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

Category: George Clooney

Is the Oscar derby already over?

September 23, 2010 |  6:08 am

At this point, it sure looks like we have solid Oscar front-runners for best picture ("The Social Network"), best actor (Colin Firth, "The King's Speech") and best actress (Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"). It's very possible that all three could trot across the derby finish line without tripping en route.

The Social Network Black Swan The King's Speech Oscars newsHowever, we must remember how these top races appeared at this point last year. We knew that "The Hurt Locker" might be nominated for best picture, but that wasn't a certainty, and the front-runners were presumed to be "Up in the Air," "Invictus" and "Avatar."  There were still high hopes for "Nine" and "The Lovely Bones," even "Brothers."

Looking forward on this year's derby track, what can beat "The Social Network"? "The King's Speech" may be more to the taste of those older chaps in the academy, but "Social Network" is more to the taste of the edgy film critics who are likely to heap best-picture prizes on it in early December, giving it the same early momentum that paid off for "The Hurt Locker" last year. But, wait! Isn't it a terrible thing to be the early leader? That's a widely believed fallacy, yes, but, in fact, that wasn't a problem for "Titanic," "American Beauty," "The English Patient" and many other eventual champs.

BEST-ACTOR RACE: "Crazy Heart" wasn't even scheduled to be released in 2009 at this point on last year's calendar, so Jeff Bridges wasn't yet in the running. The contest seemed to be a slugfest between George Clooney ("Up in the Air"), Daniel Day-Lewis ("Nine"), Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Tobey Maguire ("Brothers") and Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"). Only Clooney and Freeman ended up with nominations.

Right now, it looks like the only contender who can topple Colin Firth for best actor is James Franco ("127 Hours"), but Jeff Bridges will be back in the derby, this time starring in Joel and Ethan Coen's "True Grit." The last version earned John Wayne the Oscar, of course, so we shouldn't rule out the possibility that Bridges could join the ranks of those few thesps, such as Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy, who won back-to-back trophies. Also in this year's best-actor bout are Javier Bardem ("Biutiful"),  Robert Duvall ("Get Low"), Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network"), Ryan Gosling ("Blue Valentine") and Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter").

BEST-ACTRESS RACE: We knew "The Blind Side" was coming out late in 2009, but no pundit except Pete Hammond (formerly of The Envelope, now at Deadline) took it seriously as a contender. In late September of last year, the leading contenders for best actress were Marion Cotillard ("Nine"), Abbie Cornish ("Bright Star"), Penélope Cruz ("Broken Embraces"), Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Helen Mirren ("The Last Station"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones"), Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia") and Hilary Swank ("Amelia"). Nominees turned out to be Mirren, Mulligan, Sidibe, Streep and winner Bullock.

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Video: George Clooney backstage at the Emmys

August 29, 2010 | 11:47 pm

Soon after receiving the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Emmys, George Clooney chatted with reporters in the press room about his charity work childhood memories of Bob and Dolores Hope and his current opinion of hot political topics like gay marriage. (Sorry, but my camera only caught a the first four or five minutes of his discussion, then it ran out of memory!)

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Betty White and Neil Patrick Harris join Emmy presenters

August 25, 2010 |  6:17 pm

Betty white

As traditionally occurs, the winners of the Creative Arts Emmys will present trophies to champs at the main ceremony. The TV academy just announced that Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, Ann-Margret, Jeff Probst and Betty White will join the ranks of presenters, who include Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert, Edie Falco, Tina Fey, Laurence Fishburne, Ricky Gervais, Jon Hamm, January Jones, John Krasinski, LL Cool J, Julianna Margulies, Joel McHale, Matthew Morrison, Steven Moyer, Eva Longoria Parker, Jim Parsons, Anna Paquin, Matthew Perry, Keri Russell, Alexander Skarsgard, Blair Underwood and Sofia Vergara.

Juliana Margulies will present the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to George Clooney. We have more details about the ceremony posted in our forums.

Photo: Betty White. Credit: WireImage

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Gold Derby nuggets: George Clooney bounces reality hosts from Emmycast | 'Modern Family' sneak peek | 'Mad Men' fails to win over advertisers

August 2, 2010 |  2:43 pm

George Clooney Emmy Awards • The winner of the reality show host race won't be accepting on the prime-time Emmy telecast, which is live nationwide this year. As the show is scheduled to repeat on the West Coast at 8 p.m. PDT, the broadcast has to be over in exactly three hours. So, to ensure there is time for George Clooney to collect the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, the host category has been bumped to the Creative Arts Emmys which take place eight days earlier and air, in an edited version, on the E! cable network. Also missing from the main telecast will be the awards for writers and directors of comedy music variety series, which alternate with the equivalent races for telefilms and minis. Ray Richmond reports on all this and more as per the show's exec producer Don Mischer, who explained, "On the long-form awards, for example, we didn't have the option of shifting the writers and directors for contractual reasons. And we really didn't want to think about taking the made-for-TV movie or miniseries award out. The reality host award was one we didn't have a commitment to in terms of keeping it in the telecast." DEADLINE

