April 22, 2014

Tag Archives: oscars

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars

Motion picture, television and theater producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a third consecutive year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.”

“This year’s show reached viewers of all ages and set social media records, proving that Craig and Neil are masters at tapping into the zeitgeist and capturing the hearts of movie fans around the world,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“We are delighted to work with Cheryl, Dawn and the Academy to produce the Oscars for a third time,” said Zadan and Meron. “We’re proud of the show’s success over the last two years and are eager to embark on another entertaining show to honor this year’s motion pictures.”
The 86th Oscars on March 2, marked the return of host Ellen DeGeneres, and featured memorable musical performances by artists including Pharrell Williams and U2, a tribute to “The Wizard of Oz” by Pink, and a star-studded, record-breaking selfie seen around the world.
The show drew an average audience of 45.4 million total viewers, delivering a 13.7 rating among adults 18–49 (Live+7), and reached 74.6 million viewers watching 6+ minutes, the best since 2004. The Oscars were TV’s most-watched entertainment telecast in 10 years and attracted the biggest viewership in 14 years. The show helped drive increases for the second consecutive year, marking a seven-year high for adults 18–34 (+3%); a nine-year high for teens 12–17 (+13%); and an eight-year high for kids 2–11 (+13%). Social media activity was particularly robust with more than one billion impressions generated on Twitter and 25 million interactions happening on Facebook on Oscar® Sunday. Additionally, DeGeneres’s selfie became the most retweeted photo of all time with 32.8 million views.
Zadan and Meron’s feature film, television and theater productions have earned a total of six Oscars, 11 Emmy® Awards, two Tony® Awards, a Grammy® Award, five Golden Globes®, two Peabody Awards, five GLAAD Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. For film, they executive produced the 2002 Best Picture winner “Chicago,” which won Oscars in six of the 13 categories in which it [...]

Oscars®: Thinking Out Loud: Random Movie Musings

I’m trying something new here today…namely, just sort of thinking out loud about a few different topics, hence the title. Some of these musings might turn into full blown articles down the line, but for now, this is basically a look at what’s swimming around in my head. Everything will be more or less Oscar related, but it’ll all tie into movies, that much I’m sure of. For now, I’ll present things just as a series of bullet point paragraphs, but we’ll see how it evolves over the course of the weeks to come. I’m aiming to do this every Saturday, but again, we’ll see how everything goes from here. This first installment is very much just an experiment.
-Am I the only one who’s not interested in trying to make a feud between 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and the film’s writer John Ridley? Yes, there might have been some hard feelings for a time over whether McQueen was going to be able to get a co-writing credit for the film, but does it really matter if Ridley overtly thanks him in his acceptance speeches, or vice-versa? It’s possible that I just put less stock in manufactured controversy than most, but I really don’t see what the fuss is about this. In the end, they both have Oscars and are Academy Award winners (plus their movie won Best Picture), so shouldn’t that be the trump card in this situation?
-We’re almost a week removed from the Oscar telecast, but does anyone else feel like the awards season is still going on? Maybe it’s just my brain still packed with winner possibilities, but there have been moments this week where I’ve found myself still considering the chances of upsets in certain categories. Perhaps I’m just retroactively trying to figure out exactly what went down on Sunday, but this doesn’t usually happen to me, so it’s all the more noticeable.
-Is it just me or are movies slowly getting better during the months of January, February, and March? I know that March has been steadily turning into a summer month over the past few years, but January and February have long been little more than dumping grounds. The former still has plenty of expanding Academy Award nominees to fill up multiplexes, but some interesting independent titles are popping up, while the latter month is nowhere near as porous as I remember it [...]

