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Category: best screenplay

Emmy predix: Best supporting actor in a drama series

April 15, 2010 |  2:15 pm

Our Emmy prophets Robert "Rob L" Licuria (AwardsHeaven.net) and Chris "Boomer" Beachum agree on the six nominees for best supporting actor, but they picked different "Lost" stars to win. Also check out their predix in these races: lead drama actor, best drama actressbest drama series, and best comedy series.

Terry oquinn michael emerson lost news

BEST SUPPORTING DRAMA ACTOR: ROB'S PREDIX
1. Terry O'Quinn ("Lost")
2. Michael Emerson ("Lost")
3. Aaron Paul ("Breaking Bad")
4. Martin Short ("Damages")
5. John Slattery ("Mad Men")
6. John Goodman ("Treme")

Alternates: Campbell Scott ("Damages"), Chris Noth ("The Good Wife").

ROB'S COMMENTARY: Now that we know O'Quinn is submitting his name, I think it is safe to say that only he and Emerson will be representing from the "Lost" cast. It would be great to also see Daniel Dae Kim, Naveen Andrews and especially Josh Holloway, but I think two actors will fulfill the "Lost" quota (unfortunately).  Paul will return as will Slattery, and Short will fill that "Damages" slot (with Scott a real threat for a second "Damages" nod here too). I am going out on a limb, not having seen HBO's "Treme" yet, thinking that  Goodman might surprise here. This is a killer category, with lots of choices for voters to mull over. Let's hope they get creative.

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

March 7, 2010 |  9:38 pm

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars 82nd Annual Academy Awards The 82nd Academy Awards followed the script set down by pundits, as the front-runners for all of the major Oscars won Sunday night. "The Hurt Locker" led with six Oscars, including best picture and best director for Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win this award. The Iraq war drama also picked up prizes for original screenplay (Mark Boal), editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

"Avatar" went into the night tied with "The Hurt Locker" with a leading nine nominations but had to settle for three Oscars for art direction, cinematography and visual effects (and a $2.4-billion and counting box-office take). See a complete list of all Oscar winners here.

Lead actor went to Jeff Bridges, a four-time also-ran at the Oscars, who finally won for his performance as a down-and-out country singer in "Crazy Heart." The theme song for that film, "The Weary Kind," won best original song for Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.

First-time nominee Sandra Bullock won lead actress for best picture nominee "The Blind Side," edging out, among others, Meryl Streep, who was contending for a record 13th time in this category. The lead acting nominees were introduced by performers with whom they have a connection before last year's winners, Sean Penn ("Milk") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader"), bestowed the Oscars. Last year, each of the four acting categories was handled by five past winners who each spoke about one of the nominees.

It was no surprise that the Academy Awards for supporting actor and actress went to Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious"). The pair had picked up all of the precursor awards going into the Oscars. Waltz's win represented the only Oscar for that best picture nominee, which had eight nominations in total while "Precious" -- which had six nominations, including a best picture bid -- also won adapted screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher

The animated feature race was won by best picture nominee "Up," which edged out Gotham and L.A. critics choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" among others. "Up" became the fifth Pixar picture -- after "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "Wall-E" -- to win this category since it was introduced in 2001. "Up" also won best score.

Of the 10 best picture nominees, four were completely shut out -- "District 9" (with four noms), "An Education" (three noms), "A Serious Man" (two nominations) and "Up in the Air" (six). 

"El Secreto de Sus Ojos" became the second feature from Argentina to win best foreign-language film, and "The Cove" won the documentary feature Oscar. For her costume design for "The Young Victoria," Sandy Powell took home her third Oscar, following wins for "Shakespeare in Love" and "The Aviator." "Star Trek" won for makeup.

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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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Oscar nominations: Fascinating facts, figures and milestones

February 3, 2010 |  2:06 pm

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air Up With invaluable assistance from our many forum posters, here are interesting stats about this year's nominations for the Oscars.

Nine not so fine: "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" lead this year's derby with nine nominations each; "Nine" managed just four nominations. However, beginning with "The Life of Emile Zola" in 1937, there have been 77 films that have landed 10 or more Oscar nominations. Last year's big champ "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight of its 10 races, while "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" managed just three wins from 13 nominations.

