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Gold Derby nuggets: Details of Oscars telecast emerge | Taylor Swift and Rihanna dish Grammys

January 28, 2010 |  3:37 pm

Alec_baldwin_steve_martin_oscar_statues1Sandy Cohen dishes the Oscarcast with first-time producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman."The two men say they're a well-matched team. Mechanic is 'the true film historian and the insane fan,' Shankman says, 'and I'm a little bit more of the P.T. Barnum energy.' So what kind of film-focused circus magic are the two planning? The show will be funnier, shorter and more inclusive than past telecasts, Mechanic says. It'll feature not just nominated films but popular movies from throughout the year. Music and performance will be integrated in a way that's 'really spot-on,' Shankman says, and the newly expanded best-picture category will 'create some consistency' in the traditionally long telecast." AP

Claudia Puig attended last weekend's dance auditions for the Oscars and chatted with Shankman, who remembered, "'Twenty years ago I was auditioning for Paula Abdul in a room like this. My Oscar audition changed the direction of my career. So this is one long pinch-me moment.' And the night nearly changed the direction of another star's career. 'I remember it like it was right now,' Shankman says. 'I got thrown off stage and literally landed on Jessica Tandy. I almost killed her.' Shankman divulges only tantalizing whiffs of the Oscars show, traditionally shrouded in secrecy. 'There will be more dancers this year than last and probably more dance numbers,' he says. And for the first time, there will be hip-hop dancing. 'It's never been done before.'"USA TODAY

• Ratings for this year's Oscarcast should be boosted by the inclusion of box office champ "Avatar" to the mix. As this item notes, "The cumulative domestic box-office total for the five films nominated in 2008 -- the year of the lowest-rated Oscar broadcast in decades -- was less than the box-office haul of 'Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' alone, which won best picture in 2004, the last time Oscar viewership passed the 40 million mark. That rating, in turn, pales in comparison to the 57 million people who tuned in to see 'Titanic' take 11 Oscars in 1998. It’s a very simple equation: people are more likely to watch the Oscars if they’ve seen -- and, importantly, liked -- a movie that has a chance of winning. If they have a horse in the race." VANITY FAIR

• Our good pal Tariq Khan has compiled a comprehensive photo gallery detailing his predictions for nominations in the top categories at the Oscars. On the subject of the best picture slate, Tariq writes, "The top six on my list seem all but certain. After that the category is decidedly up in the air. 'Up' charmed children and adults alike with its superb animation and gentle storytelling, so it has a strong chance of being only the second film in the genre (after 'Beauty and the Beast') to be nominated for best picture. The alien invasion-themed 'District 9' has enthusiastic support from several technical branches of the Academy, and looks like a good bet to join 'Avatar' in the top ten despite the general bias against science fiction. The British romantic drama 'An Education' has been highly touted since its release last fall due to its fine acting ensemble. And finally, don’t count out 'The Hangover' for a possible best picture nod. It was the surprise smash of the summer and even the snootiest of critics loved it. At the Golden Globes earlier this year it defeated the more award-friendly 'Julie and Julia' and 'Nine' to claim best musical/comedy honors (something which I predicted, I might add). With the race so wide open, it just might make it in." FOX NEWS

2009-grammy-awards-nominees-imageSusan Hornik says when she "caught up with Taylor Swift at the Saks Fifth Avenue and EIF Unforgettable Evening gala in Beverly Hills last night, we wondered if she was nervous for the Grammy Awards this weekend. 'I get nervous about everything!' she exclaimed. 'I'm so excited about being nominated for eight Grammys. That kind of thought is sorta still unfathomable to me,' she continued, which is an unfathomable thought in itself -- with her track record of winning huge awards all year, another Taylorfest at an awards shows is practically expected at this point. 'Walking into the Grammys knowing I have eight chances to possibly win one. I've never won one Grammy before! So please wish me luck.'" NEW YORK

Grammy nominee Rihanna won't be bringing baseball player Matt Kemp to Sunday's cermony. " 'I'm going to the Grammys alone, as always!' she said today on 104.3 MY FM's Valentine in the Morning show in Los Angeles. 'Even when I was in a relationship, I always have gone alone.' " The nominee -- with Jay-Z and Kanye West -- for best rap/sung collaboration for "Run This Town" revealed "this was actually the first piece of music we did since the last Grammys. It's exciting that it's nominated. We cannot wait. We hope we bring home the bacon, but if not, it's great that it was nominated." US MAGAZINE

Scott Feinberg reviews the career of "The Hurt Locker" helmer Kathryn Bigelow, noting, "For the past 30 years, Bigelow has quietly but steadily carved a niche in the film industry: she is a female director who makes 'guy movies' -- particularly of the action, sci-fi, suspense, thriller, and/or war variety, with lots of shootouts and/or explosions -- as well as virtually any male, and for a lot less money. 'The Hurt Locker,' which is as intense as any movie this year and cost only $15 million to make, is the best example of this, but far from the first." Scott then recaps each of her eight feature films. AND THE WINNER IS

David Germain reports from Sundance on the success of the fest in launching awards caliber films. This year, "Precious" and "An Education" are strong contenders for Oscar nominations and could both be best picture contenders as were Sundance hits "In the Bedroom" and "Little Miss Sunshine." And, as David writes, " 'In the Bedroom' also earned acting nominations for Sissy Spacek, Marisa Tomei and Tom Wilkinson, while 'Little Miss Sunshine' won the supporting-actor Oscar for Alan Arkin and brought a supporting-actress nomination for Abigail Breslin. Other past films that made the leap from Sundance to the Oscars include 'You Can Count on Me' (best-actress nomination for Laura Linney); 'Hustle & Flow' (best-actor nomination for Terrence Howard); 'Half Nelson' (best-actor nomination for Ryan Gosling); and 'Junebug' (supporting-actress nomination for Amy Adams)." AP

Top photo: Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards. Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: Grammy Award. Credit: NARAS

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