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

Category: Inglourious Basterds

Gold Derby nuggets: Banned 'Hurt Locker' producer's Oscars speech | Stone & Hammond on 'Avatar' loss | Alec Baldwin on Oscars gig

March 9, 2010 |  2:29 pm

The Hurt Locker posterEugene Hernandez does a crackerjack job reporting on how banned "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier spent Oscar Sunday. He was feted by 300 people gathered at the Malibu home of reality TV/film producer Mike Fleiss,  who co-hosted with WME Global chief Graham Taylor and his producer wife Lynnette Howell ("Half Nelson"). As Eugene writes, "The crowd was clearly biased in favor of 'The Hurt Locker' and when the movie won the final award of the night, an uproar was unleashed. Chartier silenced the crowd to listen to the televised speeches and then stepped onto a footstool for his own acceptance. Someone handed him a small plastic statue that looked a bit like an Oscar." Eugene's thorough report also includes video of the "acceptance" speech, including this soundbite: "It’s about the movies. This is what we live for, to tell stories, to make people laugh and cry. To entertain and sometimes to make art." INDIE WIRE

• As Steve Krakauer reports, documentary short Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams ("Music for Prudence" got interrupted again on "Larry King Live" Monday night. After a brief interview in which he spoke about the film's producer -- Elinor Burkett -- who cut short his acceptance onstage at the Oscars Sunday, Williams was to give his complete speech but time ran out and he was pre-empted, this time by "Anderson Cooper 360."  MEDIAITE

David Letterman made merry with this "Kanye" moment on Monday's "Late Show." As Steve Itzkoff writes, "Mr. Letterman was performing a set of jokes about the unending Oscars telecast when he, too, was halted by a protester who demanded, 'Let the woman talk!' "  Video of these hijinks is included in the write-up. NEW YORK TIMES

Steven Zeitchik fills us in on what we can expect next from this year's crop of Oscar champs. Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is shooting "True Grit" while Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") has "Green Hornet," in the can with both films due out in December. Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") has nothing lined up and Mo'Nique is busy with her BET talker. Two-time winner Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") turned down the Spider-Man reboot and "her next project will likely be her reteaming with Mark Boal on 'Triple Frontier.' The Paramount film is an adventure story set on the border of several South American counties." 24 FRAMES

Avatar PosterSasha Stone weighs in on why "Avatar" lost the best picture race at the Oscars. As Sasha says, "why not be happy with what 'Avatar' is, not what it isn’t. It isn’t an Oscar movie, not with that screenplay. It only had to be a little better, a little less cliched.  A little less 'Pocahontas' and 'Dances with Wolves' and a little more innovative in terms of STORY, not just in terms of effects. Most of the members of the Academy are actors, writers and directors. Is it that much of a surprise that they would pick A) the film that moved them the most, and B) the film they wanted to make the most?  How many of them really want their future to be wrapped up in 3-D technology, motion-capture actors?" AWARDS DAILY

• For Pete Hammond, "If ever there was a question in my mind as to why 'Avatar' probably had no realistic chance of taking the best picture Academy Award, it was answered at the Oscars viewing party, "Night Of 100 Stars," I covered Sunday night at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was the actors branch, dummy. With 1,205 members, three times as many as any other peer group in the academy, they are collectively a powerful voice and if you don't have them behind you, your best- picture chances are slim." NOTES ON A SEASON

• "Up in the Air" was shut out of Sunday's Oscars, despite six nominations including a best picture bid. One of the deleted scenes from the film has been released by Paramount to promote Tuesday's DVD release. In the scene, the inveterate traveler played by best actor nominee George Clooney dreams of wandering home in an astronaut suit as Ricky Nelson singing "Lonesome Town" plays in the background. ZAP2IT

Emma Rosenblum talks to the Emmy-winning Sherri Shepherd ("The View") about her gig Sunday as one of three hosts of the frenetic 30-minute Oscars pre-show. Reveals Sherri, "I love Taylor Lautner, but I couldn't ask him too many questions. We had a lot of red tape and protocol from ABC, and they told me I couldn't ask Taylor about the 'Twilight' sequel or his body. And I said, 'Then what am I going to talk to him about?!' He's a big boy, he could handle it." NEW YORK

