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

Category: Jennifer Aniston

Gold Derby nuggets: David Fincher opens up to Mark Harris | Mel Gibson comeback? | 'Friends' reunited on 'Cougar Town'

September 22, 2010 | 10:42 am

David Fincher The Social NetworkMark Harris landed an interview with "The Social Network" director David Fincher for a New York magazine cover story. As there wasn't enough room in the print edition for the whole conversation, he has posted it online. In his intro to the transcript, Mark writes, "Here, Fincher dishes on the enormous difficulty of speeding up Aaron Sorkin's motormouth text ('Faster. That was my only real direction.'), his surprising 'enormous amount of empathy' for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and much much more."  VULTURE

• The Producers Guild of America will salute James Cameron at the 22nd annual edition of its kudos on Jan. 22. The Oscar winner is to receive the guild's highest honor, the Milestone award. Previous recipients include Clint Eastwood, Alfred Hitchcock, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Howard & Brian Grazer, and Walt Disney. In a statement, Paula Wagner, chair of the PGA awards, said, “James Cameron is an exceptionally talented producer, a true innovator with the rare combination of technical ingenuity and creative vision. Jim has continued to change the film landscape with his ability to deliver groundbreaking masterpieces that present audiences and the industry with unrivaled beauty, originality and impact." PGA

Dave Karger defends the decision by Focus Features to position both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in the lead race for their work in "The Kids Are All Right." Says Dave, "Both actresses have juicy roles and complete character arcs that merit inclusion in the lead category. Sure, Moore would have a better shot at her first Oscar win in supporting, but it would seem disingenuous to campaign her as such. As for Bening, despite her tough competition this year (notably 'Black Swan's' Natalie Portman and 'Blue Valentine's' Michelle Williams), I’d say she has a decent shot at a victory this time around." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Patrick Goldstein dismisses the notion put forth by our pal Pete Hammond that "The Town" — Ben Affleck's sophomore film as a director — could be a contender at the Oscars. He writes, "I'm already on record as being a big fan of 'The Town,' which is a terrific crime genre piece set in working-class Boston and loaded with gifted actors doing great work. But crime pictures (unless they have an eminence grise like Clint Eastwood or Martin Scorsese at the helm) rarely end up getting any serious Oscar consideration. The academy is partial to weighty dramas and historical fare. Genre pictures have about as good a chance as comedies at earning best picture nods." THE BIG PICTURE

Jeff Wells agrees with Patrick, using some very colorful language to make his point. HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Mel Gibson The Beaver • Pete Hammond also reports on the buzz about the Mel Gibson comeback picture "The Beaver," which was directed by his "Maverick"  costar Jodie Foster. She has proved a staunch supporter of the embattled actor, telling More magazine, “Of course, Mel is an undeniably gifted actor, and 'The Beaver' is one of his most powerful and moving performances." As Pete writes, "The big question now is when Summit Entertainment plans to release her film, which still remains officially undated, and if the studio will try to make an awards play. And the even bigger question is whether, after all his public travails, Mel Gibson could suddenly become a serious contender for a Best Actor Oscar nomination via a late-breaking qualifying run before the end of the year?" DEADLINE

• Canadian actor-director Jason Priestley is set to host the 38th edition of the International Emmys on Nov. 22 in New York. In making the announcement, Bruce Paisner, president and chief executive of the International Academy, said, "Jason Priestley is a household name for millions of viewers worldwide and we're delighted that he is joining our celebration of excellence in international television as our host." Another Canadian, "SNL" creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels, will receive the organization's Directorate award while Brit bad boy Simon Cowell will be on hand to accept the Founders prize. Expect Britain to dominate the 10 competitive categories as it has done for decades. INTERNATIONAL EMMYS

Sasha Stone says that Gywneth Paltrow could well be contending for her first best actress Oscar since winning the prize in 1998 for "Shakespeare in Love." In "Country Strong," Paltrow plays a country crooner and, as Sasha writes, "There isn’t much word out there that I could find about her performance, but traditionally, that type of role gets attention and then some." As she explains, "When I first started covering the Oscar race back in 1999, you really couldn’t get nominated if you weren’t already a big star with a few exceptions along the way — a GREAT performance could get in — but for the most part, it was a star’s game and much press was made if an unknown got in." AWARDS DAILY

Jennifer Aniston Courteney Cox Cougar Town • "Cougar Town" creator and executive producer Bill Lawrence confesses to Kate Stanhope that he jumped the gun on the reunion of "Friends" costars Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston. "I generally say things and then hope that they're going to happen. I announced last year that Jennifer Aniston was doing the show having never spoken to her or her representatives." Aniston appears on the second season premiere of a show that Lawrence says is now "a Courteney Cox-lead ensemble comedy."   TV GUIDE

• The Kennedy Center is $10 million richer courtesy of new board chairman David M. Rubenstein. The co-founder of the Carlyle Group designated this generous gift for a variety of the center's efforts, including $5 million for the National Symphony Orchestra and $1 million for staging the Kennedy Center Honors and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. KENNEDY CENTER

• The Hollywood Film Festival has named two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn as this year's recipient of its humanitarian prize. In making the announcement, fest founder Carlos de Abreu said, "It is an honor to recognize the inspiring humanitarian efforts that Sean Penn and his J/P Haitian Relief Organization have been providing to the great people of Haiti." Previous recipients include director of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Father Rick Frechette; Nobel Peace Prize recipient and president of East Timor, Dr. Jose Ramos Horta; and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams. The presentation will be made at a Oct. 25 gala at the Beverly Hilton. HFF

• The 19th edition of the ESPY Awards don't take place till next July 13, but ESPN has announced that "SNL" star Seth Myers will be returning to host the kudos. AP

Top photo: David Fincher on the set of "The Social Network." Credit: Columbia.

Middle photo: Mel Gibson in "The Beaver." Credit: Summit Entertainment

Bottom photo: Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston in "Cougar Town." Credit: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Jennifer Aniston as Barbra Streisand | Seth McFarlane's big-band sound | 'Boardwalk Empire' set for Sept. 19

August 6, 2010 | 10:33 am

Hbz-jennifer-aniston-streisand-0910-02-de-98758908 Jennifer Aniston pays tribute to Barbra Streisand in a photo spread in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar. Among the iconic looks she re-creates is this one from the first scene of Barbra's movie debut in "Funny Girl." That film won Streisand the first of her two Oscars, as she tied with Katharine Hepburn ("The Lion in Winter") for best actress of 1968. Although Aniston cites "A Star is Born" from 1976 as one of her favorite films featuring Streisand, she does not replicate Babs' famous frizzy hairstyle for the photo shoot. For "Evergreen," the love theme from that film, Streisand became the first female composer to win the best song Academy Award. On her website, Streisand posted the following: "I was very flattered that Jennifer Aniston chose to interpret my style with the photos in Harper's Bazaar. She's a delightful person, and I think she did a wonderful job. If only she had a bump on her nose." HARPER'S BAZAAR

• Back in 1973, Marlon Brando rivaled the San Andreas fault for sending shock waves through Hollywood when he refused to accept the Academy Award for his performance in best picture champ "The Godfather." He sent Sacheen Littlefather in his stead, and on his behalf she decried the depiction of Native Americans by the entertainment industry. This week, the activist actress met with TV critics to promote the PBS documentary "Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian." In an Associated Press article, she revealed that "her high-profile advocacy put her life at risk and cut her acting career short. She says when she visited Brando after the ceremony, bullets were fired at his front door. No one was injured." AP

