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Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger Oscar predix | 'Avatar' goodwill mission | Oscar nominees luncheon tidbits

February 12, 2010 |  4:29 pm

The Hurt Locker posterDave Karger has posted his predictions for the top eight races at the Oscars. He is going with "The Hurt Locker" for best picture: "No film has ever won Best Picture without winning at least one of the four major guild prizes (PGA, SAG, Directors Guild, and Writers Guild). 'Avatar' already lost PGA and DGA to 'The Hurt Locker' and it wasn’t even nominated for SAG’s best ensemble prize ('Inglourious Basterds' won that one). And even though it was nominated, it’s obviously not going to win the Writers Guild award." And Dave says, best actress is Sandra Bullock's to lose -- "This is clearly the only thing resembling a race in the acting categories. 'The Blind Side''s Best Picture nomination (compared to no other nods for 'Julie & Julia') means Bullock has the edge." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• However veteran Oscars expert Jack Mathews cautions: "'Inglourious Basterds' is not my favorite nominee, but a very good case can be made for its ability to pull off a 'Shakespeare'-size upset. It received just one less nomination than 'Avatar' and 'The Hurt Locker' and it has received them in all of the pertinent categories -- picture, directing, acting, screenplay and film editing. It also did well at the box office, selling $120.5 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada and $193 million overseas. Academy voters don't always reward the biggest commercial success, which is 'Avatar;' nor are they known for throwing gold in the direction of box office bombs, which is 'The Hurt Locker.' Compared to those extremes, 'Basterds' may have just the right mix of good filmmaking and commercial appeal." MOVIE FONE

Scott Feinberg interviewed double Oscar nominee Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds") "who was at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to appear on a panel of top directors and also to thank the festival and film legend Kirk Douglas for the 2009 Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film by moderating a special Q&A with Douglas or, as he called it, a 'Q&K.' Afterward, he was kind enough to take a few moments to answer my questions about his films, thoughts, and incredible journey from high school dropout to beloved filmmaker." AND THE WINNER IS

Avatar PosterPete Hammond reports that "Avatar" producer Jon Landau, "showed me photos of their recent excursion to the Persian Gulf, where they ran 'Avatar' on the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier. It was a stealth trip, and most of the press didn't even know about it. Cameron signed over 3,000 autographs and posed for photos with all the sailors for eight hours. Landau shared a letter he received from a top admiral saying the movie and the visit energized them for their upcoming mission in Afghanistan. Yes, there are things more gratifying than winning an Oscar." NOTES ON A SEASON

Oprah Winfrey returns with another Oscar special on ABC March 3 that will pair up stars to interview each other. The first edition of this show in 2007 featured six Oscar champs with Julia Roberts chatting with George Clooney, old friends Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe reminiscing and Jamie Foxx paying homage to screen icon Sidney Poitier.

• As per Peter Knegt, "Film distributor GKIDS has announced that their surprise Oscar-nominated animated feature 'The Secret of Kells' will open theatrically at New York’s IFC Center on March 5, which also happens to be Oscar weekend. The New York opening at IFC Center will be followed by previously -announced opening in Boston on March 19 (tied into St. Patrick’s day for the Irish film), and an April 2 expansion to major US markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and others." INDIE WIRE

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpSteve Pond describes Monday's nominees luncheon as "one of the most collegial, stress-free events on the Oscar calendar. It’s an event where seating arrangements are shuffled so that you don’t sit with anybody from your film, or anybody from your category; where a Best Actor nominee could end up at the same table with a documentarian, a cinematographer, a special effects whiz and the maker of an animated short." As he writes, "it’s where the producer (or producers) of the Oscar show get to address the nominees, generally using their time as an opportunity to plead for short speeches. In 2001, for instance, Gil Cates announced at the luncheon that he was giving a high-definition TV to the winner who made the shortest speech. (The winner, Dutch filmmaker Michael Dudok de Wit, wasn’t even at the luncheon and didn’t know about the offer. 'I have many television sets,' he said, after giving his prize to charity.) The following year, Laura Ziskin gave out silver hourglasses containing exactly 45 seconds worth of sand, for nominees to use while practicing their speeches. It didn’t really help; Ziskin’s show was the longest in Oscar history." THE ODDS

Hanh Nguyen reports, " 'So You Think You Can Dance's' Legacy will be at the Academy Awards, but not for his emotionally wrought crying scenes. The busy b-boy will take part in a dance routine at the Oscars on Sunday, March 7 in Hollywood, reuniting with 'SYTYCD' judge Adam Shankman, who's also producing the Oscars alongside Bill Mechanic. 'I will be part of the Academy Awards. LXD [The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers crew] got asked to perform in it. Either I'll be performing with LXD or I'm doing some stuff with Adam.'" ZAP 2 IT

Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: Academy Awards statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

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