Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Dern 'Enlightened' by HBO | ACM honorees include Keith Urban | Tony Awards eligibility updates
• Laura Dern has inked a deal with HBO for her first regular TV gig. She and Mike White -- who directed her in "Year of the Dog" in 2007 -- have created "Enlightened" a half-hour single-camera comedy about "a self-destructive woman who has a revelatory experience at a treatment center and becomes determined to live an enlightened life, creating unexpected havoc at home and work." Dern's mother, Diane Ladd, as well as Luke Wilson and Sarah Burns are to co-star in this showcase for Dern, which will begin its 10-episode run this year. Last year, Dern won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the HBO political drama "Recount." THR
• Anne Thompson is aces at covering the Cannes filmfest and reports, "filmmaker Claire Denis ('White Material') will preside over the Un Certain Regard jury. I have also learned that Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (whose new Spanish film 'Even the Rain' is tagged for possible inclusion in the fest) and Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno ('Vincere') will join Tim Burton’s competition jury, while Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan ('Chloe') will preside over the Cinefondation Jury. And the Director’s Fortnight will award Agnes Varda with its 8th Carosse d’Or life achievement award." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD
• Australian crooner Keith Urban will be feted at the upcoming Academy of Country Music kudocast on CBS with the Jim Reeves International Award. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Buck Owens and Dolly Parton. Mel Tillis and the late Marty Robbins will be the recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award which has gone previously to such country legends as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn. Don Schlitz and the late Cindy Walker are to be honored with the Poet's Award and "Crazy Heart" will be given the Tex Ritter Award for showcasing country music on the big screen. The ACMs will handed out in Las Vegas on April 18.
• "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is coming to the TV Guide network beginning June 2, and while the basic cablecaster will edit the show for nudity and language, it is not cutting it for length. "Curb" ran 30 minutes or so on commercial-free HBO, so to round out the hour time slot, the net is programming "Curb: The Discussion." Hosted by "Curb" star Susie Essman and co-produced by the show's creator and star Larry David, the first panelists will be David's old pal Jerry Seinfeld, Emmy nominee Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Oscar nominee Taraji Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). TV GUIDE
• The 24th annual Genesis Awards air on Animal Planet on the weekend of April 24. The kudos -- honoring the media for their coverage of animal protection issues -- were handed out on March 20 at the Beverly Hilton. Among the recipients of the 19 awards were the Oscar-winning films "Up" and "The Cove" and the TV series "Bones" and "Family Guy." Actress Tippi Hedren was presented with the lifetime achievement award by her daughter Melanie Griffith. GENESIS
• The administration committee for the Tony Awards convened for the third of four times this theater season on Thursday. The committee is made up of two dozen theater folk, with 10 apiece from the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing -- which jointly host these top theater kudos -- and one each from the Dramatists Guild, Actors' Equity Assn., United Scenic Artists and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. They rule on category placement as usually only those performers listed above the title are eligible to contend in the lead categories at the Tony Awards. However, with the increase in equal billing for all, there is a need to separate out the true star turns from the supporting players. As such, two-time nominee Laura Linney will contend as a lead for "Time Stands Still" as will Patrick Breen for "Next Fall." And of the four actors in "A Behanding in Spokane," only Oscar champ Christopher Walken was found to be in a leading role.
• And finally, file this in the truth-is-stranger-than fiction drawer. Turns out that Hungarian-born adventurer Count Laszlo de Almásy -- who inspired the romantic hero played by Ralph Fiennes in the 1996 Oscar-winning "The English Patient" -- was "actually homosexual and in love with a young soldier, according to letters discovered in Germany." DAILY TELEGRAPH
Top photo: Laura Dern at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. Credit: NBC
Middle photo: Academy of Country Music logo. Credit: ACM
Bottom photo: Tony Award statuette. Credit: American Theater Wing