The Envelope Logo

Gold Derby

Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Kathryn Bigelow

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Lost' finds on auction block | Woes for Oscar winners | Stamp of approval for Katharine Hepburn

May 13, 2010 | 12:21 pm

Lost_Logo • Fans of "Lost" will be able to own a piece of memorabilia from the Emmy Award-winning drama series. This summer, more than 100 props used on the show will go up for auction. As James Hibberd notes, "There's plenty of iconic memorabilia from the show (Charlie's guitar, Locke's death certificate, Hurley's Lotto ticket) and plenty of less-than-iconic (hey, who wants Ana Lucia's ID card? Anybody? How about Kate's toy airplane?)." The penultimate episode of "Lost" airs in the regular Tuesday night time slot on Tuesday. On May 23, ABC is airing a two-hour retrospective and then the 150-minute finale. FOR THE RECORD: This post previously gave the wrong date for the "Lost" finale. The correct date is May 23. THE LIVE FEED

• Stars of two of TV's freshman hits -- Joel McHale ("Community") and Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family") -- will join TV academy chairman and CEO John Shaffner to announce the nominees for the 62nd annual Emmy Awards on July 8. The kudocast is scheduled for Aug. 29 on NBC with "Late Night" host Jimmy Fallon as emcee.

Lynette Rice chats with reigning Emmy champ Cherry Jones about her second season in a supporting role on "24." The wide-ranging conversation includes talk "about President Allison Taylor’s trippy story arc this year (like how she’s overlooking the Russians’ involvement in the assassination of Omar Hassan and focusing on a doomed peace agreement instead)." And, as Lynette warns,"spoiler alert fans! Though the longtime stage actress doesn’t give away too much about the ending, she does tease a thing or two about where her character is headed." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• While Jeff Bridges was obviously thrilled to find his name in the best actor envelope on Oscar night, he may have been less pleased to see his name on a notice from the tax man. As Robert Snell reports, "the IRS filed a $23,997 lien against Bridges on April 7 with the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds. According to the lien, he owes federal employment taxes from 2002 and 2004." DETROIT NEWS

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars • "Triple Frontier" -- Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up film to her Oscar-winning "The Hurt Locker" -- is about the South American region where the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. The area is reputed to be a center of terrorism financing. However, as per this report, "the focus on the region has angered the tourism ministers of Argentina and Paraguay, who fear the movie could damage their countries' reputation with foreign visitors. 'We discussed this subject with Paraguay's tourism minister and the governor of Misiones (an Argentine border state),' said Argentine Tourism Minister Enrique Meyer. 'We all agreed that we were deeply indignant when we discovered that this project seeks to negatively portray this region shared by three South American countries.'" AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

• This fall's return of Donald Margulies' current Tony contender "Time Stands Still" has completed casting. Tony nominee Laura Linney will reprise her role as a photographer who returns from covering the war in Iraq, wounded physically and psychologically. Also back are Brian D'arcy James as her beau and Eric Bogosian as her mentor with Christina Ricci now set to make her Broadway debut as Bogosian's much younger girlfriend. That role was played in the original run by Alicia Silverstone.

Maria Elena sings the praises of composer Michael Giacchino -- an Emmy winner for "Lost" who picked up an Oscar this year for his score for "Up." As Maria reports, "Thursday night, the 'Lost' score will take center stage at UCLA's Royce Hall in a farewell event to the ABC series that will feature Giacchino conducting a 47-member orchestra. Composed of students from the Colburn School of Performing Arts and nine members of Giacchino's "Lost" ensemble, the 'Lost Live' orchestra will perform seven songs from "Lost." Several 'Lost' actors -- Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim, Naveen Andrews, Michael Emerson and Nestor Carbonell -- will also participate in the program." SHOW TRACKER

Katharine Hepburn Stamp • Four-time Oscar champ Katharine Hepburn was feted on what would have been her 103rd birthday Tuesday with a new stamp from the U.S. Postal Service. The first-class stamp uses a publicity still from her 1942 pic "Woman of the Year" and was unveiled at Hepburn's local post office in Old Saybrook, Conn. Speaking at the ceremony was Postmaster General John E. Potter who said, "With the Katharine Hepburn commemorative stamp as the newest in our 'Legends of Hollywood' series, we continue our proud tradition of honoring the special people who epitomize our nation’s character and aspirations." "Law & Order" stalwart Sam Waterston -- who co-starred with Hepburn in the 1973 TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" -- served as master of ceremonies, and Anthony Harvey, who directed Hepburn to her third Oscar in "The Lion in Winter," also attended, as did her nephew Mundy Hepburn and Chuck Still, executive director of the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center.

