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Category: OprahWinfrey

Is Ellen DeGeneres wimping out at the Daytime Emmys?

May 12, 2010 |  6:30 pm

Ellen DeGeneres Daytime Emmy nominations news 2

"I didn't submit myself for the 'Best Talk Show Host' Emmy this year," Ellen DeGeneres said at her website today when her name was missing from the list of Daytime Emmy nominations. "I feel my steroid use gives me an unfair advantage."

Well, Ellen's steroid use didn't help her last year when she lost the Daytime Emmy for best host to the gals of "The View."

Prior to that, Ellen won the host award four years in a row. Are we now to believe — her steroid joshing aside — that she's "pulling an Oprah"? That is, presumably stepping aside in order to let other people win? That's what most people assumed today when the news broke that she didn't enter her name. However, Ellen's and Oprah Winfrey's actions may not be all that noble when you examine them closely.

When Oprah pulled out of the Daytime Emmys race for talk host in 1999, she had won the previous year, but in a tie with Rosie O'Donnell. The following year, when she yanked her TV program from competing for best talk show, it had lost twice in a row (1998, 1999) to Rosie's yakfest.

Are both Ellen and Oprah secretly furious that they no longer dominate a contest, so, diva style, they quit the game entirely to avoid further humiliation? For now, Ellen is still permitting her own talk show to compete in the program category, where it's lost the past two years after winning four years in a row (2004-2007). Next, will Ellen yank it from the program contest like Oprah did after multiple losses?

When Candice Bergen withdrew from the prime-time Emmy race in 1996, it was immediately after her fifth victory for lead comedy actress in "Murphy Brown." She's reentered the Emmy derby since then, nabbing two noms in the supporting race for "Boston Legal" (2006, 2008), but no wins.

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Can Oprah Winfrey squash Conan O'Brien AND Jon Stewart?

April 13, 2010 |  3:23 pm
Oprah Winfrey Conan Emmy TV news

Now that it's official that Conan O'Brien is heading back to TV with an evening gabfest, it means that he's returning to the Emmy derby — where he may run smack dab into Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey just announced that she'll launch a new one-hour evening show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," on her new TV network OWN next year. That means she'll be eligible to compete at the prime-time Emmys. She may decide not to join. She quit the Daytime Emmys in 2000, allegedly because she'd won so many times that she wanted to step aside and give the glory to other shows. Granted, she had won nine times earlier (the most in Emmy history), but Oprah also had just lost twice in a row to Rosie O'Donnell's program when she pulled her show from competition. Some Emmy-watchers believed that Oprah was so furious about the double loss that she refused to endure defeat again.

Whatever the truth was about what happened to Oprah at the Daytime Emmys, she may choose to join the Prime-Time Emmy derby in order to hike the industry profile of her new show. If so, she may not have to worry too much about Conan O'Brien as competition.

It took Conan O'Brien a full decade of hosting "Late Night" before the show landed its first Emmy bid in the variety series category in 2003. It contended unsuccessfully in that race for five years, always losing to "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," which O'Brien will now face head-on in the ratings.

"The Daily Show" will surely turn out to be Oprah's toughest Emmy rival. Over all, it's won best variety show for seven years in a row. Last year, Jon Stewart was asked by reporters if he plans to "pull an Oprah" and pull his show from the Emmy race so other shows can win. He roared, "No!"

Photo: Oprah appeared as a presenter on the Emmys in 2008. Credit: ATAS.

OTHER POSTS:

What's behind 'Modern Family's' surprising Emmy ploy?

Gold Derby nuggets: Sigourney Weaver blasts Oscars over 'Avatar' snub | Behind the scenes drama at Pulitzers | 'Polytechnique' sweeps Genies

'Pyramid' to rise again on CBS daytime sked?

'Treme' -- HBO's next fierce Emmy juggernaut?

Tina Fey on 'Saturday Night Live': Give her another Emmy!

Emmy battle over best drama actor: Michael C. Hall vs. Bryan Cranston?