• After noting that "when the reality host category had been added to the derby two years ago, they'd been sold a bill of goods about how it was going to young-up the audience for the trophy show," Lisa de Moraes analyzes the rationale of shifting the award off the prime-time kudocast. "What the academy's not saying is that it wants to goose the show's numbers, seeing as how it does not yet have a closed contract to keep broadcasting the show on the broadcast networks. A new contract may not be a slam-dunk, given that the Emmys have become a big fat plug for cable networks, which annoys suits at the broadcast nets mightily. And, when you're trying to attract viewers to a show, you do not want to lose sight of the fact that Clooney is Clooney, while Jeff Probst is, well, Jeff Probst. And yet, despite this undeniable truth, Mischer and academy President John Shaffner continued to insist during their appearance at the Press Tour, that that is not why Probst's annual win will not be seen during the televised portion of the Emmy ceremony. The academy had no choice, they explained. Other categories you'd think would be high on the Whack-This List are protected from cutting by deals the academy has with networks and/or various guilds. Try to cut one of those categories and, for instance, a guild might decide you'd violated that pact and inform you that you're going to have to pay its members residuals on that boatload of clips you air during your trophy show. Ouch!" WASHINGTON POST

Jimmy Fallon made merry with the TV folk when he appeared at the TCA to tout his upcoming hosting gig of the Emmy Awards. As James Hibberd reports, the "Late Night" host was in fine form. " 'I want the TV academy to be happy, I want [producer] Don Mischner to be happy,' Fallon said of his upcoming Emmy stint, adding that 'I don't want to make anybody uncomfortable' with his jokes. 'You have to relate to different people as well,' Fallon said about appealing to the wider Emmy audience. 'I gotta get you to laugh and you to laugh and you to laugh -- they don't all laugh at the same thing.' " HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Modern-family-posterEd O'Neill, the only adult cast member of "Modern Family" not to receive an Emmy nomination, told the TCA "that the show's child actors were the ones who really got snubbed by academy voters. 'The truth is, if you're nominated or you're not nominated, you don't have a lot of options. For all I know, the kids could have been nominated before me ... the kids were phenomenal.' " However, his younger cast mates demurred. "Asked if he felt left out of the Emmy race, 12-year-old Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny on the show, said, 'They probably have something in store for us later in the years; it'll be great to even go to the Emmys.' " THE WRAP

• One of O'Neill's Emmy-nominated "Modern Family" co-stars -- Eric Stonestreet -- thinks that his character, Cameron, will eventually marry his gay partner, Mitchell (Jessie Tyler Ferguson). As he told Sean Daly, "I don’t know how that would happen with the real-life legality. Maybe it would be a destination (wedding). Us going somewhere that gay marriage is legal. But they have to save some of that stuff. We hope to be on the air for seven years." Show producer Christopher Lloyd admits, "Frankly we have stayed away from anything that feels overtly political. It is just not the style of our show. But we wouldn’t rule it out." NEW YORK POST

Nathan Lane has contended twice before for best guest actor in a comedy series and could well be a contender against next year for his just-announced turn on "Modern Family." Gary Levin reports from the TCA that the two-time Tony champ will play, "Pepper, the flamboyant older friend of Mitchell and Cameron,  who was referenced last season. He'll appear in one the early episodes in the fall. Lane approached producers about doing the show, and executive producer Steven Levitan says he fits the part perfectly. But mostly, 'We're toning down on stunt casting; we don't want to turn into a guest of the week. The audience loves our characters and we have enough of them' in the large ensemble." USA TODAY

• Fox is jumping on the country music awards bandwagon with the inaugural kudocast of the American Country Awards set for Dec. 6. As Andrew Wallenstein and Shirley Halperin report, "ACA will attempt to differentiate itself from the other shows by having the fans vote for the winners. The executive producer of the program is Bob Bain,who runs the Teen Choice Awards, another viewer-driven awards show for Fox. After years of decline, there seems to be renewed faith in awards shows given the resurgence of several key franchises, including the Grammys, which rocketed to 26.6 million viewers this year, up more than 7 million from 2009." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