Money matters: On nomination day, "Avatar" broke the domestic box office record of 1997 best picture champ "Titanic" when it reached $601 million in receipts. The foreign title -- also held by "Titanic" -- fell to "Avatar" last week. While "Avatar" would thus be the highest-grossing best picture champ, "The Hurt Locker" -- with domestic receipts of $12.6 million -- would be the lowest when adjusted for inflation. 

Take five: With double the number of entries in the best picture race, it is not so surprising that all five directing nominees helmed a contender. In the eight years from 1936 to 1943 when there were also 10 best picture nominees, the five directing nominees each year had a hand in one of those contenders save for 1936 and 1938. In 1936 Gregory LaCava ("My Man Godfrey") was the spoiler, while in 1938 it was Michael Curtiz ("Angels With Dirty Faces") who was the odd man out. Frank Capra took home the directing award in both those years, while Curtiz won his only Oscar in 1943 for helming "Casablanca" -- the last best picture champ to win over nine rivals. 

All in the family: Father and son Ivan and Jason Reitman are nominated for producing "Up in the Air." Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen are double nominees for writing and producing "A Serious Man." Onetime married couple Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and James Cameron ("Avatar") are each nominated for best director.

Something old, something new: Supporting actor nominee Christopher Plummer is a first-time contender at age 80 for his 86th movie, "The Last Station," while Gabourey Sidibe landed a lead actress nomination for her film debut in "Precious." Plummer also lends his voice to best picture nominee "Up."

Batting 1.000: Animated short nominee Nick Park ("Wallace & Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death") has won all four of his previous Oscar races -- animated short (1990, 1993, 1996) and animated feature (2005). In 1990 he was a double nominee, winning for "Creature Comforts" over "A Grand Day Out with Wallace & Gromit." In 1993 he won for "Wallace & Gromit in the Wrong Trousers," in 1996 for "Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave" and in 2005 for "Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit."

Animated features: "Up" is the second animated feature after "Beauty and the Beast" to contend for best picture. While "Beauty" had five other nominations in 1991, including three song bids, score and sound, "Up" is contending in four other categories -- screenplay, score, sound editing and animated feature. That last category wasn't created till 2001, and this is only the second year -- after 2002, when "Spirited Away" won -- that there have been five rather than three nominees.

Only the lonely: The nominations for lead actor Colin Firth ("A Single Man"), lead actress Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") and supporting actor Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") are the only Oscar nods for those films.

Return engagement: Only two of last year's acting nominees are back in the Oscar race this year -- lead actress nominee Meryl Streep and supporting actress nominee Penelope Cruz ("Nine"). Cruz -- who won that same award last year for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" -- follows in the footsteps of supporting actress champs Estelle Parsons ("Bonnie & Clyde," 1967) and Lee Grant ("Shampoo," 1975), who both contended again the year after their victory; neither won. Bette Davis and Greer Garson share the record of most consecutive years nominated at five apiece in the lead actress category. Davis kicking off her reign in 1938 with a win for "Jezebel" while Garson began her run in 1941 with a nod for "Blossoms in the Dust."

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Photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

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Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

February 2, 2010 | 10:01 am

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986 This year, 19 of the 20 SAG acting nominees are contending at the Academy Awards. The only one not to make the cut was SAG supporting actress contender Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds"), who was replaced on the Oscars ballot by Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Crazy Heart").

Last year, 18 of the 19 SAG acting nominees repeated at the Academy Awards. As double SAG nominee Kate Winslet was bumped up by the Oscars from supporting to lead for "The Reader," she was denied a lead nod for "Revolutionary Road." However, that film's Michael Shannon managed to knock SAG nominee Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" out of the supporting race.

Two years ago, 15 of the 20 SAG nominees went on to compete at the Oscars. Three years ago, it was also 19 of the 20 with the one variation coming from the same film -- "The Departed" -- as SAG nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was replaced at Oscar time by Mark Wahlberg.

Four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles appear in Oscar-nominated best pictures with only "Nine" not making it into the top 10. Last year, four of the five SAG-nominated ensembles also did so, with SAG contender "Doubt" replaced by "The Reader." "Slumdog Millionaire" won both awards. Two years ago, only one SAG ensemble nominee -- "No Country for Old Men" -- made it into the best picture race, although that film won both prizes as well. Three years ago, it was three of five, with "Little Miss Sunshine" taking the SAG prize but losing the top Oscar to "The Departed."

Last year, all five of the lead actress nominees also competed for both awards. Two years ago, it was four of five as the only SAG nominee not needing a babysitter come Oscar night was Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart"), whose spot went to "The Savages" star Laura Linney.

