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Category: The Hurt Locker

Tracking the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay

October 29, 2010 |  4:23 pm

Obviously, "The Social Network" is ahead in the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay, given its front-runner status as best picture and the vaunted reputation of Aaron Sorkin as master wordsmith. However, upsets are always possible at these quirkly Hollywood awards, of course.

Adapted screenplay oscar news-4

"127 Hours" or "True Grit" could quickly jump ahead if one of them wins best picture from the film critics' awards in early December, which is quite possible. The creators of both films have been honored by them in the past and they also previously won the Oscars for best picture and screenplay in the past for "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men."

There's an obvious link between those two Academy Award categories. Over the past 10 years, five best pictures won best adapted screenplay ("The Departed," "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," "A Beautiful Mind" in addition to "Slumdog" and "No Country") and two won best original screenplay ("The Hurt Locker," "Crash").

This year's other major rival for best picture, "The King's Speech," is over in the category for original scripts, so this category for adapted fare may be turned into a consolation prize, as often happens ("Precious," "Brokeback Mountain," "Sideways").

There's a lot of love for "Toy Story 3," animated films are overdue to prevail and Michael Arndt is a past Oscar fave ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Beware: "Toy Story 3" may even become a threat in the best picture battle.

Forget "Rabbit Hole." Yeah, yeah, it won the Pulitzer Prize, but voters must've been drunk. The script didn't deserve it.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
(Favorites)
"127 Hours," Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle
"How to Train Your Dragon," William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
"Love and Other Drugs," Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick
"Rabbit Hole," David Lindsay Abaire
"The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin
"The Town," Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard
"Toy Story 3," Michael Arndt
"True Grit," Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
"Winter's Bone," Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell

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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Gold Derby nuggets: Bigelow more influential than Cameron | 'Chicago' creators allege accounting razzle dazzle | 'The Hobbit' arrives in 2012

April 29, 2010 |  2:01 pm

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker OscarsKathryn Bigelow has bested her ex James Cameron once again. The Oscar-winning director of "The Hurt Locker" secured the third spot on Time's top 25 most influential artists of the year -- only Lady Gaga and Conan O'Brien ranked higher -- while the onetime "king of the world" had to settle for the last slot despite creating the biggest moneymaker in movie history with "Avatar." Also earning places of distinction were director Neill Blokamp -- who contended at this year's Oscars for his script for best picture nominee "District 9" -- at No. 16 and best actress champ Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") at No. 22. Neil Patrick Harris -- who hosted both the Emmys and Tonys last year and opened this year's Oscars -- was ranked No. 10. TIME

• James Cameron may not cut it with Time magazine, but the folks at NASA listen to him. Emma Gallegos reports that the Oscar winner met with Charles Bolden, the head honcho of NASA, in January to persuade him to include a 3-D camera on Curiosity, a rover headed to Mars next year. PASADENA STAR NEWS

Cara Shultz considers Sandra Bullock's acceptance speeches at the Oscars and Golden Globes in light of the revelation Wednesday that she and her then-husband Jesse James had adopted a baby in January. Onstage at the Kodak Theater, Bullock said, "I would like to thank what this film is about for me -- the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked." And at the Globes in January, she said, "A family is not just who you were born to, or what color you are. It's who's got your back." PEOPLE

Chicago DVD • Composer John Kander and representatives of the late lyricist Fred Ebb and director-choreographer Bob Fosse -- who together brought "Chicago" to Broadway in 1975 -- are suing the producers of the 2002 Oscar-winning film adaptation. The lawsuit alleges that "the studios' 'financial theatrics' ... resulted in a nearly $200 million increase in the 'Adjusted Gross Receipts' from which plaintiffs' participation is calculated. With interest, the net impact on plaintiffs is the wrongful reduction of their share by upwards of $12 million." PLAYBILL

Kid Rock has confirmed he will host the ninth annual CMT Music Awards. In a three-sentence post on his website, Rock said, "The rumors are true – I’m hosting the CMT Awards live from Nashville on June 9th… All I can promise is I will be awesome." Last year the rocker won Wide Open Country video of the year for "All Summer Long." This year, eight of the nine categories at the CMTs have eight contenders apiece. Online voting that runs till Monday will winnow these to four finalists in each category, which will be announced May 11. Then another round of online voting through June 8 will determine the winners. Voting for video of the year is different. There are 10 semifinalists, which will be cut down to a final five that will be revealed at the start of the awards ceremony, and the winner of the top prize will be determined by votes cast online and via text message during the kudocast.

