OSCARS: Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Return To Produce In 2015

86th Annual Academy Awards - ShowWe’re hearing the Academy is aiming for consistency and has nailed down Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce the Oscarcast for a third year running. Here’s how much consistency: the Academy announced the pair was returning for the 86th Oscars almost exactly a year ago (and they announced Ellen DeGeneres as host that August). It’s the first time since 1997-1999 (Gil Cates) that the Oscars has had the same producer three years in a row. In March, Meron, Zadan and DeGeneres together built a show that drew 43.7 million viewers with a 13.1/33 rating in adults 18-49, the most watched Academy Awards since 2000 and the highest-rated in the demo since 2010. The speculation right now is if the Academy wants consistency with the producers then they’d seek it with a host, but nothing has been set. Here’s today’s release:

Oscar_badge__140302212232BEVERLY HILLS, CA – 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.”

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EMMYS: Major Deadline Looms And New Online Voting Process Rolls Out As The Race Takes Off

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer Emmyslogo_new(Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge  of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year.

In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I am on the Board Of Governors representing Writers) just sent out a formal letter this week to the eligible membership (now well over 16,000 and climbing) regarding instructions for online voting, which is being instituted for the first time this season. Read More »

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L.A. Mayor Praises “Dear Friend” Tom Sherak In State Of The City Speech

garcetti april 10 speechThe city’s first Film Czar was praised by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today in his inaugural State of the City address. “With the help of my dear friend the late Tom Sherak and Ken Ziffren, who’s continued the fight, we reignited the movement to expand film tax credits in Sacramento,” said the SAG-AFTRA card carrying politician this evening. A couple of months after Garcetti took office, the former AMPAS president and studio exec was named head of LA’s Film Office late last September in an effort to expand and evolve production in the city after years of decline due to runaway production. After

sherak__130926172434Sherak passed away on January 28, heavyweight entertainment lawyer Ziffren was appointed LA’s second Film Czar on February 10. “In just nine months, we are changing the landscape—one summer job, one red button, one film production and one balanced budget at a time.”

Related:
L.A. Move For Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Unlikely As Pols Continue To Pitch CBS
New Film & TV Tax Credit Bill Unanimously Passes First Hurdle In Sacramento

One production that looks pretty likely not to be coming to LA is CBS’ Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman next year. Despite personal pitches earlier this week from Garcetti and Ziffren, the late night show seems certain to stay in the Big Apple. Still, Garcetti also made a point in his speech at the California Science … Read More »

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Africa: ‘Finding Hillywood’ Filmmakers Join With AMPAS To Boost Rwandan Movie Biz

Rwanda_Film_Org_Logo_Final2_300dpiAs a commemoration period begins today on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, here’s an inspiring story about a country whose film industry we don’t often hear about. U.S. filmmaker Leah Warshawski has helped to create a free online resource to streamline producing films in Rwanda. The outreach project, RwandaFilm.org, was built in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, nonprofit network Bpeace, and the Rwandan government to connect local filmmakers with one another and with job opportunities. Warshawski embarked on the project after making her documentary, Finding Hillywood (see trailer below). Focused on the pioneers of Rwanda’s film industry, it won the Documentary Feature Audience Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival last November. It previously premiered at the Seattle Film Festival. I caught up with Warshawski recently from Idaho, where Finding Hillywood was playing the Sun Valley Film Festival. She explained that she’d been in Rwanda in 2007 on another project and was told about the Rwandan Film Festival, which brings movies to large audiences around the country on inflatable screens, and how “thousands of people stand in a stadium” to watch them. Warshawski, who has done crew work on TV series including Lost and Survivor and features Along Came Polly and He’s Just Not That Into You, said it was “intriguing enough to make a movie about” and that led in to starting RwandaFilm.org.

