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

Category: Oscar nominations

Gold Derby nuggets: Steve Pond digs into documentary race | Guy Lodge on category fraud | Guests line up for Conan O'Brien

October 21, 2010 |  5:10 pm

Steve Pond delves into the selection process for the documentary feature Oscar race. As he reports, "in a remarkable year for non-fiction filmmaking of all kinds, the looming possibility of more Oscar-doc controversies means it’s time to take a look at a process in which: films are judged by surprisingly few people; the most active filmmakers are ineligible or unable to vote; and the final slate of nominees is almost invariably made up of issue-oriented docs — to the exclusion of the odder, entertaining works that make the field so vital these days." THE WRAP

Sasha Stone finds much to quote from the script for "The Social Network," leading off her list of favorite lines of dialogue with this one: "Let’s gut the nerd." AWARDS DAILY

Caitlin King says, "Gwyneth Paltrow will be taking the stage at next month's Country Music Association Awards as a performer. She'll sing the title track of her new movie, 'Country Strong,' and will be joined by Vince Gill." AP

• From London, Mark Shenton reports, "Four days of performances for Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Love Never Dies,' the sequel to 'The Phantom of the Opera,' have been taken off sale at London's Adelphi Theatre for the week commencing Nov. 22. Performances are set to resume Nov. 26. During the shutdown, revisions will be made to the show. A spokesman said, 'Some changes were written up over the summer and destined for the Australian production and as they make improvements to the show we'd be mad not to put them into the Adelphi [production in London].'" PLAYBILL

The Kids are All RightGuy Lodge asks, "Is Focus right to campaign both Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as leads in 'The Kids Are All Right,' or would it be more appropriate (and tactical) for one to drop to supporting? Can Lesley Manville be declared a lead in 'Another Year' when her character flits around two more constant — but also more passive — presences in the film? Will 'True Grit' newcomer Hailee Steinfeld be the victim of the unwritten campaigning rule stating that minors are, by definition, supporting players — whether they’re carrying a film on their shoulders or not?" IN CONTENTION

Peter Knegt takes a closer look at the Gotham Awards nominations. "Handed out by Independent Feature Project (IFP) for the past twenty years, they have always offered an interesting and generally deserving batch of nominations. But they are also quite inconsistent both category to category and year to year, which to some degree makes them a bit difficult to prove a stable predictor of anything beyond them." INDIE WIRE

Jeff Wells reports from a screening of "Love and Other Drugs" that "Hathaway's performance is the killer, and it is, I suppose, because you can read every emotional tick and tremor on her face, and because your heart goes out to any character coping with a debilitating disease (stage-one Parkinson's) and who wants to keep herself aloof and in control. But Gyllenhaal gives his most winning performance ever — not the deepest or darkest or saddest, perhaps, but 100% likable with no audience-alienation issues except for emotional avoidance. They're quite a pair, these two. All you want is to see them keep it together and somehow make it work." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Jean Bentley has the lineup of bold-faced names who will appear on the first week of Conan O'Brien's new TBS talker: "The first episode of Coco's new late night talk show will feature Seth Rogen and musical guest Jack White, along with the winner of the first guest poll — a hotly contested competition between The Pope, Jack Nicholson, Vladimir Putin, REO Speedwagon, The Sultan of Brunei, Justin Bieber, Thomas Pynchon, Gerhard Ertl, Arlene Wagner, Lady Gaga, the cast of the live-action 'Fat Albert' movie and Tom from MySpace to decide the first guest. Nov. 9 will feature Tom Hanks (fittingly, Hanks was the last guest on the O'Brien-hosted 'Tonight Show'), Jack McBrayer (another Coco pal) and Soundgarden. Nov. 10 will see Jon Hamm, Charlene Yi and Fistful of Mercy, and Nov. 11 will feature Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and comedian Jon Dore. TV SQUAD

• Writes Jenelle Riley,"Here's some video of the 'Conviction' Q&A we did with Sam Rockwell a couple weeks ago. The film opened in 11 theaters last weekend, averaging $10,000 per theater — a figure that is either pretty good or a complete disaster, depending on whose hype you believe. What's most important is that everyone I've spoken to who's actually seen the movie has high praise, particularly for Rockwell, who still looks like the one to beat for Best Supporting Actor come awards time." BACKSTAGE

• "South Park" skewered "Inception" on Wednesday night's episode and, as Brian Rafterty notes, "a DiCaprio doppelgänger tried to make sense of the film's dream-warrior premise. 'You just don't get it, 'cause you're not smart enough!'" VULTURE

Photo: Annette Bening, left, and Julianne Moore in "The Kids are All Right." Credit Focus Features.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Fest faves James Franco & Carey Mulligan | Tom Bosley dead at 83 | Sasha Stone on best picture race

October 19, 2010 |  1:41 pm

• "127 Hours" leading man James Franco will receive the outstanding performance prize from the Santa Barbara filmfest on Jan. 29. In making the announcement, fest exec Roger Durling described him thus: "A truly exceptional actor who embraces the character and lives the story to tell it, James Franco eases onto the screen, seducing the audience no matter if he is the hero, the villain or the victim." Among the roster of talent that has taken home this prize in the past: Colin Firth (2010), Penelope Cruz (2009), Angelina Jolie (2008), Helen Mirren (2007), Heath Ledger (2006), Kate Winslet (2005) and Charlize Theron (2004). SBIFF

