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

Category: Carey Mulligan

One year ago: What Oscar pundits prophesized

October 21, 2010 | 12:29 pm

Up in the air oscars newsLet this be a lesson to all of us smug Oscar seers who insist that they know how the current derby will play out. Most of us now say that it's "The Social Network" versus "The King's Speech" for best picture, Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") versus James Franco ("127 Hours") for lead actor and Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") versus Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") for lead actress. But true?

One year ago today, we weren't even talking about the eventual winners of lead actor and actress: Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side").

BEST PICTURE: Last year in mid-October we had a decent grasp of the best picture race in terms of leading contenders, but nearly all Oscarologists were betting on "Up in the Air." Just weeks earlier "Precious" had the most buzz. Expectations were building for "Avatar" but also for "Nine," "Invictus" and "The Lovely Bones." "Bright Star," which had already been seen, still shone brightly. Ditto: "An Education," "Up," "A Serious Man," "Julie & Julia," even "District 9." A surge was building for "Inglourious Basterds." "The Hurt Locker" was among top rivals, but it hadn't made its surge to the head of the pack. 

LEAD ACTOR: Fox Searchlight had not announced that "Crazy Heart" was about to ambush this contest, so all eyes were on George Clooney ("Up in the Air") as lead pony. Matt Damon ("The Informant") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("Nine") seemed like good bets for bids. Other top rivals: Colin Firth ("A Single Man"), Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker"), Tobey Maguire ("Brothers"), Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"), Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Sharlto Copley ("District 9"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Sherlock Holmes"), Robert DeNiro ("Everybody's Fine"), Mark Wahlberg ("The Lovely Bones"), Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"). Final nominees turned out to be Bridges, Clooney, Firth, Freeman and Renner.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: Fest faves James Franco & Carey Mulligan | Tom Bosley dead at 83 | Sasha Stone on best picture race

October 19, 2010 |  1:41 pm

• "127 Hours" leading man James Franco will receive the outstanding performance prize from the Santa Barbara filmfest on Jan. 29. In making the announcement, fest exec Roger Durling described him thus: "A truly exceptional actor who embraces the character and lives the story to tell it, James Franco eases onto the screen, seducing the audience no matter if he is the hero, the villain or the victim." Among the roster of talent that has taken home this prize in the past: Colin Firth (2010), Penelope Cruz (2009), Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005) and Charlize Theron (2004). SBIFF

Carey Mulligan will be feted by the Palm Springs filmfest with the breakthrough award on Jan. 8. Previous recipients include Mariah Carey -- who made headlines last year with her wobbly acceptance speech at the event -- Freida Pinto, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Hudson. PSIFF

Steve Pond reports, "a handful of upcoming films got their first widespread exposure last week at the National Association of Theater Owners’ ShowEast conference in Orlando, Florida. And judging from conversations with exhibition executives who attended the four-day conference, the news is good for 'The Fighter' 'Tangled' and 'Morning Glory,' but not so much for 'Due Date' and 'Fair Game.'" THE ODDS

• Lionsgate marketing chief Tim Palen has captured the stars of "For Colored Girls" -- Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and Loretta Devine -- in a series of "Living Portraits." They will be displayed at the Lehman Maupin gallery in Gotham between October 24 and 27. HIT FIX

Tom Bosley Happy DaysTom Bosley, best known as the kindly patriarch on the classic sitcom "Happy Days," died Tuesday at age 83. The veteran actor won the Tony Award in 1960 for his performance as colorful New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the Pulitzer-winning tuner "Fiorello!" Over the 11 seasons of "Happy Days," Bosley contended only once for the supporting Emmy, losing that 1978 race to Rob Reiner who won his second of two trophies for "All in the Family." Since "Happy Days" signed off in 1984, Bosley kept busy with several more series ("Murder, She Wrote" and "The Father Dowling Mysteries") as well as returning repeatedly to his first love, the stage, most recently in a tour of "On Golden Pond" with Emmy champ Michael Learned ("The Waltons").  TV GUIDE

Anthony Breznican sits down with Oscar champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") to discuss the remake of "True Grit," which reunites him with the Coen brothers 12 years after "The Big Lebowski." USA TODAY

• "Glee" will be showcasing two potential guest actress contenders in upcoming episodes. Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow appears on Nov. 16 as a substitute teacher who takes over the New Directions while six-time Emmy champ Carol Burnett debuts the following week as Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) Nazi-hunting mother. PLAYBILL

• In anticipation of the Blu-ray release of his 1979 best picture nominee "Apocalypse Now," director Francis Ford Coppola chats with Alonso Duralde. MOVIELINE

Sasha Stone assesses the derby in light of the Gotham Award nominations and says, "The Best Picture race is nowhere near set. With each award announcement, the picture becomes clearer. 'Winter’s Bone' didn’t look like it would be one of the ten. 'Secretariat' did. Now, 'Winter’s Bone' looks good, and 'Secretariat' will need something extra to push it through. When the Los Angeles and New York film critics make their announcements, things will again shift. They will keep shifting through the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, and most importantly, the Directors Guild." AWARDS DAILY

