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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Alec Baldwin

Emmy prediction smackdown: Experts forecast who'll win

August 26, 2010 |  1:39 pm

Here's a roundup of Emmy Award predictions from the best pundits on the planet: Mike Ausiello (Entertainment Weekly), Kristin dos Santos (E! Online), Maggie Furlong (AOL TV Squad), Joseph Kapsch (Zap2It), Steve Pond (The Odds, The Wrap), Matt Roush (TV Guide) plus the Gold Derby/The Envelope team of Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria and me. Read category-per-category analysis here.

Emmy Awards predictions news

COMEDY SERIES
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Glee" — Dos Santos
"Modern Family" — Ausiello, Beachum, Furlong, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
"Nurse Jackie"
"The Office"
"30 Rock"

COMEDY ACTOR
Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") — Ausiello, Beachum, Dos Santos, Furlong, Pond, Roush
Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Matthew Morrison ("Glee")
Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") — Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil
Steve Carell ("The Office")
Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")

COMEDY ACTRESS
Lea Michele ("Glee") — Dos Santos
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine")
Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie") — Ausiello, Beachum, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation")
Tina Fey ("30 Rock")
Toni Collette ("United States of Tara") — Furlong

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTOR
Chris Colfer ("Glee") — Kapsch, O'Neil
Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother")
Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Modern Family")
Eric Stonestreet ("Modern Family") — Beachum, Dos Santos, Licuria, Pond
Ty Burrell ("Modern Family") — Ausiello, Furlong, Roush
Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men")

SUPPORTING COMEDY ACTRESS
Jane Lynch ("Glee") — Ausiello, Beachum, Dos Santos, Furlong, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
Julie Bowen ("Modern Family")
Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family")
Kristen Wiig ("Saturday Night Live")
Jane Krakowski ("30 Rock")
Holland Taylor ("Two and a Half Men")

DRAMA SERIES
"Breaking Bad" — Dos Santos
"Dexter"
"The Good Wife"
"Lost" — Furlong
"Mad Men" — Ausiello, Beachum, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
"True Blood"

DRAMA ACTOR
Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") — Ausiello, Furlong
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") — Beachum, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights") — Dos Santos
Hugh Laurie ("House")
Matthew Fox ("Lost")
Jon Hamm ("Mad Men")

DRAMA ACTRESS
Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer")
Glenn Close ("Damages")
Connie Britton ("Friday Night Lights")
Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") — Ausiello, Beachum, Dos Santos, Furlong, Kapsch, Licuria, O'Neil, Pond, Roush
Mariska Hargitay ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit")
January Jones ("Mad Men")

Continue reading »

Dueling Emmy predictions: Mike versus Tom

August 13, 2010 |  1:25 pm
Emmy logo sparkle-1

Entertainment Weekly's Mike Ausiello and I mostly agree on who'll win Emmys in the top series races Aug. 29. However, there are significant differences in our rankings per category, and there is drastic disagreement over how we size up the contest for best comedy actor. I've got Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") in first place, Mike's got him in last!

Note: My predix are still a bit tentative. I haven't seen a few of the episodes submitted to Emmy judges by nominees as examples of their best work. When I finish up that viewing in a few days, I may make a few changes. Mike may want to make a few last-minute switcheroos too? Meantime, thank you, Mike, for piping in.


BEST DRAMA SERIES

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. "Mad Men" "Mad Men"
2. "Breaking Bad" "Lost"
3.

"The Good Wife"

"Dexter"
4. "Dexter" "The Good Wife"
5. "Lost"

"Breaking Bad"

6. "True Blood" "True Blood"


BEST DRAMA ACTOR

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad" Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"
2. Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"

Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"

3.

Hugh Laurie, "House"

Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"
4. Matthew Fox, "Lost"

Hugh Laurie, "House"

5. Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"

Matthew Fox, "Lost"

6. Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"


BEST DRAMA ACTRESS

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife" Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
2. Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights" Connie Britton, "Friday Night Lights"
3.

Glenn Close, "Damages"

Glenn Close, "Damages"

4. January Jones, "Mad Men" Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
5. Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"

Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"

6. Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU" January Jones, "Mad Men"


BEST COMEDY SERIES

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. "Modern Family" "Modern Family"
2. "Glee" "Glee"
3.

"30 Rock"

"30 Rock"

4. "The Office" "Nurse Jackie"
5. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

"Curb Your Enthusiasm"

6. "Nurse Jackie" "The Office"


BEST COMEDY ACTOR

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
2. Steve Carell, "The Office" Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
3.

