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 …
UPDATE: Sacha Baron Cohen Coming To Oscars As ‘The Dictator’ After Ban Lifted: “Academy Have Surrendered”; Set-Up?
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.)
Take 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?
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 …
OSCARS Q&A: ‘The Artist’s Jean Dujardin On His Doubts About The Black-And-White Silent Film And The Joy Of Taking Risks
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.
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.”