The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

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

Category: Up in the Air

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

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom


'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.

Continue reading »

Poll: What film will win best picture at the Oscars?

March 7, 2010 | 10:22 am

For the first time since 1943, there are 10 nominees for best picture at the Academy Awards. Although "The Hurt Locker" has been the front-runner for the last several weeks, in the closing days of voting, the war drama faced attack on three fronts: 1) issues of accuracy, 2.) for perhaps being too accurate (an army sergeant claims the movie rips off his own story) and 3.) because its producer was banned from the ceremony for breaking campaign rules.

Traditionally, most voters completed their Oscar ballots as soon as they arrived. However, this year -- with the introduction of the preferential method for determining the best picture winner -- more than 1,500 out of 5,800 ballots remained outstanding in the final week, and more than 500 were submitted on the deadline day (Tuesday).

That late Oscar voting may help "Inglourious Basterds," which got a post-noms push from Quentin Tarantino's pals, who threw him bashes on both coasts to rally support. Most Oscar voters I've dished with say they ranked "Basterds" in one of their top three slots. That's not true of "Avatar," which has lots of No. 1-ranked votes -- probably more than "Basterds" -- but also lots of lower rankings, which pull down its overall prospects.

RELATED POSTS

Who'll win the Oscars and WHY -- category per category (even those pesky shorts)

Poll: Who will win lead actress at the Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: Big bash for banned Oscars nominee | Mixed reviews for Indie Spirits

'Precious' sweeps Indie Spirit Awards ... Oscars next? (Hey, where was 'The Hurt Locker'?)

Everybody Loses: Gotham Awards vs. Indie Spirits ('Hurt Locker' vs. 'Precious')

Tom and Pete dish Oscars: Does Sandra Bullock deserve to win?

See costumes and props from Oscar nominees at the Hollywood Museum

Oscar derby update: Surprise wins for best picture and actress?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars previews and reviews | Whither Oscars ratings? | Emmys live nationwide

Does an Oscar equal $100 million or $10 million?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars countdown | James Cameron OK with 'Avatar' Oscars spoof | Oscar gold equals box office green

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom


Oscar predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete (the cliffhanger rematch)

March 5, 2010 | 10:58 pm

Over the years, my Envelope colleague and good friend Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season) has trounced me now and then at Academy Award predictions, but I've had a nice run lately. I beat him last year. Most recently, when predicting Oscar nominees, I edged him out. Has my luck finally run its course? Will Pete rally? Usually we disagree in just two or three categories, but this year we clash in seven contests. Who do you think has the most correct Oscar predictions?

Watch videos of me and Pete dishing the Oscars' bias against sci-fi films like "Avatar" and the question of whether or not Sandra Bullock really deserves to win best actress for "The Blind Side."


Oscars academy awards news

BEST PICTURE: "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom), "The Hurt Locker" (Pete)
BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'Nique, "Precious" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Up In The Air" (Tom, Pete)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "Inglourious Basterds" (Tom, Pete)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Avatar" (Tom Pete)
BEST ART DIRECTION: "Avatar" (Tom, Pete)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: "The Young Victoria" (Tom, Pete)
BEST FILM EDITING: "The Hurt Locker" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SOUND MIXING: "Avatar" (Pete), "The Hurt Locker" (Tom)
BEST SOUND EDITING: "Avatar" (Pete), "The Hurt Locker" (Tom)
BEST MUSIC SCORE: "Up" (Pete, Tom)
BEST SONG: "Weary Kind," "Crazy Heart" (Tom, Pete)
BEST MAKEUP: "Star Trek" (Tom, Pete)
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: "Avatar" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "The Cove" (Tom, Pete)
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province" (Tom), "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" (Pete)
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "The White Ribbon" (Tom), "The Secret in Their Eyes" (Pete)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: "Up"
BEST  ANIMATED SHORT: "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Tom), "Logorama" (Pete)
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: "Kavi" (Tom), "The New Tenants" (Pete)

RELATED POSTS

Oscar derby update: Surprise wins for best picture and actress?

Does an Oscar equal $100 million or $10 million?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars countdown | James Cameron OK with 'Avatar' Oscars spoof | Oscar gold equals box office green

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Get drunk, win Oscar

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

Illustration by Tom O'Neil

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom


Oscar derby update: Buzzmeter experts clash over 'Avatar,' 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Inglourious Basterds'

February 11, 2010 |  2:02 pm

"Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" may be tied with the most Academy Award nominations (nine), but most of The Envelope's Buzzmeter pundits believe "Avatar" is ahead to win best picture.