Carey Mulligan will be feted by the Palm Springs filmfest with the breakthrough award on Jan. 8. Previous recipients include Mariah Carey -- who made headlines last year with her wobbly acceptance speech at the event -- Freida Pinto, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Hudson. PSIFF

Steve Pond reports, "a handful of upcoming films got their first widespread exposure last week at the National Association of Theater Owners’ ShowEast conference in Orlando, Florida. And judging from conversations with exhibition executives who attended the four-day conference, the news is good for 'The Fighter' 'Tangled' and 'Morning Glory,' but not so much for 'Due Date' and 'Fair Game.'" THE ODDS

• Lionsgate marketing chief Tim Palen has captured the stars of "For Colored Girls" -- Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and Loretta Devine -- in a series of "Living Portraits." They will be displayed at the Lehman Maupin gallery in Gotham between October 24 and 27. HIT FIX

Tom Bosley Happy DaysTom Bosley, best known as the kindly patriarch on the classic sitcom "Happy Days," died Tuesday at age 83. The veteran actor won the Tony Award in 1960 for his performance as colorful New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the Pulitzer-winning tuner "Fiorello!" Over the 11 seasons of "Happy Days," Bosley contended only once for the supporting Emmy, losing that 1978 race to Rob Reiner who won his second of two trophies for "All in the Family." Since "Happy Days" signed off in 1984, Bosley kept busy with several more series ("Murder, She Wrote" and "The Father Dowling Mysteries") as well as returning repeatedly to his first love, the stage, most recently in a tour of "On Golden Pond" with Emmy champ Michael Learned ("The Waltons").  TV GUIDE

Anthony Breznican sits down with Oscar champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") to discuss the remake of "True Grit," which reunites him with the Coen brothers 12 years after "The Big Lebowski." USA TODAY

• "Glee" will be showcasing two potential guest actress contenders in upcoming episodes. Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow appears on Nov. 16 as a substitute teacher who takes over the New Directions while six-time Emmy champ Carol Burnett debuts the following week as Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) Nazi-hunting mother. PLAYBILL

• In anticipation of the Blu-ray release of his 1979 best picture nominee "Apocalypse Now," director Francis Ford Coppola chats with Alonso Duralde. MOVIELINE

Sasha Stone assesses the derby in light of the Gotham Award nominations and says, "The Best Picture race is nowhere near set. With each award announcement, the picture becomes clearer. 'Winter’s Bone' didn’t look like it would be one of the ten. 'Secretariat' did. Now, 'Winter’s Bone' looks good, and 'Secretariat' will need something extra to push it through. When the Los Angeles and New York film critics make their announcements, things will again shift. They will keep shifting through the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, and most importantly, the Directors Guild." AWARDS DAILY

• After making note of the four films sent out by Sony Pictures Classic, Scott Feinberg says, "My only criticism related to SPC’s screeners is the decision -- which admittedly may not have been the studio’s alone — to promote Annette Bening's performance in 'Mother and Child' for best actress. Bening is terrific in the film, but the studio and Bening have to know that she stands an infinitely better chance at a best actress nod for her performance in the much higher-profile 'The Kids Are All Right' and that they -- unlike the people pushing her for that film -- could actually justify pushing her for 'Mother and Child' in the supporting category, which is wide open, because she’s but one member of a large ensemble." SCOTT FEINBERG

Ryan Adams passes along a post from a reader that reviews possible contenders for the cinematography award and finds 40 names in the mix. AWARDS DAILY

Photo: Tom Bosley in a promotional still for "Happy Days." Credit: ABC.

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Fighter' trailer packs a punch | Mark Zuckerberg on 'The Social Network' | Sasha Stone: supporting actress race 'wide open'

October 18, 2010 |  2:44 pm

Mark Wahlberg Christian Bale The Fighter • For Kyle Buchanan, the trailer for "The Fighter," which debuted during Sunday's airing of "Mad Men," was a "wowser." He thinks this preview of the biopic starring Mark Wahlberg is expert at "reestablishing the movie as a highbrow awards pick in a two-minute spot so confident that a dessicated, transformative Christian Bale gets less screen time than Melissa Leo's amazing hair. (But what hair it is! Oscars now for that, please.)" VULTURE

Pete Hammond has all the details of the Oscar push for "Alice in Wonderland." As he reports, "this 6th biggest grosser of all time will start an unusual four-day theatrical engagement Sunday aimed squarely at attracting Academy members and Hollywood guilds. A full-page Sunday newspaper ad will launch the 3D run at the Arclight Hollywood and AMC Santa Monica from October 18th to 21st. The run will be accompanied by an exhibit of Colleen Atwood's costumes in the Arclight lobby." DEADLINE

Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere) and Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) have fun sparring on their fourth Oscar podcast. OSCAR POKER

• Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine") will deliver the keynote address at the academy's 25th annual Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting presentation dinner Nov. 4 at the Beverly Wilshire. The academy annually awards up to five Nicholl fellowships of $30,000 each. This year, 10 scripts have advanced to the final round. Since the program's inception in 1985, 113 fellowships have been awarded. AMPAS

• Speaking at Stanford University on Saturday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed being the subject of "The Social Network." As Rachel Sklar reveals, "Says every shirt in the movie he still owns; he's been with the same girl since before FB launched; did not do it for the girls: 'They just can't wrap their head around the idea that someone would build something because they like building things!' " MEDIAITE

• Don't look for Zuckerberg in the audience when the cast of "The Social Network" is feted with the ensemble award at the Hollywood Awards Gala on Oct. 25 at the Beverly Hilton. HFF

