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Gold Derby nuggets: 411 on 'Nine' | Two perspectives on 'Avatar' | Four toons top 50 Oscars snubs

November 13, 2009 |  9:16 am

Nine Title Card • Tony-winning composer Maury Yeston talked in great detail to Harry Haun about the journey of "Nine" from screen (as "8 1/2") to stage and back to screen. "There are only two ways to approach Broadway shows becoming movies," Yeston says. "One of them is to be an over-controlling fuddy-duddy and not let anybody change anything. The other is to step back and go with the new medium." For Yeston, "The adaptation back into film was a very organic one that made a tremendous amount of sense. It was a great opportunity to allow this piece -- which had been so cinematic to begin with -- to find again its place in the grammar of cinema. That means things like dissolves, edits, close-ups, lighting effects -- things film can do for exposition to get inside the mind." PLAYBILL

Steve Pond delivers more scoop on Saturday's inaugural Governors Awards at Hollywood and Highland's Grand Ballroom feting Thalberg winner John Calley and Oscars honorees Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis. Steve says, "Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg, Alec Baldwin and Peter Fonda will be among those saluting this quartet" and that "the evening will be a blend of toasts, speeches, and film packages that will run longer than the ones ordinarily seen during honorary Oscars presentations. (Filmmakers Jon Bloom and June Beallor are putting the packages together.)" THE ODDS

Chris Sullivan got an in-depth interview with Mickey Rourke in which the actor admits, "I knew I wasn't going to win the Oscar for 'The Wrestler' before I even got there. I knew my reputation would precede me... I stupidly said acting wasn't a job for a real man. I threatened producers, raged at directors, forgot my agent's name. I really burned my bridges." And Rourke says, "I'd love to have an Oscar, but don't you worry -- I'll get mine. If I get the right part and set my mind to it, I will get one." MAIL ON SUNDAY

Avatar PosterLane Brown updates the weekly Oscars futures and classifies "Precious" as "up" since "a record-busting per-screen opening-weekend box office means its bleakness might not be as big a problem as we thought," while "Avatar" is "down" due to concerns about its prospects for profit: "Will it really cost $500 million, like the Times says? We are skeptical! Still, this thing will have its work cut out for it at the box office." However, "Avatar" helmer James Cameron is still "up" -- "Two honorary awards on the same day!" -- and as Lane notes, "Presumably there will be more on the way (at least until people see his movie)." NEW YORK

Pete Hammond offers up another plate of tasty tidbits including items on "Avatar" -- "Another person tells me he has seen 90% of the movie in 2-D and it's definitely best-picture fodder; this counteracts bad buzz I heard two weeks ago, so take it all in cautiously until Fox shows the finished movie"; "Star Trek" -- "Throwing a major DVD/Blu-ray launch party at the Griffith Observatory on Monday. Paramount is sparing no expense, bringing in director J.J. Abrams, cast and crew for what the invite describes as a 'stellar event.'  It's ostensibly to plug the DVD release, but let's face it, this is all about snagging one of those 10 best-picture Oscars slots"; and "Crazy Heart" -- "Fox Searchlight chief Nancy Utley confirmed that one of the reasons they decided to release 'Crazy Heart' as a last-minute award candidate on Dec. 16 is to avoid running into another upcoming Jeff Bridges flick now on the fast track, 'True Grit.' That's the Coen brothers' remake of the 1969 western that won John Wayne his only Oscar. Jeff as a drunken country singer (in 'Crazy Heart') competing against Jeff as a drunken cowboy (Rooster Cogburn in 'True Grit') probably wouldn't be a good idea." NOTES ON A SEASON

David S. Cohen reports that the Hollywood Post Alliance handed out its fourth annual kudos Thursday night. "Steven J. Scott of EFilm won for color grading in a DI process for 'Julie & Julia.' Audio post honors went to the 'Watchmen' team of Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montano, Scott Hecker and Eric Norris of Universal Studios Sound. Industrial Light & Magic's compositing team of Nelson Sepulveda, Ben O'Brien, Matthew Brumit and Robert Hoffmeister won for 'Transformers 2.' 'Slumdog Millionaire,' released after last year's deadline, picked up yet another award, for editor Chris Dickens." VARIETY

Finding NemoPeter Knegt enumerates his 50 worst Oscars snubs of the decade. As he explains, "Attempting to narrow it down to 50 was no small feat, and I’d expect there’s going to be some disagreement. But let me first explain where I was coming from. Essentially, I focused on only nine of the most often discussed categories." And he says, "I also figured there should at least be some theoretical chance that the snub could have been nominated." His top four: best picture snubs of four animated flicks -- "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," "Wall-E";  best director snub of Todd Haynes ("Far From Heaven," "I'm Not There"); best actress snub of Uma Thurman ("Kill Bill," Vol. 1 & 2); and best picture snub of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" which also ranks high on my list of academy oversights. INDIE WIRE

• Two-time Daytime Emmy-winning writer Stan Berkowitz ("Batman Beyond," "The New Batman/Superman Adventures") was honored by the West Animation Writers Caucus of the WGA Thursday night with the 12th annual Animation Writing Award. "While Stan has built an acclaimed writing career bringing superheroes to the screen, he's a real-life superhero to the animation writing community – not only helping to raise the profile of animation writers through his many creative gifts, but also by playing a lead role in the Guild’s ongoing efforts to organize animation writing," said WGAW President John Wells. WGA

Jennifer Konerman has the list of honorees being feted by New York Women in Film and Television: "'The Good Wife's" Julianna Margulies, 'Ugly Betty's America Ferrera, 'The Colbert Report' writer-producer Allison Silverman and Lifetime Networks CEO Andrea Wong will be presented their awards at the Muse Awards gala Dec. 9 at the New York Hilton." VARIETY

Photo credits from top: "Nine" poster (Weinstein Co.); "Avatar" poster (Fox); "Finding Nemo" poster (Walt Disney Pictures)

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