Listen to (and share) episode 25 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss the Motion Picture Academy’s big membership meeting, likely Oscar impacts of its new rules on foreign films; the Tony Awards nomination snubs of big Hollywood names; and the week’s new movies, including Baz Luhrmann’s sleek new take on The Great Gatsby and Sarah Polley’s autobiographical documentary Stories We Tell.
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is still basking in the glow of its successful Academy general membership meeting on Saturday in LA and NY. So Academy President Hawk Koch and CEO Dawn Hudson sent out a letter summarizing the event to the Acad’s nearly 6,000-person membership Tuesday night. …
UPDATE, 12:12 PM: After an initial denial, Deadline can now confirm that Seth MacFarlane did indeed get a call about returning as host of next year’s 86th Annual Academy Awards but has not given an answer yet. The big problem for MacFarlane, we are told by highly reliable sources, is his already full plate with a new Western comedy, A Million Ways To Die In The West, going into production soon as well as initial work on Universal’s sequel to Ted, which has amassed a worldwide gross of over half a billion dollars and is obviously a priority for the studio.
Despite saying after this year’s Oscars that he wouldn’t consider coming back, MacFarlane is mulling the offer but at this point isn’t sure he has the time to do it. For the 85th Oscar show, he was closely involved for four months, and that is a big-time commitment. The Academy, returning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and MacFarlane’s PR reps aren’t commenting so far, and neither is Academy president Hawk Koch.
MacFarlane’s comic Western film is being produced by the Ted team of Media Rights Capital and producers Scott Stuber and Jason Clark. MacFarlane, who directs, co-writes with Ted and Family Guy colleagues Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, also stars as a bumbling sheep farmer in the comedy said to be in the vein of Blazing Saddles. Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried and Giovanni Ribisi co-star.
PREVIOUSLY, SATURDAY PM: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron aren’t talking yet (an Academy spokesperson said they are too busy at the moment producing their History Channel production of Bonnie And Clyde). But after the surprise announcement this week that they would be returning to produce the 2014 Oscar show, gossip blogs like HuffPo and others started spreading the obvious rumor that their handpicked — and controversial — 2013 Oscar host Seth MacFarlane already has been asked to do the gig again next year. Not true at all, Deadline has learned from MacFarlane’s reps. And shortly after the 85th Oscar show was over MacFarlane himself swore off any ambition to do the show again next year – or ever (of course never say ever). So with the false rumors out of the way let’s discuss what is true about the Academy’s Zadan/Meron play this week.
Even as much of the industry was in Las Vegas at CinemaCon for the past few days (including myself) seeing snippets of films still in production that could possibly turn up as Oscar contenders, the normally rigid Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences surprised us all by announcing 2013 show producers Zadan and Meron would be returning to produce the 2014 show as well, 11 months from now. Normally this is the first duty of an Academy President to choose after elections are held in August, and since current one-term President Hawk Koch will not be that person, it was quite unexpected to see him delivering this news in April, just a month and a half after the last show and before a new President would have any say in the matter, something Nikki specifically expressed shock at in her story on Tuesday.
After talking to numerous Academy insiders and board members this week who were directly involved in the process that led to this early bird choice, the word that comes up over and over is “continuity”. Other awards shows such as the Tonys, Grammys and even Emmys tend to go back to the same producers year after year, but as one former Academy President told me the Oscar show producing chores have lately been done “trial by fire”. Since the late Gil Cates produced his 14th and final Oscarcast in 2008, there has been a new team of producers every single year. The Board, which I am told was very much behind this decision, agreed that “continuity”, the kind they had in the Cates era, is important. That’s another reason the Academy has already announced show dates for both 2014 and even 2015 quelling any speculation the Oscars would move any earlier than the last Sunday in February (due to the Winter Olympics the 2014 show will be a week later on March 2).
Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Hawk Koch broke today’s news naming its 86th Academy Awards producers — a rerun of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron – because I’d received a tip this morning and was …
They say you can’t “buy” an Oscar, but that would be a lie. As they do every year, the studios just spent millions in pursuit of them, and Hollywood’s elite seem to covet them more than their first-born. But exactly how much is an Oscar worth? If Tuesday’s latest Nate D. Sanders auction is any indication, it’s a lot.
