The Oscars

Oscars

As the roar of responses to Sunday’s Oscar ceremony dies down, it’s important to keep in mind that the award, while not nearly the only avenue to cultural immortality, is still important to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and untold cache with movie-loving audiences. Film is the center, the core beneath all the bright lights and flash, but it would be foolish to think that the production itself doesn’t lend credence to the weight of the award and, thus, the weight of the propulsion that the statue can lend to the names inside the envelopes. But the landscape is changing. There are other awards developing their own prestige, the way we watch movies is shifting, and audiences are diversifying far beyond where the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can currently manage. Since the future is unclear, we need an expert. Someone who knows what the future holds. Fortunately, I know someone.  I’ve called upon a media expert named Molly (using Kurzweilian technology) who lives and works in the year 2023 to talk about the Oscar ceremony they just watched and what we past-dwellers might expect to see in the next ten years.

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FILM JOCKEYS HEADER

What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate film fans who also love arguing about what movies got hosed during Awards Season. For your consideration, Episode #5:

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Seth Macfarlane Oscar host

The lead up to last year’s Oscar ceremony wasn’t an easy one for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It started with their announcement that director Brett Ratner would be producing the show, with his Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy hosting. While most were interested enough in how Murphy would do in the hosting role, Ratner himself has built up a lot of hatred with the online press so there was much grumbling about how stupid his version of an awards show would look, and much celebrating when some off color comments got him fired from the job, leading to Murphy stepping down as host. The celebration didn’t last long, however, as the Academy ignored online campaigns to install Jim Henson’s felty creations, The Muppets, as hosts, and instead went with a tired old choice who we’ve all seen head the show a million times before in Billy Crystal. The criticisms that the Academy and the Oscars were old, out of touch, and unable to let go of past success poured in, and questions of how much longer the show would remain relevant were raised. Well, this year the Academy seems to have taken some of those criticisms to heart, because they’ve not only hired a fresh face to host the awards, they’ve hired the guy who directed probably the best-loved comedy of the summer, Ted, and is most famous for creating one of the raunchiest shows on television, Family Guy. In a press release sent out today, […]

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Since 2001, the Academy Awards ceremony has had a permanent home in The Kodak Theatre, but there’s long been a chance that was going to change, because reports were going around that the Academy wasn’t going to automatically renew their lease with the theater come 2013, and were looking to take the Oscars elsewhere. Early reports had the Nokia Theatre being a likely choice for a replacement, as they offered more room to maneuver, more modern facilities, and a competitive price on the lease. Today all of that talk was put to rest, however, as it was announced that the Academy Awards would be remaining in its current home, but would soon be doing some slight redecorating. Dolby Laboratories Inc. announced via press release that the Academy has signed a new 20 year lease to keep the Oscars at the Kodak Theatre, which will now be going by the name The Dolby Theatre. You see, that’s why Dolby Laboratories is doing the announcing and not Kodak or CIM, the group who actually own the building; going forward, they’re going to be using the Awards to get their technology some big-time publicity.

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

Hey, who says there are no original ideas in Hollywood? Well, us actually, whenever we have to write about the next 80s-era television show getting a big screen reboot that no one on God’s green earth could possibly want to flash in front of their eyeballs on a giant cinema screen. But this year, there were at least five films that sprung from original ideas that were solid enough to get the ol’ Best Original Screenplay nod. Really, at least five. There’s five in this category! There could be more, but I’m too busy thinking about the Valley Girl reboot to come up with any of them right now. Giggles and bad jokes aside, this year’s Oscar race for Best Original Screenplay is actually pretty, well, original. We’ve got an awards season frontrunner, a raunchy lady-centric comedy (how often do you hear “raunchy” when it comes to the Academy Awards? Not often, that’s how often), a Sundance flick about the financial crisis, a foreign film getting all sorts of (well-deserved) praise, and the latest from one of the Academy’s most nominated filmmakers. This category is truly one hell of mixed bag. What’s perhaps most interesting about this race is that it four of its nominations belong to newcomers to the Oscars, while its fifth nominee is Woody Allen, who has received more nominees in this category (15) than any other screenwriter in the history of the awards. But does that little bit of trivia spell “winner”? Read on for the […]

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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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Jonah Hill

As you may have noticed if you’ve gone online or been anywhere near a TV today, the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced this morning. Along with that always comes the scrambling to contact those nominated to get their reaction to the honor. Usually what they have to say is pretty boring, but hey, it’s a tradition. And it’s one that Variety has been hard at work keeping all day long. As a service to the world, I’ve compiled some of the more high profile reactions they’ve received here in one place.

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The Kodak Theatre has hosted the Academy Awards since 2001, and I kind of assumed that the ceremony would be staying there for the foreseeable future. I remember back when the Awards moved to the Kodak, with much ado made about how the theater was designed specifically to host the show and that now it would have a permanent home. That may not be the case, however. According to a report from THR, the Academy has informed the theatre that they will not automatically renew their release to present the show there after 2013. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Academy is looking to move, just that they’re keeping their options open. A lease not being automatically renewed wouldn’t even really be news if the Academy hadn’t already attracted a very viable second option. Apparently AEG and their Nokia Theater are keen on being the new home of the Oscars, and they seem to have some benefits that the Kodak can’t match.

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Prominent producer/writer/director Judd Apatow was recorded while speaking at some sort of L.A. Times sponsored press event recently, and he had some interesting comments about The Academy and how he thinks comedies are treated unfairly at the Oscars. You can head over to 24 Frames to watch the whole thing, or just read below and I’ll give you the gist of what was said. Apatow is of the opinion that there should be a new Oscar category created for “Best Comedy,” much like an Oscar for “Best Animated Film” was created in 2001. His reasoning: “Why not?” Okay, that isn’t his entire reasoning. He goes on to say that because “a comedy has only won Best Picture 5 times in a zillion years” he doesn’t think it would be “screwing up Schindler’s List for Hangover to have its own category.” And he goes even further to say that once a new Comedy category was created the Academy could “get rid of the Key Grip category,” a comment that elicits some boos from a tech-appreciative crowd gathered around the interview area. In response to the booing Apatow explains, “I love the key grips, they do a fantastic job, but in hour four I would rather see Zach Galifianakis show up rather than my friend Curtis.”

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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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James Franco already seemed to be apologizing for this year’s Academy Awards telecast in a sit down with Vanity Fair’s The Screening Room. When asked about how he and co-host Anne Hathaway came about getting the hosting position Franco explained, “They know we’re not Billy Crystal or Chris Rock. They’re not asking us because they’re expecting that. The show is going to be designed for what we can do.” So if what guys like Billy Crystal and Chris Rock can do is fill up the show with comedy and musical numbers, what is that thing that Franco and Hathaway can do? Will Franco spend most of the ceremony with his arm trapped under a statue while Hathaway romps around on stage in her underwear? If so, I don’t see what the concern is. This is clearly going to be the greatest Oscars ever. But even if it goes in the exact opposite direction, Franco doesn’t seem concerned. He goes on to say, “If it’s the worst Oscars ever, who cares? It’s like; it’s fine. It’s like one night. It doesn’t matter. If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, why do I care?” It seems that Franco has studied at the Ricky Gervais school of awards show hosting. Will 2011 go down as the year that everyone stopped buying in to the pomp and circumstance of Hollywood awards shows? Has the egoism of the whole undertaking finally become so much that it’s eating away […]

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