• The fourth film from theater visionary Julie Taymor -- a re-imagining of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" -- will close the 67th edition of the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 11 and will also be the Centerpiece selection for this year’s New York Film Festival, unspooling in Manhattan on Oct. 2. The picture stars Oscar champ Helen Mirren ("The Queen") as Prospera, a gender-bending take on the character of Prospero, a sorcerer marooned on an island with his daughter. The film features another Oscar winner -- Chris Cooper ("Adaptation") -- as well as Russell Brand, Alan Cumming, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn and Ben Whishaw. In making the announcement, NYFF selection chairman Richard Pena said, "Julie Taymor is one of the boldest, most innovative artists working in American theater and film, and her elegant adaptation of 'The Tempest' is a perfect illustration of her unique artistry." NYFF

Mad-men-logo-300x159 • "Mad Men" may have won over the Emmy Awards but it is striking out with ad agencies. As Brian Steinberg writes, "airings of 'Mad Men' took in only $1.98 million in ad revenue in 2009, according to Kantar Media. In 2008, the show nabbed just less than $2.8 million, and in 2007, approximately $2.25 million. These are paltry amounts when one considers that a 30-second ad in an equally buzzy program such as '24' on Fox cost between $200,000 and $280,000 as the show, off its peak, headed into its final season." However, as Brian notes, "while ad dollars placed against 'Mad Men' may be small, AMC's use of the program can help it win more revenue from other sources. Since 'Mad Men' arrived, the amount AMC gets paid by cable and satellite operators per subscriber has increased to 24 cents from 22 cents, according to SNL Kagan. Before the show debuted, that fee had declined to 21 cents in 2006 from 22 cents in 2005. The channel is available in more than 95 million homes." AD AGE

• The red-hot Betty White is guesting on the season opener of the sophomore season of "Community." David Kronke visited the set to see "America's favorite octogenarian, who plays a deeply eccentric anthropology professor named Jane Bauer." She tangles with Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) in a smackdown that required the use of a stuntwoman at one point. And, as David reports, "White, the usual sugar in her voice, asks her, 'Honey, will you do me a favor?' The stunt double, as awed as the rest of the cast and crew by the iconic White, replies, 'Anything for you.' White says flatly, 'Don't screw up,' delivering her improvised joke for the sole benefit of those in attendance with the same élan as she does her punchlines in appearances seen by millions." TV GUIDE

• Although Will Arnett was at the TCA Monday touting his new Fox sitcom "Running Wilde," he found time to talk about his last series with Fox, the much-missed "Arrested Development," which won the Emmy for best comedy series for the first of its three seasons in 2004. Arnett told TheWrap that a film version of the caustic comedy is "definitely happening" and "that he'd spoken with other principals in the project over the weekend. 'We just had a meeting about it yesterday morning,' Arnett said. 'Timing we're still working on, but it's definitely going to happen.' " THE WRAP

Photos, from top: George Clooney on the "Hope for Haiti" telethon. Credit: MTV; "Modern Family" first season poster. Credit: ABC; "Mad Men" logo. Credit: AMC

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George Clooney to receive special Emmy

July 21, 2010 | 10:07 am

George Clooney will receive a special Emmy Award during the primetime telecast on Aug. 29. He'll be handed the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award to acknowledge his extensive charity work.

Notes the TV academy's press release: "Whether it is his advocacy to stop genocide in Darfur, his subsequent founding of Not On Our Watch with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub to focus global attention and resources on preventing mass atrocities, or quickly mobilizing the entertainment industry for the 'America: A Tribute to Heroes' in the wake of 9/11, 'Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope' in 2005, and most recently, the 'Hope For Haiti Now' telethon, Clooney’s personal dedication to humanitarian concerns makes him the ideal choice for this recognition." The "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, which Clooney hosted, is nominated for best variety special at the Emmys.

Previous recipients of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award include Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and Danny Thomas.

George-clooney-hope-for-haiti-now

Photo: MTV

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Gold Derby nuggets: Kathy Griffin's naked ambition | Paul McCartney serenades Michelle Obama | George Clooney just one of the guys

June 3, 2010 |  2:39 pm

Kathy Griffin Emmy Awards Consideration Ad • Two-time Emmy champ Kathy Griffin is a savvy campaigner for TV's top honor. In Thursday's print edition of the Hollywood Reporter, she displays her considerable talents in a "For Your Consideration" ad. Griffin poses in a cheesecake shot reminiscent of 1950s pin-up Bettie Page. The copy touts her three Emmy hopes -- best reality program ("My Life on the D-List"), best variety music or comedy special ("Balls of Steel") and guest actress in a drama series ("Law & Order: SVU"). She also heralds her work in a category that has yet to get Emmy recognition -- a YouTube sex video -- and in the ad copy says, "They don't give out an Emmy for best airbrushing but if they did, I'd totally win." Griffin has won two of her four bids for best reality show (2007, 2008) but lost both of her races for best variety special. "SVU" has proven to be a gold mine for guest actresses with four of them winning the Emmy and another 10 contending.

