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

Category: films

Hey, Oscar voters: Check out the new 'Avatar' trailer!

October 23, 2009 | 12:54 pm
Avatar James Cameron news 3a

Hunger for "Avatar" continues to build, fed by the recent release of a new, long, all-revealing trailer and more photos. Check out this video interview with director James Cameron too. Sure, only two sci-fi flicks have ever been nominated for best picture at the Oscars ("Star Wars," "E.T."), but now there are twice as many nominees in that category than there used to be, it's a thin year in terms of rival competition and — best of all, "Avatar" fanboys — a fantasy film actually won in the past, let's recall. "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003) went undefeated to tie the all-time record (11 chunks of academy gold) also held by "Titanic," which, coincidentally, was directed by "Avatar's" James Cameron. Back in 1997, Cameron proved lots of Oscar prophets wrong when they predicted his budget-busting, disaster-plagued "Titanic" would sink. Now most Gold Derby readers believe his "Avatar" will defy the odds and be nominated for best picture. See poll results below. Notice that 11% of respondents (as of Friday afternoon) believe that "Avatar" will actually win best picture! They're crazy, of course, but I personally agree with the majority that it will be nominated.

Ghost of Alfred Hitchcock looms over the Oscars' voting system

September 1, 2009 |  6:48 pm

Changing the Oscars' voting method in just one category — best picture — is odd. Suddenly, academy leaders believe that using the preferential voting method that's employed now to determine Oscars nominees is the best way to pick a winner in the top race (which will have 10 nominees), but not the others (which will still have five). Thus voters will rank their faves when deciding the best-picture race, but merely check off their number-one choice of a winner in all other categories. Huh? 

Rebecca Oscars voting entertainment news 719538462 Academy Awards 2

When Steve Pond (The Wrap) broke the news of the new voting system yesterday, he quoted academy executive director Bruce Davis saying, "There are certain mathematical dangers with more nominees. You could really get a fragmentation to the point where a picture with 18% or 20% of the vote could win, and the board didn't want that to happen."

OK, but why not use the preferential ballot in all Academy Awards races? No doubt the answer to that is: butt out — the Oscars have used the current voting method to determine winners in the vast majority of categories since the 1930s. Can't mess with tradition. When there were more than five nominees for best picture between 1934 and 1943, the preferential ballot was used to choose winners, so that's what must be done again. Period. Oscar tradition and history are sacred.

But that means future voting will be schizophrenic and illogical. To see what that may mean, let's examine what occurred from 1934 to 1943 when there were more than five nominees — and in 1944 and 1945 when there were just five, but preferential voting still decided champs.

In the 63 Oscar derbies since 1945, the films that won best picture also won best director — using the same voting method — 50 times (80% overlap). During the 12 derbies (1934-1945) when schizophrenic voting was used, the two categories agreed eight times (67%).

One of the most notable disagreements between those races back in the old days led to one of Oscar's greatest tragedies: the snubbing of one of Hollywood's greatest directors, Alfred Hitchcock, who ended up going to his grave Oscarless despite the fact that his film, "Rebecca," won best picture of 1940. Hitchcock ended losing the helmer's honor to John Ford ("The Grapes of Wrath").

Doesn't this snub suggest that the same kind of outrage could occur in the future? Doesn't logic suggest that the year's best picture is also its best directed?

Continue reading »

Poll: 'Avatar' trailer = Awesome or awful?

August 21, 2009 | 10:44 am


"This is great!" says the blue dude with the spooky eyes in the new trailer for "Avatar," the first new big flick from "King of the Oscars" James Cameron ("Titanic"). That's the only dialogue spoken. Otherwise, the "Avatar" trailer is all special effects and dizzy action — good or bad.

Some fan boys cheer, others gripe. Naysayers claim "Avatar" looks more like a video game than a serious film. Others claim it's too derivative. Actually, now that they bring the matter up, it does seem like the blue dude stole his ears from Mr. Spock and those jaundiced peepers from the guy in "District 9."

However, "Avatar" retains many staunch defenders since it triggered mega-buzz at Comic-Con — like our poster who insists, "The trailer looks fantastic and amazing. Your eye sockets will receive a drubbing you won't soon forget."

What do you think?



Photos: 20th Century Fox

Is 'District 9' cursed at the Oscars?

