A&E News, Jan. 26 

In the wake of Tuesday's Oscar nominations, some local angles:

Big, fat props are due to the Little Rock Film Festival for having the foresight to choose "Winter's Bone" to open up the 2010 festival. The Ozark drama, set in Missouri just north of Arkansas and featuring several Arkansas actors, was nominated for four major Oscars (including Best Picture), which should look great on LRFF's resume. It upset "The Town," which many expected to take the 10th Best Pic spot.

"True Grit" ended up defying a lot of tenuous expectations following lackluster showings at the Director's Guild of America and Golden Globe awards and landed 10 nominations, including "Best Adapted Screenplay." Should the Coen Brothers win that one, look for them to deflect the award to Charles Portis, who the brothers have constantly praised throughout their promotion of the film.

Finally, "Gasland," filmed partly in Arkansas (though most of the footage was relegated to bonus features on the DVD), was nominated in the documentary category, which is sure to boost public understanding about the potential perils of natural gas drilling in Arkansas and elsewhere.

Sony Pictures Classics purchased Jeff Nichols' new film, "Take Shelter," for an undisclosed amount before it debuted on Monday at Sundance. Nichols told Variety the distributor bought the film without seeing it.

Smart move, based on the early critical reception. Eric Kohn, a critic for IndieWire, Tweeted just after the screening, "TAKE SHELTER: Favorite so far from #Sundance 2010. Brilliant mix of family drama & psychological thrills. FIELD OF DREAMS meets Noah's Ark." Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter called the film, which stars Michael Shannon, "a knockout prestige picture" and a "masterfully controlled piece of work on every level."

Fayetteville playwright Robert Ford, who serves as the artistic director for TheatreSquared, has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Play for "The Fall of the House."

Playbill describes the play, which made its debut last year at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, as involving "a mystic whose supernatural life intertwines with famed writer Edgar Allan Poe and that of a young African-American female architect in the 20th century."

Ford was the recipient of last year's Porter Prize.

The country hits keep comin'.

Super-duo Sugarland is headed to Verizon on March 4 with Little Big Town and former "American Idol" contestant Casey James opening.

Tickets, which go on sale on Saturday, Jan. 29, are $25.75, $45.75 and $55.75.

One half of Outkast is headed to Hendrix College. Big Boi is scheduled to play Worsham Performance Hall on Friday, March 4, with Alabama MC Yelawolf as a possible opener.

The concert will likely be open to students and their guests only, according to Nicole Beachum, assistant director of student activities, but no official decision had been made by press time.

"Standing in the Way of Control," the 2006 breakout single from Gossip, was named the "Most Powerful Protest Song of the 21st Century" by cultural news website Flavorwire.



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