The Oscar Nominations are in

This year’s Academy Award nominations have been announced, and there are some expected names there as well as a few surprises.  No one was shocked to hear that The King’s Speech, True Grit, and The Social Network got the most nominations, but the appearance of Toy Story 3 in the best picture category was a surprise to many.

No doubt Christopher Nolan was bewildered at not getting a nomination as best director for Inception, and Andrew Garfield also failed to get a nomination for best supporting actor in The Social Network.  Javier Bardem, however, had a pleasant surprise, as he’s up for the best actor award for his role in the dark drama Biutiful.

Michael Douglas well enough to go back to work

Michael Douglas may have just finished chemotherapy for his stage four cancer, but he’s not letting a little thing like that stand in the way of his career progress.  Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming film about the life of Liberace will star Douglas in the title role, and since shooting will not begin until the summer, Douglas has plenty of time to get himself healthy and strong again while taking the piano lessons he’s going to have to have to play the role.

In interviews, Douglas has seemed very upbeat and ready to get back to work, which is an admirable attitude considering how much he’s been through in the past few months.  Also, I think he’s a great choice to play Liberace.

American Music Awards full of great performances

Last night’s American Music Award ceremony was one of the best I can remember in several years.  A lot of great things happened on that stage, including a great performance from Taylor Swift, who looked completely different with straight hair.

Rihanna’s opening medley was a mixture of fun and serious, but later in the show New Kids on the Block teamed up with Backstreet Boys to keep it all light and fun, giving a hint of what their tour will be like next year.  For me, though, the performance of the night was the Black Eyed Peas – even though I don’t have a lot of love for Fergie, I have to admit their future-tastic neon performance was pretty cool, if not a bit dated.

Bill Clinton to up the celebrity ante for Hangover 2

This movie is becoming the most talked about film in ages in terms of who’s in, who’s out, and so forth.  The latest star to film a cameo for the comedy sequel?  Former President Bill Clinton, who flew all the way to Thailand so that he could shoot his scenes last weekend.  This may be the exact boost the movie needed so that people can finally let go of the Mel Gibson thing, since Gibson got fired from his cameo after the whole Oksanagate thing became a huge deal.

This is now shaping up to be a pretty great flick, what with the cast from the first Hangover, plus Liam Neeson and now Clinton.  It’ll be interesting to see if they try to get any other big names to come in and film cameos, though I think it doesn’t really get much bigger than having a former US President in the credits

Leonardo DiCaprio to make serial killer movie

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has purchased the rights to a book about the first American serial killer, and word has it he’s planning on turning it into a film. The Devil in the White City is Erik Larson’s 2003 non-fiction title about Dr. HH Holmes, a hotel owner who lured young women into his hotel, where he gassed them, dissected them, and sold the remains to medical research facilities.

He is said to have killed as many as 200 people in the 19th century, and Hollywood has been poised to jump all over this story for some time now.  Tom Cruise had originally wanted rights to the book, but the deal fell through, and now it looks like it’s a green light for DiCaprio to tell the story the way he wants to

Avatar 2 and 3 both on the way

I guess it makes sense that the top-grossing movie of all time wouldn’t just disappear into history without a sequel or two – James Cameron has confirmed that he will indeed start work soon on the writing of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, as he’s signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to direct both films.

Don’t start holding your breath just yet, though – Avatar 2 has a tentative release date of Christmas 2014, and Avatar 3 is scheduled to be released a year after that.  Cameron says that all three films will have independent story lines and will not be a “set” per se, but that of course fans who see all three films will get a little bit more out of the viewing experience than those who only choose to see one.

Marky Mark to co-star with a teddy bear

Mark Wahlberg is taking part in a new film project called Ted, a movie about a man who is best friends with a teddy bear.  Yes, you read that right.  The film will be directed by Seth MacFarlane, the genius behind Family Guy, and will mark his big-screen directorial debut.  According to reports, the story involves a little boy who wishes that his teddy bear would become real, and it actually happens.

The two grow up together and continue to be best friends, even as adults.  As you might imagine with a Seth MacFarlane movie, though, there’s an extra twist – the bear is a drunken slacker and is cramping Wahlberg’s style.  Apparently the guy who does the voice of Stewie, Peter, and Brian on Family Guy is going to be the voice of the bear, so this should be good.