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Entertainment behind the scenes

Clooney, Reitman are “Up In the Air.” Audiences are over the moon

September 13, 2009

reitman1A Hollywood studio probably could not ask for a better beginning to an Oscar campaign than Paramount Pictures currently is getting for director Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air.”

All of you who’ve been reading Reuters and Fan Fare this past two weeks know that we are currently at the beginning of the film industry’s award season, and smack in the middle of the final of three festivals that launch Academy Award campaigns — at Telluride, Colorado, Venice, Italy, and here in Toronto, Canada.

Reitman and star George Clooney are back in the hunt for Oscar glory this year with comedy “Up In the Air.” No need to introduce Clooney, but maybe Reitman. He is the director of 2007 hit “Juno,” the quirky little indie movie about a pregnant teenager who decides to give up her baby for adoption, as well as the satirical movie “Thank You for Smoking.”

“Juno” earned Reitman an Oscar nomination for directing, along with others for writing (Diablo Cody, she won), actress (Ellen Page) and best motion picture. Paramount, which will release “Up In the Air” in November, reitmanwants to do better and it very well may. Still, there’s a long way to go and many movies to see.

“Up In the Air,” which looks at the life of a man (Clooney) whose job is to fire people in corporate restructurings and who claims not to need any family, friends or personal relationships, proved to be a darling of Telluride’s notoriously savvy festival crowds. Saturday’s Toronto premiere was both packed and star-studded (Oprah was in the house!). Reitman earned a standing ovation from a portion of the crowd. Although it was somewhat difficult to tell whether they were standing for him or just standing to watch Oprah exit.

Regardless of which way the celebrity gawkers were gazing (or gazers, gawking) “Up In the Air” will be a film to watch in this year’s Oscar race. We were at the premiere and below is the 10-minute Question and Answer session after it was over. If you haven’t been to a festival and seen the Q&A’s, it’s interesting. Pay attention to Clooney as he waves his bandaged hand. He shut it in a car door.

Fair warning on the video, though, it’s a long one, so give it some time to load.

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