August 15, 2009 |  8:18 pm

"District 9" has earned some of the best reviews of the year — an impressive score of 81 at Entertainment Weekly calls the film "madly original" and "exciting," Washington Post hails it as "transfixing." "District 9" is also a big box-office smash produced by the emperor of the Oscars, Peter Jackson, whose "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003) tied the Oscar record (11 trophies) set by "Ben-Hur" (1959) and "Titanic" (1997).

District 9 news 8369150274 story movies

So that means "District 9" should do well at the Academy Awards next, right? Especially since there will be 10 slots in the best-picture race instead of the usual five, correct?

Hmmmm, not so fast, fanboys. Keep in mind that this is sci-fi, a genre that's received little Oscar respect historically. Only two sci-fi flicks have ever been nominated for best picture: "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), "Star Wars" (1977). "E.T." and "Star Wars" are the only two films with Oscar best-picture nominations on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the 20 best-reviewed sci-fi pix of all time. Here's the rundown:

1.) "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)
2.) "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004)
3.) "Metropolis" (1927)
4.) "Alien" (1979)
5.) "Minority Report" (2002)
6.) "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)
7.) "Children of Men" (2006)
8.) "The Host" (2007)
9.) "Star Wars" (1977)
10.) "Aliens" (1986)

Continue reading »

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

February 22, 2009 |  2:26 am


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



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


Sneak Peek: See Hugh Jackman warming up his Oscar act

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


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


'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


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


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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Heath Ledger's death-defying bid for 'The Dark Knight': Why so serious

January 22, 2009 |  8:56 am


Congrats to the ghost of Heath Ledger — who died exactly one year ago today — for doing what even one of the Oscars' favorite live fellows couldn't do: snag an acting nomination for portraying a cartoonish villain in a superhero flick.

In this case, the Joker, of course, in "The Dark Knight." Jack Nicholson's Joker in Tim Burton's "Batman" was widely hailed by film critics in 1989 and earned him a nomination in the lead acting race for comedies/musicals at the Golden Globes, but he lost to Morgan Freeman ("Driving Miss Daisy") and was snubbed at the Oscars. Nicholson is so beloved at the Oscars that he currently holds the record for most nominations among male actors (12) and win (three, tied with Walter Brennan).


Al Pacino earned an acting bid in the supporting slot at the Golden Globes in 1990 as Big Boy Caprice in "Dick Tracy." He lost to Bruce Davison ("Longtime Companion"). Pacino went on to reap an Oscar nom for that cartoonish role too, but lost to Joe Pesci ("Goodfellas").

Heath Ledger's nomination marks the seventh for a posthumous performance. The others: Jeanne Eagels ("The Letter," best actress, 1929), James Dean ("East of Eden," best actor, 1955), James Dean ("Giant," best actor, 1956), Spencer Tracy ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" best actor, 1967), Peter Finch ("Network," best actor, 1976), Massimo Troisi ("Il Postino," best actor, 1994).

Only Finch pulled off a victory from the grave. He died of a heart attack just weeks before Golden Globe and Oscar voting. Prior to that, Robert De Niro ("Taxi Driver") swept the early critics' awards, but Finch claimed posthumous wins at the Globes and Oscars.

By comparison, Heath Ledger, as noted above, died a year ago. When another heartthrob star was nominated after dying young and tragically — James Dean — there was half a year between his demise and his Oscar loss. Does that matter in Ledger's case?

Most Oscarologists now say that Heath Ledger is a shoo-in to win, but beware: Upsets happen most frequently in these supporting categories at the Academy Awards. Let's recall a few recent shockeroos in this slot: James Coburn ("Affliction") and Jim Broadbent ("Iris").


Is 'The Dark Knight's' Heath Ledger doomed at the Oscars?

Posthumous Oscars nominations: A Reality Since the First Academy Awards

Yeah, Meryl Streep Just Hiked Her Record Number of Oscar Nominations, But . . .

Oscar Nominations Pooh-Pooh Kate Winslet's Campaign for 'The Reader'

Oscars Snub 'The Dark Knight' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' star

Oscar Nominations Reward December Releases

Quiz: What Movie Had the Most Oscar Nominations Ever?

Photos: Buena Vista, Warner Bros.

Continue reading »

My dark knight of the soul: Will a superhero come to Oscars' rescue?

