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October 15, 2008

Driving Dakota

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Is she, or is she not, a diva? It's the kind of easy criticism, bordering on sexist, that often tars female performers, especially in the music and movie industries.

We mentioned earlier this week that the director of Dakota Fanning's latest ensemble flick, "Winged Creatures," attributed some bad behavior and slice-and-dice-worthy acting to the young thespian. Is it true?

Here's what Rowan Woods reportedly said. Not so complimentary of the 14-year-old star.

What he says now, via Defamer, is that she's an "incredible actor" and a "wonderful person" who takes the movie's most challenging scene and "hits it out of the park."

His earlier not-safe-for-Dakota comments had been made at a gathering of Australian directors. (Who let that reporter in?) His follow-up came as a result of the attention around the (unguarded?) off-the-cuff remarks.

Discuss among yourselves, if you so choose.

Meanwhile, the Palm Springs International Film Festival has decided to give Fanning its Rising Star Award for "her depth and range as a performer." She has not only the Friday-opening "Secret Life of Bees" but also "Push" still to come this year.

And on daytime TV today, Fanning drove Ellen DeGeneres around the Warner Bros. backlot in producer Jerry Weintraub's tricked out golf cart -- never too early to prep for her license! -- and eloquently described her role in "Bees," generally charming the pants off everyone.

You can't fake that kind of adorable!

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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