Of our 21 Oscar oracles, 11 pick "Avatar" — Erik Davis (Cinematical), Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Greg Ellwood (Hit Fix), Paul Gaita (The Circuit, The Envelope), Peter Howell (Toronto Star), Lou Lumenick (New York Post), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Mark Olsen (The Envelope), Steve Pond (The Odds, The Wrap), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere).

Avatar Oscars The Hurt Locker Academy Awards news

Nine foresee a top win for "The Hurt Locker": Brad Brevet (Rope of Silicon), Scott Feinberg (And the Winner Is), Marshall Fine (Star Magazine, Hollywood & Fine), Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season, The Envelope), Dave Karger (Entertainment Weekly), Kevin Lewin (World Entertainment News Network), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today) and me. There's one backer of "Inglourious Basterds": Jeff Goldsmith (Creative Screenwriting).

I've been warning you about that devilish "Inglourious Basterds" all derby season. While I'm currently predicting "Hurt Locker," I still believe "Basterds" can pull off the big win thanks to that wily preferential ballot. But also thanks to other key factors like the hefty push studio boss Harvey Weinstein is giving it now. Don't write Harvey off. Remember how his "Shakespeare in Love" toppled seemingly invincible war flick "Saving Private Ryan"? Now Harvey warns Pete Hammond, "We're gonna win this thing!" Read Pete's intriguing full report of how shrewdly "Basterds" is building momentum here.

Now that the mysterious preferential ballot is en route to those notoriously eccentric, contrary-minded voters, let's see how they will fill it out. Lucky for us, they'll quickly blab to us after they do so, but don't expect them to do so soon. Voters are so befuddled by the new voting procedure that they'll probably fill out the final ballot late, just like they did with the nomination ballot.

There's clear consensus among Buzzmeter pundits that the following Oscar races are over: director (Kathryn Bigelow), lead actor (Jeff Bridges), supporting actor (Christoph Waltz), supporting actress (Mo'Nique), adapted screenplay ("Up in the Air").

However, there's still much suspense over which film will prevail in the race for original screenplay. Out of our 21 pundits, 14 predict "Inglourious Basterds" and seven opt for "The Hurt Locker."

Curiously, that's the same split numerically at the Buzzmeter over pundits predicting who will win best actress: 14 say Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") and seven say Meryl Streep ("Julie & Julia"). However, it's a mistake to assume Bullock has this in the bag. I know many Oscar voters who passionately rally behind Streep, and she trounced Bullock in our poll asking Gold Derby readers who will win: Streep (57%) versus Bullock (36%).

RECENT POSTS

Mo'Nique's and Christoph Waltz's amazing — and very rare — awards sweep

Derby nuggets: Grammys & Super Bowl boost record sales | Oscars best picture race staying at 10

Oscar voters: Check your mailbox

Poll: Do you love or hate the Oscars' official new poster?

Oscar experts battle over who'll win best original screenplay

Quiz: Who won two consecutive Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars to get instant engraving | A salute to Sandra Bullock | Time up for '24'?

Oscar experts agree: Jeff Bridges will win best actor

Photos: "Avatar" (20th Century Fox), "The Hurt Locker" (Summit), "Inglourious Basterds" (Weinstein Co.)

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Can 'Up in the Air' turn USC Scripter into a win at Oscars?

February 7, 2010 |  8:29 am

Up in the Air poster "Up in the Air" won the USC Scripter Award on Saturday, competing against three of its competitors at the Oscars -- "District 9," "An Education" and "Precious" -- as well as "Crazy Heart." The fifth Oscar nominee is the adapted script for "In the Loop."

As this award, now in its 22nd year, precludes stage-to-screen adaptations and foreign-language films, it is not surprising that the winner of the Scripter has gone on to take the Oscar just six times. But two of those instances came recently:  last year, with "Slumdog Millionaire," and the year before, with "No Country for Old Men." The other repeat winners were "A Beautiful Mind" (2001), "L.A. Confidential" (1997), "Sense and Sensibility" (1995) and "Schindler's List" (1993).

Historically, the WGA Awards lineup has been a far better harbinger of both the Oscar nominees and the eventual winner, with the WGA champ taking the Oscar six times in the last decade, including each of the last five years.  This year, however, several of the leading adapted-screenplay contenders were ruled ineligible by the WGA, including the Oscar-nominated "District 9," "An Education" and "In the Loop."

The Scripter, administered by USC, honors "the written word, creative collaboration and the profound results of transforming one artistic medium into another." The award is shared by the original author and adapter -- in the case of "Up in the Air," Walter Kim, who wrote the source material (the novel of the same name) as well as Sheldon Turner and Jason Reitman, who handled the adaptation.