As with this year, last year's supporting actress race matched up only four to five as the promotion of Winslet for "The Reader" left room at the Oscars for the addition of Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler"). Two years ago, this race was also four for five with SAG nominee Catherine Keener ("Into the Wild") replaced by Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement").

Last year, lead actor also matched up perfectly. Two years ago, it went three for five with the SAG nominees as relative newcomers Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl") were replaced at the Oscars by Hollywood vets Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") and Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah").

Last year's supporting actor race was four for five with Shannon replacing Patel. Two years ago, SAG nominee Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country for Old Men") was replaced by Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War").

This year, the DGA lineup is repeated at the Oscars. Last year's DGA picks for best director matched up with four of the five academy choices as DGA nominee Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") was edged out at the Oscars by Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"). Two years ago, DGA nominee Sean Penn ("Into the Wild") lost his Oscar slot to Jason Reitman, who helmed best pic nominee "Juno."

Of this year's 10 PGA nominees for best picture, eight of them earned Oscar nods. The exceptions: One box office champ -- "Star Trek" -- was replaced by another -- "The Blind Side" -- and one set of Oscar favorites -- Clint Eastwood and "Invictus" -- was replaced by another -- the Coen brothers and "A Serious Man."

Last year, the PGA went four for five with the Oscar contenders as "The Dark Knight" was bumped by "The Reader." Two years ago, it was also four for five with PGA nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" replaced by "Atonement."

This year, only two of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay -- "The Hurt Locker" and "A Serious Man" -- are contending at the Oscars. Last year, just one of the five WGA nominees for original screenplay made it into the Oscar race -- eventual winner Dustin Lance Black ("Milk"). Two years ago, the WGA picks lined up with the Oscar nominees except for "Knocked Up," which was knocked out of the competition by the team that whipped up "Ratatouille."

The adapted screenplay Oscar race only includes two of the WGA nominees as well -- "Precious" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the Oscars went four for five with only the WGA nominees for "The Dark Knight" bumped by David Hare, who adapted "The Reader." Two years ago, Sean Penn, who wowed the WGA with his adaptation of "Into the Wild," was snubbed at the Oscars as was the scripter for "Zodiac." They were replaced by "Atonement" adapter Christopher Hampton and first time writer-director Sarah Polley.

The Oscar nominees for best cinematography line up with the American Society of Cinematographers choices with the exception of "Nine" lenser Dion Beebe, who was replaced by "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" shooter Bruno Delbonnel. Last year, ASC nominee Roger Deakins ("Revolutionary Road") was replaced at the Oscars by Tom Stern for "Changeling." Two years ago, the ASC went five for five.

This year, the Oscar nominees for editing include just three of the American Cinema Editors' picks as the cutters for "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious" replace those for "Star Trek" and "Up in the Air." Last year, the nominees lined up, and two years ago, ACE nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was replaced by "Michael Clayton."

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Experts divided on adapted screenplay winner at Oscars

December 23, 2009 |  3:35 pm
Up in the Air 500

Four of these Oscar pundits -- Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Scott Feinberg (And The Winner Is), Michael Musto (Village Voice) and Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere) -- predict "Up in the Air" scripters Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner to prevail in the adapted screenplay race. Steve Pond (The Wrap) thinks the prize will go to Nick Hornsby for his adaptation of "An Education," while I believe Geoffrey Fletcher will win for adapting "Precious." See experts' predictions of the best actor race here, best actress race here, best supporting actor here, best supporting actress here and best picture here. Contenders are ranked according to their likelihood of winning.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Douglas Feinberg Musto O'Neil Pond Wells
'Up in the Air'

1

1

1

2

2

1

'Precious'

2

2

3

1

3

3

'An Education'

3

3

2

5

1

2

'A Single Man'

4

 

 

3

4

4

'Invictus'

5

 

4

 

 

 

'Julie & Julia'

 

4

 

4

 

 

'Fantastic Mr. Fox'

 

5

 

 

 

 

'The Last Station'

 

 

5

 

 

 

'Nine'

 

 

 

 

 

5

Photo: A scene from "Up in the Air." Credit: Paramount

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Week in Review - Oscars Edition: Predictions for every race | Telecast details | Nominees cursed and blessed | Quizzes galore

February 22, 2009 |  2:26 am

OSCAR PREDICTIONS

Gold Derby's gutsy, 100% accurate Oscars predictions

Gold Derby odds on the top Oscars races

Experts predict who'll win the Oscars

Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke in a real heavyweight bout

Can Meryl Streep beat Kate Winslet at the Oscars?

