The Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has basically made it their business to look like a bunch of boring old fuddy-duddies. Not only did their nominations this year fail to recognize some of the year’s best and most progressive examples of filmmaking, like Drive, Take Shelter, and Shame, but they’ve also seemed to do everything in their power to make sure that nothing fun or new happens at the ceremony itself. The members of the Academy have gotten a lot of criticism lately for being made up mostly of out of touch, old white men, and with every decision that they make those claims appear to be more and more valid. It’s to the point where it seems like old white people aren’t just the only ones allowed to join their club, but they’re also the only ones they want watching their telecast. Already this year they made the Internet mad by refusing to hear their pleas to let the Muppets host instead of going with their safe, usual choice of Billy Crystal. And most recently they’ve raised everyone’s Muppet ires once again by announcing that—despite the fact they were nominated for the original song “Man or Muppet” – nobody would actually be performing the nominated songs during this year’s ceremony, so a Muppet performance was out of the question. I mean, come on, who could be so cold-hearted that they refuse the Muppets twice? The latest victim of their old man grumbling is apparently Sacha Baron Cohen. There […]

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The last forty-eight hours have been tumultuous ones for this year’s Academy Awards telecast. First, the show’s producer Brett Ratner was unceremoniously asked to step down from his position after the world realized that he was a creep. Then his host, Eddie Murphy, soon followed, wishing the new producer and new host the best of luck. Fans all over the web were in an agitated state, debating who should take their places, with a large contingent actively campaigning for a very Muppet Oscars. The Academy seems to be in a bit of a panic though, because less than a day later they’ve already locked their choices down, and the replacements they found can most accurately be described as safe. First, it was announced that Brian Grazer would be the new producer. After this, speculation began to run rampant that Billy Crystal would be the most logical and easy choice for Grazer to plug in as host, seeing as he’s done the job so many times and has a seemingly endless enthusiasm for the gig. Sure enough, earlier today Crystal took to his @BillyCrystal Twitter account and made the following announcement, “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.” Since then, the Academy’s official account has retweeted Crystal’s claims, making things pretty official.

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Last night’s Movie News After Dark column reported the news that Brett Ratner was forced to resign from being the producer of this year’s Academy Awards telecast due to publicly making some homophobic comments that offended a number of people who viewed them as hate speech, and disgusted everyone else who viewed them as sobering proof that there are still men in their 40s who talk like 15-year-old kids trying to impress their friends while drinking Slurpees in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. The news that Ratner would be stepping down as producer was viewed as a negative to absolutely no one. But there has now been some collateral damage from Ratner’s exit that’s bound to bum some people out. In the wake of Ratner’s resignation The Academy has made an announcement that Eddie Murphy has stepped down as the host of the show as well. It seems that Eddie feels that a new producer would be better off stepping into a completely fresh situation with their own host rather than trying to continue work on what had already been done, because when asked about his decision he said, “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 […]

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I know that just the act of using the words “credibility” and “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” in the same sentence feels completely ludicrous, but on Tuesday the Academy’s governors voted in a new set of rules that lends a little bit more credibility to the act of choosing the nominees for Best Picture. It was just two years ago that they changed their long-standing tradition of having five nominees to a new standard of nominating ten films. Seeing as there are only ever two, maybe three movies that actually have any sort of chance at winning, upping the number of nominees to ten looked very transparently like a stupid marketing ploy. From one side of things, the Academy could give nominations to more “mainstream” films that Joe Six-Pack might complain never get recognition on the show. And from the other, now five more films a year could use the phrase “Academy Award Nominee for Best Picture” in their marketing. Theoretically, that would lead to more interest in the ceremony, more people buying tickets to theaters, and everybody in the industry winning. Except that the idea is totally stupid because Joe Six-Pack won’t give a crap about The Oscars no matter what they do, and having ten nominees can’t help but make at least three or four of the films look like completely pathetic afterthoughts. It further ruins the credibility of an already oft-derided process.

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