Oscars Steve Martin Alec Baldwin • Oscars co-host Alec Baldwin penned a post with his thoughts on the gig. "Hosting the show is an odd experience because you're out there, but it isn't about you. Steve Martin and I worked rather hard, along with the writers and producers, to make sure our contribution did not detract from the primary purpose of the evening, honoring the highest achievements in film. We tell some jokes and show some clips, but the night belongs to the great talent in that room." HUFFINGTON POST

Brian Moylan solves 10 mysteries of the Oscars, including this one: "Why the hell was there street dancing at the Oscars?" As Brian writes, "a troupe of television dancers were given the stage to do strange hip-hop contortions to the classically-influenced music of the Best Score nominees. We solved how it happened -- director Adam Shankman who is a choreographer and TV dance show host -- but we will forever be asking why. Why, why, why?" GAWKER

• And if you are still in need of an Oscars fix, surf over to the telecast's official website for clips from the red carpet, backstage and VIP room, as well as speeches from the winners into the "thank you" cam. Best actor champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") had so many people to thank that his speech is split up into five parts. OSCARS

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

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: 82nd Academy Awards poster. Credit: ABC

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Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

March 8, 2010 | 11:57 am

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars 82nd Academy Awards "The Hurt Locker" won a leading six Oscars, including best picture and best director for Kathryn Bigelow. The Iraq war drama also picked up prizes for original screenplay, editing, sound mixing and sound editing. As is often the case at the Oscars, many of these wins followed up on equivalent kudos from the respective guilds, largely because the two sets of awards share many of the same voters.

But the scale is hugely different. There are, for example, 1,240 members of the academy's acting branch but more than 100,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild. The academy includes 374 directors while the vast majority of the 13,000 helmers who belong to the DGA create TV shows, commercials and music videos instead of feature films.

"The Hurt Locker" won with the Producers Guild of America,
helmer Kathryn Bigelow won with the Directors Guild of America,
scripter Mark Boal won with the Writers Guild of America,
cutters Chris Innis and Bob Murawski won with the American Cinema Editors, and
sound mixers Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckettwon with the Cinema Audio Society.

Among the four Oscar acting winners, the supporting  champs -- Christoph Waltz("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious") -- had taken virtually every precursor prize leading up to Sunday night, including from the Screen Actors Guild.

Oscars_guild_awards

Lead actor winner Jeff Bridges("Crazy Heart") likewise had a good run, winning with the Screen Actors Guild, as well as with the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits, L.A. critics and Critics Choice. Bridges lost the National Board of Review and New York film critics prizes to George Clooney

Lead actress champ Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") also won with the Screen Actors Guild as well as the Golden Globes and tied with Meryl Streep at the Critics Choice. Streep also won the Golden Globe (comedy) and the New York film critics prize.

There is no music guild that bestows equivalent kudos, but "Up" composer Michael Giacchinodid win with the Golden Globes and BAFTA as well with the IFCMA. The theme from "Crazy Heart" -- "The Weary Kind" -- won the Golden Globe for best song.

Continue reading »

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

March 7, 2010 |  9:38 pm

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars 82nd Annual Academy Awards The 82nd Academy Awards followed the script set down by pundits, as the front-runners for all of the major Oscars won Sunday night. "The Hurt Locker" led with six Oscars, including best picture and best director for Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win this award. The Iraq war drama also picked up prizes for original screenplay (Mark Boal), editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

"Avatar" went into the night tied with "The Hurt Locker" with a leading nine nominations but had to settle for three Oscars for art direction, cinematography and visual effects (and a $2.4-billion and counting box-office take). See a complete list of all Oscar winners here.

Lead actor went to Jeff Bridges, a four-time also-ran at the Oscars, who finally won for his performance as a down-and-out country singer in "Crazy Heart." The theme song for that film, "The Weary Kind," won best original song for Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.

First-time nominee Sandra Bullock won lead actress for best picture nominee "The Blind Side," edging out, among others, Meryl Streep, who was contending for a record 13th time in this category. The lead acting nominees were introduced by performers with whom they have a connection before last year's winners, Sean Penn ("Milk") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader"), bestowed the Oscars. Last year, each of the four acting categories was handled by five past winners who each spoke about one of the nominees.

