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Mt. Oscar

February 04, 2009|Rachel Abramowitz; Elena Howe; Chris Lee; Michael Ordona; Tim Swanson.

PEAKING

GET ME REWRITE! Somebody write a speech for Sean Penn, whose SAG acceptance seemed to be -- among other things -- a nearly indecipherable retort to rumors that Mickey Rourke had been bad-mouthing him.

CLIMBING

DRESSING UP: Meryl Streep was so sure she wasn't going to win a SAG award that she hadn't even bought a new dress for the show. We think the Oscar race is tight enough that she should go shopping soon.

VOTES FOR NIXON: Frank Langella, nominated for "Frost/Nixon," is the second person to be given a lead actor nod for portraying former President Nixon. Anthony Hopkins was the first, for 1995's "Nixon."

AT BASE CAMP

THE BACKLASH BEGINS: Fox Searchlight has moved from "Slumdog Millionaire" promotion to "Slumdog" crisis control, trying to knock down negative media fires around the globe over what some outlets are calling "poverty porn."

DARK DEEDS: Heath Ledger is the first acting nomination from a superhero movie. Two other actors have gotten nods for graphic-novel adaptations though: Paul Newman for "The Road to Perdition" and William Hurt for "A History of Violence."

LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

AN EARLY START: Who says Phat Girlz don't get Oscars? On the strength of her emotionally rending performance in this year's most lauded Sundance film, "Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire," plus-size comedienne Mo'Nique -- star of a certain 2006 calorie-conscious comedy -- has been getting mentioned as an early front-runner for a 2010 nod.

PARTY OF FOUR: The producers branch of the academy granted special dispensation to "The Reader" to credit four producers: Donna Gigliotti, Redmond Morris and the late Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack. A fifth did not make the cut: Scott Rudin took himself out after a spat with Harvey Weinstein.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: More makeup artists were thanked at the Globes than agents.

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