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

Category: Invictus

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

March 5, 2010 |  3:07 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

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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

Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

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

Bottom photo: Emmy Awards statues. Credit: ATAS

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

March 4, 2010 |  2:10 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER POSTS:

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

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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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Oscars welcome dozen first-time acting nominees, including Sandra Bullock

February 2, 2010 |  8:11 am
Sandra Bullock

This year's 20 acting nominees include five previous Oscar acting winners, another three previous Oscar contenders and 12 newcomers.

"Julie & Julia" star Meryl Streep is the only two-time Academy Award-winner contending this year. She widened the gap for the most total acting nominations by earning her 16th nod today. And she broke Katharine Hepburn's record of an even dozen Oscar nominations in the lead race, landing what she must hope will he her lucky 13th bid.

Streep's already staggering total of 15 previous bids exceeds the track record of the other four Oscar winners by four nominations. She has a supporting actress win for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and a lead actress win for "Sophie's Choice" (1982). She has 11 more lead actress noms for "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1981), "Silkwood" (1983), "Out of Africa" (1985), "Ironweed" (1987), "A Cry in the Dark" (1988), "Postcards from the Edge" (1990), "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995), "One True Thing" (1998), "Music of the Heart" (1999), "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) and "Doubt" (2008) as well as two supporting actress nods for "The Deer Hunter" (1978) and "Adaptation" (2002).

The other acting Oscar winners in the running once more are:

Lead actress nominee Helen Mirren ("The Last Station") -- lead actress win for "The Queen" (2006); supporting actress nods for "The Madness of King George" (1994), "Gosford Park" (2001).

Lead actor nominee George Clooney ("Up in the Air") -- supporting actor win for "Syriana" (2005); lead actor nod for "Michael Clayton" (2007).

Lead actor nominee Morgan Freeman ("Invictus") -- supporting actor win for "Million Dollar Baby" (2004); supporting actor nod for "Street Smart" (1987); lead actor nods for "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994).

Supporting actress nominee Penelope Cruz ("Nine") -- supporting actress win for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008); lead actress nod for "Volver" (2006).

Among the previous Oscar nominees, lead actor Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") has four unsuccessful bids: supporting actor -- "The Last Picture Show" (1971); "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974); "The Contender" (2000); and lead actor -- "Starman" (1984). Other past contenders back in the race are:

Supporting actor nominee Matt Damon, "Invictus" -- lead actor nod for "Good Will Hunting" (1997). (He won in the screenplay race.)

Supporting actor nominee Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger" -- lead actor nod for "The People v. Larry Flynt" (1996).

The first-time nominees are:

Lead actress contenders Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabby Sidibe ("Precious").

Lead actor contenders Colin Firth ("A Single Man") and Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker").

Supporting actress contenders Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Crazy Heart"), Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") and Mo'Nique ("Precious").

Supporting actor contenders Christopher Plummer ("The Last Station"), Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds").

Of last year's 20 acting nominees, five were previous Oscar champs, including eventual lead actor winner Sean Penn ("Milk); another six were previous Oscar nominees including the other three acting winners -- lead actress Kate Winslet ("The Reader")  and supporting players Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") and Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona") -- and nine were newcomers.

Two years ago among the 19 acting nominees, six were previous Oscar winners, including lead actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"); four, including supporting actor champ Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), were previous nominees; and nine were first-time Oscar contenders, including the two women who won –- lead actress Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") and supporting actress Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton").

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Photo: Sandra Bullock in a scene from "The Blind Side." Credit: Warner Bros.

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My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

January 31, 2010 |  7:04 pm

Oscar nominations will be unveiled Tuesday morning. Here's what the derby track looks like in my crystal ball.

BEST PICTURE
"Avatar"
"District 9"
Oscar nominations Academy Awards news"An Education"
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Invictus"
"Precious"
"A Serious Man"
"Up"
"Up in the Air"

Vulnerable on the list above are "District 9," "Invictus" and "A Serious Man," which can be bumped by "The Hangover," "The Messenger," "A Single Man" or "Star Trek."


BEST DIRECTOR
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
James Cameron, "Avatar"
Lee Daniels, "Precious"
Jason Reitman, "Up in the Air"
Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds"

These seem to be set in stone.


BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

Jeremy Renner may be bumped by Viggo Mortensen ("The Road").


