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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars to get instant engraving | A salute to Sandra Bullock | Time up for '24'?

February 9, 2010 |  2:55 pm

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpOscar winners will no longer have to wait weeks to see their names on the shiny gold statuettes they are handed at the ceremony. The academy has announced plans to personalize the Oscars at the post-ceremony Governors Ball. To that end, "the academy will create 197 nameplates, one for each 2009 nominee in every category. The engraving will include the nominee’s name, category, film title and year. After the winners have been announced, the unused nameplates will be recycled." As academy president Tom Sherak said, “An Oscar statuette just isn’t complete until a nameplate is attached. The Governors Ball is the perfect place for Oscar winners to add that final touch as they celebrate their accomplishment and the year’s movies." AMPAS

• If that weren't reason enough for Oscar champs to attend the Governors Ball, the academy also announced that Wolfgang Puck will be returning for the 16th year to create the menu. Overseeing the planning will be Cheryl Cechetto for the 21st consecutive year. And Jeffrey Kurland, an academy governor representing the Art Directors Branch, will chair the ball. "Kurland is an Oscar-nominated costume designer ('Bullets Over Broadway,' 1994), and in addition to overseeing the decor, menu and entertainment planning for the ball, he will design attire to be worn by the evening’s performers and selected staff." AMPAS

Dave Karger discusses and then dismisses the possibility of any upsets in the acting races at the Oscars. "I still think Jeremy Renner is No. 2 in the Best Actor derby, but face it: It’s not happening. And neither is Maggie Gyllenhaal. Or Woody Harrelson. Or Gabourey Sidibe. We all need to be content with the reality that the only real races in the major categories this year are for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Otherwise we’re all setting ourselves up for a night of disappointment on March 7." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Echoing this sentiment, Mike Fleming says, "We know that almost all the marquee categories are virtually decided. Which leaves only Best Picture and Best Director (and maybe Best Actress) nominations with any suspense at all. There's tension galore, for once. The studios, and their majors and minors and distributors and marketers, all had an extra two weeks to campaign until the Oscar broadcast March 7th. But is anyone spending like the good old days (i.e. the Weinsteins' heyday)? I've called around and seasoned Oscar observers say no, resoundingly. Gone are the days when ego and bragging rights prompted studios and studio-backed indies to cough up tens of millions of dollars just to sway Academy members. It's estimated that spending campaigns this year will range from a pittance of $500,000 to a middling $5 million. 'And most of us are going to play in the low end,' one top studio exec told me. Contrast that to the routine $15-plus million spent in the late 1990s-early 2000s." DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD

Sandra Bullock Santa Barbara Oscars The Blind SidePete Hammond reports on the tribute to Oscar front-runner Sandra Bullock that he moderated last Friday at the Santa Barbara filmfest. "The odd thing is she tried desperately to turn down both roles, in 'The Proposal' and "The Blind Side," that have led to her current award-season success and No. 1-box-office star ranking in the 78-year-old Quigley poll of theater owners. 'It seems the things I said 'no' to have benefited me the most,' she said, explaining that she didn't want to do another romantic comedy but was finally seduced by the quality of the character in 'Proposal' and that she thought the real-life subject of 'Blind Side' Leigh Anne Tuohy was 'manufactured,' that is until  director John Lee Hancock finally persuaded her to meet Tuohy. After an eight-hour session with Leigh Anne she finally got it. Although she still doesn't remember saying 'yes' or signing a contract, she is glad she got to do it. 'Like most things that strike a chord, they weren't made to strike a chord. They are made out of passion and love, and this was John Lee Hancock's passion. He knew what he wanted to say,' she says and is especially thrilled that it also got a surprise best picture nomination." NOTES ON A SEASON

• Two-time Emmy champ Jeff Probst is sticking with "Survivor" for at least two more installments says CBS. The host of the long-running reality competition is also signing on as an executive producer for the 21st and 22nd editions of "Survivor" that will air next season. AP

• The Emmy-nominated Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") plays a whopping 30 different characters in a 3:00 music video promoting the non-profit coalition Stand Up to Cancer. THE LIVE FEED

24-Season-8-PosterJosef Adalian delves into Monday's reports in EW and Variety that the Emmy-winning "24" could be heading for the big-screen. "Just when a '24' feature might move forward could depend on how long '24' the series continues. Fox Broadcasting hasn't renewed the series for a ninth season, and Variety said 'the betting is that this season will be the final one.'" As Josef notes, "'24' is a very expensive show to produce, and Fox executives may simply decide it no longer makes sense to continue given the series' solid but weakened ratings this season. Making things tougher: Fox executives still believe the show is on solid footing creatively. The Variety story also hints that 20th might shop a '24' series to another network if Fox didn't step up and renew the series. Another possibility, insiders tell TheWrap: A revamped, less costly take on '24' that would allow the franchise to stay in the Fox family." THE WRAP

Nathaniel Rogers revisits one of his favorite top 10 Oscar lists -- best picture nominees with the longest titles -- and reports that the officially-titled "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" sits at position No. 4. The longest title remains 1964 nominee "Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb." Says Nathaniel, "Not only does this classic comedy have the longest title ever from a best picture nominee, it has one of the best titles period. Ever. All time. Don'cha think? It's also a merciful 95 minutes long. Comedies are funniest when they're short, timing being everything." THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Top photo: Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: Sandra Bullock at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Bottom photo: "24" Poster. Credit: Fox

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