Good Morning, Oscar: December 9

It’s never too early for Top 10 lists, and never too late for more “Avatar” overviews.

Last Updated: December 9, 2009 @ 9:20 AM

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, it’s never too early for Top 10 lists, and never too late for more “Avatar” overviews.

Time magazine gets into the Top 10 lists early. Among the lists is Richard Corliss’ 10 best performances of the year. It starts with five actresses: Mo’Nique, Carey Mulligan, Saoirse Ronan, Meryl Streep and Marion Cotillard. Then five actors, or four actors and a performer: Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, George Clooney, Christoph Waltz … and Michael Jackson as Michael Jackson in “This Is It.”

Then Corliss lists his top 10 movies of the year, and he starts with “The Princess and the Frog.” (Really?)  The others are “Up,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox” “The Hurt Locker,” “Up in the Air,” “The White Ribbon,” “A Single Man” (left), “Of Time and the City,” “District 9” and “Thirst.”

New Yorker critics David Denby and Anthony Lane go the top 10 route as well. They agree on “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The White Ribbon,” “Up” and “Up in the Air.” Entries on one of the lists include “Adventureland,” “Funny People,” “Me and Orson Welles,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Coraline” and “Anvil!” Denby offers an actual list, Lane an essay that mentions nine films and leaves one slot open – an omission that might be explained by one of the opening lines of his piece: “Foolish is the soul who would lay money on the candidates for Best Picture before ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: The Squeakquel’ has even been released.”

Todd Martens picks favorites in the original-score category, highlighting the work of Michael Giacchino (“Up”), Marvin Hamlisch (“The Informant!”), Randy Newman (“The Princess and the Frog”), Alexandre Desplat (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) and Eliot Goldenthal (“Public Enemies”). (The Envelope)

The Envelope also spotlights the animated-feature category, spotlighting six of the 20 eligible films: “Coraline,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “Up,” “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” and “9.” What, no love for “Ponyo” or “Mary and Max”?

John Foote interviews Ben Foster about his remarkable and too-often overlooked performance in “The Messenger.” (In Contention)

The Associated Press deals with “Avatar” – its budget, the expectations, the tech side, the high hopes, the pros and cons … And star Sigourney Weaver says it’s “The Wizard of Oz.” (The AP via Yahoo! Movies)

The Golden Globes have announced the 69 films eligible for their best foreign-language film award. Fewer than half their film are also on the Academy’s list of eligible films; the big difference between their list and the Academy’s list is that the Globes don’t restrict entries to one per country, which means nine French films made the cut: “A Prophet,” “Coco Before Chanel,” “A Day at the Museum,” “Eden Is West” “Micmacs,” “The Girl on the Train,” “Secrets of State,” “Welcome” and “With a Little Help from Myself,” plus French co-productions “For a Moment, Freedom,” “God’s Offices,” “Grown Ups,” “Hello Goodbye” and “Louise-Michel.” (Screen Daily)

And the Globes also announced that the role of Miss Golden Globe at the 2010 show will go to Mavis Spencer, the daughter of actress Alfre Woodard and writer/producer Roderick Spencer. The gig always goes to the daughter of somebody famous; Laura Dern and Melanie Griffith are among the small number of former Miss Golden Globes who’ve gone on to acting careers. In related news, the Oscars will not be announcing the names of this year’s trophy girls.  (Golden Globes website)