• For Guy Lodge, "admittedly, 11 out of 65 is a figure that is only impressive if you're counting the listenable tracks on most latter-day hip-hop albums, but as a measure of the number of Best Foreign Language Film contenders I've seen, it's more than I've ever managed by this early point in the race. For that, I have my growing trail of film festivals to thank (even if I also have Venice schedulers to blame for ensuring that I missed Canada's hot prospect 'Incendies' in favour of, of all things, 'Miral'), and this year's London Film Festival has served me particularly well in this regard." IN CONTENTION

From the Scream Awards, Matt Donnelly filed a dispatch, which opens as follows: "Though merely misty at Los Angeles' Greek Theatre on Saturday, it was raining celebs for Spike TV's Scream Awards -- an annual celebration of creepy, cringe-worthy and fanboy fare. Backed by a massive outdoor set inspired by Christopher Nolan's 'Inception,' tons of bold-face names came to present and claim trophies as well as to unveil new footage from upcoming films. In a tiny gold cocktail dress, Halle Berry opened the show by introducing Nolan, who scooped up several statuettes for his Leonardo DiCaprio-led flick." MINISTRY OF GOSSIP

Sasha Stone surveys the field of potential supporting actress contenders and finds, "This is going to be a wide open category, I suspect, but by December we should have a better idea where it's going." AWARDS DAILY

Nathaniel Rogers concurs, commenting that, "the Supporting Actress Race is, as you've presumably surmised (being the smarty that you are) unpredictable at the moment. Almost everyone who people think might be in the running is an uncertainty." THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Rihanna will be the opening act for the 38th edition of the American Music Awards, airing live on ABC on Nov. 21. That is five days after her new album "Loud" is released. Previously announced performers include Usher, Pink and Bon Jovi. RAP-UP

• Seven-time Emmy champ Ed Asner has inked a deal for a supporting role on "Working Class," the first sitcom from cablecaster CMT. As this report notes, "His return to TV follows recent successes for two fellow cast-mates from the legendary 'Mary Tyler Moore Show': Betty White on TV Land's 'Hot in Cleveland' and Cloris Leachman on Fox's 'Raising Hope.'" AP

• Voting is now underway to determine the nominees for this year's People's Choice Awards. Fans can vote in 40 categories for their favorites in movies, TV and music. The top five nominees in each category will be announced on Nov. 9 and Queen Latifah will host the 37th annual kudocast on Jan. 5. PCA

Photo: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in "The Fighter." Credit: Paramount

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Countdown to '127 Hours'

October 15, 2010 |  5:34 pm

127 HOURS one-sheet Danny Boyle's first film since "Slumdog Millionaire" swept the Oscars two years ago is "127 Hours." The film is based on the true story of hiker Aron Ralston who was forced to cut off his arm when it became pinned by a rock. The picture screened at the Telluride and Toronto film fests to very positive reaction and star James Franco is a strong contender for lead actor.

Along with the main website for the film, which features extensive background video along with photos and fact sheets, there is an offshoot -- 127DefiningMoments -- which is collecting inspirational stories as part of a contest.

The trailer below captures the intensity of "127 Hours," which opens in select cities on Nov. 5.

Photo: "127 Hours" poster. Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Oscars in November | 'The Hobbit' sets starting date | Supporting race surprises

October 15, 2010 |  5:23 pm

• After reviewing the pros and cons of moving the Oscars, Pete Hammond proposes that they should indeed change the ceremony's timing. However, for Pete, such a shift should not be just the few weeks being bandied about as of late but months earlier -- in November. DEADLINE

Sasha Stone considers five films that could replicate the success of "The Blind Side" at this year's Oscars. Leading her list is "For Colored Girls" followed by "Love and Other Drugs" and "Secretariat." "How Do You Know" and "The Town" round out her selections for that slot. AWARDS DAILY

Kris Tapley and Anne Thompson welcome In Contention contributor Guy Lodge and Indie Wire blogger Peter Knegt to the latest installment of their weekly Oscar Talk podcast. IN CONTENTION

The Hobbit • "The Hobbit" is a go, says Sharon Waxman. Peter Jackson, who hauled home three Oscars for his work on the final film in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is helming the two prequels with lensing on the first to start in February. As Sharon notes, "Jackson was already on board to write and produce 'The Hobbit.' But because of financial turmoil at MGM, which owns half of the franchise together with Warners' New Line Cinema, the project became one of the most torturous in Hollywood history. Sets have already been built in New Zealand, and actors -- including Sir Ian McKellan -- have been on hold for months; Martin Freeman has been rumored to play Bilbo Baggins." THE WRAP

• On Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. ET, former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell will host a live webcast to reveal the nominees for the 20th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. The awards will be handed out on Nov. 29 at Cipriani Wall Street. In addition to the competitive kudos, actors Robert Duvall and Hilary Swank, director Darren Aronofsky and Focus Features’ CEO James Schamus will each be presented with a career tribute. GOTHAM AWARDS

• With two-time Oscar champ Hilary Swank's latest film, "Conviction," opening Friday, Kyle Buchanan and Claude Brodesser-Aknera analyze her award and career prospects. As they observe, "Unlike many actresses her age, the 36-year-old Swank is better suited for award-caliber dramas than romantic comedies, and while Hollywood is rough on women already, it's even less receptive to the idea of building a mid-priced drama around one." VULTURE

