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Gold Derby nuggets: To sirs with love | Dave Karger's Oscars predix | 'Avatar' actresses in spotlight

December 31, 2009 |  1:53 pm

Dg_078747 • Actor Patrick Stewart and director Nicholas Hytner received knighthoods today from Queen Elizabeth II as part of her honors list. Said two-time Olivier winner Sir Patrick, "This is an honor that embraces those actors, directors and creative teams who have in these recent years helped fill my life with inspiration, companionship and sheer fun." The Tony-winning Sir Nicholas, artistic director of Britain's National Theatre, said he was "honored and flattered." And two-time Olivier winner Margaret Tyzack said she was "delighted" to be appointed a commander of the Order of the British Empire. BBC

Lincoln Tan chats with Peter Jackson about being named a knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for "continuing to excel in and significantly contribute to the New Zealand film industry." The onetime British colony replaced honors like those mentioned above from the queen with a homegrown version in 2000. Said Jackson, "This is an incredible moment in my life. I didn't think anything would surpass the 2004 Academy Awards, but I was wrong. The feeling of gratitude and pride I have in accepting this honor from my home country is profound." NEW ZEALAND HERALD

Sasha Stone pens a must-read analysis of the original screenplay Oscar race. To land an screenplay nod, Sasha says, "1) the writing is so very good it cannot be ignored, 2) the best picture is such a formidable contender it hits almost every category because it can’t be ignored. And 3) it’s a consolation for a film everyone liked but a film that wouldn’t otherwise make the Best Picture cut, or a film they want to honor that has no other shot in any other category." AWARDS DAILY

EW1084CVR_PROMODave Karger gives the background to his Oscar predictions, which are included in this week's print edition of Entertainment Weekly. As Dave writes, "After scouring all the critics awards, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, I’ve come up with my predictions for who’ll get nominated in the eight main Oscar races on Feb. 7." He notes, "In the acting races, I stuck largely with the SAG picks, which seem right to me. Except in the supporting actress category, where I think there will be more of a discrepancy." For Dave, "As 'Nine's' buzz continues to fade, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominee Penelope Cruz may find herself edged out. 'Inglorious Basterds'' Diane Kruger made the SAG list, but the likeliest stealth contender is 'The Messenger's' Samantha Morton, who has snuck in at the last minute before." And he advises, "Since we still have the DGA and PGA before us, time will tell if I make any changes between now and nomination day." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• One of Dave's predictions for the best actress race is Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side." Bullock was just named top moneymaker in the annual Quigley poll of movie exhibitors. The actress also appeared in two comedies this year, "The Proposal" and "All About Steve." As the announcement notes, Bullock -- "the first female to win since Julia Roberts in 1999 -- is the eighth woman chosen #1 in the poll's 78 year history." One of Bullock's Oscar rivals, Meryl Streep, came in at No. 7. Just ahead of Streep was Tom Hanks, who makes his 15th appearance on the poll since 1988. Although that is an impressive enough achievement, consider John Wayne, who made the cut for 25 years in a row beginning in 1949. PR NEWSWIRE

• Although we won't know till Feb. 2 which 10 films will be contending for best picture at this year's Oscars, the academy has announced 10 favorite moments from various events of the organization over the year. Topping the list is the best picture win by "Slumdog Millionaire" at the last Oscars. Other highlights include Lauren Bacall collecting her honorary Oscar and a tribute to grand slam awards winner Mel Brooks. AMPAS

Josef Adalian reports that "Avatar" star Sigourney Weaver will headline "Saturday Night Live" for the second time on Jan. 16. "She last hosted 24 years ago, in 1986, on an episode that featured visits from the Church Lady and Mr. Subliminal. She welcomed musical guest Buster Poindexter (!) and surprise guest Madonna. Some things don't change, however. Back then, Weaver was promoting a little James Cameron movie called 'Aliens.'" THE WRAP

AvatarJeff Wells admits, "I've been feeling more and more persuaded over the last couple of weeks that Zoe Saldana deserves a Best Actress nomination for her motion-capture performance as Neytiri in 'Avatar.' In the manner of a silent-film actress Saldana's emoting is necessarily broad, and I understand the uninformed suspicion that it's not she who deserves the credit as much as the motion-capture tweaks that fine-tuned her performance, but my heart knows what it feels. Saldana got me." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Pete Hammond reports, "Word is starting to leak out about what Oscar producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman are planning for the big show on March 7. Although Shankman’s been tweeting clues about musical numbers, he hasn’t been too specific. I’ve heard a few ideas thrown around and one is sticking -- a dance tribute to the five nominated musical scores. The idea isn’t exactly new, but it can be risky when you won’t know the nominees until February." As Peter notes, "Should Marco Beltrami’s Iraq drama 'Hurt Locker' score receive a nod, Shankman might have another type of bomb on his hands." NOTES ON A SEASON


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Top photo: The OBE emblem. Credit:

Middle photo: The new Entertainment Weekly cover. Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Bottom photo: An "Avatar" still. Credit: Fox

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