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Thursday Roundup: Oscar presenters, MTV awards, Polanski support and more

February 11, 2010 |  1:15 pm


Well, how's this for a morbid item: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released an item Thursday stating that "all three living performers" (italics mine) who won Oscars last year will present at the 82nd annual Academy Awards. That's a somewhat carnival-esque way of saying that Sean Penn (best actor for "Milk"), Kate Winslet (actress, "The Reader") and Penelope Cruz (supporting actress, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona") will attend the March 7 ceremony; the supporting actor winner, Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"), sadly passed away Jan. 22, 2008, and therefore could not be included in this wince-worthy come-on. But, hey, Oscars!

Speaking of telecasts and things to make you wince, will the 2010 MTV Movie Awards and Video Music Awards feature anything as cringe-inducing as the sight of Sacha Baron Cohen landing keister-first on Eminem or Kanye West hogging Taylor Swift's spotlight? Los Angeles residents will be the first to know, as MTV is reporting that both events will air live from the City of Angels this year; the 2010 MTV Movie Awards will broadcast June 6, while the 27th VMAs are set for Sept. 12. 

Meanwhile, the London Times Online has an interview with playwright and screenwriter Ronald Harwood, who has added his voice to the growing support for director Roman Polanski. In the feature, Harwood, who won the Oscar in 2003 for his script for Polanski's "The Pianist," discusses the challenge in defending the filmmaker in the face of his 1977 criminal charge for sex with an underage girl but ultimately concludes, "He changed my life, and I support him." Harwood, who also penned 2005's "Oliver Twist" for Polanski in addition to his Oscar-nominated screenplays for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007) and "The Dresser" (1983), also has choice comments on Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" (Harwood wrote 1987's "Mandela" for American television) and 2008's "Australia," which he also wrote.

Lee Daniels is also full of praise Thursday evening for a fellow filmmaker; the Oscar-nominated director of "Precious" was cited in a CBC News article as describing Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award winner and recent Directors Guild of America lifetime achievement winner Norman Jewison as a major influence on his work. In the piece, Daniels singled out Jewison's Oscar-winning "In the Heat of the Night" (1967) and "A Soldier's Story" (1984), which received three Oscar nominations, as films that changed his life and inspired him to follow in Jewison's footsteps. Both men also discuss the challenges they faced in bringing controversial images and ideas to the screen -- the sight of Sidney Poitier striking a white murder suspect in "Night" and the tragic backstory of "Precious," which involves incest and abuse. 

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Kate Winslet. Credit: Getty Images. 

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