Screenwriter Charles MacArthur’s 1935 “Academy First Award”, won at the 8th Annual Academy Awards for Best Story for The Scoundrel, sold today for $106,231 While not anywhere near a record for an Oscar statuette, it’s pretty remarkable considering this one was tarnished and had a cracked head and base as well as visible repair done to a break at the ankles. This ‘ol Oscar clearly had weathered a few storms since being presented to MacArthur (he shared the credit with Ben Hecht) on March 5, 1936. The fact it did not come for a major classic film or wildly famous recipient makes the sale even more impressive.
In case any more recent winners are looking to make a fast buck for their Oscar, be warned that a sale like this for any Oscar post-1950 is completely illegal. That is when the Academy started making winners sign an agreement that they or their heirs could not sell their Oscar without first offering it back to the Academy for the paltry sum of $1. Of course, this hasn’t stopped the practice even for those statuettes, and it has been estimated that at least 200 Oscars have been sold in the past and I would guess that a great number of them are post-1950. With this kind of black market in Oscar statuettes, it is obvious that not everyone with the coveted gold man on their mantel actually won it — or was at least related to a winner. But while the Academy may frown, the business of buying and selling Oscars, even as damaged as MacArthur’s, is still a very big one.
Listen to (and share) episode 19 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Our awards columnist and host David Bloom discuss the possible impacts of the Motion Picture Academy’s new Oscar schedules for 2014 and 2015, and the continued refusal of the Foreign Language branch of the Academy to change how it operates. They also talk about this week’s notable films, including the shoot-’em-up G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Stephenie Meyer’s latest book-to-film adaptation The Host, and Pete’s pick of the week, The Place Beyond The Pines, with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Monday it would shift the 2014 Oscars to March 2 and out of February in a move that avoids a clash with the Winter Olympics’ closing ceremony. Although …
The First Lady isn’t losing sleep over criticism she’s received over her satellite appearance at the Oscars on Sunday. And she said she’s not surprised the stunt garnered quite a bit of attention, given today’s pervasive 24/7 …
Listen to (and share) episode 15 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Awards Columnist Hammond and host David Bloom look back at the lessons learned from this year’s Oscar season and the schedule changes that helped transform it. We also look at the hard career lessons some previous Oscar winners have learned after picking up their statuettes, and which early contenders might start lining up for next year’s season.
The Academy leadership may have felt pretty good about the Oscars’ boost in ratings over the 2012 and 2011 ceremonies, but plenty of other folks weren’t too happy with Seth MacFarlane’s hosting. California Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, both Democrats who lead the Legislature’s women’s caucus, have written Academy President Hawk Koch and requested that the organization disavow MacFarlane’s behavior. “On Oscar night, when Hollywood seeks to honor its best, Seth MacFarlane’s monologue reduced our finest female actresses to caricatures and stereotypes, degrading women as a whole and the filmmaking industry itself,” the lawmakers wrote. “From topical jabs about domestic violence to singing about ‘boobs’ during a film’s rape scene, Seth MacFarlane crossed the line from humor to misogyny.” Author and award-winning creator of HBO’s Girls Lena Dunham wasn’t pleased either. In tweets she suggested that critics who claim Anne Hathaway hurt the feminist “cause” should save their “bad attitudes for the ones who aren’t advancing the cause” who “aren’t always, or mostly, women. Case in point: I saw your boobs“.
Related: Nikki Finke’s 2013 Oscars Live Snark
MacFarlane wasn’t the only source of complaints. The always closely watched “In Memorium” homage to people who have died over the past always leaves people out.
On Sunday you read Nikki Finke’s live-snark of the Oscars, which staked out a fairly clear position on how she felt about the show (sample: “How can everyone associated with tonight have such awful taste in material?”). Here’s an alternate view by Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond (spoiler alert: …
Conventional wisdom is that Best Picture Oscar winners enjoy a 35% bump in theatrical grosses for the week after the show. But today Rentrak announced which titles had the largest box office growth since nominations were announced on January 10. Sure, Argo took home the gold. But Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour experienced a 1,250% increase and Annapurna Pictures/Sony Pictures’ Zero Dark Thirty earned a 1,570% increase. Rentrak numbers below include gross domestic totals from Sunday, January 6 (before nominations were announced on January 10) until Sunday for all nine Best Picture rivals:
On his show following the Oscars last night, Jimmy Kimmel debuted the sequel trailer to the Movie: The Movie trailer from last year’s post-Oscar show on ABC. Kimmel’s BFF Oprah Winfrey plays the U.S. president in the 7-minute skit, which also features Channing Tatum, Rachel Weisz, Samuel L. Jackson, Bradley Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Salma Hayek, Gerard Butler, John Krasinski, Kerry Washington, Matt Damon and Bruno Mars.
