• A mischievous cyber-gremlin sneaked into this Gold Derby blog the other day and mysteriously zapped a nuggets post that included some prize items we're repeating here in case you missed them. A real gem was a link to a vicious video spoof of the plight of the Daytime Emmys show, which has been snubbed by the main broadcast TV networks for the first time in decades. At this point it's still unknown if there will even be a telecast as leaders of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences scramble to get a cable deal backup. Meantime, some wags produced a naughty video spin on the hubbub, casting Adolf Hitler as the Daytime Emmys Fuhrer who receives the latest bad news from his army commanders. Here's the link, but beware: the video is laced with profanity. WELOVESOAPS
• While we're on the subject of savage naughty spoofs of awards fare, we spotted a screamingly hilarious gay riff on "Gran Torino" that's also packed with profanity, but just as funny. Instead of Clint Eastwood facing down racist thugs, "Gay Torino" stars writer-producer Brian Reiss as flamboyant chap who knows how to toss his pink scarf around and outrageous insults too, while taking on a street gang of homophobes. FUNNYORDIE
• Among nuggets zapped by the gremlins was news that writer-director John Patrick Shanley will receive the Ian McLellan Hunter Award for lifetime achievement from the Writers Guild of America East at its awards gala Feb. 7 at the Hudson Theater in New York. His screen adaptation of his Tony Award-winning play "Doubt" is nominated for best screenplay by the guild and Oscars voters. The Writers Guild of America West has tapped Carl Reiner and former president Victoria Riskin as recipients of its Valentine Davies Award for contributions to the entertainment industry, which will be bestowed Feb. 7 at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Hopefully, Reiner will recover from food poisoning by then so he can attend. He was supposed to host the Directors Guild of America awards show tonight, but "Two and a Half Men" star Jon Cryer stepped in.
• "Australia" isn't the only film with high Oscars expectations that got skunked with nominations came out. With the help of some of The Envelope's forum posters, I compiled a photo gallery of past snubees worth recalling, including "The Shipping News" and "Alexander." OSCARS DUDS
• Also check out our photo gallery of top contenders for the Indie Spirit Awards to be bestowed Feb. 21. Features lots of little-seen scenes from 30 flicks, including award categories they compete in. Here's a full list of nominations. INDIE SPIRITS PHOTOS
• Elsewhere at The Envelope, Scott Feinberg has been dispatching reports from the Santa Barbara Film Festival and Pete Hammond is musing over allegations of an Oscars conspiracy against "Slumdog Millionaire." My two cents on the latter biz: There is no conspiracy! Please don't get me all wound up on this subject or I'll have to launch into my frequent tirade about that old balderdash about a smear campaign against "A Beautiful Mind"! FEINBERG FILES, NOTES ON A SEASON
• The first round of BAFTA voting, which involves the whole membership, produces a long list of 15 candidates in each section (five asterisked as the choice of the relevant chapter for each category, such as acting or sound, and 10 selected by the BAFTA membership at large). This year, the nominations, which come from the second round of voting, mirror the chapter preferences in all but four cases. In other words, 75 out of 79 nominations matched the chapter vote. BAFTA introduced chapter voting only in the last couple of years, with the intention of drawing attention to otherwise overlooked talent. But there's concern in BAFTA circles that the chapters have started to exert a distorting influence over the final outcome. BAFTA officials plan to conduct a detailed review of how the chapter system is working after this year's awards. In the meantime, the areas where the membership vote does diverge from the chapters offer a clue about which film has the greatest BAFTA support. Neither Dev Patel nor Freida Pinto were among the five picked by the acting chapter, but the membership voted to nominate them nonetheless (Patel replaced Michael Sheen in lead actor, and Pinto pipped Viola Davis in supporting actress). That establishes "Slumdog Millionaire" as the clear favorite for the film prize, which, like the four acting awards, is chosen by the whole membership. VARIETY