• After making note of the four films sent out by Sony Pictures Classic, Scott Feinberg says, "My only criticism related to SPC’s screeners is the decision -- which admittedly may not have been the studio’s alone — to promote Annette Bening's performance in 'Mother and Child' for best actress. Bening is terrific in the film, but the studio and Bening have to know that she stands an infinitely better chance at a best actress nod for her performance in the much higher-profile 'The Kids Are All Right' and that they -- unlike the people pushing her for that film -- could actually justify pushing her for 'Mother and Child' in the supporting category, which is wide open, because she’s but one member of a large ensemble." SCOTT FEINBERG

Ryan Adams passes along a post from a reader that reviews possible contenders for the cinematography award and finds 40 names in the mix. AWARDS DAILY

Photo: Tom Bosley in a promotional still for "Happy Days." Credit: ABC.

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Toronto Film Festival lineup loaded with Oscar hopefuls

July 27, 2010 | 10:45 am

TIFFlogo-1024x309 The 35th annual edition of the Toronto Film Festival is scheduled to include the world and North American premieres of a slew of awards contenders. This year's festival is to kick off on Sept. 9 and run for 11 days.

Among the 50 titles announced Tuesday are the following films that could well figure in the contests for kudos this year:

"Another Year" -- The latest domestic drama by Mike Leigh ("Happy Go Lucky") is centered on a middle-aged couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) and their assorted friends and family, including a saucy alcoholic (Lesley Manville).

"Biutiful" -- Oscar champ Javier Bardem won best actor at Cannes for his portrayal of a dying father looking for redemption in this film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel").

"Black Swan" -- Darren Aronofksy's psychological thriller revolves around a dancer (Natalie Portman) in competition with a young upstart (Mila Kunis) for the prima ballerina position.

"Casino Jack" -- Two-time Oscar champ Kevin Spacey portrays jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff in this political drama from George Hickenlooper.

"The Conspirator" -- Robert Redford's film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln features James McAvoy as a war hero defending a mother (Robin Wright) accused of aiding her son in the plot to kill the president.

"Conviction" -- Tony Goldwyn's stirring biopic stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the crusading Betty Anne Waters, who worked tirelessly to free her wrongfully imprisoned brother (Sam Rockwell) .

"The Debt" -- Oscar champ Helen Mirren joins forces with "Avatar" star Sam Worthington for John Madden's thriller about Israeli agents on the hunt for a Nazi in 1965.

"The King's Speech" -- Colin Firth plays King George VI and Helena Bonham Carter his supportive wife, Elizabeth, in Tom Hooper's historical drama, which focuses on the work of a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who boosts the king's confidence.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: 'True Blood' goes graphic | 'Precious' talent updates | Carol Burnett reminisces

April 6, 2010 |  3:23 pm

True Blood title card • "True Blood" is gearing up for a third season on HBO beginning June 13. And in July, fans of the vampire drama starring Oscar champ Anna Paquin ("The Piano") will be able to buy the first installment of a graphic arts version of "True Blood." IDW is crafting a six-part miniseries in conjunction with the show's creator -- Oscar-winning scribe Alan Ball ("American Beauty") -- with artist David Messina handling interiors and covers and J. Scott Campbell doing variants. IGN

Valerie Harper garnered rave reviews for her performance as theatrical diva Talullah Bankhead in the new play "Looped." However, the New York critics were less kind to this new work by Matthew Lombardo ("Tea at Five") and the Broadway run is ending this Sunday. There is already talk of taking the show on the road and the four-time Emmy champ could still find herself in contention for best actress at the Tony Awards when nominations are announced May 4.

• Fans of the Tony Awards who find themselves on the other coast come June 13 can attend a viewing party hosted by Tony champ Brian Stokes Mitchell ("Kiss Me Kate"). The theater and TV vet serves as president of the Actors Fund, which is holding the fundraiser at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Capping off the evening will be the presentation of the Julie Harris lifetime achievement award, named for one of the theater greats who won a record five lead actress Tony Awards in her stellar career. ACTORS FUND

• The first kudos of the theater season are bestowed by the Outer Critics Circle. Nominations for these awards will be announced by Tony champ Sutton Foster ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") and her equally talented brother Hunter Foster ("Urinetown") on April 26. Winners will be named on May 17 with the prizes presented during a dinner at Sardi's on May 27.