Rookie pundit needs a new Oscars crystal ball

Derby_horses

OSCARS TELECAST

Will Rob Pattinson sing with Mary Poppins at the Oscars?

Will Miley Cyrus, Beyonce, Zac Efron and Rob Pattinson wow Oscars' viewers?

'Twilight' star Robert Pattinson will be an Oscars presenter

Some Oscars TV ads still for sale — only $1.4 million a pop!

Oscars are the Emmys' biggest winner

OSCARS HOST: HUGH JACKMAN

Sneak Peek: See Hugh Jackman warming up his Oscar act

Can Hugh Jackman continue the Oscars' love affair with Emmys?

OSCAR NOMINEES

Heath Ledger's ultimate joke on the Oscars?

Heath Ledger's family plans to take his Oscar, which should go to Matilda if he wins!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie could be latest couple cursed at the Oscars

Will Brad Pitt lose best actor due to Oscars' Slap the Stud Syndrome?

Will the Babe Factor help Kate Winslet in a close Oscars contest with Meryl Streep?

Watch out, Mickey Rourke: Indie Spirit is Oscar's consolation prize

Penelope Cruz: 'Whatever happens, I will probably have a few beers and I don't drink!'

No 'Doubt' Viola Davis could win at Oscars for portraying a long-suffering wife

OSCAR RACES

'Slumdog Millionaire' isn't doomed at the Oscars just because its actors got snubbed

The Oscars' best picture usually = big picture

Could 'Curious Case of Benjamin Button' suffer the worst shut-out in Oscars history?

No, there is no bias against foreigners at the Oscars

Here's why there will be an Oscars upset for best foreign film

OSCAR FLASHBACK

Did 'Ben-Hur' deserve to win best picture at the Oscars?

OSCAR QUIZZES

Quiz: Which actor had the most Oscar bids in a row?

Quiz: Which Bette Davis flick suffered the worst Oscars' shut-out?

Quiz: Who turned down Jodie Foster's Oscar-winning role in 'Lambs'?

Quiz: Who won an Oscar on her birthday?

Quiz: Which Oscar-winning role was not gay?

Quiz: How much does an Oscar cost to make?

Quiz: Which movies won for writing, directing and acting, but failed to win best picture?

Illustration by Ty Wilson

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Here's how our Oscar pundits scored

March 5, 2006 | 10:39 pm

The Envelope's odds scored fairly high, nailing 10 of the top 12 categories. Congrats to our own Steve Pond of The Envelope for achieving the highest score in all categories (19). Oh, if only I hadn't switched three predictions on Oscar morning, ditching the three eventual winners, I would've triumphed with a score of 20, but, alas…


19 — Steve Pond (The Envelope)

18 — Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

17 — Tom O'Neil (The Envelope), Gene Seymour (Newsday), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

16 — Mike Sragow (Baltimore Sun)

15 — Edward Douglas (Comingsoon.net)

14 — Ken Tucker (Entertainment Weekly)


Oscars theory No. 8: multiple noms = a win

March 1, 2006 |  2:19 pm

Academy Award voters sure are gracious. They hate to see a contender lose, especially more than once in a night, so multiple nominees often win at least one statuette.

Although writers and directors can have more than one nomination per category, actors can't, but many still manage to reap chances in the lead and supporting races in the same year. Not all successfully, alas. Poor Sigourney Weaver lost same-year bids for "Gorillas in the Mist" and "Working Girl" and Julianne Moore went home empty-handed despite dual noms for "Far from Heaven" and "The Hours."

Citizen Kane

However, all of these stars prevailed in one category despite losing in another (note: the winning film is cited first): Jamie Foxx ("Ray," "Collateral"), Jessica Lange ("Tootsie," "Frances"), Holly Hunter ("The Piano," "The Firm") and Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman," "Glengarry Glen Ross").

Heck, Barry Fitzgerald was nominated in both the lead and supporting categories for the same role as a crusty geezer priest in "Going My Way." He won in supporting when it was clear that the lead race was going Bing Crosby's way. Nowadays one role can no longer compete in two races.

Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Matt Damon lost acting races the same years they won Oscars for screenplay writing.