• How Bruce Springsteen failed to be Oscar nommed for title track to "The Wrestler": First, the spots aren't guaranteed — songs are ranked by voters on a 6-10 scale, and only movies that garner an 8.25 or higher make the cut (which creates the possibility that there could be no nominees, but they're hoping that never happens). That's why only three songs were nommed. More important, that 6-10 scale isn't just voted on once — it's voted on twice, first on the merits and the second on how a song works in the film. So a song that plays the end-credits — especially one that plays the end-credits without any visuals behind it — is going to be disadvantaged. Which is pretty much what happened to Springsteen; the song is more powerful because it comes in on a black screen right after the film's powerful final moments. But it's kind of hard to talk about how it worked in the context of the film, since it's not really in the film. That means it's possible Springsteen nabbed an average of 10 on the merits, but only a 6 on how it worked in the film, which is why it didn't make the 8.25 cut. RISKY BIZ
• Cablecaster TCM kicks off its annual "31 Days of Oscar" schedule Sunday morning at 6 a.m. with "My Favorite Year," the 1982 comedy that earned Peter O'Toole the seventh of his record eight losing best actor bids. The channel has scheduled a wide array of films that were either Oscar contenders or winners. On Oscars Sunday, the day starts with "The Country Girl," which won Grace Kelly an Oscar over sentimental favorite Judy Garland up for the 1954 musical remake of "A Star is Born," while the original 1937 version — starring the very first best actress, Janet Gaynor — airs opposite the ceremony. This feast of films wraps up March 4 at 4:30 a.m. with "Eskimo," winner of the first Oscar for editing in 1934. TCM
• Jeffrey Wells says: It's no secret that Wayne Kramer's "Crossing Over" (Weinstein Co., 2.27), which I saw last night, has had a difficult (some would say agonized) post-production history. The integrity of Kramer's vision violated up the wazoo, all kinds of re-editing and arguing about which cut works better, Sean Penn's footage being cut from the film over his discomfort with an Iranian honor-killing subplot, etc. Generally speaking a film that goes through this much grief and second-guessing ends up feeling muddled and compromised all to hell. I'm not saying that "Crossing Over" is a masterwork — it's not. It uses a familiar strategy — five or six story lines woven into a social-issue tapestry — in an attempt to be an illegal-immigrant "Traffic." But it's really "Crash." HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE
• A quick scan of the nominations shows that U2, a perennial Grammy favorite, is not up for any Grammys on Feb. 8 because the Irish band didn't release anything during the Oct. 1, 2008-Sept. 30, 2009 eligibility period. And therein lies the rub. Not only is U2 playing the show, but the rumor is they are opening it. With a new album coming March 3, the timing is perfect for them, but their appearance shows just what a delicate dance NARAS (the body that puts on the Grammys) must negotiate between trying to earn high ratings and staying true to honoring the current slate of nominees. Last year's ratings were the third-lowest in the history of the show (it still drew more than 17 million viewers, so that's hardly anything to sneeze at) and the Grammys, like almost all awards show, are reexamining what they need to do to boost ratings without completely selling out. HITFLIX
• "The Office" spin-off starring Amy Poehler was supposed to debut after this Sunday's Super Bowl, back when the network thought it would be ready (and that it would be an actual "Office" spin-off). Instead, they've produced a star-studded, hourlong edition of "The Office." This could be a disaster. Or at least, there's a disturbing precedent for it. In 1998, "Third Rock From the Sun" got the same treatment, but it's 1996's special episode of "Friends" that has us worried. Guest stars Brooke Shields, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chris Isaak and Julia Roberts (who, preposterously, was dating Matthew Perry at the time) all contribute to what's generally considered one of the very worst episodes of the show. Sunday's "Office" will feature Jack Black and Jessica Alba, and involve the Dunder-Mifflin gang watching a pirated Hollywood movie. (Prepare for lots of 'tsk-tsking,' Internet pirates.) If the episode ends with Dwight in Alba’s thong, we’re turning back to ESPN. NEW YORK VULTURE
• Brian Lowry opines: Although the TV business once revolved around the race to reach 100 episodes in five years - promising untold syndicated riches — both business and creative considerations in key areas indicate a shift away from that model. For starters, few dramas — especially those with continuing story lines — cash in on syndication anymore, and DVD boxed sets sell just as well with fewer episodes. A significant source of income is also derived from international sales to territories like the U.K., where viewers are accustomed to limited six- or eight-episode "seasons." At the same time, producing a smaller number of episodes could be an act of creative self-preservation. VARIETY
Photos: FunnyOrDie.com, WeLoveSoaps.com, MGM, Island Records
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