BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Producers Branch Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has determined the individual nominees for “Amour” in the Best Picture category for the Oscars. They are producers Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz.
The Documentary Branch Executive Committee also has determined the individual nominees for four of the contending films in the Documentary Feature category:
Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon
“How to Survive a Plague”
David France and Howard Gertler
“The Invisible War”
Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
“Searching for Sugar Man”
Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn
The nominees for the fifth film in this category, “5 Broken Cameras,” were previously announced.
Oscars® for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and will be hosted by Seth MacFarlane live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.
OSCARS: Academy Sets Details For Final Vote; Online Voters Given New Deadline To Switch To Paper Ballots
With final voting for this year’s Oscars set to begin February 8 with ballots due in by 5 PM on February 19, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is entering into Phase 2 of their first year allowing online voting. As this column has repeatedly chronicled during the nominations phase, it was a little rocky, with many members vocally complaining about being “locked out” and unable to get into the online voting system using the passwords and/or security codes they were assigned. For some it took several tries at voting before succeeding, but as Academy President Hawk Koch told me on the morning of the Oscar nominations, the voter turnout was among the highest the Academy has ever seen, eclipsing the past several years.
But in an attempt to make sure every voter has the option they want and knows what they are getting into, the Academy today sent an email from Koch, CEO Dawn Hudson and COO Ric Robertson to members who had originally opted in to vote online. It offers them the option to switch to the traditional paper ballot for the finals. It read in part, “because some online voters had issues with the necessary security measures during the nominations voting, we are offering members who registered to vote online the option of requesting a paper ballot for the final round of voting”. Those Phase 1 online voters who want to make the switch must either call the Academy’s 1-800 number provided or email the membership department no later than Friday, February 1. That part is bolded in the Acad’s email just in case somebody out there doesn’t get the message.
The letter urges voters using online or paper to expedite the process this time. “We encourage all members to vote early so you have ample time to complete the process,” it reads. “We will be communicating with you throughout the voting process, and you can expect to hear from us again shortly with very specific instructions and information”.
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will make its official debut at the Sundance Film Festival with an event featuring new member Will Packer, producer of such films as last year’s Think Like A Man, 2007’s Stomp The Yard and the 2009 Beyonce Knowles starrer Obsessed. Co-presented with The Blackhouse Foundation, an organization that promotes black filmmakers at festivals around the country, the inaugural Sundance edition of “Academy Conversations” will take place at 3:30 PM January 19 at Park City’s Buona Vita. Blackhouse Foundation chairman Brickson Diamond will moderate the discussion. In addition to the aforementioned Sony/Screen Gems movies, Packer’s Rainforest Films produced and self-distributed successful urban titles including 2000’s thriller Trois, which spawned two sequels and launched the feature directing career of Stomp The Yard’s Sylvain White. Saturday’s event will be followed by a reception “addressing such initiatives as Awards qualification rules, filmmaker engagement, educational programs, festival grants and membership” with Academy execs Randy Haberkamp, Patrick Harrison and Torene Svitil in attendance.
‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Does “Not Advocate Torture” Says Sony’s Amy Pascal After Oscar Voter Reveals He Won’t Vote For Film
Sony Co-Chairman Amy Pascal today responded strongly in the negative to accusations from AMPAS member David Clennon that the Oscar nominated Zero Dark Thirty promotes the acceptance of torture. Clennon said Friday that he would not be voting …
OSCARS: Academy President Defends Controversial Online Voting, Says More Members Voted Than Ever Before
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Hawk Koch vigorously defended the Academy’s controversial new system of online voting when we spoke right after the nominations announcement this morning. He said despite the kinks and some complaints from members about difficulty in voting electronically that it actually brought out the biggest voter participation the organization has had. “It’s the first time, yes. But the first time you do anything of course there’s problems. Remember the first time you walked? Of course there’s problems. But the truth is we’ve had more people voting for nominations than we’ve ever had. And we had more people in each branch, every single branch had more people voting. So that portends two things. One, the online voting worked and two, everyone was excited about the films this year. They wanted to make sure and vote. And three, the questions about ’oh has everybody had a chance to see all the films?’ Our members saw all the films,” he said breaking with the long held tradition of keeping Academy voter turnout totals secret and not commenting at all on the subject. There had been speculation the Academy’s sometimes-rocky transition into online voting might actually depress voter participation but Koch said that definitely turned out not to be the case according to their internal figures.