Hillywood gets its name thanks to Rwanda’s moniker as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” and movies that have shot there include 1988’s Gorillas In The Mist; 100 Days, produced by Rwanda Film Fest founder Eric Kabera; 2004’s Hotel Rwanda; 2005’s Beyond The Gates; 2007’s Shake Hands With The Devil; 2012 award-winning documentary Rising From Ashes; and HBO Emmy nominee Sometimes In April. As for filmmaking by locals, Rwanda is unlikely to become Nollywood anytime soon, but is creating a boutique industry with more movies traveling to festivals. The first feature film written, directed and produced by a Rwandan, Grey Matter, won a Special Jury Mention in Tribeca in 2011.  Read More »

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CinemaCon: Industry Icon Tom Sherak Remembered And Honored At Emotional Pioneer Awards Dinner

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 1:00am PDT
Pete Hammond

The 73rd Pioneer Of The Year Dinner in honor of the late Tom Sherak just may have been the most emotional and moving event the philanthropic organization has ever thrown, certainly of those I have attended in the four years they have been held during CinemaCon. As 20thF Century Fox President of Distribution  and President of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Chris Aronson said, it was also “historic” as it represented the first time the Pioneer Of The Year award was presented posthumously. That was not the plan when they selected Sherak, who passed away in January, for the honor several months ago. The dinner raised over $1M for the Pioneer Assistance Fund. Sherak’s widow Madeleine told me Wednesday evening that he was thrilled to be getting the award and was well aware of it before his passing. Still, she noted it was very bittersweet. ”When Tom died he didn’t leave anyone in charge. There isn’t a vice-president of All Things Tom. But what he did leave was a piece of him in everyone he touched. He didn’t have a number two, he had a number hundreds. We all have watched him through the years, we were mentored by him, he taught us to ‘do’,” Aronson said in opening remarks.
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Need For Hit Fuels DreamWorks’ Lively And Raucous ‘Need For Speed’ Hollywood Premiere

By | Friday March 7, 2014 @ 2:54pm PST
Pete Hammond

Premiere Of DreamWorks Pictures' "Need For Speed" - Red CarpetThere may be lots of speculation about the future of DreamWorks in its current incarnation at Disney as my colleague Mike Fleming wrote earlier this week, but you would never know it from last night’s rip-roaring premiere of its latest film, Need For Speed, at the Chinese Theatre. I went in expecting a poor man’s Fast & Furious and instead got a riveting and fun entertainment with lots of heart and emotion in addition to all the stunt driving. The film, which opens Friday and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as a street racer out for revenge after being framed for a death of a young street-racing rookie, has all the requisite action you would expect from this kind of movie, but there’s so much more.  The fact that it marks the second feature directed by former stuntman Scott Waugh (the son of another stuntman, Fred Waugh, who passed away while his son was in preproduction) would lead one to believe it would be all pedal-to-the-metal and no soul, but that’s not the case. Waugh’s first feature behind the camera, Act Of Valor, proved he knew how to put humanity into a genre film. What he’s made here is a good old-fashioned movie that doesn’t rely on CGI, has a genuine story  to tell with three-dimensional characters (in 3D, no less), and great locations.

posterIt also presents yet another reason the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences needs to re-consider its decision not to create a 25th category for stunt work. Come on, these people deserve the recognition on a regular basis. I do understand the ticklish situation with the Actors branch, the Academy’s largest and most powerful, but this kind of work is definitely Oscar worthy. The Television Academy has a stunt peer group and recently even split comedy and drama stunt coordination into two separate Emmy categories. Veteran stuntman-director Hal Needham got an Honorary Oscar in 2012, and I suppose the Academy feels that’s enough recognition for now (Needham passed away several months after getting that Oscar). But it’s not.

Related: Hot Trailer: DreamWorks’ ‘Need For Speed’

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‘Son of God’ Was Born Before ‘The Bible’ And Angels Helped Along The Way

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 8:36am PST

Son of GodThey knew what they had was dynamic. They were smart, did their research and worked hard — and the result was the Son Of God big-screen version that is expected to gross anywhere from $25.7M to $26.7M in its debut weekend. People in this world achieve great success for a reason, but not all get the reason why — whether it be George Clooney, who has used his celebrity to bring well-needed attention to the horrors of Darfur, or Angelina Jolie, whose humanitarian work is also well needed and appreciated, or Mel Gibson, whose The Passion Of The Christ brought the word of God beyond borders anyone had ever seen before ($611M worldwide — that’s a lot of eyes). These are the kings of charity, who understand their responsibility in the world. Mark Burnett — the reality TV entrepreneur behind such phenoms Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice — understands the reason why, too. He and wife Roma Downey know in their core that they are on that path now — to spread the word to as many people as possible, he said.