The nominating committee considered 68 films to determine the final five nominees. It is chaired by Oscar-nominated writer Naomi Foner ("Running on Empty") and included three-time Oscar-nominated scribe Lawrence Kasdan ("The Big Chill," "The Accidental Tourist" and "Grand Canyon") and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner ("Angels in America").

Compare the nominees of both awards over the last five years (with "X" denoting the winner):

2008 SCRIPTER
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Iron Man"
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
X  — "Slumdog Millionaire"

2008 OSCARS
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Doubt"
"Frost/Nixon"
"The Reader"
X  — "Slumdog Millionaire"

2007 SCRIPTER
"Atonement"
"Into the Wild"
X — "No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"
"Zodiac"

2007 OSCARS
"Atonement"
"Away From Her"
"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
X — "No Country for Old Men"
"There Will Be Blood"

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: James Cameron on 'Avatar' Oscar odds | 'The Hurt Locker': 4 producers on Oscar ballot | David Brown tribute

February 5, 2010 |  2:38 pm

James Cameron Avatar OscarsPete Hammond reports that "Avatar" director James Cameron "has been participating in almost daily eye-opening Q&A sessions with his craft nominees at the Zanuck Theater right after various below-the-line guild screenings of the film. Monday was the film editors, Wednesday the sound mixing team and Thursday the production designers. On Saturday night he will tributed at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and receive the fest's top honor, the Modern Master award. He told me he considers it significant that 'Avatar' passed 'Titanic's' all-time domestic box-office haul with $601 million on Tuesday, the same day the film got nine Oscar nominations. A good omen? He says if it weren't for some upcoming 3-D pictures like 'Alice in Wonderland' taking screens away, 'Avatar' could probably hit $3 billion worldwide. As it is, he thinks the film will gross $2.5 billion before it's done."  NOTES ON A SEASON

• The academy has announced the charities in 51 cities across the country that will host official Oscar viewing parties. As the announcement notes, "the Academy sanctions charities across the country to host celebratory viewing parties on Oscar Night, with proceeds directly benefiting the charities. All parties will feature the live broadcast of the Awards presentation; many will integrate Hollywood-style party elements, including red carpet arrivals, local celebrities, paparazzi photographers, predict-the-winner contests and live entertainment." The official tie-ins have been allowed since 1994 and have raised $27 million to date. AMPAS

• Let the guessing begin: Nellie Andreeva reports that "the world of Hollywood blogging is getting the HBO treatment. The pay cable network is developing 'Tilda,' a half-hour comedy series with Oscar-winning writer-director Bill Condon ('Gods and Monsters') and 'Tell Me You Love Me' creator Cynthia Mort. The project centers on a powerful female online showbiz journalist with a no-holds-barred style. Condon and Mort are writing and executive producing. Condon also is attached to direct if the project goes to pilot. 'Tilda' marks the series writing debut for Condon. He recently directed his first pilot, the Laura Linney-starring dark comedy 'The C-Word,' which was picked up to series by Showtime." THR

Peter Knegt reviews the entries in this year's Sundance fest that could be Oscar contenders, breaking down each film by likelihood of nominations. Topping his list is "The Kids Are Alright," which stars, "Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple negotiating the unexpected new presence of their children’s sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo), 'Kids' has some considerable markings of a potential awards darling: Accessibility, timely subject matter, critical support, and two fantastic performances from two of the most tragically Oscarless actresses out there." For Peter, "Oscar possibilities (in order of likelihood): Best actress (Annette Bening); Best original screenplay; Best (supporting?) actress (Julianne Moore); Best picture; Best supporting actor (Mark Ruffalo); Best director."   INDIE WIRE

The Hurt Locker poster • The academy has named Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro as the four producers in the running for best picture Oscar nominee "The Hurt Locker." As the announcement notes, "Academy rules state that normally no more than three producers may be named as nominees in the Best Picture category. However, the rules allow for an additional producer to be named under extraordinary circumstances. In finding that all of the producers of 'The Hurt Locker' had fully functioned as genuine producers of the film, the committee chose to exercise the 'extraordinary circumstances' provision of the rules." In the decade since the limit came into effect, the academy has expanded the ranks just once before -- last year when the late Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollock were credited for "The Reader." The academy also clarified that the producers of surprise best picture nominee "The Blind Side" are Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson. AMPAS

Steve Pond reports that "the potential conflict between Hyundai and AMPAS is on the way to a resolution, and the automaker will be able to run its Oscar-show commercials despite the fact that they include voiceovers from Best Actor nominee Jeff Bridges. That’s the word from AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis, who told me at Tuesday morning’s nominations announcement that the Academy 'saw this one coming a long way off' but would work with Hyundai and ABC to position the ads so that they wouldn’t run near the segment in which the Best Actor award will be handed out." THE ODDS