Oscar voters' seldom-hailed hospitality is the reason I'm picking George Clooney to win best supporting actor for "Syriana." I figure it'll be his consolation prize for losing the director and screenplay categories (for "Good Night, and Good Luck"). Clooney can't win best director. Nobody's getting around "Brokeback's" Ang Lee and all academy members know that, just as they are keenly aware that the Oscar for original screenplay inevitably will go to "Crash." Not just because academy members love "Crash" and want to reward it someplace, but because they know it's overdue homage to "Million Dollar Baby" scribes Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco. Last year everybody won an Oscar for their "Baby" but them when that screenplay prize went to "Sideways." Now there's no other place to hail Clooney but in the supporting actor's slot.

Most stars who have been nommed for the same triple crown — writing, director and acting — have reaped at least one win. Orson Welles proved victorious for his "Citizen Kane" screenplay. Woody Allen won laurels for writing and directing "Annie Hall." Warren Beatty was honored for directing "Reds."

But, beware: Beatty lost triple bids the year of "Heaven Can Wait." But that had big comic turns and academy members, as we all know, have no sense of humor. That's one of the reasons Charlie Chaplin lost those same triple noms for "The Great Dictator." The other reason was that the academy was fiercely jealous of Chaplin's artistic freedom and popular and critical success, so much so that, back at the very first Oscars race, they threw out his trio of bids for "The Circus." Just out of meanness. Then they relented and tried to pay him off with an honorary award, but the Little Tramp got the last laugh. He refused to show up to accept it.

Photo: Orson Welles lost bids for best actor and director, but won an Oscar for writing "Citizen Kane."
(RKO Pictures)


Gene Seymour's revised Oscars predix

March 1, 2006 | 12:12 pm

A few weeks ago Newsday film critic Gene Seymour generously wrote out his Oscar predix for The Envelope. Looks like he's changed his mind in three categories since — supporting actor (dumping Paul Giamatti for Matt Dillon), musical score (goodbye "Brokeback," hello "Geisha") and song (now prefers "Pimp" to "Travelin' Through"). Below are Seymour's full predictions, as originally written, followed by his updates in each race.


BEST PICTURE
X - "Brokeback Mountain"
"Capote"
"Crash"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
"Munich"

The only thing that could brake this juggernaut's momentum — and it’s by no means unlikely — is some manner of "Brokeback" fatigue; e.g., people hearing for so long how "great" the movie is and how it can't possibly match the hype and/or heightened expectations after so many months, blah blah blah. Right now, this minute, none of the other nominees has “Brokeback’s” heart-as-big-as-all-outdoors. And, as we've seen repeatedly over the decades, "heart" trumps every other consideration, especially in this category.

(Feb. 25) All the elements of an upset are swirling around this one. “Crash” is bearing down, harder than any movie has on a front-runner in recent memory. But there’s a lot of historical precedent to get by. I’m staying with “Brokeback,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m wrong.


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Watch Oscar nominees on DVD this weekend

February 10, 2006 | 11:00 am

Wallace & Gromit

This week's DVD release of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," contender for best animated picture, reminds us of other Oscar nominees already out on disc — like its chief rival, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride."

Other titles to nab at the video store: "The Constant Gardener" (up for best supporting actress and screenplay), "Crash" (picture, director, supporting actor, screenplay and more), "Hustle & Flow" (actor, song) and "Junebug" (supporting actress). "North Country" comes out on Feb. 21, "Walk the Line" and "Pride & Prejudice" on Feb. 28.



Gene Seymour's early Oscar predix

February 10, 2006 | 12:12 am

Right now I'm very busy rounding up early Oscar predictions from our panel of experts so The Envelope can issue racetrack odds. All I'm asking each expert to do is to rank nominees from 1 to 5 in 12 categories, but Gene Seymour of Newsday went to town giving us detailed analysis of each category in extensive text format. So, since he offered these to us so generously, here are his noodlings for your kudos enlightenment and enjoyment.


BEST PICTURE
X - "Brokeback Mountain"
"Capote"
"Crash"
"Good Night, and Good Luck"
"Munich"

The only thing that could brake this juggernaut's momentum — and it’s by no means unlikely — is some manner of "Brokeback" fatigue; e.g., people hearing for so long how "great" the movie is and how it can't possibly match the hype and/or heightened expectations after so many months, blah blah blah. Right now, this minute, none of the other nominees has “Brokeback’s” heart-as-big-as-all-outdoors. And, as we've seen repeatedly over the decades, "heart" trumps every other consideration, especially in this category.


