News Nuggets: Surprise ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ song will remain in Oscar race

Scott Feinberg reports that the song “Alone Yet Not Alone” is indeed eligible as an Oscar contender despite allegations it should be disqualified. Co-written by former Academy governor Bruce Broughton, the nomination set off outrage among some people because it broke advertising rules. The independent production only screened in one Encino theater and did not purchase advertising. A private investigator was hired by a snubbed rival, but upon reviewing the evidence, Academy officials say the song remains in the race. Hollywood Reporter.

Glenn Whipp offers his analysis of Oscar’s Best Picture category and agrees it is a tight race between three films. He points out weaknesses for each candidate. “Gravity” doesn’t have a screenplay nod, and only two films in the past 50 years won without it (“The Sound of Music” and “Titanic”). “12 Years a Slave” is favored in only two other categories (adapted screenplay, supporting actress), so it might be weak across the board. “American Hustle” is not favored for any of the four actors and would also have an overall low wins total. L.A. Times.

If “Gravity” wins the Oscar as Best Picture, it would be the second highest grossing box office hit of the past decade. The Alfonso Cuaron film has earned $258 domestic, trailing only “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” which raked in $377 million in 2003. The other recent movies making over $100 million: “Slumdog Millionaire” ($141 million), “Argo” ($136 million), “The King’s Speech” ($135 million), “The Departed” ($132 million), and “Million Dollar Baby” ($100 million). Awards Daily.

Nathaniel Rogers bemoans the top 10 working actors who are most in need of their first Oscar nominations. The list begins with Donald Sutherland and also includes Richard Gere, Isabelle Huppert, Ewan McGregor, Peter Sarsgaard, Charlotte Rampling, Scarlett Johansson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kirsten Dunst, and Gong Li. Of the rising stars, he mentions Benedict Cumberbatch, Greta Gerwig, Tom Hardy, and Mia Wasikowska. Film Experience.

The first presenters are announced for the Writers Guild Awards scheduled for February 1. The event will be hosted by comedian Brad Garrett with awards handed out by Sasha Alexander, Betsy Brandt, Julie Delpy, Bruce Dern, Stana Katic, Julianna Margulies, and Alex Trebek. Henry Winkler will present a life achievement award to Garry Marshall. Jennifer Tilly will honor “The Simpsons” co-creator Sam Simon with the humanitarian award. The Wrap.

Seth Meyers will depart his “Saturday Night Live” anchor chair after the February 1 episode hosted by Melissa McCarthy. Show producers announce that head writer Colin Jost will take over co-hosting “Weekend Update” with Cecily Strong in March. Following Tina Fey and Myers, Jost is the third straight head writer to assume the anchor role. Meyers becomes host of “Late Night” in late February. TV Line.

HBO cancels freshman comedies “Family Tree” and “Hello Ladies.” Another new program, “Getting On” starring Laurie Metcalf, will be renewed for a second season. “Family Tree” starred Chris O’Dowd and was a faux documentary created by film director/writer Christopher Guest. “Hello Ladies” was a semi-autobiographical series created by and starring Emmy winner Stephen Merchant (“The Office“). Variety.

William Keck exclusively reports that a “Mork and Mindy” reunion is coming soon. The CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones” has cast Pam Dawber in a guest role opposite the show’s star Robin Williams. From 1978 to 1982, the duo starred on the ABC laffer about an alien visiting Earth. In the yupcoming episode, Dawber will play a travel author who catches the eye of Williams’ advertising executive. TV Guide.

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