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"

Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
4. Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
5. Matthew Morrison, "Glee"

Steve Carell, "The Office"

6. Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" Matthew Morrison, "Glee"


BEST COMEDY ACTRESS

Mike Ausiello

Tom O'Neil

1. Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
2. Amy Poehler, "Parks & Recreation" Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
3.

Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

Lea Michele, "Glee"
4. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"

Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

5. Lea Michele, "Glee"

Amy Poehler, "Parks & Recreation"

6. Julie Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" Julie Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine"

Photo: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

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Emmy favorites, according to Yahoo

August 12, 2010 |  1:54 pm

Never mind which TV shows and stars are favored by Emmy voters. Yahoo measured the lists of Emmy nominees according to which ones were searched most by their Web browsers during the eligibility period spanning June 1, 2009, to May 31, 2010.

Yahoo emmy

TOP SEARCHED BEST SERIES, DRAMA

1. "Lost"

2. "True Blood"

3. "Dexter"

4. "Mad Men"

5. "Breaking Bad"

6. "The Good Wife"
 


TOP SEARCHED BEST SERIES, COMEDY
1. "Glee"

2. "The Office"

3. "Modern Family"

4. "30 Rock"

5. "Nurse Jackie"

6. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
 

TOP SEARCHED BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
1. Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
2. Hugh Laurie, "House"

3. Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"

4. Matthew Fox, "Lost"

5. Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"

6. Kyle Chandler, "Friday Night Lights"

Continue reading »

After Tonys goof discovered, Emmys give Neil Patrick Harris one more nomination

August 10, 2010 |  6:17 pm

The TV academy just acknowledged a mistake made by the Tony Awards that was brought to its attention by Gold Derby and gave Neil Patrick Harris one more Emmy nomination -- for hosting the Tonys last year.

Harris' name was missing from the list of Emmy nominees in the race for best special-class program when bids were unveiled last month. Hosts of award shows used to compete in the old Emmy category of best performance in a variety special (Hugh Jackman won for hosting the Tonys in 2005), but that contest was eliminated last year. Award-show hosts are now grouped with the producers of the kudocasts. If the award show wins best special-class program, then the host wins along with its producers. Other contenders in the category, like hosts of "Saturday Night Live," were moved over to the guest acting categories (where Tina Fey won last year for hosting "SNL").

Neil Patrick Harris emmy

However, our forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum noticed something odd when perusing this year's list of Emmy nominees: Neil Patrick Harris wasn't listed along with the producers of the Tonys show nominated for best special-class program. The omission was glaring considering that Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are listed among nominees with the Oscars telecast. Boomer asked me to inquire with Emmy chiefs. The awards department informed us that Harris' name hadn't been submitted for consideration, which was odd because the Tonys producers hadn't forgotten to list host Whoopi Goldberg last year. Why now?

Neil Patrick Harris has an embarrassing kudos secret. Even though he's Mr. Awards Show — having hosted the Tonys, Emmys, TV Land Awards and performed at the Oscars — he's never won a major showbiz trophy. He's lost three times at the Emmys, four at the Golden Globes and this year he received two Emmy bids as best supporting comedy actor ("How I Met Your Mother") and guest actor in a comedy series ("Glee"). Our pundits (Boomer included) don't believe Harris has a good shot to win in the supporting race this year. However, he's a serious rival in that guest contest — he's got real hope there. But if he loses both shots it would be outrageous for him to be cheated out of a nomination in the special-class category considering how often the Tonys win there. The Tonys won best special-class program in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Wouldn't it be tragic if Harris loses for "Mother" and "Glee" this year, then fails to win an Emmy along with the producers of the Tonys when the Tonys win the special-class contest again? Horrible! All because someone in the office of the Tonycast producers forgot to include Harris' name on the Emmy paperwork? Presumably, that's what happened.

Continue reading »

Inside track: Emmy acting races for comedy series

August 8, 2010 |  9:26 am

In an earlier post, I shared the breakdown of the acting races for best drama series (complete with titles of episodes being viewed by Emmy judges) that appeared in the recent print edition of The Envelope in the Los Angeles Times. Here's the equivalent comedy list plus who's in the running for best lead actor and actress in TV movie/mini.