Related: HOLY MOLY! Late-Night Showings ‘Son Of God’ Rises With $1.2M; ‘Non-Stop’ Also Strong Thursday

The BibleOn the wings of angels (and butterflies) and in many languages — the marketing behind this film is very interesting: The team wisely dubbed a Spanish version for this weekend’s movie debut, and it was put in 200 theaters; they also did a subtitled Korean-language version and placed it in 15 select theaters. “Because we are a small organization, we don’t have to ask permission — we just do it,” Burnett said. The theaters playing Spanish-language Son Of God grew in a just few days as they were booking theaters and 4% of the gross came from those theaters; 22% of the audience was Hispanic. In addition, the film had a phenomenal 91% rating on PostTrak and was heavily weighted to excellent with an impressive 72%. In addition, it has an incredible 80% recommend and played 62% female to 38% male with 82% of moviegoers over age 25.

Related: Hot Trailer: Fox’s ‘Son Of God’

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Sony/ATV Honcho Martin Bandier Also Wants Tune Reforms For Oscars

Mike Fleming

bandierEarlier, this afternoon, Bruce Broughton had his say about the rescinding of the Oscar nomination for the title song from Alone Yet Not Alone. Here’s another side of the story, in a letter Deadline obtained that was sent to the Academy by Martin M. Bandier, the influential chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Like Broughton, he also is calling for changes in the Best Song category, but he specifically has a beef with the rule that doesn’t provide for another nominee to replace one that might be nixed, as happened this year. There certainly were  other songs that warranted inclusion, and the one that I thought the category missed most was Lana Del Rey’s haunting “Young and Beautiful,” which added so much to the courtship seen between Gatsby and Daisy in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. There were others, too. Bandier sent the letter to AMPAS chief Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and it won’t be surprising if she spend some energy looking hard at this, but it seemed relevant enough right now to air it here. Read the letter below:

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OSCARS: Academy Hears The Sound Of Music At History-Making Nominees Concert

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 9:30am PST
Pete Hammond

You have to hand it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Just as it is in the heat of putting on South Bay Cities-20140228-00232a little TV awards show over at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night, the group still found time to stage the first-ever “Oscar Concert” on Thursday night at UCLA’s Royce Hall — and turn out in force. This ambitious show, which featured suites conducted by all the nominated composers for Best Original Music Score as well as performances of the four Oscar-nominated songs, was put into the works and approved by the Board of Governors last year, according to former president Hawk Koch, one of last night’s attendees. But as Academy Music Branch governors Arthur Hamilton and Charles Fox put it, most of this was cobbled together in the six weeks since the nominees were named. All the top Academy brass were there humming along, including president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson along with numerous members, particularly from the music branch.

Oscar_Concert-618x400

It was quite a logistical challenge pulling the event off, which I am told by reliable sources cost in the neighborhood of half a million dollars to produce. And it may be sparking a trend: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences plans to do its own concert at Royce Hall on May 21st featuring composers of new and classic TV scores. But I’m afraid Oscar has set this bar pretty high with a program that ranks as one of the highlights of the entire awards season, a classy event that saw tickets going to the general public for up to $100 each and discounted tickets for Academy members at $75 for orchestra seats. Box office was sweet as the place was packed. Read More »

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OSCARS: Producers Craig Zadan & Neil Meron Play It Safer This Year With Star-Studded Show Led By Ellen

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 5:34pm PST
Pete Hammond

Some people were surprised when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invited 2013 Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron backthe-academy-oscars-new-logo-1 to run the 2014 telecast. After all, that was the Seth MacFarlane-hosted show that caused controversy (“We Saw Your Boobs,” anyone?). You have to wonder what he might have done with 12 Years A Slave or The Wolf Of Wall Street this year! The reviews, though, were mixed to negative (I actually liked the attitude MacFarlane brought — different), with critics saying the show had too many musical segments and a James Bond tribute that, other than Shirley Bassey’s rendition of “Goldfinger,” fell flat. But it scored well in the AwardsLine.LogoBWratings and actually added a lot of previously missing young males to the typically female-driven viewing demographic. Zadan and Meron return this year in triumph after single-handedly reviving the live Broadway musical The Sound Of Music with their smash-hit version that starred Carrie Underwood and aired on NBC in December. Critics balked at that, too, but who’s laughing now? (Peter Pan is the next live musical they will do for NBC). Perhaps in a bid for more universal appeal, the producers are bringing back past Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres for what promises to be a much safer, more female-friendly telecast. Ellen is, well, Ellen, and very likable, so you know what you’re getting. The ABC … Read More »

