'Alien' writer Dan O'Bannon dies

MUMBAI: 63-year old Dan O‘Bannon, the sci-fi screenwriter and quirky horror specialist behind the Alien film franchise expired on 17 December at Santa Monica after a 30-year battle with Crohn‘s disease (an inflammatory disease of the intestines that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract causing a wide variety of symptoms).

O‘Bannon is survived by his wife, Diane Lindley O‘Bannon, and son Adam. A memorial service is pending.

His work on various films ranging from 1983‘s Blue Thunder to Lifeforce and the mid-1980s low-budget Invaders From Mars to 1990‘s Paul Verhoeven-Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbuster Total Recall made him an influential figure in the genre world.

But it was Alien with which he made a name for himself, helping to create characters and monsters that are still around today.

The St. Louis-born O‘Bannon met John Carpenter at USC, where the two wrote a short film - Carpenter‘s thesis film - that turned into the cosmic low-budget comedy Dark Star. O‘Bannon co-wrote the film with Carpenter, who also directed.

O‘Bannon was hired by George Lucas to do some effects work on Star Wars in 1977, then set Alien on its course into space with his and Ronald Shusett‘s bug-filled action spec script The Star Beast.

He also worked on the script and co-wrote AVP: Alien vs. Predator.

274 features eligible for the year‘s best picture Oscar award
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has announced that it has picked up two hundred seventy four features eligible for the 2009 best picture Oscar award.

To be eligible for 82nd Academy Awards consideration, features must open in a commercial theatre in Los Angeles County by midnight December 31 and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days.

Under Academy rules, a feature must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format.

Features that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

The Oscar nominations will be announced on 2 February. The awards ceremony will be held on 7 March.

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