Oscars news: Bradley Cooper transforms for ‘American Sniper,’ J.K. Simmons hosts ‘SNL’

Ramin Sedooteh observes, “the buzz surrounding ‘American Sniper‘ could help Bradley Cooper, who landed his third consecutive career acting nomination (after ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’). Until now, the best actor race has been a two-man battle between Eddie Redmayne (‘The Theory of Everything‘) and Michael Keaton (‘Birdman‘). Yet like Sandra Bullock in ‘The Blind Side,’ the crowd-pleasing nature of Cooper’s portrait of Kyle — a role for which he packed on 40 pounds and learned how to fire sniper rifles — could result in a last-minute surge.” Variety

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

As Greg Gilman reports, “A Golden Globe statue and Oscar nomination aren’t the only things ‘Whiplash‘ has secured for star J.K. Simmons. The actor will host ‘Saturday Night Live’ for the first time in his long career on Jan. 31. NBC also announced on Tuesday that D’Angelo will make his musical guest debut, along with his band The Vanguard.” The Wrap

Megan Daley notes, “Former Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz again apologized on social media for his criticism of ‘Foxcatcher,’ a film partly based on his life. He called the 5-time Oscar-nominated movie a ‘miracle,’ and plans to ‘ignore the haters.’ In December, Schultz, played by Channing Tatum in the film, posted on Twitter that he hated the film’s director, Bennett Miller, calling him ‘scum.’ Schultz’s criticism of Foxcatcher stems from a scene he believed points to a sexual relationship between himself and John du Pont played by Steve Carell.” EW

See early Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Cara Buckley details: ”with Phase 2, the Academy’s rules and regs take effect. The fancy buffets and hoity dinners that accompanied screenings are verboten, per the Academy rule that “no screening event may include a reception or otherwise offer complimentary food or beverages.” Academy members aren’t allowed to “host” screenings, or go to more than four nominee-related screenings that involve Q&As (meanwhile Q&A screenings held by the Academy or the guilds don’t count). Of course, people find their way around this, with informal lunches, or quiet invitations to their homes.” New York Times

Mike Fleming reflects, “Harvey Weinstein guested on BBC One’s ‘The Graham Norton Show,’ and managed some good stories that covered everyone from Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Robin Williams, Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch and Alan Turing. Amazing he has to cross the pond to get on a late night talk show, this guy tells some good yarns.” Deadline

More News from GoldDerby