Tony Awards predix: 'American Idiot' and 'Enron' are front-runners to win best musical and play

David Sheward's gutsy, early Tony Award predictions

Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

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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

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Daytime Emmys narrow down field with pre-nomination ballot

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood vie for ACM entertainer of the year award

Get drunk, win Oscar

Can Evan Lysacek win 'Dancing With the Stars' that elusive choreography Emmy?

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

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

'The Hurt Locker' debate: accuracy vs. entertainment

Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

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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Top Oscar bloggers respond to backlash against 'Precious'

October 21, 2009 |  7:35 pm

The shocking omission of "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" from the list of Gotham Awards nominees has triggered an uproar. Does this mean that there's a backlash against the likely Oscars contender since it swept top awards at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals? Will it reverberatePrecious reax oprah winfrey tyler perry Oscars at the Oscars? Or is this just one of those ridiculous, irrelevant side shows we should all just ignore because it's a fluke — a case of huffy film critics acting stubbornly against a popular trend when permitted to decide the nominees of an awards group?

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post expands the puzzle further, wondering if this slap against "Precious" might even be a potshot aimed at its executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Read Lou's full noodlings here. Read more about the whole "Precious" flapdoodle in this Gold Derby overview article plus in comments from posters in our forums.

Gold Derby asked other esteemed Oscarologists what they thought about this possible "Precious" backlash. Here's what they wrote back published in the order in which I received the emails:

JEFF WELLS, HOLLYWOOD-ELSEWHERE.COM — If there's a "Precious" backlash — "if," I say — it's due to the oppressively ugly, emotionally sadistic vibe generated by Mo'Nique's "mom from hell" character. It's a movie about compassion and, at the end, a ray or two of light breaking through the clouds, but the cruelty we are obliged to endure (along with poor Gabby, of course) is quite awful to absorb.  Mo'Nique sells malicious monsterhood like a champ.  So if — IF — there's a certain hesitancy or resistance to "Precious," it's that.

STEVE POND, THE ODDS, THEWRAP.COM — I suppose there might be a slight film-snob bias that says a movie loses some of its indie credibility when it's embraced by figures as mainstream as Oprah and Tyler Perry. But unless that bias is backed up by some kind of feeling that the movie doesn't deliver the way its staunchest admirers insist it does, I don't see it affecting the Gotham voting. Hell, even film critics could handle Oprah loving the movie if they really loved it too. I don't think any of the critics on the Gotham panels have yet gone on record about "Precious"; my guess is that when they do, we'll see some qualms that have nothing to do with Ms. Winfrey.

If Oprah does devote a full week to the movie, and if those shows come across as heavy-handed overkill, then we might legitimately see an Oprah backlash. Then again, since when do film critics and academy members watch Oprah?

Oprah precious

SASHA STONE, AWARDSDAILY.COM — I agree that the backlash is so miniscule it won't really matter in the long run.

I think sometimes bloggers and journalists get caught in a vacuum when a film has been seen by many who cover this stuff but not yet seen by, much less released to the general public.  Once the movie is seen and there is actual buzz instead of fake buzz it will be easier to tell how the film will do overall, and with the academy.

As far as Oprah goes, I don't think Oprah's word and Oprah's word alone can ever really push a film in or out of the Oscar race. It doesn't matter how much breathless coverage there is, how many great reviews — and in some cases, bad reviews — if it strikes their fancy, they vote for it. If it doesn't, they don't.  

Although I suppose the case could be made that since Oprah has delivered a few bombs that people might think, oh great, here comes another bomb — but the truth is, "Precious" is NOT "The Great Debaters," which was schmaltzy and went nowhere.  "Precious" has already won the audience award at Sundance AND at Toronto.   That is why it isn't at the Gothams — they seek to be unique. 

BOB TOURTELLOTTE, REUTERS -- There's probably a bit of a snub and may well be tied to Oprah and Perry signing on. I don't "know" that, but I'd believe it. And I understand the logic. Gotham has consistently awarded the "truly independent," which as you know is raising money on your own and working outside the mini-majors and specialty wings. At first, "Precious" or back then "Push" would fall into that vein, but along come Sundance and then Oprah and Cannes and Perry and Lionsgate and it begins to have the feel of a bigger movie, one that has a certain amount of cache and name value and departs from the "truly independent" arena. So, yes, if you or Lou told me it was snubbed because Oprah and Tyler Perry signed on, I'd believe it.

