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

Category: Harvey Weinstein

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars not moving ... in 2012 | Clint Eastwood on 'Hereafter' | Matthew Weiner teases 'Mad Men' finale

October 14, 2010 |  4:43 pm

• Looks like the Oscars won't be moving up to January after all as per the following statement: "The Academy’s Board of Governors has determined that the date of the 84th Academy Awards in 2012 will not be significantly earlier than the now-traditional last Sunday in February. A different date still remains a possibility in subsequent years, and the Academy’s staff and Board will continue to evaluate the advantages and challenges associated with such a change."

Anne Thompson analyzes the list of the 65 films contending for the foreign language Oscar and notes, "Per usual, Sony Pictures Classics boasts four entries this year: 'Incendies,' 'Of Gods and Men,' 'In a Better World' and 'Life, Above All,' so many in fact that co-president Tom Bernard was hard-pressed to name them all. Most years, at least one SPC film winds up being nominated, so I’m putting all four on my lead contenders list." Anne rounds out her top 10 with a half-dozen others, including "Biutiful" and "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

• And Bilge Ebiri handicaps the documentary feature Oscar race with the following expected to make the top five: "Client 9," "Inside Job," "A Piece of Work," "The Tillman Story" and "Waiting for Superman." VULTURE

Clint Eastwood Cecile de France HereafterAnthony Breznican gets the taciturn Clint Eastwood to talk and finds that, "The real Eastwood is quick with a wisecrack, though strangers tend to see only the intimidating visage, not the amiable sense of humor. And he doesn't pretend to have every answer." As Anthony notes, "If anything, his best movies tend to be about irresolvable questions: 'Unforgiven' (1992), about whether violence can ever be justified, or 'Million Dollar Baby' (2004), which explored the pain of how a life should be allowed to end. 'Hereafter' is similar territory." Says Eastwood, "I'm not necessarily trying to find if there is a hereafter. I don't know. I go by proof. If somebody said, 'Do you believe in purgatory and heaven and all that kind of stuff?' I say that's to be proven. But I'm willing to be proven anything." USA TODAY

Dave Karger reports, "A week after the MPAA branded its domestic drama 'Blue Valentine' with an NC-17 rating, the Weinstein Company has decided to appeal the decision and hope for an R without any trims to the film." As Dave notes, "The NC-17 would limit the film’s audience and its Oscar chances. The question is whether the notoriously stubborn MPAA will budge." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Lou Lumenick reveals, "Two Oscar hopefuls have had their December theatrical debuts cancelled after they were tepidly received at last month's film festivals. The Weinstein Co. yanked Julian Schnabel's 'Miral' from a Dec. 3 limited opening and will dump, er, release this decades-spanning drama improbably starring India's Freida Pinto as a Palestinian in March. Meanwhile the Weinsteins' former associates at Disney have pulled the plug on plans to release John ('Shakespeare in Love') Madden's 'The Debt,'' a remake of an Israeli film with Helen Mirren as a guilt-stricken Mossad agent, on Dec. 29. NEW YORK POST

Jeff Wells pens a love letter to Rosamund Pike who has supporting roles in "Made in Dagenham" and "Barney's Version." Says Jeff, "People are going to have to sit down and see these films and realize on their own that Pike is the best thing about both, and then do and say something about that." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• And Peter Knegt points out 10 other performances that could get overlooked in this year's awards derby. Among them "Ghost Writer" adversaries Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor and "Another Year" best friends Jim Broadbent and Peter Wight. INDIE WIRE

• As Joel Keller admits, "I had been trying to pin down an interview with Matthew Weiner since before the fourth season of the show ('Mad Men') began, and we finally were able to sit down and discuss the season earlier this week. What follows is a long, but pretty extensive, overview of season four, and while Weiner doesn't give any details about this Sunday's season finale, he does hope that 'people will see the finale and understand the journey that they went on for the season.'" TV SQUAD

Maureen Dowd uses the upcoming release of "Fair Game" to revisit the real-life controversy seven years on. For Dowd, "The movie makes clear that Plame was not merely 'a secretary' or 'mediocre agent' at the agency, as partisan critics charged at the time, but a respected undercover spy tracking Iraqi W.M.D. efforts." NEW YORK TIMES

John Lopez kicks off the "Little Gold Men" column with an in-depth look at the state of the Oscar race to date. VANITY FAIR

Photo: Clint Eastwood on the set of "Hereafter" with Cecile de France. Photo credit: Warner Bros.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Danny DeVito accepts kudo for Michael Douglas | Justin Timberlake botches Oscar hopes?