• As David Caplan reports, "following her Oscar nomination this week for best actress, 'Precious' star Gabourey Sidibe is now facing a tough decision: Who to bring to the March 7 ceremony. That's not to say that the actress, 26, hasn't been giving this some thought already. 'I want to make Justin Timberlake and ('The Hurt Locker' actor) Anthony Mackie fight it out for the honor of being my date,' Sidibe told the Canadian entertainment TV show 'eTalk' this week. 'I'm just going to throw them in the ring and make them do it!' But if Sidibe had to narrow it down to one guy, her heart is set on Timberlake. At one point during the interview, Sidibe turns toward the camera and makes her direct appeal. 'Justin,' she says, 'if you're not doing anything on that night, maybe you could be my date or something. It's fine. No pressure!'" PEOPLE

David BrownRalph Gardner Jr. pens an affectionate tribute to David Brown, who died Monday at 93. Gardner notes that, though the four-time Oscar nominee "most famously played second fiddle to his wife (Helen Gurley Brown), he was remarkably successful in his own right. His Hollywood producing credits include 'Jaws,' 'The Sting,' 'Cocoon,' 'The Player,' 'Chocolat,' and 'Driving Miss Daisy.' On Broadway he produced 'Tru,' a one-act play about Truman Capote, the musicals 'Sweet Smell of Success' and 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,' and Aaron Sorkin’s 'A Few Good Men,' which he also made into the Jack Nicholson-Tom Cruise film. Furthermore, in 1991 he and Richard Zanuck were awarded the Motion Picture Academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Award and, two years later, the Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award. But Brown was that rare overachieving spouse who joyfully relinquished center stage to his mate, all the while maintaining his own comfortable identity. With his elegant manners, signature moustache, erudition, and understated wit, he was a consummate showman who just happened to think that his own wife was the greatest show on Earth." THE DAILY BEAST

Anne Thompson reports in from the Santa Barbara filmfest. "Friday brings Sandra Bullock’s American Riviera Award. Pete Hammond does the honors, while Leonard Maltin will interview Saturday night’s Modern Master, James Cameron. Santa Barbara, like Palm Springs, is timed perfectly to lure Oscar contenders eager to woo the town’s many Academy voters. Other nominees getting feted in one way or another include Kathryn Bigelow, Jeff Bridges, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, Vera Farmiga, Colin Firth, Christoph Waltz, Stanley Tucci, and 'The Cove' director Louie Psihoyos. Saturday morning I’ll conduct my annual writers panel: eight writers talking details about their craft, 'Inglourious Basterds' Quentin Tarantino (yellow pads and #2 pencils), Mark Boal ('The Hurt Locker'), 'Up's' Pete Docter (the Pixar method), 'Up in the Air's' Jason Reitman (sans Sheldon Turner), Nancy Meyers ('It’s Complicated'), Alex Kurtzman ('Star Trek'), Scott Neustadter ('500 Days of Summer') and Geoffrey Fletcher ('Precious')." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

• Movie chain AMC has come up with an innovative way to showcase all the best picture nominees and still keep their traditional movie marathon approach intact -- spread it out over two weekends. "Avatar" will anchor the Feb. 27 showings with an online vote determining the other four films in the mix. And the remaining five will be unspooled on March 6. AMC

RELATED POSTS

Oscars poll: Will 'Avatar' or 'The Hurt Locker' win best picture?

Oscars poll: Will Sandra Bullock or Meryl Streep win best actress?

Oscar nominations: Fascinating facts, figures and milestones

Meryl Streep sets new record with 16th Oscar nomination

Oscar nominations -- who got snubbed: Clint Eastwood, 'Star Trek,' Tobey Maguire ...

Oscar nomination breakthroughs: 'Avatar,' Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels ...

Oscars welcome dozen first-time acting nominees, including Sandra Bullock

Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

How U2 and Paul McCartney got shut out of Oscar nominations

Can 'Up in the Air' win best picture at Oscars without an editing nomination?

Oscar nominations spread among release calendar

Videos: Tom and Pete dish those rascally Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom beats Pete

My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

Poll: Will Megan Fox, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus 'win' Razzie for worst actress?