"Precious" is good enough, I think, to rise above any negative impact the reverse Oprah Effect might have.

GREG ELLWOOD, HITFIX.COM — Ludicrous, I would suggest he take a serious look at the previous winners in this category. The Gotham Awards are hardly a barometer on who will or won't get nominated for an Oscar. More importantly, "Precious" plays. You don't win the audience award at both Toronto and Sundance and the grand jury at Sundance without winning people over. Can you remember the last film that played at all four major festivals?  Backlash?  Please. Another four weeks and someone will be stupidly proclaiming "Avatar" will win best picture. Ridiculous.

Continue reading »

Is there a backlash against 'Precious'? Is Oprah to blame?

October 21, 2009 | 12:46 pm

Precious oprah oscars tyler perry

When I called the Gotham Awards' snub of "Precious" "shocking," Lou Lumenick of the New York Post said that "tends to confirm my suspicion that awards-wise, the film could suffer a backlash because of its high-profile endorsement by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry."

Hmmm. I agree with Lou that a backlash is brewing against "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire," but among some film critics, not among Oscar voters or other industry folks and not as a result of Oprah's or Tyler's embrace. (An interesting theory Lou's got, though — more on that later.) As Lou notes, "Precious" topped IndieWire's critics' poll, but now I think critics are starting to resent the fact that their darling flick's gone mainstream, as evidenced by it winning the audience awards at the Sundance and Toronto International film festivals. Now "Precious" is obviously Oscar-bound. Critics are stubborn, contrary-minded folk, of course, and I think we're seeing classic evidence of that in the nominations just announced by the Gotham Awards.

If any film should've been lavished with bids from the New York-based awards honoring outstanding indies, it's "Precious," the Harlem-based drama that towers above all other indies this year in terms of awards buzz. Clearly, it should've been nominated in three Gotham Awards races (where it was eligible — yes, we checked): best picture, breakthrough director (Lee Daniels) and breakthrough performer (Gabby Sidibe and/or Mo'Nique). However, these are the judges who decided to snub "Precious" when they chose the nominees in those categories. Best picture: Rajendra Roy, chief film curator, Museum of Modern Art; Lisa Schwarzbaum, film critic, Entertainment Weekly; Dana Stevens, film critic, Slate.com; and Kenneth Turan, film critic, Los Angeles Times. Best breakthrough director and actor: Florence Almozini, program director, BAMCinématek; Justin Chang, film critic, Variety; Rob Nelson, film critic, Minnesota Post.

It's curious that the Gotham Awards continue to submit to the tyranny of film journalists to decide their nominations — something the rival Indie Spirits, based out on America's opposite coast, would never do — considering all the trouble they caused in the past. Film journalists are so wacky that they brazenly, arrogantly flouted the whole purpose of the Gotham Awards in 2006 and nominated "The Departed" for best picture even though the huge Warner Bros. production, budgeted at $90 million, was as far away from being an indie as Manhattan is from Akhiok, Alaska (population, 80). One year later, they pulled another shockeroo. The critics responded to all of the gushing over "Juno" at the Toronto Film Festival by snubbing it for best picture at the Gothams. (It made it into the category for breakthrough performance, but that's that.) In both cases, the Indie Spirits righted such obvious wrongs by snubbing "The Departed" and giving their best picture award to "Juno," which was also nominated for the top prize at the Oscars.

Precious14a

It's safe to say that the Spirit Awards will rectify this ridiculous snub of "Precious" by heaping kudos upon it. Pay attention to the soap opera as it plays out. The Indie Spirits and Gotham Awards used to be part of the same organization, then split, partly due to the Manhattanites having the gall to create their own Gotham Awards after the Spirits had been humming along so merrily for so long out in L.A. How much these rival awards loathe each other can be seen hilariously in how they announce nominees and winners. This year, just like last, the Spirits will try to upstage the Gothams by unveiling their nominations just hours before the Gothams announce their winners on Dec. 1.

