Gold Standard: Academy turns out in force for 'Star Wars'

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Gold Standard

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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. Happy holidays! Let's take a look at what happened this week.

Will academy members vote for 'Star Wars'?

The film academy hosted two screenings of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" over the weekend and 1,500 to 1,600 people showed up. That's a lot of people this busy time of year. Will the impressive attendance figures translate into some best picture votes? History tells us no, as I write here. But then, as Han Solo once said, "Never tell me the odds."

Leading men, leading contenders: Steve Carell, from left, Michael Caine, Bryan Cranston and Samuel L. Jackson. (Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times)

Master acting class with Carell, Cranston, Caine and Jackson

The lead actor Oscar race this year is wide open. Times staffers Rebecca Keegan and Mark Olsen recently sat down with four deserving contenders -- Steve Carell ("The Big Short"), Bryan Cranston ("Trumbo"), Samuel L. Jackson ("The Hateful Eight") and Michael Caine ("Youth").
My favorite quote came from Caine, responding to dealing with directors who want to do three or four dozen takes of the same scene. "I get up to about five and I give the director a look, and he goes, 'I don't think I'll do six.'"
Don't look for Caine in a David Fincher movie any time soon.

Early predictions for the SAG Awards

The 116,741 SAG-AFTRA members in good standing have been able to vote for the 2016 SAG Awards for about a week now. The winners from this ceremony, more often than not, mirror the eventual Oscar victors. You can read my early predictions for the show here.

Supporting players: Joel Edgerton, clockwise from top left, Seth Rogen, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Sylvester Stallone and Paul Dano. (Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times)

Scene stealers share their secrets

"Oh, call me Sly." That's how Sylvester Stallone kicked off our Supporting Actor Roundtable, which included Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo from "Spotlight," Seth Rogen ("Steve Jobs"), Paul Dano ("Love & Mercy") and Joel Edgerton ("Black Mass"). They all share some good stories and it's hard to pick a favorite, but Ruffalo recalling his bartending days ("I thought my claim to fame was gonna be the margarita") make for a great read.
I’d love to hear from you. Email me at
Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter

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