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Image Awards: Kevin Hart Named Entertainer Of The Year; Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, LL Cool J Honored

By | Saturday February 22, 2014 @ 8:17pm PST

Kevin Hart was named entertainer of the yearnaacp-image-award__131007152952-275x479 (1) tonight at the NAACP‘s Image Awards aired live on the East Coast on TV One. Forest Whitaker was named best actor and Angela Bassett best actress for their respective roles in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Black Nativity. Best picture award went to 12 Years A Slave. Kevin Hart was named best actor in a comedy series for Real Husbands of Hollywood and LL Cool J took the best actor in a drama series prize for NCIS: Los Angeles. Kerry Washington was named best actress in a drama series for Scandal. The award for best actress in a comedy series went to Wendy Raquel Robinson for The Game. Scandal and Real Husbands Of Hollywood took nods, respectively, for best drama and comedy series.

Oprah Winfrey honored Nelson Mandela with a tribute. Forest Whitaker received the NAACP Chairman’s Award. And Paris Barclay and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American Presidents of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, respectively, were inducted into the Image Awards Hall of Fame. The complete list of winners follows: Read More »

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Oscars: Mandela Family Coming To The Academy Awards For U2 Performance

By | Saturday February 22, 2014 @ 6:21pm PST
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: The Mandelas will be coming to the Oscars.

mandela-long-walkThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have invited Nelson and Winnie Mandela‘s daughters Zindzi and Zenani to attend the Oscars where U2 will be performing the Academy  Award-nominated song, “Ordinary Love” from the film  Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Bono and U2 were personal friends of their father, and have been working in the Anti-Apartheid movement through their music since the late 1970s when the girls were only in their teens. In a statement the girls said, “This is especially meaningful to us because of how much our father loved watching movies. This song was inspired by the beautiful letters that my father and mother exchanged while he was imprisoned at Robben Island.”

In addition to the U2 performance the Academy has previously announced all the other nominated songs will also be performed live (by Pharrell Williams, Karen O and Idina Menzel) along with musical performances from Bette Midler and Pink. The Oscars will be held on Sunday March 2nd and aired live on ABC.

mandelaMeanwhile, the 45th annual NAACP Image Awards held tonight in Pasadena added a surprise tribute to the late South African leader with Oprah Winfrey leading the honors. Mandela star Idris Elba is set to join Winfrey in the tribute which will also … Read More »

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OSCARS: Street Closures Begin Sunday

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 3:49pm PST

Academylogo_cBEVERLY HILLS, CA – To ensure public safety, support security strategies and facilitate the production of this year’s Oscars®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the City of Los Angeles have finalized street closure plans around the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood.

To accommodate the construction of press risers, fan bleachers and pre-show stages along the Oscars red carpet, Hollywood Boulevard will be closed between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive beginning at 10 p.m. on Sunday, February 23, and remain closed until 6 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4.

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OSCARS: Time For A Toon To Take Best Picture

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 2:27pm PST

What is it going to take for an animated pic to shatter the Best Picture live action ceiling?

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences created an animated feature category back inAwardsLine 2001, it was an official nod to the fact that the genre has evolved into a true art form. Before the category’s existence, it was a rare feat for a toon to earn a best picture nomination, which happened just once, in 1992, with Beauty And The Beast. The fact that Up and Toy Story 3 recently managed to get best picture and best animated feature noms after the animated category was created and the top category was enlarged shows just how much Academy voters love and respect these films. Yet despite this progress, no animated film has turned a best pic nom into a win.

