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On The Lot: Syd Field, Hayao Miyazaki, Governor's Awards and more

Japan's director Hayao Miyazaki smiles during the photocall of his movie
Japan's director Hayao Miyazaki smiles during the photocall of his movie "Gake no ue no Ponyo" (English title :Ponyo on the Cliff) during the 65th Venice International Film Festival at Venice Lido, on August 31, 2008. "Gake no ue no Ponyo" is presented in competition for the Golden Lion Award.

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Time for On the Lot, our weekly summary of news from the movie business with LA Times reporter Rebecca Keegan. 

Let's start with news of the death of screenwriting guru Syd Field, who died yesterday. He was 77, and the author of one of the best known books on the subject, "Screenplay".  

Keegan has been writing about the retirement of the man who is sort of Japan's Walt Disney. Tell us about him, this beloved animator named Hayao Miyazaki.

And you begin this story by noting that he inspired a record-breaking Twitter frenzy...

His latest, and if you believe him, his last film is called "The Wind Rises", and it's a change from the kind of fantasy-based movies he's made in the past. This is set in pre-World War II Japan, and it's the story of the man who designed the infamous Japanese fighter plane, the Zero. Which is strange, because Miyazaki is an outspoken pacifist. 

The Oscars, unlike Presidential elections, happen every year, but the season seems to get longer and longer. Saturday night there was a relatively new event that has quickly become sort of the Iowa caucuses of the Oscar race. It's the Governor's Awards, held by the motion picture academy, and apparently Oscar hopefuls like Bruce Dern and Tom Hanks were courting voters. But the event itself is supposed to be about honoring overlooked talent, right?

A long-running lawsuit over the Bond films, finally settled. This legal fight has been going on at least since "Thunderball" came out in 1965?

Harvey Weinstein, the impresario producer, is famous for pulling out all the stops to get his films on the Oscar list, but last week he won an even more impressive battle. He got the rating changed on one of his movies. This is almost unprecedented. 

Finally, if you are old enough, you might remember a certain handsome baseball player from the 1980s, who made a big splash modeling — and selling — underwear. That's Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, and the tighty-whities he was pitching are back.