Nathaniel Rogers turns his attention to the supporting actor race. As he notes, "Lately, Oscar voters have been on a villainous bender in the Supporting Actor category. There are many reasons for this, the first being who the hell would deny Ledger in '07, Bardem in '08 and Waltz in '09? But aside from a great quality performance -- not usually the deciding factor -- Oscar has always enjoyed a good stock role, particularly in the Supporting categories. Are they in the mood for The Sidekick, The Villain, The Wisened Old Man/Mentor, The Sad Sack, or The Eccentric Weirdo?" THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Erik Childress makes the provocative suggestion that Annette Bening should consider dropping down to the supporting race for her performance in "The Kids Are All Right." MOVIEFONE

Image: "The Hobbit" book cover. Credit: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscar exec Bruce Davis retiring | 'The King's Speech' tops Dave Karger's Oscar predix | Eminem and Lady Antebellum lead AMA nominations

October 13, 2010 | 12:13 pm

• As Nikki Finke reports, "This is truly the end of an era. I've just learned that Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences executive director Bruce Davis announced at this evening's Board Of Governors meeting that he intends to retire on June 30th, 2011, after 30 years working for the world's preeminent film group." Nikki also has a copy of Bruce's e-mail to the academy staff, which reads, in part, "When I leave I will have spent thirty years at the Academy, and more than twenty as its executive director. That seems like enough. Organizations and individuals both benefit from periodic shifts in perspective." DEADLINE

Roger Deakins will be feted with the lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers. The eight-time Oscar nominee will receive the honor at the 25th edition of the ASC kudos on Feb. 13. In a statement, ASC president Michael Goi said: "The Lifetime Achievement Award is a reflection of the impact that a cinematographer has made on the art of filmmaking rather than the capping of a career. It is our way of acknowledging a true artist in his prime. Roger Deakins raises the artistic profile of our profession with every movie and he will continue to do so for many years." ASC

Colin Firth The Kings SpeechDave Karger unveils his first top 10 list of best picture contenders. Leading the list is "The King's Speech," with "True Grit" in second and "The Social Network" in third place. As always, Dave provides expert analysis of each film's ranking. For example, he says this about "The King's Speech": "As soon as I saw this British drama in early September I knew it had the potential to go all the way in at least one major category. Right now its star, Colin Firth, is the man to beat for Best Actor, and it’s an absolute lock for a Best Picture nomination as well." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Using "Fair Game" as an example, Sasha Stone writes insightfully about the role of bloggers in the Oscar race. Says Sasha, "There is a filter between seeing films in screenings and how they eventually 'do.' The critics are really the ones who mostly shape perception. The bloggers can praise a film until they’re blue in the fingertips, but ultimately — it’s about the critics, the industry, the public and the Academy. Sorry, bloggers, but it just is. That is why seeing a film in a screening can sometimes be a misleading experience. If the critics don’t agree with the early blogger praise, a film will have a hard time passing the first test. That is why it’s always dangerous to get our strong opinion out there — others are likely to throw it back in our face should the movie fail. This happened to me with 'The Kite Runner.' I am always surprised when I like a movie that ends up doing really well in the race. It is a win-win for me." AWARDS DAILY

• With his usual savvy style, Steve Pond weighs the odds of four possible Oscar contenders making the cut: "True Grit" for best picture, "The Social Network" for adapted screenplay, Mel Gibson ("The Beaver") for lead actor and "The Town" for best picture. THE ODDS

Kris Tapley is aces at keeping track of the contenders for the animated feature award, and he reports that "it's looking more and more like the magic number of 16 won’t be reached in this year’s animated feature film race. By my count, we have 12 titles." IN CONTENTION

Eminem and Lady Antebellum lead the list of nominees for this year's 38th annual edition of the American Music Awards with five bids each. Eminem and four-time nominee Justin Bieber vie for artist of the year against Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Lady Gaga. The kudos will be handed out Nov. 21 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and will air on ABC. THE ENVELOPE

• The field of documentary short-subject Oscar contenders has been winnowed from 30 to eight, with three to five of them making it to the nomination stage. Those still in the running are "Born Sweet," "Killing in the Name," "Living for 32," "One Thousand Pictures: RFK’s Last Journey," "Poster Girl," "Strangers No More," "Sun Come Up" and "The Warriors of Qiugang." AMPAS

•The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced Oscar winner Sidney Poitier will be honored with the 38th annual Chaplin award at a May 2 gala. The Film Society's annual gala began in 1972 and honored Charles Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin and has honored many of the film industry's most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and, most recently, Michael Douglas. FILM SOCIETY

Nathaniel Rogers notes that if Jesse Eisenberg is Oscar nominated for "The Social Network," he'll knock Matt Damon ("Good Will Hunting") out of the top 10 youngest lead actor contenders. THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Michael J. Fox will reunite with his "Back to the Future" castmates at the Scream 2010 Awards. To celebrate the silver anniversary of this movie classic, they will also be featured on the cover of an issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Photo: "The King's Speech." Photo credit: Weinstein Co.