Precious Poster 3Roger Friedman reports that Oscar-winning scribe Geoffrey Fletcher ("Precious") "will be directing a film from his own original script. 'Violet and Daisy' is the title of a movie that may get a start this summer with two Oscar nominated actresses in the lead roles. They would be Carey Mulligan, of 'An Education,' and Saoirse Ronan of 'The Lovely Bones.' " SHOWBIZ 411

• And we may get a chance to see whether talent runs in the family for Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious") with the news that her mother Alice Tan Ridley will sing for the judges on "America's Got Talent." In an e-mail Ridley wrote, "It’s a big break for me and I would like to follow in Susan Boyle’s footsteps and become a star in my own right. I love the judges, Sharon and Piers, and I’m really looking forward to trying and impress them although I have not decided what I will sing or wear yet." RADAR ONLINE

Andrew Lloyd Webber's new tuner "Love Never Dies" -- the sequel to 1988 Tony champ "The Phantom of the Opera" -- will delay its New York opening by six months. The show -- which premiered to mixed reviews in London in March -- is now slated for spring 2011. A statement from the producers explained that the original opening was scheduled prior to the composer being diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. "Although the cancer has been eradicated, there have been post-operative problems. These have been aggravated by recent air travel and Lloyd Webber's doctors have requested that he does not take any further long-haul flights for the time being and until the problem has been investigated. This prevents him attending auditions and being part of the pre-production process in New York on the original schedule." PLAYBILL

Carol BurnettAndrea Reiher recaps Tuesday's TV appearances by six-time Emmy champ Carol Burnett who has penned a memoir titled "This Time Together." The TV legend "tells 'Today' about discovering Vicki Lawrence and tells Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on 'Live' the amazing story of how she came to New York to act." Back in 1986, Burnett recounted the story of her childhood and early days in show business in the best-selling "One More Time" which she and daughter Carrie Hamilton later adapted into the 2002 play "Hollywood Arms." This new volume -- which takes its title from a lyric in the theme song to her long-running variety series -- continues her fascinating story. ZAP 2 IT

• Writer-director Juan Jose Campanella will follow up his Oscar-winning foreign language film "El secreto de sus ojos" (The Secret in Their Eyes) with the first 3-D animated feature from his native Argentina. The plot of "Foosball" -- scripted by Campanella, Eduardo Sacheri (author of the book on which "Secret" is based), Gaston Gorali and Axel Kuschevatzky -- is derived from the popular table game. VARIETY


Are 'Damages,' Glenn Close now doomed at the Emmys?

Who'll break the curse against Emmy's funny ladies: Tina Fey, Toni Collette or Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

'Bosom Buddies' Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari reuniting on TV Land Awards

Gold Derby nuggets: John Forsythe dies at 92 | Oscar shorts go long

40 years ago today: 'Patton' was released, then slapped Oscar

Flashback: 'Clash of the Titans' lost best picture to 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' … at the Saturn Awards

Emmy gamble: 'Mad Men' star Elisabeth Moss drops to supporting

Poll: Does Miley Cyrus deserve a Razzie for 'The Last Song'?

Again, Showtime ships first campaign mailer to Emmy voters

Can 'Avatar' crush 'Twilight: New Moon' at the MTV Movie Awards? 

Top photo: "True Blood" logo. Credit: HBO

Middle photo: "Precious" poster. Credit: Lionsgate

Bottom photo: "This Time Together" dust jacket. Credit: Random House

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hurt Locker' expands screens | 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in primetime |'Mad Men' gets Barbie makeover

March 10, 2010 |  3:46 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • The post-Oscars box office bounce for "The Hurt Locker" will be limited by its availability on DVD. However, as Melena Ryzik reports, "The film, which has actually never left theaters since it opened in a very few in June 2009, will open in an additional 35 on Friday, in major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington D.C., Seattle, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis and San Diego, as well as in 30 more in Canada. That will take its total in North America to 348 theaters; for comparison’s sake, 'Avatar' is playing in 2,163 theaters (although 'Alice in Wonderland' has scooped up most its 3-D screens), and 'Crazy Heart' in 1,274." THE CARPETBAGGER

• Among the tasty tidbits served up by Steve Pond in an Oscars wrap-up was this morsel: "Tucked away at the back of the ballroom was a small room with a red velvet rope, a wooden counter fronted by a few high chairs, and three stations where pre-engraved plaques were affixed to the statuettes of the night’s Oscar winners. At about 11 p.m., Kathryn Bigelow finally made her way back there; she was carrying a pair of Oscars she’d won for directing and producing 'The Hurt Locker,' while writer-producer Mark Boal carried another pair. Bigelow took a seat behind the counter, shook her head, and called a friend over to watch the process. 'Look at this!' she said with a big grin. 'I have my own personal engraver!'" THE WRAP

Emma Rosenblum profiles the charmingly disarming Oscar-winning editors Chris Innis and Bob Murawski ("The Hurt Locker"). Chris told her, "We met on Sam Raimi’s television show 'American Gothic'; he introduced us." And Bob revealed, "That was about fifteen years ago, but we actually only got married after 'The Hurt Locker.' We knew if that didn’t break us up, nothing would." NEW YORK

