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OSCARS: The Good, The Bad And The Uggie — Hammond Analysis

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 4:29am PST
Pete Hammond

In the end it was mostly predictable. The only stunning surprise of the 84th Annual Academy Awards was that somehow The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo came out of nowhere to win the Best Film Editing award, something no pundit I know of saw coming. But it served to stop the early momentum of Hugo, which at one point was leading front-runner The Artist  5 awards to 1. Was Harvey Weinstein nervous that there could be an upset brewing over his heavily favored film? No. When I caught up with him at the Governors Ball, he said he was just enjoying the show and not keeping tabs. Eventually Artist caught up and won all the big ones — the Oscars everyone was predicting including Best Picture, Best Director for Michel Hazanavicius and Best Actor for Jean Dujardin in addition to music and costumes. I am told The Weinstein Company plans to expand the little-film-that-could to 2000 screens by next weekend in what should be a real test of Oscar’s drawing power at the boxoffice. So far after a little over three months the film has just grossed over $30 million domestically. Weinstein will hope to double that with an Oscar bounce.

Among those congratulating Weinstein was Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux, who proudly championed the film at last May’s fest, even switching it from out of competition to a competition slot, where it won the first Best … Read More »

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UPDATE: Sacha Baron Cohen Coming To Oscars As ‘The Dictator’ After Ban Lifted: “Academy Have Surrendered”; Set-Up?

By | Friday February 24, 2012 @ 7:06pm PST


EXCLUSIVE 2ND UPDATE, 4:30 PM: I have just confirmed with Sacha Baron Cohen’s publicist that the comedian will walk on the Red Carpet in character as The Dictator and then attend the Oscars show. He’ll do it with the full approval of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which initially pulled his tickets and banned him from the 84th Academy Awards being held on Sunday evening.

EXCLUSIVE UPDATE 3:30 PM: Here is how Sacha Baron Cohen, in character as The Dictator, just responded to the Red Carpet and Oscars invite from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which earlier this week had banned him the 84th Academy Awards:

“VICTORY IS OURS! Today the Mighty Nation of Wadiya triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood. Evil and all those who made Satan their protector were vanquished and driven into the Pacific Sea. What I am trying to say here is that  the Academy have surrendered and sent over two tickets and a parking pass! TODAY OSCAR, TOMORROW OBAMA!”

EXCLUSIVE 3PM: I can confirm that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has reversed course and now invited Sacha Baron Cohen to stage his movie publicity stunt on the Red Carpet and then attend the Oscars show. “Does Sacha need a changing room?” the Academy in a conciliatory tone asked one of the actor’s reps today.

Baron Cohen had planned to walk the Red Carpet in character as Middle Eastern General Alladeen and then change into a tuxedo to attend the awards show as himself as part of Paramount’s contingent for Best Picture contender Hugo. (Baron Cohen has a showy role in it.) Paramount, the studio behind The Dictator, tells me that Baron Cohen has not yet decided to go. Others like Oscars telecast producer Brian Grazer and Academy President Tom Sherak are telling media that the comedian is attending and even part of the show. Which begs the question whether the Academy helped orchestrate this publicity stunt with Baron Cohen and Paramount all along. After all, Sherak is a paid marketing consultant for — you guessed it — Paramount.

The studio today denied this was a set-up and claimed to me that the Academy “relented because of all the bad publicity you generated for them to lighten up”. Also Sherak at one point called to “threaten” Baron Cohen’s agency WME, according to an insider who said, “He said this was bad for the Academy and we had to stop Sacha from doing this.” And Baron Cohen’s publicist Matt Labov just explained to me: “The Academy caught wind of our idea and pulled his tickets. They went to war with us, made threats, got embarrassed, panicked, and reversed their position only after the press backlash portrayed them as stodgy. Plain and simple, that’s how it happened.”

