News Nuggets: Murphy opens up about Oscar hosting gig

Eddie Murphy discusses his Oscar hosting gig: “‘I’m looking forward to doing it and I promise I’ll stay there all night,’ Murphy cracked. The joke was of course a reference to Murphy’s infamous departure from the 2007 show when he got up and left after losing the best supporting actor Oscar to Alan Arkin. The ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ star hasn’t hosted an awards program since the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards, but … he insists he isn’t getting cold feet about one of the toughest gigs in show business.  ‘I don’t really get nervous,’ Murphy insists. ‘Oscars is a fun thing to do. I don’t feel the pressure. I get to introduce people and stand up straight. Maybe I’ll be in a couple silly sketches or something.'” HITFIX

Scott Feinberg examines the evolving role of screeners in the awards race: “Many industry analysts believe that acting Oscars would never have been awarded to Roberto Benigni for ‘Life Is Beautiful’ (1998), Hilary Swank for ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ (1999), Marcia Gay Harden for ‘Pollock’ (2000) or Halle Berry for ‘Monster’s Ball’ (2001) had voters not seen them on screeners. Moreover, they argue, the shocking best picture win of ‘Crash’ over ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (both 2005) is probably directly attributable to the fact that Lionsgate took the then-unprecedented, ‘really, really expensive’ step … of sending a screener to every single member of SAG …” HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Could Shakespeare help Joss Whedon get into next year’s awards race? “Earlier today, actor Nathan Fillion, among others, tweeted out a link to, announcing that Whedon had finished principal photography on a film presumably based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ … Whedon has famously held Shakespeare readings at his home from time to time, but how he managed to squeeze this project into his post-production schedule on ‘The Avengers’ remains a tantalizing mystery.” EW.COM

Will “The Artist” win Best Comedy/Musical Picture at the Golden Globes? “Up until very recently you’d be forgiven for assuming that this is where Woody Allen‘s ‘Midnight in Paris‘ would get its due … Now it seems inevitably to be the one sure contest where ‘The Artist’ will be prevail. It’s even got dancing so it can pretend to be a musical as well as a comedy. As for ‘Bridesmaids,’ its nomination here will get people talking about ‘can it show up in Best Picture?’ and the answer is ‘of course not!’ but the conversation will happen anyway. Such is the power of the Globes.” THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Margin Call” is one of this season’s big surprises: “Last year Roadside Attractions brought us ‘Winter’s Bone’ and ‘Biutiful.’ This year they’re handling distribution for ‘Albert Nobbs,’ ‘Project Nim,’ and this weekend deliver the biggest under-the-radar surprise of the month. ‘Margin Call’ opened in limited release just a few days after being nominated for Best Ensemble by the Gotham Awards … It’s showing in 56 theaters. Trust me, it’s worth driving quite a distance to find one of those theaters. The New Yorker’s David Denby says it’s “easily the best Wall Street movie ever made.”” AWARDS DAILY

Are there any Oscar contenders you should actively avoid? “This year, I’m already dreading ‘J. Edgar.’ Just too flashy, Oscar-magnetic, and apparently evasive. I actually loved Leo DiCaprio in ‘The Aviator,’ but he’s really doubling up on his face scrunches and monotone proclamations this time around. It’s the ‘Brood Diamond,’ y’all … In retrospect, I refuse to see ‘The Help.’ Let’s give Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer some statue cred but leave that Easter-colored, happy-clappy morality tale in the dust.” MOVIELINE

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