Amy Kaufman explains some of Oscars' oddest moments including George Clooney's sourpuss:  "'He and Alec [Baldwin] and Steve [Martin] were making pre-arranged grimacing faces at each other. All planned just to be funny,' Clooney's representative, Stan Rosenfield, assured in an e-mail." THE ENVELOPE

Jimmy Kimmel Live Oscars • ABC is repeating the post-Oscar installment of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in primetime on March 13. As per the news release, the episode, "which debuted the now viral 'Handsome Men’s Club' video, captured 4.7 million viewers, making it the third-highest rated telecast to date for the late-night talker, behind only its two post-Super Bowl telecasts (on 1/26/03 and 2/5/06). The late night show’s most watched post-Oscar telecast ever welcomed two-time Academy Award nominee Robert Downey Jr., who brought along the world premiere of the new trailer for 'Iron Man 2,' plus a musical performance by Grammy Award winner Keith Urban." TV BY THE NUMBERS

Julie Miller recaps Tuesday's appearance of "Music by Prudence" producer Elinor Burkett on Joy Behar's HLN gabfest. The Oscar winner explained her interruption of the acceptance speech by the short doc's director Roger Ross Williams: "I had two choices, right? Either I could let [Williams] blather on for 45 seconds, because that was our max -- this year only one person could speak -- or I could interrupt so I get to talk. And everybody thinks that I was bad for interrupting him. So they don’t think he was bad for, like, bigfooting me to prevent me from speaking at all?" MOVIELINE

• One of the men appearing onstage at the Kodak Theatre Sunday to accept the documentary feature Oscar for "The Cove" broke academy protocol when he unfurled a sign instructing viewers to text the word "dolphin" to an animal rescue organization. "TMZ has learned those two seconds of exposure triggered so many text messages the group's mobile service provider nearly went down. The group claims they've doubled their membership in the two days following the awards." TMZ

Mad Men Barbries • The cast of the Emmy-winning "Mad Men" have been cast in plastic by Mattel. As Stuart Elliot reports, "Mattel is licensing rights to the characters from Lionsgate, the studio that produces 'Mad Men' for the AMC cable channel. There will be 7,000 to 10,000 copies of each doll, to be sold in specialty stores and on two Web sites, and The characters to become dolls are Don Draper, the show’s leading man; his wife, Betty; his colleague at the Sterling Cooper agency, Roger Sterling; and Joan Holloway, the agency’s office manager who was Roger’s mistress." NEW YORK TIMES

Pamela McClintock reports that "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" won't unspool in April as planned due to a possible premiere at Cannes in May. Instead, Paramount is releasing the Oliver Stone-helmed sequel -- in which Michael Douglas reprises his 1987 Oscar-winning role of Gordon "Greed is good" Gekko and Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") costars -- in September. VARIETY

• Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), who appeared in the pilot of the Showtime comedy "The C Word," will be a recurring character during the show's upcoming first season. Sidibe plays a sassy student while Laura Linney is her teacher who is recovering from cancer.


Complete list of Oscar winners

Farrah Fawcett missing from 'In Memoriam' at Oscars

Oscars have always welcomed the world

Oscars are biggest winner of Emmys

Gold Derby nuggets: Banned 'Hurt Locker' producer's Oscars speech | Stone & Hammond on 'Avatar' loss | Alec Baldwin on Oscars gig

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

Oscars ratings highest in five years

Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

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

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: Jimmy Kimmel and Rob Lowe on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: "Mad Men" dolls. Credit: Mattel

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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.

Continue reading »

Poll: Who will win lead actress at the Oscars?

March 6, 2010 |  5:28 pm

While most of the winners are seemingly foregone conclusions at this year's Oscars, the lead actress race remains too close to call. Most pundits put Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") ahead. She won with both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild and seems to have the most buzz going into Sunday.

But when you talk with actual Oscar voters, you hear many of them say that the film and Bullock's performance are too lightweight. You hear lots of votes for all-time nominations champ Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") as well as first-time nominees Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"). As for Helen Mirren ("The Last Station"), she will have to be content with her 2006 win in this same race for "The Queen." 

If you are among those who believe that Sandra Bullock will win, ask yourself: does she deserve to? That the question Pete Hammond and I discuss in our video chat here.


Who'll win the Oscars and WHY -- category per category (even those pesky shorts)

Gold Derby nuggets: Big bash for banned Oscars nominee | Mixed reviews for Indie Spirits

'Precious' sweeps Indie Spirit Awards ... Oscars next? (Hey, where was 'The Hurt Locker'?)

Everybody Loses: Gotham Awards vs. Indie Spirits ('Hurt Locker' vs. 'Precious')

Tom and Pete dish Oscars: Does Sandra Bullock deserve to win?