Dave Itzkoff reports, "the International Documentary Association and a group of filmmakers that includes 20 Academy Award winners and many more nominees have issued an open letter in support of Joe Berlinger, the director of 'Crude,' and objecting to a judge’s ruling that Chevron could subpoena Mr. Berlinger’s footage from that film." The documentary details the lawsuit brought by Ecuadorians against Texaco (now owned by Chevron) claiming that its oil field contaminated their water supply. Chevron says the footage could be helpful to the company's case. ARTS BEAT

• Perennial Oscar player Pixar has canceled production of "Newt," a story about the last two surviving blue newts who are brought together to breed but don't have the requisite chemistry. As per this report, "Without any accompanying explanation, Pixar's 'Newt' was quietly deleted from the May 2010 supplement to 'Disney A to Z: The Official Encyclopedia' by Disney archivist Dave Smith. This means that 'Newt' is clearly on hold for now, if not permanently canceled as has been rumoured. Originally scheduled to be released in Summer 2011, then moved to 2012, the film was supposed to be the first Pixar feature directed by sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who previously directed the short film 'Lifted.'" PIXAR BLOG

Top photo: "Lost" logo. Credit: ABC.

Middle photo: Kathryn Bigelow at the 82nd annual Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Bottom photo: Katharine Hepburn first-class stamp. Credit: USPS

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: Banned 'Hurt Locker' producer's Oscars speech | Stone & Hammond on 'Avatar' loss | Alec Baldwin on Oscars gig

March 9, 2010 |  2:29 pm

The Hurt Locker posterEugene Hernandez does a crackerjack job reporting on how banned "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier spent Oscar Sunday. He was feted by 300 people gathered at the Malibu home of reality TV/film producer Mike Fleiss,  who co-hosted with WME Global chief Graham Taylor and his producer wife Lynnette Howell ("Half Nelson"). As Eugene writes, "The crowd was clearly biased in favor of 'The Hurt Locker' and when the movie won the final award of the night, an uproar was unleashed. Chartier silenced the crowd to listen to the televised speeches and then stepped onto a footstool for his own acceptance. Someone handed him a small plastic statue that looked a bit like an Oscar." Eugene's thorough report also includes video of the "acceptance" speech, including this soundbite: "It’s about the movies. This is what we live for, to tell stories, to make people laugh and cry. To entertain and sometimes to make art." INDIE WIRE

• As Steve Krakauer reports, documentary short Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams ("Music for Prudence" got interrupted again on "Larry King Live" Monday night. After a brief interview in which he spoke about the film's producer -- Elinor Burkett -- who cut short his acceptance onstage at the Oscars Sunday, Williams was to give his complete speech but time ran out and he was pre-empted, this time by "Anderson Cooper 360."  MEDIAITE

David Letterman made merry with this "Kanye" moment on Monday's "Late Show." As Steve Itzkoff writes, "Mr. Letterman was performing a set of jokes about the unending Oscars telecast when he, too, was halted by a protester who demanded, 'Let the woman talk!' "  Video of these hijinks is included in the write-up. NEW YORK TIMES

Steven Zeitchik fills us in on what we can expect next from this year's crop of Oscar champs. Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is shooting "True Grit" while Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") has "Green Hornet," in the can with both films due out in December. Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") has nothing lined up and Mo'Nique is busy with her BET talker. Two-time winner Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") turned down the Spider-Man reboot and "her next project will likely be her reteaming with Mark Boal on 'Triple Frontier.' The Paramount film is an adventure story set on the border of several South American counties." 24 FRAMES

Avatar PosterSasha Stone weighs in on why "Avatar" lost the best picture race at the Oscars. As Sasha says, "why not be happy with what 'Avatar' is, not what it isn’t. It isn’t an Oscar movie, not with that screenplay. It only had to be a little better, a little less cliched.  A little less 'Pocahontas' and 'Dances with Wolves' and a little more innovative in terms of STORY, not just in terms of effects. Most of the members of the Academy are actors, writers and directors. Is it that much of a surprise that they would pick A) the film that moved them the most, and B) the film they wanted to make the most?  How many of them really want their future to be wrapped up in 3-D technology, motion-capture actors?" AWARDS DAILY

• For Pete Hammond, "If ever there was a question in my mind as to why 'Avatar' probably had no realistic chance of taking the best picture Academy Award, it was answered at the Oscars viewing party, "Night Of 100 Stars," I covered Sunday night at the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was the actors branch, dummy. With 1,205 members, three times as many as any other peer group in the academy, they are collectively a powerful voice and if you don't have them behind you, your best- picture chances are slim." NOTES ON A SEASON

• "Up in the Air" was shut out of Sunday's Oscars, despite six nominations including a best picture bid. One of the deleted scenes from the film has been released by Paramount to promote Tuesday's DVD release. In the scene, the inveterate traveler played by best actor nominee George Clooney dreams of wandering home in an astronaut suit as Ricky Nelson singing "Lonesome Town" plays in the background. ZAP2IT

