• Our pal Pete Hammond caught an early screening of "The Social Network" and thinks this "is Sony’s best shot at Best Picture in years, a lock for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards. And most importantly, Oscar nominations in every major category including Director for David Fincher, Writing for Aaron Sorkin, lead actor for Jesse Eisenberg (playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), Supporting Actor for both Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score, editing and so on. It also looks like it will be a major box office hit, hitting a nerve with the young demographic that are on the front lines of moviegoers." DEADLINE
• Surveying the playing field for this year's Oscars, Sasha Stone finds four forces to be reckoned with: "127 Hours" — "Danny Boyle’s second slam dunk is causing tears, standing ovations and, on occasion, seizures"; "The King's Speech" — "another film most seem to agree is one of the better films they’re seeing, and this is an across-the-board reaction"; "The Social Network" — "early word is good. Really good"; and "Inception" — "still one of the most imaginative studio films ever released, and a solid money maker." AWARDS DAILY
• Lady Gaga proved to be a winner with the home audience as well as those voting on the MTV VMAs. This edition of the kudocast drew the highest ratings since 2002 with 11.4 million viewers. That is up 27% from last year. And in the key demographic of ages 12 to 34, the show earned a 10.0 rating, up 33%. Compare these stellar numbers to 2006, when only 5.8 million viewers tuned in. As Devon Thomas notes, "The show this year featured Lady Gaga in three outfits with eight awards as well as Taylor Swift and Kanye West performing new songs (their 'drama' from last year and responses garnered buzz from viewers who were curious to see what the two would do next)." CBS NEWS
• At the 15th annual edition of the Art Directors Guild kudos next Feb. 5, Alexander Golitizen, Albert Heschong and Eugene Lourie will be posthumously inducted into the hall of fame. Golitzen won Oscars for "Phantom of the Opera" (1943), "Spartacus" (1960) and "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962), and contended 11 more times. He also designed the set for the Oscarcast on numerous occasions. Heschong was a TV stalwart, winning an Emmy for the "Playhouse 90" production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight." Lourie, a French designer, is best known for his work with Jean Renoir, including "Grand Illusion," the first foreign-language film to contend for best picture at the Oscars.
• To celebrate its first film festival, the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles will salute Clint Eastwood as "an accomplished filmmaker whose films have brought awareness to themes encouraging tolerance, justice and human rights." Said the Center's Rabbi Marvin Hier, "We believe Mr. Eastwood is a superb choice for this award, which celebrates those whose work shines a light on themes of acceptance, inclusion, tolerance and forgiveness. That is certainly true of Mr. Eastwood’s outstanding cinematic achievements, with only the most recent examples being 'Letters From Iwo Jima,' 'Gran Torino' and 'Invictus.' " Eastwood will be feted at a gala on Nov. 14 while the festival, which runs for six days beginning Nov. 13, will "explore human rights issues and prevent hatred and genocide through the medium of film." MOTIFF
• On Tuesday, singer-songwriter Alan Jackson received the Founders Award at ASCAP's annual country music kudos in Nashville. ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said the award, which has previously been handed to stars including Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney, recognized Jackson as "a supreme talent, inspirational songwriter, recording artist and modern legend, whose artistry, style and enduring music resonate with and inspire generations." A special musical tribute to Jackson included performances of several of his hits by Steve Earle, Dierks Bentley and Chris Young. Bentley won the songwriter/artist award while Brett James was top songwriter. "Need You Now," written by Josh Kear and released by Lady Antebellum, was named country song of the year. ASCAP
• Bill Maher explains his record-breaking losing streak (0-26) at the Emmys to Randee Dawn. "A panel of like 10 people watches one tape. If half of those people are religious, that probably eliminates me right there. A lot of people wouldn't vote for such an outspoken atheist, someone who made 'Religulous.' " THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
• The new HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" begins this Sunday, and Frazier Moore was wowed by the first installment, calling it a "wondrous new drama." Set in Atlantic City, "at the dawn of Prohibition when anything goes in this rollicking, stinking-rich resort town, the series boasts a robust cast including Steve Buscemi (as Nucky), Gretchen Mol, Dabney Coleman, Kelly Macdonald and, in a breakout portrayal as Jimmy, Michael Pitt." For creator Terence Winter it's a decade ripe for storytelling. "So much is going on: Women get the right to vote, the Black Sox scandal had just happened, broadcast radio came in and young people were starting to come to the fore influencing culture. All that, plus Prohibition was enacted." AP
• Willa Paskin writes of Tyler Perry's new picture "For Colored Girls," which, she notes, "got pushed up from January to November, landing it smack in the middle of the Oscar race. This is less surprising than it may sound, given 'For Colored Girls' highbrow pedigree. The film is based on the play 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf' by Ntozake Shange, which is structured as a series of twenty prose poems delivered by women. Judging from the trailer, much of the poetry remains. None of the lines delivered — by a cast that includes Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad — sound like regular dialogue. A little more regular is the big group hug scene and the omnipresent vibe of melodrama." VULTURE
• Looks like "The Conspirator" won't be contending at this year's Oscars. The Robert Redford film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln premiered at the Toronto filmfest and, as per this report from Michael Cieply, "Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions said they acquired rights to distribute the film in the United States and plan to release it next spring." NEW YORK TIMES
Top photo: "The Social Network" poster. Credit: Columbia.
Middle photo: Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival logo. Credit: Museum of Tolerance.
Bottom photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO.
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