October 5, 2010 | 10:13 am

Danny DeVito collected the Golden Icon Award at the Zurich Film Festival on behalf of his pal Michael Douglas, who undergoes treatment for throat cancer. He told the crowd on Sunday night: "Michael is so strong. He gets better and better with every movie he makes. So that's why I tell him to work more." DeVito and Douglas costarred in "Romancing the Stone" and "Jewel of the Nile." DIGITAL SPY

Tyler Perry For Colored Girls

Anne Thompson doesn't believe Lionsgate's marketing campaign for Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls" bolsters its Oscar hopes because it fails to feature the likenesses of stars Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton and past Oscar winner and ceremony host Whoopi Goldberg. THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily and Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere post their second podcast featuring their state-of-the-derby thoughts. AWARDS DAILY

Scott Feinberg has compiled an impressive and exhaustive list of the Twitter accounts of top Oscar contenders and bloggers too. SCOTT FEINBERG

• That naughty Vulture Lane Brown at New York Magazine fuels the old rivalry between producers Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin, who now compete for the best-picture Oscar with "The King's Speech" and "The Social Network." He compiles a photo essay suggesting dastardly ways Harvey can campaign against "The Social Network," including running Justin Timberlake The Social Network "For Your Consideration" ads pushing Justin Timberlake for supporting actor in his next release — goofy animated feature "Yogi Bear." VULTURE

• Speaking of Justin Timberlake and New York Magazine, Mark Harris interviews the pop star in the publication's current issue, asking him how he prepared for portraying Napster founder Sean Parker in "The Social Network." Apparently he didn't bother taking inspiration from the real person. Does that give Oscar voters permission to dismiss his screen turn as not being a serious performance? "I didn't really feel a responsibility to play that person," Justin says. NEW YORK

Top photo: "For Colored Girls" (Lionsgate)

Bottom photo: "The Social Network" (Columbia)

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'The King's Speech' reigns among Oscar contenders

September 7, 2010 |  6:42 am
The kings speech colin firth news

Summing up the big buzz at the Telluride Film Festival, the Hollywood Reporter noted that "the prevailing wisdom was that the event had launched yet another serious Oscar contender in the British royalty drama 'The King's Speech.'"

"Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are sure-thing nominees" for best lead and supporting actor as Britain's stammering monarch George VI and his speech therapist, reports Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood). "The film itself is a strong Best Picture prospect to say the least. Harvey [Weinstein] is back in the Oscar game with this one, no doubt."

IndieWire's Tim Appelo reports, "The big worship winner and potential Oscar magnet I’ve seen so far at Telluride 2010 is the world premiere of [director] Tom Hooper's 'The King’s Speech.'"

L.A. Times scribe John Horn (24 Frames) hails the film as "so affecting" and interviews the filmmakers.

Photo: Colin Firth in "The King's Speech" Credit: Weinstein Co.

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Harvey's stealth Oscar contender: 'The Concert'

July 30, 2010 |  3:55 pm
The Concert Oscars-1

Publicly, the movie that the Weinstein Co. is pushing hard for the best picture Oscar is "The King's Speech," which stars Colin Firth as Britain's King George VI trying to overcome a nervous stammer. But that notoriously sneaky Harvey Weinstein has a stealth contender aiming for the same top Academy Award — "The Concert," about a conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra who was fired 30 years ago for hiring Jewish musicians. Now a janitor, he plots to replace the Bolshoi with his ragtag musical team that includes a virtuoso violinist (Melanie Laurent, who would probably have been nominated for supporting actress at the Oscars for "Inglourious Basterds" if she hadn't been campaigned too ambitiously in lead).

"The Concert" opens today in Los Angeles and New York theaters where Oscar voters will be admitted free by showing their academy membership card.

One glitch: "The Concert" is in French, but Harvey has put foreign-language fare in the best-picture race in the past — "Il Postino" (1994) and "Life Is Beautiful" (1997). Now that there are double the number of nominee slots, it may be easier for one to squeeze in. The last foreign-lingo flick to bag a bid for best pic was "Letters From Iwo Jima" (2006).

"The Concert" is already a proven award winner. At the most recent Cesar Awards, it was nominated for six prizes, including best picture and director. It lost to "A Prophet" in those races, but triumphed in two crafts contests (music, sound).

Photo: Weinstein Co.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Emmys updates | Tonys telecast details | 'Glee' has Emmys covered

June 9, 2010 |  4:27 pm

Emmy Awards statue • Just before airing the 62nd edition of the Emmy Awards live nationwide on Aug. 29, NBC will feature a one-hour red carpet special hosted by Billy Bush and Maria Menounos who appear on the NBC-produced "Access Hollywood." They will be joined by Nate Berkus whose self-titled talker debuts in Sept. including on many of the NBC O&O stations.