Top photo: James Cameron on the set of "Avatar." Credit: Fox

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

Bottom photo: David Brown. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: 'Avatar' vs. 'The Hurt Locker' | Oscars boost box office | 'Avatar' and 'emotion capture'

February 3, 2010 |  5:04 pm

The Hurt Locker posterSteve Pond analyzes the matchup at the Oscars between "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" by delving into the numbers of academy members in each of the branches that nominated the movies. "First, we’ll start with the categories that nominated one film, but not the other. For 'Avatar,' that was Art Direction and Visual Effects. For 'The Hurt Locker,' Original Screenplay and Best Actor. So now we have four AMPAS branches going on record to say that they prefer one film over the other. Here, the numbers don’t favor James Cameron’s big hit: The art directors branch of the Academy contains 374 members, the visual effects branch 279. On the 'Hurt Locker' side, the writers branch has 382 members, while the actors branch is by far the Academy’s largest, with 1,205. So Kathryn Bigelow’s film comes out with a big lead, 1,587 members to 653." THE ODDS

Sasha Stone considers the best picture Oscar nominees in terms of the precursor awards and says, "The preferential balloting is the trick here. There are films that are poised to upset either 'Avatar' or 'The Hurt Locker' and those would be, as you can see below, 'Precious,' 'Inglourious Basterds,' 'Up in the Air' and, most surprising of all, 'Up.' Of those, only 'Precious' has editing, director, screenplay and two acting nods. That puts it in a startlingly good position heading into this race. Next in line is 'Basterds' with editing, director, screenplay and one acting nod. 'Up in the Air' has all of those, THREE acting nods (the most of any film?) but no editing. Finally, 'Up' is the kind of overall crowdpleaser that could sneak up and become the first animated film to win Best Pic. But probably we’re looking a very obvious answer here. The only problem, being, of course, if everyone puts the one film at number one." AWARDS DAILY

Anthony Breznican spent the wee small hours of Oscar nominations morning with academy president Tom Sherak and co-announcer Anne Hathaway. As Anthony writes, "Hathaway has on her game face. 'I'm doing the foreign-picture announcements, which is very nice for Tom to hand over,' she jokes. 'He took animated (with titles such as 'Up' and 'Coraline') and gave me foreign films (which include 'El Secreto de Sus Ojos').' She has been singing show tunes as the makeup and hair people put on some finishing touches." USA TODAY

Oscars Expanded Best Picture RaceClaudia Eller and Ben Fritz catalog how "every studio with a best picture nominee made plans today to benefit from Oscar attention, be it by drawing new audiences to existing theaters, expanding into new theaters or bringing attention to DVDs." For example, when it comes to "An Education," "Sony Pictures Classics will expand the British drama, which has collected $8.8 million so far in the U.S. and Canada, from 75 theaters to 760 this Friday." COMPANY TOWN

Melena Ryzik looks beyond the best picture nominees and discovers that any Oscar attention can make a difference. Consider "The Messenger"  which earned nods for supporting actor and screenplay. "The studio is redesigning the poster 'so the nominations are on top,' David Fenkel, a partner, told the Bagger. The film, which stars Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as military men tasked with delivering grim news to families, has been in theaters since November and has grossed less than $1 million so far. With the nominations to build on, it will double the number of screens in the coming weeks, Mr. Fenkel said, in cities like Philadelphia, Boston and Phoenix. 'The idea is that now the film, with the nominations, will be perceived as bigger than its box office gross, no matter where it ends up,' he said." THE CARPETBAGGER

Greg Ellwood reviews some of the bigger surprises in Tuesday's Oscar nominations including a snub of four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore "seemingly knocked out of the Best Supporting Race by 'Crazy Heart's Maggie Gyllenhaal. Considering 'Heart' didn't get into the ten, it shows how little appeal Tom Ford's 'A Single Man' had with the Academy. The drama received only one nod for actor Colin Firth." HIT FIX

Nathaniel Rogers reviews the Oscar nominations and reveals some interesting statistics -- "Meryl Streep has been nominated for 37% of her screen appearances" -- as well as some offbeat ones -- "We have five Leos (Woody, Sandra, Helen, Anna and Vera). I guess that's not surprising given Leo's show off nature but no Aquarius, Pisces or Aries nominees."  THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Avatar Golden Globes winner James Cameron Zoe Saldana Sam Worthington • "Avatar" does not number any acting bids among its nine Oscar nominations and, as Alex Ben Block reports, this is frustrating for the filmmakers. "'People confuse what we have done with animation,' Cameron told THR at the PGA Awards. 'It's nothing like animation. The creator here is the actor, not the unseen hand of an animator.' The Oscars snub is 'a disappointment,' said producer Jon Landau, 'but I blame ourselves for not educating people in the right way.' Landau explained that they needed to make clear that the system they used represents a new way to use motion capture photography, or as Landau puts it, 'emotion capture.' A key breakthrough in 'Avatar' involves photographing facial features of the actors with a tiny camera suspended from a skull cap in front of the performer's face that caught every twitch and muscle movement, all faithfully reproduced onscreen." THR

