News Nuggets: Could ‘This is 40’ be a surprise Oscar contender?

Jon Weisman wonders if “This is 40” has awards potentiala beyond the Golden Globes: “Not only is the film an interesting possibility for picture and original screenplay honors, not only is Leslie Mann a candidate for lead actress, but Albert Brooks has growing support in supporting actor. My main complaints with the film were that its idea of financial crisis was a bit north-of-San Vicente myopic (though I do concede everything’s relative when it comes to anxiety), and that a few scenes didn’t quite ring as true to me as others. Overall, though, writer-director Judd Apatow continues to deliver really thoughtful and entertaining work.” VARIETY

Melinda Newman thinks Jason Mraz, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Mumford and Sons may be among Grammy nominees for Song of the Year: “People often, understandably, confuse record of the year with song of the year. Record of the year goes to the artist, producer, recording engineer and/or mixer, whereas song of the year’s sole recipient is the songwriter. Therefore, when thinking about the song of the year contenders, I usually think about how the song would sound if it were performed only on a piano or an acoustic guitar with no other embellishment. In recent years, there’s been great overlap between the song of the year and record of the year nominees. For example, this February, four of the five nominees were the same in both categories. In 2011, three out of the five were the same. My predictions, listed in alphabetical order, have some duplication, but I also included songs that I thought met my sniff test above but wouldn’t necessarily be record of the year contenders.” THE BEAT GOES ON

Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood, will be this year’s Miss Golden Globe. From the press release: “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has selected actress Francesca Eastwood as Miss Golden Globe 2013 for the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. HFPA President Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly made the announcement this evening at the first party of the 2013 Golden Globe Awards Season, hosted by the HFPA and InStyle … ‘Francesca comes from a very talented family and we are delighted to have her be our Miss Golden Globe,’ said Takla-O’Reilly. ‘She is a budding actress and is a great addition as we celebrate the show’s 70th anniversary!'”

College students could have a chance to be part of the Oscars: “Oscar host Seth MacFarlane is inviting collegians to join him on stage at the Academy Awards. The ‘Family Guy‘ creator made a surprise appearance at UCLA this week to announce a contest sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU that will allow winning college students to appear on the Feb. 24 Oscar telecast. The contest invites students to submit videos on the academy’s Facebook page describing how they’ll contribute to the future of film. At least six winners will serve as trophy carriers on the Oscar show, replacing the leggy models who usually perform the duties.” ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amy Nicholson thinks Nicole Kidman deserves to be considered for awards for her performance in “The Paperboy“: “Once, Nicole Kidman barely had to raise an eyebrow to get awards attention. Now, she barely can raise an eyebrow and her best work in years is being completely ignored in the Oscar conversation. ‘The Paperboy’ stars Kidman as Charlotte Bless, a damaged attention-seeker who becomes sexually obsessed with a convicted murderer (John Cusack), while cock-teasing the only man—or really, teenager—who truly loves her (Zac Efron). It’s Kidman’s bravest, boldest, and most committed performance ever, and no one cares for the short-sighted reason that the movie is terrible.” MOVIELINE

Pete Hammond on the rise of independent films in Oscar’s Animated Feature category: “… since the animated-feature category was created in 2001, the list of winners — from DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Shrek’ through last year’s victor Paramount’s ‘Rango‘ — has been dominated by the major studios, particularly Disney/Pixar, which won four of the past five animated-feature Oscars and six overall. Last year’s ‘Cars 2‘ was the first time a Pixar entry failed to make the cut, even with five nominations in the category. Even the two independent productions that have won, Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ (2002) and Aardman’s ‘Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ (2005), were distributed by major studios, Disney and DreamWorks Animation, respectively. But it’s clear that indie distributors are making headway in the animation race and potentially causing big trouble for the majors and their expensive tentpole toons.” DEADLINE

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