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Gold Derby nuggets: Santa Barbara filmfest report | Mark Harris on 'Oscar campaign' | Emmys could be live nationwide

February 8, 2010 |  3:58 pm

Santa Barbara Film Festival LogoSteve Pond is aces at summing up the goings on so far at the 25th edition of the Santa Barbara filmfest. "Two dozen nominees, with 30 nominations between them, have either already shown up or will participating in the 10-day festival, which began last Thursday and runs through Feb. 10. So far, the festival has feted Best Actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Carey Mulligan; weathered scheduling snafus caused by California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; unveiled the little-seen animated Irish film 'The Secret of Kells,' a surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature; celebrated the career of James Cameron; and then crowned Cameron’s Best Picture and Best Director competitor Kathryn Bigelow 'king and queen of the world' while she was sitting next to Cameron." THE ODDS

• Also from Santa Barbara, Jeff Wells writes, "I was reminded of three or four things during last night's  tribute to Sandra Bullock. One, she's whip-smart but uncomplicated -- she had a clean and concise answer for every question thrown her way, but she's not into soul-baring. Two, she worked long and hard to prove her way out of the romantic-comedy prison she felt trapped in about ten years ago. Three, she didn't want to portray her 'Blind Side' character (the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy) because she felt she was an unrealistic construct -- but she changed her mind after meeting her." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• "Fish Tank" landed the best picture prize at the Evening Standard British Film awards Monday night. Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") lost the best actress prize to Anne Marie Duff for the John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy" while Andy Serkis won best actor for "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." The Oscar-nominated screenplay for political satire "In the Loop" won on its home turf while Sacha Baron Cohen won the Peter Sellers Award for comedy for his alter-ego, the Austrian fashion reporter Bruno. Baron Cohen won the same award in 2006 for Borat. BBC

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpMark Harris delivers a must-read analysis of the current awards season. As he writes, "There is a reason why they call the run-up period to the Academy Awards the 'Oscar campaign.' It is, to use a familiar analogy, like an election, with an electorate of 5,777 people (the size of McKenzie County, North Dakota), unwilling to be influenced by anything but their own opinions, yet still, perhaps, more swayable than they’d like to admit. There is no war room, per se, but there are early front-runners that fade, grassroots insurgencies, even primaries. Ultimately, most of the nominees emerge from a combination of good planning, good movies, and good luck." NEW YORK

• Oscarcast co-host Alec Baldwin confesses to Jay Bobbin that he is "nervous" about the gig. As for his day job on "30 Rock," Baldwin says series creator, producer and star Tina Fey has his fate in her hands. "It's Tina's house, so to speak," Baldwin says, "and she has so many other options as a writer. I mean, Tina's going to go off and become Nora Ephron or Elaine May. She'll write films and probably direct films. She is so poised to go off and replicate the success of this show in so many other areas. Her book is coming out; she's very fertile in that way. There's so many things she can do." ZAP 2 IT

Brian Moylan makes merry with the five nominees for best animated feature at the Oscars. As he writes, "The Oscars are on a campaign to ruin the psyche's of America's children. How? By nominating seriously scary movies for the Gee Willickers Awesome Cartoon Trophy. Beware what you're doing to your kids by taking them to see these. Before you rush out and get all the nominees on DVD thinking that you're giving your kids an artistic experience, just stop yourself. Remember, many of us had traumatic childhood experiences by watching movies that were way too creepy and adult for us at too young an age." Brian then recounts the plot of each of the pictures as well as the psychological symptoms and cures before recommending a fictional psychiatrist. GAWKER

• The East Coast branch of the WGA will fete Alan Zweibel with the Ian McLellan Hunter lifetime achievement prize during the 62nd annual awardsfest on Feb. 20 in Gotham. As per the announcement: "One of 'Saturday Night Live's original writers, Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild, and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which also includes 'It’s Garry Shandling’s Show' (co-creator and executive producer), 'Monk,' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'" WGAE

Paul Gaita points the way to an op-ed penned by James Cameron about NASA that ran recently in the Washington Post. As Paul notes, " Cameron, who served on the agency's Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005 (did you know?), outlines the financial problems that faced the U.S. space program but ends on a positive note by stating that President Obama's current budget for NASA will allow for private industry to fund space exploration -- which might lead not only to jet packs for everyone (like on the Jetsons!), but also the chance for directors with serious financial clout (like Mr. Cameron) to shoot their future projects in outer space. It's not that far-fetched an idea, and I mean, if you're gonna top 'Avatar,' that's your only likely venue." THE CIRCUIT

Emmysintl11James Hibberd reports that, "after airing the Golden Globes live coast-to-coast for the first time last month, NBC is considering doing the same for the Emmys. The network is discussing with affiliates a plan to air the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards live on Sunday Aug. 29. Tape-delaying certain entertainment programs for the West Coast has been a longtime practice, but with fans increasingly getting their entertainment news on the Internet, Web-savvy Emmy viewers have to go out of the their way to keep from being spoiled during the telecast. (The Oscars are traditionally telecast live)." THR

• Attention all would-be Joe Gillis types: The academy is now accepting applications for the $30,000 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Five of these fellowships will be awarded in November to individuals who have never earned more than $5,000 from the sale or option of a screenplay or teleplay. The entire application process, including the submission of entry scripts, will be online and all details are available at www.oscars.org/nicholl.

Anne Thompson and Jack Mathews debate the question of whether Quentin Tarantino has achieved auteur status. As Anne notes, the director told a London audience that with "Inglourious Basterds," "he has established a body of work that can be analyzed as a whole and as a product of his unique vision. Recalling his experiences watching the films of Howard Hawks, he said: 'My aim is that some kid in 50 years time has the same experience with me and my films.'" Mathews and Thompson disagree about "whether QT’s films actually form a body of work or remain a work in progress." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Top photo: Santa Barbara International Film Festival logo. Credit: SBIFF

Middle photo: Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Emmy Award. Credit: ATAS

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