News Nuggets: Oscar narrows down its visual effects contenders to ten

Razzie voters should consider bad performances in good movies: “In a way, bad actors in good movies are the ultimate Razzie dark horses. Their performances might be just as awful as those of the Sandlers and Swardsons of this world, but they’re forgotten come nomination time. So before you cast your ballot this Razzie season … how about you consider these five worthy actors and actresses, cursed only by the awful luck of being in a not-awful movie.” GRANTLAND

The Motion Picture Academy announces eight sci-tech winners: “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that eight scientific and technical achievements represented by 28 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at the Beverly Wilshire on Saturday, February 11, 2012. Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2011. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.” DEADLINE

Oscar narrows visual effects contenders to ten titles: “Among the selections are the top three highest grossing films of 2011 — ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,’ ‘Transformers Dark of the Moon,’ ‘Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides‘ — all of which topped $1 billion at the global box office. The new year’s biggest attraction thus far, ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,’ is also included.” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Santa Barbara Film Festival lineup announced: “Films will include the U.S. premiere of director Ron Fricke‘s wordless ‘Samsara,’ which was shot in more than 20 countries around the world; the first U.S. screening of Christopher Plummer‘s one-man show ‘Barrymore,’ which won raves at the Toronto Film Festival; and the world premiere of ‘Live at Preservation Hall: A Louisiana Fairytale,’ a documentary about the collaboration between the alternative band My Morning Jacket and New Orleans’ legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band.” THE WRAP

War Horse” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” star Benedict Cumberbatch cast in the next “Star Trek”: “British actor Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to join returning cast members Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Co. Better news: He’s reportedly playing the villain … His acerbic take on Sherlock Holmes is probably his best known and best loved work of late, but his turn as Gary Oldman’s skeptical but loyal right hand man in ‘Tinker Tailor’ is another recent highlight; next year he’ll pull double duty in ‘The Hobbit’ voicing the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer for Peter Jackson.” MOVIELINE

Jessica Chastain will make her Broadway debut: “The producers of the new Broadway production of ‘The Heiress’ have found their title actress in Jessica Chastain, the Juilliard School alumna who has distinguished herself recently in such films as ‘The Help‘ and ‘Coriolanus.’ She played the title role of ‘Salome’ opposite Al Pacino in the 2006 Los Angeles staging of Oscar Wilde‘s play, and appeared in ‘Othello’ at the Public Theater and Rodney’s Wife at Playwrights Horizons, both Off-Broadway.” PLAYBILL

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