Catching up with Oscar news:
Music director: Oscar-nominated composer Marc Shaiman will serve as music director for the 82nd Academy Awards, telecast producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic announced today. "With Marc on board, we are sure to have some great musical and, hopefully, hysterical moments," said Mechanic.
"Marc was my inspiration and musical partner on ‘Hairspray' and he has been responsible for some of the most memorable moments in Oscar history, like Will Ferrell and Jack Black's comedy numbers," said Shankman, in a press release from the Academy. "He's a genius! And he'd be the first to tell you!"
Narrowing the docs: 89 possible documentary feature nominees have been narrowed to 15 (which will shrink to five):
"The Beaches of Agnes," Agnes Varda, director.
"Burma VJ," Anders Ostergaard, director.
"The Cove," Louie Psihoyos, director.
"Every Little Step," James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors.
"Facing Ali," Pete McCormack.
"Food, Inc.," Robert Kenner, director.
"Garbage Dreams," Mai Iskander, director.
"Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders," Mark N. Hopkins, director.
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors.
"Mugabe and the White African," Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors.
"Sergio," Greg Barker, director.
"Soundtrack for a Revolution," Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors.
"Under Our Skin," Andy Abrahams Wilson, director.
"Valentino The Last Emperor," Matt Tyrnauer, director. (Photo below)
"Which Way Home," Rebecca Cammisa, director.
The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist.
Animated shorts: Ten animated shorts, out of a possible 37, have advanced in the voting process.
"The Cat Piano," Eddie White and Ari Gibson, directors (The People's Republic of Animation).
"French Roast," Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films).
"Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty," Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O'Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films).
"The Kinematograph," Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image).
"The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)," Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon).
"Logorama," Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit).
"A Matter of Loaf and Death," Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.).
"Partly Cloudy," Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios).
"Runaway," Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada).
"Variete," Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions).
Nominations will be announced on Feb. 2 and the awards presented March 7, 2010 in Hollywood.