• He may not have won the academy over with his adapted screenplay for "Invictus" but Anthony Peckham is to be feted by the Writers Guild of America, West with the Paul Selvin award which recognizes written work that embody the spirit of constitutional rights and civil liberties. As WGAW president John Wells said in making the announcement: "Anthony Peckham’s screenplay for 'Invictus' perfectly illustrates what the Paul Selvin Award stands for, expertly conveying how only a few men can unite to impact positive change, and have that change resonate around the world." WGAW

• Grand slam awards winner Mel Brooks reminisces about his late wife Anne Bancroft in this touching interview. Brooks tells John Carucci that "Bancroft always had his best interests at heart right until the end. One of the last things she did was help him structure 'Young Frankenstein' as a musical. 'She suggested where and when to sing, and what to save (from the film version),' Brooks said. 'She was wonderful.' Bancroft did not live to see the show's Broadway opening in late 2007. 'I had to open it without her,' Brooks says, choking up. 'It was hard. It's still hard.'" AP

RELATED POSTS

Oscars poll: Will 'Avatar' or 'The Hurt Locker' win best picture?

Oscars poll: Will Sandra Bullock or Meryl Streep win best actress?

Oscar nominations: Fascinating facts, figures and milestones

Meryl Streep sets new record with 16th Oscar nomination

Oscar nominations -- who got snubbed: Clint Eastwood, 'Star Trek,' Tobey Maguire ...

Oscar nomination breakthroughs: 'Avatar,' Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels ...

Oscars welcome dozen first-time acting nominees, including Sandra Bullock

Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

How U2 and Paul McCartney got shut out of Oscar nominations

Can 'Up in the Air' win best picture at Oscars without an editing nomination?

Oscar nominations spread among release calendar

Videos: Tom and Pete dish those rascally Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom beats Pete

My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

Poll: Will Megan Fox, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus 'win' Razzie for worst actress?

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

Middle photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox 

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Can 'Up in the Air' win best picture at Oscars without an editing nomination?

February 2, 2010 | 12:17 pm

Up in the Air 500
Ever since the Oscars introduced an award for editing in 1934, only nine movies have won best picture without at least being nominated for the editing Academy Award. That's one explanation of how "Crash" pulled off a surprise win over "Brokeback Mountain" four years ago and why "The Departed" prevailed over PGA and SAG champ "Little Miss Sunshine" three years ago. Neither of those losing best picture contenders was in the running for the editing award at the Oscars.

Two years ago Oscar champ "No Country for Old Men" did make the cut with the editors, although Joel and Ethan Coen, under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes, lost to Christopher Rouse for "The Bourne Ultimatum." And last year's best picture champ "Slumdog Millionaire" also won the editing Oscar.

All five of this year's editing nominees -- "Avatar," "District 9," "The Hurt Locker," "Inglorious Basterds" and "Precious" -- number among the 10 best picture contenders. Those best picture nominees that did not make the cut with the editors are "The Blind Side," "An Education," A Serious Man," "Up" and "Up in the Air."

Of these five, only "Up in the Air" landed a directing nod. And "Up in the Air" earned four other key Oscar nominations -- actor, supporting actress (2) and adapted screenplay. However, even surprise best picture winners like "Gladiator" (2000), "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), "Chariots of Fire" (1981), "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952), "An American in Paris" (1951), and "Rebecca" (1940) had nominations in both directing and editing.

The first film to win best picture without even a nod for editing was "It Happened One Night." That screwball comedy swept the major categories in 1934 while "Eskimo" won the first Oscar for film editing. 1934 marked the first year that Oscar voters chose from 12 best picture nominees. The previous year -- when "Calvacade" won -- there had been 10 nominees while the year before that -- when "Grand Hotel" prevailed -- there had been 8 films in the running. For years two to four of the Oscars, five films had contended while the first year had just three best picture nominees.

In 1935, a dozen films were also in the running when "Mutiny on the Bounty" prevailed in the top race; the high seas adventure was also in contention for best editing, losing to "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  The best picture race was then pared down to 10 from 1936 to 1943. In those eight years, all the best picture champs -- with the exception of "The Life of Emile Zola" in 1937 -- had at least an editing nomination. Only 1939 best picture winner "Gone With the Wind" also won the editing race.

Since the best picture category went to five nominees in 1944, seven films have won the top Oscar without an editing nomination: "Hamlet" (1948), "Marty" (1955), "Tom Jones" (1963), "A Man for All Seasons" (1966), "The Godfather, Part II" (1974), "Annie Hall" (1977), and "Ordinary People" (1980).

Of the nine best picture winners that went without an editing nomination, seven won best director and the other two had nominated helmers. "Up in the Air" director Jason Reitman did make the final five at the Oscars as did the helmers of four of the five editing nominees; Neill Blomkamp ("District 9") missed out on a nod.

