What if an organization held an awards contest — and almost nobody entered? That happened last night. Because the Los Angeles Press Club can’t honestly call its contest the “National Entertainment Journalism Awards” if Deadline Hollywood, Variety, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Forbes, Fortune, Time, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, the network news shows, and a myriad other national media outlets covering entertainment didn’t participate. Which is why the ”Bests” handed out Sunday evening were a big joke. Take, for instance, ‘Best Entertainment Publication’: it was a contest between The Hollywood Reporter and the Antelope Valley Press. And so on. For this and other reasons, Deadline Hollywood boycotted the NEJ awards this year after we were winners or finalists in several categories last year. In fact, that’s when I began taking these awards to task – and the press club officers often failed to answer or even acknowledge my concerns. In my opinion, the LA Press Club seems more interested in collecting entry fees and selling gala tables than in rewarding high standards of journalism or conducting a competition with integrity.
Deadline’s Pete Hammond and Awardsline’s Christy Grosz discuss Emmy Drama Series odds with ENTV YouTube channel host Brian Corsetti:
I’m embarrassed but honored by this unsolicited homage to our website made by filmmakers Carrie Certa (director/producer/writer), Patti Negri (co-producer/lead, Caitlin McCarthy (writer). Certa writes: “I hope you enjoy the film because we all had a blast making it.” Don’t miss the bonus scene in the credits:
I don’t want to start any rumors that Deadline Hollywood is going to buy Variety. But I am curious what the square footage is of Variety President Neil Stiles’ office… That Reed Business Information today announced it is beginning a process to sell Variety doesn’t come as a surprise to me. In fact, for the past year, I’ve been predicting it would go on the block in April 2012 based on my sources’ accurate information. (They told me Reed was merely waiting until the end of Oscar season and that “For Your Consideration’ ad revenue.) This follows the divestment by RBI of its other U.S. business magazines over the past three years. The last time Variety was put up for sale was when parent company Reed Elsevier trie to auction its b-to-b publishing unit RBI as a whole in February 2008 but took it off the block late that year citing the down global markets. But the price tag was unrealistically high. And now Variety is worth far less.
Reed can see that Variety’s best days are behind it: that awards advertising has slumped, that its paywall isn’t the panacea now that its print edition is too thin and its online posting not a priority, and that its showbiz reporting is increasingly inaccurate. (Just today, Variety wrongly claimed that The Hunger Games‘ midnight shows grossed $25M when the real number was $19.75M.) Why, just the other month, I was having a conversation with Neil Stiles where he admitted to me that a recent survey conducted by Variety showed that Deadline was the most consumed online trade by the entertainment industry: way more than Variety, and way way more than The Hollywood Reporter. (Stiles also confirmed to me he’s working without a contract but denies rumors that he’s on the way out and about to retire to his new home in Florida.) Meanwhile, other media outlets keep reporting that investor Guggenheim Partners wants to sell The Hollywood Reporter
Oscar Winners List 2012
Backstage At The Academy Awards
OSCARS: Who Wore What On The Red Carpet
OSCARS: Wins By Studio
OSCARS: Wins By Film
Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Ryan Seacrest: ‘The Dictator’ Spills “Kim Jong Il’s Ashes” All Over Red Carpet Host! (Ryan Unamused)
I’m live-snarking the 84th Annual Academy Awards for the outstanding film achievements of 2011 starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight. Comments will open when the show starts inside the Kodak Theatre. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your comment. WARNING: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.
This 84th Academy Awards show is supposed to be televised to more than 225 countries worldwide. So I’m tipping all you foreigners to something that Americans already know: The Oscars suck every year! And this year the Oscars are gonna suck worse than ever! Because we all know who’s going to win the marquee categories without a single envelope being ripped open.
So welcome to THE MOST BORING OSCARS EVER!
No one in Hollywood wanted to attend the Oscars this year. For the first time ever, instead of execs fighting for tickets, studio heads had to beg their spouses to accompany them. Why? Because the moguls and their lackeys couldn’t tolerate the prospect at sitting through the interminable telecast only to watch Harvey Weinstein gloat because he’ll win Best Picture et al for the second straight year. Everybody agrees that The Artist is a fun pic but hardly Best Picture Oscar worthy. And yet almost everybody voted for it anyway. I can’t even blame Harvey’s usual Oscar tactics (paying Academy members to fill out their ballots, redoing voters’ kitchens and bathrooms…). Hollywood only has itself to blame for Harveywood and bringing Harv back from the brink of extinction. So when he turns into a monster again, just remember that I said, “TOLDJA!”
The anti-Artist protest began as early as the Red Carpet tonight. It was summed up by Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of the book The Decendants on which the pic of the same name is based. She tweeted: The Artist people were in line in front of me, and now I smell like cigarettes and entitlement.” Bitter much?