Of course the Academy has been under strong scrutiny for the way it has conducted its first foray into the perilous waters of online voting, something every guild and most voting organizations have been doing for the past few years. Because the Academy (which could be a prized target for hackers) has to be overly concerned about security and the threat of having their system infiltrated they devised a “foolproof” system involving the use of codes and passwords and special phone numbers for member verification which confused some members and angered others. Others I spoke with over the course of voting seemed fine with it, so it was a mixed bag. The Academy tried to accommodate everyone and extended the registration period by two weeks after the first Deadline article appeared on November 28, and later changed its rules to automatically send a paper ballot for those who didn’t register online. As more members expressed frustration about being “locked out” of the system the Academy took another unprecedented step and even extended voting by one day to January 4th instead of the original announced date of January 3rd.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that nine scientific and technical achievements represented by 25 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at The Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday, February 9, 2013.
Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2012. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.
The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are:
After reporting on all the problems regarding the registration process for the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ initial foray into …
The field of contenders for a slot on the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist is rich this year, filled with films hailing from confirmed directors and the work of names less familiar Stateside. There are a record 71 qualifiers in total. The Academy will announce its shortlist of 9 on Friday before whittling that down to 5 come nomination day January 10. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of 15 films that have made some of the biggest waves this year.
U.S. distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Michael Haneke’s tale of an aging couple facing the end of life is a love story that has touched countless viewers, critics and awards bodies since it debuted in Cannes, winning the director his second Palme d’Or after 2009’s The White Ribbon. Amour was recently voted best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association with star Emmanuelle Riva tying for best actress. Her partner in the film, Jean-Louis Trintignant, had renounced film acting 16 years ago, but Haneke’s longtime producer Margaret Menegoz tells me, “After Jean-Louis saw (Haneke’s) Caché, he told me if a director like someone who did that film ever asked him to take on a movie role, he would return.” And so he did. Haneke first spoke to Menegoz about the project years ago, “But we also had White Ribbon in mind which was planned as a TV miniseries. I really wanted to do a shorter version for the cinema… and I found it was better to do that first because it took a lot of physical stamina. Amour was a small film where all the actors would be in the same room, so I said, ‘Even when we’re 100 we can still do it’.” After White Ribbon, Haneke started and stopped on Amour, says Menegoz, before shooting in February and March of 2011. This year, Sony Pictures Classics acquired it ahead of its Cannes debut. Although it’s been suggested to her that Amour is the film to beat in the foreign race, Menegoz says, “We were almost certain for White Ribbon. You never know.”
U.S. distributor: Adopt Films
Barbara won Christian Petzold the directing Silver Bear in Berlin this year. Producer Florian Koerner von Gustorf began working with the director in 1993 when he produced Petzold’s graduate film and laughs, “We started on small budgets that became bigger.” Barbara is set in 1980 East Berlin and stars Nina Hoss as a doctor banished to a small country hospital far from freedom in the west. “Christian wanted to show East Germany 10 years before the wall came down, but this is more of a love story than a political story… What he’s figured out as a director is it’s good to tell a different story than the one people focus on.” After its Berlin bow, Barbara won the top prize at the German Film Awards. It opens in the U.S. on December 21 via Adopt Films whose Jeff Lipsky tells me, “I always had an obsessive determination to open a movie on December 21 because in L.A. or N.Y., when Christmas or New Year’s land on a Tuesday, you’re dealing with two consecutive 5-day moviegoing periods and you have the potential for box office gold. Once we saw all four films (we acquired in Berlin) we felt strongly that the most obvious audience-friendly movie was Barbara.” Koerner von Gurstoff says, “I’m curious how this all will end. It would be so cool just to be nominated and give an incredible push to Christian’s career, but of course everyone who is nominated wants to win, so why should I think different?”
The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Men in Black 3”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
On Saturday, January 5, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists 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.
Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.