Continue reading »

Oscars welcome dozen first-time acting nominees, including Sandra Bullock

February 2, 2010 |  8:11 am
Sandra Bullock

This year's 20 acting nominees include five previous Oscar acting winners, another three previous Oscar contenders and 12 newcomers.

"Julie & Julia" star Meryl Streep is the only two-time Academy Award-winner contending this year. She widened the gap for the most total acting nominations by earning her 16th nod today. And she broke Katharine Hepburn's record of an even dozen Oscar nominations in the lead race, landing what she must hope will he her lucky 13th bid.

Streep's already staggering total of 15 previous bids exceeds the track record of the other four Oscar winners by four nominations. She has a supporting actress win for "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979) and a lead actress win for "Sophie's Choice" (1982). She has 11 more lead actress noms for "The French Lieutenant's Woman" (1981), "Silkwood" (1983), "Out of Africa" (1985), "Ironweed" (1987), "A Cry in the Dark" (1988), "Postcards from the Edge" (1990), "The Bridges of Madison County" (1995), "One True Thing" (1998), "Music of the Heart" (1999), "The Devil Wears Prada" (2006) and "Doubt" (2008) as well as two supporting actress nods for "The Deer Hunter" (1978) and "Adaptation" (2002).

The other acting Oscar winners in the running once more are:

Lead actress nominee Helen Mirren ("The Last Station") -- lead actress win for "The Queen" (2006); supporting actress nods for "The Madness of King George" (1994), "Gosford Park" (2001).

Lead actor nominee George Clooney ("Up in the Air") -- supporting actor win for "Syriana" (2005); lead actor nod for "Michael Clayton" (2007).

Lead actor nominee Morgan Freeman ("Invictus") -- supporting actor win for "Million Dollar Baby" (2004); supporting actor nod for "Street Smart" (1987); lead actor nods for "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994).

Supporting actress nominee Penelope Cruz ("Nine") -- supporting actress win for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" (2008); lead actress nod for "Volver" (2006).

Among the previous Oscar nominees, lead actor Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") has four unsuccessful bids: supporting actor -- "The Last Picture Show" (1971); "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" (1974); "The Contender" (2000); and lead actor -- "Starman" (1984). Other past contenders back in the race are:

Supporting actor nominee Matt Damon, "Invictus" -- lead actor nod for "Good Will Hunting" (1997). (He won in the screenplay race.)

Supporting actor nominee Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger" -- lead actor nod for "The People v. Larry Flynt" (1996).

The first-time nominees are:

Lead actress contenders Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side"), Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Gabby Sidibe ("Precious").

Lead actor contenders Colin Firth ("A Single Man") and Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker").

Supporting actress contenders Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air"), Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Crazy Heart"), Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") and Mo'Nique ("Precious").

Supporting actor contenders Christopher Plummer ("The Last Station"), Stanley Tucci ("The Lovely Bones") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds").

Of last year's 20 acting nominees, five were previous Oscar champs, including eventual lead actor winner Sean Penn ("Milk); another six were previous Oscar nominees including the other three acting winners -- lead actress Kate Winslet ("The Reader")  and supporting players Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight") and Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona") -- and nine were newcomers.

Two years ago among the 19 acting nominees, six were previous Oscar winners, including lead actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"); four, including supporting actor champ Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), were previous nominees; and nine were first-time Oscar contenders, including the two women who won –- lead actress Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") and supporting actress Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton").

RELATED POSTS

Meryl Streep sets new record with 16th Oscar nomination

Oscar nominations -- who got snubbed: Clint Eastwood, 'Star Trek,' Tobey Maguire ...

Oscar nomination breakthroughs: 'Avatar,' Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels ...

Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

How U2 and Paul McCartney got shut out of Oscar nominations

Can 'Up in the Air' win best picture at Oscars without an editing nomination?

Shrewd DVD strategies reap rewards with Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations spread among release calendar

Videos: Tom and Pete dish those rascally Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom beats Pete

My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

Poll: Will Megan Fox, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus 'win' Razzie for worst actress?

Photo: Sandra Bullock in a scene from "The Blind Side." Credit: Warner Bros.

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Oscar nomination breakthroughs: 'Avatar,' Kathryn Bigelow, Lee Daniels ...

February 2, 2010 |  6:56 am
Avatar Oscars nominations Academy Awards 759418362 news

By reaping Academy Award nominations for best picture, "Avatar" and "District 9" have shattered a strong bias among academy voters. In the past, only two sci-fi films have been nominated for the top Oscars: "Star Wars" (1977) and "E.T." (1982). OK, three if we count "A Clockwork Orange" (1971), but should we?

Prior to "Up" soaring into the Oscars' best-picture category, only one animated film had ever been nominated in that top race: "Beauty and the Beast" (1991).