• In a first, NBC is trying to reach Emmy voters shopping at three Los Angeles branches of Bloomingdales with displays showcasing their potential nominees. As Nellie Andreeva reports, "each is themed after a UMS-produced primetime series in contention for Emmy nominations, with the mannequins dressed like characters from the series in settings and situations reminiscent of the shows. UMS' costume designers dressed the mannequins with clothes from the Bloomingdales’ collections, and the studio’s visual artists created a scene representative of each show (for example: in the 'Parks and Rec' display, a parks and rec worker in a hard hat is planting a tree while two colleagues sit on a park bench.)" DEADLINE

Bob Sassone profiles five actors and four shows that he would like to see earn Emmy nominations. Among these are two past supporting champs — "Lost" foes Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson — as well as potential lead actor nominees Timothy Olyphant ("Justified") and Zachary Levi ("Chuck"). For Bob, the comedy series category should include "Chuck," "Cougar Town," The Middle" and "Party Down." TV SQUAD

Tony Awards stauteSean Hayes says he won't use his forum as Tony Awards host to talk about the recent controversy caused by Newsweek columnist Ramin Setoodeh who slammed him for playing straight in the rialto revival of the 1968 tuner "Promises, Promises." As well as emceeing these top theater kudos, the Emmy champ for "Will & Grace" is a contender in the lead actor race. He told reporters Wednesday, "he'll keep the Tonys moving along quickly so folks in the audience and at home will be entertained. He was short on specifics, though he did say he and (co-star Kristin) Chenoweth will appear together during the CBS show." SHOW TRACKER

• Add the following bold-faced names to the roster of talent appearing on Sunday's Tony Awards: Paula Abdul, Katie Holmes, Angela Lansbury, Daniel Radcliffe, Mark Sanchez, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Stanley Tucci. The kudocast will air in 45 countries spread across four continents.

• Our great pal Lou Lumenick reports, "Harvey Weinstein apparently smells Oscar potential in 'Miral,' the new film from "Diving Bell and the Butterfly'' director Julian Schnabel. A news release says the embattled mogul 'personally acquired' the French-financed film, starring Freida Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave in a fact-based story of a Jerusalem orphanage founded in 1948. Release before the end of the year is promised and the film is expected to premiere at the Venice and/or Toronto film festivals. NY POST

Patrick Healy has the details on the upcoming first rialto revival of the 1980 Tony-winning musical "Evita." Argentinian Elena Rogers will portray the fiery Eva Peron in this Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice tuner while Ricky Martin will play Che Guevera. Both parts won their Broadway originators — Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin — Tony Awards. Rogers contended for the Olivier in 2006 for the West End version of this remounting and won that award last year for her performance in "Piaf." ARTS BEAT

Glee Emmy Awards • Four of the stars of "Glee" — Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Matthew Morrison — are featured on the cover of the TV academy's magazine. Inside the aptly-titled publication, Lynch — who is a leading contender in the supporting race — talks about her character Sue Sylvester: "There’s a real person beneath the bravado who wants to be accepted and loved although she would never show that. In her narcissistic view of the world, everything’s about one-upping and victory. I had an acting teacher in college we called the Dragon Lady. She taught through shame and humiliation, and when she walked down the hall, people would part like the Red Sea.”

Tina Jordan has good news for "Glee" fans suffering from withdrawal without their weekly fix. "Little, Brown has multiple book projects in the works for its 'Glee' program; the first will be an original novel called 'Glee: The Beginning.' This prequel to the show, which includes a double-sided poster, will hit stores this August." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Top photo: Emmy Awards statue. Credit: ATAS.

Middle photo: Tony Awards statue. Credit: American Theater Wing.

Bottom photo: Cast of "Glee" on the cover of Emmy magazine. Credit: ATAS.

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Pundits pipe in: 'Yes, "Inglourious Basterds" can pull off an Oscar upset'; 'No, "Basterds" will not win best picture'

February 17, 2010 |  2:41 pm

Gold Derby asked other Oscarologists if they think "Inglourious Basterds" can pull off an upset for best picture over "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar," as I believe will happen and Jack Mathews (Moviefone) says is quite possible. Read our overview here. Below, a few immediate responses. See more in this separate post.

PETE HAMMOND, NOTES ON A SEASON, THE ENVELOPE: Yes, "Inglourious Basterds" can pull off an upset because of the preferential voting and, interestingly enough, "The Hurt Locker" campaign team seems more concerned about "Basterds" than "Avatar." That's the vibe I've gotten over the past week. "The Hurt Locker" is the front-runner, but Harvey's done it before and there's something to the Oscar theory that the movie that wins the SAG ensemble award can pull off an upset like "Shakespeare in Love" and "Crash." There's also something to the fact that, if "The Hurt Locker" wins, it will be the lowest-grossing movie ever to do so.

Oscars best picture upset 2

SUSAN WLOSZCZYNA, USA TODAY: I still think "The Hurt Locker" will win best picture. It affected me like few others this year. But I also believe that if any film has a chance to pull an upset, it's going to be "Basterds" and not "Avatar." For one, it amuses me to have a misspelled title winning best picture. For another, I keep hearing people say how much they like it -- more than I did when it opened last summer. The fact that the ensemble won the SAG honor was impressive too. It bugged me that, like all Quentin Tarantino flicks, it was much more talk than action and what action there was usually involved a knife slicing into a head. But actors love those Tarantino monologues that often turn into career builders -- which is the case with Christoph Waltz.  Will he be the first acting winner in history to speak German, Italian, French and English in one movie?