See costumes and props from Oscar nominees at the Hollywood Museum

Oscar derby update: Surprise wins for best picture and actress?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars previews and reviews | Whither Oscars ratings? | Emmys live nationwide

Does an Oscar equal $100 million or $10 million?

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

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

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

February 25, 2010 |  5:05 pm

Bill Mechanic Adam Shankman OscarsAnthony Breznican interviews rookie Oscars producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman and discovers "the division of labor is simple: Mechanic puts together the show; Shankman puts ON the show." He notes that "they liked last year's innovation of having five past Oscar winners coming out to introduce the individual acting contenders. But Shankman and Mechanic want the presenters to have some past connection to the person they're introducing. 'For things where you can't have a connection, for example documentary short, we'll put a comedian,' Shankman adds. 'We'll put an entertainment value there.' As for other entertainment, 'there will be two big dance numbers. Though Shankman doesn't want to reveal too much, smart money is on a few awards being presented within a dance routine." USA TODAY

• While the first three Oscar presenters announced were last year's living acting winners, the next four were all teen sensations (Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart), and the newest is the one-man media powerhouse Tyler Perry. As the press release notes, "Perry, who is the driving force behind Tyler Perry Studios, writes, produces and directs films in which he also often performs. Perry wrote, produced and starred in 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' in 2005. His subsequent film credits include 'Madea’s Family Reunion,' 'Daddy’s Little Girls,' 'Why Did I Get Married?' 'Meet the Browns,' 'The Family That Preys' and 'I Can Do Bad All by Myself.' " The announcement omits Perry's executive producing credit on the best picture nominee "Precious." AMPAS

• The official calendar for the 64th annual Tony Awards has been released with these key dates: eligibility cutoff (April 29), nomination announcement (May 4), nominees' press reception (May 5), nominees' private reception (May 20) and the award ceremony (June 13).  TONYS

Lost_LogoWilliam Keck reports that "Lost" Emmy winner Terry O'Quinn "is shopping around a bible for a TNT-type show that would pair him back up with his real-life chum and on-screen foe, Michael Emerson (Ben), as suburban hit men juggling family issues. Though Terry asked me not to spill show specifics, he has spoken with 'Lost' creator J.J. Abrams about the project and says, 'I really hope this works out because Michael would be in his prime in this. We’d play kind of awkward partners.'" TV GUIDE

Dave Karger says, that "with so many of the acting races already sewn up at the Oscars this year, Missy Schwartz and I decided to turn the spotlight on four underdog nominees that we’re rooting for with passion … and not a little futility. True, these four performers don’t have a shot in Hades to reach the Kodak Theatre stage on March 7, but that doesn’t mean they’re not deserving of our love." Dave's personal picks are the two BAFTA lead acting winners -- Colin Firth ("A Single Man") and Carey Mulligan ("An Education") -- while Missy opts for Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") and Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air").   ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• In the first of a series, Melena Ryzik answers readers' questions on the Oscars. The first query -- the difference between sound editing and sound mixing? Melena turns to Oscar-winning sound editor Alan Robert Murray, who explains that the supervising sound editor "is like 'the architect or planner of the soundtrack, meaning he designs and sets up everything having to do with sound effects, dialogue -- nothing to do with music, that’s a whole separate thing -- then would go out and record sounds for the production that he needs, design specific things the director wants,' whether that’s an invented audio effect or simply the sound of a door closing. When it’s ready, all of that audio goes to the sound-mixing stage. 'The sound mixers mix the dialogue at a level that you can hear it, they add the music into the movie and interweave that with all the other sounds, and they basically do the finished product, Mr. Murray said. 'And both are under the input of the director, of what he’s looking for.' " THE NEW YORK TIMES


Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

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

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Top photo: Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

Bottom photo: "Lost" logo. Credit: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

February 23, 2010 |  4:12 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • Before revealing that he is sticking with "The Hurt Locker" for the best picture Oscar, Dave Karger recaps the derby parallels between that film and "Brokeback Mountain" four years ago: "'Brokeback' managed the rare feat of winning Best Picture and Best Director at both the New York and Los Angeles film critics awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' also picked up those two big prizes at the Broadcast Film Critics Awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' won the trifecta of PGA, DGA, and WGA trophies; so did 'Hurt Locker. 'Brokeback' won 4 BAFTAs, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay; 'Hurt Locker' picked up 6 awards, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay. And of course, 'Brokeback' lost the SAG cast award, and so did 'Hurt Locker.' (The main difference between the two films’ tallies is that 'Brokeback' did win four Globes, including Best Drama and Best Director, while 'Hurt Locker' went 0 for 3.)" ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• After noting that, "'The Hurt Locker' director Kathryn Bigelow could be the first woman to win Best Director, a triumph for female filmmakers everywhere," Nicole Laporte wonders, "is the Academy voting for her movie or her gender?" She begins her analysis of the issue with this anecdote: "At a recent awards ceremony where Bigelow accepted one of the many accolades she's earned on the pre-Oscar circuit, Bigelow, who is 58, was met with a whooping cry of 'Go, Girl!' It was the kind of remark that's hard not to smile at -- at least, at first -- but that lingers in the air, eliciting a longer-lasting cringe, and ultimately dumps out a suitcase's worth of sexist issues of the sort that have been trailing Bigelow on her long march to the Academy Awards." THE DAILY BEAST