But that doesn’t jibe with, for days now, Academy Awards insiders have been saying privately that not only is Baron Cohen coming to the show but also will be featured. Tom Sherak told Good Day LA on Thursday morning that Baron Cohen will be at the Oscars. And Grazer told USA Today: “He’s coming. In fact, he’s even part of the, there’s a piece — he’s part of the show… as himself.” (“He’s in a few of the clip packages for Hugo,” an insider tells me. “I think that’s what Grazer is referencing.” Others tell me Baron Cohen is also one of telecast’s vignettes directed by Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller featuring actors and filmmakers talking about their love of movies.)

This publicity stunt for Baron Cohen’s movie and presumably also Oscars show ratings may backfire on the Academy. Because Sacha in character publicly described, no matter how humorously, the Academy of Motion Picture ”Arts & Zionists”. Not only is this a Muslim-Jew issue. But Baron Cohen also fired up the hot button issue of Hollywood and Jews. Let me just say that, because of this, Deadline Hollywood received many anti-Semitic comments about showbiz. (We deleted these comments on the grounds they were disgusting.) Read More »

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OSCARS: Tony Bennett Set To Perform At Governors Ball

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 10:40am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Tony Bennett will perform at the Governors Ball, the celebration that will follow the 84th Academy Awards® presentation on Oscar Sunday, February 26, Academy President Tom Sherak announced today. ”Tony Bennett is that rare artist who truly reaches across generations,” said Sherak. “Welcoming him to the Ball is an honor and privilege.” Bennett will perform for the Ball’s 1,500 guests, which will include Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and performers, and other luminaries. The Ball will be held in the Grand Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center®.

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OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Final Academy Award Predictions In All 24 Categories

By | Thursday February 23, 2012 @ 7:44am PST
Pete Hammond

OSCARS: AwardsLine Nominees Profiles

Oscar Predictions 2012Take this forecast with a grain a salt, built as it is on buzz, precursors, Oscar history, nominee pedigrees, educated guesses, instinctive hunches and conversations with voters. Enter your office pool with confidence but don’t blame me if you lose to some grandmother who hasn’t been to a movie since Gone With The Wind. As the race has entered its final phase I have tweaked this forecast from an earlier article in Issue 7 of AwardsLine (see all of our AwardsLine editions here). This is where I have landed for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Predicting Oscars is not an exact science, and this year some of the categories are kinda tricky, but if you count on The Artist to make the most noise on Oscar night you’re likely to turn up in the winners’ circle. That is unless the common wisdom of collective punditry is completely wrong this year. Now wouldn’t THAT make for an interesting show? Read More »

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OSCARS: Meryl Streep To Present

By | Wednesday February 22, 2012 @ 11:02am PST

Oscars 2012 PresenterBeverly Hills, CA – Two-time Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Streep, who is nominated for her lead performance in “The Iron Lady,” has been nominated a total of 17 times – the most for any performer in Oscar history. She won a Supporting Actress Oscar in 1979 for her role in “Kramer vs. Kramer” and the Best Actress award in 1982 for her role in “Sophie’s Choice.”

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OSCARS: Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis Named Presenters

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 10:34am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Ferrell and Galifianakis recently wrapped shooting for “The Campaign.” Galifianakis, who was recently seen in “The Muppets,” will be making his first Oscar show appearance.

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OSCARS: AwardsLine Nominees Profiles

By | Monday February 20, 2012 @ 11:30pm PST

This 2011-2012 awards season ushered in the permanent print publication AwardsLine. There were seven editions covering producers, directors, writers, actors, actresses as well as the animation, foreign language, music, special effects, cinematography, and other categories. (Click here to download PDFs of the print issues.) Below are links to AwardsLine’s stories on this year’s Oscar nominees that ran on Deadline ahead of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 5 PM Tuesday deadline to receive Oscar ballots.