• "The New Adventures of Old Christine" was canceled by CBS on May 18, and Mike Ausiello delivers the scoop that ABC will not be picking up the series after all. The alphabet net was said to be interested in the laffer in years past when it was on the bubble for renewal. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series for the show's 13-episode first season run in 2006 and has contended for each of the following three full seasons. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Erik Pipenburg has crafted an interactive report on the four Tony Awards nominees for best sound design of a play -- Adam Cork ("Enron," "Red"), Acme Sound Partners ("Fences") and Scott Lehrer ("A View From the Bridge") -- including interviews and audio excerpts of their work. ARTS BEAT

Paul McCartney Barack Obama Gershwin PrizeSir Paul McCartney wowed at the White House Wednesday during the presentation to him of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. As Nancy Benac reports, "Stevie Wonder had the Obamas clapping to 'We Can Work It Out.' The Jonas Brothers did 'Baby You Can Drive My Car.' Corinne Bailey Rae slowed things down with 'Blackbird.' And Faith Hill stroked 'Long and Winding Road.'" However, "it was McCartney himself who brought down the house by belting out 'Michelle,' aiming his words straight at a first lady named Michelle. He said he'd been 'itching' to perform it at the White House, and asked the president's forgiveness in advance. The first lady was soon mouthing the words along with McCartney and the president was swaying in his seat." The evening will air on PBS July 28 as part of the "In Performance at the White House" series. AP

• Tony-winning writer-director Arthur Laurents ("La Cage aux Folles") has honored his late partner of 52 years Tom Hatcher by creating a new award for emerging playwrights in both their names. The prize will be given annually with $50,000 going to the creator of a full-length play of social relevance and an additional $100,000 to the non-profit theater that stages its premiere. PLAYBILL

Guys Choice Awards 2010John Consoli has an extensive rundown of the bold-faced names appearing on the fourth annual Guys Choice Awards airing on Spike TV on Father's Day (June 20). Among those attending the June 5 taping in L.A. are nominees George ClooneyLeBron James, Kiefer Sutherland and  Scarlett Johansson. Winners of the 14 awards will be decided by an online vote. THE WRAP

Upper photo: Kathy Griffin "For Your Consideration" ad. Credit: THR

Middle photo: Paul McCartney and President Obama at the White House. Credit: Andrew Harrer/EPA/Pool.

Lower photo: Guys Choice Awards logo. Credit: Spike TV.

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Glee' gives back | Tonys a no-go for Conan O'Brien | 'Avatar' rules Empire awards | 'Lost' finale finds big bucks

March 30, 2010 |  7:00 am

Glee_logo • "Glee" fans who can't wait for the return of the freshman hit to Fox on April 13 can see the show a few days early at "Glee" charity screenings in nine cities nationwide. Monies raised from the preview of the 14th episode of the Golden Globe-winning musical comedy series will support the school music program run by the Grammys foundation.

• Oscars co-host Steve Martin told Sandy Cohen he wasn't nervous the second time around on the stage of the Kodak Theater because he has been performing live so much as of late. The musical Martin has been strumming the banjo out on tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers. AP

• Add comic-book star to the list of achievements for daytime and prime-time Emmy champ Ellen DeGeneres. The one-time Oscar host is featured in a series of comics from Bluewater Productions that salute women of power. Previous installments of the series have spotlighted politicos Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi as well as TV legends Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey.

• Reporting on Sunday's American Cinematheque fete for Matt Damon, Josh Duboff notes, "It was more like a Comedy Central roast than a stuffy Hollywood ceremony." Among those skewering Damon were his best bud and Oscar-winning screenplay collaborator Ben Affleck ("Good Will Hunting"), that film's acting Oscar champ,  Robin Williams, and Oscar winners George Clooney, Clint Eastwood and Charlize Theron. The ceremony will air on ABC sometime in the coming months. NEW YORK

Tony Award • CBS offered Conan O'Brien the hosting gig at the upcoming Tony Awards, but the onetime NBC star declined. Reports are that O'Brien had agreed to forego appearing on TV until Sept. 1 when the peacock net paid him nearly $45 million after he was yanked from "The Tonight Show" just seven months into his contract. However, O'Brien is still going legit as he hits the road beginning April 12 with the 30-city tour of the aptly titled "The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour." GOSSIP COP

• Two contenders for this year's Tony Awards are shuttering on Sunday, well in advance of the June 13 ceremony. The first rialto revival of the 1960 Tony-winning play "The Miracle Worker," starring Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine") and Tony nominee Alison Pill ("The Lieutenant of Inishmore), opened to mixed reviews March 3. And the musical melange "All About Me" with Tony champ Dame Edna Everage ("The Royal Tour") and cabaret darling Michael Feinstein never found its footing after debuting March 18 to middling notices. These unexpected theater vacancies may well be filled by other shows rushing into town before the April 29 cutoff for Tony eligibility.