Pete Hammond reports, "campaigners are pulling out all the stops trying to position their movie as the one with the gravitas that befits a best picture winner. In addition to the usual trade and newspaper ads, TV spots and billboards, at least one 'Hurt Locker' nominee apparently feels the best way may be hand-to-hand combat via e-mail. The Academy may frown at this direct attempt to contact its members, but 'Hurt Locker' co-producer Nicholas Chartier, who through his Voltage Pictures was the film's key financing wizard, is making pleas to friends and friends of friends to get out the vote for 'Hurt Locker' like it was some sort of political grass-roots campaign. His pitch isn't so much about the quality of the film, but rather its independent nature versus that movie with the blue people that cost so much to make. He doesn't mention 'Avatar' by name." NOTES ON A SEASON

• Gold Derby's Emmys forum has been buzzing with speculation over which category Showtime will enter "Dexter" star John Lithgow: supporting or guest? Lithgow recently won the Golden Globe in the supporting slot, but Showtime media chief Richard Licata tells us that Lithgow will compete in the guest slot at the Emmys. The actor won the first of his four Emmys as a guest performer on the series "Amazing Stories" back in 1986. The other three came for his regular lead role on the laffer "Third Rock From the Sun."

The Blind Side PosterSasha Stone offers up her Oscar predictions in a compelling piece of writing that includes these observations: "In the Best Actress category, it is perhaps a three-way race, with Sandra Bullock firmly in the lead, followed by Meryl Streep and then perhaps Carey Mulligan in a possible upset. There is little doubt that Meryl Streep gave the best performance, but Sandra Bullock has paid her dues and 'The Blind Side' managed to get a Best Picture nomination, which is practically a miracle. For Bullock to lose at this point there would have to be a good reason for it -- and that reason would probably be something like a messy divorce or a bar room brawl. Best Actor still feels like it’s Jeff Bridges’ to lose. There isn’t anyone gaining Adrien Brody-like steam. The only one would have been Viggo Mortensen in 'The Road' but he didn’t get a nod. Jeff Bridges is so beloved and his performance was so good -- and he was in a movie that people seem to really like, certainly enough to give Maggie Gyllnehaal the supporting nod." She also says, "Supporting actor and actress couldn’t be more locked. Both will seen as the big wins for their respective films, which means they can’t really lose. The two open categories right now are still Picture and Original Screenplay in the major categories. Everyone is so quick to call the race done and done, but the truth is, with ten nominees and preferential ballot, anything could happen." AWARDS DAILY

Randy Lewis reports, "Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham will make what may be their swan song appearance together in conjunction with the film 'Crazy Heart' when they perform one of the movie’s songs at  the 25h anniversary Spirit Awards ceremony on March 5 in Los Angeles. Rather than singing the much-lauded theme 'The Weary Kind,' the best-song Oscar-nominee that Bingham and Burnett wrote, the trio plans to offer up 'Fallin’ and Flyin’, written by the late Texas singer and songwriter Stephen Bruton, who oversaw the film’s music with producer and longtime friend Burnett. Bruton died of cancer shortly after completing work on the music." POP & HISS

Roger Friedman reports, "Monday night in the main ballroom at the Plaza Hotel, AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, gave its lifetime achievement awards to an eclectic bunch. They were: 'Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, CBS' Charles Osgood, 'Soul Man' Sam Moore, the cast of 'Sesame Street' and Latin American artist Juanes. The winners inspired an equally eclectic group of presenters: Don Imus, for Sam Moore; Tony Bennett, for Juanes; Bill Geist for Osgood." SHOWBIZ 411

Oscars Expanded Best Picture RaceMelena Ryzik makes merry with the academy's proposed party kit for Oscar night. "When you think Oscars, you think, 'Bingo!' right? The Academy’s reaching-out-to-the-youth campaign continues with snazzy party-planning tips on its website, including a downloadable card for Oscar bingo, with squares for 'Crying,' 'Winner Accepts Oscar in a Foreign Language' and, mystifyingly, 'Lauren Bacall.' (Spoiler?!) Also on the Academy’s fun primer -- available at -- is a video with Cheryl Cecchetto, a producer of the Governors Ball, the official Oscar afterparty, offering 10 tips for throwing your own Oscar-watching party. 'Must-have number three,' according to Ms. Cecchetto: 'Set the mood by featuring the soundtracks of the nominated pictures.' (Right, since you won’t be hearing them on the actual show.) And must-have No. 4 is 'Champagne, Champagne and more Champagne.' No argument there." THE CARPETBAGGER