It was no surprise that the Academy Awards for supporting actor and actress went to Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious"). The pair had picked up all of the precursor awards going into the Oscars. Waltz's win represented the only Oscar for that best picture nominee, which had eight nominations in total while "Precious" -- which had six nominations, including a best picture bid -- also won adapted screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher

The animated feature race was won by best picture nominee "Up," which edged out Gotham and L.A. critics choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" among others. "Up" became the fifth Pixar picture -- after "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "Wall-E" -- to win this category since it was introduced in 2001. "Up" also won best score.

Of the 10 best picture nominees, four were completely shut out -- "District 9" (with four noms), "An Education" (three noms), "A Serious Man" (two nominations) and "Up in the Air" (six). 

"El Secreto de Sus Ojos" became the second feature from Argentina to win best foreign-language film, and "The Cove" won the documentary feature Oscar. For her costume design for "The Young Victoria," Sandy Powell took home her third Oscar, following wins for "Shakespeare in Love" and "The Aviator." "Star Trek" won for makeup.

Continue reading »

Complete list of Oscar winners

March 7, 2010 |  9:19 pm

Here's a full list of the winners at the 82nd Academy Awards, which were bestowed Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The Oscars ceremony was telecast on ABC, hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

Oscars 3 Academy Awards winners news

BEST PICTURE: "The Hurt Locker"
LEAD ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
LEAD ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'Nique, "Precious"
DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
ANIMATED FEATURE: "Up"
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" (Argentina)
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "The Hurt Locker," Mark Boal
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Precious," Geoffrey Fletcher
ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE: "Up," Michael Giacchino
SONG: "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart"

Continue reading »

Who'll win the Oscars and WHY -- category per category (even those pesky shorts)

March 7, 2010 | 10:55 am

BEST PICTURE
"The Hurt Locker" seems to have the most No. 1 votes in this Oscars derby, followed by "Avatar," but, remember, a preferential ballot is being used that requires voters to rank Academy Award choices. Just as both films have strong advocates, they both have many detractors who gave those pix low ranking on their ballots. Most voters have "Inglourious Basterds" ranked in the top three. Upset? If I were betting a ranch, I'd put it on "Hurt Locker," but since I'm merely wagering my professional reputation, I'm sticking with "Basterds."

Oscars 2 Academy Awards news

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") can't lose because he's got everything going for him. He is an overdue veteran (four past losses) and plays drunk. Oscar voters are suckers for that. Think Nicolas Cage ("Leaving Las Vegas") or, in terms of recent upset, James Coburn ("Affliction").

BEST ACTRESS
Most pundits say Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") will win easily, but that's not what you hear when dishing with academy members. Their votes are split all over the place. Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious") are really in this race. Many voters don't believe that Bullock's performance is really Oscar-worthy in the film, so that makes her vulnerable, but I still think she'll prevail. Heck, no one really thought Reese Witherspoon gave the best performance of the year in "Walk the Line" (she was really a supporting player giving a rather passive performance), but she won anyway. Bullock's already won the Golden Globe and SAG Award. With rare exceptions like Julie Christie ("Away From Her") and Lauren Bacall ("The Mirror Has Two Faces"), that almost always equals Oscar victory.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR AND ACTRESS
Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious") have won everything and are thus unstoppable. Only once in modern history has a star won every major precursor award, then failed to nab the Oscar: Michelle Pfeiffer ("Fabulous Baker Boys") was stopped by Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy").

BEST DIRECTOR
Even if "Avatar" or "Inglourious Basterds" wins best picture, Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") will still prevail here because Oscar is ashamed that he's never given this prize to a woman.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
"Up" looms above all rivals because it's the only nominee here also in the running for best picture, a rare accomplishment.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Close race between "The White Ribbon" (Germany), "The Secret in Their Eyes" (Argentina) and "A Prophet" (France). "Ribbon" won Cannes' Palme d'Or, which is usually the kiss of death in this race, but it has the snooty art-house appeal that the other nominees don't. We hear that "Secret" played best among academy members who attended the screenings in L.A. and New York -- it generated the most buzz in the lobby afterward -- but it's a crime thriller that may seem too much like a TV episode of "C.S.I." "Prophet" is a violent mafia flick a lot like "Gomorrah," which many pundits thought would win last year, but it didn't even get nominated. So I'm picking recent Golden Globe champ "White Ribbon" because of its pretentiousness and snob appeal.

BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
Quentin Tarantino won this for "Pulp Fiction" and should claim this again, but not if there's a "Hurt Locker" juggernaut. My prediction is that Tarantino will prevail, but sweeps can be powerful things at the Oscars.

Continue reading »

Poll: What film will win best picture at the Oscars?

March 7, 2010 | 10:22 am

For the first time since 1943, there are 10 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards. Although "The Hurt Locker" has been the front-runner for the last several weeks, in the closing days of voting, the war drama faced attack on three fronts: 1) issues of accuracy, 2.) for perhaps being too accurate (an army sergeant claims the movie rips off his own story) and 3.) because its producer was banned from the ceremony for breaking campaign rules.

Traditionally, most voters completed their Oscar ballots as soon as they arrived. However, this year -- with the introduction of the preferential method for determining the best picture winner -- more than 1,500 out of 5,800 ballots remained outstanding in the final week, and more than 500 were submitted on the deadline day (Tuesday).

That late Oscar voting may help "Inglourious Basterds," which got a post-noms push from Quentin Tarantino's pals, who threw him bashes on both coasts to rally support. Most Oscar voters I've dished with say they ranked "Basterds" in one of their top three slots. That's not true of "Avatar," which has lots of No. 1-ranked votes -- probably more than "Basterds" -- but also lots of lower rankings, which pull down its overall prospects.

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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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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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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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See costumes and props from Oscar nominees at the Hollywood Museum

March 5, 2010 | 12:59 pm

If you're in the neighborhood of the Kodak Theatre and can't get into the Oscars this weekend, try the next best thing. Drop by the Hollywood Museum one block away – it's located in the Max Factor Building at 1660 N. Highland Ave., where you can see costumes and artifacts from leading nominees like "The Hurt Locker," "The Blind Side," "Inglourious Basterds," "Julie & Julia," "The Young Victoria," "Bright Star," "(500) Days of Summer" and "Star Trek" mixed in with treasures from Oscars past, like "Gone With the Wind," "Ben-Hur," "Gladiator" and even the first film to win best picture, "Wings."

Oscars Katharine hepburn

I serve as guest curator every year to organize this exhibition titled "And the Winner Is …," which celebrates all films up for kudos throughout the award season. We even feature items from such popular films as "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "Twilight: New Moon" (yes, yes, we have a Taylor Lautner costume in addition ones worn by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart) and Miley Cyrus' concert film. Some of them were up for guild awards or even -- yikes -- Razzies.

On display are lots of actual historic statuettes, such as Oscars, Golden Globes ("Ben-Hur," best drama picture; "Dynasty," best TV show), and a Razzie (Sly Stallone, worst actor of the century, award still unclaimed). Also, you can view most of my personal collection, which includes Katharine Hepburn's Oscar nomination plaques for "Suddenly, Last Summer" and "The Rainmaker," plus her membership cards in the academy, Tony Award (best play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"), Writers Guild Award ("High Noon"), Emmy (best comedy series, "Phil Silvers Show") and more.

Many thanks go to some real winners who pulled this exhibit together: museum president and founder Donelle Dadigan and her team Steve Nycklemoe, Kenny Horn, Robert Freeman and Jennifer Smith. Also the folks at Apparition, Columbia, Fox Searchlight, Paramount, Summit, Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. who contributed costumes and props, and my colleagues at the Los Angeles Times who contributed sponsorship.

The Hollywood Museum is located on Highland Ave. just a few steps south of Hollywood Blvd. It's open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $15 per adult, $12 for students and seniors, $5 for kids age 5 and younger. The museum accepts Citipass and Go L.A. cards.

Hollywood Museum Hurt Locker Julie and Julia

Hollywood Museum Inglourious Basterds

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Oscar derby update: Surprise wins for best picture and actress?

March 4, 2010 |  3:48 pm

Don't believe Oscar pundits who are over-smug about their predictions. Some suspense still surrounds who'll win the Academy Awards in a few top races, including best picture, actress and original screenplay.

Oscars Academy Awards news The Hurt Locker

Yes, virtually all pundits say "The Hurt Locker" will prevail for the top Oscar, but it's really been hurting lately, being under attack from three fronts: 1.) for not being accurate; 2.) for being too accurate (an army sergeant claims the movie rips off his own story); 3.) for its producer being banned from the ceremony for breaking campaign rules.

