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Gold Derby nuggets: Ad rates flat for Oscars | ABC flattens 'Ugly Betty' | Jason Reitman flatters 'Up in the Air' co-writer

January 27, 2010 |  4:12 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Brian Steinberg reports, "The price for a 30-second ad in ABC's vaunted telecast of the Academy Awards is running between $1.3 million and $1.5 million, according to media buyers, a range that tracks even with last year's prices even as a newly expanded pool of best-picture nominees might bring broader audiences. Last year's Oscar telecast cost advertisers around $1.4 million for a 30-second ad, down significantly from 2008, when a 30-second spot commanded as much as $1.82 million." ADVERTISING AGE

• One of the big advertisers on last year's Oscarcast was Hyundai, which uses Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") as voice-over talent. And as Steve Pond writes that could be a problem on this year's show: "According to the Academy’s director of communications, Leslie Unger, sponsors are permitted to use nominees in their ads, but only if at least one hour elapses between the ad and the announcement of the nominee’s category. If the nominee is also a presenter, the same gap must occur between the ad and his or her appearance on the show. The rule also applies to presenters and performers: no commercial spots featuring participating stars (even in voiceover) can run within an hour of that star’s appearance on the Oscar show. The purpose, says Unger, is 'to maintain a clear distinction between ad content and show content.'" THE ODDS

• Our old pal Jack Mathews is one of the top Oscarologists around. He predicts the nominees for nine races -- editing is the extra one to the usual top eight categories -- ending with best picture. As Jack writes, "I don't like the idea of having animated features considered for Best Picture. Not because they can't be the Best Picture, but because actors -- who make up the largest voting bloc of the Academy -- tend not to vote for movies that only employ actors for their voices. So, even if 'Up' makes the expanded ballot (and if it belongs there, I would argue so does 'Fantastic Mr. Fox'), it won't have enough ultimate support to win."  MOVIEFONE

Ugly-betty-cast-photo • "Ugly Betty" is signing off after four seasons, says the alphabet net. Star America Ferrera won the Emmy back in 2007 for the first year of this hourlong comedy. She contended again the following year, losing to Tina Fey ("30 Rock"). Supporting player Vanessa Williams has struck out three years in a row at the Emmys, first to Jaime Pressley ("My Name is Earl"), then to Jean Smart ("Samantha Who?"), and most recently to Kristin Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies"). Of the show's 19 Emmy nods, the only other wins were also in the first season for directing and casting. Ferrera won a Golden Globe in 2007 as well, and the show won best comedy series with the HFPA that year too. Not surprisingly for a series centered on the fashion industry, "Ugly Betty" has won with the Costume Designers Guild for all three seasons to date.

• "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane is hosting the WGA's West Coast ceremony Feb. 20 at the Hyatt Regency Plaza. Though the press release touts the show's success with the Emmy Awards including McFarlane's two wins -- voiceover (2000), music and lyrics (2002) -- and a nod this year for comedy series, it is silent on the lack of love from the WGA. While "Family Guy" has been blanked by the WGA, "The Simpsons" has ruled supreme, winning the writing award every year since 2004 and assured of victory again this year as it has all five nominees in the category. WGAW

Matthew Blank introduces a lovely photo gallery of the 39th annual Theater Hall of Fame ceremony by noting that the event "was held Jan. 25 in the Gershwin Theatre's North Rotunda. Inductees included actors Jim Dale, John McMartin and Lynn Redgrave; producers Roger Berlind and Ted Mann; composers Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lloyd Webber; and, posthumously, the late playwright/actor Charles Ludlam. Veteran Broadway publicist Shirley Herz was presented with the 2009 Theater Hall of Fame Founders Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre." PLAYBILL

Jason Reitman Sheldon Turner Up in the Air Golden GlobesPete Hammond recounts the recent WGA screening of "Up in the Air" with writer-director Jason Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner in attendance. The pair wrote separate drafts of the script separately but the guild gave them co-credit. As Pete writes, "I jumped right into the controversy by welcoming the audience to the 'WGA Sunday Afternoon Smackdown.' Instead it turned out to be a fascinating look into the script development process and how two guys who never even met until last August could conceivably be sharing an Oscar for a script they wrote completely independently of each other." Reitman admitted it took him a while to warm to sharing credit with Turner, "but then I meet him and he's a great guy and beyond that we were actually drawn to this book for the same reason and we both sat down to write the same screenplay. Even though we never sat in the same room or shared a keyboard we actually did write this movie together in a way, and because of that I'm very proud to share the credit with him." NOTES ON A SEASON

Top photo: Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS 

Middle photo: "Ugly Betty" promotional poster. Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner at the Golden Globes. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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