• Investing in a Broadway show is not for the fainthearted so the news that the musical "Next to Normal" has recouped its $4-million budget is indeed welcome. The tuner, about a woman battling bipolar disorder, won star Alice Ripley the lead actress award at last year's Tonys, bested "Billy Elliot" for score and tied with that show for orchestrations as well. Composer Tom Kitt credits the performance by the cast on the kudoscast with making the difference between profit and loss. "It seemed that our performance in a national forum that night created a new interest in the show." NEW YORK TIMES

Avatar Poster • On Sunday, "Avatar" picked up three awards, including best picture, from the U.K. film magazine Empire. James Cameron, who took the best director prize, attended the ceremony at London's Grosvenor House and said in his acceptance speech (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) that, "clearly the Empire magazine readership is more discerning than the British or American academies." No doubt Cameron was especially pleased that the film's performance-capture star Zoe Saldana won best actress. Supporting actor Oscar champ Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") went home with the best actor award. EMPIRE

• 1996 supporting actress Oscar champ Juliette Binoche ("The English Patient") has a starring role on the official poster of the Cannes film festival, set to unspool for the 63rd time beginning May 12 for a dozen days along the Croisette.

Rachel Weisz -- the 2005 supporting actress Oscar winner for "The Constant Gardener" -- may be battling James Bond in the 23rd installment of the long-running movie franchise. Weisz, who appears opposite Bond star Daniel Craig in the upcoming "Dream House," has joked in the past about being a Bond girl. But the plan is to have her star as the head of Quantum, the evil organization that has beset Bond in the last two movies. CINEMA BLEND

• Last year, Tim Allen reunited with the cast of "Home Improvement" to receive the Fan Favorite prize at the TV Land Awards. On April 17, he will host the eighth edition of these kudos at Sony Studios, with the festivities airing on the cable net on April 25. Among the already announced recipients are "Everybody Loves Raymond" (Impact award), "Glee" (Future Classic award) and, appropriately enough, the Legend award to both Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. And Farrah Fawcett -- who was left out of the "In Memoriam" segment of the Oscars -- will be paid tribute by her "Charlie's Angels" costars.

Lost_Logo • The 2005 Emmy-winning best drama series "Lost" signs off for good on May 23, and the alphabet net is reportedly looking for $900,000 -- that is four times the usual rate -- for a 30-second spot on the two-hour finale. Although that would make it the most expensive ad buy for a series this season, it is a real bargain next to the $2.3 million that some advertisers paid to NBC for spots on the finale of "Friends" in 2004. No word yet on what Fox will charge for the two-hour series finale of the 2006 Emmy-winning best drama series -- "24" -- when it airs the following night. AD AGE

• Add Adam Lambert to the list of bold-faced names topped by Tom Ford appearing at the L.A. celebration of the 21st annual GLAAD Media Awards on April 17. Constance McMillen, the Mississippi teenager whose high school canceled the prom rather than allow Constance and her girlfriend to attend, will present the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Wanda Sykes. GLAAD

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First photo: "Glee" logo. Credit: Fox

Second photo: Tony Award statue. Credit: American Theater Wing

Third photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Fourth photo: "Lost" logo. Credit: ABC

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George Clooney cast his Oscar vote for Jeff Bridges -- really!

March 23, 2010 |  8:00 am
George Clooney Oscars news

During Oscar weekend, George Clooney ("Up in the Air') told pals and journalists that he had voted for Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") for best actor. We hear lots of that during Oscarmania — many nominees striving to appear humble by insisting that they personally support a rival's work. But should we believe them?

Notorious prankster George Clooney wasn't kidding.

"Clooney punched his ballot for Jeff Bridges -- and then photographed it and sent it to his fellow nominee," reports the New York Post. Said Clooney's publicist, Stan Rosenfield: "Story is true. According to George, 'It was an amazing performance.' He also told Jeff, 'If you don't win, you can't blame me.' "

Of course, there's something a bit fishy about this report. Oscar ballots aren't punched. They're marked with pen. Maybe the Post reporter was confused … or else George voted while in the state of Florida.

Photo: Paramount

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Oscar predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete (the cliffhanger rematch)

March 5, 2010 | 10:58 pm

Over the years, my Envelope colleague and good friend Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season) has trounced me now and then at Academy Award predictions, but I've had a nice run lately. I beat him last year. Most recently, when predicting Oscar nominees, I edged him out. Has my luck finally run its course? Will Pete rally? Usually we disagree in just two or three categories, but this year we clash in seven contests. Who do you think has the most correct Oscar predictions?

