Gold Derby nuggets: 'Brothers' enters Oscars race | Sasha Stone on sci-fi odds at Oscars | Lighter side of 'Serious Man' Michael Stuhlbarg
• Steve Pond reports that Lionsgate is mounting an ambitious Oscar campaign for Jim Sheridan's "Brothers" including "a best-actor push for star Tobey Maguire, who plays a soldier presumed missing in Afghanistan until he returns home to his wife (Natalie Portman) and younger brother (Jake Gyllenhaal)." Says Steve, "a full slate of screenings begins next week, with Academy-geared television spots to follow. Lionsgate’s awards website now promotes the film in a wide range of categories including best picture, best director, best actor, supporting actor and actress, screenplay, and song for U2’s 'Winter.'" THE ODDS
• Dave Karger thinks the just-opened " 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' stands a great chance of competing against the likes of 'Pixar' and 'Ponyo' " in the animated feature race. And Dave says that though "Petey's Song" -- Jarvis Cocker’s countrified ode -- "may not be the most beautiful track in competition this year the music branch often goes for the non-traditional choices." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
• Sasha Stone takes a closer look at the Oscars hopes of "Avatar," "District 9" and "Star Trek." Says Sasha, "Both 'District 9' and 'Star Trek' triumphed at the box office. Both films were considered fairly lightweight yet wholly enjoyable. When you think about honoring Best Picture of the Year, shouldn’t you also consider successful films that were well reviewed and greatly loved by the public? Yes, you should. Will they? Hard to say, what with the whole Sci-Fi prejudice going in." As for "Avatar," Sasha thinks it, "is not just Sci-Fi but it probably counts as fantasy, too -- that’s a double whammy against it right off the bat." She then enumerates four factors that could help one, two or even all three of these films land in Oscars top 10. AWARDS DAILY
• S.T. Vanairsdale pays tribute to Gordon Willis, who will receive an honorary Oscar at Saturday's inaugural Governors Awards, calling him, "the best cinematographer America ever produced." Vanairsdale says, "If he’d only shot the 'Godfather' trilogy, 'Manhattan,' 'Zelig' and 'All the President’s Men' (let alone 'Pennies From Heaven,' 'Interiors,' 'Klute' and 'Broadway Danny Rose') he’d have at least earned consideration among the greats like Gregg Toland and Billy Bitzer and his Oscar-winning contemporaries Conrad Hall and Haskell Wexler." MOVIELINE
• Anne Thompson sat down for a compelling interview with "A Serious Man" star Michael Stuhlbarg in which he, "talks about how he came to be cast in the period dramedy, working with the Coen brothers, and how he is handling his serious good fortune." As Anne notes, "The fall release is likely to earn kudos with critics’ groups at year’s end and could be a factor with the Oscars as well." And she wonders, "Will the Academy actors recognize this theater star, or is he too unknown? Well, he has now arrived. Next up: a major HBO series, Martin Scorsese’s 'Boardwalk Empire.' " THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
Photo credits from top: "Brothers" poster (Lionsgate); "Star Trek" poster (Paramount); "A Serious Man" poster (Focus Features)
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