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The True Inspiration Behind Avatar: Playboy?

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After seeing Avatar, we wondered how James Cameron and his crew of artists dreamed up the lush, gorgeous world of the Na’vi. We thought maybe his inspiration came from imagining the land inhabited by Native Americans before Europeans pillaged and plowed its people, forests and animals. Zoe Saldana‘s character Neytiri had to be based on Pocahontas, right? How naive!

Playboy seems the more likely source. Having been married five times (often to women who’ve starred in his movies), it’s no secret that Cameron has an appetite for ladies. The above picture of German model Veruschka von Lehndorff is from Playboy’s January 1971 issue, when the director would have been at the masturbatory young age of 16. Before Playboy, Veruschka steamed up the silver screen in Antonioni’s 1966 classic Blowup — a film Cameron is sure to have seen.

Sinewy tree-dwelling creatures with painted skin who have little interest in clothing? Ahhh. It’s all coming together now. Veruschka was probably Cameron’s first love and if she were any younger than 70, we bet she’d be his sixth wife. [Source: via our boss via  Paul Di Filippo]

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Stars Left Smiling Over Their Oscar Nominations

This heartwarming clip of underdog Jeremy Renner learning he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for The Hurt Locker (and getting a bear hug from co-star Anthony Mackie) is just one example of the good vibes flowing forth from those acknowledged today. Here’s a few choice quotes from the actors and actresses who woke this morning to good news—assuming they weren’t up all night.

  • Meryl Streep, on her record-breaking 16th nomination for Julie & Julia: “I am proud and grateful to stand with these women who have given such a range of beautiful, indelible performances this year!!”
  • Carey Mulligan, An Education: “This is beyond anything I’ve ever dreamed of. I’ve definitely never felt such excitement and nausea this early in the morning!”
  • Gabourey Sidibe, Precious: “As soon as I heard, I jumped up and down and for some reason I kept screaming, ‘I’m gonna get a car, I’m gonna get a car.’ I don’t know why.” (Good Morning America)
  • Colin Firth, A Single Man: “I thought I was managing my expectations, but on hearing the news I discovered new and unfamiliar vocal tones. Perhaps I should do another musical.”
  • Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side:I do believe some liposuction is in order, a very strict diet regime, and I will acquire a very light English accent. I was going to say that I should start wearing glasses, but I already wear glasses, so I am already sort of there.” (Us Magazine)

Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow, while “overwhelmed with joy,” did have something to say about being only the fourth woman to receive a Best Director nomination. “I do think that I hope someday we can lose the modifier and that becomes a moot point whether the person is male or female and they’re just filmmakers making statements that they believe in.” Meanwhile, Precious director Lee Daniels had his own breakthrough to celebrate: “After 82 years, it’s the first film nominated for best picture directed by an African American. Isn’t that great?”

by (@katespencer)

2010 Oscar Nominations Are Predictable: Sandra, Jeff, Mo’Nique All Get Nods

oscar-nominations-2010

Here they are, the 2010 Academy Award nominations! Yay! Yawn! There are few surprises to be found here – Sandra Bullock got her Best Actress nomination, as did Jeff Bridges for Best Actor, but the Best Picture category at least looks kinda interesting, with Up and District 9 snagging nods alongside the films you expected to be recognized. Nominees are below – check out the full list on Oscar.com.

Best Picture: Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Baserds, Precious, Up, Up In The Air, A Serious Man

Directing: James Cameron – Avatar, Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker, Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds, Lee Daniels – Precious.

Actor In A Leading Role: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart, George Clooney – Up In The Air, Morgan Freeman – Invictus, Colin Firth - A Single Man, Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker.

Actress In A Leading Role: Sandra BullockThe Blind Side, Helen Mirren - The Last Station, Gabby SidibePrecious, Carey MulliganAn Education, Meryl Streep - Julie and Julia.

Actor In A Supporting Role: Matt DamonInvictus, Woody HarrelsonThe Messenger, Christopher PlummerThe Last Station, Stanley TucciThe Lovely Bones, Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds.

Actress In A Supporting Role: Penelope Cruz - Nine, Vera FarmigaUp In The Air, Anna KendrickUp In The Air, Maggie GyllenhaalCrazy Heart, Mo’Nique - Precious.

