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Rundown Of Academy Awards 2012 Show?

By | Sunday February 26, 2012 @ 3:29pm PST

Here is the the 84th Oscar telecast line-up, according to popular Israeli film blogger Yair Raveh. I can’t confirm but he’s been right with his rundowns since 2009. All times are PST:

5:30 PM: Show starts, Billy Crystal’s opening number.
5:40 PM: 1st award – Cinematography.
5:43 PM: Art Direction.
5:52 PM: Costume Design.
5:54 PM: Makeup.
6:03 PM: Foreign Language Film.
6:07 PM: Supporting Actress.
6:20 PM: Editing.
6:23 PM: Sound Editing
6:26 PM: Sound Mixing.
6:33 PM: Cirque du Soleil
6:37 PM: Documentary Feature.
6:41 PM: Animated Feature.
6:49 PM: Visual Effects.
6:53 PM: Supporting Actor.
7:04 PM: Score.
7:08 PM: Song (expect a possible Muppet surprise here).
7:17 PM: Adapted Screenplay.
7:20 PM: Original Screenplay.
7:31 PM: Live Action Short.
7:34 PM: Documentary Short.
7:37 PM: Animated Short.
7:44 PM: Direction.
7:58 PM: In Memoriam.
8:07 PM: Best Actor.
8:15 PM: Best Actress.
8:27 PM: Best Picture.

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Oscars Scoop: George Clooney’s & Melissa McCarthy’s Moms To Be Spotlighted Pre-Show

By | Tuesday February 21, 2012 @ 6:26pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: This year’s producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer are expanding on a good idea from last year – “Mominees” – to make Hollywood’s biggest night more relatable. Once again, during the pre-show for the 84th Academy Awards, mothers of nominees will discuss insights into their kids. Featured will be George Clooney’s mom, Melissa McCarthy’s mom, Gary Oldman’s mom, plus others. ”Great fun,” an insider tells me. (Especially if they say anything that embarrasses their kids…) Last year, the Oscars also featured the nominee’s mothers who took to Twitter in the lead up to the Oscars and during the show. That’s when the term ‘Mominees” was first coined, and moms of James Franco, Jeremy Renner, Mark Wahlberg, Mark Ruffalo and others were enlisted. Those moms, too, were interviewed on TV for the Oscar pre-show.

For years Hollywood’s marquee names have been escoorting their moms to the Academy Awards. Winners’ speeches almost always thank their parents right alongside their agents, managers, and lawyers. In 2011, the opening monologue featured both Anne Hathaway’s mother and James Franco’s grandmother in cameos from their seats. (Hathaway’s mom critiqued her daughter’s posture, while Franco’s grandma expressed glee at the sight of “Marky Mark”.)  Abbd last year’s Best Director winner Tom hooper said in his acceptance speech: “Listen to your mother.” Looks like Grazer and Mischer took that advice to heart this year.

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OSCARS: 7 Features Compete For Makeup

By | Monday January 9, 2012 @ 12:56pm PST

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup category for the 84th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Albert Nobbs”
“Anonymous”
“The Artist”
“Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“The Iron Lady”

On Saturday, January 21, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre.

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2011 Movie Awards: Big Change, Big Chaos, Big Controversy, Big Academy Comeback