Producers Q&As
Thomas Langmann — ‘The Artist’
Jim Burke & Jim Taylor — ‘The Descendants’
Scott Rudin — ‘Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close’
Chris Columbus & Brunson Green — ‘The Help’
Letty Aronson — ‘Midnight In Paris’
Rachael Horovitz & Michael De Luca — ‘Moneyball’
Kathleen Kennedy — ‘War Horse’
The Weinstein Co’s Harvey Weinstein
Fox Searchlight’s Steve Gilula & Nancy Utley

Demian Bichir — ‘A Better Life’
George Clooney — ‘The Descendants’
Jean Dujardin — ‘The Artist’
Brad Pitt — ‘Moneyball’
Gary Oldman — ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’

Glenn Close — ‘Albert Nobbs’
Viola Davis — ‘The Help’
Rooney Mara — ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’
Michelle Williams — ‘My Week With Marilyn’

Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo — ‘The Artist’
Jessica Chastain – ‘The Help’
Melissa McCarthy – ‘Bridesmaids’
Janet McTeer – ‘Albert Nobbs’
Octavia Spencer – ‘The Help’

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh — ‘My Week With Marilyn’
Jonah Hill – ‘Moneyball’
Christopher Plummer — ‘Beginners’

Michel Hazanavicius — ‘The Artist’
Alexander Read More »

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OSCARS: Michael Douglas To Present

By | Monday February 20, 2012 @ 10:11am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Two-time Academy Award® winner Michael Douglas will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Douglas won an Oscar for his lead performance in “Wall Street” (1987) and a Best Picture award as a producer of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975).

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OSCARS: Tina Fey Set As Presenter

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 11:15am PST

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Tina Fey will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Fey came to prominence as a regular on “Saturday Night Live” and currently stars in, produces and writes for the Emmy®-winning comedy series “30 Rock.” Her film credits include “Date Night,” “Baby Mama” and “Mean Girls.” Fey recently became a best-selling author, with her memoir, Bossypants, having sold over one million copies.

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OSCARS: Miss Piggy And Kermit To Present

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 10:53am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Hollywood icons Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy will present at the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today. This is the Muppets fifth appearance at the Academy Awards. They are fresh off their triumphant critical and box office success in Disney’s “The Muppets,” which is Oscar nominated for Best Song, “Man or Muppet.”

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OSCARS: Cirque Du Soleil To Perform

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 8:20am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Oscar® telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have invited Cirque du Soleil to present a wholly unique and exclusive performance for the 84th Academy Awards, it was announced today. The one-time-only event will feature the largest Cirque cast ever assembled for a single act.

The performance will be accompanied by music by Academy Award®-nominated composer Danny Elfman, who scored the music for Cirque du Soleil’s IRIS, A Journey through the World of Cinema™. More than 50 international artists from Cirque du Soleil productions around the world will converge in Los Angeles on Oscar Sunday to bring the dynamic showcase to life.

The act marks the second time Cirque du Soleil has performed during an Academy Awards telecast. The troupe’s first appearance, at the 74th Academy Awards, sparked discussions about creating a permanent show at the Kodak Theatre and resulted in the creation of IRIS.

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OSCARS: Ben Stiller Tapped As Presenter

By | Thursday February 16, 2012 @ 10:04am PST

Oscars Presenters 2012Beverly Hills, CA – Ben Stiller will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Stiller will be playing the title character in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which he is also directing, and will be seen next in “Neighborhood Watch.”

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OSCARS: ‘Help’s Emma Stone To Present

By | Friday February 10, 2012 @ 10:03am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Emma Stone will present at the 84th Academy Awards® ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. It will be her first time presenting on the show. Stone appears in the Best Picture nominee “The Help.”

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OSCARS Q&A: ‘The Artist’s Jean Dujardin On His Doubts About The Black-And-White Silent Film And The Joy Of Taking Risks

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:28pm PST

It’s easy to pass off Jean Dujardin’s swath through awards season as the stuff manufactured by Weinstein machines. Hardly so. When SAG awarded its best acting prize to the unknown French actor Stateside over Hollywood fave George Clooney, it was clear that the status quo voted with their hearts. The Academy felt the same way, bestowing upon him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. While Clooney morphs his dramatic essence from Michael Clayton through The Descendants, Dujardin — a Clooney-type in his homeland — trumps with his bygone set of dancing and mime skills. Dujardin admits he was daunted by challenges of portraying Hollywood silent film actor George Valentin — a composite of Douglas Fairbanks and Gene Kelly, topped off by the French actor’s uncanny Clark Gable mug. But he’s just being modest: Check out his previous collaboration with The Artist helmer Michel Hazanavicius, the 0SS 117 franchise, and it’s obvious that the actor’s physical talents were already there, the local comedy a mere warm-up before his graduation to silent black-and-white shtick. He spoke with AwardsLine’s Anthony D’Alessandro via a translator about his awards-season run.

