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Gold Derby nuggets: CMAs clobber competition | VES knocked out by James Cameron | Mike Tyson delivers blow to Oscar hopes

November 12, 2009 |  2:27 pm

CMA_Awards • The CMAs did well for the alphabet net Wednesday night, drawing 16.8 million viewers to watch Taylor Swift sweep the awards. As James Hibberd reports: "That's 24% higher than the Emmys this year and up slightly from last year's CMAs. ABC won the night, its three-hour telecast leading every time slot with the network's biggest non-sports Wednesday audience in more than four years." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

David Ng says he is looking forward to the upcoming Broadway musical version of "The Addams Family," having seen the first photos of the Tony-winning talent in costume.  For David, "the fright wigs and cadaverous make-up look spot on, and Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth seem to be taking to their roles of Gomez and Morticia like they were born to them. Which, in our opinion, they were." The tuner begins an out-of-town tryout in Chicago on Friday and is slated to open in New York April 8. CULTURE MONSTER

Avatar Poster • Oscar-winning helmer James Cameron ("Titanic") will receive a lifetime kudo from the Visual Effects Society at the eighth annual awardsfest Feb. 28. In making the announcement, VES exec Eric Roth said, "James Cameron has set the gold standard for storytelling by combining true creative artistry along with the latest advances in technology to bring incredible stories to the screen. Over the past few decades he has been the pre-eminent director of big vision, big story extravaganzas and has redefined the moviegoing experience for filmgoers worldwide." Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis. Last year's honorees were producing team Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. VES

 • James Cameron will also be feted by the Santa Barbara filmfest with their Modern Masters award on Feb. 6. Last year, Clint Eastwood received this lifetime achievement prize. Fest director Roger Durling described Cameron as "one of the most visceral storytellers working in cinema today" and called the upcoming "Avatar" "one of the most ambitious projects ever." The SBIFF is unabashed in touting itself as "the preeminent Oscar film festival," citing "its knack for predicting Academy Award winners, a proximal distance to Los Angeles and timing close to the big event." SANTA BARBARA FILM FESTIVAL

Rebecca Milzoff chats with veteran actor Hal Holbrook about the unexpected career boost he got from his supporting actor Oscar nod two years ago for "Into the Wild" (he lost to Javier Bardem for "No Country for Old Men"). Says Holbrook -- star of the just-released "That Evening Sun" --  "That movie certainly gave me another shot at work. For one thing, it brought this movie on; when they saw me in 'Into the Wild,' they thought I was the man to play this part. Sean Penn gave me a real gift there, I'm telling ya." NEW YORK

Tyson PosterAnne Thompson weighs in on the possible fallout from Mike Tyson's dust-up with a photographer at LAX. The onetime heavyweight champ tells his story in the documentary "Tyson," written and directed by James Toback. Says Anne, "Toback should not have to pay the price for Tyson’s actions. The trigger-tempered pugilist has never controlled himself and probably never will. But Toback’s documentary -- which is in the hunt for an Oscar nomination -- shows another side of the boxer: how he came to be the way he is. Toback had the smarts to pursue Tyson and get his cooperation at a time when he was vulnerable, undergoing therapy. The results in 'Tyson' are superb." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

• The International Documentary Assn. has announced that "Afghan Star," "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," "Diary of a Times Square Thief," "Food, Inc." and "Mugabe and the White African" are the nominees for the 2009 IDA Awards. The award will be handed out at a ceremony at the Directors Guild of America on Dec. 4 hosted by Ira Glass. And reports Susan King, "a special 'Courage Under Fire' tribute will be presented to Current Media journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested by North Korean soldiers while filming a story about the trafficking of North Korean women along the Tumen River. Sentenced to 12 years of hard labor, they were eventually pardoned after 140 days in captivity after a visit to the country by former President Clinton." THE CIRCUIT

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Photos from top: CMA Awards logo (ABC); "Avatar" poster (Fox); "Tyson" poster (Sony Pictures Classics)

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Phoenix Art Museum is hosting a free screening of Afghan Star on December 30, I'll be going to see it with my family. I can't wait, I've heard such great things. -- http://phxart.org/events/index.php


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