Pete Hammond

The 2011 movie awards  reflected the chaotic state of the motion picture business which was marked by uncertainty all year. Upheaval within the glacially slow-to-evolve Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences resulted in major changes. But an embarrassingly awkward stumble in selecting the producer and host of this next Oscar show put the brakes on innovation. So the powers-that-be sought comfort in tradition for the time being. With new leadership, new rules, and a stabilized Oscar show that promises a return to tradition rather than rocking the boat, the awards year is poised to close out 2011 with one of the most wide-open races in years. The showbiz community expects upheaval and controversy from within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes (more on that below), but not from the staid Movie Academy. Undoubtedly the biggest black eye for the Academy in 2011 was set in motion on August 4th when it was announced that director Brett Ratner would be joining Don Mischer as producer of the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Ratner was considered an off-the-wall choice, clearly aimed at shaking up the telecast in hopes of appealing to more popular tastes. Then Ratner announced his Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy would be the host despite all that actor’s own controversies at past Oscar shows. Just two months later Ratner resigned under pressure after making a gay slur during a Q&A for Tower Heist plus some sexually graphic remarks on Howard Stern’s radio show (reported first by Deadline). Murphy followed Ratner out the door the next day. To resolve the chaos that November 9th, mega-producer Brian Grazer saved the day by quickly stepping in to take the reins of the show with Mischer, and on November 10 the pair announced that 8-time host Billy Crystal had agreed to become Master of Ceremonies. Disaster averted. Even without that turmoil, early November was rough because of the sudden death of 14-time Oscar show producer Gil Cates.

But, frankly, 2011 started out poorly with the terribly reviewed 83rd Oscar show back on February 27th. At least everyone now agrees that hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco flopped as hosts hired to draw a younger audience. Although the ratings were fairly flat compared to the previous year, it was interesting to see even the Academy acknowledge the pair bombed once the critics spoke. For instance, at the Governors Ball immediately after the show, I spoke with several Acad honchos who seemed delighted with their view as part of the audience, with one very prominent Board member even telling me it was “the best show in years”. But it became hard to find defenders of the hosts or producer Bruce Cohen soon afterwards. Even Franco and longtime Oscar show writer Bruce Vilanch publicly sparred about it a month later.

The competition for Oscar itself started off as a lopsided affair with Sony’s The Social Network rolling over every movie in sight in the major metropolitan critics awards. Then the Critics Choice Movie Awards and the Golden Globes followed. But once Industry members beginning with the Producers Guild Awards had their say on January 22nd, Harvey Weinstein began to pull off a shocker. Soon The King’s Speech was rolling over the David Fincher-directed Facebook film. Producer Scott Rudin and Sony executives were glum-faced as they made a hasty retreat from the Bevery Hilton ballroom after the PGA Awards. In the lobby afterward, King’s Speech director Tom Hooper was almost giddy at the surpise win. That was just for starters as a slew of Industry awards followed including DGA, WGA, SAG, and BAFTA. By the time Oscar night came round, there wasn’t much suspense. Everyone knew the King would rule and the once and future King of the modern Oscar campaign — Harvey, of course — was back with his first Best Picture win for The Weinstein Company.

It wasn’t a complete sweep. Natalie Portman grabbed Best Actress for Black Swan while The Fighter took Supporting Actor for Christian Bale and Actress for Melissa Leo (who memorably dropped the F-bomb during her acceptance). The Social Network had to settle for three Oscars, the highest profile being Best Screenplay Adaptation for Aaron Sorkin.

The hubbub overshadowed the Academy’s announcement (on the show itself) that it was extending its agreement with ABC to air the Oscars at least another six years. That brings it to 46 telecasts on that network since the Oscars’ TV life began in 1953. The health of this long-term association was good news as the Academy needed some stability in light of a major announcement on April 7th of a big leadership change in the Academy’s paid staff. After 30 years, Executive Director Bruce Davis was retiring at the end of June. To replace him the Board brought in a surprise choice, Film Independent head Dawn Hudson who would take on the new title of CEO in a “partnership” with new COO Ric Robertson, Davis’ longtime No. 2 and presumed heir. How this new duo would learn to work together was anybody’s guess, and it still is a work in progress by all accounts. But Hudson has clearly taken the reins moving quickly on a number of issues and projects. Too quickly? Like we said the Academy is very slow to change so there have been bumps along the way and not everyone is happy with the pace. But even before Hudson officially arrived at the end of June, some significant changes were taking place.
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OSCARS: 15 Feature Films On VFX Shortlist

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films have been selected for consideration for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 84th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”
“Sucker Punch”
“Super 8″
“Thor”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“The Tree of Life”
“X-Men: First Class”

In early January, the members of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee, who selected the 15 films, will narrow the list to 10. All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the 10 shortlisted films on Thursday, January 19. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

