BEVERLY HILLS —This week in Hollywoodland everyone returned to work, filming resumed and the holiday cheer is still lingering in the air. Starting off the new year Matthew McConaughey became a father again and he’s ecstatic about it. The Oscar race is in full swing with Sandra Bullock, Tanna Frederick, Mo’Nique and yes, Meryl Streep still being discussed as Oscar nominees for the Lead Actress category. Daytime Emmy nominations are being discussed as well. Awards season is going great so far, with last week’s People’s Choice Awards being the one the most important people, the fans select the winners.

Matthew McConaughey

The People’s Choice Awards is truly an exciting evening because the fans and viewers of TV and movies get to choose their favorite winners. Some of this year’s winners include “The Dark Knight,” “Mamma Mia,” Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson, “Twilight” Miley Cyrus, Hugh Jackman, “Heroes,” “Dancing With The Stars,” Ellen DeGeneres and “True Blood.”Matthew McConaughey says, “Happy New Year everybody! On Sunday, January 3rd at 12:13 a.m., Camila gave birth to a healthy 7lb 7oz baby girl named Vida Alves McConaughey. Vida is Portuguese for ‘life’, and that’s what God gave us this morning. Camila’s recovering wonderfully and we are both truly honored to welcome this little lady into our family. Thanks for all of your well wishes and prayers along the way, another blessed day, we give thanks, just to keep living Matthew and Camila.” The couple also has a son named Levi Alves McConaughey. The Texas native has seven projects in development.

Then there’s the Golden Globes coming up this month. These awards are voted not by fan popularity but by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. Though many believe it’s a great opportunity for actors and actresses from various foreign countries to win awards, but I see it as a precursor for the Oscars. The foreign press members take their voting process very seriously and over the last decades have been almost a predictor of winners of the Academy Awards. Meryl Streep is up for “It’s Complicated” and “Julia and Julie.” She’s almost a favorite every year to be nominated for an Oscar and I believe she will be again this year for “Julia and Julie.” Don’t count Mo’Nique and Tanna Frederick out, however, to pull off an upset. Both played neurotic roles. Frederick’s very sympathetic “Irene in Time” performance was groundbreaking while Mo’Nique’s very unsympathetic role in “Precious” was so hard to watch yet she transformed herself from diva to actress with this role. It’s truly a ladies year for movies. My personal favorite is Tanna Frederick’s performance. It made me laugh and cry, just what films used to do from the 1930s and 1940s.

“Avatar” still remains incredibly successful, while it’s now getting attacked from political conservatives who claim it’s a slam against American military. I’m the most pro-military person ever and I frankly get so sick of conservatives blaming movies and television for everything wrong in America. “Avatar” is not even thinly based on reality, and its storyline is actually about the environment not the military. James Cameron has found out that when you are the most successful person in Hollywood you soon become the obsession of the political right, who live in negativity and the left who always see an agenda in films as well. The left complains about every pro-military film and the right about everything in Hollywood period. No wonder young people respect film stars and TV stars much more than our nation’s leaders. All one can say is James Cameron’s film “Titanic” is at the number one spot for the highest grossing film of all time and just three weekends out “Avatar” has taken the number two spot and is poised to become number one within weeks. Over 1 billion dollars and the film has been in theaters under a month, with the first week having over 50 million people on the East Coast snowed in. James, keep making films and let the complainers do what they do best —nothing!

In more awards news, my old friend director and Daytime Emmy© Award winning Producer Cynthia J. Popp has been nominated for a Director’s Guild of America [DGA] Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime, the DGA announced this week. This marks the first DGA nomination for Popp and the 12th for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” with two wins in 1992 and 1995. Popp has been with “The Bold and the Beautiful” since the show’s debut in 1987. Her other credits include the primetime hit series “Frasier” and the daytime drama “Passions.” She is currently attached to make her feature film directorial debut with “Jacob’s Edge.” The other members of Popp’s nominated directorial team include Associate Directors: Steven A. Wacker, Clyde A. Kaplan, Jennifer L. Howard, Catherine A. Sedwick and Stage Managers: Laura L. Yale, Douglas J. Hayden, Lisa M. Winthur-Huston, Barbara Roche.