Seth MacFarlane Tonight Show Album Family Guy "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane won one of his two Emmys for penning a ditty for that devilish animated series back in 2002; his other was for voicing the character Stewie in 2000. In an appearance Thursday on "The Tonight Show," McFarlane -- who contends again this year for another song for the show -- announced he has inked a deal with Universal for a big-band album. He told Jay Leno that the track list will include "swing arrangements of classic tunes. We kind of deliberately touched stuff that the Deans and the Franks and the Sammys didn’t do yet." He then got up and wowed the crowd with a rendition of "Cream in My Coffee." HIT FIX

Steve Carell stars as the dubious guest of honor in "Dinner for Schmucks." The perennial Emmy nominee recalls in an interview with Total Film what a schmuck he was when he hosted one particular soiree. "My wife and I once had a dinner party where we invited a bunch of our friends around to watch the Oscars, and we decided that we would record it, have dinner, then fast forward through to all the good moments. We didn't know how to set the digital recorder properly, and the show went over, so it ended just as the categories were getting interesting. So then I had to pull out a laptop: 'Who wants to know who won best supporting actress?' It was really, really awful." ACE SHOWBIZ

Boardwalk Empire HBO has announced that the premiere date for "Boardwalk Empire" will be Sept. 19. The paycaster's marquee series for 2010 bears an award-winning pedigree. Oscar winner Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") is executive producing the series about bootleggers in 1920s Atlantic City, while Terence Winter -- who adapted Nelson Johnson's novel of the same name -- won two Emmys for scripting episodes of "The Sopranos" and another two when that HBO hit won best drama series in 2004 and 2007. "Boardwalk Empire" stars Steve Buscemi as a politico with dirty fingers. The versatile Buscemi earned a 2001 Emmy nod for directing an episode of "The Sopranos" and contended in the 2004 supporting actor category for his portrayal of Tony Blundetto, cousin to mob boss Tony Soprano. In 2008, he was a guest actor nominee for his appearance on "30 Rock." Scorsese directed the first episode of "Boardwalk Empire," which is slated to run 75 minutes.

Upper photo: Jennifer Aniston as Barbra Streisand. Credit: Harper's Bazaar

Center photo: Seth MacFarlane on "The Tonight Show." Credit: NBC

Lower photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO

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Gold Derby nuggets: Campaigners crash after the Oscars | Did Jennifer Aniston snicker when Brad Pitt lost? | Will Penelope Cruz fall into Carmen Miranda's trap?

March 3, 2009 | 11:17 am

• After winning the lead actor award at the Oscars for "Milk," Sean Penn has joined the campaign to have Harvey Milk's birthday, May 22, recognized as "a day of significance" in California. VARIETY

Woody Allen's "Whatever Works" will open the next Tribeca Film Festival. It's the first movie he's made set in New York City since 2004. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Anne Thompson reports that the early exit of programmer Peter Scarlet from the Tribeca Film Festival "is an act of protest indeed." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD


• "Penelope Cruz won the best supporting actress Oscar for a role that lampooned her foreignness," notes a London paper. "Let's hope she doesn't fall into the trap that claimed Carmen Miranda." GUARDIAN

• There are lots of groans over the news that Ed Zwick will make another movie: "In the Heart of the Sea," based upon the destruction of the ship Essex by a sperm whale in 1820. His last, "Defiance," had high Oscar hopes but crashed after it got panned by Variety, the New York Times and the L.A. Times. Produced for $32 million, it earned only $27 million domestically. Lately, it's becoming popular to bash Zwick movies. The reason: His films have compelling subject matter and are well directed and acted, but they're terribly written. Dialogue is clunky. Characters are cookie-cutter cliches. Zwick should stick to directing, period. For his upcoming flick, he's the co-writer, along with the accomplished Marshall Herskovitz, but that's little reassurance, since together they gave us the clunkily penned "Last Samurai," which also fell far short of Oscar expectations. VARIETY

• While the Oscar success of "Slumdog Millionaire" marks a triumph for films made in India, the local film industry is suffering an all-time low in ticket sales. THE AUSTRALIAN

Oscar consultants are suffering battle fatigue and planning a wrap-up party. L.A. TIMES