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OSCARS: Stellar Work By Veterans May Keep Upstarts Out Of Supporting Actor Race

Pete Hammond

Although there are some young Hollywood turks trying to break through in an ‘Extremely Large and Incredibly Close’ race for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, 2011 may eventually become known as the year of the veteran. Acting legends with decades of iconic screen performances and Oscar winners dominate the field of frontrunners in one of Oscar’s most crowded and intriguing categories. With names like Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow, Ben Kingsley, Nick Nolte, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Albert Brooks, Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hanks and Robert Forster in the mix, the pedigree of contenders for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role is formidable indeed. But could a relative newcomer like Jonah Hill or Patton Oswalt swoop in and take the whole thing? Here are the major players.

FRONTRUNNERS
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, BEGINNERS

Plummer turns 82 this month and is enjoying a major resurgence in a film acting career that goes back to 1958, when he made his debut in Stage Struck. Since then his fine screen roles have often been eclipsed by his own stage-struck ways with a number of memorable performances in the theater including a couple that won him Tony Awards. He only just received his first Oscar nomination two years ago for The Last Station, but with his touching role as a 75-year-old widower who finally decides to come out of the closet, he may grab the actual statuette this time. An effective, if small, supporting role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo only adds to his chances.

MAX von SYDOW, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
With a life spent before the cameras for over 60 years, the 82-year-old von Sydow is an acting legend whose work ranges from several landmark Ingmar Bergman films to the harrowing Exorcist. Yet like Plummer (who is just eight months his junior), he incredibly has been Oscar-nominated only once, for 1987’s Pelle the Conqueror. But his touching and completely wordless performance as a distant grandfather in Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close could finally be his ticket to the Kodak stage.

KENNETH BRANAGH, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Another acting icon, Laurence Olivier, is also part of this year’s supporting race — but in this case he is being channeled by none other than Olivier fan and student Kenneth Branagh, who portrays Olivier in 1956 as he was directing and starring with Marilyn Monroe in The Prince And The Showgirl. Branagh has tackled many Olivier screen roles like Henry V and Hamlet (he even directed the remake of Olivier’s Sleuth), but taking on the actual persona of the man himself was particularly challenging and puts him — and his mentor — right back in the Oscar race.

BEN KINGSLEY, HUGO
Already an Oscar winner for 1982’s Gandhi, Kingsley effectively takes on the role of film pioneer Georges Melies in Martin Scorsese’s valentine to the early days of movies. With a total of four nominations split evenly between lead and supporting categories, Kingsley is an Academy favorite who once again creates a memorable character, one with great meaning for the filmmakers who will be voting. Will being the only serious candidate in a 3D movie also separate him from the pack?

ALBERT BROOKS, DRIVE
Until now Brooks was only known for comedy — those he wrote and directed and those he starred in. He was even previously Oscar-nominated for his hilarious supporting turn in 1987’s Broadcast News. But none of his previous work prepared critics and audiences for his nasty, villainous Bernie Rose in the noirish thriller Drive. But his brilliant interpretation and cool new screen persona should deservedly win him a second Oscar nomination.

BRAD PITT, THE TREE OF LIFE
Pitt is a double threat this year. He’s already won the New York Film Critics award given for both Moneyball and The Tree Of Life, and ever since its debut in Cannes, Terrence Malick’s Palme d’Or winner has sparked Oscar buzz for Pitt’s effectively low-key change-of-pace and critically acclaimed work as a 1950s-era father. Could he become one of those rare thesps who score both supporting and lead actor nominations in the same year? Don’t bet against it.

JONAH HILL, MONEYBALL
Pitt’s co-star in Moneyball who was best known for his antics in movies like Superbad enjoyed his first taste of awards buzz for shedding several pounds and shrewdly underplaying the whiz-kid genius who comes up with an inexpensive formula to create a winning baseball team. Going head to head with Pitt, Hill proved he could hold his own just as he did in last year’s lesser-known Cyrus.

