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Gold Derby nuggets: ACM sets April 18 for awardsfest | Hammond, Karger & Tapley on today's guild nods | 7 semi-finalists for makeup Oscar

January 11, 2010 |  5:39 pm

ACM Awards logoReba McEntire returns for the 12th year as host of the Academy of Country Music awards. The 45th edition of the kudos airs live on CBS on April 18 from Las Vegas. The MGM Grand is the show's venue for the fifth consecutive time. Viewership neared 15 million last year. The night after the awards, the ACM will stage a tribute concert to Brooks & Dunn, who are parting ways after decades together. As the news release notes the duo holds, "the record for most wins by any artist in the Academy's history with 26 awards in total, including three Entertainer of the Year awards. And they hold the record for most Top Vocal Duo wins, with 15 awards, eight of which are consecutive from 2000 through 2007."

• "A Pleasanton (California) man who falsely claimed he was a three-time Oscar-winning sound designer was sentenced Friday to four years in federal prison for defrauding investors of nearly $4 million in an investment scheme." As Henry Lee reports, "Bruce Carrington admitted that he had received $3.6 million by victimizing 13 people. Almost none of the money went to designing sound effects; most went for such expenses as the mortgage on his $2.6 million Pleasanton home and fancy cars. In 2006, Carrington paid $52,000 to Walnut Creek jeweler Davidson & Licht to create three fake Oscar statuettes, according to a civil suit that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences filed, claiming copyright infringement. He displayed at least one of the fake Oscars at his home, authorities said." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Avatar PosterPete Hammond looks at the state of the race noting that, "With additional nods from the Art Directors and Cinematographers guilds (the latter also announced today), 'Avatar,' 'Basterds' and 'Hurt Locker' appear to be on a real roll although "Locker" is the only film to appear on every single guild list. Early-season front-runners 'Nine' and 'Invictus' now seem to be teetering on the edge. On the other hand, 'Star Trek' now with PGA and WGA nominations could be poised to be a real contender for one of Oscar's 10 Best Picture slots. But whose spot does it steal?" NOTES ON A SEASON

Dave Karger's comments on the WGA nominees includes this tasty tidbit: "Can 'Avatar' do what 'Titanic' couldn’t, and actually score an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay? In 1998, 'Titanic' managed to get on the WGA list but was muscled out at the Oscars by Woody Allen’s 'Deconstructing Harry.' Assuming 'Up' and 'Basterds' are in for original screenplay, one of them will definitely bump out 'The Hangover.' The other will displace either 'Avatar' or '(500) Days.' Right now, the momentum is certainly with 'Avatar.'" ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• And Kris Tapley talks about the ASC nominations kicking off his commentary with this observation: "'Avatar' continues its guild steamroll with a mention from the ASC today, a mention I frankly didn’t think the film would get. Then again, the guild is typically kind to digital photography where AMPAS is not (examples are 'Collateral' and 'Apocalypto'), so I wouldn’t say it’s a slam dunk in this category for Oscar. Then again, maybe I’m blind to the writing on the wall here. And 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' may have gone a long way toward dispelling digital bias in the Academy." IN CONTENTION

• One-time Carpetbagger David Carr returns to the Oscar beat to interview "Precious" supporting actress contender Mo'Nique, who explains her absence from the awards circuit. "'Anytime I’ve been given an award, it has been because of the performance; what else goes into it?' she said, appearing genuinely mystified. 'Look, it makes me appreciative any time someone says they may want to honor your performance. I’m appreciative at any talk in reference to any award, but there’s not much I can do about it now. The performance is done.'" And as for campaigning, "Mo’Nique still seems baffled. 'President Barack Obama had to campaign because he had something to prove: that he could do it,' she said. 'Well, the performance is on the screen. So at what point am I still trying to prove something?'" NEW YORK TIMES

Oscars Expanded Best Picture Race • The field has been narrowed to seven films still in contention for the makeup Oscar: "District 9," "Il Divo," "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," "The Road," "Star Trek" and "The Young Victoria." Ten-minute excerpts from each of these films will be screened on Jan. 23 for members of the makeup branch. The three nominees will be revealed with the rest of the Oscar contenders on Feb. 2. AMPAS

Top photo: Academy of Country Music Awards logo. Credit: ACM

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

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