April 22, 2014

Tag Archives: the Oscar

Critics’ Choice: Joey Berlin from BFCA

Joey Berlin from the Broadcast Film Critics Association – Critics’ Choice Awards
By ROBERT W. WELKOS
In 1995, Joey Berlin and Rod Lurie, two entertainment reporters and film critics who had written for rival publications, joined forces to create the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.
While Lurie would go on to carve out a successful Hollywood career as a screenwriter and director with such films as “The Contender” and “The Last Castle,” Berlin hasn’t faired too badly, either, as the president of the BFCA.
Starting with 44 members the first year, the BFCA’s voting membership today hovers between 285 and 290 and the organization bills itself as the largest film critics group in the U.S. and Canada.
At the same time, the BFCA created the Critics’ Choice Awards, a glitzy tux-and-gown gala now televised on the CW Network that features red carpet celebrity arrivals, drawing worldwide media attention and plenty of Oscar buzz since the show coincides with the run-up to the Academy Awards.
But as the show has catapulted the broadcast critics into the Oscar conversation each movies awards season, tax records show that the nonprofit group Berlin leads has paid his privately-owned company, Berlin Entertainment, Inc., hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for production services.
Read prior Broadcast Film Critics Association story here at Hollywoodnews.com
IRS Form 990 filings list Berlin Entertainment, Inc., receiving a combined $992,270 from the nonprofit between fiscal 2009 and 2011.
Berlin notes that his members seem to be satisfied with the job he’s doing since he has been repeatedly re-elected president every two years.
The tax files show that Berlin’s base compensation and benefits were a combined $1,297,133 for the three-year period spanning fiscal 2009 to 2011. But his compensation is listed as coming from “related organizations” and not directly from the BFCA, according to the Form 990 documents, which all nonprofits are required to file with the IRS to qualify for tax-exempt status.
When asked about his sizeable compensation, Berlin told HollywoodNews.com in a recent telephone interview: “I did this for five years for zero compensation, but this is what I do all day, every day. I’m really proud of what we’ve built and accomplished….
“My compensation has grown with the growth of the show,” he adds without apology. “The television show is an incredible benefit to the members.” He notes that these benefits include such things as access and awards screeners. “That seems a comfortable arrangement for everybody.”
One [...]

Oscars®: The Top 25 (Best Original Screenplay)

Continuing a new weekly series I’m doing…we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories. Aside from the shorts and something like Best Sound Mixing like I mentioned previously, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks and months, including of course the big eight categories.
Today I’ll even knock off the first of those big ones, the ever interesting Best Original Screenplay category. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just giving more of a broad overview of the winners, but for now, I’ll still keeping it simple early on. Like I said last week though, in all honesty, you all mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that particular regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next few paragraphs…
Best Original Screenplay is personally one of my favorite Oscar categories, due to the absolute creativity that you can see on display here. Voters sometimes even go out of their comfort zone in honoring scripts written for projects that they’d never touch in the Best Picture category (though that’s begun to change a bit). I think you’ll be able to see a pattern emerging among my winners, as some of their more out there choices have been my favorites. Maybe that says more about me than it does about members of the Academy, but hey, we should all be thankful that some of these screenplays were able to win those Oscars, as they’ve inspired countless other writers in the years since.
This week, for this screenplay category, what I’m going to do is give you the list right now, with a few words about each of the top 25 victors that I’ve chosen. The big eight categories cater to this style nicely, so that’s likely how it’ll go for all of those. Here we go:
25. American Beauty (Alan Ball) – The film hasn’t aged well, but the script itself remains scathingly funny to me. A satire of middle class life and mid life crises, Alan Ball hit on something here, at least at the time. He hasn’t been able to get back to that level since then with his work, but man did he deserve the Oscar for this one, no question about that.
24. Pillow [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Oscars’ Billion Viewer Envelope

