Roundup: Let the whisper campaigns begin

Every Oscar season it happens: a strong Oscar contender (or several) has to battle the negative publicity that comes from charges of factual inaccuracy. “Argo” survived it last year. Ditto “A Beautiful Mind” a few years back. And like clockwork, the knives have started to come out for some of this year’s frontrunners: biographical dramas “Captain Phillips” and “12 Years a Slave,” and even the fictional “Gravity.” Steve Pond looks into the shadowy world of whisper campaigns:  “They’re designed to be untraceable, and to offer plausible deniability. Why wouldn’t CNN have pulled out a three-year-old interview that ties into a big movie opening in a few days?” Will all three films ride it out? Probably. [The Wrap]
Scott Feinberg reports that “The Croods” is the first animated screener to reach Oscar voters. In a year this thin, it might well make the cut. [The Race]
Wesley Morris on why Sandra Bullock is the most powerful woman in Hollywood today. [Grantland]
David Carr on Julian Assange’s year at the movies, in “We Steal Secrets” and “The Fifth Estate.” [New York Times]
Alexander Payne’s next film will be an adaptation of the last published short story by Oscar-winning author and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. [Deadline
Steven Zeitchik writes how Payne’s current film, “Nebraska,” has rallied from a soft start at Cannes to become a buzzy property. [LA Times
Liberal documentaries: we feel noble for watching them, but do they actually help? David Gritten contemplates. [The Telegraph]

Flashbacks, romance, helicopter rescues… Alfonso Cuarón reveals some of the suggestions during the production of “Gravity” that he thankfully didn’t take on board. [io9]

An excellent NYFF interview with “The Immigrant” director James Gray, covering the challenges of period film, cinematographer-hopping and Cannes myth-making, among other topics. [Mubi]

Forget Cannes, Venice, Toronto… how can I get myself a pass to the first-ever Bacon Film Festival? Yes, it’s what it sounds like. [Variety