And with the preferential voting, it could frequently be a No. 2 or 3 choice on ballots. Which might give it a boost over a film that would get more top spots.

So, yes, it could happen. But I just don't think so. Plus, "Shakespeare in Love" peaked right as the Oscars were happening while "Saving Private Ryan" was a summer release. Now people are playing catch-up with "The Hurt Locker" on DVD and video on demand. Whereas many more moviegoers saw "Basterds" when it came out in the summer. 

Ultimately, if either film won, I would be happy and either way it will make for a very cool moment on the telecast.

STEVE POND, THE ODDS, THE WRAP: I know that it's foolish to underestimate Harvey.  That said, I think his theory that the preferential ballot is going to propel "Basterds" to victory is no more feasible than your last scenario, in which the film was going to sweep to Oscar glory on the heels of a DGA win for Tarantino. 

I don't buy the idea that the actors branch is a monolithic group that's going to go for "Basterds" en masse.  And I think the preferential system will help "Hurt Locker" more than it'll help "Basterds," which is hardly a consensus kind of movie. 

I'm sticking with "Hurt Locker."

SASHA STONE, AWARDSDAILY: Well, let's put it this way.  If there weren't preferential balloting, "Inglourious Basterds" wouldn't really have a shot. Nonpreferential balloting might mean an "Avatar" win, like "Chicago" or "Gladiator" -- a robust best picture moneymaker that had acting wins but not director or writer.  But with the preferential balloting, "Basterds" has a better chance at winning. In looking over academy history, "Precious," "Up in the Air" and "Basterds" all have a better chance than "Avatar," since no film has won best pic since the early '30s that didn't have a corresponding writing and/or acting nomination.  "Avatar" has neither.

The way I look at it is that there might be a three-way split. Figuring out which of the three will draw votes from the front-runner could be your winner in a preferential balloting system.  But first you have to figure out why they wouldn't vote for the one that currently has all of the heat, because a vote for any other film counts as an anti-vote. So you have to figure out those reasons first. "I just didn't like it."  "It didn't make enough money." Or, more likely, "I liked this other one better."

So if "Basterds" is the kind of film that "Avatar" voters choose instead, that could give it the edge over "The Hurt Locker."  But I also see that there are eight other nominees pulling votes from "Basterds" and from the front-runner. I personally believe that "The Hurt Locker" is the best film of the three and therefore will win because of that reason rather than any sort of political reason, historical reason or economic reason. Like "The Departed" and "No Country" and "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Hurt Locker" is the perfect balance of great writing, directing and acting -- there isn't a weak link anywhere to be found.

So you have to ask yourself: Why would "The Hurt Locker" lose?  It could lose because people are sick of it winning everything, and it could lose because of the money. Mainly, the money is what prevents people from believing it is as strong a front-runner as "No Country for Old Men" or "Slumdog Millionaire." I don't know if voters look at their ballot and think, "Oh, I loved 'The Hurt Locker' but it didn't make any money so I'll vote for this one that did."  I'm not sure they think that way.  I have always believed that they vote with their heart. 

Whatever you come up with as the main reason "The Hurt Locker" will lose, balance that up against the thrill of seeing history be made at last at the Oscars (a la "The Departed" with Scorsese finally winning).  If a film is strong enough to overcome "The Hurt Locker" being the best movie, and its historic relevance that will be your winner.  I personally think "Precious" and "The Blind Side" are bigger threats than "Inglourious Basterds" because they are weepies. And we know the academy loves them some weepies.

Still, I feel like they could name any movie at the end and I wouldn't be too surprised.   I can actually picture Jack Nicholson standing there and reading any of the titles, from "Avatar" to "Inglourious Basterds" to "Precious" to "The Hurt Locker."  I can honestly say I have no idea what film will win.

JEFF WELLS, HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE: I'll always be in awe of Harvey Weinstein's chutzpah, but "Inglourious Basterds" isn't going to win the best picture Oscar. How do I know this? I don't, not for certain. In fact, I don't know …. But I do know that the season has been dragging on and that entertainment journalists are getting bored and need to come up with scenarios that allow for some variation of the c.w. -- i.e., the winner will be either "Avatar" or "The Hurt Locker."

I'm also sensing that the Movie Godz, the aspirational angels of our nature, are feeling a wee bit antsy as we speak and have taken to hovering like Bruno Ganz and Otto Sander in "Wings of Desire" and intimating/whispering "don't...don't do this...not the baseball-bat movie ... think of how you'll feel the next morning ….

When O'Neil predicted a "Basterds" win last November I wrote, "Trust me -- it'll never happen." This morning he notes that "Mathews is saying it really might happen and I still say it will." I'm fine with all this crap. The fever dream of a three-way race is better than an either-or. Without it things would be fairly flat, and we still have 2 1/2 weeks to go.