Beauty-and-the-Beast-beauty-and-the-beast-309492_1024_768But times are changing, and it is now conceivable that an animated film could take home a best picture statuette in the next decade. The universal appeal of toons—proven by the enviable worldwide box office a majority of them earn—coupled with an emerging generation that blurs the assumed boundaries between live action and line drawings, bodes well for this prospect.

Related: The Croods’ Creative Team Tells How They Pulled Off A Big Win For Dreamworks Animation (Video)
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OSCARS: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Telling Voters “It’s Time” – But How Will It Resonate?

By | Wednesday February 19, 2014 @ 3:06pm PST
Pete Hammond

“It’s Time”.

That’s the message seen for the past few weeks on the 12 Years A Slave billboard as you drive on to the 20th Century Fox lot. Los Angeles-20140219-00222 (3).jpg  foxAnd since the film earned nine Oscar nominations it has frequently been the slogan of choice for the Fox Searchlight contender in  newspaper and television ads.  A highly emotional close-up of star Chiwetel Ejiofor as the man forced into slavery and just two words to accompany it: “It’s Time”.

So is it resonating with voters? Are they paying attention? And how do you interpret the message, clearly aimed at Academy voters, that the studio is trying to send for its Best Picture nominee?

It’s Time for a serious film about slavery to win Best Picture?

It’s Time for any film about the black experience to win Best Picture?

It’s Time for a film with a largely black cast, theme, black director and screenwriter to win?

It’s Time those Academy members who have resisted seeing it, because they think it’s too brutal, stick their screener in their DVD player and watch.

Whichever way you look at it, it’s an effective and simple way of getting the film’s message across. Two words, that’s all.

heatnightposter2The ad not only can be interpreted as shining a light on a very dark period in American history, it also shines a light on the Academy’s fairly dismal record of awarding its top honor to any movie about the black experience. In fact there has been only one Best Picture winner in the 85 years the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been handing out Oscars that even remotely qualifies in this regard. In 1968, In The Heat Of The Night , a murder mystery set against the racial divide in a small Southern town, won Best Picture and four other Oscars just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King (the ceremony was even postponed two days out of respect). The votes were in before1968_view_editing_ashby_jewison_actor_steiger_picture_mirisch the King assassination, but it seemed then that “It’s Time” would have been an appropriate way to describe that victory. However, outside of lead actor Sidney Poitier — who also co-starred in another racially themed Best Pic nominee that year, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner —  this movie  featured a largely white cast, white producer, screenwriter and director (Norman Jewison).

12 Years A Slave  makes a much bigger statement: The film has been honored widely with Best Picture awards from the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the Producers Guild (in a tie with Gravity), and most recently BAFTA, but the victories have been narrow (it went 1 for 7 at the Globes, 2 for 10 at BAFTA and 3 for 13 at the CCMAs). Co-producer/director Steve McQueen has made impassioned speeches at all of them, though apparently it’s not time for a black director to win as he has lost consistently to Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron in that category at most precursor awards (ironically, there was a Picture/Director split the year of In The Heat Of The Night, with The Graduate’s Mike Nichols winning the directing awards over Heat’s Jewison). Read More »

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OSCARS: How The Adapted And Original Screenplay Races Could Go Down To The Wire

Pete Hammond

When it comes to predicting who will take home Oscars for adapted and original screenplay, don’t lookAwardsLine to the recent Writers Guild Awards for any significant clues. Usually the guild will give some indication of which way the winds are blowing among the scribes of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, even though the 372-member writers branch has different criteria and eligibility rules than the more stringent 20,000-plus WGA membership. The WGAs differ from other guild awards in not nominating any movies not made under their basic agreement or within guild guidelines. That isn’t a huge factor this year, as the Academy matched the WGAs’ nominee list in original screenplay and chose three of the same adaptations (Oscar nominees 12 Years A Slave and Philomena were not allowed to compete in the WGAs). Lone Survivor and August: Osage County nabbed the other two nominations, although neither won. In fact, in a highly unusual result, the WGA winners, Her for original and Captain Phillips for adapted, have not been considered slam-dunks to pull off the same trick at the Oscars on March 2.

