In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, “Crazy Heart” hosts a high-class honky-tonk, and the British are coming.
Chris Willman reports on a Monday night gig at which Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett, Ryan Bingham, and a few guests performed the songs from “Crazy Heart.” Those guests, by the way, included Robert Duvall, Harry Dean Stanton and “a seriously underrated honky-tonk pianist by the name of Elton John,” who joined in on the song “I Don’t Know.” In the audience: Jon Hamm, Peter Fonda, Woody Harrelson, Elliott Gould, Powers Booth and Hans Zimmer, most of whom are Academy members. (CMT News)
Kris Tapley spotlights Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman, the director and writer behind “Coraline.” He starts out by accurately pointing out the recent push to position “Fantastic Mr. Fox” as the Animated Feature upset-in-the-making because of its critics’ awards: “Of course, at the time, no one in the media helping that story along bothered to point out that, well, the opinions of the critics don’t matter a whole lot when it comes to how the Academy votes at large.” Kris thinks that “Coraline” might be the true contender … and it might, though “Up” is looking pretty solid to me at this point. In fact, I sat with Selick at the Nominees Luncheon on Monday, and he seemed convinced that the Pixar movie would win, and perfectly fine with that. (In Contention)
Sasha Stone previews this weekend’s BAFTA Awards – or, to be more accurate, the Orange British Academy Film Awards. (Orange, by the way, is the sponsor: it’s like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.) She thinks “An Education” is the likely winner, but concedes, “we could see a surprise here.” If there’s a surprise, she expects it to be either “Precious” or “The Hurt Locker,” though by now it’s hard to call any victory by that last film a surprise. (Awards Daily)
Harvey Weinstein continues his relentless campaign to persuade people (especially Oscar voters) that “Inglourious Basterds” is going to win Best Picture. “We have all the actors,” he tells Melena Ryzik. I’m still not buying it, having talked to plenty of actors who love “The Hurt Locker.” But, you know, Harvey is one hell of an Oscar campaigner. (The Carpetbagger)
Speaking of “Basterds,” the Guardian suggests that the film has “freed” Quentin Tarantino to tackle even risker projects in the future, and wonders if the director will actually make the project he’s talked about in the past, an exciting “spaghetti western” about slaves escaping on the underground railroad. “What’s apparent,” says Ben Child, more or less approvingly, “is that the director is almost uniquely unaware of the natural barrier between genre film-making and serious drama.” (The Guardian)
Larry Carrol surveys the “big changes” taking place at this year’s Oscar show. The first big change, the backstage Thank-You Cam where winners will be invited to speak for as long as they want and thank everybody on their lists in videos that’ll be posted on the Oscar website, isn’t a change at all: it’s been in place for several years. The others – a pair of hosts, no Best Original Song performances and on-the-spot personalizing of Oscar statuettes – are legitimately new. (VH1 News)