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Gold Derby nuggets: Mo'Nique makes 'Precious' friends | Oscar hopes for 'Amelia' in a tailspin | 'Avatar' trailer kicks off during NFL game

October 29, 2009 | 10:49 am

Monique Precious OscarsAnne Thompson (THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD) and Sasha Stone (AWARDS DAILY) both rally to the defense of "Precious" star Mo'Nique, who has been MIA from many of the media events for this indie film. Reports Anne, "The actress will fly in from Atlanta for the L.A. premiere at AFI Fest, where she’ll do select press and multiple TV bookings." She then wonders, "Will the SAG and Academy actors give her a shot if she doesn’t work the guild Q & As? I’d like to think they would." And says Sasha, "She appeared recently on CBS’ Sunday Morning in a segment about weight (she’s lost 40 pounds).  I think she’s pretty cool."

• Our fellow Envelope blogger Paul Gaita follows filmfests and reports today on the awards handed out at the 53rd edition of the London movie marathon. After placing second at Cannes for his thriller "A Prophet," Gallic filmmaker Jacques Audiard won best film on the other side of the channel. And Oscar hopeful "The Road" received an honorable mention from the jury co-chaired by Oscar winner Angelica Huston. THE CIRCUIT

Amelia Oscars Hilary Swank • In his insightful report on last weekend's screening of "Amelia" for academy voters, Steve Pond says the Oscar hopes of the film are as lost at sea as the aviatrix. In his savvy analysis, Steve observes, "For 'Amelia' to counter those negative reviews, it would have needed to wow Oscar voters. For the movie to survive its decent but unspectacular boxoffice showing, it would have been necessary to draw a good crowd to the theater that, after all, usually attracts exactly the audience 'Amelia' has to win over: upscale, older, more conservative and more attuned to the kind of old-fashioned filmmaking that Nair’s biopic represents. It didn’t do either of these things. It drew a smallish audience, and it played decently. That’s not enough." THE ODDS

• Our pal Pete Hammond wonders whether two of the creative giants of the last century -- Tennessee Williams and Orson Welles -- will figure in this year's Oscar race. Fifty years after Williams wrote the screenplay for "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond," the film finally got made by novice director Jodie Markell with star Bryce Dallas Howard as a devious debutante ably supported by Ann-Margret and Ellen Burstyn. And Pete touts the performance of Christian McKay as the mercurial multi-talent in "Me and Orson Welles," which costars Zac Efron, as the 'Me' in the title, an idealistic young actor taken under Welles' wing, and Claire Danes as a love interest for both. NOTES ON A SEASON

Ricky Gervais Golden Globes • We applauded the choice of Ricky Gervais as host of the Golden Globes and his saucy interview with Reuters offers a tantalizing taste of things to come on Jan. 17.  "Everyone is sitting around and drinking. I'm going to be drunk, and I'm not going to rehearse. So, it's the perfect gig for me," says Gervais. He has ruled out a musical number but has planned little beyond that. "I'm not going to try to offend people. I'm not going to try to go for controversy. I'm going to do my brand of humor, and I think people know that when I say something off color or cheeky or a little more cutting edge than you might see on network TV, it comes from a good place." REUTERS

• With Ricky Gervais hosting the Globes, you can cross him off this wish list of Oscar emcees from Marc Hirsch. Among those he would like to see at the Kodak Theater are Tony and Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris (nope -- no movie cred), Tina Fey (too Gotham), and Queen Latifah (interesting). As Hirsch notes, "Latifah has been quietly accumulating tons of Oscar cred over the past decade. In addition to her Best Supporting Actress nomination for 'Chicago,' she's appeared on the Oscars six times, including each of the last four telecasts. She's clearly made herself an invaluable presence, and she even came out relatively unscathed when she was placed in the unenviable position of singing last year's Death Montage Song." MSNBC

Avatar Oscars NuggetsBrad Brevet does his usual superb job of searching the Web worldwide for this treasure trove of "Avatar" related videos: "I have three new videos for you including an international version (Thai if I'm not mistaken) of the three-minute trailer, a four-minute featurette in questionable quality and a short 40-second teaser that has just been released. However, this isn't the end of it all." As Brad reports, the trailer will unspool live on the enormous screen in the new home of the Dallas Cowboys during Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks. "At the same time, millions of others watching FOX NFL Sunday will see the trailer on-air – making it the largest live motion picture trailer viewing in history."  ROPE OF SILICON

Roger Friedman takes a look-see at the current Oscar contenders -- "Amelia" out; "The Lovely Bones" wavering -- and reports that "The Road" is back on track after a rapturous reception at the London filmfest, where it was cited for for its "breathtaking vision, extraordinary performances and profound political statement." Says Roger,  " 'The Road' is the sleeper film of 2009, with an Oscar level performance, as usual, from Viggo Mortensen." SHOWBIZ 411

Jeff Wells embeds the new trailer for "Green Zone" and wonders why Universal bumped this new pic by Oscar nominee Paul Greengrass ("United 93") to March. Theorizes Jeff, "They figured the Academy would never nominate two Iraq War movies for best picture, and that 'The Hurt Locker' was too well dug in in this respect (i.e., as one to nominate) so the hell with opening it during the ultra-expensive awards season, etc." HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE

• Creator Marc Cherry has inked a deal with ABC Studios that could see "Desperate Housewives" -- now in its sixth season -- go at least nine innings. Roadblock could be that the original all-stars are signed only through season seven. But with veteran player Dana Delany and rookie Drea de Matteo hitting home runs, how much would they be missed if they were dropped from the lineup? VARIETY

• Those viperous Vultures take a bite out of the trailer for the upcoming season of "24." The onetime perennial Emmy nominee for best drama series has shifted locales once more with the daylong adventure for Jack Bauer and company starting off in Gotham. "According to this trailer, season eight of '24' which takes place a year and a half to two years after season seven, will include a little girl, a grandpa, a family, guns, the U.N., cell phones, broken windows, big TVs, bombs, helicopters, Bluetooth earpieces, yelling, cars flipping over, explosions, and pithy one-liners. That about covers it."  NEW YORK

Photographs (top to bottom): Lionsgate; Fox Searchlight; NBC; 20th Century Fox

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