And the Oscar goes to … the fanboys: How’s this for an Academy Awards scenario — Iron Man and the Joker will be competing for an award and Wolverine will be hosting the show. That’s the way it could shape up with a possible nomination for Robert Downey Jr. (for "Tropic Thunder"), a seemingly certain nomination for the late Heath Ledger and the news today that Hugh Jackman, every one’s favorite song-and-dance mutant, will be emceeing the trophy broadcast. Here’s the academy press release: "Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Academy Awards telecast, producer Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon announced today. This will be Jackman’s first time center stage at the Oscar show, although he has previously been a presenter. ‘Hugh Jackman is a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star,’ said Mark and Condon in a joint statement. ‘He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion. Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year’s movies – and to have fun doing it.’ Jackman stars in the current release ‘Australia,’ directed by Baz Luhrmann. He will next be seen in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” having portrayed the title character in the previous three smash-hit ‘X-Men’ movies. His other film credits include ‘The Prestige,’ ‘Flushed Away,’ ‘The Fountain,’ ‘Happy Feet,’ ‘Van Helsing,’ ‘Kate & Leopold‘ and ‘Swordfish.’ A native of Australia, Jackman won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance in ‘The Boy from Oz.’ He has served as host of the Tony Awards ceremony and won a 2005 Emmy for that assignment. Jackman’s other stage credits include ‘Carousel,’ ‘Oklahoma!’ ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ [AMPAS press release] What do people think? Well, Mary McNamara, the Los Angeles Times television critic, groaned when she heard the pick but the paper’s Hollywood columnist, Patrick Goldstein, likes the notion.
"Sleepless Knights" put to bed? How many movie projects can Guillermo del Toro be associated with? Maybe the list just got shorter, according to Jennifer Vineyard, who reports that the Grant Morrison story "Sleepless Knights" is losing steam: ‘Sleepless Knights’ was an idea Morrison scripted that would be a sort of fairy tale, which Del Toro was attached to direct. Thanks to a time-machine error, the world gets stuck on Halloween, permanently — kind of like ‘Groundhog Day,’ but for everyone. Ghosts, goblins, and other creatures think of it as a free-for-all, and start running wild. That is, until a new kind of Ghostbusters, called the Sleepless Knights, start fighting them. Though the premise could work as a creep-out horror movie, Morrison thought it of it as a family-friendly, coming-of-age, fantasy-adventure film, and wrote the lead role as a 15-year-old teenager named Alex Bradbury (a nod to Ray Bradbury). The idea was sold to Dreamworks exec Michael DeLuca, and producer Don Murphy came aboard. And then nothing. Morrison continued plugging away on a second draft, and still nothing. At Comic-Con, he said the project was “resurrected” (apt for a story about the dead). But now, he’s not so sure. ‘That was the last we heard, but now it seems to be doing something else,’ Morrison told us. ‘So it’s no longer, as far as I know. It’s not at Dreamworks anymore, as far as I know. We spoke to some people after the convention, and that aspect seems to have gone quiet again.’ No matter — Morrison and Del Toro have plenty of projects to keep them both busy, what with Morrison’s ‘Area 51’ film and the adaptation of ‘We3,’ and Del Toro’s work on ‘The Hobbit.‘" [MTV Splash Page blog]
Wait, there were 83 movies worse than "Speed Racer"? The Times of London staff has put together their list of the 100 Worst Movies of 2008 and a lot of them were fanboy fare. "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," the first animated theatrical release in the George Lucas space opera, finished all the way up (or is that all the way down?) at No. 5. and came with this appraisal: "The latest installment of George Lucas’s interminable franchise has the charm of a cash machine. This noisy animated feature is set in a galaxy that isn’t far away enough." Ouch. Also on the list: "Speed Racer," whose "famous actors look more plastic than the sets" at No. 84; "The Eye," with plot twists "as remarkable as pasteurised cheese," at No. 57; "Babylon A.D.," a "slapdash sci-fi effort," at No. 49; "Max Payne," a "dull cod-noir fantasy," at No. 41; "Superhero Movie," with "lots of fart jokes" at No. 40; and"Alien vs. Predator: Requiem," which was "wrist-slittingly awful," at No. 10. Their choice of the very worst movie of the year? That would be the aptly titled "Disaster Movie."
"Dragon Ball" rolling: How popular is the "Dragon Ball" manga adventures? I’ve seen sales reports that list 150 million copies of "Dragon Ball" volumes being sold — and that’s just in Japan. The massive audience for Akira Toriyama’s mystical martial arts tale is the chief motivation for the April 2009 live-action film "Dragonball Evolution" from Twentieth Century Fox. The director is James Wong, who also helmed "The One" with Jet Li and "Final Destination." " Wong was also co-creator of "Space: Above and Beyond" and a writer for "The X-Files" (Do you remember "Home," the creepiest episode ever? Wong co-wrote it.) The "Dragon Ball" script is by Ben Ramsey (who is also working on "Luke Cage") and the producer is Stephen Chow, who is now at work on "The Green Hornet." Sound promising, right? Well, maybe not. Here’s a trailer for the film which looks, um, not so great.
Do you have to eat haggis?: Newsarama is having a contest that will send the lucky winner to Scotland for dinner with Mark Millar. The lowdown: "To mark the DVD and Blu-ray release of Universal’s ‘Wanted’ (based on Millar’s "Top Cow" series) this month, we’re picking one lucky fan and a companion to take an expenses-paid trip to Scotland, which includes a a personal dinner with the writer. Want to ask him whose side of the ‘Civil War’ he was really on? What’s coming up in ‘Ultimate Avengers’ or his next wave of creator-owned books? Did he get to meet Angelina Jolie in person? Here is your chance to ask, as well as an opportunity to soak in a European culture to boot. Grand prize includes a four-day/three night trip for 2 to Scotland, including accommodations, round trip airfare for two, airport transportation, and tax, along with $500 spending money that doesn’t necessarily have to be exhausted in Scottish comic book shops." [Newsarama]
— Geoff Boucher
Hugh Jackson at the premiere of "Australia," photo by Carl De Souza AFP/Getty Images. Guillermo del Toro on the set of "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," photographed by Egon Endrenyi and courtesy of Universal. "Speed Racer" image courtesy of Warner Bros.