The 62nd Annual DGA Awards will take place on Saturday, January 30, at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Century City.

Beverly Hills beauty, actress Constance Towers is blowing away the critics and is performing at the Rose Theater in Toronto in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks.” The play sees a retired Conservative southern woman, Lily Harrison, hire a Michael Minetti as her private dance instructor— but she is quickly put off by his acerbic wit and loud personality but decides to move forward with the lessons despite his abrasive ways.

Towers who plays Lily Harrison tells Canyon News of her character’s young teacher played by Jason Graae, “He’s a little more of an exaggerated person than she expected and it brings a lot of action and life and fun and exasperation and friendship to the play— and it’s just such a wonderful play,” said Towers, who stars as Lily. “They have such opposite points of view on everything, so it’s not an immediate happy relation at all,” says Towers. Adding, “Tommy, I often found myself listening to you in order to create my character’s southern accent.” Constance Towers will be returning in February and returning to her role as Helena Cassadine on “General Hospital.”

Also in Canada, a wonderful friend author Stone Wallace who wrote one of the best celebrity biographies ever, about the life and career of WB’s star George Raft reports that his latest book, a Western novel which I am sure Tom Selleck or Steven Spielberg, producers who love the western genre will want to read the story and put it on the big or small screen. “Denim Ryder” is a book that reinvents westerns in a manner that is unparalleled. Louis LaMour would be proud of Wallace’s incredible story which I was pleased to receive an advance copy to read. I read the book in one night. I could not put it down. The story was such an emotional connection the readers will find to the characters and each and everyone of Wallace’s creations can be sized up as exciting, intriguing and mesmerizing. “Denim Ryder” will be released by Avalon Press in February 2010.

Vanity Fair magazine put Tiger Woods back in the spotlight when they published and released their recent issue of the magazine with Woods on the cover in a very tough, gritty and even dark photo which does not suit his image too well at this time. Woods has taken a leave of absence from golf and his wife is reportedly demanding $300 million in a divorce settlement. News that is both sad and not surprising is that Redmond O’Neal the son of Ryan O’Neal and the late Farrah Fawcett has been battling addiction to drugs for years and has allegedly fallen off the wagon yet again. Fawcett’s death is either going to be the catalyst for Redmond’s recovery or something that causes him additional barriers to sobriety a family member told me this week. Here’s wishing the young man good luck in what the judge in his case calls a lifetime of hard work.

Canyon News was just informed by the producers that Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello from “So You Think You Can Dance” have joined the touring show of “Ballroom with a Twist” already featuring the talent of the hit series “Dancing With The Stars” Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, as well as the husband and wife team of Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya at the DuPont Theatre. As we have previously reported, Hollywood Hills resident Barbara Eden will be the host of the show that was conceived and choreographed by “Dancing With the Stars” pro, Louis van Amstel [who partnered with celebrities Lisa Rinna, Priscilla Presley, Monique Coleman and Kelly Osborne on the show] and “American Idol” alumni David Hernandez and Trenyce will provide exciting vocal accompaniment and interludes. Take a look at a clip on You Tube

Kate Gosselin got a new hair do for 2010. What did her ex-husband Jon Gosselin get? A new girlfriend, this one reportedly from a well-to-do family in Greenwich Connecticut. I suppose for some people another year is nothing more than the same as always. Here’s to hoping Kate stays off the cover of People magazine and do her best to raise her eight kids and as for Jon, here’s hoping he finds happiness as well. Off our TV screens please.

Lastly, if Sandra Bullock doesn’t get an Oscar this year for her exceptional work in the film “Blind Side” she can still consider herself part of Hollywood history. The trade magazine Variety reports, Bullock’s acclaimed film “The Blind Side” became the first movie in history to pass the $200 million mark with only one top-billed female star. In its seventh week, the film earned $208.5 million in box office sales. Congratulations to a Virginia born girl who came to Hollywood and made it big.

Have a great week and a happy New Year.

Photograph Courtesy:  Thanks to Matthew McConaughey for use of his photo.