Read more – Jeff's full post here.


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

More pundits dish: Can 'Inglourious Basterds' pull off an Oscar upset for best picture?

Gold Derby fends off nuclear response to our 'Inglourious Basterds' prediction

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

February 17, 2010 | 10:17 am

The Academy Awards never go according to script. Although most Oscarologists say that "The Hurt Locker" or "Avatar" will win best picture, they may be underestimating that sneaky dark horse poised to pull off a classic derby upset: "Inglourious Basterds."

Yes, "The Hurt Locker" has the most momentum and buzz right now and appears to be the front-runner – with "Avatar" close enough behind to dash ahead in the homestretch. But "Basterds" is within striking distance too and, I believe, will strike.

Oscars Academy Awards news upset prediction 2

"We're going to win best picture," vows its executive producer, veteran Oscar grabber Harvey Weinstein, whose former studio Miramax won best pic twice ("Chicago" in 2002, "Shakespeare in Love" in 1998) when it was part of Disney. Now that Harvey is out on his own with the Weinstein Co., he's hellbent to have his shingle do it again, although technically he won't win a statuette himself. That'll go to producer Lawrence Bender if "Basterds" does prevail. Harvey got a taste of victory last year with Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader" being nommed for best pic and winning best actress for Kate Winslet. But now he tells my Envelope colleague Pete Hammond that "Basterds" will nail it: "We are going for it and we are gonna get it."

As Pete's article points out, Harvey's mounting a full-throttle blitzkrieg across Hollywood. Last week Gold Derby caught agent Ari Emanuel rallying Quentin Tarantino's pals at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills. Meantime, out in Manhattan, New York magazine's Vulture blog spied Quentin and Harvey huddling with Oscar voters "in the fantastically opulent Upper East Side townhouse of director/rich person" Katharina Otto-Bernstein "to pretend they were only sort of campaigning for Oscars."

One of Harvey's best picture victories, "Shakespeare in Love," was a jaw-dropper pulled off after it won the ensemble prize at the Screen Actors Guild, the same award "Crash" nabbed before usurping the best picture trophy in 2005. At the most recent SAG Awards, that ensemble award was snagged by "Inglourious Basterds."

One of the most respected Oscarologists on the planet, Jack Mathews -- former film critic of the New York Daily News who now writes for Moviefone -- believes that "Basterds" has a real shot to win: "A very good case can be made for its ability to pull off a 'Shakespeare'-size upset. It received just one less nomination than 'Avatar' and 'The Hurt Locker' and it has received them in all of the pertinent categories -- picture, directing, acting, screenplay and film editing. It also did well at the box office, selling $120.5 million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada and $193 million overseas. Academy voters don't always reward the biggest commercial success, which is 'Avatar;' nor are they known for throwing gold in the direction of box office bombs, which is 'The Hurt Locker.' Compared to those extremes, 'Basterds' may have just the right mix of good filmmaking and commercial appeal."

Other notable Oscarologists like Hammond believe a "Basterds" upset is possible too. Susan Wloszcyzyna of USA Today says, "If any film has a chance to pull an upset (over 'The Hurt Locker'), it's going to be 'Basterds' and not 'Avatar.'" See Gold Derby's roundups of diverse opinions about a possible "Basterds" upset from many major Oscar pundits here and here.

"Basterds" also has something else in its favor that often decides what wins best picture: a famous person behind it who's overdue for Oscar glory.

Former Variety editor Peter Bart has a brilliant Oscar theory we should all carve on tablets to be doled out from mountaintops. He says that movies that win best picture almost always have a recognizable person behind them that we wish to give an Oscar. "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) and "Unforgiven" (1992) won, for example, because Hollywood wanted to hug Clint Eastwood. No one -- let's be honest -- thought that "The Departed" was the best picture of 2006. It prevailed because Hollywood wanted to give an overdue best picture hug to Marty Scorsese. Even though "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) was under fierce media attack for sugarcoating the oft-sordid story of its real-life protagonist, it still won because Hollywood was determined to catch up with Ron Howard.

Of the key people behind the three current best picture leaders, there's less urgency to reward James Cameron since his "Titanic" swept in the past, tying "Ben-Hur's" record (11 wins). But he's not completely out of the running considering that Eastwood's films won twice. However, "Avatar" may be cursed because no sci-fi flick has ever claimed the top Oscar.

If so, then best picture is a race between Kathryn Bigelow and Tarantino. Early tea leaves say Bigelow should win because she claimed top honors from two prizes that often mirror Oscar's outcome: the producers' and directors' guilds. In fact, PGA's voting method mirrored Oscar's exactly using a preferential ballot with 10 nominees and "The Hurt Locker" won. Doesn't that guarantee that it'll win best picture at the Oscars too?

