News Nuggets: How many 2012 Oscar contenders have already premiered?

Have any 2012 Oscar contenders already premiered? “Two movies that could score multiple nominations screened this past January at Sundance: ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild‘ and ‘The Sessions‘ … As for ‘The Sessions,’ it won’t be out until this fall, but at its Sundance premiere, Oscar buzz was already deafening. John Hawkes stars as a disabled man who hires Helen Hunt to relieve him of his virginity, and their warm performances tick off so many Academy boxes (he’s playing a handicapped, real-life person; she’s nude and sporting an accent) that both actors are shoo-ins to be nominated, and maybe even the front-runners at this point … If the blue-hairs prefer something a little tamer, though, there’s always ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,’ which proved an unexpected box -ffice hit and could find Judi Dench or the film’s screenplay contending for a nomination.” VULTURE

Beasts of the Southern Wild” does welll in limited release: “In New York and Los Angeles, the Louisiana Bayou-set film averaged an impressive $42,309 in four theaters. It was apparent the feature struck some zeitgeist when its star, 8-year-old newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis, made some of the talk-show rounds including ‘The View‘ and ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno‘ this week. Unless the universe realigns, the film should be a reasonable hit. ‘Beasts’ opened last Wednesday and has taken in more than $220K so far. Fox Searchlight wasn’t shy about providing some interesting trivia. ‘Beasts’ director Benh Zeitlin places 6th in the all-time limited release hierarchy for a first-time feature filmmaker.” DEADLINE

Why did it take so long for Terrence Malick and Andy Serkis to be invited to the Academy? “Topping the list is Andy Serkis. The actor who’s considered the leading practitioner of what’s known as digitized acting has been a fan (and critical) favorite for years. His work as performance-capture creatures in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ ‘King Kong’ and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes‘ has prompted calls for the Oscars to widen the criteria for acting prizes. But Serkis isn’t in the academy. (Whether his invitation is evidence of a larger shift in thinking remains to be seen.) The list this year also includes some veterans who would have seemed like the card-carrying academy members of long ago: the Dardenne brothers (five Cannes prizes), Terrence Malick (three Oscar nominations) and Woody Allen producing partner Letty Aronson (one Oscar nom).” LOS ANGELES TIMES

Profiling Grammy-nominee Bobby Sanabria, who fought for the reinstatement of Latin Jazz at the Grammys: “‘I saw Tito Puente at the age of 12 playing in front of my project with his great orchestra,’ he says. ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ And that’s what he did. Despite the challenges of growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods of New York City, Sanabria is a five-time Grammy-nominated Latin jazz musician combining his passion for performing with education … In 1999, [Justin DiCioccio, chair of the jazz arts program at the Manhattan School of Music], invited Sanabria to start the Afro-Cuban Jazz program at the school. In 2009 the Afro-Cuban jazz orchestra of the Manhattan School of Music was nominated for the category of best Latin jazz album at the Latin Grammys, a recognition the school had never received before. Sanabria led the group of musicians that sued the Grammy Awards in 2011 after the organization cut 31 categories including the best Latin jazz. The category was reinstated after the lawsuit.” FOX NEWS LATINO

What is Channing Tatum‘s career outlook after “Magic Mike“? “He may look like an impossibly chiseled slab of flesh – and, well, he is – but this past weekend Channing Tatum proved to America (and that foreign country called Hollywood) that he is capable of much more. With ‘Magic Mike’ wildly overperforming at the box office to the tune of $39 million, it’s time to acknowledge that this one-time piece of eye-meat has opened the door to a new chapter in his career. It’s widely known that it was Tatum who approached auteur Steven Soderbergh with the idea for ‘Magic Mike,’ as the film was inspired by Tatum’s own experiences as a male stripper when he was 18. For as long as he’s been entertaining audiences, Tatum has been seen primarily as nothing more than an object, but his aspirations are clearly to have a career that involves some brains, too.” MOVIELINE

Which “Glee” cast members will return and in what capacity? “Some of the characters may have left McKinley High and Ohio but practically none of ‘Glee‘s’ regulars is leaving the show. Additionally, I’ve learned that Chord Overstreet is in talks to return next season, this time as a regular … Leading couple Lea Michele and Cory Monteith are among those likely to be in most if not all episodes. Also coming back are Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, Naya Rivera, Kevin McHale, Darren Criss, Amber Riley, Jenna Ushkowitz, Jayma Mays, Dianna Agron, Mark Salling, Harry Shum Jr and Heather Morris. Their workload will vary as the show once again will work to accommodate the large cast and make room for some new characters.” DEADLINE

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