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
“And the envelope, please….”
It is one of Hollywood’s most iconic phrases, uttered by presenters at the Academy Awards each year and followed by another equally famous quote: “And the Oscar goes to….”
But throughout much of Oscar’s history whenever the pinprick moment arrived when a celebrity presenter would open the envelope and announce the winning nominee, there was nothing special about the envelope itself as opposed to the golden statuette that the winners would clutch while thanking whomever on live TV.
That is, until Marc Friedland decided that the Oscar envelope needed to be its own icon.
The L.A. stationer had an idea: design a classy-looking envelope, that was easy to open and that would provide a treasured keepsake to the winners along with the glittering golden statuette that they clutched in their hands in triumph.
Friedland, owner of Marc Friedland Couture Communications, persuaded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have him design an envelope that would not only look elegant to the 1 billion global TV viewers but also be constructed in such a way that celebrity presenters wouldn’t struggle opening the envelopes to the groans and laughter of audiences.
“When I started thinking about this, I wanted something that would be timeless, involving the glamour of Hollywood, but not a period piece. But also something that transcended fashion and trends,” Friedland, 54, told HollywoodNews. “We had to design something that looks great and performs well, too. Like the quintessential Hollywood actress who has to look good on screen but also be talented.”
On Sunday, March 2, the Academy Awards will again be featuring Friedland-designed envelopes. This will mark the fourth year that Friedland’s envelopes will be in use.
And, since there are two dozen categories, Friedland noted, only the presenters and winners will be seen touching the envelopes, making the moment even more special.
Each envelope is handcrafted out of four different papers using 10 different processes, he explains.
The outside of each envelope is made of metallic-gold paper stock with subtle repeats of the Oscar statuettes.
Inside the envelope, the creators note, is a heavyweight ecru card featuring deco gold foil and is accented with a gold-leaf embossed Oscar statuette along with the phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” The winner’s name is printed in charcoal ink and is mounted onto a matching red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card introduces a new feature, indicating the specific [...]

Can the Oscars save CNN?

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
It seems that everybody is benefiting from the Oscar season…film festivals, awards shows, broadcast and cable TV networks, entertainment magazines and websites.
So, can the Oscars save ratings starved CNN?
The cable news channel has seen its ratings languishing for some time now.
As Mediate recently reported, “On Valentine’s Day Friday night, CNN’s evening slate of shows had a disastrous night, failing to rate above 66K viewers in the key 25-54 demo from 5-10 p.m. ET. The network was in 4th place across the board during those hours with Anderson Cooper 360 and Piers Morgan Live both at 66K in the demo. Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. drew just 49K in the demo.”
We’re not saying one is related to the other, but on Wednesday, CNN announced it was kicking off a number of Oscar-related telecasts leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 2.
On Thursday at 10 p.m. ET, Krista Smith, senior west coast editor of Vanity Fair and a CNN contributor, will host CNN Spotlight: And the Nominees Are? The hour-long show will feature Smith’s interviews with Oscar nominees Amy Adams, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o and Jonah Hill.
Among the revelations Smith unearths:
“Amy Adams reveals that when she signed on to work with David O. Russell again for American Hustle, they didn’t have a script until like a week before,” a press release touting the show states.
The release goes on: “…Jared Leto tells Smith that he stayed in the Dallas Buyers Club character Rayon while filming: ‘I was walking through Whole Foods and I got looks from people and it was a real look of condemnation, of judgment, of disgust. And that was powerful to get to understand. Because I’m sure Rayon and the Rayons of the world get that look all the time—and have to deal with that in a much more real way than I did.”
On Thursday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET, the cable network will telecast CNN: And the Oscar Goes To? a two-hour special from Turner Classic Movies featuring great moments from 85 years of Academy Awards ceremonies, including never before seen behind-the-scenes ceremony footage from the archives of Hollywood Newsreel.
From Feb. 27 to March 2, CNN will “air live reports, interviews and take an inside at all the big events in and around the industry’s crowning event. From the rolling out of the red carpet to the behind-the-scenes stories [...]