BEST ACTRESS
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan, "An Education"
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious"
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia"

Emily Blunt ("The Young Victoria") might dethrone one of the above.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Christian McKay, "Me and Orson Welles"
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station"
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones"
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"

This is one of the toughest categories to predict because there are too many other strong contenders, including Matt Damon ("Invictus"), Alec Baldwin ("It's Complicated"), Anthony Mackie ("The Hurt Locker") and Alfred Molina and Peter Sarsgaard ("An Education"). I put Christian McKay on my list because he gives a flashy portrayal of one of Hollywood's most idolized heroes, Orson Welles, in what is arguably a lead performance. Like Woody Harrelson, I think he even has a longshot chance to beat Christoph Waltz, but McKay's campaign DVD was sent rather late. That could hurt his chance of getting on this list.

Continue reading »

Disaster, in the form of rain, strikes academy screenings of 'Invictus' and 'Nine'

December 13, 2009 | 10:41 am
Invictus nine oscars movies news

A fierce rainstorm hitting Beverly Hills late Saturday may dampen the Oscar hopes of two top contenders. The storm caused a power blackout that suddenly halted the showing of "Invictus" halfway through its screening at the theater in the academy's headquarters. "Nine" was supposed to follow it on the bill but was canceled.

Unfortunately, a final decision on whether the screenings would proceed wasn't made for hours while hundreds of academy members waited and waited, then gave up, stomping off in the rainstorm to head back home.

"Big blow for these two high-profile contending films!" one academy member told Gold Derby.

Another member skipped the "Invictus" screening that commenced at 4 p.m. and arrived to see the 8 p.m. showing of "Nine." He e-mailed us this report from his Blackberry: "So we get to the academy theater and the lady at the desk informs us that the power is out (and has been for three hours).  In the darkened lobby, there are a few hundred Academy members milling about hoping the power comes back on."

The member said they got "out!!! And it's pouring rain.  As we were driving away, all the people began departing in droves. Officially canceled!  Somewhere Harvey is frowning."

Continue reading »

Oscar experts predict best-picture race (Part 3): 'Avatar,' 'Precious,' 'Invictus' ...

December 12, 2009 | 10:19 am

Avatar oscars precious based on the novel push by sapphire movies news

Gold Derby continues to recruit the latest best pix predix from reigning Oscarologists. Following up on our first two batches (here and here), check out the views of Lane Brown (Vulture, New York magazine), Paul Gaita (The Circuit, The Envelope), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Nathaniel Rogers (Film Experience), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone).

BEST PICTURE Brown Gaita Karger Khan Rogers Travers
"Avatar"

10

5

5

2

4

4

"An Education"

8

 8

 

 

5

7

"Hurt Locker"

2

4

3

2

3

"Inglourious Basterds"

7

 

8

7

8

"Invictus"

5

2

4

6

5

"It's Complicated"  

  

9

 

 

  

"The Last Station"      

8

   
"The Messenger"      

6

   
"Nine"

6

 

7

10

8

9

"Precious"

4

3

2

 7

3

1

"The Road"  

6

 


   
"A Serious Man"

 9


 

 

10


"Star Trek"    

10

 

 
"Up"

3

7

6

9

9

 6

"Up in the Air"

1

1

1

1

 2

"Where the Wild Things Are"  

10

 

  

   

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Inside track: Golden Globes' race for best musical/comedy actress

Continue reading »

Inside track: Golden Globes' race for best drama picture

December 5, 2009 | 10:24 am

Three films are ahead to win best drama picture at the Golden Globes: "Up in the Air," "Inglourious Basterds" and "Precious." "Up in the Air" has the momentum right now. On Thursday night, members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. again were hanging out with George Clooney, chumming it up, getting their photos taken, but they do that often. In fact, they did so with Clooney twice earlier this year. He's old hat for Globers.

Support for "Basterds" is strong within HFPA. It'll certainly be nominated for best picture, director, screenplay and supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), but renewed hoopla must be whipped up for a movie released four months ago. Expect that to occur with the debut of the DVD on Dec. 15. Not only will Harvey Weinstein mount new ballyhoo big time, but he'll also blitz Hollywood with cheap, nonwatermarked DVDs, "Crash"-style — as Gold Derby reported months ago. My rival kudos bloggers who recently shrugged off "Basterds" as a top Oscar contender -- not even including it in their predix for 10 best-pic nominees (one of them even bragged about snubbing it) -- should start getting very nervous very soon.