Watch videos of me and Pete dishing the Oscars' bias against sci-fi films like "Avatar" and the question of whether or not Sandra Bullock really deserves to win best actress for "The Blind Side."


Oscars academy awards news

BEST PICTURE: "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom), "The Hurt Locker" (Pete)
BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'Nique, "Precious" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Up In The Air" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom, Pete)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Avatar" (Tom Pete)
BEST ART DIRECTION: "Avatar" (Tom, Pete)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: "The Young Victoria" (Tom, Pete)
BEST FILM EDITING: "The Hurt Locker" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SOUND MIXING: "Avatar" (Pete), "The Hurt Locker" (Tom)
BEST SOUND EDITING: "Avatar" (Pete), "The Hurt Locker" (Tom)
BEST MUSIC SCORE: "Up" (Pete, Tom)
BEST SONG: "Weary Kind," "Crazy Heart" (Tom, Pete)
BEST MAKEUP: "Star Trek" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: "Avatar" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "The Cove" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province" (Tom), "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" (Pete)
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "The White Ribbon" (Tom), "The Secret in Their Eyes" (Pete)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: "Up"
BEST  ANIMATED SHORT: "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Tom), "Logorama" (Pete)
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: "Kavi" (Tom), "The New Tenants" (Pete)

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

Illustration by Tom O'Neil

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

March 5, 2010 |  3:07 pm

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpMelena Ryzik reviews the road to the Oscars noting that, "first, the move to 10 nominees produced its own wave of critics, armchair and industry insider alike, who grumbled that the expansion would dilute the value of being noticed; or that there should have been a companion doubling of best director nominees; or that the Academy couldn’t come up with 10 good movies, period. This griping largely stopped when the best picture nominees were revealed, and the Academy did exactly what it was supposed to do, pull in unexpected and popular titles like 'The Blind Side,' 'District 9' and 'Up.'" THE CARPETBAGGER

• In his thorough preview, Scott Bowles says, "Leave it to Oscar to pile on the drama. For starters, you have ex-spouses as competing directors vying for the same short metal trophy. Then there's the David and Goliath thing as the biggest film of all time squares off against one of the most obscure for best picture. Oh, and the voting rules have changed, along with the number of contestants. Don't feel bad if you can't recall all 10 movies in line for best picture at Sunday night's Academy Awards. This season, Oscar looks nothing like his old self. That's the point." USA TODAY

Cathy Yan profiles four first-time filmmakers -- Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart"), Neill Blomkamp ("District 9"), Oren Moverman ("The Messenger"), and Mark Webb ("(500) Days of Summer") -- who hit the jackpot as their debuts are in contention at the Oscars. WALL STREET JOURNAL

• Wondering "whatever happened to the Oscars sweep," Tom Shone discovers, "the Academy has always liked to spread the wealth, of course, but this fragmentation testifies to a deeper economic shift in the movie industry. There are blockbusters and there are low-budget indies, but gone is the middle-class movie that used to provide the Academy with its prize winners: middle-brow, mid-priced “prestige” pics like 'Driving Miss Daisy,' 'Amadeus,' and 'Dances With Wolves,' films that hymned the moral efficacy of a single individual. As one Disney producer recently remarked, 'Everything in the middle is toast.' This year, for instance, the typical Oscar movie was Clint Eastwood’s 'Invictus.' which had barely finished shooting before it had been tagged and handicapped for Oscar glory, solely on the basis of its subject (Nelson Mandela) and its genre (Sports Underdog Movie). In fact, it turned out to be an undernourished piece of work, and though it grabbed two acting nominations, it was boxed out of Best Picture and Director by the gritty Iraq war drama 'The Hurt Locker,' which cost just $16 million, and James Cameron’s special-effects epic 'Avatar,' which cost upwards of $300 million: the indie and the blockbuster, exactly the two types of movie Spielberg predicted would inherit the earth." NEW YORK

Oscars Steve Martin Alec Baldwin • Says Bill Gorman, "considering the Academy Awards viewership peak was the last time James Cameron made a movie ('Titanic' also the top grossing of all time, at the time), I’d be stunned if we didn’t see an increase in the ratings this year. Forty million average viewers would not surprise me at all, but above 45 million would." TV BY THE NUMBERS

• After chatting with the Oscarcast producers Steve Pond reports, "So far, the Academy has announced the names of 31 presenters, one of whom, Sacha Baron Cohen, has since dropped out. Most years, that would constitute most of the lineup -- but this year, a staffer says that the roster of presenters has been expanded from the usual 40-50 to about 70. With 24 categories, along with the 10 Best Picture clips, a mid-show dance number and other assorted film packages, that means we’ll undoubtedly see very few solo presenters, lots of couples, and some larger groups." THE ODDS