Another great Hollywood Vanity Fair bash… Stars, Stars, Stars

Vanity Fair upped its Oscar game last night. They build a huge multi level tented building in the parking behind Sunset Plaza. Traffic snaked back and forth on Sunset Boulevard in both directions. There was a big security plan, with metal detectors at the check in. And then you arrived to find an avalanche of stars. Stars and stars. Two by two, or three by three, they came.
Inside the main room, just to the right, if you could find them through the fog of formally attired people, Jane Fonda and Anjelica Huston set up a beach head. Many stars, old and young, were crowded into this area including Jane’s beau, Richard Perry, and Sarah Paulson, plus Quincy Jones, who was busy looking for Petra Nemcova, and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks. Rosaria Dawson and Gabrielle Union weren’t far away. Sitting on a couch in a section nearby, the fabulous oldies group– Mickey Rooney and Martin Landau. And they were hosting this year’s nominee June Squibb.
Praise god– Don Rickles and his wife were entertaining Don’s many fans. “Do you have any Oscar jokes? I asked Rickles. “If you’re paying me!” he said. I did get a photo.
Just at the entrance to this room I tripped over Bill Hader, who was reconnecting with Will Forte and Paul Rudd, with a big group of comics around them. Hader made a beeline to see Larry David. In time that group was joined by hit pop star Ed Sheeran, who’d just come over from playing at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation fundraiser. Only 23, Sheeran– who’d been hanging with Taylor Swift–is about to break out in a big way. His new single comes this week, with a new album in June.
From there I headed to the upper level party, where Bill Murray and a big group had come to occupy a huge round room with Art Deco-ish banquettes– a hold over from past VF parties. They store their sets! This is where a lot of guests were dining on In and Out Burgers. Here were lots of people carrying Oscars, from “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” crew to winner Lupita Nyong’o. Super model Karolina Kurklova and her husband Archie Drury were getting burgers. Amazing since it looks she only eats celery stalks!
And yes, chowing down, was our old pal Kerry Washington, a month away from giving birth, radiant and round.
The thing about Vanity Fair’s parties is [...]

The Oscars® were no enormous shame, a few good jokes, no great shocks

I’m a big fan of Ellen DeGeneres and her understated, often brilliant humor. This was most evident when she hosted the 2001 Emmy Awards after the horrific events in New York and Washington that year. The show was postponed twice, and when it finally aired a couple of months later the big question was how it could be entertaining?
Almost from the outset Ellen delivered. To paraphrase what she said, it was something like the terrorists could not break our spirit. Then she paused and deadpanned that only network executives could do that.

It was funny, unexpected yet absolutely true. It related to the events just passed, but broke the ice and allowed the show to go on to its true purpose after the long delay.

The Oscars Rate a B-Minus.
I wish I could say Ellen’s performance last night rose to that occasion. Though it generally retained the dignity and glamour that audiences expect, something lost in last year’s show hosted by Seth MacFarlane, it was mostly bland with repetitive jokes and occasional good moments. Having said that, I cringed a bit when Ellen repeated out loud and very slowly a compliment to Nebraska supporting actress nominee June Squibb, whom Ellen had termed the oldest Oscar nominee ever, as if the actress were almost deaf and needed careful attention to hear her remarks.

Throughout the ABC show, Ellen drew from a past playbook and redid bits from the last time she hosted in 2007, often appearing in the audience, talking with this celebrity or that and taking photos. In one segment she asked if anyone was hungry, which drew very few responses and went on much too long. However, when a pizza man arrived later in the show, though only with three pizzas, it was amusing to see how many celebrities accepted a slice, including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Harrison Ford. And that no one initially responded to Ellen’s request for donations to pay the man.
To read Michael Russnow’s latest book, “Hollywood on the Danube,” go to www.createspace.com/4497564

I’d thought sometime later it would have been funny if the delivery man, denied payment, started taking back the pizza slices from Meryl, Julia and the others. However, they eventually paid the bit off when Ellen passed a hat into which producer Harvey Weinstein threw two hundred dollars and several celebrities forked over twenty or more dollars each. By my count that was over three hundred [...]

Jennifer Lawrence to Present at the Oscars®

Oscar® winner Jennifer Lawrence will return to present at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.
Lawrence took home the Oscar for her lead performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.” She is nominated this year for her supporting role in “American Hustle.” Previously Lawrence was nominated for her leading role in “Winter’s Bone.” Her other credits include “X-Men: First Class” and “The Hunger Games” series.
Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Oscar® Nominees to be Honored at Academy Luncheon

More than 150 Oscar® nominees will come together at noon on Monday, February 10, at the Beverly Hilton when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors this year’s Oscar contenders at its annual Nominees Luncheon.
Among the Lead Actor and Actress nominees, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey and Meryl Streep are expected to attend the pre-Oscars® event. Supporting Actor and Actress nominees Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and June Squibb also will join in the celebratory lunch.
All five nominees in the Directing category, Alfonso Cuarón, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell and Martin Scorsese, are expected to attend as well.
Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.
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Celebrating “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” 25th anniversary