Grace Jones, Kristen Scott Thomas and Miranda Richardson were amongst the guests to hear tributes to the Oscar-winning filmmaker (Original Screenplay for Talk …
OSCARS: Academy Shifts Plan So No Eligible Voter Is Left Out Despite Today’s Paper Ballot Registration Deadline
UPDATE, 4:20 PM: The Academy has sent out its official release that voting for Oscar nominations for its 5,856 voting members opens at 8 AM PT on Monday and closes at 5 PM PT on January 3. The full announcement is posted below.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, 11:43 AM: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences announced this morning that 282 films have qualified for the Best Picture Oscar. But the more interesting story is how their members are going to be able to vote for them as the Academy ushers in a new era. With voting beginning Monday and running through January 3rd for the 2012 Oscars — via online (a first for the Academy) or the old-fashioned traditional paper ballot used for the past 84 years — the deadline for registering for one of those paper ballots is today. Online ballot registration continues through January 2nd. The Academy extended the one-time registration period for requesting a paper ballot for two weeks from the original November 30th cutoff after my Deadline column ran on November 28th explaining members would be out of luck if they didn’t pay their dues and apply by the 30th. At the time, I explained it was like a Presidential election where you must register to vote by a certain date. An Academy executive told me they received numerous calls of concern about how it was going to work. But this week, I started hearing from informed sources that the Academy has come up with a solution to satisfy everybody.
Now, virtually on the eve of its first major foray into the world of electronic voting, the Academy has confirmed to me there is even more of an effort being made to make sure that no member who has paid their dues will be disenfranchised. Firmly answering those concerned members, the Academy is going the extra step of automatically sending a paper ballot to every dues-paid voting member who did not, for whatever reason, register to choose either online or paper ballot options by today’s deadline. In other words — have no fear. As long as your dues are paid up, one way or another next week you will be getting a ballot even if you did nothing. Whew.
Flight director Robert Zemeckis was sitting next to me at Saturday’s fourth annual Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences saluting Hal Needham, George Stevens Jr., D.A. Pennebaker, and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian winner Jeffrey Katzenberg. He asked what I thought the news coming out of tonight would be. I quickly replied, “It’s become a very big place, perhaps the biggest in the season, for Oscar campaigning.” No question since this very important event is taking place closer than ever to official Academy voting (which begins December 17th and runs through January 3rd – 10 days earlier than usual). So contenders were out in force. What better place to be seen than in a room full of Academy voters? “Now it begins. This is the first really big one of the season,” one studio marketing executive said about the very impressive turnout.
Zemeckis noted the heavy studio presence making a big difference in star turnout. Studios this year have more Oscar hopefuls than usual, and many potential nominees eager to talk were at those tables: Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal and co-star Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty); director Juan Antonio Bayona, stars Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland (The Impossible); Bradley Cooper, Jacki Weaver, director David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook); director Nicholas Jarecki, star Richard Gere (Arbitrage); John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt (Promised Land); John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, director Ben Lewin (The Sessions); writer Tony Kushner, director Steven Spielberg (Lincoln); director Tom Hooper, Producer Eric Fellner (Les Misérables); Omar Sy (The Intouchables); Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann (This Is 40); director Joe Wright (Anna Karenina); Kristen Stewart (On The Road); Amy Adams (The Master); Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas (The Dark Knight Rises); Writer Chris Terrio (Argo); Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained). And this is just a partial list.
Tarantino had come directly to the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood And Highland Center from his DGA screening of awards-buzzed Django Unchained. The violent spaghetti western homage had not screened in its finished form to an audience anywhere until Saturday afternoon – and it reportedly received two standing ovations, immediately erasing fears that it wouldn’t be ready in time for its Christmas Day release or that it was over-hyped as a serious contender. Twitter reaction is pretty ecstatic, too. Tarantino was clearly in a good mood, saying it was the first time he was able to screen the film to anyone other than the same “8 people” who’ve seen it over and over. “It was really great. They seemed to get all the jokes, and it played very well,” he told me. “You have to see this film,” Sony Chairman Amy Pascal told me as I came over to talk to Tarantino. (Sony has international on the film while The Weinstein Company retains domestic rights.) Film nerd that he blissfully is, Tarantino seemed just as excited when Governors awardee Needham came up to say hello. “I think Smokey And The Bandit is one of the best first-directed features to this day. And it is a real Southern film,” he said to the honoree he would later be toasting. Bradley Cooper, attending his first Governors Awards, noted how great it is that events like these allow people in the industry to talk to others they really admire and respect. Of course the real reason for this event was so the industry could take a good deal of time to honor their own with the highest awards they can bestow.