So, yes, I think there's a backlash against "Precious," but it's a peculiar, isolated case, not epidemic, so therefore not significant. Just like "Juno," "Precious" will rebound just fine with major laurels at the Indie Spirits, Oscars, Golden Globes and, yes, even a few brave critics' kudos. Certainly, the Critics' Choice Awards, which are bestowed by the broadcast journos, not the snobby others.

Now back to Lou Lumenick's point about Oprah. (Click here to read his full article.) Could there be an Oscar backlash against flicks she pushes hard? That's a fascinating idea that Lou expresses thus: "Oprah's own Oscar nomination for 'The Color Purple' notwithstanding, she simply does not wield the same influence in the film world that she does with literature and theater. Witness her embrace of  Baz Luhrmann's 'Australia,' which she hailed as another 'Gone With the Wind,' something that even Nicole Kidman looked embarrassed to hear. O reportedly plans a full week of shows to push 'Precious.' Yikes. Which I'm not sure is going to help the movie's Oscar chances (or its performance in year-end critics' awards) any more than Perry's recent public confession that he was abused as a child. After all, he's best known to Oscar voters as the cross-dressing star/director of wildly popular lowbrow melodramatic farces."

Oprah was also a producer of "The Great Debaters," which was unjustly snubbed at the Oscars. Ditto "Beloved," which I truly loved, but it got crucified by critics first, then snubbed by Oscar.

Coindidence? Or do you think there's anything to this theory? Or to the idea of Tyler Perry's silliness being to blame? Vote in our polls below and check out the discussion of this hubbub in our forums here.

Read what other top Oscar bloggers have to say about the "Precious" backlash in this post that rounds up reax they sent to Gold Derby.

Photos: Lionsgate

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Gold Derby nuggets: Kate Winslet will keep her Oscar 'in the loo' | Jennifer Hudson names her dogs Oscar and Grammy

February 28, 2009 |  7:36 pm

• Now that she's back in the U.K., Kate Winslet ("The Reader") comes clean about where she plans to keep her Academy Award statuette — right next to the one won by her husband Sam Mendes for directing best picture "American Beauty": "The Oscar's going in the loo, next to Sam's." London Daily Mail

• Oscar's best actor Sean Penn wants President Barack Obama to see "Milk" soon: "Eventually we are hoping for a White House screening. I think this film will be one of the steps forward. It will be part of the dialog." Agence France-Presse

• Two early U.K. investors in "Slumdog Millionaire" — Film4 and Celador — won't get a huge chunk of profits after its Oscar success, according a Brit newspaper. It claims biggest payoffs will go to theaters, distributors, Fox Searchlight and Pathe. London Independent

• A London tabloid reports that the joyous spirit of "Slumdog Millionaire's" Oscars victory didn't last long when one of the young stars returned India. The Sun

Chris Brown and Rihanna are reportedly back together after that nasty clash following a pre-Grammy party. Dish Rag

• A two-time past winner of the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion will head the fest's next jury: Ang Lee. Associated Press

Jennifer Hudson told Oprah Winfrey on Friday that she's named two of her dogs Oscar and Grammy! She also revealed how wowed she was to receive the Grammy for best R&B album recently from presenter Whitney Houston. "As soon as she stepped out on the stage, I lost it," Jennifer Hudson said. "That's when I got emotional." Chicago Tribune

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oprah goes wild for 'Australia' | 'Defiance' gets mixed kudos reax | Harvey Weinstein follows Scott Rudin from Broadway to screen

November 11, 2008 |  4:09 pm

Sasha Stone reports that Oprah Winfrey went gaga over "Australia" when she hosted stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman on her daytime talkfest Monday. Even though she saw the original downbeat ending, Winfrey enthused, "I have not been this excited for a movie since I don’t know when. I’m telling you, have I got the movie for you. It's Australia_oprah_2 the best movie I’ve seen in a long, long, long, long time. It literally swept me off my feet." Given the resounding success of Oprah's last endorsement, rival studios might well wonder if Fox has a winning candidate here. Awards Daily

• Following yesterday's revelation that Baz Luhrmann has changed the ending of "Australia", Brad Brevet writes of, "a long chat with a Fox rep yesterday about the situation, and what I got from the conversation was that Luhrmann would not have changed the ending had he not wanted to, regardless of what Fox suits wanted." As Brevet explains, "In a short e-mail message sent to me one sentence pretty much seemed to sum up the conversation: Baz Luhrmann is a 'final cut' director and the studio has always been supportive of his choices." Rope of Silicon