Morgan Freeman welcomes everyone to the 84th Academy Awards.
Billy Crystal stars in a silent black and white movie. Like DUH!
Billy Crystal as Coma Woman! Full-on kiss with George Clooney. ABC just lost every Red State viewer and probably won the GOP presidential race for Rick Santorum. Seriously, Academy, you clearly don’t want families to watch, do you?
Nice touch that shtick with Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr. (I forgot he did that impression.) But Crystal’s plastic surgery is so off-putting. His face looks like it was ironed — and I swear I can still see the scorch smarks.
Since only 3 people saw most of the Best Picture Oscar contenders, of course Crystal’s movie reel had to include one popular pic — Mission: Impossible 4. My guess is Tom Cruise paid for the product placement of himself. (Not even M:I4‘s ads showed the actor!)
It’s Billy’s 9th time hosting the Oscars, and he’s already bombing with his jokes. “We’re here at the beautiful Chapter 11 theatre” — reference to the fact that the Kodak Theatre is bankrupt. Two home viewers got that.
Best line: “Enjoy yourselves. Because nothing can take the sting out the world’s problems than watching millionaires present each other with golden statues.” You won’t hear a truer statement all night.
Oh god, Billy’s mincing (i.e. singing and dancing) onstage. Make it stop! He’s 63 (some say he’s really 65) and could break a hip.
Did you notice why you can’t understand the lyrics to the songs he’s singing? Because of all the Botox, he can’t move his mouth.
Billy Crystal tweeted before the show, “Opening number changed. War Horse broke his leg, had to put him down.” Funnier line than anything onstage now.
Presenter Tom Hanks loves to pretend he’s The Mayor Of Hollywood. Onstage with that beard, he looks like the boat captain on a box of frozen fishsticks. (Isn’t he in a movie about a skipper vs the Somali pirates?)
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Robert Richardson
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
So about an hour before the Oscars began, show producer Brian Grazer phoned me. I think he was worried what I would say about him during my live-snarking. I assured him that I wouldn’t make him the scapegoat for the inevitably bad show. Instead, I told him that I’ll keep reminding you readers that it would have been far worse under Brett Ratner!
Grazer told me that the show’s theme tonight is to celebrate watching movies in theaters “as we rapidly ascend into VOD”. (That’s video-on-demand for civilians.) “Too many people are seeing movies alone or at home with 2-3 people. We want to celebrate the collective community experience which is my indelible memory of movies, magnified by seeing it with hundreds of people. Otherwise, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact,” Grazer told me. Exactly what about this show illusrates that?
Who wants to be in the middle of a J-Lo-Cameron Diaz sandwich? Too bad it’s wasted on the zillion men watching the Oscars. All gay, they’d rather fix both actresses’ awful hair.
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Bridges
First mention of Harvey Weinstein so far — many more to follow. Ad nauseum.
“The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland
Uh-oh, the men didn’t mention Harvey. They’ll never work again for The Weinstein Co. But no worries: everyone else in Hollywood will reward them!
These filmed vignettes were directed by Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller.
With all her money, Barbra Streisand couldn’t afford shampoo?
Hey, Adam Sandler won the most Razzies today for the worst movies of 2011 with 11 nominations for that abomination Jack & Kill. I mean, Jack & Jill.
Just remember, I’m not nasty. My fingers which do the typing are the meanies. Blame them, not me.
Sandra Bullock is great no matter what lame material she’s given. (From my peanut gallery: “Did Sandy Bullock get that outfit from the old Star Trek wardrobe? She looks like an alien ambassador.”)
Foreign Language Film
“A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran
First movie from Iran to win the Foreign Language Oscar. This guy went through hell and back. A shoo-in because of that. Reminds us that good movies can have great cultural impact. As long as Hollywood isn’t making them.
Christian Bale is even hunkier as he ages. Go ahead and make my day and scream at me, Christian. Let me be your whipping gal.
Actress in a Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer in “The Help” (Touchstone)
Foregone conclusion and well-deserved. Spencer reveals genuine emotion which is rare for this show. “Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room… Thank you Steven Spielberg for changing my life. Thank you Stacey Snider for changing my life,” she says as tears stream down her face.
She also thanked The Help‘s writer/director Tate Taylor who changed agencies last week (from WME to CAA). I heard from a good source that he told CAA he doesn’t care what he does next “as long as it’s not a movie about pussies in pain…”
Focus group on The Wizard Of Oz? Genius concept, poor writing. But I Love the Second City/SCTV reunion. Of course, no one under the age of 55 has even heard of it… Way not to attract a younger audience, Acad.
