Story By: G. H. HARDING
Jared Leto

OSCAR NOTES --- Voting for the 86th Annual Academy Awards closed Tuesday at 5 PM PST. The show is this Sunday (with L.A. under a heavy rain alert too!) with hostess Ellen DeGeneres. One of the best prognosticators in the industry, Deadline’ Pete Hammond, had these most prescient thoughts:

Jennifer Lawrence
“With no real clarity from the usually reliable guild contests and critics’ awards, the best picture race is one of the most unpredictable in years. Considering the preferential Oscar voting system, it is not probable there will be a winner on the first ballot because it’s unlikely any film in this great year for films will be able to muster more than 50% of the first-place votes required. The second choice on those best picture ballots could end up being the most important. The top three contenders—12 Years A Slave, American Hustle and Gravity—are in a real dog fight, which means a dark horse like The Wolf Of Wall Street, Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club or Nebraska could sneak in if a true three-way split occurs, although I don’t think that scenario is too likely. Never say never though."

"In 1981 for example, no one was expecting a small British film called Chariots Of Fire to sneak in and take Best Picture but indeed it did. The last huge upset in the Picture race was probably Crash over Brokeback Mountain in 2005 but judging from voter interviews that year I saw a tidal wave of last minute support. This year I don’t get that. There are lots of opinions out there and it looks like the Academy is just going to have to find that “consensus” movie, one that definitely won’t be everyone’s first choice to be sure.”

Here are my predictions, based on my personal feelings as well as a rather well-versed industry perspective. Would I urge you to bet your last penny on them? A definite no. But, here we go:

Best Picture: Gravity

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Best Original Screenplay: David O. Russell/Eric Warren Singer, American Hustle

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave

To be sure, it was a particularly strong year for movies. Here are some other highlights: Andrew Dice Clay and Louie CK in Blue Jasmine; George Clooney’s small, but pivotal role in Gravity; Tom Hanks’ two riveting turns in Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks; Spike Jonze’s terrific original screenplay for Her and Joaquin Phoenix’s mesmerizing performance; Bruce Dern’s stunning turn in Nebraska; the late-great James Gandolfini (with Julia Louie-Dreyfus) in Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said; and, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained which featured a great return to the screen by Don Johnson.

Adam Lambert

QUEEN LAMBERT --- Over the past few years, Queen has performed with Adam Lambert on a number of occasions, both in the U.S. and overseas, but the band has never actually toured with the former American Idol finalist in the U.S. Now, though, it appears that some live shows might be in the works stateside.

Queen and Lambert have announced some sort of event for next Thursday morning at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden, with a promise of more details to follow. It’s safe to assume that this will serve as a kickoff for some kind of concert event or series.

When Lambert performs with Queen, of course, he stands in for the group’s founding lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991 of an AIDS-related illness. In the summer of 2012, the band and Adam played six shows in Europe, and this past fall, they also performed at a multi-artist event in Las Vegas.

Queen first teamed up with Lambert in 2009. The occasion was a performance on the American Idol season-eight finale where Adam was the runner-up to Kris Allen.

In January, Queen guitarist Brian May revealed in a message posted on his official web site that he and drummer Roger Taylor had “been looking at doing some dates” this year. He noted, “I think we're up for one more swing out there,” adding that the lineup would be “Roger and myself, and who knows who else!!” May also reported that he'd been looking over “an amazing working list of dates” for the tour.


LOVELACE LAND --- Writer Eric Danville will be hosting the official book re-launch party for The Complete Linda Lovelace, at Steve Walter’s The Cutting Room on Monday, March 3.

This revised and expanded edition of the book—the only authorized biography of the Deep Throat starlet and the original dramatic basis for the 2013 film, Lovelace—offers a definitive and comprehensive look at Lovelace’s rise to international fame in the 70's to her anti-porn activism in the 80's to her return to the adult industry shortly before her death in 2002. “The recent biopic Lovelace, as well as an exhibit at the Museum of Sex with memorabilia from my personal collection, shows that people are interested in the an amazing and distinctly American pop culture story of Linda Lovelace,” Danville says. “I'm excited to expose the real Linda Lovelace to a whole new audience,” Danville says.

Festivities for the night will include a short book excerpt reading by Danville, the premiere of The Linda Lovelace Stag Film Festival DVD; and celebrity attendees including some of the adult industry’s hottest and most beautiful actresses, as well as Dayme; PR-pashas David Salidor and Laine Speiser; and Chris Noth, who was in the theatrical movie last year.

Scandal: A Manual

CLOSING NOTES: I'm reading one more time, Scandal: A Manual (Skyhorse), by gossip-mongers George Rush and Joanna Molloy; and, loving it even more than the first read. Sure, if you're an industry-insider, you'll enjoy it that much more. Terrifically well-done; it is very much a Manual in every way as the two discuss how this business of gossip actually works. We love it …

I watched Tuesday’s premiere of the latest season (the first post-Larry Hagman) of Dallas on TNT. I watched the original for the whole run and I guess if guilty pleasures exist, this is mine. Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, from the original show, shine here like never before. For true-fans, it’s interesting how they are positioning Duffy’s character (Bobby Ewing) as the new JR. That opening scene with Duffy at the grave site of his mother, father, and JR, was pretty moving. Terrifically well-written, I remain hooked …

How about former-SNL-er Fred Armisen as band-leader for Seth Meyer's new late night show? Valley Stream-born Fred is simply splendid. Can't wait for the new season of his ICF-show Portlandia, which debuted last night ...

Speaking of SNL, tomorrow's show with Jim Parsons and Beck should be sensational. Should be a strong, strong show ...

NY's Mayor Bill DeBlasio can't seem to start his Mayoral-run properly. One week it's the latest snow storm, then the next, it's about Charter Schools. Am feeling Al Roker's prediction may ring true ...

Guess Who Don't Sue: What West Coast-pod caster is about ready to hang it up.