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Gold Derby nuggets: '30 Rock' goes live | 'I Love Lucy' engineering Emmy honoree | 'The Closer' among TNT renewals

July 30, 2010 |  1:47 pm

30_rock_logo • Reigning Emmy champ "30 Rock" will be live from New York for one episode in October. Peacock exec Angela Bromstad made the announcement at the TCA on Friday. Via the press release, Bromstad said, "We’ve had great success with live episodes in the past, both in a creative sense and in the ratings. I can’t imagine a series more suited to do an incredible live episode, thanks to its many cast, writers and producers, who hail from TV’s most renowned live series, ‘SNL.’" Previous NBC shows to test the mettle of actors with live episodes included "ER" and "Will & Grace." TV BY THE NUMBERS

Greg Braxton has been busy attending the TCA summer session and delivers the news that Terrence Howard has inked a deal to join the cast of the new series "Law & Order: Los Angeles." The onetime Oscar nominee ("Hustle and Flow") is to "play a deputy district attorney. He will split the district attorney duties with Alfred Molina, who was previously signed." SHOW TRACKER

• NBC Universal TV chief Jeff Gaspin tells Joe Adalian he has "no issue" with Conan O'Brien appearing on the upcoming telecast of the Emmys on the Peacock net, adding that, "as long as he's not hosting, I'm fine." This news makes Joe wonder, "So will the TV Academy ask O'Brien to appear? If asked, will Conan serve?" NEW YORK

I Love Lucy logo • While O'Brien's "Late Night" successor, Jimmy Fallon, has been tapped to host the prime-time Emmys, "Big Bang Theory" comedy duo Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar will emcee the engineering Emmys on Aug. 14 at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood. Among those slated to be feted for technical achievements is Desilu, "for their innovation of using a multi-camera film setup before a live studio audience. Desilu also used conventional film studio materials, production and processing techniques which made 'I Love Lucy' immediately available for production and distribution of prints when the series went into syndication at local stations around the country. In addition, the honor is bestowed to commemorate the upcoming 60th anniversary of 'I Love Lucy’s' debut." THE WRAP

Mikey Glazer reports that "in L.A., costume designers descended on downtown's Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Saturday for the opening of the annual installation honoring 'The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design.' Two of the stars of the evening were costume designer nominees Lou Eyrich of 'Glee' and 'Mad Men's Janie Bryant." THE WRAP

TheCloser_S5_eKyra Sedgwick will get another chance to contend for the lead actress Emmy award that has eluded her until now with Friday's news that TNT has renewed "The Closer" for a seventh season. Sedgwick has been nominated for each of the first five seasons of the crime drama. In the current derby, our pundits predict her to be an also-ran again. However, the sixth season of the show is airing currently and the seventh is slated for next summer, giving her at least two more tries. Also re-upped by the cablecaster are "Leverage" for a fourth season and freshman hit "Rizzoli & Isles." TV BY THE NUMBERS

• Following up on her look at the ladies in contention for best actress this year, Sasha Stone turns to the men of the moment. For this leading Oscarologist, "unlike the Best Actress race, the Best Actor race is still buried in the haze of expectations and unknowns. We wait for so many answers, like Jeff Bridges in 'True Grit'? Brad Pitt in 'Tree of Life'? We just don’t know. Javier Bardem‘s astonishing work in the very depressing 'Biutiful'? Sean Penn again for 'Fair Game'? George Clooney for 'The American'? Here is what we do know so far. Leonardo DiCaprio is having a hell of a year. Whether or not the actors will agree is another story. Michael Douglas turned in a very good performance in 'Solitary Man,' and will also charm audiences with 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.' Kevin Kline is making a run with 'The Extra Man.' One of the best I’ve already seen is Ryan Gosling, who does his best work yet in 'Blue Valentine.'" AWARDS DAILY

Photos, from top: "30 Rock" logo. Credit: NBC; "I Love Lucy" logo. Credit: CBS Home Video; "The Closer" season 5 DVD cover. Credit: Warner Home Video.

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Toronto Film Festival lineup loaded with Oscar hopefuls

July 27, 2010 | 10:45 am

TIFFlogo-1024x309 The 35th annual edition of the Toronto Film Festival is scheduled to include the world and North American premieres of a slew of awards contenders. This year's festival is to kick off on Sept. 9 and run for 11 days.

Among the 50 titles announced Tuesday are the following films that could well figure in the contests for kudos this year:

"Another Year" -- The latest domestic drama by Mike Leigh ("Happy Go Lucky") is centered on a middle-aged couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) and their assorted friends and family, including a saucy alcoholic (Lesley Manville).

"Biutiful" -- Oscar champ Javier Bardem won best actor at Cannes for his portrayal of a dying father looking for redemption in this film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel").

"Black Swan" -- Darren Aronofksy's psychological thriller revolves around a dancer (Natalie Portman) in competition with a young upstart (Mila Kunis) for the prima ballerina position.

"Casino Jack" -- Two-time Oscar champ Kevin Spacey portrays jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff in this political drama from George Hickenlooper.

"The Conspirator" -- Robert Redford's film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln features James McAvoy as a war hero defending a mother (Robin Wright) accused of aiding her son in the plot to kill the president.

"Conviction" -- Tony Goldwyn's stirring biopic stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the crusading Betty Anne Waters, who worked tirelessly to free her wrongfully imprisoned brother (Sam Rockwell) .

"The Debt" -- Oscar champ Helen Mirren joins forces with "Avatar" star Sam Worthington for John Madden's thriller about Israeli agents on the hunt for a Nazi in 1965.

