Gold Derby Nuggets: January 6

Sasha Stone thinks that there are two films fighting for the tenth Best Picture bid: “It’s ‘Winter’s Bone’ vs. ‘The Kids Are All Right.’ But then again, we still don’t know what AMPAS will do. What a drag to have to pit one female-directed film against another. Two very different films, both featuring strong women, both very well reviewed. It’s a little depressing, to be sure. Two movies which were co-written, directed by and starring women are struggling for one slot.” AWARDS DAILY

Last year’s Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) revealed to Steve Pond her reasons for hosting two recent screenings of “Winter’s Bone” helmed by Debra Granik: “I just think it’s a masterful film that deserves exposure – and if I can do anything to help it out, I’m happy to do it.” THE ODDS

For Kyle Buchanan, there has been no better Oscar campaign this season than the one for “The Social Network.” As he observes, “There’s been a significant new talking point each week since its fall debut, each player has gotten his moment in the sun, potential controversies have been neatly nipped in the bud, and now, riding a wave of critical adoration, the studio has decided to rerelease the film into 600 theaters on January 7.” VULTURE

Kris Tapley attended Wednesday’s ceremony honoring Oscar champ Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies”) and notes: “Sony Pictures Classics was smart enough to recognize that Robert Duvall could use his hands and feet in cement over at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, a generally political honor (much like stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) that only happens when someone thinks it’s worth it to rally the money together. Well, a bubble-contending Best Actor hopeful (for ‘Get Low’) is a great cause.  But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Duvall is, it goes without saying, a legend highly deserving of this kind of thing.” As Kris reports, “James Caan served as emcee of sorts for the intimate ceremony. Also speaking were Billy Bob Thornton and Andy Garcia (who told a great joke regarding Caan that maybe three people got: ‘Thank you for sleeping with Lucy Mancini.’), close friends of Duvall’s. There was a sweet moment when Duvall, his feet buried in cement, looked up to his friend and protégé, Scott Cooper, and said, ‘You’ll be up here in a few years.’ After the ceremony there was a quick luncheon at the Roosevelt Hotel and a birthday cake was divvied up after one more round of ‘Happy Birthday.’ Also on hand were filmmaker Aaron Schneider and much of the crew from ‘Get Low,’ as well as ubiquitous actor Robert Forster (seriously, he’s everywhere this year, it seems).” IN CONTENTION

Robert DeNiro will head the jury of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival. The 64th edition of the world’s premiere filmfest unspools along the Croisette for a dozen days beginning May 11. In accepting the assignment, DeNiro said, “having served as President of the Jury in the eighties twice, I know this isn’t an easy task for me or my fellow jury members, but I’m very honored and happy to head the jury for this year’s Cannes Film Festival.” CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

For Jeff Wells, this means, “De Niro’s opinion will carry a certain weight four months hence when the Cannes Film Festival jury decides whether or not to hand the Palme d’Or to Terrence Malick‘s ‘The Tree of Life.’ That’s what it boils down to, I think. (Unless, of course, it doesn’t play in competition.) Or whether to tactfully sidestep the Malick altogether and hand it to Pedro Almodovar‘s ‘The Skin That I Inhabit’ or Lars Von Trier‘s ‘Melancholia’ or some other form of winged bird.” HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

Christopher Rosen extends the metaphor of the Academy Awards as Hollywood’s Super Bowl to its logical conclusion by matching up NFL playoff teams with Oscar contenders. Among them: Chicago Bears (“The King’s Speech”) and the New England Patriots (“The Social Network”). MOVIELINE

Rick Porter recapped Wednesday’s People’s Choice Awards “with an eye on the numbers: Who would win the most awards? How many people voted? And just how many of the awards wouldn’t actually be presented during the broadcast because the winners didn’t show up?” His findings included: “Awards handed out on the broadcast: 21, including doubled-up ones like Katy Perry‘s win for favorite female artist and favorite online sensation. Awards not handed out on the broadcast: 23. If you don’t come to the awards, you don’t get name-checked.” ZAP2IT

Melinda Newman offers the following advice: “Need to catch up on the year in pop music? A great way is through the ‘2011 Grammy Nominees’ album, which comes out Jan. 25 on Jive Records Each year, the Recording Academy, the folks who bring you the Grammys, link with a different major label, to release the collection which highlights songs nominated for the upcoming Grammy Awards. A part of the proceeds of the album sales goes to the Recording Academy’s two charitable organizations, MusiCares and the Grammy Foundation.” HITFIX

The current rialto production of “The Merchant of Venice” headlined by triple crown acting champ Al Pacino has recouped its $3.45 million dollar cost after just 10 weeks of performances. As Adam Hetrick says, “The production has been box-office gold since its Broadway arrival, grossing over a million dollars weekly and playing to capacity, a rarity for a play on Broadway.” PLAYBILL 

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