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Gold Derby nuggets: Can Mariah Carey top herself at PCA? | 'Avatar' & six other VFX finalists | 'Precious' leads with 8 NAACP Image nods

January 6, 2010 |  2:35 pm

PCA Poster • Following up on her antics at Tuesday's Palm Spring filmfest -- reported in detail by Pete Hammond -- Mariah Carey should make for must-see TV tonight. As Roger Friedman reports she, "is all set to pick up her People’s Choice Award tonight on CBS. She’s a winner, I’m told, for Best R&B singer. What? Yes, everyone seems to know who’s won those People’s Choice Awards before they arrive at the studio." As Roger writes, "If you watch this show, you’ll know who’s won right away by who’s in the audience waiting to get their award. Since Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift are already being promoted by CBS, you can guess they won their categories. Surprise! They’re not hanging around that studio for their health!" SHOWBIZ 411

• Another diva -- Jennifer Lopez -- is none too pleased with Oscar voters after they passed her over last year for her role as salsa star Hector Lavoe's wife in "El Cantante." Lopez tells the upcoming issue of Latina magazine, "I feel like I had that (Oscar role) in 'El Cantante,' but I don't even think the Academy members saw it. I feel like it's their responsibility to do that, to see everything that's out there, everything that could be great." Lopez adds, "I had just given birth on the 22nd (February), and the Oscars, I think, were a day or two later. I was sitting there with my twins (and) I couldn't have been happier, but I was like, 'How dope would it have been if I would've won the Oscar and been here in my hospital bed accepting the award?' -- 'Thank you so much! I just want to thank the Academy!'" And she still has her sights on an Oscar: "Things will happen when they're supposed to happen. I have the utmost faith and no doubt that it will (happen) one day." SAN FRANCISCO GATE

Jeff Wells offers his take on the awards of the Online Film Critics. "Boldly going where scores of other film critics have gone before, they chose 'The Hurt Locker' as Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director...fine. And they gave Waltz -- saying his first name is no longer required -- their Best Supporting Actor prize and their Best Supporting Actress trophy to BET talk-show host Mo'Nique. I'll give them credit for handing their Best Actor award to 'The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner -- very cool and wise -- but what reaction other than befuddlement can be shared over honoring 'Inglourious Basterds' costar Melanie Laurent with their Best Actress award? She was okay and is obviously fetching but c'mon -- this reveals their horntoad geek sensibilities." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Avatar Poster • As S.T. Vanairsdale writes, "the short list of prospective nominees for this year’s Visual Effects Oscar was shortened even further today, when the Academy announced the six candidates in the running to lose to 'Avatar.'" The other half dozen films vying for one of the three nominations are "District 9," "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," "Star Trek," "Terminator: Salvation," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "2012." The members of the visual effects branch will screen 15-minute highlight reels on Jan. 21. For S.T., the likeliest of these six to make the cut are "District 9" and the "Transformers" sequel. MOVIELINE

Sasha Stone analyzes the mainstream media analysis of "Avatar." Both NBC and ABC have examined the movie in the context of the current political climate. And conservative commentators have also weighed in with their thoughts. Says Sasha, "My opinion: 'Avatar' works wonderfully as a pool of reflection: you see what you want to see." AWARDS DAILY

Larry Carroll compares "Avatar" star Zoe Saldana with James Cameron's last leading lady -- "Titanic" heroine Kate Winslet. For Larry, their similarities include "the breakthrough," "unlikely leading ladies," and "nice girls finish first." They differ over "blockbuster mentality," "franchise factor" and -- uh oh -- "Oscar awesomeness." MTV

• The USC Scripter award honors both the original creator and the adapted screenplay writer. This year's roster -- all first-time nominees -- are: screenwriter Scott Cooper and author Thomas Cobb for "Crazy Heart"; screenwriters Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell for "District 9," adapted from Blomkamp’s screenplay for the short film "Alive in Joburg"; screenwriter Nick Hornby and author Lynn Barber for "An Education"; for "Precious," screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and Sapphire, author of "Push," upon which the screenplay for "Precious" is based; and screenwriters Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner and author Walter Kirn for "Up in the Air." The winners will be announced Feb. 6 USC