Related: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Writers Win 2014 USC Scripter Award: John Ridley, Solomon Northup

Spike-Jonze-Her-ss-14Phillips is listed as a 100-to-1 shot on betting website Gold Derby, … Read More »

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Academy Hands Out First Oscars, But You Need To Be A Scientific Whiz To Win One Of Them

Pete Hammond

One winner thanked “giant killer robots”. Another said, “When you see the next Michael Bay extravaganza it was all worth it”. And yet another called it “the Winter Olympics for geeks”.

the-academy-oscars-new-logo-1Welcome to the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Scientific & Technical Awards which were handed out last night during a surprisingly entertaining ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I have been to just about every different conceivable kind of Academy function over the three decades I have been covering Oscars but this was my first time at this event which the Academy has been doing in one form or another since they started handing them out in the Oscars‘ fourth year, 1930-31. I guess I always thought this might be a rather dull sort of thing to sit through. I barely understand how to get my emails so imagine a ceremony that is all about honoring the ILM Plume System, the Flux gas simulation system, the Zeno application framework, a thesis on the fundamental concepts of deep shadowing technology, the design of the Pneumatic Car Flipper or the Flying-Cam SARAH 3.0 system? And that’s just for starters in a show that handed out a LOT of Technical 86th Academy Awards, Scientific and Technical Achievement AwardsAchievement certificates, Scientific and Engineering Plaques and even a couple of real Oscar statuettes toward the end of the evening (Peter W. Anderson won one of those as recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer award this year). But there was a lot of spirit in the room and judging from the whoops and hollers that went for five guys in tuxedos going up to accept for the development of the ASC Color Decision List technology you’d think they just won Best Picture. “When I was a kid nobody told me if I wanted to win an Academy Award I should study mathematics,” one winner said wryly. Like I said this was an entertaining evening, particularly considering the geek factor. And the clips were great too, going a long way to shedding light on just what these unheralded wizards do for the movie industry. Read More »

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UPDATE: It’s Official – Lawyer Ken Ziffren Named New LA Film Czar

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 1:13pm PST

UPDATE, 1:13 PM: LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today made official what I exclusively revealed Saturday to Deadline readers: Hollywood heavyweight attorney Ken Ziffren will be the head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office. The card-carrying SAG-AFTRA member Garcetti said that Ziffren will be “a powerful leader in our fight against other states that are taking our jobs, and he will be aggressive about streamlining government so red tape doesn’t contribute to driving production away.” Ziffren takes over from former AMPAS president and studio exec Tom Sherak. who died January 28. See today’s full release below the original story.

Related: R.I.P. Tom Sherak

PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, SATURDAY PM: Los Angeles is about to get its second Film Czar. Mayor Eric Garcetti has decided on Ken Ziffren for the job he created last fall and the powerhouse entertainment attorney has accepted the gig, I’ve learned.  Ziffren will step into the position vacated by the death of the city’s first Film Czar Tom Sherak. The former AMPAS president and studio exec passed away from cancer on January 28. A formal announcement of Ziffren’s appointment to head the Entertainment Industry and Production office is expected to come from the Mayor’s office early next week, sources tell me.
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OSCARS: Academy Makes History Sending Screeners And Opening Voting In All 24 Categories To Every Member For The First Time

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 10:41am PST
Pete Hammond

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is jumping into the screener business. Big time. DVDs for Animated, LiveAcademy Awards Action and Documentary Shorts as well as Feature Documentary and for the first time, Foreign Language Film nominees are officially on their way to all 6,028 eligible voting members, according to an email sent to the membership Thursday afternoon from President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. So the Academy will soon have another 25 nominated films of various lengths to check out before casting their ballots. Voting opens next Friday and continues through February 25th.

Related: Academy Thanks Members For “Record” Oscar Voting Turnout

Although most Oscar voters are inundated with DVD screeners of movies during awards season, the Academy itself has always turned its back on the process refusing to provide studios and distributors with addresses of their members. Those companies have to get that information on their own and untitledconsultants with the goods make a lot of money. It’s certainly true that the Academy doesn’t prohibit the practice, which has obviously been in place for years, but they have never officially encouraged it, correctly preferring to urge members to try and see the films on the big screen if at all possible. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, on the other hand, actually facilitates mailing of Emmy screeners for networks and studios by  providing a complete list of TV Academy members to … Read More »

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