"Avatar" Receives Outstanding Cinematography Nomination 

"Avatar" cinematographer Mauro Fiore (pictured) is one of the nominees of the 24th annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards.

Fiore will compete with Barry Ackroyd for "The Hurt Locker," Dione Beebe for "Nine," Christian Berger for "The White Ribbon" and Robert Richardson for "Inglourious Basterds."

According to the ASC website:

All films eligible for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar competition were candidates for the ASC Outstanding Achievement Award. Last year’s ASC winner in the feature category — Anthony Dod Mantle, BSC, DFF for Slumdog Millionaire — went on to take home the Academy Award.

Goi notes that art and craft of cinematography is a global language. Fiore was born in Italy, Berger is Austrian, Ackroyd is British, Beebe was born in Australia, and Richardson is a native of the United States.

The winner, who will likely take home an Oscar as well, will be announced Feb. 27.

My bet to win? "Avatar!" It's simply the most beautiful film last year!

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John Malkovich to Star as Vulture in "Spider-Man 4?" 

The fate of the fourth installment of the "Spider-Man" franchise is still up in the air (it's uncertain if the film will open in its targeted release date of May 5, 2011) but John Halkovich has confirmed that he's up for the role of the big bad Vulture according to our friends at superherohype.com.

Malkovich made an appearance in an Italian sports show called "Quelli Che il Calcio" and revealed the Vulture news.

"When conductor Simona Ventura asked him about his role of Vulture in the movie, he not only didn't deny his involvement, but confirmed that he's waiting for the final script to be sent to him, and that the movie has been delayed. He also hopes that shooting will begin as soon as possible."

Apparently, Malkovich was Sam Raimi's alternate choice to play the Green Goblin in the first "Spider-Man" film. There's no confirmation from Sony yet regarding Malkovich's participation, or whether Vulture will indeed be the Big Bad in "Spider-Man 4." Stay tuned...

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Stuart Townsend Says Goodbye to "Thor!" 

Stuart Townsend has left production of "Thor" using the good, old "creative differences" excuse.

The actor was set to star as one of the Warrior Three named Fandral. The Warrior Three is a trio of Asgardian warriors who fight alongside Thor, our favorite Norse god. Now, Townsend has been replaced by actor Joshua Dallas.

Kenneth Branagh is directing "Thor" and the shooting starts today.

This is the second time that Townsend has left a famous franchise at the last minute. Once upon a time, he was the man who would be King Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, but was replaced by Viggo Mortensen.

"Thor" is set to open May 6, 2011.

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"Avatar" Continues to Dominate Box-Office! 

For the fourth straight weekend, James Cameron's "Avatar" remained on top, earning $48.5 million. Overseas, the sci-fi flick earned $143 million, bringing its total to $906 million. Worldwide, "Avatar" has pulled in $1.34 billion, a shy away from beating Cameron's own record, "Titanic" at $1.8 billion.

"Avatar" beat "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" to become the No. 1 release of 2009. "Avatar's" $429 million take lorded over "Transformers'" $402.1 million domestic total. The 20th Century Fox flick is only $100 million shy from beating "The Dark Knight's" $533.3 million domestic record.

Meanwhile, "Sherlock Holmes" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" remained at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively. The Robert Downey Jr.-Jude Law starrer took the second place with $16.6 million, while the "Chipmunks" sequel sold $16.3 million worth of tickets to hold steady at No. 3.

The vampire thriller "Daybreakers" was the strongest among the latest batch of films to open last weekend. The Lionsgate scare-a-thon starring Ethan Hawke made $15 million to debut at No. 4.

Moviegoers didn't take a leap of faith with Universal's new film "Leap Year." The romantic comedy starring Amy Adams only made $9.2 million to place at No. 6. "Youth in Revolt" didn't fare well either, debuting at No. 9 with $7 million.

Here's the estimated Top 10 films at the box-office for weekend of Jan. 8th:

1. "Avatar," $48.5 million.

2. "Sherlock Holmes," $16.6 million.

3. "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," $16.3 million.

4. "Daybreakers," $15 million.

5. "It's Complicated," $11 million.

6. "Leap Year," $9.2 million.

7. "The Blind Side," $7.8 million.

8. "Up in the Air," $7.1 million.

9. "Youth in Revolt," $7 million.

10. "The Princess and the Frog," $4.7 million.

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Blake Lively to Co-Star Opposite Ryan Reynolds in "Green Lantern" 

"Gossip Girl's" Blake Lively reportedly beat Keri Russell and Jennifer Garner to star as the female lead in Warner Bros.' upcoming superhero movie "Green Lantern" opposite Ryan Reynolds.

The Hollywood Reporter tells us that "Lively will play Carol Ferris, who runs her father's aerospace company and hires cocky test pilot Hal Jordan (Reynolds), who later becomes the intergalactic policeman Green Lantern. In the comics, the romance became complicated when an alien race bestowed her the power of a crystal called the Star Sapphire."

So if "Green Lantern" is a hit, Lively has the potential to have her own superhero franchise as Star Sapphire!

While I'm not too familiar with Lively's work (except for her part in the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), this casting report may or may not work. Gwyneth Paltrow shone in "Iron Man" as Virginia "Pepper" Potts opposite Robert Downey Jr., but then, that's Paltrow.

Apparently, Lively impressed the studio with her audition, and they were equally impressed with her work in "The Town" directed by Ben Affleck. So I will reserve my comments until I see the Martin Campbell-directed film when it opens June 17, 2011.

The script was written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Michael Green, with Michael Goldenberg currently rewriting. The next part of the casting process will be the roles of Dr. Hector Hammond, one of the main villains, and the alien known as Sinestro.

Production is set to shoot in Louisiana in March.


"Casino Royale's" Martin Campbell in Talks to Direct "Green Lantern"
Ryan Reynolds Beats Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake to become "Green Lantern!"

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