Emma Rosenblum talks to the Emmy-winning Sherri Shepherd ("The View") about her gig Sunday as one of three hosts of the frenetic 30-minute Oscars pre-show. Reveals Sherri, "I love Taylor Lautner, but I couldn't ask him too many questions. We had a lot of red tape and protocol from ABC, and they told me I couldn't ask Taylor about the 'Twilight' sequel or his body. And I said, 'Then what am I going to talk to him about?!' He's a big boy, he could handle it." NEW YORK

Oscars Steve Martin Alec Baldwin • Oscars co-host Alec Baldwin penned a post with his thoughts on the gig. "Hosting the show is an odd experience because you're out there, but it isn't about you. Steve Martin and I worked rather hard, along with the writers and producers, to make sure our contribution did not detract from the primary purpose of the evening, honoring the highest achievements in film. We tell some jokes and show some clips, but the night belongs to the great talent in that room." HUFFINGTON POST

Brian Moylan solves 10 mysteries of the Oscars, including this one: "Why the hell was there street dancing at the Oscars?" As Brian writes, "a troupe of television dancers were given the stage to do strange hip-hop contortions to the classically-influenced music of the Best Score nominees. We solved how it happened -- director Adam Shankman who is a choreographer and TV dance show host -- but we will forever be asking why. Why, why, why?" GAWKER

• And if you are still in need of an Oscars fix, surf over to the telecast's official website for clips from the red carpet, backstage and VIP room, as well as speeches from the winners into the "thank you" cam. Best actor champ Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") had so many people to thank that his speech is split up into five parts. OSCARS

RELATED POSTS:

Complete List of Oscar winners

How did 'The Hurt Locker' defy the odds at the Oscars?

Oscars ratings highest in five years

Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

This Oscars show was not a winner

Poll: What did you think of the Oscars telecast?

Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: 82nd Academy Awards poster. Credit: ABC

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom


Oscar winners were predicted by guild awards

March 8, 2010 | 11:57 am

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars 82nd Academy Awards "The Hurt Locker" won a leading six Oscars, including best picture and best director for Kathryn Bigelow. The Iraq war drama also picked up prizes for original screenplay, editing, sound mixing and sound editing. As is often the case at the Oscars, many of these wins followed up on equivalent kudos from the respective guilds, largely because the two sets of awards share many of the same voters.

But the scale is hugely different. There are, for example, 1,240 members of the academy's acting branch but more than 100,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild. The academy includes 374 directors while the vast majority of the 13,000 helmers who belong to the DGA create TV shows, commercials and music videos instead of feature films.

"The Hurt Locker" won with the Producers Guild of America,
helmer Kathryn Bigelow won with the Directors Guild of America,
scripter Mark Boal won with the Writers Guild of America,
cutters Chris Innis and Bob Murawski won with the American Cinema Editors, and
sound mixers Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckettwon with the Cinema Audio Society.

Among the four Oscar acting winners, the supporting  champs -- Christoph Waltz("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious") -- had taken virtually every precursor prize leading up to Sunday night, including from the Screen Actors Guild.

Oscars_guild_awards

Lead actor winner Jeff Bridges("Crazy Heart") likewise had a good run, winning with the Screen Actors Guild, as well as with the Golden Globes, Indie Spirits, L.A. critics and Critics Choice. Bridges lost the National Board of Review and New York film critics prizes to George Clooney

Lead actress champ Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") also won with the Screen Actors Guild as well as the Golden Globes and tied with Meryl Streep at the Critics Choice. Streep also won the Golden Globe (comedy) and the New York film critics prize.

There is no music guild that bestows equivalent kudos, but "Up" composer Michael Giacchinodid win with the Golden Globes and BAFTA as well with the IFCMA. The theme from "Crazy Heart" -- "The Weary Kind" -- won the Golden Globe for best song.

Continue reading »

'The Hurt Locker' wins six Oscars, including history maker for director Kathryn Bigelow

March 7, 2010 |  9:38 pm

Kathryn Bigelow The Hurt Locker Oscars 82nd Annual Academy Awards The 82nd Academy Awards followed the script set down by pundits, as the front-runners for all of the major Oscars won Sunday night. "The Hurt Locker" led with six Oscars, including best picture and best director for Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win this award. The Iraq war drama also picked up prizes for original screenplay (Mark Boal), editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

"Avatar" went into the night tied with "The Hurt Locker" with a leading nine nominations but had to settle for three Oscars for art direction, cinematography and visual effects (and a $2.4-billion and counting box-office take). See a complete list of all Oscar winners here.

Lead actor went to Jeff Bridges, a four-time also-ran at the Oscars, who finally won for his performance as a down-and-out country singer in "Crazy Heart." The theme song for that film, "The Weary Kind," won best original song for Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett.