• While Heidi Klum won't be on hand, the academy is staging its own version of "Project Runway" this year. Nine up and coming designers -- five from LA, two from New York, and one each from Chicago and Phoenix -- have created gowns to be worn by the models who appear onstage at the Kodak Theater. But only of their creations will make it to the Oscars with online voting from now till March 1 determining the winner. The unveiling of this design will be in the pre-show airing on ABC just before the Oscars on March 7. AMPAS

• One star who has definite ideas about what she will be wearing to the Oscars is best actress nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education"). As Phil Boucher writes, "Having already appeared once in Vogue, is Mulligan taking editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s advice on what to wear to the Oscars? Not according to Mulligan, who has visions of her own. 'Anna said I should wear short for the Oscars,' says Mulligan. 'I was like 'No, that is so not what I had in my head when I was six years old!'" PEOPLE


Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

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Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "The Blind Side" poster. Credit: Warners

Bottom photo: Academy Award statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

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Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

February 23, 2010 | 10:07 am
Oscars predictions Academy Awards best actress Sandra Bullock news

The Oscars and BAFTA Awards reputedly share about 500 voters, so maybe that explains why BAFTA has correctly predicted the Oscars' lead actress race for the last four years. If they're really in sync, what are we to make of Carey Mulligan's lead-actress victory for "An Education"? Does this mean we're underestimating her voter pull at the Oscars? Or maybe the Brits just decided that they wanted to take a break from Hollywood groupthink this year and embrace a local British gal?

What makes parallels difficult is the fact that Oscar front-runner Sandra Bullock wasn't nominated at BAFTA because she wasn't eligible. "The Blind Side" didn't open in Britain in 2009. Maybe the fact that Mulligan won BAFTA just means Mulligan, not Meryl Streep, poses the biggest challenge to Bullock, who may the Oscar front-runner, as most pundits believe.


'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

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

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Photos: "An Education" (Sony Pictures Classics), left; "Julie & Julia" (Columbia), "The Blind Side" (Warner Bros.)

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Mo'Nique to be among no-shows at Oscars nominees luncheon

February 12, 2010 |  1:27 pm

Oscar_statues_061908Oscars nominees will gather together for the annual academy luncheon Monday and 14 of the 20 acting nominees will be among the more than 120 attendees. Just how important is this breaking of bread while the Oscars ballots are still being cast?

Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") has arranged her travel schedule to be at the festivities at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The New York-based actress skipped the luncheon last year when she was a nominee for "Doubt" and three years ago when she contended for "The Devil Wears Prada" -- she lost both those races. Indeed, all of the best actress contenders but Helen Mirren ("The Last Station") -- who won this award three years ago for "The Queen" -- will be there as will all five of the best actor nominees.

However, supporting actress frontrunner Mo'Nique ("Precious") has sent in her regrets. With her talk show based in Atlanta, Mo'Nique has had to pick and choose which West Coast events to attend. Also MIA will be last year's supporting actress Oscar winner Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona"), who contends again in this category for "Nine."

Just two of the five supporting actor nominees will be there -- Woody Harrelson ("The Last Messenger") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds"). Missing will be Matt Damon ("Invictus"), Christopher Plummer ("The Last Station") and Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones").

All five directing nominees -- Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker"), James Cameron ("Avatar"), Lee Daniels ("Precious"), Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air") and Quentin Tarantino ("Inglorious Basterds") -- are scheduled to attend, as are many of the Academy Award nominees in the other 19 races.

Look for the historic group photo here Monday afternoon.

Photo: Academy Award statuettes Credit: AMPAS


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Gold Derby nuggets: Santa Barbara filmfest report | Mark Harris on 'Oscar campaign' | Emmys could be live nationwide

February 8, 2010 |  3:58 pm

Santa Barbara Film Festival LogoSteve Pond is aces at summing up the goings on so far at the 25th edition of the Santa Barbara filmfest. "Two dozen nominees, with 30 nominations between them, have either already shown up or will participating in the 10-day festival, which began last Thursday and runs through Feb. 10. So far, the festival has feted Best Actress nominees Sandra Bullock and Carey Mulligan; weathered scheduling snafus caused by California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger; unveiled the little-seen animated Irish film 'The Secret of Kells,' a surprise nominee for Best Animated Feature; celebrated the career of James Cameron; and then crowned Cameron’s Best Picture and Best Director competitor Kathryn Bigelow 'king and queen of the world' while she was sitting next to Cameron." THE ODDS

