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Clint Eastwood may give up acting (and singing) after 'Gran Torino' | 'The Reader' prompts accusation of double standard | Grammy hello and Oscar goodbye

December 3, 2008 |  3:46 pm

• In his most recent column, Pete Hammond writes of the first press screening of "Gran Torino" attended by the film's director and star Clint Eastwood, who talked about retiring from acting. For Pete, "If 'Gran Torino' does prove to be his acting swan song, he couldn't have picked a better way to go out. As a grizzled, racist, foul-mouthed ex-Marine refusing to move from an old neighborhood now populated  with Asians and overrun by gangs, Eastwood summons up memories from his past roles." Notes on A Season

• And speaking of all things Clint, those cheeky wags behind the Vulture column at New York magazine take a listen to his crooning of the title track from "Gran Torino." Their review? "In their infinite benevolence, Warner Bros. Clint_eastwood_sings has created a 'For Your Consideration' website for the musical score for 'Gran Torino' — which features the plaintive, heartfelt balladeering of grizzled, 78-year-old actor-director Clint Eastwood! Sounding not unlike Tom Waits with a punctured lung, Eastwood eschews Auto-Tune, rendering the film's title song possibly the most terrific thing we've heard all week. We can't wait to see him do this live at the Oscars." New York Vulture

• Pop & Hiss crackles with an item about the opening of the Grammy Museum in L.A. this weekend. "The Tuesday morning preview revealed the new facility to be a heavily interactive exhibition hall, one whose emphasis is not on past trophy winners or even historic artifacts but instead on music education and appreciation. The 30,000-square-foot space, which comes complete with a 200-seat theater, essentially functions as a hands-on gallery." Pop & Hiss

Otto Spoerri, controller of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1978 until 2002, died Saturday at age 75 in his hometown of Zurich, Switzerland.  While Spoerri oversaw the academy’s accounting department, he was better known as the person who determined seating arrangements at the annual Oscars. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal once called him "the ultimate arbiter of industry power," and the Associated Press referred to him as "the most powerful person in Hollywood." Despite the media attention, Spoerri laughed off his annual 15 minutes of fame, saying that the task was really pretty straightforward. "It’s just working with the producer of the broadcast to make sure that where people sit makes the show flow smoothly," he explained. AMPAS


• Our pal Thelma Adams, film critic for Us Weekly, also contributes to the Huffington Post from time to time. This week she raises the provocative issue of the double standard applied in "The Reader," which features a sexual relationship between a thirtysomething woman (Kate Winslet) and a teenage boy (David Kross). As Thelma writes, "Reverse the genders — older man deflowers underage girl — and there would be a public outcry." She also says, "Michael is both the victim of abuse, and lost in his continued love for his abuser, because nothing since has come close to that intensity. Emotionally, he stopped growing at 15." Huffington Post

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post recaps the latest in Tom Cruise's WWII thriller, "Valkyrie," and its rocky road to release. With the film not being screened in time to be considered for critics kudos and with advance word less than stellar, Lou concludes its best awards hopes may well be the Razzies. New York Post

Patrick Goldstein delivers the Big Picture with his report on the recent raucous screening of "Frost/Nixon" in the nation's capital. The screening concluded with a war of words between Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and journalist James Reston Jr., who was one of Frost's researchers for the original interviews. Big Picture

Timothy Gray of Variety takes an interesting look at why some of the most prestigious kudos of the awards season — DGA and WGA for example — are not televised. It seems the potential license fees do not outweigh the economic and artistic costs of publicly airing these private affairs. "DGA president Michael Apted said broadcasters frequently woo the guild, but they always decline. 'We honor the craft,' Apted emphasized, 'and we do it at an event where members can let their hair down.'" No doubt DGA is especially happy that its last award ceremony wasn't televised considering the wacky outbursts by actress Sean Young, who was briskly escorted from the ceremony. Afterward, she issued a formal apology and entered alcohol rehab. Variety


• Why don't Oscar voters take comic films more seriously? "Maybe it's just the dichotomy of laughs versus seriousness," Ben Stiller tells Envelope blogger Scott Feinberg. Sarah Jessica Parker pipes in: "It might look like it comes easily, but there's enormous choreography to it, there's endless rehearsing of timing, thinking about your environment, props . . . . It's hard — it's wonderfully hard. " Read more and listen to their podcasts HERE.

Nelson Branco of TV Guide Canada freaks out "Young and the Restless" star Christian LeBlanc when he asks the two-time Emmy champ what he thinks about the news that his network, CBS, has declined to telecast the Daytime Emmy ceremony this year. Apparently, he hadn't heard the news.

• New York Times Carpetbagger David Carr blames himself for the loss of "The Wrestler" to "Frozen River" at the Gotham Awards since Carr sat at the Fox Searchlight table and considers himself to be "kudo kryptonite." The Bagger likes the Gothams because they're kept "on the down low . . . .  There are lots of laughs, very little in the way of star posses, and the security is very mellow." Apparently, the event's security guards weren't tempted to toss him out when he started glowing green in the dark and was body-slammed by Mickey Rourke. READ MORE.

• Speaking of the Gotham Awards, Guy Lodge of InContention is mightily impressed at how hot "Frozen River" is proving in early awards: "If it continues to emerge as this year’s indie Cinderella story, I’ll be interested to see what notice the academy takes of it. I sense a best original screenplay nod for Courtney Hunt is a genuine possibility considering the dearth of heavyweights in that field. At the very least, however, the more momentum the film gains, the more I like [Melissa] Leo’s chances of a well-deserved best actress nod. "

Photos: Paramount, Weinstein Co., Warner Bros./New Line, DreamWorks