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Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Dern 'Enlightened' by HBO | ACM honorees include Keith Urban | Tony Awards eligibility updates

April 8, 2010 |  4:57 pm

Laura Dern Enlightenment HBOLaura Dern has inked a deal with HBO for her first regular TV gig. She and Mike White -- who directed her in "Year of the Dog" in 2007 -- have created "Enlightened" a half-hour single-camera comedy about "a self-destructive woman who has a revelatory experience at a treatment center and becomes determined to live an enlightened life, creating unexpected havoc at home and work." Dern's mother, Diane Ladd, as well as Luke Wilson and Sarah Burns are to co-star in this showcase for Dern, which will begin its 10-episode run this year. Last year, Dern won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the HBO political drama "Recount." THR

Anne Thompson is aces at covering the Cannes filmfest and reports, "filmmaker Claire Denis ('White Material') will preside over the Un Certain Regard jury. I have also learned that Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal (whose new Spanish film 'Even the Rain' is tagged for possible inclusion in the fest) and Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno ('Vincere') will join Tim Burton’s competition jury, while Canadian writer-director Atom Egoyan ('Chloe') will preside over the Cinefondation Jury. And the Director’s Fortnight will award Agnes Varda with its 8th Carosse d’Or life achievement award." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

ACM logo • Australian crooner Keith Urban will be feted at the upcoming Academy of Country Music kudocast on CBS with the Jim Reeves International Award. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Buck Owens and Dolly Parton. Mel Tillis and the late Marty Robbins will be the recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award which has gone previously to such country legends as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn. Don Schlitz and the late Cindy Walker are to be honored with the Poet's Award and "Crazy Heart" will be given the Tex Ritter Award for showcasing country music on the big screen. The ACMs will handed out in Las Vegas on April 18.

• "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is coming to the TV Guide network beginning June 2, and while the basic cablecaster will edit the show for nudity and language, it is not cutting it for length. "Curb" ran 30 minutes or so on commercial-free HBO, so to round out the hour time slot, the net is programming "Curb: The Discussion." Hosted by "Curb" star Susie Essman and co-produced by the show's creator and star Larry David, the first panelists will be David's old pal Jerry Seinfeld, Emmy nominee Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") and Oscar nominee Taraji Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). TV GUIDE

• The 24th annual Genesis Awards air on Animal Planet on the weekend of April 24. The kudos -- honoring the media for their coverage of animal protection issues -- were handed out on March 20 at the Beverly Hilton. Among the recipients of the 19 awards were the Oscar-winning films "Up" and "The Cove" and the TV series "Bones" and "Family Guy." Actress Tippi Hedren was presented with the lifetime achievement award by her daughter Melanie Griffith. GENESIS

Tony Award • The administration committee for the Tony Awards convened for the third of four times this theater season on Thursday. The committee is made up of two dozen theater folk, with 10 apiece from the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing -- which jointly host these top theater kudos -- and one each from the Dramatists Guild, Actors' Equity Assn., United Scenic Artists and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. They rule on category placement as usually only those performers listed above the title are eligible to contend in the lead categories at the Tony Awards. However, with the increase in equal billing for all, there is a need to separate out the true star turns from the supporting players. As such, two-time nominee Laura Linney will contend as a lead for "Time Stands Still" as will Patrick Breen for "Next Fall." And of the four actors in "A Behanding in Spokane," only Oscar champ Christopher Walken was found to be in a leading role.

• And finally, file this in the truth-is-stranger-than fiction drawer. Turns out that Hungarian-born adventurer Count Laszlo de Almásy -- who inspired the romantic hero played by Ralph Fiennes in the 1996 Oscar-winning "The English Patient" -- was "actually homosexual and in love with a young soldier, according to letters discovered in Germany." DAILY TELEGRAPH


Showtime remaking BAFTA Award-winning series 'Shameless' with William H. Macy

David Sheward's gutsy, early Tony Award predictions

Tony Awards predix: Angela Lansbury will score historic sixth win

Tony Awards preview: What will win best play?

Can Taylor Swift make it three in a row at CMT Awards?

Gold Derby nuggets: 'True Blood' goes graphic | 'Precious' talent updates | Carol Burnett reminisces

Are 'Damages,' Glenn Close now doomed at the Emmys?

Who'll break the curse against Emmy's funny ladies: Tina Fey, Toni Collette or Julia Louis-Dreyfus?

Photo gallery: Emmy's biggest snubs

'Lost' Emmy mystery solved: Terry O'Quinn returns to the supporting-actor race

'Bosom Buddies' Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari reuniting on TV Land Awards

Top photo: Laura Dern at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards. Credit: NBC

Middle photo: Academy of Country Music logo. Credit: ACM

Bottom photo: Tony Award statuette. Credit: American Theater Wing

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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.

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.


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

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'Up' takes top Annie Awards on road to Oscars

February 7, 2010 |  9:13 am

Up Oscars Annie Awards "Up" won both best picture and director at the 37th annual Annie Awards on Saturday night. The nine-time nominee beat out all four of its competitors for best animated feature at the Oscars -- "Coraline," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Secret of Kells" -- as well as "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."

"Coraline" -- which topped the list with 10 nominations -- won three Annie Awards: character design, music and production design. "Princess" took three of its eight races at the Annie Awards: animated effects, character animation and voice acting. Critics' choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" won just one of its three nods, for the script by director Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.

"Beauty and the Beast" -- which, like "Up," was a best picture nominee at the Oscars -- won the first Annie Award for animated feature back in 1991. Since the Academy Awards introduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up six times. The exceptions: in 2006 when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar and last year when "Kung Fu Panda" swept the Annie Awards but "Wall-E" waltzed off with the Academy Award.

Although film critics ranked "Wall-E" as one of the top-rated movies of last year, those truly in the know about the art of animation -- members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards -- were far less impressed. Of last year's three Oscar contenders, "Kung Fu Panda" led going into the Annie Awards with 16 nominations to eight for "Wall-E" and five for "Bolt." Numbering triple noms in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record-tying tally, "Kung Fu Panda" won all 10 categories in which it was competing while "Wall-E" was shut out. And offshoots of "Kung Fu Panda" were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff "The Secrets of the Furious Five" took four more.

Two years ago, eventual Oscar champ "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two Oscar nominees, "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods, and "Persepolis," which went zero for four.

The Annie Awards were announced at a kudofest at UCLA's Royce Hall. The Annie Awards website has a complete list of winners and nominees.

Photo: "Up" DVD cover. Credit: Pixar / Disney

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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


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

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