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December 04, 2008

Russell Brand channels Dudley Moore

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Wild man record producer and murder defendant Phil Spector may have a problem identifying with Dudley Moore, but cheeky Brit actor and comedian Russell Brand has no such issues.

Brand, a consistently entertaining envelope-pusher who had to resign recently from his BBC radio gig after a profane round of crank yanking, is developing a remake of "Arthur," the cocktail-fueled love story that earned Oscar nominations for the late Moore and writer-director Steve Gordon.

(Oscar wins for the romcom: John Gielgud, who played Arthur's valet, for best supporting actor, and the theme song, "The Best That You Can Do," for original song).

Brand, who's trying to raise his profile on this side of the pond, post-"Forgetting Sarah Marshall," has a producer (Larry "Good Morning, Vietnam" Brezner) and a studio (Warner Bros.) and is meeting with writers for the "Arthur" project, in which, of course, he'll star as the martini-swilling playboy, according to THR.

It's all in the execution, certainly, but we can't think of a better fit of performer and material. In this case, we'll all just have to get over the End of Original Ideas in Hollywood, where anything and everything, sacred or silly, is open to "reimagining." (Note: Still stewing about that "Romancing the Stone" remake.)

At the moment, Brand can do no wrong in our book. Keep it up, mate.

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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.

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  • 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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