No. This year the main focus is chiefly on Bigelow. She's a glamorous, even heroic filmmaker -- a sexy person to vote for in many ways. At PGA and DGA there was only one category for voters to embrace her. However, at the Oscars, there are two -- best picture and director -- and that's the key difference. Voters will certainly give Bigelow the Oscar for best director and, once they've checked off that list, they may wish to go elsewhere with their best picture vote. Maybe to that other notable person who's overdue for Oscar glory: Tarantino.

In 1932-43, when the Oscars expanded their best picture race to more than five nominees, the winner didn't agree with best director five times (42%) out of 12 derbies. Over the last decade, the director and picture races were out of sync three out of 10 races (30%).

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Inglorious Basterds' rallies | Oscars updates | Vanessa Redgrave BAFTA honoree

February 11, 2010 |  3:39 pm

Inglorious Basterds posterRoger Friedman reports, "the combined ages of the Hollywood elite who celebrated Quentin Tarantino’s 'Inglourious Basterds' for lunch on Wednesday was about a thousand. Famed B-movie director Roger Corman, 95-year-old legend Norman Lloyd (Dr. Auschlander from 'St. Elsewhere') and Oscar winner Martin Landau hosted the lunch at the equally old and similarly robust Musso and Frank in Hollywood. The event was sponsored by Insignia Productions’ Ranee Bartolacci and organized by Tarantino fan Norah Lawlor of Lawlor Media in New York. The other guests were people who know their Oscar movies: Cloris Leachman, Ron Howard, Jacqueline Bissett, plus Karen Black, John Milius, Tom Skerritt, Irwin Winkler, JoBeth Williams, Michael Nouri, Ron Perlman, Wayne Kramer, Bruce Davison, Frank Capra Jr, Ron Yerxa, Jon Voight, and the ever popular Norby Walters." SHOWBIZ 411

• And warns Pete Hammond, "Don't tell Harvey Weinstein it's a two-horse race and his movie isn't one of those ponies. 'We're going to win best picture. This is the movie people love and it's Quentin's time. We are going for it and we are gonna get it,' Weinstein told me Tuesday night at carmaker Audi's celebration of the eight Oscar nominations for 'Inglourious Basterds.' 'Look, best director may be a question -- and you can quote me on that -- but we won the SAG award for best ensemble, actors are the biggest branch in the academy and they love the movie.' Perhaps he's using 'Crash' as an inspiration, which in 2004 was able to stop the tide of precursor awards for "Brokeback Mountain" by upsetting at SAG." NOTES ON A SEASON

Sandra Bullock sat down for an in-depth conversation with Charlie Rose for his public TV talk show. In this compelling 30-minute interview, Bullock discusses the surprising success of "The Blind Side," her thoughts on her first Oscar nomination, and her admiration for category rival Meryl Streep. PBS

Dave Karger intros the second of six video chats thus: "Missy Schwartz and I take a closer look at the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress races. Is Sandra Bullock the most brilliant Oscar campaigner ever? Can anyone really challenge Mo'Nique for the win?" ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air Up • Reporting on the revamped Oscars, Andrew Hampp writes, "Janet Weiss, the Academy's director of marketing, wanted to embrace the unique format of this year's telecast in all of the awards show's marketing, thus the tagline, 'You've never seen Oscar like this.' The controversial expansion of the Best Picture slot was the initial impetus behind the decision." To that end, the academy streamed the nomination announcement live online for the first time and has both a Facebook page and an upcoming iPhone app. "For a really conservative organization, we're trying to push the envelope into new media and new strategies," Ms. Weiss said. "We're giving people a peek behind the curtain, and hopefully they'll see the Oscars is more relevant for them today." ADVERTISING AGE

• Indeed, after keeping the presenters a secret till the Oscars aired last year, this year the academy is hyping the bold-faced names who will be appearing. First up are the three living winners of last year's acting Oscars: leads Sean Penn ("Milk") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader") and supporting champ Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona"). Tradition has been that each of the previous year's winners presents the Oscar the following year across gender lines in their category. Cruz was expected to be at the Oscars anyway as she is a nominee for "Nine." 

• A report suggests Alec Baldwin's ex-wife Oscar champ Kim Basinger ("L.A. Confidential") could have been behind the media circus that sprung up following his late night visit to the emergency room Thursday. "Basinger, the buddy said, is jealous that Baldwin is co-hosting the Academy Awards next month and is using their daughter, Ireland, to rain on his parade. 'She's not not going to let that go by,' the pal said." NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

• While AMC is running a movie marathon of the best picture nominees nationwide, Melena Ryzik says "New Yorkers with a more pointed interest in this year’s race can check out the IFC Theater’s “Bigelow vs. Cameron” midnight series, starting Feb. 26, in which the formerly married directors and current Oscar contenders trade weekend screenings,. 'Can Bigelow’s Angela Bassett in 'Strange Days' take down femme action icon Sigourney Weaver in Cameron’s 'Aliens'?,' the news release asks. 'And will Cameron’s uber-80s juggernaut 'The Terminator' survive the indie rabbit punch of Bigelow’s redneck bloodsuckers in 'Near Dark'?' Seems like a fair fight." THE CARPETBAGGER

