Good Morning Oscar, December 10: Songs, Smears & Celeb Kids

Dirty campaigning resurfaces, while the Globes pick a leading lady

In this morning's roundup of Oscar news 'n' notes from around the web, dirty campaigning resurfaces, while the Globes pick a leading lady.

Following in the footsteps of celebrity offspring Laura Dern, Melanie Griffith, Rumer Willis and Joely Fisher, Gia Mantegna (below) has been named Miss Golden Globe 2011. Mantegna, the actress daughter of Joe Mantegna, will "assist during the Golden Globes ceremony," according to the HFPA press release; she's currently starring on the TeenNick TV series "Gigantic." The HFPA has been picking Miss and Mr. Golden Globes for 37 years, and for all but the first 10 the gig has gone to the child of celebs ranging from William Shatner and Clint Eastwood to Cybill Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg. Mantegna also went to high school with my son, so she gets the lead item today. (Hollywood Foreign Press Association)

The Palm Springs International Film Festival, an annual out-of-town tryout for acceptance speeches, adds “The Fighter” director David O. Russell to its list of honorees. The choice of Russell as the PSIFF’s Director of the Year Award, points out Pete Hammond, is a crucial step toward allowing Russell to shrug off that difficult reputation and maybe, just maybe, lay the groundwork for an Oscar Best Director nomination, which is pretty much a must-have for “The Fighter” to stand a real chance at winning Best Picture. (Deadline)

Kris Tapley wades into the turbulent waters of the Oscars’ Best Original Song category, where it’s always hard to tell what will qualify, where dozens of contenders will pop up from obscure movies, and where the voting process is stacked in favor of songs that are performed onscreen. He finds a few likely players – songs from “Tangled,” “Burlesque,” “Country Strong,” “Toy Story 3,” “Waiting for ‘Superman’” and “127 Hours” – and then does what anybody who tries to make sense of this category has to do: admits that he doesn’t know what surprises are lurking. I’ve tried to get a sense of this year’s slate, too, and all I can say is that it reeks of professionalism. And I don’t mean that as a compliment. (In Contention)

Brooks Barnes says that the smear campaign is back. His evidence: phone calls with snarky comments about Pixar’s “It Gets Better” video, and weekend emails from an anonymous “Academy member” charging that Britain’s King George VI (the subject of “The King’s Speech”) was anti-Semitic.  (Hmm, we got that email at theWrap more than a month ago.) “All of this is a good reminder that it’s not all fun and games on the Oscar campaign trail,” he says, leaving me wondering who ever said it was. (The Carpetbagger)

Elle Fanning, age 12, makes it into the New York Times Magazine, where Jodie Foster says Fanning “should have been nominated for an Oscar” for “Phoebe in Wonderland,” a movie she made when she was nine, and J.J. Abrams says she “astounds” him. Frank Bruni reports that Fanning loves Marilyn Monroe, doesn’t talk shop with big sister Dakota, and is growing so fast that the gained two shoe sizes in six weeks while shooting Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere.”  (The New York Times Magazine)