Oscarweb Round-up: HFPA don’t need no stinkin’ stars

So the HFPA tapped Ricky Gervais last week as Golden Globes host despite cries from within that he went too far last year. Hell, even the organization’s brass hit the stage THAT NIGHT to bemoan the comedian’s taunts. Anyone with eyes can see it’s a ratings grab, just like a number of the dubious nominations equate to star-f***ing over the years. They beg to differ on that, but come on: “While the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. takes the firm position that its members are not starstruck and an actor’s place in Hollywood hierarchy doesn’t mean anything when it comes to who’ll appear at the org’s kudocast, the list of recent noms may prove otherwise.” [Variety]

Steve Pond reports from the Academy screening of “The Descendants” on Saturday night. [The Odds]

Beth Hanna, meanwhile, offers up highlights from a LACMA screening of the film. [Thompson on Hollywood]

Speaking of LACMA, Jen Yamato was on hand for the Jason Reitman-directed live script reading of “The Apartment.” [Movieline]

Rebecca Keegan says modern audiences are responding to “The Artist.” We’ll see how what the box office has to say about that. [The Envelope]

Greg Ellwood was on hand for a taste-maker gathering on behalf of “Contagion” and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns this weekend. [Awards Campaign]

Geoff Boucher has video of Woody Harrelson talking “Rampart” at a Q&A. [24 Frames]

Michael Fassbender shares about “delving” into sexual roles. [MTV Movies Blog]

“J. Edgar” producers Brian Grazer and Robert Lorenz get interviewed by “the Deadline team.” How does that work? A press conference scenario with Pete, Mike and Nikki grilling them under heat lamps? [Deadline]

Alex Ben Block talks to the principals of Simon Curtis’s “My Week with Marilyn.” [Hollywood Reporter]