• The power of a Facebook petition helped land Betty White a hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live." Now, there is a movement afoot online to have "Glee" devote an episode to the music of Barbra Streisand, much as it did last week with Madonna. Writes Allison Walman, "What do you think it meant when co-creator Ryan Murphy accepted the Golden Globe for 'Glee' last January, he said, 'Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press and Miss Barbra Streisand.' That was a shout-out linking Streisand to that show. And don't forget that for sectionals, Rachel channeled Streisand when she sang 'Don't Rain on My Parade.' " TV SQUAD

The Hobbit • The status of "The Hobbit," the long-in-the-making two-part prequel to the hit trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," just became much clearer. The first of the films -- produced by Peter Jackson, who picked up three Oscars for the final installment of "LOTR" and directed by Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labryinth") -- will arrive in theaters in December 2012 and the second will be out a year later. As Borys Kit reports, "A confusion over release dates surfaced earlier today when Imax announced an overall, 20-film, three-year deal with Warners. In outlining which films would be included, Imax incorrectly gave 2013 as the release date for the first 'Hobbit' movie." HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

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

Middle photo: "Chicago" DVD cover. Credit: Miramax Home Entertainment.

Bottom photo: "The Hobbit" book cover. Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Gold Derby nuggets: Katherine Heigl exiting 'Grey's Anatomy'? | Banned 'Hurt Locker' picks up Oscar | Extended 'Avatar' in the works?

March 12, 2010 |  2:59 pm

Katherine_heigl_emmyMichael Ausiello reports that Katherine Heigl may well be leaving "Grey's Anatomy" for good. 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." Heigl, who has been MIA for most of this season, was to return to the show March 1. However, as Michael writes, "talks between Heigl and ABC have been going on for months and last week both sides mutually decided that the best solution would be to part ways now as opposed to at the end of the season. As a result, Heigl is not expected to return to the 'Grey's' set, which means her final episode as Izzie has already aired."  ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Betty White -- who will be hosting the May 8 installment of "Saturday Night Live" -- could be competing against herself in the guest actress in a comedy series category at the Emmys. She is to appear in the season finale of "The Middle" playing "a school librarian who confronts quirky 7-year-old Brick (Atticus Shaffer) about hoarding overdue library books." ZAP2IT

• The kids of the Golden Globe-winning series "Glee" are hitting the road this May for a mini concert tour that takes them to Phoenix, L.A., Chicago and New York. The news release promises, "a unique concert experience conceived by Ryan Murphy that will include live performances of some of the show’s most memorable musical numbers including its anthem 'Don’t Stop Believin,' fan favorites 'Somebody to Love' and 'Jump' and hits 'Don’t Rain on My Parade' and 'Sweet Caroline.' "

OscarsSteve Pond reports that Nicolas Chartier, who was banned from the Oscars for his e-mail campaign on behalf of best picture winner "The Hurt Locker," picked up his award Wednesday from academy president. " 'I invited him to come in, and we had a really good discussion,' says Sherak. 'You could see that he got choked up when I gave it to him, and we talked for about half an hour. It was kind of cathartic: he got it off his chest that he was sorry it all happened, and I was very satisfied with his apology.' " THE ODDS