BEST DIRECTOR
X - Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain"
Bennett Miller, "Capote"
Paul Haggis, "Crash"
George Clooney, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Steven Spielberg, "Munich"

See above. Besides, they've been trying to give one of these to Ang Lee for years. If nothing else, this'll satisfy all those folks who wanted him to get it for "Crouching Possum, Hidden Mastiff" or whatever that thing was called.


BEST ACTOR
X - Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"
Terrence Howard, "Hustle & Flow"
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Walk the Line"
David Strathairn, "Good Night, and Good Luck"

Earlier in the day, I thought the aforementioned juggernaut was powerful enough to carry everything and everybody connected with it to the winners' circle. But has anyone really seen Heath Ledger out there campaigning for this thing? Possibly I've missed him, but I wonder. (Too many goddamn movies to review keep me in the dark, so to speak.) Philip Seymour Hoffman, meanwhile, is well-liked and highly admired among his peers, who’ve already given him a SAG Award. Pencil him in.


BEST ACTRESS
Judi Dench, "Mrs. Henderson Presents"
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"
Keira Knightley, "Pride & Prejudice"
Charlize Theron, "North Country"
X - Reese Witherspoon, "Walk the Line"

I like Felicity Huffman and her hubby very much and I'm quite sure that, between them, there's an Oscar coming their way sometime in the coming years. But Huffman’s "Transamerica" turn is one of those situations where you’re more impressed with the performance's assembly process than with the performance itself. On the other hand, there's the all-powerful Reese-ster! A natural reaching the first of what will likely be many peaks. She cannot — and will not — be stopped.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
George Clooney, "Syriana"
Matt Dillon, "Crash"
X - Paul Giamatti, "Cinderella Man"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"
William Hurt, "A History of Violence"

I'm going strictly by SAG on this right now, though I think this is the one category where things can easily change in the remaining couple weeks of balloting.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, "Junebug"
Catherine Keener, "Capote"
Frances McDormand, "North Country"
X - Rachel Weisz, "The Constant Gardener"
Michelle Williams, "Brokeback Mountain"

Wide, wide open. But then, this category usually is. Once again, I’m going along with SAG for now. But Adams has been making herself more visible (as she should) and you know how much they love giving ingenues and newcomers this trophy.


BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
X - Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco, "Crash"
George Clooney and Grant Heslov, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
Woody Allen, "Match Point"
Noah Baumbach, "The Squid and the Whale"
Steven Gaghan, "Syriana"

No way is this movie coming away empty-handed. Not after one of the most remarkable, attention-getting campaigns in recent memory.


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
X - Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, "Brokeback Mountain"
Dan Futterman, "Capote"
Jeffrey Caine, "The Constant Gardener"
Josh Olson, "A History of Violence"
Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, "Munich"

Book it in bronze, baby, though there are some who really go for Futterman’s fine work here.


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
"Don't Tell" (Italy)
"Joyeux Noël" (France)
"Paradise Now" (Palestine)
"Sophie Scholl - The Final Days" (Germany)
X - "Tsotsi" (South Africa)

My lone "oh-what-the-hell" pick of this round. I’ve nothing to go on except the swoons it generated towards the end of last fall’s Toronto Film Festival.


BEST ANIMATED FILM
"Howl's Moving Castle," Hayao Miyazaki
"Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
X - "Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit," Nick Park and Steve Box

It's not their best, but after the W&G boys' consistent wins in the animated shorts competition, it'd be hard to imagine them losing their first time up for features.


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
X - "Brokeback Mountain," Gustavo Santaolalla
"The Constant Gardener," Alberto Iglesias
"Memoirs of a Geisha," John Williams
"Munich," John Williams
"Pride & Prejudice," Dario Marianelli

Even though John Williams could very well hear his name announced. Yet again.


BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"In the Deep" from "Crash," Music by Kathleen "Bird" York and Michael Becker; Lyrics by Kathleen "Bird" York
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from "Hustle & Flow," Music and Lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
X - "Travelin' Thru" from "Transamerica," Music and Lyric by Dolly Parton

The "Hustle & Flow" theme was catchier than a hundred butterfly nets. Still, the songwriters who vote in this category sometimes react badly to things that are too hip-hop. I'd have to listen again to Dolly's tune to see if it’s just catchy enough to steal the statue.


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