Justin Bieber was in the opening film? I missed him. I must have thought he was one of the Disney dwarves…
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
This pair won last year for The Social Network. Obviously, the Academy gives Oscars to people who survive working with that pain-in-the-ass David Fincher.
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
Surprising that Hugo is winning so many technical awards. On the other hand, with a cost of $200+M, it probably employed every member of every craft guild in Hollywood and beyond, and they all voted for it. The Graham King Films/Paramount 3D pic has only made domestic $69.3M and foreign $46.4M for a worldwide total box office of $115.8M. In other words, it’ll never earn out.
Was that Miss Piggy or Penelope Ann Miller? They both looked like pork sausage stuffed into their dresses. And Kermit looked as green as every movie executive during the last half of 2011 when the box office was slumping badly and their bonuses were vanishing.
Why the Cirque Du Soleil segment? Was this some sweetheart deal between the Academy and the Kodak Theatre which houses the Cirque show the rest of the year? What a stretch to make this have anything to do with the movie biz. It would have been more entertaining to watch the writer’s room.
Deadline Hollywood continues expanding staff to further position us as the primary 24/7 breaking news entertainment business website. Today we are announcing another important addition: new Los Angeles Film Editor Brian Brooks (email@example.com). He will work closely with New York Editor & …
Deadline Hollywood will undergo some under-the-hood server updates tonight. So we won’t be able to post between 8-10 PM PT and you won’t able to make comments. Thanks for your patience.
I hoped there would be fistfights. Or at least a chair thrown or two. “I tried but no one wanted to rumble,” Jeffrey Katzenberg told me later. Instead, Jeff Robinov, Tom Rothman, Rob Moore, Stacey Snider, Harvey Weinstein, Rob Friedman, and Katzenberg demonstrated remarkable restraint as they talked, joked, and mused about the Oscars process today. Everyone was ribbing everyone, and a few zingers landed as well. There were so many studio bigwigs at the first day of Deadline Hollywood’s two-day ‘The Contenders’ event (which continues Sunday at 10 AM with still more moguls) that it became a running joke. Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond opened up the 2 PM ‘Moguls Panel’ by saying, “This kind of event has never been held before. You realize that, if a bomb dropped in here, Amy Pascal would own Hollywood.” (The Sony Pictures chairman couldn’t attend.) The other studio chiefs came from hither and yon to attend ‘The Contenders’, and the packed crowd was obviously appreciative. ”Just sayin’ it doesn’t get any better than that. So rare in these times to have as august a group come together and discuss,” one of the attendees emailed me afterwards. That’s why our venue, the Landmark Theatre, pulled out all the stops, even reupholstering the seats in anticipation of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters and select Hollywood Guild members who’d sit in them. More details about ‘The Contenders’ in coming days. Next week we’ll be posting the unedited video of the ‘Mogul’s Panel’ which was moderated by Hammond and Deadline Film editor/NY Editor Mike Fleming. Here’s some of the studio chiefs’ 1 1/2-hour-long discussion:
DEADLINE: “This is one of the most wide open Academy Awards seasons. Does that make you more likely to launch an aggressive campaign?”
TOM ROTHMAN, Chairman/CEO Fox Filmed Entertainment: “Yeah, we have a lot of pictures between the studio and Fox Searchlight. But I am a contrarian about this. I think the whole notion of a race and spending is hugely exaggerated. I think voters know what they want to vote for once they’ve seen the movies. Our job is to get them to see the movies. To advance positions for them to think about. Ultimately the Academy is gong to decide. And I think in contrast to what is often said, ultimately I think it comes down to the movies. As it should.”
DEADLINE: “Can an aggressive Oscar” campaign hurt?”
ROTHMAN: “Well, I don’t know, I guess there’s some truth to it. I suppose it depends on what you mean by campaign. Academy Award winners sometimes gain a momentum because of a particular performance, and sometimes for length of career and all the work that has been done. Look recently at Paul Newman. You might not say [1986's The Color Of Money] was his best performance. But he won for his great body of nominations and work. I don’t really think, being on the stump so to speak, when in the privacy of the voting booth which is their living room that it necessarily makes a difference.”
JEFF ROBINOV, PRESIDENT OF WARNER BROS: “I’d say Mr. Weinstein proves him wrong every year.”
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, CO-CHAIRMAN THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY: “That is the only thing that counts, so Tom and I agree more than you think.”
ROTHMAN: “You have just witnessed an historic moment.”
WEINSTEIN: “I’ve said this a thousand times. The most important job is getting voters to see the movie. If they don’t see the movie, they won’t vote.”
DEADLINE: “But it’s not as good to see these movies on a small screen via screeners.”