Jay Fernandez tallies up how this year's Oscar-winning talent was spread among the agencies and discovers that "though CAA roped most of the A-list cred -- Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Mark Boal (2), Kathryn Bigelow (2), Greg Shapiro, Geoffrey Fletcher, Ryan Bingham -- ICM turned out an impressive night with supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), doc short subject (Elinor Burkett), cinematography (Mauro Fiore), costume design (Sandy Powell) and editing (Bob Murawski). UTA nabbed one for 'Avatar' art director Robert Stromberg." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Avatar PosterBryan Enk writes that "Avatar" -- which lost a load of Imax and 3-D screens to "Alice in Wonderland" last weekend -- may be re-released in the fall in an extended version. "Cameron has said that he has an additional 10-12 minutes of footage that could be put into post-production fairly quickly, including a scene in which Jake Sully's avatar proves himself to the Na'vi people and another involving a native festival during which tribe member Tsu'tey gets drunk." MOVIEFONE

Patrick Healy reports that Andrew Lloyd Webber's new tuner "Love Never Dies" -- the sequel to 1988 Tony champ "The Phantom of the Opera" -- is still scheduled to open in New York in the fall despite mixed reviews in London this week. However an exec with the production told Patrick that changes are likely to be made in advance of the show bowing on Broadway. ARTS BEAT

• And David Ng says another new tuner -- "Unchain My Heart, the Ray Charles Musical" -- is heading to New York this fall. This newly titled edition of the  2007 Pasadena Playhouse production will also be directed by Sheldon Epps and "takes place during the final live recording session by the musical legend and traces the main events of his life." CULTURE MONSTER

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What movies are the next Oscar front-runners?

Gold Derby nuggets: Gabourey Sidibe's film future? | Exploring 'The Cove' | Steve Pond ponders Oscars

How 'Casablanca' beat nine other nominees to win best picture at the 1943 Oscars

'The Hurt Locker' ranked lucky 13 on Rotten Tomatoes Oscars countdown

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Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Top photo: Katherine Heigel at the 2007 Emmy Awards. Credit: ATAS

Middle photo: Academy Awards statues. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo:"Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

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'The Hurt Locker' ranked lucky 13 on Rotten Tomatoes Oscars countdown

March 11, 2010 |  9:23 am

 "The Hurt Locker" comes in at No. 13 on the Rotten Tomatoes ranking of all 83 best picture winners at the Oscars. The inclusion of this year's critics' darling pushes last year's top pic -- "Slumdog Millionaire" -- down one spot to No. 32. All of the Oscar champs were "sorted by the strict and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science" into this overall list, which has some real head-scratchers.

Rotten Tomatoes Oscars "Casablanca" -- the last best picture winner chosen from 10 nominees -- rates only slot No. 14 while "Gone With the Wind" is one place above "The Hurt Locker" at No. 12. And ranking above "Slumdog Milliionaire" on the list are such overrated past champs as "All the King's Men" (No. 24 ) and "Unforgiven" (No. 22). The first best picture winner -- "Wings" -- landed at just No. 29 while "Sunrise" -- which that same year won the only Oscar ever given for "unique and artistic production" -- merited slot No. 17.

For the folks at Rotten Tomatoes, the top 10 Oscars best pictures, in descending order, are: "The Godfather," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "Rebecca," "Marty," "The Lost Weekend," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather, Part II," "An American in Paris" and "The French Connection."

Overall this list is lacking. The introduction to the photo gallery suggests that the best picture winners are ranked according to critics' scores, but they're not. Below is a breakdown of the lowest-ranked best pix. The percentage number given is its RT score. Notice, for example, that "The Greatest Show on Earth" has an RT score of only 41%, but it's ranked above "Cimarron," which is in last place with a 54% score.

78.) "The Great Ziegfeld" (60%)
79.) "The Life of Emile Zola" (68%)
80.) "The Greatest Show on Earth" (41%)
81.) "Cavalcade" (62%)
82.) "Broadway Melody" (40%)
83.) "Cimarron" (54%)

And notice the obvious pattern to this list. The old flicks are all pushed to the bottom. Whatever happened to that familiar refrain, "They just don't make pictures like they used to!"?

