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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

February 19, 2010 |  3:26 pm

Bruno Oscars Sacha Baron Cohen • The Oscars took pity on the poor ABC censor when they said no to rookie show producers Bill Mechanic's and Adam Shankman's idea to have Sacha Baron Cohen ("Bruno") host the Oscars. As Shankman told "Fresh Air" host Terry Gross, "it would just be spectacular. But I think the Academy felt like not only is it unpredictable but it could overshadow the nominees. Then we immediately went to this idea of co-host." Among the other tidbits he shared was this one about the presentation of the acting Oscars: "We're doing something a little bit different with it, but in point of fact, something like that is going to be done and the way we're doing it has to do with a bit more of interconnectivity because what was really, really stunning about last year the way they did that was the video clip buildup to the reveal of the stars, I mean the editing of that stuff was so breathtaking and so big that when those screens went up and you saw the five walk out, you're just like going, whoa, my God, it was so dramatic and beautiful." NPR

• As well as all those previous Academy Award winners, last year's Oscars also had "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson presenting. This year, the other two sides of the love triangle at the heart of the film -- Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner -- will be onstage at the Kodak Theatre on March 7. Stewart admitted to Mark Malkin that she is very nervous. "I'm trying to pick shoes that I know I won't fall down in." E ONLINE

• "Up in the Air" novelist Walter Kirn will be in the audience after all to see whether Stewart falls. Following his earlier airing of his frustration that he had not been invited to the Oscars, today he tweeted: "thanks to Paramount Pictures for coming through with Oscar tickets and proving true to its word, which i shouldn't have doubted." TWITTER

Bafta StatueDave Karger says, "I've always been a firm believer in the power of the BAFTA Awards to give us an idea of how the overall awards-season winds may be shifting. After all, 'The Hurt Locker' tied 'Avatar' with the most nominations at the BAFTAs before it managed the same feat on Oscar nomination day. But then there’s the BAFTA wild card, 'An Education,' which also scored eight nods." Says Dave, "Avatar" will win best picture while for best director "clearly this is a race between Cameron and Bigelow. I’m wondering if 'The Hurt Locker' might be too American-indie feeling to sway the British voters, but I still think Bigelow will take it." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Pete Hammond reports, "Voters seem more confused than ever on the new preferential voting even though the academy tried to diligently spell out specific instructions for members who may be ballot-challenged when it comes to selecting their best picture choices in order of preference. One academy member, a savvy publicist I know who has worked on many campaigns, is puzzled himself by the new process that requires voters to rank the 10 nominees. 'I have read the instructions four times now, and I still don't know what they want from me,' he said in total frustration. 'I have no dog in this hunt this year, but if I can't figure this out, how do they expect others to, especially the older ones used to just picking one winner?'" NOTES ON A SEASON

• And Jack Mathews bemoans the late date of this year's Oscars. "The Academy Awards season, even with a mid-to-late February finale, is far too long. And as it has turned out this year, as it turns out in most years now, many of the winners are known long before the show. Current example: Golden Globe and SAG winners Jeff Bridges ('Crazy Heart'), Sandra Bullock ('The Blind Side'), Christoph Waltz ('Inglourious Basterds') and Mo'Nique ('Precious') have nothing to fear but forgetting people to thank on March 7." MOVIEFONE

Wga-awardSasha Stone delivers an insightful analysis of this Saturday's WGA Awards. Says Sasha, "Since 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'In the Loop,' 'District 9,' 'The Messenger,' Up,' and 'An Education' were all ineligible for the WGA, things are bumped off the rails even more. It could mean that, for the first time in five years, there will be a mis-match in Original Screenplay." She concludes with, "for now, I’m going with 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Up in the Air' for the WGAs and 'Inglourious Basterds' and 'Up in the Air' for the Oscar." AWARDS DAILY

Top photo: "Bruno" publicity still. Credit: Universal. Middle photo: BAFTA statuette. Credit: British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Bottom photo: Writers Guild of America award. Credit: WGA

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