Penn, Pitt Basking In The Year-End Love Of Film Critics

· Sean Penn's Into the Wild leads the Broadcast Critics Association awards nominations with seven nods, including best picture, director, actor, and writer. Meanwhile, the contrarian critics of San Francisco name Brad Pitt's little-seen outlaw-tone-poem The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford their best of the year. [Variety, Variety · ABC pulls last three episodes of Big Shots from the air despite its rapidly expiring supply of fresh scripted programming, handing its cushy, post-Grey's Anatomy timeslot to repeats of Private Practice. [THR]

· Bad news for TV journalists in search of free booze and awkward cocktail-party conversations with the stars of series they've previously trashed: The Television Critics Association winter press tour is officially canceled due to the writers strike. Is there no end to Hollywood's suffering? [Variety]
· During last night's live finale of The Hills, LC made the happy announcement that some non-Guild writers will be finding work scripting eight bonus episodes MTV will tack onto the end of the hit series' third season. [THR]
· The post-negotiation-walkout shit-flinging between the Guild and the studios has begun in earnest. "They lie. And then they lie again. And then they lie some more," says the president of the WGA East in decrying the AMPTP's fear-mongering, divide-and-conquer tactics. [Variety]