The many facets of Leo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall Street

By Michael Russnow
As Oscar voters continue to mark their ballots until this Wednesday, I wonder what goes into their thinking? Do they vote specifically for what they believe is the best achievement of last year, a surprising performance and accomplishment or is it a cumulative assessment of someone’s career?
For all these reasons, and not just one, I’m going against the grain of what appears to be the general consensus and strongly suggest that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves the Oscar this year for The Wolf of Wall Street, even more than favorite Matthew McConaughey.
This doesn’t in any way diminish McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club. It was terrific, and the subject matter of the film made it that much more compelling. However, DiCaprio’s execution, in my view, was even more powerful, in particular as it was a totally different characterization and portrayal than we’ve ever seen from the actor before.
It’s hard to realize sometimes that Leo has been in filmdom’s consciousness for twenty-one years, since he was elevated from his sitcom supporting role in ABC’s Growing Pains to the wow factor engendered in his major debut role opposite Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life. Later in 1993 that respect was magnified when he stole What’s Eating Gilbert Grape from Johnny Depp and was rewarded with his first Oscar nomination at the age of nineteen.
For the next several years, he continued to intrigue audiences with a different assortment of characters, sometimes in mixed films such as Basketball Diaries and Total Eclipse, in more respected fare such as Marvin’s Room and Romeo and Juliet, and finally emerging as a superstar in Titanic.
Since then he has won fans and critical plaudits for his work in Catch Me If You Can, a young Howard Hughes in The Aviator, as a South African in Blood Diamond and an undercover policeman in The Departed, sometimes Oscar nominated, more times not and sometimes robbed of a nod as in the case of J. Edgar and last year’s Django Unchained.
Through it all, he has mostly been acclaimed for quirky dramatic performances until finally his well-known personal impishness came forth comedically in The Wolf of Wall Street. In this film, which I mostly liked but not entirely, Leo displayed so many facets, delivering emotional high points while also sometimes hysterically funny, that I wonder if his excellence has become so expected we don’t realize how different the role is and [...]

Channing Tatum Announced the “Team Oscar” winners on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today

A nice little announcement was made earlier today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (or AMPAS), as they named the winners of the “Team Oscar” contest. This was done on The Ellen DeGeneres Show by actor Channing Tatum, Oscar ceremony producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, along with DeGeneres herself, who will be hosting the show next month.
The “Team Oscar” contest was basically a college search that looked for film fans who could be potential Academy Award winners in the future, with contestants having to make an entry video that could catch the eye of those making the selections. The six students chosen will get to give the Oscar statues to the celebrities who will be presenting those awards during the telecast. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
I’m sure these half dozen college students will be buoyed by this pat on the back from AMPAS and use it as fuel/motivation to get their careers going when they graduate. Who knows, maybe we’ll see them accepting an Oscar in the next few decades? Anything is possible…
 

Here’s the press release from The Academy:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Channing Tatum, The Academy, and Oscars Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron today announced the winners of the “Team Oscar” college search on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” along with this year’s Oscars host, Ellen DeGeneres. The winners will deliver Oscar statuettes to celebrity presenters at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, live on ABC.
“We created this contest last year to give students who are passionate about film, the opportunity to set their sights on the future,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “We received so many inspiring submissions this year that it made for a difficult choice, but the talent and stories of these six winners really represent what Team Oscar is all about and convinced us that they are a perfect fit for the Oscar stage.”
The “Team Oscar” winners are:
Zaineb Abdul-Nabi – University of Michigan (MI) – Hometown: Bronx, NY
Tayo Amos – Stanford University (CA) – Hometown: Mountain View, CA
Nathan Flanagan-Frankl – Chapman University (CA) – Hometown: Northbrook, IL
Jeanpaul Isaacs – Rutgers University (NJ) – Hometown: South Brunswick, NJ
Bryson Kemp – Muhlenberg College (PA) – Hometown: North East, MD
Mackenna Millet – Pepperdine University (CA) – Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
The winner’s videos can be viewed here.
“I was blown away by the quality of the videos the students created, and more importantly, [...]