ROTHMAN: “It’s hard to get them to see movies on the big screen. Planet Of The Apes is not as good on a small screen. Also the other thing I think is time. It’s hard because of the crush of films that all come in at the end. Voters try to be responsible, but sometimes they’re seeing multiple movies [in one day]. I agree with Harvey completely on the need to see films in the theater as they were intended.”
KATZENBERG: “We could end up with a horse against an ape this year.”
DEADLINE: “Isn’t that especially true of 3D films?”
JEFFREY KATZENBERG, CEO DREAMWORKS ANIMATIONS: “Yeah, just to sort of cut to the chase on this, we spend 4 years and $150 million on trying to make an exceptional experience in the movie theater. And use tools one of which is 3D. So we settle for the fact that many many many people will never see it this way.”
DEADLINE: “Is it best to release an Oscar contender earlier in the year and get out early like The Hurt Locker did in June?”
ROB FRIEDMAN, CO-CHAIRMAN/CEO SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT: “I think what everybody’s saying is it’s vital to get the movies seen. In this case having the film out in June gave more time to build critical and audience response.”
DEADLINE: “How did The Hurt Locker manage to compete since its revenue cycle was over by the time big Avatar came out?”
FRIEDMAN: “By the way, I did offer Tom [Rothman] and Jim [Gianopulos] the offer to trade revenue streams.”
ROTHMAN: “We thought about it.”
FRIEDMAN: “Actually we had not completed our revenue cycle. It was not out on DVD yet. It performed massively in those revenue environments. We knew that any kind of Middle East/Iraq film was challenging at best. It found its level theatrically, but was enormous in the home market.”
DEADLINE: “Tom, would you have been happy to forget awards for Avatar as long as could count the money?’
ROTHMAN: “I guess the technical answer to that would be fuck, yes. [BIG LAUGH] Yes, we were disappointed to lose. I think Robbie and I found ourselves waiting for our cars by the heater that night, and I congratulated him mightily. But I made my career being honest, and if I said I wasn’t brutally disappointed it would be an understatement. I think it is a common problem that happens. David and Goliath is a very good narrative. It is easy to root for the little guy. I understand that emotionally. Fox Searchlight’s Slumdog Millionaire was small and won. The Academy giveth, and the Academy taketh away. We had a good year with Fox Searchlight’s Black Swan and Best Actress last time. Those things happen. I do think, if I can get on my bully pulpit for a few seconds, that sometimes I think the craftsmanship and artistry in what is thought of as commercial cinema is not always given its proper place. Hurt Locker was ultimately thought the better film that year, that I understand. But when you look down categories, sometimes I think that other crafts get swept along. I was surprised and I would also say disappointed that the hard-working creative folks on Avatar were not recognized.”
DEADLINE: “Which other of your films were unfairly overlooked over the years?”
ROBINOV: “I think the quality of Harry Potter films has been somewhat discounted. Especially the last one. It feels like the type of movie that traditionally would receive some Oscar attention. Also Inception was a very bold movie, yet it was not rewarded for risk-taking, I do think there is some bias against Hollywood and the resources that it has. Nice when a movie like Titanic actually gets what it deserves.”
Deadline Hollywood has always tried to innovate while other showbiz media outlets merely imitate. So I’ve created a two-day event completely free to participants and invitees called ‘THE CONTENDERS’. Each studio and distributor, major and indie, will make a presentation of their Award contender films directly to invited Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences members and select Hollywood Guild members. Invitees can choose to come for one day or both days. This entirely free event includes gratis Buffet Lunch catered by premium Los Angeles restaurants Craig’s (Saturday) and The Capital Grille (Sunday).
‘THE CONTENDERS’ has filled up so fast that we’re now opening a second theatre to accomodate the crowd. Those current AMPAS members who didn’t receive their invitations for whatever reason (we had a lot of complaints about our mailing house) can still gain admittance by emailing RSVP@deadline.com or calling the RSVP line at 310-484-2572. As a last resort current AMPAS members can come directly to the Landmark Theatre on 10850 West Pico Blvd in Los Angeles Saturday and/or Sunday. ‘THE CONTENDERS’ event has received official notification that it falls within the Academy’s approved guidelines.
Current AMPAS and select Hollywood Guild members should know that entrance and seating to ‘THE CONTENDERS’ is on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis and is by no means guaranteed. No guests allowed. Each invitee must pass through security clearance and show Academy or Guild identification cards to gain admittance throughout the day. But we suggest you get to the theatre as early as 9 AM on Saturday and/or Sunday to ensure prime seating. Check-in starts at 10 AM and presentations continue until 5 PM. Be aware that the Mogul Q&A Panels at 2 PM Saturday (majors) and Sunday (indies) will fill up quickly.
Sponsors: Rentrak, Screen Engine, Paradigm, Dell, Barnes and Noble.
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