Most of this hubbub has occurred at the tail end of the voting period, but many academy members were late submitting their choices, confused over how to fill out the preferential ballot for best picture. According to one report, more than 1,500 out of 5,800 ballots were still out late last week and more than 500 were submitted on the final deadline day (Tuesday).

Late submission probably helps "Inglourious Basterds," which got a post-noms push from Quentin Tarantino's pals, who threw him bashes on both coasts to rally support that might've come earlier if Weinstein Co. had given up on "Nine" when its kudos prospects started to fade. Most Oscar voters I've dished with say that they ranked "Basterds" in one of their top three slots. That's not true of "Avatar," which has lots of No. 1 ranked votes -- probably more than "Basterds" -- but also lots of lower rankings, which pulls down its over-all prospects.

"The Hurt Locker" seems to have the most No. 1 votes, but it's also ranked low by many voters. Some are irked by the blitz of recent bad news. Others think the film is overrated. Bottom line: It doesn't fit the typical Oscar profile of a best-picture winner, so it's vulnerable. It doesn't feature A-list stars. It was a box-office flop. It's about the Iraqi war, a subject that's usually cursed at the Oscars. Nonetheless, "The Hurt Locker's" support among Oscar voters is immense and wide. If I was betting a ranch, I'd put it on "The Hurt Locker" to win best picture, but since I'm merely wagering my professional reputation, I'll stick with "Basterds" as my official prediction, thank you.

As for best actress: Yes, Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") seems to be ahead, according to pundits. But they're not academy members. When you talk with actual Oscar voters, you hear many of them say that the film and Bullock's performance are too lightweight. You hear lots of votes for Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and -- surprise -- Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"). Still, smart money is on Bullock considering she won both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards and seems to have the most buzz across Hollywood.

If "The Hurt Locker" pulls off a sweep, as many pundits believe, then it may take the Oscar for original screenplay with it. Right now that category seems like the property of "Basterds," but sweeps are powerful things. If this one is strong enough, it could mean victories for screenplay, cinematography and both sound categories too  -- all races that are currently up in the air.

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Illustration by Tom O'Neil

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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

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

March 1, 2010 |  4:21 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Anthony Crupi reports, "ABC heads into its 35th consecutive Oscars telecast with two or three remaining avails, as a roster of returning sponsors and an improving economy have aided the sales process. The three top spenders of a year ago (Hyundai, Coca-Cola and JCPenney) are back in the limelight, reversing a micro-trend that saw perennial high rollers General Motors and L’Oréal drop out of the Academy Awards altogether. Pricing for time in the 82nd Academy Awards is trending higher than last year’s event, when ad rates fell. ABC has written deals at $1.4 million to $1.5 million per spot, versus $1.3 million last year, sources said." To avoid running into the academy's stringent rules regarding nominees appearing in ads appearing on the Oscarcast, "Hyundai decided to shoot seven spots with other A-list voice-over talent. Jeff Bridges suggested a short list of colleagues, and last week Hyundai finished recording the final ad, with an assist from actress Kim Basinger. Other stars filling in for Bridges are Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, Michael Madsen, Mandy Patinkin and Martin Sheen." BRAND WEEK

• On Friday, the academy announced five funny people -- Sacha Baron Cohen, Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller -- would be appearing on the Oscars. On Monday, the original "Funny Girl" Barbra Streisand was one of three lead actress winners -- along with Kathy Bates ("Misery") and Charlize Theron ("Monster") -- confirmed for the kudocast. Also added to the roster are past nominees Robert Downey Jr., Queen Latifah and John Travolta. AMPAS

• The ABC 30-minute Oscar pre-show will have three co-hosts: Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle, model turned design mogul Kathy Ireland and Sherri Shepherd ("The View"). TV Guide just announced the addition of Vivica A. Fox to their red carpet lineup which already includes two ABC reality TV stars -- "The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison and "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

• The offical academy YouTube channel showcases rookie Oscars producer Adam Shankman as he takes would-be dancers through their paces in advance of stepping onto the stage of the Kodak Theatere Sunday.  YOUTUBE