Even as tonight’s Governor’s Ball was winding down, Ben Affleck was still off in a corner of the room celebrating his Argo‘s most unlikely Best Picture victory in becoming only the second film in 80 years to win the top prize without even a nomination for its director. Affleck’s roller coaster ride has been remarkable this season and as he told me earlier this weekend, and tonight after the Best Pic triumph, it has been filled with hills and valleys, but it all came together at the Dolby Theatre when First Lady Michelle Obama (from the White House) opened the envelope and announced his film as the winner.
Related: Nikki Finke’s Oscar Live-Snark
When he was left off the list of Directing nominees on January 10th he said he was really depressed, but that same night he won the Critics Choice Movie Award as Director and Best Picture, then the Golden Globe three days later, then the PGA, SAG, DGA, WGA and BAFTA honors to name a few. Suddenly Argo was the one to beat and it never wavered. Affleck’s emotional acceptance was heartfelt and perfectly described the personal journey of this actor turned first-rate director. And his acknowledgement of Steven Spielberg from the stage was a nice touch. He won, with Matt Damon, for Best Original Screenplay in 1997 for Good Will Hunting, but this was different as Affleck told me and he was going to savor this moment as long as he could before moving on into the night. It was the same for Argo’s winning screenwriter Chris Terrio who also was hanging late at the Govs Ball even though he had to catch a flight back to his New York home where he is currently writing a new script based on the Greengrass story. As he was just exiting the Ball at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom, he told me someone gave him advice that he should just try to enjoy this moment first. He seemed to have a hard time soaking it in, but he was going to give it at least this one night before getting back to work.
Argo, after vitually a clean sweep of awards season since the directing snub (which in retrospect could not have hurt), won a respectable three Oscars (also for Editing and Adapted Screenplay), tying Les Misérables for that number of Oscars. But the big winner of the night (if you can call it that) was 20th’s risky box office success Life Of Pi which nabbed four statuettes including a biggie, Best Director for Ang Lee. Had Affleck been nominated, he likely would have won since Best Picture and Director usually go hand in hand, but for whatever reason in a year with an embarrassment of riches it somehow seems totally appropiate that there was a split and Lee was given this award. If anything, Life Of Pi was a directorial achievement like no other and this Oscar was acknowledgement of that. In fact, right after Affleck was snubbed, I predicted Lee would take it, and in the last couple of weeks it was apparent a tide was building for him among Academy voters. It became one of the easiest calls of the night despite the fact that many pundits were calling it for Lincoln‘s Steven Spielberg. At the Govs Ball, Lee, who has won two previous Oscars (for Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Director for Brokeback Mountain), told me this one means as much or probably more because of the extreme challenges Pi provided. He was clearly thrilled with it and I told him he becomes the first director since George Stevens in the 50s with A Place In The Sun (1951) and Giant (1956) to win two Best Director Oscars for two films that did not win Best Picture, a rare occurence.
Seth MacFarlane sang, danced, and joked his way through the Oscars on Sunday night in his hosting debut with the help of Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe, and William Shatner. The show’s 15-minute opening saw everything from a futuristic visit from Captain James T. Kirk (Shatner) to a song naming A-list actresses who’ve bared it all onscreen. (The Oscars telecast also plugged MacFarlane’s Best Song nominee Ted with a staged bit starring Mark Wahlberg and his furry co-star.) And just when the nearly four-hour telecast was all over, MacFarlane and Kristin Chenowith tacked on one last musical ode dedicated to the night’s losers. Watch all the comedic Oscar clips here:
William Shatner interrupts MacFarlane’s opening monologue from the future:
MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” opening song:
Neil Meron and Craig Zadan weren’t kidding around with this year’s movie music Oscars theme. (Even the comedic bits were song-and-dance vehicles for Seth MacFarlane). Musical numbers from this year’s nominees ran the gamut from Les Miserables‘ full-cast staging to Norah Jones crooning “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, and Adele’s performance of her Oscar-winning Skyfall theme. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson returned to sing her signature song from Dreamgirls, making Catherine Zeta-Jones’ “All That Jazz” Chicago number pale in comparison. And grand dames Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand fought through the show’s spotty sound mixing to deliver signature tunes.
Shirley Bassey sings her 007 theme “Goldfinger”:
Catherine Zeta-Jones performs “All That Jazz” from Chicago: