Just got off the phone with The Envelope contributor Steve Pond, who wants to set the record straight about Nikki Finke's reports boasting spoilers about the Oscar show. "A lot of her stuff is either misleading or wrong," Steve asserts. Here's what else he says:
"Nikki is claiming to 'reveal a secret' about Tom Cruise presenting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Sherry Lansing. Well, that was reported by Slate a day or two before Nikki did. So, yeah, it's no secret that that's happening. He's the obvious choice.
"She claims that each of the Dreamgirls will sing each others' songs. That's misleading. All I can really say is that the number is very collaborative, but if you love Beyonce singing 'Listen' or Jennifer Hudson singing 'Love You, I Do,' you're not going to be disappointed.
"It is true that one of the supporting awards will not be handed out in the first third of the show, which is the usual, but if you break the show into thirds, there's one acting award in the first third, one acting award in the middle third and two acting awards in the last third.
"She says that, after 'a few years' absence, three members of the longstanding Oscar comedic writing team are back on the job: Bruce Vilanch, Carrie Fisher and Carol Leifer.' I've talked to them all about this item and they're all confused and amused by it. The fact is Bruce was back last year. He's not returning after an absence. He took two years off while he was on the road doing 'Hairspray.' Carrie has done it three times over 15 years. She does it basically every five years. So she's never really been a part of that core team. Carol did it two years ago. She does it fairly often. She's not really returning after a hiatus. She's been with the show on and off for quite a while. This is the first time in five years that all three have been on the show together. But Bruce and Carol have been on the show more recently than that.
"She says that Ellen is writing the monologue on her own with her own team. Yeah, that's what every host does. There are always two writing teams on the Oscars. There's the host's writing team and the show's writing team. Bruce Vilanch tends to flit between the two teams and he's doing that this year. Ellen and her writing team for the last couple months have been meeting with Bruce every Sunday to go over stuff, so Bruce is definitely in the loop on everything.
"She says that the Oscar show 'kicks off with an extensive and inspired piece of CGI trickery.' That's dead wrong. There is no extensive and inspired piece of CGI trickery in the Oscar show. There may be something in the pre-show. I'm not sure. But there is nothing like that in the show. The show starts off with a film by Errol Morris that involves all of the nominees. Otherwise, Ellen does not appear doing anything with movie scenes. She's not dancing with the 'Happy Feet' penguins. The 'Happy Feet' penguins make two appearances in the show. Neither of them involves Ellen. As I say, maybe there's something in the pre-show, but not in the regular show."