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

Category: Coraline

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' & 'Hurt Locker' win with guilds | Barbara Walters ends Oscars specials | Emmy champ David Canary leaving 'AMC'

February 15, 2010 |  4:29 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • The Art Directors Guild went with the only Oscar nominees contending in the categories of fantasy film -- "Avatar" -- and period picture -- "Sherlock Holmes" -- at its 14th annual kudosfest Saturday. No contemporary films -- including category winner  "The Hurt Locker" -- are in the running at the Oscars, where "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine" and "The Young Victoria" round out the field. Last year "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" won with both groups, while in 2007 "Sweeney Todd" won the Oscar and "There Will Be Blood" took the ADG period prize. ADG

• "The Hurt Locker" edged two of its editing Oscar rivals -- "Avatar" and "District 9" -- as well as "Star Trek" and "Up in the Air" to win the drama category at the 60th annual American Cinema Editors awards on Sunday. The Oscar editing race also includes the cutters for "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious." Since 1990, the film that came up with the ACE went on to win best picture 13 times. In three of the five years when the ACE barometer was wrong, the editing winner was at least a contender for best picture. The exceptions -- in 2007, when neither "The Bourne Ultimatum" nor "Sweeney Todd" made the final five at the Oscars, and 1999, when the same fate befell "The Matrix" and "Being John Malkovich." The other ACE winners -- "The Hangover" (comedy), "Up" (animated) and "The Cove" (documentary). ACE

Brent Lang reports from Monday's Oscars nominees luncheon: "Directors, actors, and actresses from several of the top films in contention for Academy Awards this year took time out from what was being billed as an informal get together (albeit it one with a red carpet and security worthy of a State of the Union address) to answer questions from a gaggle of reporters about the Oscar ride, getting into character and, of course, what they planned to wear on the big night." Among the tidbits he heard: "Christoph Waltz admits his language skills help with seduction. Vera Farmiga urges flyers not to get behind her baby carriage during check-in. Woody Harrelson isn't clearing off space on his trophy shelf. Carey Mulligan has been stalking Kathryn Bigelow and bumping asses with Quentin Tarantino." THE WRAP

Barbara-walters-mickey-rourke • News doyenne Barbara Walters announced on "The View" Monday morning that her upcoming Oscar night gabfest will be the last after a 29-year run. Her final guests will include Oscar front-runners Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") and Mo'Nique ("Precious"). As per the press release, "Walters launched her Oscar night special in 1981 with interviews from Hollywood superstar Brooke Shields and her mother, Teri, country singer Loretta Lynn, 'Dallas' actress Linda Gray, music icon Ringo Starr and model/actress Barbara Bach." The Oscar connection that year was that Sissy Spacek would win the lead actress Academy Award for playing Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter." Today Walters said, “This special has been a labor of love for 29 years. I will always remember when Hugh Jackman gave me a private lap dance, or sitting down with the legendary Bette Davis, or being taught to tango by Al Pacino. It’s those priceless moments that have made this special the Oscar tradition that it has become, but I truly feel enough is enough.”

Michael Cieply sat down with rookie producers for the Oscars Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman. "A film producer by trade -- his 'Corlaine' was nominated this year as best animated feature -- Mr. Mechanic has become the Oscar show’s time cop. The 24 awards, he said, will be allotted four and a half minutes each, for a total of one hour and 48 minutes, if all the speeches are tight. The show’s 13 'acts' -- the singing, dancing and jokes -- get 31 minutes in all. 'How do we get rid of things nobody notices?' is Mr. Shankman’s description of Mr. Mechanic’s favorite question about the show. One such cut: What the two of them describe as introductions of introductions, something Mr. Mechanic found, in an intensive review of the last 13 shows, can add 15 minutes to a broadcast." NEW YORK TIMES

Scott Feinberg has two in-depth interviews with Oscar lead actor contenders Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") and Colin Firth ("A Single Man"). Scott chatted with both of them in the green room of the Lobero Theatre just before their respective tributes from the Santa Barbara filmfest. AND THE WINNER IS

David Canary Emmy Awards • Five-time Emmy champ David Canary is leaving "All My Children" after 27 years. Playing twins Adam and Stuart Chandler netted the actor 11 nominations. But now that the ABC soap has shifted from shooting in Gotham to the L.A., Canary is flying the coop. As Allison Walman writes, " Losing Canary is a major blow. He is not the kind of actor who can be replaced with another star. That doesn't mean the soap won't try, but the scuttlebutt is that when David stops shooting in March, Adam will leave Pine Valley alive. As such, the door will be left open in case Canary changes his mind or chooses to return for a visit ... maybe even an extended visit that would be a story arc?" TV SQUAD

