News Nuggets: Is it OK for Ellen to make jokes about slavery at the Oscars?

Steve Pond addresses an interesting topic regarding this year’s Oscar ceremony: Is it OK to joke about slavery? He mentions that BAFTA’s Stephen Fry is the latest comedian/host to try and make light of the issue. Unfortunately, the “tricky lesson” he learned is that making jokes about “12 Years a Slave” is “at your own peril.” He concludes with “the ball’s in your court, Ellen DeGeneres,” and that “you have to tread very, very carefully” as the next Academy Awards host on March 2. The Wrap.

Pete Hammond looks back on the historic 50th anniversary of Sidney Poitier‘s Oscar win in 1964. He says “it is particularly appropriate to recall Poitier’s win this year, as 2013 was significant for the number of acclaimed films revolving around the black experience.” When Anne Bancroft opened the envelope and announced his name for the 1963 film “Lilies of the Field,” it had already been 24 years since a victory by Hattie McDaniel (“Gone with the Wind”). It would be until 1982 that another black actor, Louis Gossett, Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman”) would prevail. Deadline.

Michael Musto secretly interviews an Academy member about voting for this year’s Oscars. The wide-ranging chat asks about the effect of various smear campaigns (Woody Allen, Cate Blanchett, “The Wolf of Wall Street“) and the choices marked on the ballot: “Gravity” for Best Picture and acting awards for Bruce Dern, Judi Dench, Barkhad Abdi, and Sally Hawkins. Daily Beast.

Christoph Waltz is the latest presenter confirmed to present at this year’s Academy Awards. With his name revealed, it means that all four of last year’s acting winners (Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway) will be handing out trophies. If tradition continues, these four performers will present the acting Oscars. Entertainment Weekly.

Scott Feinberg offers a video interview with the Oscar-nominated members of the rock band U2. In the 20-minute conversation, they reveal a three-decade interest in South Africa and Nelson Mandela. A visit from producer Harvey Weinstein convinced them to write a new original tune for the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” The band will perform the song “Ordinary Love” on the March 2 ceremony. Hollywood Reporter.

As part of Black History Month, First Lady Michelle Obama will screen the new Lifetime movie “The Trip to Bountiful” on Monday at the White House. This production of the Horton Foote play won leading actress Cicely Tyson a Tony Award last June. She reprises her role for the telefilm, which also stars Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood. TV by the Numbers.

What would it look like if kids reenacted all of this year’s Best Picture nominees? Check out this video package featuring children as characters from “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” and more. Vulture.

Director, producer, and writer Judd Apatow is slated to receive the PaleyFest icon award on March 10. Now more known for his film work, his earlier TV shows included “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Ben Stiller Show,” and “Undeclared.” He is also the executive producer of HBO’s current hit show “Girls” starring Lena Dunham. Variety.

More News from GoldDerby