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Top photo: "Gandhi" still. Credit: Columbia

Bottom left photo: "Titanic" still. Credit: Fox

Bottom right photo: "Forrest Gump" still. Credit: Paramount

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Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hurt Locker' expands screens | 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' in primetime |'Mad Men' gets Barbie makeover

March 10, 2010 |  3:46 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • The post-Oscars box office bounce for "The Hurt Locker" will be limited by its availability on DVD. However, as Melena Ryzik reports, "The film, which has actually never left theaters since it opened in a very few in June 2009, will open in an additional 35 on Friday, in major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington D.C., Seattle, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis and San Diego, as well as in 30 more in Canada. That will take its total in North America to 348 theaters; for comparison’s sake, 'Avatar' is playing in 2,163 theaters (although 'Alice in Wonderland' has scooped up most its 3-D screens), and 'Crazy Heart' in 1,274." THE CARPETBAGGER

• Among the tasty tidbits served up by Steve Pond in an Oscars wrap-up was this morsel: "Tucked away at the back of the ballroom was a small room with a red velvet rope, a wooden counter fronted by a few high chairs, and three stations where pre-engraved plaques were affixed to the statuettes of the night’s Oscar winners. At about 11 p.m., Kathryn Bigelow finally made her way back there; she was carrying a pair of Oscars she’d won for directing and producing 'The Hurt Locker,' while writer-producer Mark Boal carried another pair. Bigelow took a seat behind the counter, shook her head, and called a friend over to watch the process. 'Look at this!' she said with a big grin. 'I have my own personal engraver!'" THE WRAP

Emma Rosenblum profiles the charmingly disarming Oscar-winning editors Chris Innis and Bob Murawski ("The Hurt Locker"). Chris told her, "We met on Sam Raimi’s television show 'American Gothic'; he introduced us." And Bob revealed, "That was about fifteen years ago, but we actually only got married after 'The Hurt Locker.' We knew if that didn’t break us up, nothing would." NEW YORK

Amy Kaufman explains some of Oscars' oddest moments including George Clooney's sourpuss:  "'He and Alec [Baldwin] and Steve [Martin] were making pre-arranged grimacing faces at each other. All planned just to be funny,' Clooney's representative, Stan Rosenfield, assured in an e-mail." THE ENVELOPE

Jimmy Kimmel Live Oscars • ABC is repeating the post-Oscar installment of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in primetime on March 13. As per the news release, the episode, "which debuted the now viral 'Handsome Men’s Club' video, captured 4.7 million viewers, making it the third-highest rated telecast to date for the late-night talker, behind only its two post-Super Bowl telecasts (on 1/26/03 and 2/5/06). The late night show’s most watched post-Oscar telecast ever welcomed two-time Academy Award nominee Robert Downey Jr., who brought along the world premiere of the new trailer for 'Iron Man 2,' plus a musical performance by Grammy Award winner Keith Urban." TV BY THE NUMBERS

Julie Miller recaps Tuesday's appearance of "Music by Prudence" producer Elinor Burkett on Joy Behar's HLN gabfest. The Oscar winner explained her interruption of the acceptance speech by the short doc's director Roger Ross Williams: "I had two choices, right? Either I could let [Williams] blather on for 45 seconds, because that was our max -- this year only one person could speak -- or I could interrupt so I get to talk. And everybody thinks that I was bad for interrupting him. So they don’t think he was bad for, like, bigfooting me to prevent me from speaking at all?" MOVIELINE

• One of the men appearing onstage at the Kodak Theatre Sunday to accept the documentary feature Oscar for "The Cove" broke academy protocol when he unfurled a sign instructing viewers to text the word "dolphin" to an animal rescue organization. "TMZ has learned those two seconds of exposure triggered so many text messages the group's mobile service provider nearly went down. The group claims they've doubled their membership in the two days following the awards." TMZ

Mad Men Barbries • The cast of the Emmy-winning "Mad Men" have been cast in plastic by Mattel. As Stuart Elliot reports, "Mattel is licensing rights to the characters from Lionsgate, the studio that produces 'Mad Men' for the AMC cable channel. There will be 7,000 to 10,000 copies of each doll, to be sold in specialty stores and on two Web sites, amctv.com and barbiecollector.com. The characters to become dolls are Don Draper, the show’s leading man; his wife, Betty; his colleague at the Sterling Cooper agency, Roger Sterling; and Joan Holloway, the agency’s office manager who was Roger’s mistress." NEW YORK TIMES