January 20, 2009 |  9:44 am

How can you sleep, my fellow Oscars nuts? I can't! Academy Awards nominations are just hours away and we don't really know what will be nominated for best picture! Yes, there are three shoo-ins: "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Milk." Possibly "Frost/Nixon" too. But what about that fifth slot, eh? "Gran Torino"? "The Reader"? "Doubt"? "Wall-E"?

Or will a superhero finally land in the top Oscars smackdown for the first time ever? As TV ratings of the Oscarcast continue to plunge year to year, Golden Boy could sure use a heroic intervention.

"The Dark Knight" looms over this Oscars derby in so many ominous ways. While suffering from one of the worst cases of Oscar insomnia that I've had in a long time, I mulled all this over — just for you on this video.

Read Gold Derby's in-depth analysis of the best picture race!


Mark Harris of Entertainment Weekly agrees: "The Dark Knight" will nab that fifth best-picture slot.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone explains why he believes "Slumdog Millionaire" is top dog in the Oscars' best-picture race.

New York Times Carpetbagger David Carr and I dish the derby. (Oh, yeah, and he tries to strangle me!)

Pete Hammond and Anthony Breznican ponder the question: Will Golden Globe winners repeat at the Oscars?

Sean Penn tells Gold Derby, 'Lots of people should be ashamed of themselves over the passage of Prop 8.'

Mickey Rourke tells Gold Derby, 'I could identify with the wrestler's state of living in shame and disgrace.'

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner re-inks | Do Jon Hamm + Tina Fey = Emmy? | New Emmy smackdown for Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien?

January 19, 2009 |  9:14 am

• "Mad Men" creator and producer Matthew Weiner has inked a deal to return to the helm for the third season of the Emmy and Golden Globe winner. As per the Hollywood Reporter, "After months of negotiations, the show's creator on Friday closed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with producer Lionsgate TV to continue on the acclaimed AMC drama." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

• And speaking of "Mad Men," Jon Hamm, the Golden Globe-winning star, guests on an upcoming arc of "30 Rock" as the latest love interest for Tina Fey, our forums member here at The Envelope. This laffer has garnered eight guest-acting Emmy nods in just two seasons with a win last year for Tim Conway. TV SQUAD


Conan O'Brien talks for the first time about the decision to have Jay Leno, his predecessor at "The Tonight Show," still precede him on the NBC schedule. "I don’t think any of us were expecting a Monday through Friday thing for Jay like that. And there was a period where everybody was just trying to figure out: what does this mean? After about an hour and a half I just started asking if I was still going to be getting the ‘Tonight Show with Johnny Carson’ that I used to watch with my father in my living room in Brookline, Massachusetts. And my producer, Jeff Ross, said, 'Yes it is,' and I said, 'Then I’m good.'" Now the two hosts will not only end up competing for guests, but they also could be Emmy foes once more. The only time the two shows competed against each other in the Emmy battle for best variety series was in 2003, and they both lost to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart." That was the last time Leno's show competed in that race. Conan's show had five successive bids ending in 2007. Now that Leno is going to be in prime time, this newfound prominence could propel him back onto the ballot. O'Brien's show has long been an Emmy bridesmaid, with only one Emmy — for writing in 2007 — to show for 29 nominations. NEW YORK TIMES

Greg Ellwood, who was a consulting editor here at The Envelope last Oscar season, is now chief at, a new entertainment website. He tied for third  place in our recent Golden Globe poll of awards experts, and now this savvy prognosticator has posted his first set of predictions for Thursday's Academy Awards nominations. HITFIX

• Variety shines a spotlight on the TV movie, a format that once ruled the airwaves with nearly 250 titles per year running across the nets that "is gradually reconstituting itself, albeit on cable, for fewer dollars and on Saturdays. Think of it less as a happy ending than a not-so-steamy new chapter. Several movies and miniseries, meanwhile, will crop up elsewhere over the next few weeks, from CBS' latest Hallmark Hall of Fame entry to TNT's 'Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story,' a Johnson & Johnson-sponsored vidpic starring Cuba Gooding Jr., to a rare network multi-part pic, 'The Da Vinci Code'-lite adventure 'The Last Templar' on NBC. HBO also continues to dabble in prestige movies, from the Sundance selection 'Taking Chance' in February to the flashier Jessica Lange-Drew Barrymore combo 'Grey Gardens' this spring." VARIETY

Read related posts:

Gold Derby nuggets: Will Oscars imitate Golden Globes? | Karger: Could 'Gran Torino' get best picture nod? | Will 'Mad Men' creator Matt Weiner return for third season?