• Veteran Oscarologist Jack Mathews thinks, "If the Academy hopes to ever get its TV Oscar ratings back up, it will have do something more dramatic than having Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner present awards. It needs to move the show up, way up, to mid-January, at least. That would create chaos among other organizations and awards schedules, but so what? All the earlier awards -- whether given by critics, industry guilds or fan clubs like the National Board of Review -- are parasites that draw the blood out of Oscar's body long before it's ready for its close-up. So here we are, two days before the Big Night, talking about awards that have been decided for weeks, if not months." MOVIEFONE

Susan Wloszczyna along with Damien Bona, Steve Pond, and yours truly consider the fates of 10 previous Oscar winners. Among them, "the prom king and queen" Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, "missing in action" Helen Hunt and Joe Pesci, and "history makers" Halle Berry and Denzel Washington. USA TODAY

Dave Karger says, "In the fifth of my series of six OscarWatch TV installments (and the final episode before this Sunday’s ceremony), Missy Schwartz and I tackle the two races that have the most people talking this year: Best Picture and Best Actress." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Emmy Awards EmmysRick Porter reports NBC will air the Emmys live coast-to-coast for the first time in more than three decades. "NBC aired the Golden Globes live across the country this year and had some success with it; ratings were up by about 10 percent over the 2009 awards. The Emmys are scheduled for Aug. 29 -- earlier than usual so as not to interfere with NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' broadcasts, which will kick off in September." ZAP2IT

• Attention, Emmy police: You really need to pay more attention to the illegal sale of statuettes on the Web just like the Oscars, who are ruthless enforcers. While Oscar statuettes won after 1950 cannot be legally sold, the Emmys bestowed all the way up till the late 1970s are fair game. After that, no dice. That's when winners started to sign affidavits promising they wouldn't sell out. However, every year dozens of illegal Emmy statuettes are sold on line. Like this one currently at Ebay: best costume design, "General Hospital" (1997-1998). Lucky for the TV academies, it's priced ridiculously high ($15,000). Its actual market value is about one-tenth of that price, so it's not likely to sell for the asking price. EBAY

Michael Adams makes merry with 1966's "The Oscar," which he deftly describes as, "that filmic fondue, a cauldron of cheese cooked up by director Russell Rouse, writer Harlan Ellison, stars Stephen Boyd and Tony Bennett, and a who’s who of Hollywood donating cameos." MOVIELINE

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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

Get drunk, win Oscar

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: 82nd annual Academy Awards poster. Credit:ABC

Bottom photo: Emmy Awards statues. Credit: ATAS

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

March 4, 2010 |  2:10 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Sandy Cohen reports, "Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are bridging stage and screen with an advanced, automated set at the Kodak Theatre and a super high-tech program planned for TV viewers. After days of technical tests on their stage setup, Shankman and Mechanic moved into the Kodak Theatre Wednesday, where they're seeing their whole show come to life in person and on screen. 'Today's the first day we're up fully running,' Mechanic says. 'We had three days of tech and now it's camera...' 'Camera, scripting, scenic transition, we're camera-blocking some stuff,' Shankman says, finishing his partner's sentence. 'This is probably as technically advanced a show as you've ever seen or as you will have ever seen,' Mechanic says. 'But what I really like about it, and yes that's true,' Shankman says. 'But on the monitors it actually looks much more simple in a weird way. It's elegant and it is more advanced but it's actually very focused and very simple.' " AP

• Half a dozen Oscar nominees have the added pressure of presenting on Sunday's big show. Two of the six already have Oscars on their shelves. Both supporting-actor contender Matt Damon ("Invictus") and writer-director Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds") won original-screenplay Oscars, Tarantino in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction" and Damon three years later for "Good Will Hunting." Five-time nominee Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is the favorite in the lead-actor race this year, as is first-time nominee Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") in the lead-actress race. Also presenting are first-time nominees Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air"). AMPAS

Oscar nominee Lee Daniels ("Precious") tells Donna Freydkin that "work has been a welcome distraction from the madness of awards season. 'Simultaneously I'm working on a pilot for HBO. It pulls me away from having to think about the Oscars. It's God's way of pulling me away.' Daniels is very busy prepping the feature film 'Selma' about the civil rights struggle and says, 'I have to really start casting the movie because we're shooting it soon. The only person I've nailed in for sure is Hugh Jackman. It's all over the place.' " USA TODAY

