- Movieline: Jen Yamato surveys several awards pundits, including yours truly, about the best picture prospects of “127 Hours,” which some believe have faded in recent weeks, but which I argue are just as strong as ever because of the preferential balloting system. Yes, many Academy members can’t bring themselves to watch the film at all due to the much-discussed farewell-to-arm scene that looms over it, but the majority of those who do see it realize that the film is about so much more than just that moment, and place it high on their ballots. In the era of 10 best pictures, a film that receives a relatively small number of highly-placed votes can easily snag a spot from a film that receives a large number of votes low on the ballot.
- The Odds: Steve Pond breaks the news that Ryan Kavanaugh, the founder and CEO of Relativity Media and a producer of “The Fighter,” has lost an appeal to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Producers Branch executive committee to have his name listed as one of the film’s producers. “According to the three sources close to the film,” Pond writes, Kavanaugh “took his case to the Academy after the Producers Guild of America had ruled that only three of the film’s six listed producers warranted a ‘produced by’ credit, and a PGA nomination.” Pond notes that both the PGA and AMPAS “have rules that in most circumstances limit the number of nominated producers to three,” and that “a successful AMPAS appeal would have been Kavanaugh’s last chance to land an Oscar nomination.”
- Inside Movies: Lisa Schwarzbaum, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle (the world’s oldest film critics body), writes about the behavior of Armond White, the “notoriously contrarian” film critic of the New York Press and current president of the NYFCC, at Monday night’s 76th annual NYFCC awards ceremony, which he emceed. Schwarzbaum says that she debated whether it was appropriate to talk “inside-baseball about an organization to which I belong,” but then “got to thinking about the damage done” by White’s mean-spirited remarks — which, according to Schwarzbaum and other reports, provoked reactions from the stage from director director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) and actresses Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”) and Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”) — and “decided to use this [article] as my podium.”
- Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells has been known to use hyperbole every now and again, but he was spot-on when he wrote that “some of the coolest and/or most interesting people on the planet” were in attendance at yesterday’s Peggy Siegal luncheon at The Four Seasons in New York for “The Social Network.” Representing the film were producers Scott Rudin and Dana Brunetti, executive producer Kevin Spacey, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, director David Fincher, actors Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Armie Hammer, and Sony studio chief Amy Pascal, who greenlit it. Also in attendance were Sony Pictures Classics co-studio chiefs Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, “Waiting for ‘Superman’” director Davis Guggenheim and original song contributor John Legend, “True Grit” actress Hailee Steinfeld, James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli, writer/director Nora Ephron, director James Toback; James Newman, one of the stars of MTV’s upcoming American version of the British series “Skins”; and many others.
- Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil gathers more than 20 pundits’ final projections — including mine, which can also be seen here — for Sunday night’s 68th annual Golden Globe Awards. In the best picture (drama) category they are evenly-divided between “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network,” but in the much weaker best picture (musical or comedy) category they are completely united in the belief that “The Kids Are All Right” will win. They all (or almost all) forecast wins by David Fincher for best director, Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) for best actor (drama), Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”) for best actress (drama), Annette Bening (“The Kids Are All Right”) for best actress (musical or comedy), Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) for best supporting actor, and Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”) for best screenplay. They are much more divided when it comes to the races for best actor (musical or comedy) and best supporting actress.
- The Hollywood Reporter: Gregg Kilday passes along the news that the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics group has announced its nominations for the second annual Dorian Awards, the winners of which will be announced on January 18. “Black Swan” and “The Kids Are All Right” led the field with three nominations each. They were joined in the best picture category by “I Am Love,” “The Social Network,” and “Toy Story 3.” Kilday also notes that much less prestigious nominations were bestowed upon “Burlesque,” “Charlie St. Cloud,” “I’m Still Here,” “Piranha 3-D,” and “Sex and the City 2” — namely, nominations for “campy — intentional or not — film of the year.”
- Filmmaker: Nicholas Rombes unearths the trailer of the early Jennifer Connelly vehicle “Etoile” (1988), and notes some hard-to-ignore parallels between that film and “Black Swan.” The former film, like the latter, “also happens to be a nightmarish film about ‘Swan Lake’ that also features a monstrous black swan.”
Photo: James Franco in “127 Hours.” Credit: Fox Searchlight.