Pamela McClintock reports that "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" won't unspool in April as planned due to a possible premiere at Cannes in May. Instead, Paramount is releasing the Oliver Stone-helmed sequel -- in which Michael Douglas reprises his 1987 Oscar-winning role of Gordon "Greed is good" Gekko and Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") costars -- in September. VARIETY

• Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious"), who appeared in the pilot of the Showtime comedy "The C Word," will be a recurring character during the show's upcoming first season. Sidibe plays a sassy student while Laura Linney is her teacher who is recovering from cancer.

RELATED POSTS:

Complete list of Oscar winners

Farrah Fawcett missing from 'In Memoriam' at Oscars

Oscars have always welcomed the world

Oscars are biggest winner of Emmys

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

How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

Oscars ratings highest in five years

Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

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

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

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

Middle photo: Jimmy Kimmel and Rob Lowe on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." Credit: ABC

Bottom photo: "Mad Men" dolls. Credit: Mattel

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

March 9, 2010 |  2:29 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED POSTS:

Complete List of Oscar winners

How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

Oscars ratings highest in five years

Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

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

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

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

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

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

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Revenge of the fallen: Pete beats Tom

March 8, 2010 |  6:39 pm

I may have trounced my Envelope colleague Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season) at predicting the most Oscar nominations last month and, before that, forecasting the most correct wins last year. But Pete just struck his revenge! He just clobbered me at scoring this year's derby 19 to 17. Congrats, Pete! (Click here to see our prediction lists.)

2 Oscars Academy Awards news

Most impressive: Pete got some of those really tricky Oscar categories right, the ones determined by private screenings like best live action short ("The New Tenants"), animated short ("Logorama") and best foreign film ("Secret in Their Eyes"). I botched those, but topped Pete in predicting those two sound races ("The Hurt Locker").

But, of course, I botched the biggest race of all -- best picture -- sticking stubbornly with "Inglourious Basterds," well, basically because I had to. Early this derby season, I had warned my fellow pundits that it was a top player, but they didn't even have it on their lists as a serious contender. When nominations came out, it had the second most, so, obviously, it was in the mix, especially since no one knew how to size up the weird preferential ballot. It won the SAG ensemble award, which meant that it could really pull off an upset. Then Harvey Weinstein cranked up a blitzkrieg campaign for "Basterds" while "The Hurt Locker" came under attack for accuracy issues and a maverick producer breaking campaign rules. As long as my ship was still afloat, this captain had to remain on board, of course. And, in the end, ah, well, at least I got a good swim.

Photo: Illustration by Tye Wilson

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How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

March 8, 2010 |  5:07 pm

It's amazing that "The Hurt Locker" won best picture at the Oscars despite having three strikes against it. "The Hurt Locker" didn't feature A-list stars. It wasn't successful at the box office. And maybe, worst of all: it was about the Mideast war, a topic usually cursed at the Academy Awards.  

So how did it pull off this Oscar miracle?

For starters, "The Hurt Locker" had some high-caliber oomph behind it. It was distributed by Summit, a studio with bold leaders who had deep pockets and something to prove. Flush with money from the "Twilight" movies, Summit wanted to be taken seriously as an artistic player in Hollywood.

The Hurt Locker Oscars Academy Awards news

Early on, Summit hired Cynthia Swartz and her Oscar soldiers at 42West to head up its academy campaign. Swartz had been a key player in the past blitzkriegs behind "Chicago" (and other Miramax flicks when she was still a commander in Harvey Weinstein's army), "Crash" and "No Country for Old Men" and other successful award champs.

Swartz likes to take on daredevil challenges. A few years ago, for example, she adopted a gritty, hip-hop film called "Hustle & Flow" just to see if she could ram it past the academy's fuddy-duddy bias. Bingo. She ended up nabbing a best-actor nomination for Terence Howard and reaped a win for best song ("It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp").