KEVIN SPACEY,  MARGIN CALL
Although the film was well-received at its Sundance debut, Margin Call was not considered a major awards contender, even by its own distributor. That has changed with several early awards and Oscar talk for two-time winner Kevin Spacey, who has spent a lot more time in recent years running London’s Old Vic rather than on his own film career. A change-of-pace performance won raves and could put Spacey back in the front row at the Oscars.

PATTON OSWALT, YOUNG ADULT
Perhaps best known as a stand-up comedian and the voice of the lead rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille, Oswalt is quickly establishing his credentials as a serious actor, first in the critically acclaimed indie film The Big Fan and now on a larger scale as a lonely man whose life was defined by an unfortunate incident in high school. His scenes opposite Charlize Theron are awkward, funny, poignant and memorable. Read More »

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OSCARS: 10 Animated Shorts Advance

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 84th Academy Awards®. Forty-four pictures had originally qualified in the category.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

Dimanche/Sunday, Patrick Doyon, director (National Film Board of Canada)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors (Moonbot Studios LA, LLC)
I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat, Matthew O’Callaghan, director and Sam Register, executive producer (Warner Bros. Animation Inc.)
La Luna, Enrico Casarosa, director (Pixar Animation Studios)
Luminaris, Juan Pablo Zaramella, director (JPZtudio)
Magic Piano, Martin Clapp, director and Hugh Welchman, producer (BreakThru Films)
A Morning Stroll, Grant Orchard, director and Sue Goffe, producer (Studio AKA)
Paths of Hate, Damian Nenow, director (Platige Image)
Specky Four-Eyes, Jean-Claude Rozec, director and Mathieu Courtois, producer (Vivement Lundi!)
Wild Life, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, directors (National Film Board of Canada)

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles. Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2012.

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OSCARS: Screen Credits, Music Submission Forms Due 5 PM Thursday, December 1

By | Wednesday November 30, 2011 @ 11:50pm PST

Beverly Hills, CA – Thursday, December 1, is the deadline to submit official screen credits (OSC) and music submission forms to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for 84th Academy Awards® consideration.

For a feature film to be considered for the 2011 Awards, the film’s distributor or producer must file an OSC form with the Academy by 5 p.m. PT on December 1. If a feature film is released in Los Angeles County in 2011 and the completed OSC form is not submitted by the deadline, the film will be ineligible for Academy Awards in any year. OSC forms are available online only, at http://aiwosc.oscars.org/aiwosc/. Information about submission and feature film eligibility can be obtained by contacting Credits Coordinator Howard Loberfeld at (310) 247-3000, ext. 1113, or via e-mail at hloberfeld@oscars.org.

For an achievement to be considered in the Original Score or Original Song category, the principal music writer(s) for a feature film must submit an official music submission form and other materials by 5 p.m. PT on December 1. To request music submission materials, contact Dave Hanson at (310) 247-3000, ext. 1151, or via e-mail at dhanson@oscars.org.

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HAMMOND: ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Artist’, ‘Paris’ Try To Buck Oscar’s Prejudice Against Comedy; HFPA Says ‘The Help’ Is Not Funny

Pete Hammond

Dying is easy, comedy is hard. Someone said that, right?

Judging by the paltry number of “pure” comedies that have won Best Picture Oscars in the past, apparently the Academy doesn’t think it’s hard at all. But could this actually be the year comedy will once again get its due in the Best Picture race? Will we ever see another genuine laugher taken seriously? “It’s crazy when you see what these great comedy people do,” says Bridesmaids producer Judd Apatow. His film was a huge surprise summer hit and has one of the highest critics ratings on Rotten Tomatoes with 90% fresh reviews. That’s a lot better than many dramatic contenders that pundits take more seriously as true Oscar pictures. Broad, hit-’em-in-the-gut comedy is almost always dismissed.

Apatow told me he was really surprised when Bridesmaids started to become part of the awards conversation this year but now believes they have a shot, at least in some categories — although not daring to dream of Best Picture yet. “We’re very hopeful about Melissa McCarthy in supporting. (Co-writer and star) Kristen Wiig  should get recognition  too. It’s very hard to do what she does,” Apatow said, adding that he thought Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover (which Apatow did not produce) should have been recognized a couple of years ago for the “perfect supporting part” but was obviously overlooked.