AWARDSLINE: I understand you were hesitant before committing to The Artist because it was a silent movie. What worried you?
DUJARDIN: The unknown. I didn’t know King Vidor’s movies and I was worried that Michel would ask me to uphold the entire film. I didn’t want to do a sub-category of Chaplin. Chaplin is unique, but there’s only one. Michel said “No, I want to make a love story.” And he told that with the camera. But there was a short week of doubt of “What am I getting myself into?” Then I regretted ever thinking like that because I never think of the completed film, rather the adventure of what I’m about to live. Read More »

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OSCARS: Academy To Host Portrait Exhibition Of This Year’s Acting Nominees

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:34am PST

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is opening a portrait exhibition of this year’s Oscar acting nominees, titled “Out Of Character”, on Saturday. The 20 photos, shot during the two weeks following the Oscar nominations by portrait and set photographer Douglas Kirkland, will be housed in the organization’s Grand Lobby Gallery at its Beverly Hills headquarters. They will be on display through March 18 and available beginning today at The lobby exhibit will be open Tuesday-Friday from 10 AM-5 PM and weekends from noon-6 PM. Admission is free.

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OSCARS: Penelope Cruz To Present

By | Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:02am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy Award® winner Penélope Cruz will present at the 84th Academy Awards® ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Cruz won an Oscar in 2008 for her supporting role in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” She was also nominated for her lead performance in “Volver” (2006) and for her supporting role in “Nine” (2009).

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Who Wants A Jean-George Sandwich?

By | Tuesday February 7, 2012 @ 11:23am PST

84th Academy Awards Nominees Photo

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84th Academy Awards Nominees Photo

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 6:38pm PST

(Names below): Nominees for the 84th Academy Awards assembled this afternoon after the annual Nominees Luncheon for their class picture — the last time most of them will be together in one place before the Oscars ceremony February 26 at the Kodak Theatre:

Seated (left to right): Matthew Butler, Julie Anderson, Kira Carstensen Tsunami, Mark Bridges, Demián Bichir, Lon Bender, Michael De Luca, Danfung Dennis, Rebecca Cammisa, Joe Berlinger, BЋrЋnice Bejo, Letty Aronson, Max von Sydow, Kirk Baxter and J.C. Chandor.

2nd row (left to right): Erik Aadahl, Ron Bochar, Deb Adair with guest, Amanda Forbis, Stan Chervin, Glenn Close, Jean Dujardin, George Clooney, Chris Columbus, Marshall Curry, Ludovic Bource, Terry George, Patrick Doyon, Gigi Causey, Erik Nash, Jeff Cronenweth, Viola Davis, Siedah Garrett, Dave Giammarco, Lisy Christl, Nick Dudman, Enrico Casarosa, Sam Cullman, Kenneth Branagh and Scott Benza.

3rd row (left to right): Peter Devlin, Jim Burke, Brandon Oldenburg, William Joyce, Eugene Gearty, Victor Ray Ennis, Dan Lemmon, Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli, Scott Farrar, John Frazier, Oorlagh George, Sarah Green, Nat Faxon, Brunson Green, Swen Gillberg, Stefan Gieren, Dede Gardner, Robert Gould, Mark Coulier, Robin Fryday, Dante Ferretti, Rick Carter, Laurence Bennett and Michael Barnathan.

4th row (left to right): Daniel Barrett, Emmanuel Lubezki, Daniel Junge, Grant … Read More »

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OSCARS: Cameron Diaz To Present

By | Friday February 3, 2012 @ 10:37am PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Cameron Diaz will present at the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer announced today. Diaz will be seen next in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Gambit.”

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