Jim Parsons Big Bang Theory-3

BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" ("Don Geiss, America, and Hope")
Steve Carrell, "The Office" ("The Cover Up")
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("Seinfeld")
Matthew Morrison, "Glee" ("Mash Up")
Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" ("The Pants Alternative")
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" ("Mr. Monk and the End, Parts I and II")

SPOTLIGHT: Three-time past champ Shalhoub could get a parting Emmy gift for the final episode of "Monk" in which he's poisoned, battles his usual phobias, weeps over memories of his dead wife and finally, after eight TV seasons, solves her murder. Or Emmy voters could get all choked up with nostalgia while viewing the "Seinfeld" reunion on David's submission.


BEST COMEDY ACTRESS
Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" ("Tornado!")
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" ("Pilot")
Tina Fey, "30 Rock" ("Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001")
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "The New Adventures of Old Christine" ("I Love What You Do for Me")
Lea Michele, "Glee" ("Sectionals")
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation" ("Telethon")

SPOTLIGHT: Barbra Streisand won an Oscar for belting out "Don't Rain on My Parade" in "Funny Girl." Now Michele croons the same in her Emmy episode. Good omen? Collette won the Emmy last year for portraying multiple personalities, but currently battles her Showtime rival Falco, who triumphed three times as tough mafia momma on "The Sopranos."

Continue reading »

Early Emmy predictions: Best comedy series, actor and actress

July 16, 2010 |  2:10 pm
Modern family big bang theory emmys

Below, our experts Chris "Boomer" Beachum, Rob Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and I rank the nominees for best comedy series, actor and actress. All three of us expect recent Emmy winning streaks to end. "30 Rock" has won best comedy series for three years in a row, but we say "Modern Family" will prevail on Aug. 29. "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin has won for the last two years, but Chris and I think three-time past champ Tony Shalhoub will get a parting gift now that "Monk" has left the airwaves. Rob predicts the gold will go to Jim Parsons ("Big Bang Theory"). Our predictions are largely based upon knowing which sample episodes have been submitted to Emmy judges by the nominees. See the list here.


BEST COMEDY SERIES

Tom O'Neil

Rob Licuria

Chris Beachum
1. "Modern Family" "Modern Family" "Modern Family"
2. "30 Rock" "30 Rock" "30 Rock"
3.

"Nurse Jackie"

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" "Glee"
4. "Glee" "Glee" "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
5. "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

"Nurse Jackie"

"The Office"

6. "The Office" "The Office" "Nurse Jackie"



BEST COMEDY ACTOR

Tom O'Neil

Rob Licuria

Chris Beachum
1. Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory" Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"
2. Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory" Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" Jim Parsons, "Big Bang Theory"
3.

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"

Tony Shalhoub, "Monk" Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
4. Steve Carell, "The Office" Steve Carell, "The Office" Steve Carell, "The Office"
5. Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

6. Matthew Morrison, "Glee" Matthew Morrison, "Glee" Matthew Morrison, "Glee"



BEST COMEDY ACTRESS

Tom O'Neil

Rob Licuria

Chris Beachum
1. Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie"
2. Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" Toni Collette, "United States of Tara" Toni Collette, "United States of Tara"
3.

Lea Michele, "Glee"

Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation" Tina Fey, "30 Rock"
4. Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"

Lea Michele, "Glee"

Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"
5. Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

Tina Fey, "30 Rock"

Lea Michele, "Glee"

6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine" Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "New Adventures of Old Christine"

Photos: "Modern Family" (ABC), Tony Shalhoub (Fox), "Big Bang Theory" (CBS)

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Emmy predix: Best lead comedy actor

April 16, 2010 |  9:29 am

Now that Ed O'Neill ("Modern Family") has declared his Emmy candidacy in the supporting race, that appears to clear up any confusion surrounding the lead race too. Our Emmy seers Chris "Boomer" Beachum and Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) agree on five likely nominees for best lead comedy actor. For the sixth slot, Boomer picks Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm"), and Rob opts for Thomas Jane ("Hung"). They agree on who's ahead to win — Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock"), who's nabbed this trophy for the last two years.

Also check out their predix in these races: lead drama actor, best drama actress, best supporting drama actorbest drama series, and best comedy series.

Glee Matthew Morrison Alec Baldwin 30 Rock TV news


BEST COMEDY ACTOR: ROB'S PREDIX
1. Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
2. Steve Carell ("The Office")
3. Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory")
4. Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
5. Thomas Jane ("Hung")
6. Matthew Morrison ("Glee")
 
Alternates: Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"), Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
 
ROB'S COMMENTARY: This is a solid group, with Thomas Jane a possible threat and Matthew Morrison my left-field choice (and deservedly so). Could voters get lazy and reanoint Sheen or David? Probably.


