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Entertainment behind the scenes

“The Dark Knight” returns to theaters in run-up to Oscars

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CRITICSCHOICE/The studio behind Batman movie “The Dark Knight” has set Jan. 23 as the date for the movie’s re-release in IMAX and conventional theaters.

Studios often re-release movies in the lead-up to the Oscars, and “The Dark Knight” has been talked about for a number of trophies.

The biggest buzz surrounds the late Heath Ledger, who played Batman’s Machiavellian arch enemy The Joker and died last year of an overdose of prescription drugs. His performance already won him a posthumous Golden Globe award for best supporting actor, and Ledger could get an Oscar nomination as well.

Industry watchers expect the re-release of “The Dark Knight” to push the film past the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales. The film is already the second-highest grossing movie behind the 1997 film “Titanic.”

“Slumdog” was top dog at Globes, but is it all bark, no bite?

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GOLDENGLOBES/“Slumdog Millionaire” walked away with four Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night, including best film drama, setting it on a solid path to Oscar glory. But there is still a long way to go. It was only three years ago that “Crash” was shut out of many Golden Globe nominations, but it made a comeback at the Screen Actors Guild awards and went on to claim that year’s best picture Oscar.

Why? One reason is because actors make up the biggest branch of voters at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and they loved “Crash.”

Oscars choice of Hugh Jackman: hit or miss?

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LEISURE(Writing and reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

 It’s a tough job hosting the Academy Awards. It’s supposed to be entertaining, but it’s also a night for the stars to revel in the glory of an Oscar win. And the host has to be edgy and funny, without going over the line and insulting the honorees.
    
But when it works, as it did in 1992 when tough-guy actor Jack Palance did push-ups in front of comedian and host Billy Crystal, only to become the butt of AUSTRALIACrystal’s jokes for the rest of the night, it makes for memorable moments. 
    
On Friday, the organization behind the Academy Awards named Australian actor Hugh Jackman as the host of February’s annual show. Jackman is the first non-comedian to single-handedly host the show in recent years. The last time an Australian hosted the show was in 1987, when to “Crocodile Dundee” AUSTRALIAstar Paul Hogan shared the stage with actress Goldie Hawn and comedian Chevy Chase. 
    
Coming off starring in “Australia,” which has had only limited box office success since its Nov. 26 opening with a total box office take of $43 million, Jackman will rely on song and dance instead of just jokes to entertain a worldwide audience on Oscar night.LEISURE TONYS

He has done well hosting the Tony Awards, the Broadway version of the Oscars, but the Oscars’ audience is used to comedians on the show. On a night where hype and pomp rule, the comedian’s role is often to keep the show grounded by injecting a jester’s dose of realism.

Hollywood’s best movie contenders — did they get it right?

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Hollywood’s movie awards season got seriously underway with the Golden Globe nominations on Thursday. But have those who pick the best movies and actors of the year got it right?USA/

Some pundits are already crying foul over the absence of Australian actress Cate Blanchett, Brad Pitt’s co-star in ”The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”,  from the Golden Globe contenders, not to mention the fact that the San Francisco gay drama “Milk” got just one nomination, for actor Sean Penn.

Toronto talks Oscar, but do movie fans listen?

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hathaway.jpgA lot of buzz at the Toronto film festival inevitably is about which movies may compete for Oscars as Hollywood begins its months-long campaign for film honors that often — although not always — bring stars fame and movie studios money.

Taken together with film festivals in Venice and Telluride, Colorado, which annually occur in late August and early September, the Toronto event is a key Oscar campaign launch site. But sometimes the movies suffer a critical backlash if they are too widely hyped. Other times critics jump on a movie’s bandwagon and propel the film forward.

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