• Also from Santa Barbara, Jeff Wells writes, "I was reminded of three or four things during last night's  tribute to Sandra Bullock. One, she's whip-smart but uncomplicated -- she had a clean and concise answer for every question thrown her way, but she's not into soul-baring. Two, she worked long and hard to prove her way out of the romantic-comedy prison she felt trapped in about ten years ago. Three, she didn't want to portray her 'Blind Side' character (the real-life Leigh Anne Tuohy) because she felt she was an unrealistic construct -- but she changed her mind after meeting her." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• "Fish Tank" landed the best picture prize at the Evening Standard British Film awards Monday night. Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") lost the best actress prize to Anne Marie Duff for the John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy" while Andy Serkis won best actor for "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll." The Oscar-nominated screenplay for political satire "In the Loop" won on its home turf while Sacha Baron Cohen won the Peter Sellers Award for comedy for his alter-ego, the Austrian fashion reporter Bruno. Baron Cohen won the same award in 2006 for Borat. BBC

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpMark Harris delivers a must-read analysis of the current awards season. As he writes, "There is a reason why they call the run-up period to the Academy Awards the 'Oscar campaign.' It is, to use a familiar analogy, like an election, with an electorate of 5,777 people (the size of McKenzie County, North Dakota), unwilling to be influenced by anything but their own opinions, yet still, perhaps, more swayable than they’d like to admit. There is no war room, per se, but there are early front-runners that fade, grassroots insurgencies, even primaries. Ultimately, most of the nominees emerge from a combination of good planning, good movies, and good luck." NEW YORK

• Oscarcast co-host Alec Baldwin confesses to Jay Bobbin that he is "nervous" about the gig. As for his day job on "30 Rock," Baldwin says series creator, producer and star Tina Fey has his fate in her hands. "It's Tina's house, so to speak," Baldwin says, "and she has so many other options as a writer. I mean, Tina's going to go off and become Nora Ephron or Elaine May. She'll write films and probably direct films. She is so poised to go off and replicate the success of this show in so many other areas. Her book is coming out; she's very fertile in that way. There's so many things she can do." ZAP 2 IT

Brian Moylan makes merry with the five nominees for best animated feature at the Oscars. As he writes, "The Oscars are on a campaign to ruin the psyche's of America's children. How? By nominating seriously scary movies for the Gee Willickers Awesome Cartoon Trophy. Beware what you're doing to your kids by taking them to see these. Before you rush out and get all the nominees on DVD thinking that you're giving your kids an artistic experience, just stop yourself. Remember, many of us had traumatic childhood experiences by watching movies that were way too creepy and adult for us at too young an age." Brian then recounts the plot of each of the pictures as well as the psychological symptoms and cures before recommending a fictional psychiatrist. GAWKER

• The East Coast branch of the WGA will fete Alan Zweibel with the Ian McLellan Hunter lifetime achievement prize during the 62nd annual awardsfest on Feb. 20 in Gotham. As per the announcement: "One of 'Saturday Night Live's original writers, Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild, and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which also includes 'It’s Garry Shandling’s Show' (co-creator and executive producer), 'Monk,' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'" WGAE

Paul Gaita points the way to an op-ed penned by James Cameron about NASA that ran recently in the Washington Post. As Paul notes, " Cameron, who served on the agency's Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005 (did you know?), outlines the financial problems that faced the U.S. space program but ends on a positive note by stating that President Obama's current budget for NASA will allow for private industry to fund space exploration -- which might lead not only to jet packs for everyone (like on the Jetsons!), but also the chance for directors with serious financial clout (like Mr. Cameron) to shoot their future projects in outer space. It's not that far-fetched an idea, and I mean, if you're gonna top 'Avatar,' that's your only likely venue." THE CIRCUIT

Emmysintl11James Hibberd reports that, "after airing the Golden Globes live coast-to-coast for the first time last month, NBC is considering doing the same for the Emmys. The network is discussing with affiliates a plan to air the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards live on Sunday Aug. 29. Tape-delaying certain entertainment programs for the West Coast has been a longtime practice, but with fans increasingly getting their entertainment news on the Internet, Web-savvy Emmy viewers have to go out of the their way to keep from being spoiled during the telecast. (The Oscars are traditionally telecast live)." THR

• Attention all would-be Joe Gillis types: The academy is now accepting applications for the $30,000 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. Five of these fellowships will be awarded in November to individuals who have never earned more than $5,000 from the sale or option of a screenplay or teleplay. The entire application process, including the submission of entry scripts, will be online and all details are available at

Anne Thompson and Jack Mathews debate the question of whether Quentin Tarantino has achieved auteur status. As Anne notes, the director told a London audience that with "Inglourious Basterds," "he has established a body of work that can be analyzed as a whole and as a product of his unique vision. Recalling his experiences watching the films of Howard Hawks, he said: 'My aim is that some kid in 50 years time has the same experience with me and my films.'" Mathews and Thompson disagree about "whether QT’s films actually form a body of work or remain a work in progress." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Top photo: Santa Barbara International Film Festival logo. Credit: SBIFF

Middle photo: Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Emmy Award. Credit: ATAS

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