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Good Morning, Oscar: November 24

More “Avatar” footage surfaces, and is the Academy really going to take “New Moon” seriously?

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, more “Avatar” footage surfaces, and is the Academy really going to take “New Moon” seriously?

Movieline proffers six reasons why we must take “New Moon” seriously as an Oscar contender. The reasons include: ten best-pic nominations, it made a lot of money, and maybe the older voters will let their grandkids vote. I say, what do you mean we must take “New Moon” seriously? I’m not going down that road, thank you very much.

Do you want to see two-and-a-half-minutes of “Avatar”? Are you okay that it’s not in 3-D, and not on Imax, but on your computer screen? Well, Fox just released a chase scene from the film. Think “Jurassic Park,” but faster and more frantic. And the dinosaur is chasing a blue guy with a tail.
 

 

One day after the Santa Barbara International Film Festival opted to honor four actors (Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Stanley Tucci and Christoph Waltz), the Palm Springs International Film Festivals counters by announcing that its Breakthrough Performance Award will go to a bigger star, Mariah Carey, for her de-glamorized role in “Precious.” Festival chairman Harold Matzner lauded Carey for transforming herself “from a glamorous music icon to a forthright social worker.” One assumes that she’ll be dressed up and made-up when she accepts the award on January 5. (The Press-Enterprise)

So it’s come to this. “Nine,” “Invictus” and “The Lovely Bones” have begun to screen, but embargoes are being strictly enforced on reviews or reports about the films – so now Oscar-watchers are reduced to being like Anne Thompson, who writes that she’s seen the first two and been invited to the third, but she can’t say anything about them. She’s one up on me … not that it really matters how many films any of us aren’t allowed to write about. (Thompson on Hollywood

Tom O’Neil thinks that the best-actress category is a two-person race – and unlike most pundits, he doesn’t see it as a contest between Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) and Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia”). Instead, he thinks it’s Mulligan vs. Gabourey Sidibe from “Precious,” and he thinks Sidibe is so far in front that the race is “already finished.” He does give Streep front-runner status for a nomination, along with Helen Mirren for “The Last Station” and a surprising recent entry that I can’t quite embrace, Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side.” (Gold Derby)

Pete Hammond, O’Neil’s colleague at the Envelope, also beats the Bullock drum, though he wonders if Warner Bros. is putting enough promotional muscle behind it. (Notes on a Season)

It had to happen: “Up in the Air” director Jason Reitman has been making pie charts out of the questions he’s been asked while promoting the movie, and his latest chart – which ranks the 11th through 20th most popular questions – includes, for the first time, questions about the pie chart. For the record, it’s the 17th most popular question. Questions about George Clooney and the economy are one and two. (TwitPic)

Oscar producer Adam Shankman says he went to New York to see David Rockwell’s model of “my Oscar set!!!” He also promises that the show is going to be “amazing, and funny and emotional!” This joins a Nov. 18 description of the show as “gorgeous elegant, funny.” Oh, and he’s cooking on Thanksgiving. This info all comes via Twitter.