"Up in the Air," "Precioius," Inglourious Basterds"

Globe voters love "Precious," but it doesn't have the same fanatical backing you see elsewhere. Some kudos watchers blame that on the fact that HFPA has no black members, but that suggests prejudice. That's ridiculous. The group has embraced African American films much more often than the Oscars. Heck, the Golden Globes even nominated "The Great Debaters" for best picture! (Deservedly.) Obviously, "Precious" will be nominated too, but can it win?

And whatever triumphs, can it repeat at the Oscars?

In general, Oscar voters rubber-stamp one of the two best-pic champs at the Globes (drama, musical/comedy) two-thirds of the time, historically speaking, but not lately. The Oscars and Globes disagreed on best picture four times in the last five years.

Predicting the Globes is hard for many reasons, starting with the difficulty of getting inside the heads of nearly 100 quirky mavericks with funny foreign accents. Furthermore, they don't vote in sweeps like you see at the Oscars. They like to spread their gold around. Two years ago, for example, "Atonement" won best drama picture, but the helmer's prize went to Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). The previous year "Babel" won best picture, but Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") snatched the directors' laurels. However, sometimes the two categories do agree — like last year when "Slumdog Millionaire" and Danny Boyle romped.

If Globe voters divvy up trophies again, Quentin Tarantino will certainly win something. At least helmer's gold, maybe screenplay too. Does that take "Basterds" out of the running for picture? No, not if he wins just one of them. Ditto "Up in the Air," which will probably reap George Clooney the lead actors' accolade. That shouldn't hurt "Up in the Air's" separate shot at the top prize. Voters named Leonardo DiCaprio best actor when "The Aviator" (2004) won best picture. Ditto Russell Crowe and "A Beautiful Mind." But Crowe lost when "Gladiator" slew rivals for best pic of 2000 and Kevin Spacey lost when "American Beauty" took the top Globe (1999).

If votes split between "Up in the Air" and "Basterds" for best drama picture, beware: "Precious" could prevail.

Here's how that race looks now. To see our handicapping of the race for best comedy-musical picture, click here. Nominations will be unveiled Dec. 15.

BEST DRAMA PICTURE
FRONT-RUNNERS
"The Hurt Locker"
"Inglourious Basterds"
"Invictus"
"Precious"
"Up in the Air"

POSSIBLE
"Avatar"
"Brothers"
"District 9"
"A Single Man"

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Inside track: Golden Globes' race for best comedy/musical picture

Pssst ... Here's "Inglourious Basterds" secret Oscar campaign strategy

More experts predict Oscars' best-picture derby

Oscar experts clash over 'Up in the Air' and 'Precious' to win best picture

Inside track on the Golden Globes' race for best drama actor

National Board of Review goes crazy for Clooney and Clint again. ... Will disaster follow at the Oscars?

Everybody loses: Gotham Awards vs. Indie Spirits ('Hurt Locker' vs. 'Precious')

Photos: "Up in the Air" (Paramount), "Precious" (Lionsgate), "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)

NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified "No Country for Old Men" as the Globes' best-pic winner two years ago.

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Inside track on the Golden Globes' race for best drama actor

December 3, 2009 |  7:19 am
Golden globes best actor

Now that Woody Harrelson ("The Messenger") has been pushed up to the lead race from supporting at the Globes, that changes the category scenario a bit. Co-star Ben Foster remains a contender, but Woody upstages him here just like he does in the film.

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
FRONT-RUNNERS
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
George Clooney, "Up in the Air"
Colin Firth, "A Single Man"
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus"
Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger"
Viggo Mortensen, "The Road"
Michael Sheen, "The Damned United"

SPOTLIGHT: Everybody's talking about how overdue Jeff Bridges is for an Oscar (four defeats), but he's also Globe-less (skunked three times). Bridges must beat beloved George Clooney, who won for "Syriana" at the Globes first, then at Oscars.

POSSIBLE
Nicolas Cage, "Bad Lieutenant"
Sharito Copley, "District 9"
Robert De Niro, "Everybody's Fine"
Ben Foster, "The Messenger"
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers"
Jeremy Renner, "The Hurt Locker"

LONG SHOTS
Hal Holbrook, "That Evening Sun"
James McAvoy, "The Last Station"
Brad Pitt, "Inglourious Basterds"

Photos: Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart" (Fox Searchlight), Colin Firth in "A Single Man" (Weinstein Co.), George Clooney in "Up in the Air" (Paramount)

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