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Gold Derby nuggets: Backstage at SAG noms | Oscar champ Jennifer Jones dies at 90 | TV academy tie vote

December 17, 2009 |  2:53 pm

Screen-actors-guild-awardsAmy Kaufman chats with the thespians who read off the names of nominees for the 16th annual SAG Awards at Thursday's 5 a.m. press conference. As Amy writes, "Inside the theater, SAG President Ken Howard welcomed the audience before introducing presenters Michelle Monaghan and Chris O'Donnell. Despite the early hour, Monaghan looked red-carpet ready, dressed in a light pink one-shouldered dress. O'Donnell, meanwhile, appeared trim in a dark suit. Both actors stuck to the script, reading off a teleprompter and opting not to riff on the nominees, as Justin Timberlake did at the Golden Globes nominations Tuesday morning." THE CIRCUIT

Allison Waldman weighs in with her thoughts on the TV side of the SAG nominations. About the drama series race, Allison says, "Interesting that 'The Good Wife' made the cut, especially over 'Lost' or 'House' or 'Breaking Bad' or 'Sons of Anarchy' or 'Damages' or 'Friday Night Lights.' And I love 'The Closer,' but the inclusion here is a surprise. I guess 'NCIS' would be too big a surprise to get recognized." As for the comedy line-up, she thinks, "'Glee' and 'Modern Family' are freshmen, but clearly excellent ensemble comedies. And for 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' are they honoring the 'Seinfeld' team all over again? Also, where's 'The Big Bang Theory'?" TV SQUAD

• Screener DVDs are piling up for awards voters. The latest to arrive -- "Nine," "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Monsters and Aliens." Add those three to the 44 already received.

• And for those Oscar voters who want to see "Nine" on the big screen, the academy has rescheduled last Saturday's rained-out screening for this coming Monday (Dec. 21) at 7:30 p.m. "Invictus" -- which also had its academy screening canceled -- will now unspool next Tuesday (Dec. 22) at 7:30 p.m.

Michael Seligman is returning as supervising producer of this year's Oscarcast. This will be the 33rd Oscars on which Seligman has worked in some capacity. In making the announcement, producer Bill Mechanic said, "We are excited and honored to work with one of the legends of the industry" while co-producer Adam Shankman added, "I look forward to lovingly torturing Michael, as we all move toward putting together one of the most complicated and dynamic television events of the year telecast." AMPAS

Jennifer JonesJennifer Jones -- who won the lead actress Oscar for "The Song of Bernadette" on her 25th birthday back in 1944 -- died Thursday at age 90. She was married to two legendary men -- producer David O. Selznick and industrialist and art collector Norton Simon. And as Claudia Luther notes, "In addition to her best-actress win for 'Bernadette,' Jones was nominated for an Academy Award for leading roles in three other films: 'Love Letters' (1945), a soaper in which an amnesiac is cured through the love of a man, played by Joseph Cotten; the western epic 'Duel in the Sun' (1946), with Gregory Peck; and 'Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing' (1955), in which she played Dr. Han Suyin opposite William Holden. She also was nominated as best supporting actress for 'Since You Went Away' (1944), in which she starred with her first husband, Robert Walker." LOS ANGELES TIMES

Pete Hammond says, "The 2009 race for best picture has moved into unfamiliar territory, and that makes picking a list of the likely contenders all the more daunting. No one really knows what direction the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may head this year with its expansion of the category from five to 10 slots. There could be major surprises." After reviewing a list of likely nominees, Pete cautions, "Though all these films could arguably be called front-runners, all bets are off because with 10 slots voters could well indulge both their favorite dramas and their secret pleasures, particularly in a year that many believe is lacking in a wide range of obvious top-quality choices. Oddly, it seems that the more slots there are to fill, the less clear it is which movies will be anointed to fill them." NOTES ON A SEASON

• In a conversation with "Up in the Air" producer Ivan Reitman about the Oscars, Melena Ryzik discovers he "likes the expanded list, but he would prefer if it were separated into categories, à la the Golden Globes, for drama and comedy. 'Right now it feels diluted more than anything else,' he said, adding: 'People come to me and say I changed their lives all the time, by these movies that they still remember and their kids watch them -- it’s about who they are. They remember ‘Ghostbusters’ more than they remember an Ingmar Bergman movie, even though the Bergman movie is much more distinguished. I think the Academy can find a place where they can find space for both.'" THE CARPETBAGGER

Gitesh Pandya tallies up the box office receipts for the Golden Globe nominees. Among those contenders already released, double nominee Sandra Bullock stars in the highest grossing comedy ("The Proposal") and drama ("The Blind Side") included in the acting categories. BOX OFFICE GURU

Pte61_521hdrJoseph Adalian reports, "It was election night at the TV Academy and nobody won the top spot. Current chairman/CEO John Shaffner ran for re-election, facing off against the digital-focused Brian Seth Hurst, the second vice-chairman of the Academy. But when all the votes were tallied, it turned out there was a tie." As Joseph writes, "Usually Academy elections aren't all that exciting. This one, however, might have been a bit more interesting given last summer's brouhaha over planned changes to the Emmy broadcast. Shafner was a major proponent of change, and when planned changes met with resistance, he had to deal with the fallout. On the positive tip, this year's Emmy broadcast won broad critical acclaim (at least relative to recent shows) and saw its ratings improve. So what happens now? Apparently there'll be a second vote on Jan. 6." THE WRAP

Anne Thompson reviews the long list of 63 songs in contention for the Oscars this year and says, "I like the 'Other Father Song' ('Coraline'), 'Petey’s Song' ('Fantastic Mr. Fox'), 'Smoke without Fire” (An Education), “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),” “All is Love' ('Where the Wild Things Are') and 'I See You' ('Avatar'). As Thompson notes, "On January 12, the music branch of the Academy will randomly screen film clips of each song and then vote for each song with points. No more than two songs can be nominated from any one film." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Anthony Breznican takes a closer look at the animated features in contention this year and notes, "diversity in animation is becoming about more than a character's skin color. As the Golden Globe nominations showed this week, there's more variety in the genre now than perhaps ever before.Not only does computer animation no longer have a monopoly, but no one method seems to dominate." USA TODAY

Top photo: Screen Actors Guild Award. Credit: SAG

Middle photo: Jennifer Jones in "The Song of Bernadette." Credit: 20th Century Fox

Bottom photo: Emmy Awards advertisement. Credit: ATAS

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