• But don't look for Nick Hornby to be among the contenders for best adapted screenplay when the WGA announces nominations next Monday. He was disqualified due to a rule change enacted after production on the film wrapped. While Hornby belongs to the guild based in Los Angeles, he doesn't have a separate membership in the guild branch in his native Britain. Also out of the running -- as Steve Pond reports -- are "Inglourious Basterds," "The Road" and "A Single Man" because none of them was made under the guild's guidelines. THE ODDS

Precious Poster 4 • "Precious" leads with eight nominations for the 41st annual NAACP Image Awards that will be handed out on a Fox kudocast Feb. 26. The film earned bids for both outstanding motion picture and outstanding independent film as well as for lead Gabourey Sidibe, supporting players Mariah Carey, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz and director Lee Daniels. Sidibe's potential Oscar rival Sandra Bullock contends for "The Blind Side" which is also up for best picture and actor (Quentin Aaron). Jay-Z was tops on the music front with five bids, including album (The "Blueprint 3") and male artist. NAACP

• "Ugly Betty" is rescued from the wasteland of Friday night when it begins airing as part of ABC's comedy lineup on Wednesday. In anticipation of renewed viewer interest in this Emmy-winning comedy, Tanner Stranksky has a cheat sheet of five essential facts. Heading the list of must-knows: "Betty ain’t so ugly anymore." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• And Rick Porter points the way to ABC's video recap of the first five seasons of Emmy champ "Lost." As Rick writes, "while chronology is a tricky thing on 'Lost,' the recap puts the events relating to the Oceanic 6 pretty much in order from the time of the crash -- i.e., boozy, bearded Jack comes along after they escape the Island and try to live the lie. Characters like Faraday and Alpert also get shunted aside a little bit. Still, for as daunting a task as it is to try to sum up the story of "Lost" in 8:15, it's a pretty solid effort." ZAP2IT

• As Melena Ryzik notes, "the creation in 2001 of the best animated feature category has more or less made it impossible to double-dip for trophies. So the folks at Pixar have been working hard to position 'Up' as more than a cartoon." To that end she spoke with director Pete Docter who told her, "Animation isn’t a genre, it’s a medium." Furthermore, "Mr. Docter said he sold the idea of 'Up' to his Pixar teammates not with the adventure trope or the 3-D possibilities, but with that first relationship sequence. 'Early on, realizing we had an unusual story, we really focused on the emotion,' he said. The references to film classic like 'Citizen Kane' and the narrative brevity were part of that. 'We really had the desire to make something that was inspired by films in the 30s,' he said. 'The pacing is slower.'" THE CARPETBAGGER

Carl DiOrio and Borys Kit review the revolving door of writers working on "Spider-Man 4." As per their thorough reporting, "Sony and director Sam Raimi are at loggerheads over which direction to go with the villains for the latest installment -- an impasse which has prompted the studio to delay its scheduled spring production start and potentially to bump the pic from its May 11, 2011, release slot. Raimi wants to have a criminal known as the Vulture act as the primary antagonist in the film while the studio, which dislikes the idea of the winged wrongdoer, is pushing for a romantic sub-plot involving a burglar named the Black Cat in addition to another villain." To that end, "Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire ('Rabbit Hole') was hired in October 2008 to pen a key version of the screenplay, on top of the earlier version penned by James Vanderbilt ('Zodiac'). Last year, Sony brought in Gary Ross -- Oscar-nominated for his adapted script on 2003's 'Seabiscuit' -- which he also helmed. Alvin Sargent is penning the latest iteration." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Top photo: "People's Choice Awards" poster. Credit: CBS

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: "Precious" poster. Credit: Lionsgate

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