"This year, I was on the London Film Critics' Circle awards committee to determine who would receive the group's annual Dilys Powell Award for contribution to British cinema, which wasn't the most simple of tasks," writes Guy Lodge. "Many worthy names were bandied about, but the final choice is one no one could take issue with: venerable London-born director and former cinematographer Nicolas Roeg. It's hard to think of someone more deserving of career recognition: in addition to helming such offbeat classics as Performance, Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth, Roeg brought equal formal vigor to his lensing of Far From the Madding Crowd and Petulia, among others. The choice strikes a chord with me personally, given that The Witches was something of a formative film for my seven year-old self. Indeed, Roeg's was the first director's name I ever took note of."
The Berlinale announced yesterday that another great British director, Mike Leigh, will be the Jury President of the 62nd edition, running from February 9 through 19. In the Telegraph, Robbie Collin talks with Danielle and Nichole Bird, who'll be appearing in Leigh's A Running Jump, "his breezy, sparklingly funny new 35-minute short film. Shot over three weeks in east London in the summer of 2010, it centers on a particularly chaotic day in the lives of the Conroy family. It is one of four shorts made by British filmmakers that will be screened as part of the London 2012 Festival." That'll be on from June 21 through September 9.
In the works. Felicity Jones "has landed the role of Nelly Ternan, the mistress of Charles Dickens, in The Invisible Woman, the adaptation of Claire Tomalin's acclaimed nonfiction book that Ralph Fiennes is set to make his directorial follow-up to Coriolanus," reports Oliver Lyttelton for the Playlist. "Ternan was an actress who was only eighteen when she began an affair with the married, 45 year old writer of Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, and their romance scandalized society at the time."
At Twitch, Hugo Ozman reports that Stephen Chow's Odyssey, " based on the famous Chinese novel A Journey to the West, which tells the story of Monkey King's journey to the west to acquire sutras from India," will be released next year. Back in August, Karen Chu noted in the Hollywood Reporter that this "new CGI-heavy film, a romantic comedy slash actioner, will have no relation to the 1990s two-part Chow classic The Chinese Odyssey, apart from the same source material."
Daniel Brühl will play Austrian Formula One champion Niki Lauda in Ron Howard's Rush, reports Bénédicte Prot for Cineuropa.
Lists. The Chicago Reader's JR Jones has begun his year-end countdown and, at #10: Margin Call, which "lays bare the naked greed and self-serving rationalization of America's financial class, who still control the levers of power in this country and whose unpunished crimes finally drove thousands into the street this fall."
Jim Santel's piece on Walker Percy's novel The Moviegoer at 50 is among the "Top Longreads of 2011." Then there's Robert Birnbaum's best books list and the year's top tweets.
Viewing. Catherine Grant posts several excerpts from a lengthy interview with film scholar VF Perkins.
More viewing. George Clooney, Albert Brooks, Gary Oldman, Christopher Plummer, Christoph Waltz and Nick Nolte are all participants in the Hollywood Reporter's actors roundtable.
And one final note for now: Jean-Luc Godard is 81 today.