Disappointment over the tasteless antics of host Seth MacFarlane

By Michael Russnow
In the aftermath of my review of the Oscars and that of many others who seemed to agree Seth MacFarlane’s humor was often wanting, I thought I’d offer a postscript as to why for most people the John Wilkes Booth joke didn’t work.
It had nothing to do with Lincoln being a sacred cow and, no, paraphrasing MacFarlane, who defensively rejoindered sarcastically when his joke bombed, it wasn’t a case of it being too soon since Lincoln’s death.
Simply put, along with a host of national critics I found Seth MacFarlane sophomoric, appealing to the basest form of humor, rather than seeking what many might prefer as a cleverer approach, finding unexpected irony while satirizing a situation. And before you point out that the ABC ratings were higher than last year’s, it had little or nothing to do with MacFarlane. The host’s popularity or lack thereof has only a small degree of audience pull. It’s been proven that the highest ratings usually accompany the popularity of the year’s nominees, and most of the 2012 best picture nominees grossed more than $100 million.
Nonetheless, in a discussion with a young actor Monday night, he said he found the Oscar host quite funny, including the John Wilkes Booth remark. I tried to explain my point of view, which was that, rather than cutting edge, to me it was cheap, sort of like banana peel humor. He responded that there were many fans of MacFarlane and that there should be room for that sort of humor on the Oscar show, in order to appeal to all segments of society. I should add that, during all this, he was most respectful and accepting of my point of view, as opposed to the personally insulting comments my review engendered from mostly anonymous readers.
I don’t mind the sort of argument my friend put forth, but still believe the Oscar show should elevate itself above playground or frat party humor. A lot of tween types find gross situations very humorous, and this extends into the teen years and for some even into their third decade. However, it is also true that life among school-age kids can be hell for those who are dissimilar, with cliques abounding, separating the in-crowd from those it deems wanting.
If you’re different, maybe not athletic or pretty or, God forbid gay (yes, even in today’s more tolerant age) life can be pretty horrid. Fortunately, [...]

2013 Oscars: Congratulations to the Nominees and Honorees

Congratulations to the 2013 Oscar nominees and winners… for complete list of winners pls scroll down.
Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz – “Django Unchained”
Best Animated Short:
“Paperman” – John Kahrs
Best Animated Feature:
“Brave” – Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Cinematography:
“Life of Pi” – Claudio Miranda
Visual Effects:
“Life of Pi” – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
Costume Design:
“Anna Karenina” – Jacqueline Durran
Makeup/Hairstyling:
“Les Misérables” – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Live Action Film:
“Curfew” – Shawn Christensen
Documentary Short Subject:
“Inocente” – Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
Documentary Feature:
“Searching for Sugar Man”
Sound Mixing:
“Les Misérables” – Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
Sound Editing:
“Zero Dark Thirty” – Paul N.J. Ottosson
Supporting Actress:
Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
Film Editing:
“Argo” – William Goldenberg
Original Score:
Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”
Original Song:
Adele – “Skyfall”
Adapted Screenplay:
Chris Terrio, “Argo”
Original Screenplay:
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Director:
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Best Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Best Picture:
“Argo”
For the first time, viewers in the U.S. will be able to stream tonight’s Oscars show in its entirety across multiple platforms including ABC.com, the ABC Player app, and the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus subscription service. The show will also be available via ABC On Demand, the network’s fast forward-disabled VOD service.
The Oscars, in its entirety, will be available to stream within hours of its broadcast completion, beginning Monday, Feb. 25th at 6:00 a.m. EST through Wednesday, February 27, at midnight EST.
“Tonight’s show included remarkable performances that will surely have people talking. This is an easy, convenient way for anyone who missed the show to catch up and join the conversation,” said Karin Gilford, Senior Vice President of Digital Media, ABC Entertainment. “It’s also perfect for anyone who just wants to relive the most magical moments of the night.”
“Our goal is to give fans as many ways to enjoy and engage with the Oscars as possible and this will provide another great opportunity for them,” said Christina Kounelias, the Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The full streaming will be advertiser supported with :15 or :30 video spots running intermittingly from Blue Diamond, Diet Coke, Hyundai, JC Penney, Samsung and The University of Phoenix.
Additionally, during the telecast, Oscar.com offered a plethora of “Real Time Oscar Highlights” to viewers almost instantly after they debuted on the live broadcast. Those special moments from telecast as well as numerous highlights from the Red Carpet and backstage during the show, are currently available on the show’s official site, Oscar.com.
Oscar.com and the official Oscars app [...]

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