Tina Fey trashes The Envelope forum posters in her Golden Globes acceptance speech

Tina Fey accepts our apology and Matthew Weiner pipes in too!

Will Jay Leno's move to prime time cure his Emmy curse?

Dave Karger tops at predicting Golden Globe winners

Photos: ATAS

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BAFTA boosts Oscar hopes of 'Slumdog Millionaire' and 'Benjamin Button'

January 15, 2009 |  8:19 pm

Two of the five front-runners at this year's Oscars — "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — led the pack at the BAFTAs with 11 nominations each, including best picture nods. Another Bafta_nominations1 two — "Frost/Nixon" and "Milk" — fared far less well, though they count best picture nods among their six and three BAFTA bids respectively. And while the fifth favorite at the Oscars — "The Dark Knight" — managed eight BAFTA nods, it was bumped from the best picture race by "The Reader" (which had five nods in total).

See the complete list of new BAFTA nominees HERE. Check out last year's BAFTA nominations and the BAFTA bids for the previous year.

While the BAFTA laurels have foreseen only two best-picture Oscars winners — "Gladiator" (2000) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003) — since these kudos were moved up in 2000 to take place while academy members are still voting, they do far better at predicting the acting awards. Both last year and in 2006, all four BAFTA champs went on to win at the Oscars.

With dueling lead actress nominations, Kate Winslet can't be the double winner she was at the Golden Globes for "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader." Winslet won only the first of her five BAFTA nods — a supporting award in 1995 for "Sense and Sensibilty." Also in the running for best actress are first-time BAFTA nominee Angelina Jolie for "Changeling" (which has seven nods in all), 1982 BAFTA best actress Meryl Streep ("The French Lieutenant's Woman"), who earned her twelfth nom for "Doubt" (which has three nods in total), and Kristin Scott Thomas, who earned her third nod for "I've Loved You So Long."


The biggest surprise is the omission of Sally Hawkins, who has already won the Golden Globe as well as both Gotham and LA critics awards for "Happy-Go-Lucky." Yet, this British film was roundly snubbed. Also out of the running is Critics Choice winner Anne Hathaway who made the long list even though "Rachel Getting Married" has yet to open in the U.K.

Four of the five best actor contenders — Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon"), Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire"), Brad Pitt ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), and Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler") — are first-time BAFTA nominees while Sean Penn scored his third nod for "Milk."

Pitt also competes in the supporting-actor race for "Burn After Reading" against 1992 BAFTA best actor Robert Downey, Jr. ("Chaplin") for "Tropic Thunder", first-time nominee Brendan Gleeson for "In Bruges", 2005 BAFTA best actor Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote") for "Doubt," and one-time BAFTA nominee Heath Ledger for "The Dark Knight".

Last year's supporting actress winner Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") repeats in that race for "Burn After Reading" against 2006 best actress nominee Penelope Cruz contending for "Vicky Christina Barcelona" and a trio of BAFTA newcomers — Amy Adams("Doubt"), Freida Pinto ("Slumdog Millionaire"), and Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler").

Two of the five DGA nominees — British born Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") and Gus Van Sant ("Milk") — were snubbed in favor of two-time BAFTA directing nominee Stephen Daldry ("The Reader") and the one-time nominated Clint Eastwood who is up for "Changeling" (his other Oscar pony "Gran Torino" has not opened in the UK yet). Of the other three contenders, Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon") has one BAFTA directing nod while Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") and David Fincher ("Benjamin Button") are newcomers to this race.

Continue reading »

Experts predict who'll win the Golden Globes

January 10, 2009 | 12:58 pm

We've assembled a team of pro pundits to predict who'll win the Golden Globes: Thelma Adams (Us Weekly), Scott Bowles (USA Today), Peter Howell (Toronto Star), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Greg Ellwood (, Marshall Fine (Star Magazine, Hollywood and Fine), Kris Tapley (, Brad Brevet (Rope of Silicon), Scott Feinberg (Feinberg Files, The Envelope), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season, The Envelope), Edward Douglas (, T.L. Stanley (Gold Rush, Hollywood Reporter) and me. Read more pundits' predictions at Check out my detailed analysis of the top categories HERE . Film critic Gene Seymour gives Gold Derby readers his analysis HERE.