"The King's Speech" -- Colin Firth plays King George VI and Helena Bonham Carter his supportive wife, Elizabeth, in Tom Hooper's historical drama, which focuses on the work of a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who boosts the king's confidence.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Lost' finds on auction block | Woes for Oscar winners | Stamp of approval for Katharine Hepburn

May 13, 2010 | 12:21 pm

Lost_Logo • Fans of "Lost" will be able to own a piece of memorabilia from the Emmy Award-winning drama series. This summer, more than 100 props used on the show will go up for auction. As James Hibberd notes, "There's plenty of iconic memorabilia from the show (Charlie's guitar, Locke's death certificate, Hurley's Lotto ticket) and plenty of less-than-iconic (hey, who wants Ana Lucia's ID card? Anybody? How about Kate's toy airplane?)." The penultimate episode of "Lost" airs in the regular Tuesday night time slot on Tuesday. On May 23, ABC is airing a two-hour retrospective and then the 150-minute finale. FOR THE RECORD: This post previously gave the wrong date for the "Lost" finale. The correct date is May 23. THE LIVE FEED

• Stars of two of TV's freshman hits -- Joel McHale ("Community") and Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family") -- will join TV academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner to announce the nominees for the 62nd annual Emmy Awards on July 8. The kudocast is scheduled for Aug. 29 on NBC with "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon as emcee.

Lynette Rice chats with reigning Emmy champ Cherry Jones about her second season in a supporting role on "24." The wide-ranging conversation includes talk "about President Allison Taylor’s trippy story arc this year (like how she’s overlooking the Russians’ involvement in the assassination of Omar Hassan and focusing on a doomed peace agreement instead)." And, as Lynette warns,"spoiler alert fans! Though the longtime stage actress doesn’t give away too much about the ending, she does tease a thing or two about where her character is headed." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• While Jeff Bridges was obviously thrilled to find his name in the best actor envelope on Oscar night, he may have been less pleased to see his name on a notice from the tax man. As Robert Snell reports, "the IRS filed a $23,997 lien against Bridges on April 7 with the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds. According to the lien, he owes federal employment taxes from 2002 and 2004." DETROIT NEWS

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars • "Triple Frontier" -- Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up film to her Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker" -- is about the South American region where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. The area is reputed to be a center of terrorism financing. However, as per this report, "the focus on the region has angered the tourism ministers of Argentina and Paraguay, who fear the movie could damage their countries' reputation with foreign visitors. 'We discussed this subject with Paraguay's tourism minister and the governor of Misiones (an Argentine border state),' said Argentine Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer. 'We all agreed that we were deeply indignant when we discovered that this project seeks to negatively portray this region shared by three South American countries.'" AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

• This fall's return of Donald Margulies' current Tony contender "Time Stands Still" has completed casting. Tony nominee Laura Linney will reprise her role as a photographer who returns from covering the war in Iraq, wounded physically and psychologically. Also back are Brian D'arcy James as her beau and Eric Bogosian as her mentor with Christina Ricci now set to make her Broadway debut as Bogosian's much younger girlfriend. That role was played in the original run by Alicia Silverstone.

Maria Elena sings the praises of composer Michael Giacchino -- an Emmy winner for "Lost" who picked up an Oscar this year for his score for "Up." As Maria reports, "Thursday night, the 'Lost' score will take center stage at UCLA's Royce Hall in a farewell event to the ABC series that will feature Giacchino conducting a 47-member orchestra. Composed of students from the Colburn School of Performing Arts and nine members of Giacchino's "Lost" ensemble, the 'Lost Live' orchestra will perform seven songs from "Lost." Several 'Lost' actors -- Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim, Naveen Andrews, Michael Emerson and Nestor Carbonell -- will also participate in the program." SHOW TRACKER

Katharine Hepburn Stamp • Four-time Oscar champ Katharine Hepburn was feted on what would have been her 103rd birthday Tuesday with a new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. The first-class stamp uses a publicity still from her 1942 pic "Woman of the Year" and was unveiled at Hepburn's local post office in Old Saybrook, Conn. Speaking at the ceremony was Postmaster General John E. Potter who said, "With the Katharine Hepburn commemorative stamp as the newest in our 'Legends of Hollywood' series, we continue our proud tradition of honoring the special people who epitomize our nation’s character and aspirations." "Law & Order" stalwart Sam Waterston -- who co-starred with Hepburn in the 1973 TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" -- served as master of ceremonies, and Anthony Harvey, who directed Hepburn to her third Oscar in "The Lion in Winter," also attended, as did her nephew Mundy Hepburn and Chuck Still, executive director of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Dave Itzkoff reports, "the International Documentary Association and a group of filmmakers that includes 20 Academy Award winners and many more nominees have issued an open letter in support of Joe Berlinger, the director of 'Crude,' and objecting to a judge’s ruling that Chevron could subpoena Mr. Berlinger’s footage from that film." The documentary details the lawsuit brought by Ecuadorians against Texaco (now owned by Chevron) claiming that its oil field contaminated their water supply. Chevron says the footage could be helpful to the company's case. ARTS BEAT

• Perennial Oscar player Pixar has canceled production of "Newt," a story about the last two surviving blue newts who are brought together to breed but don't have the requisite chemistry. As per this report, "Without any accompanying explanation, Pixar's 'Newt' was quietly deleted from the May 2010 supplement to 'Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia' by Disney archivist Dave Smith. This means that 'Newt' is clearly on hold for now, if not permanently canceled as has been rumoured. Originally scheduled to be released in Summer 2011, then moved to 2012, the film was supposed to be the first Pixar feature directed by sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who previously directed the short film 'Lifted.'" PIXAR BLOG

Top photo: "Lost" logo. Credit: ABC.