• "'Slumdog Millionaire' child star Azharuddin Ismail has fallen ill as fears grow about the psychological state of the two young Indian actors," reports a London paper. TELEGRAPH

Scott Feinberg has been busy counting up fascinating Oscars stats. Here's an interesting factoid, for example: "Slumdog Millionaire" is the 10th best-pic winner that received most of its financing outside the U.S. FEINBERG FILES

• The Associated Press tally is wrong! While reporting on "The Simpsons" being extended two more TV seasons to become the longest-running series in prime-time TV history (surpassing "Gunsmoke"), the wire service counts 22 Emmy victories for that crazy Springfield cartoon clan. Hey, they've actually won 24. Most impressive: 10 of those were for best animated program. "The Simpsons" needs 13 more wins to tie "Frasier" as the weekly series with the most Emmys. ASSOCIATED PRESS

• Wake-up call to the Tonys? The 1993 hit film "Sleepless in Seattle" is coming to Broadway, adapted by original screenwriter Jeff Arch, who's working with composer/lyricist Leslie Bricusse ("Stop the World—I Want to Get Off," "Jekyll & Hyde," '"Victor/Victoria"). The original film was nominated for two Oscars. Arch was up for best original screenplay with co-writers Nora Ephron and David S. Ward (they lost to "The Piano" writer Jane Campion), and the film tune "A Wink and a Smile" was up for best song (losing to Bruce Springsteen's "Philadelphia"). PLAYBILL

• Fox News claims that the TV camera caught Jennifer Aniston snickering at the Oscars when her ex Brad Pitt lost lead actor and also claims you can see Brad being forced to his feet by Angelina Jolie when Kate Winslet beat her for best actress. Yeah, Brad's late getting up when everyone else stands around him, but he claps on cue when the winner's announced and, a short time later, he does rise. See the top video below. As for Jennifer, well, judge for yourself. See the bottom video. She's sitting right behind Sean Penn. She smiles when he wins. It's kind of a tilted, crooked smile. Is it really a snicker? FOX NEWS

Photos: The Weinstein Co., 20th Century Fox

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Is Jennifer Aniston guesting on '30 Rock' must-see TV for Emmy voters?

September 4, 2008 |  9:10 am

For a decade, Jennifer Aniston and her "Friends" made Thursday night "Must See TV." Four years after that show signed off, Jennifer Aniston is returning to the NBC Thursday night lineup for a guest appearance on "30 Rock."


As per the peacock, she plays Claire Harper, "a free-spirited, 'Fatal Attraction'-like stalker." This former roommate of Tina Fey's character, Liz Lemon, blows in from the Windy City and sets her sights on Liz's boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). (Glenn Close earned Oscar and Golden Globe noms for "Fatal Attraction" back in 1987.) Says Fey, "Jennifer is not only incredibly lovely to have around, she also has what the young people would call 'mad skills.' We're very excited that she's joining us."

Could this guest shot put Jennifer Aniston, a onetime winner and four-time nominee for "Friends," back in the Emmy race? Last year she guested on her "Friends" friend Courteney Cox's FX drama "Dirt" as a rival tabloid editor. While that show came up empty at Emmy time, "30 Rock" won two of its 10 nods last year, including best comedy series prize for its first season as well as a third golden girl for veteran actress Elaine Stritch, who guested as Baldwin's battle-ax momma.

This season, "30 Rock" dominated the guest acting categories, taking seven of the 11 nods in the comedy lineup. Stritch is back in the race, joined by three-time Emmy champ Edie Falco ("The Sopranos") as a love interest of Jack and Carrie Fisher as a fallen idol for Liz. And four of the five funny men got their nods for guesting on "30 Rock": Will Arnett, Steve Buscemi, five time Emmy champ Tim Conway, who won this category in 1996 for "Coach," and onetime Emmy winner Rip Torn ("The Larry Sanders Show").




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