First-time nominee Sandra Bullock won lead actress for best picture nominee "The Blind Side," edging out, among others, Meryl Streep, who was contending for a record 13th time in this category. The lead acting nominees were introduced by performers with whom they have a connection before last year's winners, Sean Penn ("Milk") and Kate Winslet ("The Reader"), bestowed the Oscars. Last year, each of the four acting categories was handled by five past winners who each spoke about one of the nominees.

It was no surprise that the Academy Awards for supporting actor and actress went to Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'Nique ("Precious"). The pair had picked up all of the precursor awards going into the Oscars. Waltz's win represented the only Oscar for that best picture nominee, which had eight nominations in total while "Precious" -- which had six nominations, including a best picture bid -- also won adapted screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher

The animated feature race was won by best picture nominee "Up," which edged out Gotham and L.A. critics choice "Fantastic Mr. Fox" among others. "Up" became the fifth Pixar picture -- after "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "Wall-E" -- to win this category since it was introduced in 2001. "Up" also won best score.

Of the 10 best picture nominees, four were completely shut out -- "District 9" (with four noms), "An Education" (three noms), "A Serious Man" (two nominations) and "Up in the Air" (six). 

"El Secreto de Sus Ojos" became the second feature from Argentina to win best foreign-language film, and "The Cove" won the documentary feature Oscar. For her costume design for "The Young Victoria," Sandy Powell took home her third Oscar, following wins for "Shakespeare in Love" and "The Aviator." "Star Trek" won for makeup.

Continue reading »

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars previews and reviews | Whither Oscars ratings? | Emmys live nationwide

March 5, 2010 |  3:07 pm

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpMelena Ryzik reviews the road to the Oscars noting that, "first, the move to 10 nominees produced its own wave of critics, armchair and industry insider alike, who grumbled that the expansion would dilute the value of being noticed; or that there should have been a companion doubling of best director nominees; or that the Academy couldn’t come up with 10 good movies, period. This griping largely stopped when the best picture nominees were revealed, and the Academy did exactly what it was supposed to do, pull in unexpected and popular titles like 'The Blind Side,' 'District 9' and 'Up.'" THE CARPETBAGGER

• In his thorough preview, Scott Bowles says, "Leave it to Oscar to pile on the drama. For starters, you have ex-spouses as competing directors vying for the same short metal trophy. Then there's the David and Goliath thing as the biggest film of all time squares off against one of the most obscure for best picture. Oh, and the voting rules have changed, along with the number of contestants. Don't feel bad if you can't recall all 10 movies in line for best picture at Sunday night's Academy Awards. This season, Oscar looks nothing like his old self. That's the point." USA TODAY

Cathy Yan profiles four first-time filmmakers -- Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart"), Neill Blomkamp ("District 9"), Oren Moverman ("The Messenger"), and Mark Webb ("(500) Days of Summer") -- who hit the jackpot as their debuts are in contention at the Oscars. WALL STREET JOURNAL

• Wondering "whatever happened to the Oscars sweep," Tom Shone discovers, "the Academy has always liked to spread the wealth, of course, but this fragmentation testifies to a deeper economic shift in the movie industry. There are blockbusters and there are low-budget indies, but gone is the middle-class movie that used to provide the Academy with its prize winners: middle-brow, mid-priced “prestige” pics like 'Driving Miss Daisy,' 'Amadeus,' and 'Dances With Wolves,' films that hymned the moral efficacy of a single individual. As one Disney producer recently remarked, 'Everything in the middle is toast.' This year, for instance, the typical Oscar movie was Clint Eastwood’s 'Invictus.' which had barely finished shooting before it had been tagged and handicapped for Oscar glory, solely on the basis of its subject (Nelson Mandela) and its genre (Sports Underdog Movie). In fact, it turned out to be an undernourished piece of work, and though it grabbed two acting nominations, it was boxed out of Best Picture and Director by the gritty Iraq war drama 'The Hurt Locker,' which cost just $16 million, and James Cameron’s special-effects epic 'Avatar,' which cost upwards of $300 million: the indie and the blockbuster, exactly the two types of movie Spielberg predicted would inherit the earth." NEW YORK

Oscars Steve Martin Alec Baldwin • Says Bill Gorman, "considering the Academy Awards viewership peak was the last time James Cameron made a movie ('Titanic' also the top grossing of all time, at the time), I’d be stunned if we didn’t see an increase in the ratings this year. Forty million average viewers would not surprise me at all, but above 45 million would." TV BY THE NUMBERS

• After chatting with the Oscarcast producers Steve Pond reports, "So far, the Academy has announced the names of 31 presenters, one of whom, Sacha Baron Cohen, has since dropped out. Most years, that would constitute most of the lineup -- but this year, a staffer says that the roster of presenters has been expanded from the usual 40-50 to about 70. With 24 categories, along with the 10 Best Picture clips, a mid-show dance number and other assorted film packages, that means we’ll undoubtedly see very few solo presenters, lots of couples, and some larger groups." THE ODDS