Steve Pond reports that double Oscar nominee Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") has her next job lined up -- "directing the pilot for 'The Miraculous Year,' a potential HBO series created, written and executive produced by John Logan. The series is reportedly a character-driven, contemporary look at the arenas of art and theater -- or, as HBO describes it, 'an examination of a New York family as seen through the lens of a charismatic, self-destructive Broadway composer.'" And, Pond says, "After shooting the pilot, Bigelow is expected to re-team with 'Hurt Locker' screenwriter Mark Boal on 'Triple Frontier,' which is set in a South American hotbed of drugs and crime near the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. THE ODDS

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

Middle photo: Barbara Walters and Mickey Rourke on the 2009 Oscar night special. Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: David Canary at the 28th annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Credit: NBC

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'Up' takes top Annie Awards on road to Oscars

February 7, 2010 |  9:13 am

Up Oscars Annie Awards "Up" won both best picture and director at the 37th annual Annie Awards on Saturday night. The nine-time nominee beat out all four of its competitors for best animated feature at the Oscars -- "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Secret of Kells" -- as well as "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

"Coraline" -- which topped the list with 10 nominations -- won three Annie Awards: character design, music and production design. "Princess" took three of its eight races at the Annie Awards: animated effects, character animation and voice acting. Critics' choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" won just one of its three nods, for the script by director Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.

"Beauty and the Beast" -- which, like "Up," was a best picture nominee at the Oscars -- won the first Annie Award for animated feature back in 1991. Since the Academy Awards introduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up six times. The exceptions: in 2006 when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar and last year when "Kung Fu Panda" swept the Annie Awards but "Wall-E" waltzed off with the Academy Award.

Although film critics ranked "Wall-E" as one of the top-rated movies of last year, those truly in the know about the art of animation -- members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards -- were far less impressed. Of last year's three Oscar contenders, "Kung Fu Panda" led going into the Annie Awards with 16 nominations to eight for "Wall-E" and five for "Bolt." Numbering triple noms in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record-tying tally, "Kung Fu Panda" won all 10 categories in which it was competing while "Wall-E" was shut out. And offshoots of "Kung Fu Panda" were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff "The Secrets of the Furious Five" took four more.

Two years ago, eventual Oscar champ "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two Oscar nominees, "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods, and "Persepolis," which went zero for four.

The Annie Awards were announced at a kudofest at UCLA's Royce Hall. The Annie Awards website has a complete list of winners and nominees.

Photo: "Up" DVD cover. Credit: Pixar / Disney

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'Coraline' could be first Oscar contender of the year

February 6, 2009 | 12:09 pm

"Coraline" could well be the first animated feature of 2009 to contend at next year's Oscars. Based on generally enthusiastic reviews, "Coraline" scores a solid 80 at Meta Critic and 79 with the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes. By way of comparison, current Oscar nominee "Kung Fu Panda" — which just swept the Annie Awards — managed only 73 at Meta Critic and 74 at Rotten Tomatoes.

Coraline

The likes of Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly and Los Angeles Times lead scribe Kenneth Turan were especially impressed with "Coraline." Said Turan: "The third dimension comes of age with 'Coraline.' The first contemporary film in which the 3-D experience feels intrinsic to the story instead of a Godforsaken gimmick, 'Coraline' is a remarkable feat of imagination, a magical tale with a genuinely sinister edge. The story of an 11-year-old girl's adventures in an alternate universe, 'Coraline' comes by its disturbing qualities honestly, through the efforts of writer-director Henry Selick and novelist Neil Gaiman. It may be rated PG, but it is more suitable for adults than the very small among us." And Schwarzbaum thought, "This thrilling stop-motion animated adventure is a high point in Selick's career of creating handcrafted wonderlands of beauty blended with deep, disconcerting creepiness."

Henry Selick has directed two acclaimed stop-motion films — "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993) and "James and the Giant Peach" (1996) — both of which predated the 2001 introduction of the animated feature category at the Oscars. In 2005, two of the three Oscar nominees — the winning "Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit" and "Corpse Bride" — were stop-motion. "Coraline," based on the acclaimed book by Neil Gaiman, has the added bonus of being presented in 3-D.

However, so too does the heavily promoted "Monsters vs. Aliens" due out next month. That film is from DreamWorks, which won the first animated feature Oscar with "Shrek," contended on its own three more times — "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" (2002), and both "Shark Tale" and "Shrek 2" (2004) — and co-produced the winning "Wallace and Gromit" entry. In the current Oscar race, the studio is hoping "Kung Fu Panda" can translate all those Annie Awards into one Academy Award.

Photo: Focus Features

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'Kung Fu Panda drop kicks 'Wall-E' at Annie Awards


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