BEST COMEDY ACTOR: BOOMER'S PREDIX
1. Alec Baldwin ("30 Rock")
2. Steve Carell ("The Office")
3. Tony Shalhoub ("Monk")
4. Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory")
5. Larry David ("Curb Your Enthusiasm")
6. Matthew Morrison ("Glee")

Alternates -- Charlie Sheen ("Two and a Half Men"), Thomas Jane ("Hung")

BOOMER'S COMMENTARY:  This would seem to be one of the easiest categories to predict, with the first five men on my list almost assured of nominations.

Continue reading »

Oscars are biggest winner of Emmys

March 10, 2010 |  9:25 am

The Oscars ceremony is the most honored television program in the history of the Emmys. Over the years, the annual celebration of the best in movies has racked up 46 wins out of 195 nominations from the television academy. That puts it nine Emmys ahead of "Frasier," with no end to the winning streak in sight. Indeed, even though this year's Oscars disappointed the TV critics, it should still fare well in many of the technical categories.

82nd Annual Academy Awards Oscars Emmy Awards Emmys In recent times, the Oscars show has averaged nine Emmy bids per year in various technical categories as well as noms for the host and the program itself. Last year, the Emmys did away with the individual performance in a variety special category -- a race Steve Martin lost in 2001 for his first hosting gig -- but Hugh Jackman was included in the program nomination. However, that maiden effort by Bill Condon and Laurence Mark lost the special class award to the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It did win four of its 10 nominations -- choreography, editing, song, and sound mixing.

Two years ago Gil Cates produced his 14th Oscars and, while the show sagged in the ratings, it did earn nine Emmy noms, winning for art direction and direction of a variety, music or comedy program. Jon Stewart earned an individual nom for his second time hosting, but lost to Don Rickles ("Mr. Warmth"). And the program -- shunted off to a special class category created just for awards shows -- lost to the Tony Awards.

Three years ago Laura Ziskin returned for her second try as producer of the awards show, having helmed the 2002 telecast hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. That 2002 ceremony went one for eight at the Emmys, winning only for choreographer Debra Brown (a feat Debbie Allen never managed even with her "Schindler's List" ballet). And the 2006 Oscars won two of nine noms -- art and music direction. Host Ellen DeGeneres lost the individual race to Tony Bennett ("An American Classic").

For the first 25 years that the Oscars were telecast, the shows earned little in the way of Emmys simply because the TV kudos didn't have categories to accommodate them. The first two Oscar telecasts, in 1953 and 1954, were huge ratings hits, but the first Emmy nomination came only with the third telecast, in 1955. The show competed in the category of best special event or news program. The NBC telecast -- hosted by Bob Hope in L.A. and Thelma Ritter in NYC -- as well as the World Series, the Rose Bowl and even the Emmys, lost to the CBS coverage of the A-bomb tests. That Oscar night is remembered as much for who lost (Judy Garland in "A Star Is Born") as for what won ("On the Waterfront" with eight statuettes).

Until the early 1970s, the Emmys had a melange of categories and the Oscars did not seem to fit into any of them. It made a comeback with the 1971 ceremony ("The French Connection" was the big winner, with five Oscars), earning two technical nods and winning for lighting. Then only another nine nominations over the next decade, with one win -- Jack Haley for producing the 51st ceremony in 1978 ("The Deer Hunter" won five Oscars). However, with the addition of many more categories in the early 1980s, the Oscars started hauling home Emmys and has never stopped since.

RELATED POSTS:

Complete list of Oscar winners

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How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

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This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Photo credits: Emmy Award (ATAS); Academy Award (AMPAS)

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Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

March 7, 2010 |  9:10 pm
Oscars 5 Academy Awards news winners

Now that the 82nd Academy Awards are over, it's time to dish — or diss? — the show. The Oscars telecast had lots of high points. The audience seemed to like Neil Patrick Harris' big, Busby Berkeley dance opener and James Taylor's lulling underscore to the in memoriam montage.

But what should we think about that frenetic, hip-hop dance extravanganza? How do you think Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin did as hosts?

