Gold Derby nuggets: Disney nets nab 'Nine' | Dave Karger: Clooney vs. Damon twice? | Will another Disney flick down 'Up'?
• Michael Schneider reports that the Weinstein Co. is working with Disney on an ambitious multi-platform promotion plan for "Nine." As Michael details, "Under the arrangement, a themed dance number on the Nov. 17 episode of 'Dancing with the Stars' will be set to the 'Nine' song 'Be Italian.' Dancers will also wear outfits from the movie. Meanwhile, throughout the month of December, 'Nine' will be written into episodes of 'All My Children,' 'One Life to Live' and 'General Hospital.' Also, on Nov. 22, a two-minute 'Nine' trailer will run simultaneously "road-block" style on Lifetime, ABC Family, SoapNet, A&E and Bio. That same night, the trailer is set to run on ABC during the 'American Music Awards.' " VARIETY
• Besides that trailer for "Nine," Rick Porter says we will be seeing a lot of Whitney Houston on the American Music Awards. Houston will be feted with the "International Artist Award at the ceremony. The honor has only been given occasionally in the 36-year history of the awards and recognizes artists who 'have gone beyond the borders of their own country to be acknowledged for their superstar status around the globe.' Past recipients include Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, the Bee Gees, Madonna, Beyonce and Aerosmith." And Rick reports, "Houston is slated to perform the song 'I Didn't Know My Own Strength' from her latest album, 'I Look to You,' at the AMAs. It will be her first time performing at the awards in a decade." ZAP2IT`
• Lou Lumenick says, "Some people just don't get a joke. I guess they didn't see my tongue in my cheek when I included '2012' in a list of Best Picture Oscar predictions at the L.A. Times a couple of weeks ago. Basically, it was my humorous way of saying just how weak this year's field is." NEW YORK POST
•Dave Karger has fun with the fact, "that good buddies George Clooney and Matt Damon are competing against each other in this season’s Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories. In the lead race, Clooney headlines 'Up in the Air' with a quintessential star turn, while Damon shows off his droll comedy stylings in 'The Informant!' And in the supporting contest, there’s Clooney’s goofball performance in 'The Men Who Stare At Goats,' while Damon gets serious as a South African rugby player in 'Invictus.'" Dave says, "I’ve only seen three of these four performances, but my hunch is that Clooney’s stronger shot is for Best Actor while Damon seems a better bet for Best Supporting Actor." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
• Todd Martens thinks the guest list for the Dec. 2 Grammy Awards nominations prime-time special includes several likely nominees. "The Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell are safe bets for major nominations, perhaps even album of the year, and while Sugarland's 'Love on the Inside' isn't eligible, singles from the album will most likely score a nomination or two." And as Todd reminds us, "Last December marked the first time the Recording Academy took its Grammy nomination press conference to prime time. Young country superstar Taylor Swift performed on the special, and failed to receive a nomination (her sophomore effort, 'Fearless' will be eligible this year, and it will receive an album of the year nod)." POP & HISS
• Pete Hammond takes an in-depth look at the animated feature contenders and says, "One place an 'Up' beater could come from is Disney itself. After seeing 'The Princess and the Frog' yesterday on the lot, I would say it could give some of the presumed front-runners (which also include Disney's 'Ponyo' and Focus' 'Coraline') a real run for the gold. It's a rousing New Orleans-set 'toon in the big splashy musical tradition of 'The Little Mermaid.' Pete reports, "Another studio also seems to be aggressively working the animation race and that's 20th Century Fox which has a real shot with Wes Anderson's terrific stop motion 'Fantastic Mr. Fox.'" In the end, Pete thinks, "The final five nominees will likely be: 'Coraline,' 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' "Ponyo," 'Princess and the Frog' and 'Up.'" NOTES ON A SEASON
• Dave McNary reports that Warren Beatty will be feted by the Art Directors Guild at the fourth edition of their annual kudos on Feb. 13 at the Beverly Hilton. Past recipients of the Cinematic Imagery Award include Clint Eastwood, Blake Edwards, Terry Gilliam, Ray Harryhausen, Norman Jewison, John Lasseter, George Lucas, Frank Oz, Steven Spielberg, Robert S. Wise and Zhang Yimou. As per Dave, Beatty has a crowded mantle, "having already received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from AMPAS, the Board of Governors Award from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Distinguished Director Award from the Costume Designers Guild, the PGA's Milestone Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and the AFI's lifetime achievement award." VARIETY
• Anne Thompson delivers a detailed report on the workings of the screening committee of the motion picture academy. As Anne writes, "This group of about ten Academy members choose what the membership gets to see every weekend on the fabulous big screen at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire Boulevard." And as she discovers, "The new committee, which has changed membership since agent Larry Mirisch took over as chairman two months ago, often books movies that seem unlikely to play well to the older Academy members who tend to attend the screenings, or to have any relevancy to the Oscar race. At the same time they turn down films that might benefit from being seen on the big screen." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
• Steve Pond says that, "the set designer for the 82nd Academy Awards will be David Rockwell, who designed sets for February show and is also the architect responsible for the Kodak Theater." He discovered the news via this tweet from co-producer Adam Shankman: "Decided on oscar set concept. Excited doesn't even start to express how I'm feeling. Totally original. David Rockwell, and I r grt 2gther.” As Steve notes, "The design that Rockwell executed at the 81st Oscar show in March involved extending the stage and reconfiguring the orchestra level of the Kodak into more of a semi-circle, with entirely new seats brought in for the evening. Academy president Tom Sherak confirms that those seats, and that seating configuration, will be used again." THE ODDS
Photos, from top: Penelope Cruz in "Nine"
(The Weinstein Co.); Matt Damon and George Clooney in "Ocean's Eleven" (Warner Bros.); "The Princess and the Frog" poster (Disney)