It made for quite an emotional night. Academy President Hawk Koch began the evening describing the congratulatory phone calls he made telling the four recipients that they had just been voted an Oscar. “I can still hear D.A. Pennebaker asking in disbelief, ‘Are you kidding?’ And George Stevens Jr saying, ‘Oh my God!’ True to form, Hal Needham gave a giant ‘Woo hoo!’ And Jeffrey Katzenberg, believe it or not, was speechless,” Koch said before describing what the evening (flawlessly produced by Don Mischer, Cheryl Boone Issacs, Charlie Haykel, Juliane Hare) was really all about. “The definition of who deserves an Honorary Oscar is simple. Each one of these people we are honoring tonight has made a difference to every single person in the film community, here in Hollywood, and all over the world. They have redefined our art form. They have changed how our movies are made and the impact on our lives.”
Next came a one-hour dinner break which became the Super Bowl of table-hopping as overworked awards consultants made sure their contenders were moving around the room for meets and greets with the Academy crowd.
After dinner U.S. Senator Al Franken came on to extoll the virtues of 87-year old documentary filmmaking legend D.A. Pennebaker, whose career spans music docs for the likes of Bob Dylan and David Bowie to penetrating political docs like 1960′s Primary and The War Room. One of his films even profiled Franken himself (2007′s Al Franken: God Spoke). “He was a pioneer in the use of cinéma vérité and the use of moving, even jerky, camera moves that has changed the way filmmakers shoot their movies. And his body of work has influenced us all, not just because he’s a great filmmaker but because his films feel so honest and true,” said Franken. Academy Documentary Governor Michael Moore echoed those sentiments in introducing Pennebaker by saying, ”Tonight we are honoring a man who invented the modern documentary.” The night’s first honoree,Pennebaker said referring to the Oscar, “Everyone here probably has one of these already… New York is a long way from here and people who make films in New York never even expect to go to Oscarland, much less even get one. And there’s also the distance between the 16MM and 35MM and the 70 film, so it’s a long stretch – and being here now I am trying to kind of deal with it. It’s hard.” His speech ran very long but was sincere so the audience went with it. But even he asked if he was overstaying his welcome.
Academy Governor Annette Bening introduced Honorary Oscar winner George Stevens Jr, saying there’s no single word that describes this man of many talents and strong Hollywood heritage who founded AFI and later the Kennedy Center Honors. “He has elevated the act of honoring others and made it a sublime art. He is a true enthusiast for the art of film in all its forms and we have all benefitted from his dogged determination to preserve, promote, and elevate filmmaking,” she said. Sidney Poitier then appeared to a standing ovation and spoke of his long friendship and association with Stevens Jr. who directed him in the TV movie Separate But Equal. Stevens spoke a terrific thank you, telling of going to the Oscars several times including once when his father won for directing A Place In The Sun in 1951. “On the way home I sat next to him in the car with the Oscar between us on the seat. He said, ‘We will have a better idea what kind of film this is in the next 25 years.’ He was talking about the test of time… I thank Dad for that and opening the door for me to a creative life that that has been so rich, and gifted me with so many wonderful friends in our profession,” he said as he clutched his brand new Academy Award.
Perhaps the liveliest presentation was to stunt man/director Hal Needham whom presenter Tarantino noted was only the second stunt person to receive an Oscar. (The first going to legendary Yakima Canutt.) Producer Albert S. Ruddy followed Tarantino with an absolutely hilarious tale about the making of a Needham film called Megaforce which caused major destruction on the Goldwyn lot where it was shooting. A very large missile built for the film inadvertently misfired sending a giant hole into an adjacent stage that then burned down. That didn’t stop Needham, who continued making the film despite personal injury and calamity. (“It was a very interesting movie. When you say ‘interesting’ as a producer it means it didn’t make any money,” Ruddy joked.) “You’re looking at the luckiest man alive and lucky to be alive,” said Needham in an emotional acceptance in which he also remembered his late mother. He told of early jobs including a fortuitous budget meeting with director Billy Wilder on his first gig as a stuntman, The Spirit Of St. Louis. “I want to thank the entire Hollywood community for allowing me to be a part of it.”
