Ratatouille may be one of the year's highest grossing movies. It may have a higher Metascore than Pulp Fiction, Raging Bull, and Schindler's List. But, as the New York Times asks this morning, does it really have a shot at a nomination for a Best Picture Oscar?
• Another woman joined the federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg LP. After her first child in 2005, her pay fell and her colleagues turned into sharks. One supervisor even asked, "What is this, your third baby?" [NYT]
• More of the same on the Street: Bank of America wrote down $3 billion, Bear Stearns $1.2 billion, and British bank HSBC took the cake with $3.4 billion, largely due to U.S. mortgage weaknesses. Meanwhile, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein laughed in everyone's face, predicting no more write-downs (not that they lost much in the first place) at the Teflon bank. [NYP, NYT, NYT, DealBreaker]
• Is the credit crunch just like Enron all over again? So says Bethany McLean, the reporter who first broke Ken Lay's fraud wide open. [Fortune]
Marc Jacobs may have given a Cartier engagement ring to his on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jason Preston. Tyra Banks dropped her manager, either because he was a prima donna or because her investment-banker boyfriend told her to. Britney Spears backed out of recording a Timbaland-produced duet with Justin Timberlake. It's unclear why. No cameras or cars are allowed at the fund-raiser Oprah is throwing for Barack Obama at her California ranch, which is expected to draw George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Jamie Foxx. Harvey Weinstein is offering $100,000 to anyone who can identify the Upper East Side mom who inspired The Nanny Diaries. (Some speculate it's Preppy Handbook author Lisa Birnbach.) Marc Ecko's CEO threw $500 in cash around during a company-sponsored booze cruise. Norman Reedus, Helena Christensen's baby daddy, is making a movie in which Richard Nixon sleeps with a hooker and then kills her. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon dined at Le Cirque with two tables' worth of security guards.
So there's this cockamamy idea that the MTA could raise money by selling Disney the rights the advertise however the company sees fit in the Times Square station. "I would rather try to sell 42nd Street's subway system underground to Disney for $60 million a year and have them paint it any way that they want to paint it," board member Norman Seabrook suggested. We noticed this in the morning, and because we're sort of opposed to the proliferation of advertising into every corner of life, and because we think there's something untoward about selling public facilities to corporate sponsors, and just because we're crotchety and don't like change, we were against it. But then we saw the cute little logo Gothamist came up with for the combination — it's a Mouseketeers hat! On the MTA logo! Ha! — and we should say we're now sort of smitten.
Mickey Mouse for MTA? [Gothamist]
• With the Spitzer camp circling the wagons, it's Joe Bruno's hour, and he's taking full advantage of it: The State Senate leader called for multiple investigations into the administration, vowing, "This is not going to go away." [NYP]
A Carrey Carol:Jim Carrey will play Ebenezer Scrooge plus the three ghosts who haunt him through the dual miracles of performance capture technology and his own rubbery face in Robert Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol for Disney. Anyone who goes to see this movie deserves what he gets.
The Beat links to an amazing pop-culture artifact: a 1938 rejection letter from Disney to a woman looking for a job as an animator. Printed on gorgeous Snow White stationery, the letter lays out the company's policy in brutal detail:
With Ratatouille hitting No. 1 on the box-office charts this past weekend — though its $47 million take notably fell short of the openings of past Pixar hits Cars and Monsters, Inc. — animator and comics artist Michael Gagné sheds light on one tiny but delightful aspect of the film.
Amid all the Live Free or Die Hard hoopla, it's been easy to forget there's another potential box-office monster opening this week: Ratatouille, the newest film from Pixar, the geniuses who have delivered a nearly uninterrupted string of artistic and commercial triumphs since 1995's Toy Story.