Animated Feature Film: Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up, The Secret Of Kells, The Princess And The Frog.

Documentary Feature: The Cove, Food Inc., Which Way Home, Burma VJ.

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[Photos: GettyImages

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FABlife’s DVD Pick Of The Week

Zombieland

Zombies go with anything. Read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies lately? So this horror comedy will be remembered less for its rotting undead than the funny misadventures of a quartet of misfits in post-apocalyptic America. Jesse Eisenberg fills in as the poor man’s Michael Cera, Woody Harrelson does his funny redneck routine, Abigail Breslin is not annoying and Superbad‘s Emma Stone comes into her own as a sexy loner. They pick off the flesh-eaters on the way to the Pacific Palisades theme park like National Lampoon’s Vacation with a thirty-ought-six. There’s also a surprise appearance by … well, that would be telling. Load up on the popcorn and see for yourself.

Extras: Deleted scenes, FX documentary, making of featurette and commentary from cast and crew.

- By C. Bottomley

Check out the DVD bonus footage above, “Creating The Zombies.”

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Stars Try To Stay Warm At From Paris With Love Premiere

Last night was a cold one in New York, and it seemed like the bigger the star attending Thursday’s From Paris With Love, the less they were willing to hide it. Star John Travolta and guest Hugh Jackman both posed on the red carpet from under winter coats, while starlets shivered in wait to show off designer dresses (co-star Jonathan Rhys-Meyers split the different in a suit). Among the other guests were Ice-T, Coco, James Lipton, Hairspray‘s Nikki Blonsky and—in the coolest pairing of the night—John Waters and his former Serial Mom, Kathleen Turner. Hey, when’s the musical adaptation of that coming out?

[Photo: .com]

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Kristen Bell Throws Us A Rope

Kristen Bell

When In Rome is Kristen Bells first big romantic lead role, so we couldn’t blame the Veronica Mars star if she had a knot in her stomach at last night’s LA premiere. We’re not so sure about the knot on her stomach, though, but we like the voice of Gossip Girl too much to sweat whether she really pulls this umbilical awkwardness off or not. Doesn’t look like we’re alone in our enthusiasm for Miss Bell, either—Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Rose McGowan and Kristins Cavallari and Chenowith all showed up on the red carpet, along with Bell’s co-stars Dax Shepard, Jon Heder, Will Arnett and Josh Duhamel—the last of whom brought along a little lady named Fergie. Heard of her? See what she wore in the gallery below.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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by (@katespencer)

KStew: Run-Ins With Crazy Fans Inspired New Role

Kristen Stewart was out promoting two new movies this week at Sundance: The Runaways and Welcome To The Rileys, and it was the first time she’s been spotted in public since promoting Twilight last fall (and vacationing with Robert Pattinson, natch). The angsty actress notoriously loathes the limelight, so we were curious if she drew from her own run-ins with crazed Twi-hards and paparazzi to inspire her portrayal of Joan Jett, and the singer’s rise to the top of the music world in the 70′s. We tracked her down on the red carpet and she filled us in on how her screaming fans really helped her nail the role.

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Stars Ditch Glamour For Grunge At Sundance

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It may be a chilly 35 degrees at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, but that’s no excuse for A-listers to abandon ship on the fashion front. It seems the attending celebs have traded trends for keepin’ toasty. At various premieres, Kristen Stewart looked more sleep-deprived than usual, Katie Holmes appeared downright sloppy, and Bradley Cooper proved he looks best in formalwear. It’s a good thing the stars are spending much of their festival time holed up in dark screening rooms, as they’re sure not dressing to impress. [Photos: Getty Images]

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Angelina Jolie And Brother James Post Tribute To Their Mom

Amidst Brangelina breakup rumors, Angelina Jolie and her brother James Haven have posted a video tribute to YouTube commemorating the third anniversary of their mother’s death. The video includes a 6-year-old Angelina and her brother playing in Hawaii with their beloved mother Marcheline Bertrand.

The video concludes with “We Miss You Mom … With Love, Angelina and James.” Sad. [Source: TMZ]