• Veteran Oscarologist Jack Mathews thinks, "If the Academy hopes to ever get its TV Oscar ratings back up, it will have do something more dramatic than having Miley Cyrus and Taylor Lautner present awards. It needs to move the show up, way up, to mid-January, at least. That would create chaos among other organizations and awards schedules, but so what? All the earlier awards -- whether given by critics, industry guilds or fan clubs like the National Board of Review -- are parasites that draw the blood out of Oscar's body long before it's ready for its close-up. So here we are, two days before the Big Night, talking about awards that have been decided for weeks, if not months." MOVIEFONE

Susan Wloszczyna along with Damien Bona, Steve Pond, and yours truly consider the fates of 10 previous Oscar winners. Among them, "the prom king and queen" Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, "missing in action" Helen Hunt and Joe Pesci, and "history makers" Halle Berry and Denzel Washington. USA TODAY

Dave Karger says, "In the fifth of my series of six OscarWatch TV installments (and the final episode before this Sunday’s ceremony), Missy Schwartz and I tackle the two races that have the most people talking this year: Best Picture and Best Actress." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Emmy Awards EmmysRick Porter reports NBC will air the Emmys live coast-to-coast for the first time in more than three decades. "NBC aired the Golden Globes live across the country this year and had some success with it; ratings were up by about 10 percent over the 2009 awards. The Emmys are scheduled for Aug. 29 -- earlier than usual so as not to interfere with NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' broadcasts, which will kick off in September." ZAP2IT

• Attention, Emmy police: You really need to pay more attention to the illegal sale of statuettes on the Web just like the Oscars, who are ruthless enforcers. While Oscar statuettes won after 1950 cannot be legally sold, the Emmys bestowed all the way up till the late 1970s are fair game. After that, no dice. That's when winners started to sign affidavits promising they wouldn't sell out. However, every year dozens of illegal Emmy statuettes are sold on line. Like this one currently at Ebay: best costume design, "General Hospital" (1997-1998). Lucky for the TV academies, it's priced ridiculously high ($15,000). Its actual market value is about one-tenth of that price, so it's not likely to sell for the asking price. EBAY

Michael Adams makes merry with 1966's "The Oscar," which he deftly describes as, "that filmic fondue, a cauldron of cheese cooked up by director Russell Rouse, writer Harlan Ellison, stars Stephen Boyd and Tony Bennett, and a who’s who of Hollywood donating cameos." MOVIELINE

RELATED POSTS

See costumes and props from Oscar nominees at the Hollywood Museum

Oscar derby update: Surprise wins for best picture and actress?

Does an Oscar equal $100 million or $10 million?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars countdown | James Cameron OK with 'Avatar' Oscars spoof | Oscar gold equals box office green

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Get drunk, win Oscar

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: 82nd annual Academy Awards poster. Credit:ABC

Bottom photo: Emmy Awards statues. Credit: ATAS

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom


Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars countdown | James Cameron OK with 'Avatar' Oscars spoof | Oscar gold equals box office green

March 4, 2010 |  2:10 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Sandy Cohen reports, "Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are bridging stage and screen with an advanced, automated set at the Kodak Theatre and a super high-tech program planned for TV viewers. After days of technical tests on their stage setup, Shankman and Mechanic moved into the Kodak Theatre Wednesday, where they're seeing their whole show come to life in person and on screen. 'Today's the first day we're up fully running,' Mechanic says. 'We had three days of tech and now it's camera...' 'Camera, scripting, scenic transition, we're camera-blocking some stuff,' Shankman says, finishing his partner's sentence. 'This is probably as technically advanced a show as you've ever seen or as you will have ever seen,' Mechanic says. 'But what I really like about it, and yes that's true,' Shankman says. 'But on the monitors it actually looks much more simple in a weird way. It's elegant and it is more advanced but it's actually very focused and very simple.' " AP

• Half a dozen Oscar nominees have the added pressure of presenting on Sunday's big show. Two of the six already have Oscars on their shelves. Both supporting-actor contender Matt Damon ("Invictus") and writer-director Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds") won original-screenplay Oscars, Tarantino in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction" and Damon three years later for "Good Will Hunting." Five-time nominee Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is the favorite in the lead-actor race this year, as is first-time nominee Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") in the lead-actress race. Also presenting are first-time nominees Carey Mulligan ("An Education") and Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air"). AMPAS

Oscar nominee Lee Daniels ("Precious") tells Donna Freydkin that "work has been a welcome distraction from the madness of awards season. 'Simultaneously I'm working on a pilot for HBO. It pulls me away from having to think about the Oscars. It's God's way of pulling me away.' Daniels is very busy prepping the feature film 'Selma' about the civil rights struggle and says, 'I have to really start casting the movie because we're shooting it soon. The only person I've nailed in for sure is Hugh Jackman. It's all over the place.' " USA TODAY