"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — Douglas, Karger, Travers
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
"Slumdog Millionaire" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Howell, O'Neil, Stanley, Tapley

"Burn After Reading"
"Happy-Go-Lucky" — Adams, Brevet, Stanley, Tapley, Travers
"In Bruges"
"Mamma Mia!" — Fine, Howell, O'Neil
"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" — Bowles, Ellwood, Douglas, Feinberg, Hammond, Karger

"The Baader Meinhof Complex"
"Everlasting Moments"
"Gomorrah" — Brevet, Feinberg, Tapley
"I've Loved You So Long" — Adams, Douglas, Fine
"Waltz With Bashir" — Bowles, Ellwood, Hammond, Howell, Karger, O'Neil, Stanley, Travers

Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Douglas, Feinberg, Howell, Karger, O'Neil, Stanley, Tapley
Stephen Daldry, "The Reader"
David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — Fine, Ellwood, Hammond, Travers
Ron Howard, "Frost/Nixon"
Sam Mendes, "Revolutionary Road"

Leonardo DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon" — Hammond, O'Neil, Tapley
Sean Penn, "Milk" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Douglas, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Stanley, Travers
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — Howell
Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler" — Karger


Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married" — Brevet, Douglas, Feinberg, Fine, O'Neil
Angelina Jolie, "Changeling"
Meryl Streep, "Doubt" — Ellwood, Hammond, Howell, Tapley, Travers
Kristin Scott Thomas, "I've Loved You So Long" — Stanley
Kate Winslet, "Revolutionary Road" — Adams, Bowles, Karger

Javier Bardem, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" — Brevet, Douglas, Fine, Stanley, Hammond, Howell
Colin Farrell, "In Bruges" — O'Neil
James Franco, "Pineapple Express" — Travers
Brendan Gleeson, "In Bruges"
Dustin Hoffman, "Last Chance Harvey" — Adams, Bowles, Ellwood, Feinberg, Karger, Tapley

Rebecca Hall, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" — Bowles
Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky" — Adams, Brevet, Douglas, Ellwood, Fine, Hammond, Howell, Karger, Tapley, Stanley, Travers
Frances McDormand, "Burn After Reading"
Meryl Streep, "Mamma Mia!" — Feinberg, O'Neil
Emma Thompson, "Last Chance Harvey"

Tom Cruise, "Tropic Thunder"
Robert Downey Jr., "Tropic Thunder"
Ralph Fiennes, "The Duchess"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Doubt"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Douglas, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Howell, Karger, O'Neil, Stanley, Tapley, Travers

Amy Adams, "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" — Adams, Brevet, Douglas, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Howell, Karger, Stanley, Tapley, Travers
Viola Davis, "Doubt" — Bowles
Marisa Tomei, "The Wrestler"
Kate Winslet, "The Reader" — O'Neil

"Kung Fu Panda"
"Wall-E" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Feinberg, Douglas, Ellwood, Fine, Hammond, Howell, Karger, O'Neil, Stanley, Tapley, Travers

Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire" — Adams, Bowles, Brevet, Ellwood, Feinberg, Howell, Stanley, Karger
David Hare, "The Reader"
Peter Morgan, "Frost/Nixon"
Eric Roth, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — Fine, Hammond, O'Neil, Tapley, Travers
John Patrick Shanley, "Doubt" — Douglas

Alexandre Desplat, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" — Ellwood, Douglas, Feinberg, Hammond, Howell, Karger, O'Neil
Clint Eastwood, "Changeling" — Adams
James Newton Howard, "Defiance"
Hans Zimmer, "Frost/Nixon"
A.R. Rahman, "Slumdog Millionaire" — Brevet, Bowles, Brevet, Fine, Stanley, Tapley

