a cocktail party at S Bar in the heart of Hollywood and, despite heavy rain, packed in the faithful.

When told that the night's event kicked off the year in terms of awards events, Burton jovially exclaimed, "Excellent! I like kicking things off. Get me a champagne bottle and I'll smash it against the wall!"

Burton actually showed up a bit late, due to the weather, and looked relaxed for a guy who has been constantly go-go-go. He finished the movie in the nick of time, did press for it in North America, then went back to London to be with his wife Helena Bonham Carter for the birth of their child (a daughter to add to the son they already have).

After the cocktail hour, Burton was heading down the street to a Q&A at the Arclight that was organized just three days before (and sold out in 24 hours), then was immediately going to Japan to promote the movie there.

In a flip-flop from the U.S. marketing, the Japan campaign pushes the musical elements front and center, taking advantage of the Japanese love for musicals. So Warners, which is handling international distribution, is playing that part of it up. Still, there are no guarantees.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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