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Countdown to Oscars

Thursday, November 18, 2010
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  • Deadline Hollywood: Pete Hammond speaks with Rich Ross, the chairman of Disney, who conveys to him just how serious his studio is about its “Toy Story 3” Oscar campaign: “We’re going for the best picture win. We wanted to have the best movie and the reviews have clearly said that and it’s the number one box office hit of the year so I’m not sure why we would not go for it all?” Only two animated films have ever been nominated for the best picture Oscar — “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) and “Up” (2009) — and neither won.
  • Thompson on Hollywood: Sophia Savage reports that the Visual Effects Society will honor “Inception” director Christopher Nolan with its inaugural Visionary Award for his ability to utilize “the art and science of visual effects to foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.” Nolan — who has also directed “Memento” (2000), “Insomnia” (2002), “Batman Begins” (2005), “The Prestige” (2006), and “The Dark Knight” (2008) — will be presented with the award during the VES Awards ceremony on February 28.
  • CBS Evening News: Katie Couric, the first woman to solo-anchor one of the networks’ evening newscasts, chats with Gwen Davis, 78, and Vera Sime, 80, two of the British women whose struggle for equal pay-for-equal work back in the sixties inspired the new film “Made in Dagenham.” The ladies came to New York in order to attend last weekend’s premiere of the film, at which they walked the read carpet. (On Wednesday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked debate over and a vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act, “a bill that would make it easier for women to sue employers who pay them less based on their sex.”)
  • All These Wonderful Things: AJ Schnack previews the Academy’s announcement of this year’s short-list of 15 documentary features (from which five will eventually be nominated for the best documentary feature Oscar). Schnack writes, “Word on the street is that [it] could come as early as today and as late as Monday.  And no one is sure whether the Academy will give the shortlisted filmmaker a heads-up phone call, as was the practice for years, or whether the list will be sprung without warning, as happened in 2009.” He notes that the widespread perception is that several films, including “Restrepo,” have “stumbled a bit” since the season began, while a few newer releases, including “Inside Job” and “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” are now believed to be at the front of the pack.
  • Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil challenges fellow Oscar blogger Dave Karger to a “smackdown” after airing out his “beefs” with Karger’s list of predictions that were published in the most recent Entertainment Weekly. “My chief quarrel,” O’Neil writes, “is your ‘Long Shots’ list underneath. No ‘Winter’s Bone’? Blasphemy! It’s the indie darling of the year and one of the early DVD screeners sent to voters. [And] where is ‘The Way Back’?  Nearly everything Peter Weir helms gets nominated for best picture (‘Master and Commander,’ ‘Dead Poets Society,’ ‘Witness’) or almost nominated (‘The Truman Show’ nabbed him a bid for best director).”
  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt offers up his list of the top 10 original songs that were worthy of, but ultimately snubbed for, an Oscar nomination over the past decade. His selections include Bruce Springsteen’s title song from “The Wrestler” (2008), Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor’s duet “Come What May” from “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), and Gustavo Santaolalla, Bernie Taupin, and Emmylou Harris’s “A Love That Never Grows Old” from “Brokeback Mountain” (2005).
  • People: An unattributed piece announces that Ryan Reynolds (a best actor hopeful for “Buried“) has been crowned People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2010, the 25th year in which the magazine has bestowed the honor. The 34-year-old jokes that the new title probably won’t change much at home with his wife Scarlett Johansson, GQ’s recently selected “Babe of the Year”: “Now it’s going to be, ‘Sexiest Man, take out the garbage.'”
  • UPI: An unattributed piece announces that Film Independent has confirmed comedian Joel McHale as the host for its 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards, which will be held at the beach in Santa Monica — and air exclusively on IFC — on February 26. Jeremy Renner (a best supporting actor hopeful for “The Town”) and Eva Mendes will announce the nominees on November 30.

Photo: “Toy Story 3.” Credit: Disney.

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