"Down to Earth" (performed by Peter Gabriel, written by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman), "Wall-E" — Adams, Howell
"Gran Torino" (performed by Clint Eastwood, Jamie Cullum, Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens, lyrics by: Kyle Eastwood, Michael Stevens), "Gran Torino"
"I Thought I Lost You" (performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, written by Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele), "Bolt" — Hammond
"Once in a Lifetime" (performed by Beyoncé, written by Beyoncé Knowles, Amanda Ghost, Scott McFarnon, Ian Dench, James Dring, Jody Street), "Cadillac Records"
"The Wrestler" (performed by Bruce Springsteen, written by Bruce Springsteen), "The Wrestler" — Bowles, Brevet, Douglas, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Karger, O'Neil, Stanley, Tapley, Travers


"Dexter" — Tapley
"House M.D."
"In Treatment" — Ellwood
"Mad Men" — Bowles, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Karger, O'Neil, Travers
"True Blood"

Gabriel Byrne, "In Treatment" — Ellwood
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter" — O'Neil, Tapley
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men" — Bowles, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Karger, Travers
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "The Tudors"

Sally Field, "Brothers & Sisters" — Tapley
Mariska Hargitay, "Law & Order: SVU"
January Jones, "Mad Men" — Bowles
Anna Paquin, "True Blood" — Hammond, Ellwood, Karger, O'Neil, Travers
Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer" — Feinberg, Fine

"The Office"
"30 Rock" — Bowles, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Karger, O'Neil, Tapley, Travers

Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock" — Bowles, Ellwood, Feinberg, Fine, Hammond, Karger, Tapley, Travers
Steve Carell, "The Office"
Kevin Connolly, "Entourage"
David Duchovny, "Californication"
Tony Shalhoub, "Monk"

Continue reading »

VIDEO: Viola Davis talks about "Doubt" and Oscars

December 23, 2008 |  7:52 am

Watch out, Penelope Cruz! The "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" star may be considered the front-runner for best supporting actress, but these second-tier acting slots are where big Oscar upsets often happen. Among the most promising alternatives is "Doubt" star Viola Davis, who portrays a poor African-American mom who makes a shocking decision when confronted with the accusation that her son may be molested by a priest at school.

When "Doubt" was staged on Broadway, Adriane Lenox won the Tony Award for the role in 2005. So far this derby season, Viola Davis already has been nominated for best supporting actress in the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. She was voted best breakthrough actress of the year by the National Board of Review.

Camera work by Paul Sheehan

Experts' Oscars predix: 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Meryl Streep out front

December 19, 2008 |  9:56 am


The Envelope's Buzzmeter has constantly updated Oscars predictions from experts, but I like to spotlight a few now and then to see how they compare. This random sampling of five views shows "Slumdog Millionaire" ahead for best picture by a score of 3 out of 5 votes. Meryl Streep ("Doubt") has the same edge in the best actress race, but there's no clear fave for best actor. Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon") and Sean Penn ("Milk") have two votes each.

Our featured pundits: Patrick Kevin Day (The Envelope, L.A. Times), Scott Feinberg (Feinberg Files, The Envelope), Peter Howell (Toronto Star), Bob Tourtellotte (Reuters), Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today). Rankings are listed numerically from first choice (1) to last choice (5).

BEST PICTURE Day Feinberg Howell Tourtellotte Wloszczyna
'Benjamin Button'






'Dark Knight'




















'Revolutionary Road'  




'Slumdog Millionaire'






BEST ACTOR Day Feinberg Howell Tourtellotte Wloszczyna
Leo DiCaprio, 'Revolutionary Road  





Clint Eastwood, 'Gran Torino'






Richard Jenkins,

'The Visitor'






Frank Langella, 'Frost/Nixon'






Sean Penn, 'Milk'






Brad Pitt, 'Benjamin Button'






Mickey Rourke, 'The Wrestler'






BEST ACTRESS Day Feinberg Howell Tourtellotte Wloszczyna
Anne Hathaway, 'Rachel Getting Married'






Cate Blanchett,

'Benjamin Button'





Angelina Jolie, 'Changeling'






Sally Hawkins,




Melissa Leo,

'Frozen River'





Meryl Streep, 'Doubt'






Kristin Scott Thomas, 'I've Loved You So Long'






Kate Winslet, 'Revolutionary Road'






Kate Winslet,

'The Reader'



Left photo: Meryl Streep in "Doubt." Credit: Miramax

Right photo: Dev Patel in "Slumdog Millionaire." Credit: Fox Searchlight



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