James Cameron Avatar OscarsCristina Gibson says, "At least one person wouldn't mind an 'Avatar' Academy Awards this Sunday. James Cameron. The Oscar-nominated director told me this exclusively tonight at the Global Green party at Avalon. Cameron said he wasn't aware that a proposed 'Avatar' sketch involving Ben Stiller and Sacha Baron Cohen had been cut from the show, presumably to avoid upsetting the director. 'I don't know anything about that. ... I don't produce the Oscars. If they want to poke fun at 'Avatar' Sunday, that's OK by me,' said Cameron, 'I'm sure we'll laugh.' " E ONLINE

• The second edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Oscars Special" on ABC -- which paired up Oscar champs and nominees like Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball") and Penelope Cruz ("Nine") as well as James Cameron and his "Avatar" cast for intimate conversations with narration by Winfrey -- was a bust in the ratings Wednesday, down 19% from the recently canceled "Ugly Betty" in the time slot. THE LIVE FEED

• Had Winfrey worked the late-night circuit like Barbara Walters has been doing in advance of her final Oscar-night special, she might have reaped more ratings points. Walters did the top 10 on Wednesday's "Late Show With David Letterman" and then dropped by "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" to dish on her decision to stop these gabfests after 29 years.

• As Zachary Pincus-Roth discovers, "In recent years, a number of Oscar-nominated performances have involved some form of low-talking, be it mumbling, muttering, slurring, or a lack of volume, either because of the actor's choice or the requirements of the role. It's not that they're completely unintelligible -- it's that on the spectrum that runs from Laurence Olivier in 'Richard III' to the Olsen twins in 'Full House,' they're a few standard deviations toward the latter. Every year, there are at least one or two acting nominees who are in this category, and this year it's Jeff Bridges and the tight-lipped Gabourey Sidibe in 'Precious.' Last year, it was Frank Langella's gravelly former president in 'Frost/Nixon' and Robert Downey, Jr.'s white actor pretending to be black in 'Tropic Thunder.' Recent low-talking winners include Tim Robbins in 'Mystic River,' Javier Bardem in 'No Country for Old Men,' Renée Zellweger in 'Cold Mountain,' Benicio Del Toro in 'Traffic,' and Jamie Foxx in "Ray.'" THE DAILY BEAST

Sandra Bullock • In a fascinating read, Michael Cieply writes, "When the estimated salaries of all 10 of the top acting nominees are combined, the total is only a little larger than the $20 million that went to Julia Roberts for her appearance in 'Erin Brockovich,' a best-picture nominee in 2001, or to Russell Crowe for 'Master and Commander,' nominated in 2004." As Michael reports, "the fashionable deal now is called 'CB zero.' It stands for “cash-break zero,” and refers to an arrangement under which the star or filmmaker begins collecting a share of profits after the studio has reached the break-even point. Such deals can be extremely lucrative when they give stars a substantial share in home-video revenue. So Sandra Bullock, who cut her usual $10 million fee to just $5 million for 'The Blind Side,' another of this year’s nominees, will eventually make $20 million or more from the movie because it was a hit. Mr. Clooney similarly stands to make additional millions when all the revenue from 'Up in the Air' is finally counted." NEW YORK TIMES

• Everyone can predict the winners in at least a couple of the Oscar races this year -- supporting actor and actress for a start. But getting them all wrong -- that takes talent. Sasha Stone is running a contest looking for someone to score 0 out of 24. But be warned for, as Sasha writes, " It is a lot harder than you might think.  My friend Ed is the one who does this every year, and despite his best intentions, last year he actually got a few right." AWARDS DAILY

• That sassy Tariq Khan is not content just to be aces at predicting the Oscars; now he wants to be part of the action and has offered up some jokes for your consideration. As he writes, "Hosting the Oscars is no easy task. Just ask David Letterman. (Remember the “Uma …Oprah” bit?) Keeping the show moving and the audience laughing for as long as four hours requires a lot of humor. But not just any humor -- OSCAR humor. To help out this year’s co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, Fox411 has come up with some award-worthy jokes. We think they’re pretty funny and bet that the Academy (and Oscar audience) will, too. So Steve and Alec -- please feel free to read, laugh and lift from the list below. And if you use any of them, maybe you can give 411 a little plug. That’s not too complicated, is it?" FOX 411

OTHER POSTS:

Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Daytime Emmys narrow down field with pre-nomination ballot

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood vie for ACM entertainer of the year award

Get drunk, win Oscar

Can Evan Lysacek win 'Dancing With the Stars' that elusive choreography Emmy?