Further proving disrespect for comedy in the Acad, Apatow himself was dissed even to become an Academy member until finally getting the invite in 2008. Considering the Academy’s usual reluctance to reward the genre, Wiig is shocked they are even in the hunt, but Bridesmaids is the only movie Universal is significantly campaigning this year. “It’s nuts,” she said. “Recently we were looking at our original draft and thinking the fact people are even talking about it in this way is very strange. But I think ultimately it’s about the story and characters. You have to care about them or you’re not going to care about the movie whether it is comedy or drama.”

Bridesmaids is also hoping for recognition as a Best Picture Comedy or Musical nominee in the Golden Globes, where it actually does have a realistic chance of making the cut (The Hangover actually won). Many have called for the Academy to institute separate categories to honor comedy, like the Globes have always done, but it has never flown.

It is not hard to see why.

Often there’s a very gray line between what constitutes a comedy in the first place.  The Hollywood Foreign Press lets studios determine which categories they want to be in but has final say. In other words, if a studio tries to squeeze J. Edgar into comedy because there is less competition, forget it. This year, there has been lots of discussion among distributors about what constitutes a comedy. Fox Searchlight initially debated whether to enter its George Clooney starrer The Descendants in the Comedy or Musical category because there are definite laughs, but the dramatic elements ruled the day and it is submitted as a drama. Same with Sony’s Moneyball, which had some TV ads with quotes calling it “hilarious.” In the end, it wasn’t that hilarious — it’s in drama.

On the other hand, DreamWorks officially submitted The Help in comedy or musical even though it has some very heavy dramatic moments. On Monday, an HFPA committee rejected it in comedy and determined it would compete as a drama, where it will go head-to-head with Disney/DreamWorks’ other big hopeful, War Horse (assuming both get nominated, as seems likely). It’s not surprising: At a recent event I attended, a lot of HFPA members were voicing concerns about having to judge The Help as a comedy. The film was indeed initially sold by Disney and DreamWorks with an emphasis on its lighter elements, and past Globe winners in the category such as Driving Miss Daisy were similar in tone. Still, that would have meant Viola Davis would compete in the Best Actress-Comedy or Musical category, and no matter how you slice it, her character — a civil rights-era maid — just wasn’t that funny. Other entries that remain in the category that border comedy and drama are Focus Features’ Beginners and Summit’s 50/50, both dealing with main characters with cancer; Paramount’s Young Adult; and The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn. But the placement seems logical, and their chances against stiff competition in the drama categories would be considerably lessened. Last year, Focus entered the dramedy The Kids Are All Right in the comedy categories and bagged Globes for both the picture and Annette Bening. Read More »

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ABC Asking $1.6M-$1.7M Per 30 Seconds During Oscarcast, About On Par With 2011

By | Monday November 14, 2011 @ 6:07pm PST

OSCARS: Brian Grazer Steps In To Produce Show With Don Mischer
OSCARS: Billy Crystal Set As (New) Host

The dust has barely settled from the turmoil that last week engulfed the Academy Awards cermonies for 2012, and word is out that ABC is asking from $1.6 million-$1.7 million for 30 seconds of ad time during the 2012 telecast. That’s about the same as or a bit less than the $1.7 million the network sought for the same amount of time for the 2011 show.  The commotion over the departures of producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy had little to do with pricing, which was established weeks ago according to Ad Age’s MediaWorks blog. Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal quickly filled those slots. Back in 2009, prices for Oscar ads dropped to about $1.3 million because of the recession, ratings performance and other factors. Current asking prices haven’t fully restored Oscar’s luster to 2008 levels when 30 seconds of time went for about $1.8 million. Read More »

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OSCARS: Billy Crystal Set As (New) Host

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 1:48pm PST
Mike Fleming

Hammond: Billy Crystal Rides To Oscars Rescue — Again!
Tom Sherak: “We’re Weeks Ahead Of Schedule”

UPDATE: The Academy has confirmed to me that Billy Crystal is locked as host.