Vanessa Redgrave BAFTAVanessa Redgrave is to be feted with a Fellowship -- the BAFTA equivalent of an honorary Oscar -- at the awardsfest on Feb. 21 in London. In making the announcement, David Parfitt, Chair of the Academy said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be awarding the fellowship to Vanessa. She is a hugely talented and respected actress who has served as an inspiration to the British film industry." And said Vanessa Redgrave: "I’m truly delighted, it’s such an honour to be recognised in this way. Looking through the list of past recipients shows what a wonderful accolade this is, and the fact that Alfred Hitchcock was the very first recipient makes it even more special, as my father (Michael Redgrave) made his first film with him." BAFTA

• MTV is moving the VMAs (Kanye) westward this year and the 27th annual edition of the awards will air live from Los Angeles on Sunday Sept. 12. And the 19th airing of the MTV movie kudos is now set for Sunday June 6 from the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal City. As per the announcement, "Emmy Award winner Mark Burnett returns for the fourth year in a row to executive produce the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, where movie megastars will vie for the golden popcorn in award categories as only MTV could create them including Best Kiss, Best Fight” and Best Comedic Performance. For the second time in Movie Awards history, the final 2010 nominees in addition to the winners, will be decided by the MTV fans."

Top photo: "Inglorious Basterds" poster. Credit: The Weinstein Co. 

Middle photo: Academy Awards statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Vanessa Redgrave. Credit: BAFTA


Mo'Nique's and Christoph Waltz's amazing — and very rare — awards sweep

Gold Derby nuggets: Grammys & Super Bowl boost record sales | Oscars best picture race staying at 10

Oscar voters: Check your mailbox

Poll: Do you love or hate the Oscars' official new poster?

Oscar experts battle over who'll win best original screenplay

Quiz: Who won two consecutive Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars to get instant engraving | A salute to Sandra Bullock | Time up for '24'?

Oscar experts agree: Jeff Bridges will win best actor

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Why didn't Kate Winslet thank Harvey Weinstein on Oscars night?

February 25, 2009 | 11:32 am

Of all people Kate Winslet should've thanked from the Oscars podium as she finally — after five previous losses — clutched that elusive statuette, Harvey Weinstein should've been first. That Happy Oscar Warrior took enormous abuse for daring to cram "The Reader" into this year's derby while Winslet also competed with "Revolutionary Road," directed by her hubby, Sam Mendes. A producer of both films, Scott Rudin ("The New Harvey," some wags call him after he won best picture last year for "No Country for Old Men") was so irked that he took his name off the credits of "The Reader."


Winslet not only snubbed poor Harvey in her acceptance speech, but she didn't redress the omission in comments she made backstage to the press. Or later. After she exited the Oscar ceremony, she told the London Daily Telegraph, referring to her speech, "I remembered everybody."

Does that mean she intentionally snubbed Harvey at the Oscars? Rumor has it that she was furious with him for challenging her bid for "Revolutionary Road." Trying to negotiate the clash, the Weinstein Co. campaigned her "Reader" role in supporting, where she won at the Golden Globes and SAG, but Oscar voters weren't fooled into buying that second-tier status. They promoted her "Reader" performance to lead and — oops — thereby snubbed that other role entirely. After all, they had to choose between one or the other. Actors are only permitted to be nominated once per category (not true for directors and writers, for some crazy reason).

But Winslet's rep Heidi Slan tells Gold Derby, "I am sure this was an oversight considering she thanked him at SAG and BAFTA."

Granted, Winslet's been a bit flustered of late, so it's likely these snubs weren't intentional. She even confessed to Time magazine that she suffered a panic attack a month before the Oscars.

"I didn't know what it was. It was a little like when your water [breaks]. ... I called my sister and said, 'I can't breathe, and I feel like I've got a brick on my chest and I'm seeing funny, and it sounds like everyone's talking to me in Hebrew.' She said, 'Yeah, that's a panic attack.'"

Later, when she finally held the Oscar, she wouldn't let it out of her grasp, even bringing it along when she appeared on Oprah's chat show the next day.

Strangely, she then suddenly hid it from view. When she landed at JFK airport in New York, photographers asked her to show it. Nope, she said, "I have to show my kids before I show anybody else!"

Photo: Mark Boster, L.A. Times


Cheers and boos for the Oscars show

Journos clash over sizing up the Oscarcast

Oscars TV ratings bounce back with Hugh Jackman as host

Can Woody Allen earn 'Slumdog Millionaire' star Freida Pinto an Oscar?

'Slumdog Millionaire' looked like a strong Oscars filly right out of the gate

In Memoriam: Oscars' winners and nominees

Sean Penn is the ninth actor to win two lead Oscars

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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Shrewd DVD strategies paid off for Oscar nominees

January 22, 2009 |  2:35 pm

So how did Melissa Leo pull off that underdog Oscar nomination for best actress? Perhaps it was because "Frozen River" was the first DVD screener shipped to academy members back in late September.