Pete Hammond reports on the ultimately successful screening of Oscar contender "Defiance" as the closing film for the AFI filmfest last weekend. As per Pete, the film stopped halfway through for an unscheduled break due to a faulty fire alarm. This Oscarologist thinks, "This could be a sleeper contender for Vantage, particularly when it plays for the academy, which often goes for Holocaust-themed dramas." Notes on a Season

• "Defiance" received defiant reviews in the trades, however. Variety called it "a potentially exceptional story is told in a flatly unexceptional manner." The Hollywood Reporter agreed that it's "a story that needed to be told, (but) one wishes it could have been told more dynamically. "

August

Hmmm . . . did the early positive Oscar buzz for "Doubt" just get Harvey Weinstein all riled up? Now that it looks like his nemesis, producer Scott Rudin, has successfully transferred his Tonys and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway production to the silver screen, Harvey announces that the Weinstein Company has secured the film rights to the Tonys and Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County," which he invested in on Broadway. Variety reports that "playwright Tracy Letts is doing the adaptation. Harvey Weinstein said his company will fully finance and distribute the film with an eye toward a 2011 release." While Chicago-based thespian Deanna Dunagan won the lead actress Tony for playing the monstrous mama at the head of one helluva dysfunctional family, expect every woman of a certain age in Hollywood to lobby for this meaty part. However, with Meryl Streep topping our latest pundit roundup for her work as a different kind of manipulative mother in the screen version of the 2005 Tony and Pulitzer prize winning play "Doubt," the hunt may be over before it even began. Variety

Scott Feinberg serves up a treat with his podcast with best actress contender Kristin Scott Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long"). This one-time nominee ("The English Patient") is a pick of six of the seven pundits just surveyed. The Feinberg Files

• The acting branch of the academy and the SAG nominating committee are being sent screeners of the indie flick "Wendy and Lucy" on Wednesday. This low-budget feature stars one-time supporting nominee Michelle Williams ("Brokeback Mountain") as a woman at the end of the road both literally and metaphorically. Unlike years past, when voters were deluged with early screeners, this year's candidates, for the most part, held back till that other election was over. Expect mailboxes to be crammed full in the coming weeks.

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Emmy mystery: Will Oprah Winfrey be nominated for guesting on '30 Rock'?

September 4, 2008 | 11:45 am

The news that Oprah Winfrey will appear in a guest role on "30 Rock" summons up two fascinating Emmy questions. Could she be nominated for an Emmy? And would Oprah even enter herself in the race for guest stars?

Oprah_winfrey_1

"Oprah is slated to appear in '30 Rock's' episode 302, which is tentatively set to air Nov. 6," reports Kristin Dos Santos at E! Online. "According to reliable insiders, the initial plan (subject to change) is that she will be playing herself, with all of her scenes as Tina Fey's fabulous Liz Lemon, and that her story would also play into a feud between Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) that will continue through several episodes."

Emmy voters sure love to hail the acting turns on "30 Rock." Last year's winner of best comedy series nabbed seven of the 11 slots in the guest categories for comedies this year.

But, hey, if Oprah portrays herself, is she really acting? Poor Patrick Stewart never nabbed an Emmy bid for portraying his greatest TV role, Capt. Picard on "Star Trek: The  Next Generation," but he was nommed for portraying himself on "Extras." Also receiving guest noms as themselves on "Extras": Kate Winslet, Ben Stiller and Ian McKellen. And let's recall that Emma Thompson won best guest actress in a comedy series as herself on "Ellen" in 1998. And, by the way, Oprah certainly has proven kudos acting chops as a past Oscar and Golden Globe nominee for "The Color Purple" (1985).

OK, let's say that Emmy voters would want to nominate Oprah Winfrey. Would she permit it? At the Daytime Emmys, Oprah took herself and her show out of competition, quitting the race for best talk show host in 1999 (after six wins) and the series contest one year later (after nine victories — that's still the record).

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