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November 10, 2008

Oprah takes 'Australia'

Nicole_kidman

Is Oprah staying beyond the 2011 season or is she going? And if she ditches her Emmy stockpiling afternoon chat show to run her own network (conveniently called OWN), who will fill the void in the Hollywood film promo machine?

Tina Fey's BFF was on hyperdrive today on that score, devoting the hour to "Australia," with Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, her co-star Hugh Jackman, director Baz Luhrmann (by Skype!) and more time than necessary devoted to a Down Under travelogue.

"Australia" has been bandied about by awards prognosticators (you know, the clown-suited variety), but hasn't made our list, though we toyed with, and dismissed, the idea of another Kidman Oscar nomination.

Oprah's minions would probably take issue with that. They got an early look at the period drama, putting them in the loop before film critics, bloggers and various other media types. Guess that shows who's really important here?

So, does that mean the movie's finished after all? Does anybody, um, die at the end?

That didn't come up.

Though Oprah opines about a lot of romance flicks ("Love in the Time of Cholera," remember?) and parades the stars in front of her faithful, she was especially gushy about "Australia," saying, "It's just the film we needed to see!"

What will this mean on its Nov. 26 U.S. release date? Or at Oscar time? Come on back for the inevitable spotty follow-ups.

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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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