Such an early-out-of-the-gate strategy certainly helped "Little Miss Sunshine" in the 2006 derby, resulting in four Oscar nominations, including a bid for best picture. "Sunshine" reaped two wins: best supporting actor (Alan Arkin) and original screenplay (Michael Arndt).


Other films that did well in past derbies, like "Juno" and "Hustle and Flow," arrived early in the mailboxes of Oscar voters too. This year that strategy might have helped best actor nominee Richard Jenkins and a certain best picture contender since "The Visitor" and "Slumdog Millionaire" were among the first dozen DVDs to get into Oscar voters' hands. The screeners didn't arrive until around Nov. 15-20, but that was still before the blizzard of other DVDs buried Oscar voters closer to Yuletide.

That shrewd Oscar campaigner Harvey Weinstein — who's finally back in the derby in a big way after splitting with Miramax back in 2005 — tried things both ways this year,  sending out "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" early (Oct. 24) and "The Reader" late (Dec. 16-18). While getting out early has its obvious advantages, Harvey has told me that he thinks it's sometimes a good idea to be the last movie seen, too. Thus the film is fresher on the minds of voters. Late DVD shipment worked well for his past films like "Iris" (best supporting actor, Jim Broadbent).

Below is Gold Derby's exclusive list of when DVD screeners were received by all 5,800 Oscar voters.


DEC. 23 -- "Australia "

DEC. 22 -- "In Bruges"

DEC. 19-22 — "Seven Pounds"

DEC. 16-18 — "The Reader," "Tale of Despereaux"

DEC. 13-15 — "Revolutionary Road," "Gran Torino," "Good," "Bolt," "Defiance," "Mamma Mia!"

Continue reading »

Golden Globe nominations: Pundits' reax and predix scores too!

December 11, 2008 | 10:35 pm

• While comparing the Golden Globe nominations with the Critics' Choice bids announced a few days ago, Pete Hammond sees a curious parallel between "Milk" getting skunked at the Golden Globes and what happened last year to "Into the Wild."


• Check out the pundit videos Pete and I did riffing with Elizabeth Snead immediately after the noms were announced. They're down on the right side of The Envelope's home page.

Scott Feinberg does a fine job at Feinberg Files putting perspective on the Golden Globe nominations, but I disagree with him about "In Bruges" pulling off big surprises in the comedy/musical races. I predicted that it would.

• By the way, speaking of predix, here's how various pundits scored trying to out-guess the Globes. Just counting the same categories we all guessed in tandem, I scored 23, Scott nailed 20. Nathaniel Rogers scored 21 at TheFilmExperience. Guy Lodge beat us all at (24). Congrats, Guy! For the complete list of nominees, CLICK HERE!

• Over at Kris Tapley and Guy Lodge clash while sizing up Tom Cruise's nomination for "Tropic Thunder." Guy calls it "goofy," Kris calls it one of the best Globe calls.

Sasha Stone likes the nominations of Brad Pitt, Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet at


• New York Times Carpetbagger David Carr believes in the Harvey Weinstein conspiracy to explain how "The Reader" got so many noms. No, no, David — not this time anyway. Believe it or not, voters really like the movie. I've heard that directly from many HFPA members. EW's Dave Karger heard the same buzz.

• Over at, Jeff Wells wonders about such Harvey conspiracy thoughts, but acknowledges that "many critics and smartypants-types" were probably too quick to dismiss the kudos chances of "The Reader" earlier.

• Uh, oh! That Hollywood Reporter wag, Gold Rusher T.L. Stanley, is risking her neck with some bold (?) prophecies: "There are a number of foregone conclusions in the nods today, namely, 'Gomorra' in the best foreign language category, Heath Ledger as best supporting actor for 'The Dark Knight' and Penelope Cruz for best supporting actress in 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona.' "

• At, Anne Thompson writes, "Athough the Globes saw fit to only recognize Sean Penn's performance in Gus Van Sant's very American and very political Milk (which won best film from the New York Film Critics Circle), that should not hurt its overall awards chances."

• Hang tough, Lou! New York Post's Lou Lumenick acknowledges that he "received some criticism on other blogs for supposedly revealing 'spoilers' in our year-end wrap-up" at the NYFCC voting, but, come on, other journos before Lou did the same for decades in Gotham's newspaper pages dating back to the group's launch in 1935. Plowing through those ancient reports on microfilm for many days and weeks at the New York Public Library was how I was able to document past scores and voter battles while compiling my book "Movie Awards." In recent years that tattle's lapsed a bit and I've had to resort to snooping via telephone calls to various members for such reports here at Gold Derby, but I'm happy that this ballot reportage is now back out in the open, as it should be. Huzzahs to Lou!



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