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Complete List of Oscar winners

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

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Photo: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars countdown | James Cameron OK with 'Avatar' Oscars spoof | Oscar gold equals box office green

March 4, 2010 |  2:10 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Sandy Cohen reports, "Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are bridging stage and screen with an advanced, automated set at the Kodak Theatre and a super high-tech program planned for TV viewers. After days of technical tests on their stage setup, Shankman and Mechanic moved into the Kodak Theatre Wednesday, where they're seeing their whole show come to life in person and on screen. 'Today's the first day we're up fully running,' Mechanic says. 'We had three days of tech and now it's camera...' 'Camera, scripting, scenic transition, we're camera-blocking some stuff,' Shankman says, finishing his partner's sentence. 'This is probably as technically advanced a show as you've ever seen or as you will have ever seen,' Mechanic says. 'But what I really like about it, and yes that's true,' Shankman says. 'But on the monitors it actually looks much more simple in a weird way. It's elegant and it is more advanced but it's actually very focused and very simple.' " AP

• Half a dozen Oscar nominees have the added pressure of presenting on Sunday's big show. Two of the six already have Oscars on their shelves. Both supporting-actor contender Matt Damon ("Invictus") and writer-director Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds") won original-screenplay Oscars, Tarantino in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction" and Damon three years later for "Good Will Hunting." Five-time nominee Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is the favorite in the lead-actor race this year, as is first-time nominee Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") in the lead-actress race. Also presenting are first-time nominees Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air"). AMPAS

Oscar nominee Lee Daniels ("Precious") tells Donna Freydkin that "work has been a welcome distraction from the madness of awards season. 'Simultaneously I'm working on a pilot for HBO. It pulls me away from having to think about the Oscars. It's God's way of pulling me away.' Daniels is very busy prepping the feature film 'Selma' about the civil rights struggle and says, 'I have to really start casting the movie because we're shooting it soon. The only person I've nailed in for sure is Hugh Jackman. It's all over the place.' " USA TODAY

James Cameron Avatar OscarsCristina Gibson says, "At least one person wouldn't mind an 'Avatar' Academy Awards this Sunday. James Cameron. The Oscar-nominated director told me this exclusively tonight at the Global Green party at Avalon. Cameron said he wasn't aware that a proposed 'Avatar' sketch involving Ben Stiller and Sacha Baron Cohen had been cut from the show, presumably to avoid upsetting the director. 'I don't know anything about that. ... I don't produce the Oscars. If they want to poke fun at 'Avatar' Sunday, that's OK by me,' said Cameron, 'I'm sure we'll laugh.' " E ONLINE

• The second edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Oscars Special" on ABC -- which paired up Oscar champs and nominees like Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball") and Penelope Cruz ("Nine") as well as James Cameron and his "Avatar" cast for intimate conversations with narration by Winfrey -- was a bust in the ratings Wednesday, down 19% from the recently canceled "Ugly Betty" in the time slot. THE LIVE FEED

• Had Winfrey worked the late-night circuit like Barbara Walters has been doing in advance of her final Oscar-night special, she might have reaped more ratings points. Walters did the top 10 on Wednesday's "Late Show With David Letterman" and then dropped by "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" to dish on her decision to stop these gabfests after 29 years.

• As Zachary Pincus-Roth discovers, "In recent years, a number of Oscar-nominated performances have involved some form of low-talking, be it mumbling, muttering, slurring, or a lack of volume, either because of the actor's choice or the requirements of the role. It's not that they're completely unintelligible -- it's that on the spectrum that runs from Laurence Olivier in 'Richard III' to the Olsen twins in 'Full House,' they're a few standard deviations toward the latter. Every year, there are at least one or two acting nominees who are in this category, and this year it's Jeff Bridges and the tight-lipped Gabourey Sidibe in 'Precious.' Last year, it was Frank Langella's gravelly former president in 'Frost/Nixon' and Robert Downey, Jr.'s white actor pretending to be black in 'Tropic Thunder.' Recent low-talking winners include Tim Robbins in 'Mystic River,' Javier Bardem in 'No Country for Old Men,' Renée Zellweger in 'Cold Mountain,' Benicio Del Toro in 'Traffic,' and Jamie Foxx in "Ray.'" THE DAILY BEAST