EARLIER: Well, that didn’t take long. Billy Crystal will be the host of the Academy Awards for the ninth time. Crystal, who has been public about his desire to come back to the Oscars, was the first candidate approached by Don Mischer and Brian Grazer and he said yes right away, I’m told. This comes a day after Eddie Murphy bailed as Oscar host following the resignation of Brett Ratner as producer. Grazer just replaced him last night. They certainly wasted no time in putting the show back on track.

While bringing back Crystal doesn’t do much for the Academy’s recent efforts to inject the awards with young talent (despite last year’s Anne Hathaway-James Franco train wreck), Crystal certainly brings a level of comfort after all the turbulence of the past week.

Crystal has tweeted the news, and here’s what he said: “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”

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Tom Sherak On Oscar Drama: “We’re Weeks Ahead Of Schedule”

By | Thursday November 10, 2011 @ 11:40am PST
Mike Fleming

Despite a week of turbulence that saw his Oscarcast producer Brett Ratner resign over an inexplicable barrage of inappropriate public statements, followed shortly after by Ratner’s host Eddie Murphy, Academy president Tom Sherak wants the industry to know that the Oscars are going to be just fine.

“If this happened in January, I would be hiding under my desk,” Sherak told me. “Look what has happened. We have a new producer in Brian Grazer, who met last night with Don Mischer for an hour and a half, so that they can get going on finding a host. We are actually two and a half weeks ahead of where we were last year, in terms of naming a host.”

Sherak, who I’ve always known to be a glass-half-full kind of guy, said he saw some bright spots despite the turbulence. Said Sherak: “In all my time here, I’ve never gotten as many emails from the constituency, after Brett resigned, all saying, how can I help? What do you need me to do? If you need a producer, let me suggest this person. Or, I can go after that person for host. It’s like we woke up a sleeping giant.”

One of those who came forward was Grazer, Sherak said. “He said, ‘I want to help.’ So I said, ‘What if I asked you to become the producer.’ He said, ‘Ask me.’ I did, and he said, ‘I’m in.’ ” Read More »

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OSCARS: Brian Grazer Will Step Into Breach And Produce 84th Academy Awards

By | Wednesday November 9, 2011 @ 3:55pm PST

The Academy Of Motion Pictures & Arts Sciences just made official what Deadline reported first: that Hollywood A-lister Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards with TV veteran Don Mischer. And there’s more news on this fast-breaking story: As much as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped that Eddie Murphy would reconsider his exit as host, insiders tell me that Imagine Entertainment co-founder Brian Grazer has moved on this afternoon. ”We are not going back to him. No way,” they say. Grazer, co-founder of Imagine Entertainment with Ron Howard, first told Hollywood around 1 PM that he committed to the gig. The Academy now owes Brian big-time for stepping into the breach left when Brett Ratner exited because of the scandal which the director created around himself. Immediately, Grazer began calling around town looking for an Oscar host and speed-dialed the top agencies checking availabilities for big talent. (See HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?)

For Grazer to take on the Oscars demonstrates a dedication to the movie community that the Academy won’t soon forget. Grazer’s name frequently comes up for the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, the most coveted Oscar honor for anyone in Hollywood, and the producer almost received it for the 76th annual Oscars. So maybe sooner rather than later it should be Grazer’s turn for the Thalberg.

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy President Tom Sherak announced today that Academy Award®-winner Brian Grazer will join Don Mischer as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards. This will be the first time Grazer has produced the Oscar® telecast.

“Brian Grazer is a renowned filmmaker who over the past 25 years has produced a diverse and extraordinary body of work,” said Sherak. “He will certainly bring his tremendous talent, creativity and relationships to the Oscars®.”

Read More »

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HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?

By | Wednesday November 9, 2011 @ 12:23pm PST
Pete Hammond

OSCARS: Eddie Murphy Pulls Out As Host
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?

SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer

I received an email this morning from a longtime Academy member who wrote, “Brett’s a brat … but really!!! Next one to go would be Eddie… No loss.” Well, Academy member, you got your wish. In this swiftly moving story, host Eddie Murphy has followed Brett Ratner out the door of this year’s Oscars. I wrote last night that I would be surprised if he did this, thinking his professionalism would trump any perceived loyalty to Ratner, who directed him in Tower Heist and tapped him for his first hosting gig for the Academy Awards. Apparently not. We can now add this to the ever-growing list of unfortunate incidents in Murphy’s checkered history with Oscar. He made waves when he presented Best Picture in 1988 saying he almost turned down the invititation to do it and then chastized the Academy for their poor track record in nominating African Americans. In 2007, he bolted from the Kodak Theatre after losing Best Supporting Actor for Dreamgirls to Alan Arkin, giving the impression whether true or not that he was a sore loser. And now he’s left again before even setting foot onstage, this time leaving the Academy in the lurch. One person with intimate knowledge of how production schedules and Oscar shows work tells me this morning, “It’s a sh*t show right now. They … Read More »

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OSCARS: Eddie Murphy Pulls Out As Host

HAMMOND: Murphy Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos
Will The Academy Consider Brian Grazer?
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?
SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer
Eddie Murphy Agrees To Host Oscars; Producers Tell Film Academy It’s Official

UPDATED: Only three months before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC are almost back to square one. Hours after Brett Ratner tendered his resignation as Oscar producer in the fallout of racy-bordering-on-vulgar public comments and the use of an anti-gay slur, Eddie Murphy has stepped down as host. The move is not entirely unexpected given that Ratner was the one who brought in his Tower Heist star Murphy, and Deadline noted that Ratner’s exit Tuesday gave Murphy the perfect chance to bow out. But it still gives the Academy a big headache having to replace a producer and now a host only three months before the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony. On the other hand, Murphy’s acceptance of the gig was abnormally early. With the two departures, the only key member of the creative team remaining in place is veteran TV producer Don Mischer, who had been originally paired with Ratner. As for potential replacements, Brian Grazer, who produced Tower Heist, is being rumored as a candidate to succeed Ratner. Here is AMPAS’ statement on Murphy’s departure:

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. “I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” said Sherak.

Commented Murphy, “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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Comments 435

Who Should Replace Brett Ratner?

Mike Fleming

After Brett Ratner’s spectacular self-inflicted demise as Oscarcast producer, the Academy gets down to business finding a replacement to join Don Mischer in picking up the pieces. I’ve heard speculation ranging from Scott Sanders (who was eyed before Ratner got the nod) to previous Oscar producers Joe Roth, Adam Shankman and Laurence Mark. Harvey Weinstein offered an out-of-the-box suggestion last night. Weinstein, who has sat through plenty of Oscarcasts, suggested drafting Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and getting Tina Fey involved in the writing. The idea is they would make Eddie Murphy comfortable and give the broadcast a strong comic focus. I’m not sure Michaels or Fey could spare the time away from their weekly show obligations in New York, though. Who should produce the show?

Comments 59

HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now

Pete Hammond

SHOCKER: Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer

The Brett Ratner situation is a sad mess all around. Sad for Ratner, sad for the Oscar show that he was to co-produce, and sad for the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. The Academy in the past has weathered its share of nightmares surrounding the show, but never something quite like this. In 1967, an AFTRA strike nearly KO’d the telecast until the walkout was settled just three hours before showtime. Similarly, a WGA strike in 2008 was threatening until it was settled a few days before the airdate. In 1968, the show was nearly cancelled after Martin Luther King’s assassination but postponed for two days instead. In 1981, the Oscars were delayed a day after President Reagan was shot. As for participants, actors have refused to accept the statuette for myriad reasons, and winners have gone to political extremes in their speeches, but the Ratner situation is a new one for AMPAS.