Avatar Poster • After a thorough analysis, Sasha Stone predicts "Avatar" will win best picture. Sasha says, in part, "Remember, ABC is inviting people to see the 'popular Oscars,' the 'So You Think You Can Dance' Oscars, the reality-tv Oscars. The 'you’ve never seen Oscars like this before.' So, if it goes 'Avatar''s way, the people will dance in a tribal circle and rejoice that the Academy have recognized them at long last. It just feels right to me that this is how it will turn out. I can’t explain it – and it makes no sense in terms of what I know about the Oscar race (nobody knows anything), and how the story has gone so far. And it will mean that the Academy agrees only with the Golden Globes for Best Picture of 2009. It will also mean that a Sci Fi pic has won. And it will also mean that a film with no writing or acting nominations has won – something that hasn’t happened since 1931. Now, to be fair, they did used to have three separate writing categories – there was one for original story and maybe 'Avatar' would have gotten one of those." AWARDS DAILY

Ramin Setoodeh researches what happens to the Oscar ballots after they are delivered to PriceWaterhouseCoopers no later than 5 p.m. PT Tuesday. On Wednesday, "All ballots are opened by four accountants overseen by two 'balloting leaders' in a room with one door and no windows. It takes three days to tabulate the 24 different Oscar categories. The ballots are counted by hand, with each accountant responsible for one fourth of the total. They are forbidden from sharing information, and only the balloting leaders tabulate the final results, which are then locked in a safe. They will remain the only two people in the world who know the names of the winners before they are announced." NEWSWEEK

Claudia Puig reviews the 10 animated and live-action shorts and gives top marks to "A Matter of Loaf and Death" -- "Oscar winner and claymation maven Nick Park can do no wrong when it comes to short films, and the latest entry into the Wallace and Gromit canon is no exception" -- and "The Doors" -- "The bleak terrain is evocative and the brief, but well-made, tale is deeply poignant."  USA TODAY

Melena Ryzik sits down with "Precious" casting directors Billy Hopkins and Jessica Kelly and discovers their difficulties in finding the right actress for the title role. "Mr. Hopkins and Ms. Kelly spent five months searching for the right person to play Precious, scouting the streets, subways and McDonald’s, before finding their eventual star (and Oscar nominee) through a connection with a drama teacher at Lehmann College, where Ms. Sidibe was a student." THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Hurt Locker poster • One of the top Oscarologists in the business, Tariq Khan, begins a week-long series in which he reveals his predictions for the top Academy Awards. As our good pal writes, "before this year’s nominations were even announced, I correctly predicted 19 of the 20 acting contenders -- including Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Crazy Heart,' something other entertainment journalists described as 'shocking.' They were right." He then concedes, "True, I’m not always right. My love of danger causes Dr. Oscar to sometimes take risks, like calling for a surprise win by Amy Adams in 'Doubt' last year and a best picture nomination for 'The Hangover' this year. (Two things that didn’t happen.) Just remember that I described those as strong possibilities, yet far from certain. Yes, I hedged. I wasn't born yesterday." So says Tariq, "I’m giving both 'Avatar' and 'Inglourious Basterds' a 15 percent chance of winning. I’ll stand by my prediction that 'The Hurt Locker' will prevail." FOX NEWS

Lane Brown, one of those sassy vultures, offers up predictions in all 23 competitive categories at the Oscars. He sees "The Hurt Locker" winning three awards -- picture, director and editing -- while "Avatar" should take home five -- art direction, cinematography, sound, sound editing and visual effects. Lane is going with the four acting front-runners. NEW YORK

Tim Masters talks to Andy Serkis about a separate acting honor for performance capture. "'It's a very interesting debate,' Serkis told the BBC. 'The industry is going to be using performance capture more and more in films. Personally I've never believed there should be a separate category because the essence of the performance is pure acting.' Serkis is an expert in the field, having played Gollum and King Kong via a performance capture suit. He will be seen as Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's Tintin trilogy using the same technology." BBC

• The show that launched Susan Boyle -- "Britain's Got Talent" -- is contending for best entertainment program at the Royal Television Society annual kudos against "The X Factor" and "Newswipe With Charlie Booker." Among the other categories, "EastEnders," "The Bill" and "Casualty" have all been nominated for best soap/ continuing drama while "The Thick of It" -- from which the Oscar nominated "In the Loop" was spun off -- vies for comedy series against "Miranda" and "The Inbetweeners." Winners will be announced March 16 at London's Grosvenor Hotel.  THE STAGE

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Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

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

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