Last up was Katzenberg whose presentation also was responsible for the biggest starpower of the night (Spielberg, George Lucas and Kirk Douglas were among those sitting at his table) with both Will Smith and Tom Hanks offering their assessments of why Katzenberg is so successful as a philanthropist. “It’s not just a phone call, it’s the invitation to breakfast,” said a deadpan Hanks. “It’s the lunch that lasts exactly 47 minutes. It’s the follow-up phone call. It’s the visit to the office. It’s the tour of the facility. It’s the follow-up phone call. It’s a letter to remind you you had a phone call and a tour of the facility. And finally it is a thank you for the contribution you made.”
Then Hanks became serious about the humanity of Katzenberg
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended the deadline for members to request a paper ballot to vote for the 85th Academy Awards® by two weeks, to Friday, December 14. (The original date was November 30.) This is being done to ensure that all Academy members fully understand all the voting options that are available to them this year.
“In past years, once our members paid their dues, they would automatically be sent a ballot at the appropriate time,” said Ric Robertson, Academy COO. “With the introduction of electronic voting this year, members must either register to vote electronically or request a paper ballot. We’re extending the deadline for requesting paper ballots to make completely sure that no member who prefers this method misses the boat.”
The majority of Academy members have already registered to vote online. Those who have not may still register to vote through Wednesday, January 2, 2013. The voting period for nominations begins on Monday, December 17 and closes on Thursday, January 3.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Doug Cooper, Paul Debevec, Ray Feeney, Josh Pines, David Stump, Steve Sullivan, Bill Taylor and Beverly Wood have accepted invitations to join the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, bringing the Council’s 2012–2013 membership roster to 25.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Monday, September 24, 5 p.m. PT is the deadline for filmmakers to submit documentary features to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for the 85th Academy Awards®.
To be eligible, the documentaries must complete seven-day commercial runs in both Los Angeles County and the Borough of Manhattan in New York between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Films completing their qualifying runs after September 24 must still complete and submit all paperwork, including legal contracts, by the deadline.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Don Mischer will direct the 85th Academy Awards telecast, telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. This marks the continuation of Don Mischer Productions’ multi-faceted relationship with the Academy, which includes producing the Oscars red carpet pre-show and producing the annual Governors Awards.
“For a very long time, we had always hoped to work with Don Mischer,” said Zadan and Meron. ‘His talent and reputation are unsurpassed and we’re so happy he will be our collaborator on the 85th Academy Awards.”
Shortly after he was elected as the new President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences this summer I asked Hawk Koch what he thought of the three-year-old Governors Awards - specifically, if the Academy should make it a TV event. He immediately responded that he liked it the way it was. He said that, without the pressure of having to do a “TV show” they could honor the people “we want to honor”. Tonight’s Honorary Oscars certainly fit that definition. They are industry insiders who have been in the business a very long time and obviously distinguished themselves in their fields.
But for those who hoped against hope that this might be the year for one of the egregiously overlooked veteran stars like Gena Rowlands, Doris Day, James Garner, Angela Lansbury, Debbie Reynolds, Max Von Sydow and other deserving Oscar-less giants to finally get their due, think again. Each year letters are written and subtle lobbying takes place but to no avail: they were passed over again for the pat on the back from their peers, just like the late greats Tony Curtis, Glenn Ford, and Richard Widmark. For the first time since the Governors Awards were specifically spun off as their own event, no actor made the cut. (Lauren Bacall, Eli Wallach and James Earl Jones were honored for their acting careers in the three previous years). That seems a shame, not just because thesps are long overdue and it would throw Oscar fans a bone. No, the Academy went its own way with a list of very different but also very deserving winners.
The documentary branch came up with a real winner in D.A. Pennebaker, a legendary documentarian whose versatile work included groundbreaking classics in cinema verite, music docs, and notably in politics. How appropriate that, on a night where former President Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention, the filmmaker responsible for one of the most penetrating political docs ever, The War Room (which took an inside look at the 1992 Clinton campaign) should be recognized by the Academy. That film represents Pennebaker’s only Academy Award nomination – and he should have won. So this is sweet.