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a new digital restoration of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in celebration of the film’s 25th anniversary on Thursday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening will feature a post-screening onstage discussion with director Robert Zemeckis and members of the cast and crew, including actress Joanna Cassidy, voice actor Charles Fleischer, supervising animator Andreas Deja, screenwriter Peter S. Seaman and associate producers Don Hahn and Steve Starkey. The panel will be moderated by director Rich Moore, who received an Oscar® nomination for Animated Feature Film for “Wreck-It Ralph” this past year.
A masterful blend of live-action filmmaking and classic animation, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” boldly announced the rebirth of the Disney animation studio. The film endures as an inventive tribute to animation’s golden age that also set a new standard for what the medium could achieve.
“‘Roger Rabbit’ brought together the greatest animators, the most skilled technicians, and the finest talent of the day,” said Zemeckis. “It’s good to have this chance to show our work to both those who remember the film as well as to a new audience.”
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) received Oscars® for Film Editing, Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects, and a Special Achievement Award for Richard Williams’s animation direction. It also was nominated for Art Direction, Cinematography and Sound.
This digital restoration is provided courtesy of the Walt Disney Studios. The Disney restoration team used the original 35mm picture, VistaVision optical work and original sound elements to create this pristine digital version.
Tickets for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID, and may be purchased online at oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office, or by mail. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit oscars.org.
# # #
ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate [...]

Oscars 2013 – Feed back on Seth MacFarlane

By Michael Russnow
This year’s Oscars show on ABC wrapped after a bit over three and a half hours and there were a bunch of great moments, a bit of tedium and a lot of disappointment over the tasteless antics of host Seth MacFarlane.
Look, I’m not a prude, though I’ve ranted at the likes of Ricky Gervais when he hosted the Golden Globes. You don’t have to be sweetness and light and/or just mildly funny, but as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler displayed at the Golden Globes you can find the right mix to be biting and clever without resorting to cheap, shocking and sometimes hurtful jokes.
I was neither backstage nor in the control booth, but I can guess something must have happened after the overlong 17-minute opening segment, wherein MacFarlane early on cast mock aspersion at last year’s Best Actor winner, Jean Dujardin, as essentially having since disappeared, when it’s clear his stellar career is mostly anchored in France. And a sometimes funny bit with William Shatner, beaming in from the future as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, became somewhat surreal when he warned MacFarlane that his reviews were destined to be pretty bad.
Mercifully interspersed with the host’s puerile humor were musical bits during which Channing Tatum danced quite masterfully with Charlize Theron, and Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt sang and danced, aided by the surprisingly excellent vocal talents of Mr. MacFarlane. He wasn’t just on-key, he sang like he’d been in musical theatre. And, upon doing some follow-up research, I learned he’d sung at Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London. Who knew?
During these moments and when he played it straight, he was great — poised, handsome and charming. But on occasion he spewed classless material, which I’m sure he thought was very funny. He absolutely bombed in a joke ostensibly crediting Daniel Day-Lewis with getting into Lincoln’s head, but then indicated he hadn’t done as well as had John Wilkes Booth. The audience gasped.
From that point on, when he was on camera he essentially introduced the next guests and did so with professional aplomb. Was it a coincidence or did someone rip up the rest of his cue cards?
As to the rest of the show, it was professional and sometimes spectacular. The spoof of Flight with hand puppets was delightful and the tribute to a few recent musicals with some of the casts singing live was terrific, [...]

The Academy Award acceptance speech

Movies have the benefit of perfectly polished scripts, crafted and edited by the world’s greatest wordsmiths. But what happens when the moviemakers walk onstage to accept the highest prize in their profession, filled with surprise and emotion but lacking a script?
The Academy Award acceptance speech. While others have done analyses of individual years of Oscars, this is a bit more comprehensive, including every word uttered during the last 20 years of acceptance speeches. In total, there have been over 73,000 spoken, including 7,000 unique words, throughout the 468 speeches available on the Academy’s website. Here are the top 100 words, with the size proportional to the number of uses:

The top ten words are unsurprising: and (spoken 3,679 times over the last 20 years), to (2,923), the (2,502), you (2,807), thank (2,044), I (1,904), my (1,525), of (1,343), for (1,220), a (1,200).
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Paranorman’s LAIKA begins production on The Boxtrolls

Marking their third project together, LAIKA and Focus Features, the two companies behind the current Academy Award-nominated animated feature ParaNorman, announced today that LAIKA has begun production on The Boxtrolls. The new movie will be released nationwide by Focus on October 17th, 2014. Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President & CEO Travis Knight made the announcement today.
As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to The Boxtrolls, and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). Coraline (2009) earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics? Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year?s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman (2012) is in the running for the BAFTA Awards? animated feature prize. ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community?s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics? groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature.
The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow?s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. The Boxtrolls is being directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of the hit animated feature Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), and produced by David Ichioka and Mr. Knight. The voice cast includes Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Academy Award nominee Toni Collette, Elle Fanning (marking her fourth movie with Focus), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Nick Frost (of Focus? upcoming The World?s End), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).
The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that?s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (voiced by Mr.
Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by [...]

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