Middle photo: Kathryn Bigelow at the 82nd annual Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Katharine Hepburn first-class stamp. Credit: USPS

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Pete Hammond's canny take on Cannes Film Festival

May 13, 2010 |  8:13 am

Cannes_festival_logo Our great pal and fellow Envelope contributor Pete Hammond has jetted off to the South of France and is filing a series of must-read reports on the annual Cannes film festival. For Pete, "the festival may not quite be an Oscar movie magnet. After all it is held in May and many academy-friendly movies just aren't ready and/or willing to make the trek and take the risk this early, but we have to say, if Telluride/Toronto/Venice in early September is the 'official' start of the season, then Cannes is the 'unofficial' start particularly for the foreign-film Oscar race."

As he notes, "last year the top two Cannes award winners, 'The White Ribbon' and 'Un Prophete,' both went on to academy nominations, as did competition winners 'The Class' and 'Waltz With Bashir' in 2008. Interestingly, in both years, the eventual Oscar victor was a more mainstream choice that never saw the light of day in Cannes, 'Departures' and this year's champ, 'The Secret in Their Eyes.' "

And, as Pete writes, "although you have to go all the way back to 1955 when 'Marty' took the top prize here, hope springs eternal that one day the best picture Oscar and the Palme d'Or will be a match again." As for the odds of that happening this year, he observes, "It doesn't help that the higher-profile films from past best-pic-winning directors here are all being presented out of competition, which include Oliver Stone's 'Wall Street' sequel, 'Money Never Sleeps,' French fave Woody Allen's latest, 'You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,' in addition to Ridley Scott's 'Robin Hood.' "

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Glee' in vogue with viewers | 'South Park' celebrates 200 episodes | Rachel Weisz as 'Jackie'

April 14, 2010 |  3:49 pm

Jane Lynch Glee Madonna • The Golden Globe and SAG winner "Glee" returned to the Fox lineup Tuesday night and made good use of lead-in "American Idol," nearly doubling its audience from last fall. The tuneful series, which had been off the air since December, drew 13.7 million viewers, compared with an average of 7.7 million for its first 13 episodes. Capping off the telecast was a sneak peek from next week's episode -- the video "Vogue" -- with sure-to-be Emmy nominee Jane Lynch re-creating Madonna's iconic 1990 hit, down to every last hand gesture and pose.

• HBO is certainly confident in the prospects for "Treme," which it renewed for a second season just two days after the premiere episode aired to an audience of 1.4 million on Sunday night. This critically acclaimed series about life in post-Katrina New Orleans may help the paycaster become a major player again in the Emmy race for best drama series. Since "The Sopranos" won the trophy in 2007 for its final season, HBO has nabbed only one nomination in the category, with "Big Love" losing to AMC's "Mad Men" last year.

• Mexico's version of the Oscars, the Ariels, also honored a female director for the first time, as "Five Days Without Nora" from Mariana Chenillo won seven awards Tuesday night, including best picture, original screenplay, actor (Fernando Lujan) and supporting actress (Angelina Palaez). While Chenillo won the award for best first work, veteran helmer Carlos Carrera took home best director for "Backyard," which also won best actress for Asur Zagada. Another first film, "Meet the Head of Juan Perez" by Emilio Portes, won supporting actor (Jose Sefami) and three technical awards. THR

South Park Episode 200 • "South Park" airs its 200th episode Wednesday and will once more mock all of the celebrities it has skewered over the years. Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have a lot to celebrate besides reaching this production milestone. They have done quite well with the Emmys over the years, winning three of their eight bids for animated program of less than one hour (2005, 2007, 2009) as well as another in 2008 for an extended version of the show. Now they are teaming up with Tony-winning composer Robert Lopez ("Avenue Q") for the new Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," which is slated to open next March. Jason Moore -- a Tony nominee for directing "Avenue Q," which won the 2004 best musical Tony Award -- will helm this production in conjunction with Parker, who, by the by, was a 1999 Oscar nominee along with composer Marc Shaiman for a ditty they composed for the "South Park" movie.

• New tuner "The Addams Family" may have hit a false note with the critics last week, but as Patrick Healy reports, the cash registers have been ringing ever since. "The show sold $851,000 in tickets last weekend on top of a $15 million sales advance, huge figures for a new Broadway run, and all but guaranteeing that it will be hard to snag a pair of good orchestra seats until fall. After five months of well-publicized creative difficulties for the show, this seeming paradox amounts to a theater world version of the golden fleece: the critic-proof smash." Whether it will win over Tony voters as well will be revealed on May 4, when nominations for the 64th annual awards are announced. NEW YORK TIMES

• Two Tony Awards winners -- Anika Noni Rose ("Caroline or Change") and Michael Cerveris ("Assassins") -- are to co-host the 55th annual edition of the Village Voice Obie awards on May 17 at Manhattan's Webster Hall. These kudos, founded in 1955, are unique among the Gotham theater kudos in that they celebrate both off- and off-off-Broadway productions.

Rachel Weisz Jackie Oscars • Oscar champ Rachel Weisz ("The Constant Gardener") has proved she will tackle any part, no matter the challenge. She just swept the West End theater awards for her acclaimed performance as  Blanche DuBois in a revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire." Now comes word, via Nicole Sperling, that she is to play Jacqueline Kennedy in "Jackie," a biopic helmed by her fiancee, Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler"), from a script by Noah Oppenheim. Seven of the last 10 women to prevail in the lead actress race at the Oscars did so by playing real-life roles. This film will chronicle the four days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963. No doubt Weisz wishes the just-announced September 2011 release of an oral history by the former first lady was available now. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• The International Emmys bestowed prizes for digital content on Monday at MIP. As with the program awards, Britain dominated here too, winning both the fiction prize for "Primeval Evolved," an online companion to the now-canceled ITV series, and the nonfiction award for the Open University Web documentary "Virtual Revolution." New Zealand took home its first international Emmy for the interactive online children's mystery series "Reservoir Hill."

• The Razzies have not only announced the date for their awardsfest next year -- Feb. 26 -- but also the news that the ceremony may finally be shown on TV. Razzie chief John Wilson issued this statement: "With Sandra Bullock having just followed in the footsteps of Halle Berry, Bill Cosby and Ben Affleck to good-naturedly accept a Razzie statuette, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation is exploring the possibility of a first-ever television broadcast of their award ceremonies next spring as well as developing other Razzie-branded entertainment properties." Eric Ortner will produce the award show for potential TV airing.

• Add Oscar-winning helmer Martin Scorsese ("The Departed") to the growing list of converts to the 3-D process for making movies. Tatiana Siegel reports that the veteran filmmaker will use the technology for his next project, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret." This adaptation of Brian Selznick's bestselling children's book -- set to begin production in June with a script by John Logan ("The Aviator") -- is slated for a Christmas 2011 release. VARIETY

Top photo: Jane Lynch in "Glee." Credit: Fox

Middle photo: "South Park" production still. Credit: Comedy Central

Bottom photo: Rachel Weisz at the 2005 Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Come Fly Away' to Broadway | 3-D or not 3-D | Katherine Heigl on Emmy uproar

March 26, 2010 |  4:09 pm

Come Fly AwayTwyla Tharp -- who picked up a Tony in 2003 for choreographing "Movin' Out," set to the songs of Billy Joel -- is back with another dancefest. "Come Fly Away" tells the story of four couples to the tunes of Frank Sinatra. The musical opened Thursday to mixed reviews from the Gotham critics. "Movin' Out" landed 10 Tony nominations, including best musical, but took home just two awards (orchestrations was the other). Among the five acting bids were a lead one for John Selya and a featured one for Ashley Tuttle, both of whom appear in "Come Fly Away."

• No surprise that the BAFTAs will be held on Sunday, Feb. 13. As with this year, that places these kudos two weeks before the just-announced date of the Oscars.

• And no surprise that Oscar winner Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") is skipping Saturday's Kids' Choice Awards where she contends for favorite movie actress against Miley Cyrus, Megan Fox and Zoe Saldana. Her rep told People she was never slated to attend.

• The father of the alleged other woman -- Michelle McGee -- says that his daughter decided to come forward after seeing Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James attending the Oscars as a happily married couple. THE 33

How To Train Your Dragon • Friday brought a marked increase in the cost of seeing 3-D films in both regular cinemas and Imax. Director Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") and critic Roger Ebert offer up very different views on the 3-D explosion. For Nolan -- whose latest film, "Inception," is not in 3-D -- this resurgence is an "interesting development." However when reviewing "How to Train Your Dragon," Ebert opined, "The 3-D adds nothing but the opportunity to pay more to see a distracting and unnecessary additional dimension."

Oliver Stone explains to Claude Brodesser and Jada Yuan why the release date of "Wall Street 2" got bumped from April 24 to Sept. 23 despite high-profile cover stories for both Michael Douglas and Shia LaBeouf touting the earlier date. "'This is the flat-out truth: [Fox] said, 'We’d like this for April.' We’d finished shooting principal photography on December 9. That’s a tight squeeze, but I could have made it.' But then the possibility of Cannes arose, which Stone thought was a great platform; also contributing to the decision was the disturbingly close May 7 opening of the behemoth that will be 'Iron Man 2,' which 'gave Fox a bit of a shiver.' " NEW YORK

• Though the latest version of "Robin Hood" is slated to open the Cannes filmfest, it will be screening out of competition. The film -- which unspools on the Croisette two days before its U.S. and U.K. release -- marks the fifth collaboration for director Ridley Scott and actor Russell Crowe, who plays the title role; their first pairing was on 2000 best picture champ "Gladiator" which won Crowe his Oscar. Another Oscar winner -- Cate Blanchett ("The Aviator") -- costars as Maid Marian.

Entertainment-heigl-cover_1801 • "Grey's Anatomy" star Katherine Heigl -- who won the supporting actress Emmy in 2007 -- declined to submit herself for consideration in 2008, telling Gold Derby, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination." This week the actress apologized for the furor she caused, telling Michael Ausiello, "I could have more gracefully said that without going into a private work matter. It was between me and the writers. I ambushed them, and it wasn’t very nice or fair." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• Supporting actress champ Mo'Nique ("Precious") was all set to take her Academy Award out on the road as she tours the country with her comedy but she discovered, "Oscar's heavy, and I thought they would give me a hard time at the airport, so I left Oscar at home." However, she adds, "I'm going to bring him on some of the tour." CONTACT MUSIC

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Top Photo: "Come Fly Away" playbill. Credit: Marquis Theater

Middle Photo: "How to Train Your Dragon" poster. Credit: Paramount

Bottom Photo: Katherine Heigel on "Entertainment Weekly" cover. Credit: EW

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