ABC '20/20' Oscar TV special: 'Before They Were Famous'

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

'The Hurt Locker' debate: accuracy vs. entertainment

Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: James Cameron on the set of "Avatar." Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." Credit: Warners

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: Sacha Baron Cohen bounced from Oscars | 'The Hurt Locker' hit by lawsuit | Michael Buble leads with six Juno noms

March 3, 2010 |  5:03 pm

Sasha Baron Cohen OscarsClaude Brodesser-Akner reports, "that an 'Avatar' sketch planned by Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Stiller was nixed yesterday by show producer Bill Mechanic, who worried that James Cameron would be so offended by it that he might even walk out of the Oscar broadcast on live TV." It seems "Baron Cohen planned to appear onstage as a blue-skinned, female Na’vi, with Stiller translating 'her' interplanetary speech. As the skit went on, though, it would become clear that Stiller wasn’t translating properly, because Cohen would grow ever more upset. At its climax, an infuriated Baron Cohen would pull open 'her' evening gown to reveal that s/he was pregnant, knocked up with Cameron’s love child, and would go on to confront her baby daddy as if s/he were on 'Jerry Springer.' Mechanic, now both a producer of motion pictures and of this year’s Oscar telecast, was head of 20th  Century Fox when Cameron’s 'Titanic' famously went massively over budget and over schedule, so he’s well acquainted with Cameron’s sense of humor or lack of it. "Let’s just say that Cameron isn’t known to be, shall we say, ‘self-deprecating,’ explained one insider familiar with the decision to cut the sketch." NEW YORK

• On Barbara Walter's final Oscar night special, Mo'Nique reveals the intimate secrets of her marriage to Sidney Hicks as well as her more unusual grooming habits. But she won't tell TV's confessional queen what she will say if she wins -- as everyone is predicting -- the supporting actress Oscar for her performance in "Precious." "I don't like thinking about that, because I'm big on the universe. I don't want  to start making this speech or [think about what] I'm going to say because I don't want the universe to say, 'Really? You so sure about that?' Let's not jinx it." NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Cameron Diaz may not be in the running for a Razzie this year for her performance in the box office bomb "The Box" but the editors of Latina named her the winner of a Lazzie as the worst Latina actress of the year, citing her "bad Southern accent" and her "deer-caught-in-headlights facial expressions." "Fame" star Walter Perez "won" worst actor and "Fast & Furious" was the worst film.

Matthew Belloni delivers a fascinating Q&A with David Quinto, a partner at L.A.'s Quinn Emanuel, Quinto  who (along with Academy general counsel John Quinn) aggressively protects the Academy's copyrights and trademarks worldwide. When asked why the Academy is so zealous, Quinto explains, "75% of the Academy’s income comes from the awards ceremony. It’s important that people remain interested so the Academy wants to prevent anything that would damage or tarnish the reputation of the Oscar. It wants to maintain the Oscar as an image of excellence in motion picture making. I frequently get asked why the Academy is aggressive in trying to make sure the Oscars don’t get sold. The Oscar should remain a symbol of achievement in motion picture making and it should demonstrate exclusivity. If there’s a perception that anyone with money can buy one, then people may start to lose interest in it." THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

The Hurt Locker Jeffrey SarverHarriet Ryan reports that, "an Army bomb squad leader who served in Iraq is accusing the makers of the Academy Award-nominated movie 'The Hurt Locker' of stealing his identity, cheating him out of box-office profits and falsely portraying him as 'a reckless, gung-ho war addict.' In a federal suit filed Tuesday in New Jersey, Master Sgt. Jeffrey S. Sarver claimed he was the model for the film's protagonist and even coined the title phrase in describing his life detonating improvised explosive devices. The suit accuses screenwriter , director Kathryn Bigelow and others of defamation, invasion of privacy, fraud and other counts." As Ryan notes, "In an interview with The Times on Tuesday, Boal described Sarver, whom he met as an embedded reporter six years ago, as 'a brave soldier and good guy,' but he denied that Sarver was the model for main character Will James. 'Like a lot of soldiers, he identifies with the film, but the character I wrote is fictional. The film is a work of fiction inspired by many people's stories,' Boal said. The screenwriter spent a month with Sarver's squad in Iraq in 2004 researching a story published in Playboy the following year. The story prominently featured Sarver, a West Virginia native and Bronze Star recipient. The suit alleges that when Boal later developed a screenplay from the experience, he relied on Sarver's background, turns of phrase, physical appearance and wartime experiences for the story." THE ENVELOPE

Mike Fleming breaks the news that, "just because he's been banished from Sunday's Academy Awards doesn't mean 'Hurt Locker' producer Nicolas Chartier won't have any place to watch. Instead. I've learned he'll be with a crowd of people who'll make him feel like a winner. The Voltage Pictures chief and his family will be the guests of honor at a viewing party that is being put together by WME Global chief Graham Taylor and Blue Valentine producer Lynnette Howell, who is Graham's wife. Taylor wasn’t involved with the film, but I understand he hated the prospect of an indie filmmaker getting ostracized for being overly enthusiastic about his film." DEADLINE

