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Good Morning, Oscar: November 17

Oscar music takes center stage with Jeff Bridges, Kate Hudson, Randy Newman, Alexandre Desplat and more.

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, Oscar music takes center stage with Jeff Bridges, Kate Hudson, Randy Newman, Alexandre Desplat and more.

Kris Tapley crops a photo from the Governors Awards and comes up with … Jeff Bridges holding an Oscar statuette. “It really does feel like things are going to go Bridges’s way this Oscar season,” he says. So far this season, I want nothing more than for Bridges to win an overdue Oscar for his stunning work in “Crazy Heart.”  And I think it’ll happen.  I just wish I could share Tapley’s certainty. (In Contention)

In the meantime, here’s the trailer for “Crazy Heart.” It does a good job of capturing the spirit of the movie, and it’s set to the film’s key song, a lovely, world-weary ballad called “The Weary Kind.” In the movie, Bridges is completely convincing as a country singer, and he does his own vocals; the voice you hear throughout the trailer, however, belongs not to Bridges, but to the song’s co-writer, Ryan Bingham.

(Fox Searchlight)

And while we’re showing music-heavy trailers, here’s the new “Cinema Italiano” number from “Nine.” Kate Hudson has enough voice for this type of performance – which is, let’s face it, more about attitude than melody. As for the song, I think it’s got a nice seductive build-up at the beginning, but when it hits the chorus it just doesn’t deliver; instead, it just kind of flails around for a while. I just hope the movie has something to deliver beyond the old razzle-dazzle.

(The Weinstein Company)

Speaking of movie music and the Oscars, Variety devotes a special section to the music races. There’s an interview with Alexandre Desplat; a story about how profitable it can be to hire indie songwriters who don’t have record contracts; an examination of Marvin Hamlish’s supremely retro score to “The Informant!”; a look at the composers of “Bright Star,” “The Young Victoria” and “Public Enemies” (certainly not category frontrunners); and a piece about Randy Newman’s songs and score for the New Orleans-set “The Princess and the Frog.”

Tapley finds slim pickings in the original screenplay race. He think Mark Boal will win for “The Hurt Locker,” “Up” and “A Serious Man” will take two additional slots, Fox Searchlight will campaign “(500) Days of Summer” into a nomination, and the final spot is up for grabs among “District 9,” “Avatar,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Bright Star,” “The White Ribbon,” “It’s Complicated” or several others. And he wishes “Antichrist,” “Sugar,” “Bronson” and “Moon” had higher Oscar profiles. (In Contention)

Scott Feinberg explains why “Avatar” could win best picture. Basically, he thinks it’s a game-changer on creative and technological levels, and the voters will recognize it as such. I think these are very different times than when the Academy liked to salute expensive extravaganzas like “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “Around the World in 80 Days,” but I’m not ready to count James Cameron’s film out (or in) until I actually see it. In Feinberg’s latest prediction chart, incidentally, “Avatar” zooms up to number two (behind the equally unseen “Invictus”). “Nine,” and several of its actors, also make moves up. (And the Winner Is)

Gregory Ellwood reports on Monday night’s “DVD release party” for “Star Trek” at the Griffith Observatory, and concludes that the film still isn’t in the running for best picture. (Awards Campaign)

One million copies of the Oscar winning documentary short “Smile Pinki” will be distributed through Gannett Newspapers this Sunday. (Editor and Publisher)