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

Category: True Grit

Gold Derby nuggets: 3 or 5 animated feature Oscar nominees? | "SNL" = Oscar good luck charm?

October 29, 2010 |  4:11 pm

MegaMindPete Hammond has the scoop on the possibility of the animated feature Oscar race expanding this year. As he reports, "the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences sent out a reminder confirming the 5 PM PT November 1st deadline for 2010 Best Animated feature entries. At this point there do not appear to be enough entries to trigger five nominations rather than the more common three but there is still time, brother. What wasn’t mentioned in the release is the number that have been received so far at the Academy. A really good clue though is a  letter I have learned that was  sent late last week updating members and potential members of the Animation committee (the ones doing the voting)  and informing them that 14 entries had been received but that it was still possible to reach 16, the magic number needed to expand the category." DEADLINE

• In his latest edition of Oscar Futures, Lane Brown touts the rise of best actor contender James Franco ("127 Hours") -- "Reviews for his movie are ecstatic, reviews for his book are not bad, and S.T. Vanairsdale has him leapfrogging Firth to top position this week" -- and the decline of Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network") -- "Buzz seems to be cooling down here. Was he really as good as everybody thought a month ago?" VULTURE

• In a fascinating read, Guy Lodge looks back at British success at the Oscars and forecasts the chances for this year's contenders "The King's Speech," "Made in Dagenham" and "Another Year." IN CONTENTION

• After seeing "Morning Glory," Jeff Wells says, "this film is close to 'Broadcast News' level Brooks + grade A, totally-on-his-game Michell + Harrison Ford's best performance in years + Rachel McAdams giving an ever better performance than she did in 'The Wedding Crashers' (and that's saying something). Ford's performance as a grumpy, past-his-prime, Dan Rather-ish newsman has a shot at a Best Supporting Actor recognition. Or not. He's surly but smirking all the while. The role as written isn't quite home-run-level, but it's fair to call it a solid triple, I think." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• In the context of announced gigs by Jeff Bridges ("True Grit") and Anne Hathaway ("Love and Other Drugs"), Mike Ryan investigates the correlation between hosting "Saturday Night Live" and nabbing an Oscar nomination. He discovers, "since SNL’s debut in 1975, 27 future Oscar nominees have hosted Saturday Night Live during the same season that they were nominated or won. (Nine more, including winners Adrien Brody, Richard Dreyfuss, Angelica Huston and Geena Davis actually hosted during the season, but after the ceremony; call those a victory lap.) Of that 27, seven have gone on to win the award he or she was nominated for, most recently Forest Whitaker, who hosted on Feb 10, 2007." MOVIELINE

Dave Karger reports, "this week I saw the first For Your Consideration trade ad that listed possible contenders by category. The distinction goes to Disney’s 'Alice in Wonderland,' which is being touted for Best Picture, Best Director (Tim Burton), Best Actor (Johnny Depp), and Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway), along with 13 other categories." OSCAR WATCH

• For Steve Pond, "Trent Reznor may have taken a circuitous route to writing the music for David Fincher's 'The Social Network,' but he and his longtime collaborator Atticus Ross made the most of the gig once they took it. The Nine Inch Nails mastermind and his co-composer have created one of the year’s most imaginative and bracing film scores, a piano-rooted, synthesizer-drenched work that is by turns plaintive and assaultive, and always adventurous and unconventional." THE ODDS

• And Sheila Roberts sits down with Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire") to talk about his score for "127 Hours." COLLIDER

Photo: "MegaMind" poster. Credit: DreamWorks Animation.

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Oscar poll: Who'll win best supporting actress?

October 27, 2010 |  7:31 pm

At this time last year, Mo'Nique was already out front in the Oscar race for best supporting actress based upon the early buzz generated by "Precious" at the Sundance Film Festival. And there was no stopping her thereafter, of course. This year, there is no leader.

Supporting actress

Some pundits say Helena Bonham Carter is ahead thanks to "The King's Speech's" status as a best picture front-runner, but, truth be told, her role as the beloved "queen mum" Elizabeth isn't very expressive. Other seers say Dianne Wiest is ahead for portraying Nicole Kidman's doting mom in "Rabbit Hole," but that's just because she's an automatic Oscar grabber with past victories for "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Bullets Over Broadway."

Lots of Oscarologists are betting on Hailee Steinfeld because she's got the grandstanding role as a sassy tomboy in "True Grit," but that didn't help Kim Darby in 1969. Even though Darby stole every scene of the original film version (some from feisty John Wayne, who nabbed the gold for lead actor), she wasn't even nominated.

So what about Jacki Weaver, whose "Animal Kingdom" led with the most nominations at the Australian Film Institute Awards today? Read more here.

This is one of those Oscar categories that usually becomes more clear once we've heard from the film-critics' awards in early December — after they picked the likes of Marcia Gay Harden ("Pollock") or Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona") in past years. 

Photos: "True Grit" (Paramount), "The King's Speech" (Weinstein).

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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: 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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Quiz: Which two actors won Oscars for playing the same role?

September 28, 2010 |  6:21 pm

True grit oscars news

If Jeff Bridges wins an Academy Award for portraying Rooster Cogburn in "True Grit" 41 years after John Wayne, they will not be the first actors to triumph for the same role. Who did so earlier? Hint, they prevailed in 1972 and 1974 for portraying the same thug at different times of life. To see the answer, click on the "Continue Reading" link below.

Continue reading »

'True Grit' updated: More laughs, more blood

September 28, 2010 |  5:26 pm

Here's our first peek at what Joel and Ethan Coen have done to "True Grit," an update of the 1969 Henry Hathaway flick that earned John Wayne an undeserved Academy Award. (After he won, Wayne admitted to a journalist, "It's ironic that I got the Oscar for a role that was the easiest of my career. I just hippity-hopped through it.")

The Coens promised to make their "True Grit" truer to the 1968 book by Charles Portis. "It's a very odd book," Ethan Coen told IGN. "It's much funnier than the movie." But the 1969 film seems much more overtly comic than the Coens' version when you compare trailers of the two adaptations.

"The book is a lot tougher and more violent than the movie reflects," Coen added. "Which is part of what's interesting about it." Obviously, the Coens will crank up the gore as they did in their Oscar best-picture champ "No Country for Old Men."

"True Grit" is the tale of a cheeky tomboy who presses a boozy, one-eyed U.S. marshall to find the man who killed her father. The book, unlike the 1969 movie, focused mostly on the tomboy. Hmmmm ... Does that mean Bridges will have less screen presence than Wayne –- and therefore less chance of winning a second consecutive Oscar for best actor?

Here's the 1969 "True Grit" starring Wayne.

Here is what the Coen brothers and Jeff Bridges have done to it.

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