No woman has yet won the Academy Award for best director. Prior to Kathryn Bigelow's bid for "The Hurt Locker," only three female helmers were nominated: Lina Wertmüller for "Seven Beauties" (1976), Jane Campion for "The Piano" (1993) and Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation" (2003).

Lee Daniels ("Precious") is the second African American nominated for best director. The first was John Singleton for "Boyz in the Hood" (1991).

That "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" lead with the most nominations at nine apiece may be fortuitous for one of them. Over the last 20 years, the movie with the most nominations has won best picture 15 times.

The last time that there were 10 nominees for best picture was 1943 (year of film release; awards ceremony was held in 1944). The winner was "Casablanca."

RELATED POSTS

Meryl Streep sets new record with 16th Oscar nomination

Oscar nominations -- who got snubbed: Clint Eastwood, 'Star Trek,' Tobey Maguire ...

Oscars welcome dozen first-time acting nominees, including Sandra Bullock

Oscars guided by guild awards in nominations

How U2 and Paul McCartney got shut out of Oscar nominations

Can 'Up in the Air' win best picture at Oscars without an editing nomination?

Shrewd DVD strategies reap rewards with Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations spread among release calendar

Videos: Tom and Pete dish those rascally Oscar nominations

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom vs. Pete

Oscar nominations predictions smackdown: Tom beats Pete

My fearless, peerless, 100% perfect Oscar nomination predictions

Poll: Will Megan Fox, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus 'win' Razzie for worst actress?

Photo: Scene from "Avatar." Credit: 20th Century Fox

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Oscar derby update: 'The Hurt Locker' may defy the odds to win best picture, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock pull ahead in the lead acting races

January 28, 2010 |  1:17 pm

BEST PICTURE CATEGORY: Now that "The Hurt Locker" has pulled off a jaw-dropper at the Producers Guild of America Awards, all doubters must concede that it could seriously win the top Oscar. Over the past 20 years the PGA has predicted the best-picture Oscar 13 times, and this year the parallel between them is especially significant. Not only did PGA expand its list of contenders to 10 just like the Oscars, but the guild used the same preferential ballot used by the academy.

But beware: "The Hurt Locker" doesn't fit the profile of the typical Oscar champ. In fact, it has four strikes against it.

Hurt locker 22

1. "The Hurt Locker" doesn't feature well-known stars like typical victors "The Departed" (Jack Nicholson, Leo DiCaprio), "Million Dollar Baby" (Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank) or "No Country for Old Men" (Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem). Yes, last year's champ, "Slumdog Millionaire," didn't feature known faces either, but it was hugely successful film, earning $377 million worldwide. That leads us to "The Hurt Locker's" next problem.

2. "The Hurt Locker" didn't fare well in theaters. In fact, if it wins the top Oscar, it's going to be the lowest-earning film ever to do so (when all comparative films are adjusted for inflation), having grossed only $12 million in U.S. theaters. How much of that is net revenue? The film cost $11 million to produce. Now add millions more for promotion, advertising and an aggressive Oscar campaign. "The Hurt Locker" could become the first money loser ever to win best picture — at least when measured merely in terms of box-office revenue. Right now "The Hurt Locker" is the top-selling DVD.

3. It's possible that "The Hurt Locker" may have the most nominations but not likely. Having the most bids is usually a key factor. Over the past 20 years, the film with the most bids has won best picture 15 times. If Jeremy Renner gets nommed for lead actor, "The Hurt Locker" is likely to reap eight noms (picture, director, screenplay, editing, cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing). Make that nine if Anthony Mackie makes it into the supporting lineup. "Avatar" will probably score nine nominations; "Inglourious Basterds" nine or 10. But does that really matter? Last year "Slumdog Millionaire" (10 noms) easily squashed "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which reigned with the second-most bids in Oscar history (13).

4. "The Hurt Locker" is about Iraq. Movies with a Mideast military theme tend to be shunned — not even nominated (remember "In the Valley of Elah"?). But maybe viewers don't think of "The Hurt Locker" as a typical movie about U.S. involvement in Iraq because it doesn't have a political theme. It plays like an action thriller.

BEST ACTOR CATEGORY: By winning both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors' Guild Awards, Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") seems to have squashed any threat from chief rival George Clooney ("Up in the Air"). Clooney's defeat at SAG was devastating considering that he had an edge in the guild race. Paramount had sent out DVD screeners of "Up in the Air" to the full 100,000 membership. Fox Searchlight didn't do the same rollout for "Crazy Heart."

Continue reading »

Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:


About the Blogger


Pop & Hiss



Categories


Archives
 



In Case You Missed It...