Sandra Bullock • In a fascinating read, Michael Cieply writes, "When the estimated salaries of all 10 of the top acting nominees are combined, the total is only a little larger than the $20 million that went to Julia Roberts for her appearance in 'Erin Brockovich,' a best-picture nominee in 2001, or to Russell Crowe for 'Master and Commander,' nominated in 2004." As Michael reports, "the fashionable deal now is called 'CB zero.' It stands for “cash-break zero,” and refers to an arrangement under which the star or filmmaker begins collecting a share of profits after the studio has reached the break-even point. Such deals can be extremely lucrative when they give stars a substantial share in home-video revenue. So Sandra Bullock, who cut her usual $10 million fee to just $5 million for 'The Blind Side,' another of this year’s nominees, will eventually make $20 million or more from the movie because it was a hit. Mr. Clooney similarly stands to make additional millions when all the revenue from 'Up in the Air' is finally counted." NEW YORK TIMES

• Everyone can predict the winners in at least a couple of the Oscar races this year -- supporting actor and actress for a start. But getting them all wrong -- that takes talent. Sasha Stone is running a contest looking for someone to score 0 out of 24. But be warned for, as Sasha writes, " It is a lot harder than you might think.  My friend Ed is the one who does this every year, and despite his best intentions, last year he actually got a few right." AWARDS DAILY

• That sassy Tariq Khan is not content just to be aces at predicting the Oscars; now he wants to be part of the action and has offered up some jokes for your consideration. As he writes, "Hosting the Oscars is no easy task. Just ask David Letterman. (Remember the “Uma …Oprah” bit?) Keeping the show moving and the audience laughing for as long as four hours requires a lot of humor. But not just any humor -- OSCAR humor. To help out this year’s co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, Fox411 has come up with some award-worthy jokes. We think they’re pretty funny and bet that the Academy (and Oscar audience) will, too. So Steve and Alec -- please feel free to read, laugh and lift from the list below. And if you use any of them, maybe you can give 411 a little plug. That’s not too complicated, is it?" FOX 411

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Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

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Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: James Cameron on the set of "Avatar." Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Credit: Warners

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Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

February 26, 2010 |  1:25 pm
Oscars Academy Awards host news

Sacha Baron Cohen is sure a good sport -- he just laughed off the news that Oscar chiefs nixed the request of telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman to have him host. He's agreed to appear as a presenter.

That reminds us to wonder: Was the Academy wrong to shoot down an anti-establishment rascal like Cohen in favor of two old establishment veterans like Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin? Don't the Oscars want to spotlight the razor edge of today's sharpest talent? What are they afraid of? That Cohen might dress up as Bruno to bestow the costume or makeup awards?

Face it. Martin and Baldwin seem like a rather ho-hum alternative, don't you agree? I'm optimistic that they'll do a good job and I'm looking forward to seeing them take the stage, but I'm disappointed that we got cheated out of seeing what Borat would've done if he'd gotten his crazy clutches on Hollywood's sacred cow. He would've strangled it, of course, but he'd probably give us one of the most outrageous -- and brilliant -- Oscarcasts ever. A shame. The Oscars exist as a celebration of artists who take racy chances and rattle the status quo. Why can't Hollywood's Golden Boy do that himself?

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Continue reading »

Oscars telecast details revealed in promo video

February 12, 2010 |  2:03 pm

The academy has already announced that the three living winners of last year's acting Oscars -- leads Sean Penn ("Milk") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") and supporting champ Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona") -- will be presenters at this year's Academy Awards. Beyond that, there has been much speculation as to whom co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will be welcoming to the stage of the Kodak Theater on March 7.

Meet the Writers of the Oscars On Monday, the academy posted a video to its YouTube channel entitled "Meet the Writers." The blurb for this 2:00 spot reads: "Go behind the scenes with the producers and writers of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards® featuring Bruce Vilanch, Jon Macks, Jeff Richman, Carol Leifer, Beth Armogida, Dave Feldman, co-host and writer Steve Martin and producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman." While there is much amusing banter heard among them -- with Martin chiming in via speakerphone -- it is what is seen that is more interesting.

As one of our eagle-eyed forum posters -- the aptly-named Academy Awards Guru -- reports, "you can see a board on the background, it has several labels indicating the 13 segments of the ceremony, the first and final segment with the two hosts, the other segments with one host (first steve, then alec)."

And he says, "Other things that I saw:

The award for best foreign language film will be presented by Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almodovar (as some reports said it before).

The nominated songs will be performed separately.

They also will feature a clip of each one of the 10 best picture nominees.

James Taylor will perform or present.

"The Hangover' cast will present or perform."

Keep checking back at Gold Derby and in this thread in the forums for further advance details of the telecast.

Photo: "Meet the Writers" introductory screenshot. Credit: AMPAS

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