James Cameron Avatar OscarsCristina Gibson says, "At least one person wouldn't mind an 'Avatar' Academy Awards this Sunday. James Cameron. The Oscar-nominated director told me this exclusively tonight at the Global Green party at Avalon. Cameron said he wasn't aware that a proposed 'Avatar' sketch involving Ben Stiller and Sacha Baron Cohen had been cut from the show, presumably to avoid upsetting the director. 'I don't know anything about that. ... I don't produce the Oscars. If they want to poke fun at 'Avatar' Sunday, that's OK by me,' said Cameron, 'I'm sure we'll laugh.' " E ONLINE

• The second edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Oscars Special" on ABC -- which paired up Oscar champs and nominees like Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball") and Penelope Cruz ("Nine") as well as James Cameron and his "Avatar" cast for intimate conversations with narration by Winfrey -- was a bust in the ratings Wednesday, down 19% from the recently canceled "Ugly Betty" in the time slot. THE LIVE FEED

• Had Winfrey worked the late-night circuit like Barbara Walters has been doing in advance of her final Oscar-night special, she might have reaped more ratings points. Walters did the top 10 on Wednesday's "Late Show With David Letterman" and then dropped by "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" to dish on her decision to stop these gabfests after 29 years.

• As Zachary Pincus-Roth discovers, "In recent years, a number of Oscar-nominated performances have involved some form of low-talking, be it mumbling, muttering, slurring, or a lack of volume, either because of the actor's choice or the requirements of the role. It's not that they're completely unintelligible -- it's that on the spectrum that runs from Laurence Olivier in 'Richard III' to the Olsen twins in 'Full House,' they're a few standard deviations toward the latter. Every year, there are at least one or two acting nominees who are in this category, and this year it's Jeff Bridges and the tight-lipped Gabourey Sidibe in 'Precious.' Last year, it was Frank Langella's gravelly former president in 'Frost/Nixon' and Robert Downey, Jr.'s white actor pretending to be black in 'Tropic Thunder.' Recent low-talking winners include Tim Robbins in 'Mystic River,' Javier Bardem in 'No Country for Old Men,' Renée Zellweger in 'Cold Mountain,' Benicio Del Toro in 'Traffic,' and Jamie Foxx in "Ray.'" THE DAILY BEAST

Sandra Bullock • In a fascinating read, Michael Cieply writes, "When the estimated salaries of all 10 of the top acting nominees are combined, the total is only a little larger than the $20 million that went to Julia Roberts for her appearance in 'Erin Brockovich,' a best-picture nominee in 2001, or to Russell Crowe for 'Master and Commander,' nominated in 2004." As Michael reports, "the fashionable deal now is called 'CB zero.' It stands for “cash-break zero,” and refers to an arrangement under which the star or filmmaker begins collecting a share of profits after the studio has reached the break-even point. Such deals can be extremely lucrative when they give stars a substantial share in home-video revenue. So Sandra Bullock, who cut her usual $10 million fee to just $5 million for 'The Blind Side,' another of this year’s nominees, will eventually make $20 million or more from the movie because it was a hit. Mr. Clooney similarly stands to make additional millions when all the revenue from 'Up in the Air' is finally counted." NEW YORK TIMES

• Everyone can predict the winners in at least a couple of the Oscar races this year -- supporting actor and actress for a start. But getting them all wrong -- that takes talent. Sasha Stone is running a contest looking for someone to score 0 out of 24. But be warned for, as Sasha writes, " It is a lot harder than you might think.  My friend Ed is the one who does this every year, and despite his best intentions, last year he actually got a few right." AWARDS DAILY

• That sassy Tariq Khan is not content just to be aces at predicting the Oscars; now he wants to be part of the action and has offered up some jokes for your consideration. As he writes, "Hosting the Oscars is no easy task. Just ask David Letterman. (Remember the “Uma …Oprah” bit?) Keeping the show moving and the audience laughing for as long as four hours requires a lot of humor. But not just any humor -- OSCAR humor. To help out this year’s co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, Fox411 has come up with some award-worthy jokes. We think they’re pretty funny and bet that the Academy (and Oscar audience) will, too. So Steve and Alec -- please feel free to read, laugh and lift from the list below. And if you use any of them, maybe you can give 411 a little plug. That’s not too complicated, is it?" FOX 411

OTHER POSTS:

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

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

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Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: James Cameron on the set of "Avatar." Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Credit: Warners

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ABC '20/20' Oscar TV special: 'Before They Were Famous'

March 1, 2010 |  8:04 pm

ABC 20 20 Oscars Academy Awards

Tune in to ABC  "20/20" Tuesday night at 10 p.m. PT/ ET for its special one-hour show focused on revealing the humble, human backstories of the Oscar nominees before they entered Hollywood's pantheon. Included in "Before They Were Famous" are fun things like George Clooney's dad showing old home movies plus commentary from Oscar wags like me.

Photo: ABC

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