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November 11, 2009

Mt. Oscar: To scale the heights of the Oscars -- to reach the top of that golden O -- wrap yourself in raves and pack lots of buzz. This week's altitude readings are by Rachel Abramowitz, Greg Braxton, John Horn, Elena Howe, Susan King and Tom O'Neil.

PEAKING

TEARFUL: What was already a magical night for "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe turned emotional at the premiere's after-party. As Mary J. Blige performed a ferocious version of the film's "I Can See in Colors," Sidibe wiped away tears.

CLIMBING

MAKING ROOM: With Oscar's animation race expanding from three to five movies (thanks to the last-minute release of Spain's "The Missing Lynx"), the scrambling is really on. "Up," "Coraline" and "Ponyo" look safer than ever, but is there now room for "The Princess and the Frog" or "9"?

A 10? The Weinstein Co. has high hopes for its musical "Nine." The 1963 Fellini film on which it was based, "8 1/2 ," received five Oscar nominations and won for costume design and foreign-language film.

AT BASE CAMP

THE FUR FLIES: Finding themselves with just 20 minutes of recording time early in the process, Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman went through the entire "Fantastic Mr. Fox" script, pages flying behind them. "I highly recommend it," Schwartzman says of the forced spontaneity.

A DEEP BENCH: With the critical crash of Fox Searchlight's "Amelia," look for the studio's planned 2010 release "Crazy Heart" to move into the season with a push for star Jeff Bridges as lead actor, and probably more focus on its "(500) Days of Summer" leads too.

LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

HITMAN: Of his pal and "The Men Who Stare at Goats" director Grant Heslov, George Clooney jokes, "Grant screams a lot. I find it really unkind when he hits the actors. I took it particularly hard when he started beating the goats."

EARLY BIRD AWARD: The first officially marked For Your Consideration DVD screener to be sent out: Monterey Media's "Trucker," which landed in mailboxes on Sept. 15.

TRAILER AWARD: The prize for best-cut movie trailer goes to the folks behind "Where the Wild Things Are" for creating such a joyful experience with the monsters, one some audiences had trouble finding in the film.

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