The initial groundswell of support for "The Hurt Locker" came from a pure, heroic source: the film critics. It hadn't fared well on the awards front at first. It competed last year at the Indie Spirits, for example, and only reaped nominations for actors Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie. Nothing for picture, director or screenplay.

But when "The Hurt Locker" entered this year's derby, things were different. It gathered momentum quickly, launching a bandwagon that was hard to stop. The Indie Spirits' rival award, the Gotham, named it best picture. It swept the film critics' trifecta: Los Angeles, New York and National Society. Those are critics' groups comprised of mostly print-based, cynical, gritty journalists who are renowned for picking quirky stuff like "Mulholland Drive" that doesn't break through into the Oscars. Then "The Hurt Locker" won best picture from the Critics' Choice Awards. That was odd because it's a prize bestowed by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. They're largely part of the junket press just like Golden Globe voters. Both groups tend to be similar in taste to Oscar voters.

The Golden Globes picked "Avatar," but that wasn't too strange: they've been out of sync with Oscar voters four out of the past five years. Then something extraordinary occurred. "The Hurt Locker" won laurels from the directors' and producers' guilds, which usually predict what wins best picture at the Oscars. Think about it: the producers — people in charge of generating profit — endorsed a financially unsuccessful movie. That meant that "The Hurt Locker" had not only crossed over from the film critics to the film industry, but that it landed with nuclear force.

As "The Hurt Locker" headed into the Academy Awards, it was clear that it could beat the odds and actually win. When nominations came out, "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" tied for the most: nine. Right behind, with eight, was "Inglourious Basterds."

"The Hurt Locker" positioned itself as little David battling Goliath ("Avatar"), a shrewd move since everybody always roots for the little guy. In this case, though, it wasn't a guy. Its filmmaker was a sexy gal, Kathryn Bigelow, who just so happened to be the ex-wife of Goliath – "Avatar's" James Cameron. What irresistible drama! Even better, if Oscar voters picked sexy Team Bigelow to endorse, they got a bonus. They got to make history by giving the Oscar for best director to a woman for the first time — a breakthrough long overdue.

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Oscars ratings highest in five years

March 8, 2010 |  3:11 pm

Oscars_tv_ratings_edited1

The doubling of the best picture nominees revived viewer interest in the Academy Awards, which enjoyed a 14% increase in the overnight Nielsen numbers compared to last year's Oscars. About 41.3 million Americans saw "The Hurt Locker" take home the top prize, an increase of 5 million viewers over 2009 when "Slumdog Millionaire" won and the Oscars hosted by Hugh Jackman earned a rating of 21.68.

This was the one piece of good news Monday for first-time Oscars producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman, who saw their show beset by bad reviews. They benefited from the upward trend in ratings for all awards shows. And the avid interest in "Avatar" no doubt drew new viewers to the Oscars.

Although James Cameron's 3-D epic won only three technical Oscars, it  just topped $700 million at the domestic box office. The film it displaced from the No. 1 spot in box office history -- "Titanic" -- swept the Oscars in 1997, winning a record-tying 11 Oscars.That was the highest-rated Academy Awardstelecast of the last 15 years with viewership topping 57 million, earning a rating of 35.32.

The last time Steve Martin hosted was in 2003 for the 75th Oscars. Despite the hoopla surrounding the diamond anniversary, the show registered a then-record low rating of 20.58. That meant just 33 million tuned in to see "Chicago" win best picture. That record was broken in 2008 as a rating of 18.66 translated into just under 32 million watching "No Country for Old Men" win the best picture award at the end of the Jon Stewart-hosted broadcast.

The first Oscars telecast was of the 25th anniversary show on March 19, 1953. It aired on NBC and was hosted -- no surprise -- by Bob Hope. The big surprise that night was when "The Greatest Show on Earth" won best picture,  besting "High Noon."

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Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

March 8, 2010 | 11:57 am

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

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

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

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

Oscars_guild_awards

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

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

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

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

March 7, 2010 |  9:38 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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