> Yesterday there was a lovely lunch for the Coen Brothers‘ “A Serious Man” at the Monkey Bar. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Billy Crudup co-hosted it. Lots of nice people showed up, like James Schamus. The food and talk were great. Only: no Coens. Where were they? Many reasons were muttered, something about working somewhere on something. Flash forward to the “Sherlock Holmes” premiere: there’s Joel Coen with his 12-year-old son, Pedro. Did he know there had been a lunch for the film? Joel shrugged. Well, Pedro loved “Sherlock.” And “A Serious Man,” if you read the screenplay (published by Faber) is really terrific. Joel and Ethan will be in the heavy running for Original Screenplay. Let’s just hope they show up …

> Sam “Soul Man” Moore and newsman Charles Osgood are each getting honored in February by AFTRA with lifetime achievement awards. Also getting awards are Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America,” the cast of “Sesame Street,” and Spanish-language artist Juanes. Maybe Osgood can convince his producers to do a piece for “CBS Sunday Morning” on Moore, the last of the great soul men who’s still working, touring and recording. Moore just wowed Madison Square Garden with Bruce Springsteen at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame anniversary show. You can see it on HBO…

> Barbara Walters‘ “10 Most Fascinating People” show actually beat Oprah’s “Christmas at the White House” special last week in the 18-49 demographic. Go figure. Here are the stats:

Most Fascinating People 09:’ 3.1 (12/9)
Oprah Special:’ 2.9 (12/13)
Matt Lauer Special:’ 1.4 (11/26)

How did Barbara win? Well, she named Michelle Obama “Most Fascinating Person” and interviewed her. But instead of sticking around the White House, Barbara threw in a bunch of freaks: Jon & Kate, Glenn Beck, Lady GaGa, Adam Lambert, and Sarah Palin. Freak Show won over Earnest Holiday Special. All Barbara was missing were the OctoMom and Tiger Woods’ harem! As “Send in the Clowns” goes: “Maybe next year…”

> Nine reasons to see “Nine”: 1. Penelope Cruz is very hot. I’m sorry, she is. And very funny. … 2. Marion Cotillard is now a major movie star. If she chooses to, she can be Natalie Wood or Audrey Hepburn, a total crossover from France. … 2a. her song, “My Husband Makes Movies.” … 3. Daniel Day-Lewis is not a great singer, but he is mesmerizing as Guido. He’s the most seductive since 1988’s “Unbearable Lightness of Being.” … 4. Judi Dench is a hoot. She humanizes the whole film. … 5. Kate Hudson is channeling her mom, Goldie Hawn. Dressed in ’60s garb, Kate looks like she’s in “Laugh In.” Wonderful. … 6. Rob Marshall’s long shots of DDL as he tries to escape from Guido’s producers. … 7. Ricky Tognazzi is so good as Guido’s producer that you think he’s real. He’s just a famous Italian actor, son of the late star Ugo Tognazzi. …’ 8. Nicole Kidman looks and sounds like Dusty Springfield, and her song is a hit. … 9. Fergie. You will not get “Be Italian” out of your head for days. And you’ll have an unconcious desire to go to the beach.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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