The interesting thing is that outcries for Ratner’s ouster targeted the Academy even though Ratner’s offensive remarks were made during appearances in support of his new film Tower Heist for Universal (Friday night’s Q&A at the Arclight, where he uttered the gay slur, and Monday morning’s radio phone interview with The Howard Stern Show, where he made derogatory comments about women.) His words had nothing directly to do with the Oscars, yet it points to the power of the Academy Awards as an iconic symbol.

Ratner was an unorthodox choice to produce the Oscars. But he was part of a movement begun by the Academy last year with the selection of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco to make the show more young, hip, and different. Hathaway and Franco bombed. But I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Ratner for this year’s TCM Classic Movie Film Festival in April and found him exceptionally bright, informed, and savvy. I think this real movie fan would have produced a great show. I know he had great ideas for it. Despite his terrible judgment and stupid actions this week, I am sorry we won’t get the chance to see what he might have done. Ratner already was shaking things up. He changed talent bookers by hiring Melissa Watkins Trueblood over 38-year Oscar booking veteran Danette Herman, who is now just a consultant. The writing staff also is all new, and many are Ratner cronies; I doubt they’ll stay on board. That’s not a huge problem since the Academy hasn’t officially announced the team yet.

On the other hand, host Eddie Murphy also has his writers attached and they will stay on board — if Eddie stays on. Murphy, co-starring in Ratner’s Tower Heist, has appeared on many talk shows lately saying how much he is looking forward to hosting the Oscars as well as giving props to Ratner, who talked him into taking the gig. There is some media speculation that, with Ratner gone, Eddie will follow him out the door. I see that as highly unlikely — and I also don’t think Ratner himself would let that happen. Granted, Ratner’s exit caused a big ripple inside Hollywood. But Murphy’s exit would be a high-profile PR nightmare inside and outside Hollywood, creating the impression to the general public that the Oscars is in complete chaos.

So what happens now? Read More »

Comments 40

SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer

Mike Fleming

Brett Ratner Explains His Oscar Resignation
Academy Statement On Brett Ratner’s Resignation
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?
Brett Ratner Told Oscar Duo: “I Can Do This”

UPDATE: The Academy is not commenting beyond the statement it issued about Brett Ratner’s resignation, but I’m told that a search will begin quickly for another producer to join Don Mischer in putting together the Oscarcast. The expectation is at the moment is that Eddie Murphy will hang in as Oscar host. It is also clear that while AMPAS president Tom Sherak pledged to back Ratner as long as he didn’t screw up again, a chorus of Academy members, actors and filmmakers were so upset by Ratner’s homophobic comment and his lewd comments on the Howard Stern radio show that the Academy was under extreme pressure to drop him.

EARLIER: Brett Ratner has stepped down as Oscar producer, after a slew of dumb public statements that put the Academy in a terrible situation. This comes hours after Academy president Tom Sherak said he was standing behind Ratner despite his using the word “fag” in a Q&A to promote Tower Heist, and speaking graphically about his sex life on the cable TV show Attack of the Show and also in a phone interview with the Howard Stern show. From what I’m told, the Academy board met and backed Sherak’s decision to stand behind Ratner, but the filmmakers finally threw in the towel. I doubt anybody tried to talk him out of it. Now, the biggest question is: Will Eddie Murphy stay on as Oscar host? I wouldn’t be surprised that after Tower Heist‘s lackluster box office and all this maelstrom, Murphy might wonder why he ever said yes in the first place, and he has a perfect out. The other question is, who will become the new Oscar producer? The Academy will make its list quickly. I’m told that they were looking closely at New York stage producer Scott Sanders before they made the surprising decision to give the job to Ratner. Maybe they will go back to him or one of the other producers who’ve done the show before, a list that includes Joe Roth and Laurence Mark. Read More »

Comments 301

Academy’s Statement On Brett Ratner’s Resignation

SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer
Brett Ratner Explains His Oscar Resignation

Beverly Hills, CA – This morning, Brett Ratner submitted his resignation as a producer of the 84th annual Academy Awards to Academy President Tom Sherak. Ratner then issued an open letter to the entertainment industry in which he explained his decision.

“He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Sherak said. “Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent.”

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