Pete Hammond previews Friday's Spirit Awards, noting that Oscar front-runner "The Hurt Locker" contended there last year as it was eligible due to its debut at the 2008 Toronto filmfest. "Film Independent's executive director, Dawn Hudson, told me that it's a rule they will probably be looking at closely in light of the 'Hurt Locker' situation. That glitch aside, the organization couldn't be happier about the industry acceptance of the Spirits and its hallowed space in the awards firmament coming as the second-to-last stop of the season just before Oscar and often drawing just as impressive a turnout in its own way. This year for the first time the ceremony has been moved from Saturday afternoon in a massive tent at the Santa Monica beach to Friday night in a massive tent on the rooftop of L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, where it will become the first-ever "late night" award show broadcasting live at 11 p.m. Eastern time on IFC, hosted by Eddie Izzard." NOTES ON A SEASON

Michael Buble JunosMichael Buble leads with six nominations at the 39th edition of the Juno Awards -- the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys. As Ben Rayner reports, "the Vancouver crooner is up for artist of the year, songwriter of the year, single of the year for “Haven't Met You Yet” and pop album of the year with 'Crazy Love' squaring off against Billy Talent's 'III,' Diana Krall's 'Quiet Nights,' Johnny Reid’s 'Dance With Me' and Justin Bieber’s 'My World' in the all-important album of the year category. Bublé will also battle Ginette Reno, Johnny Reid, Maxime Landry and Nickelback for the viewer-voted Juno Fan Choice Award." TORONTO STAR

Joe Flint reports, "The Paley Center for Media, the television industry's think tank, library and historian, is moving ahead with exploring the possibility of creating its own awards shows that could end up competing with Emmys. Overseeing the planning committee for the awards are industry big shots Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, and Tony Vinciquerra, chairman and chief executive of the Fox Networks Group. Also on the committee is Dick Lippin, chairman of the Lippin Group, which used to handle media strategy for the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, which produces the Emmy Awards. Both Mosko and Vinciquerra have ties to the Paley Center, serving on various boards for the institution. 'The formation of this planning committee is to explore the opportunities that we believe exist to create an awards program or franchise of programs,' said Pat Mitchell, president and chief executive of The Paley Center for Media." COMPANY TOWN

• Our old pal Thelma Adams proffers her predictions for the Oscars. While Thelma is going with all of the front-runners for the top six races but also weighs in with her personal picks. Among the categories where Thelma would like a different nominee to prevail is best actor: "In 'Up in the Air,' George Clooney takes another little piece of his heart out, and then another, stripping himself bare naked beneath that gorgeous veneer. It's a suavely tragic performance that cries out, 'Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!'" IVILLAGE

Gerard Butler is quite the jokester as evidenced by this exchange with Bennett Marcus: "Gerard Butler may not have gotten nominated for an Oscar this year, but he thinks he should have. 'To be honest, I’m surprised I wasn’t nominated for an Oscar,' he said at the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Male Awards this week. 'I mean, did they see Ugly Truth? Did they see Gamer? But I have the honor of presenting at the Oscars, and I had this genius idea that I was going to record it on my DVR, and then just watch it backwards, and then I’m going to feel like I won. Who’s going to know the difference?'" NEW YORK

OTHER POSTS:

Gold Derby nuggets: Pete Hammond: Best actress 'down to the wire' | Oscars leading men

Oscars bar 'Hurt Locker' producer from attending ceremony

Daytime Emmys narrow down field with pre-nomination ballot

Prediction: Sandra Bullock will beat Megan Fox for the Razzie

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood vie for ACM entertainer of the year award

Get drunk, win Oscar

Can Evan Lysacek win 'Dancing With the Stars' that elusive choreography Emmy?

ABC '20/20' Oscar TV special: 'Before They Were Famous'

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

'The Hurt Locker' debate: accuracy vs. entertainment

Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

Top photo: Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher at the 2007 Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: Jeffrey Sarver. Credit: EPA

Bottom photo: "Crazy Love" album cover. Credit: Reprise Records

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars selling out ads | Sasha Stone: 'Avatar' to win | 'The Hurt Locker' also top pick for top pic

March 1, 2010 |  4:21 pm

Oscars New Members movie news 1357986Anthony Crupi reports, "ABC heads into its 35th consecutive Oscars telecast with two or three remaining avails, as a roster of returning sponsors and an improving economy have aided the sales process. The three top spenders of a year ago (Hyundai, Coca-Cola and JCPenney) are back in the limelight, reversing a micro-trend that saw perennial high rollers General Motors and L’Oréal drop out of the Academy Awards altogether. Pricing for time in the 82nd Academy Awards is trending higher than last year’s event, when ad rates fell. ABC has written deals at $1.4 million to $1.5 million per spot, versus $1.3 million last year, sources said." To avoid running into the academy's stringent rules regarding nominees appearing in ads appearing on the Oscarcast, "Hyundai decided to shoot seven spots with other A-list voice-over talent. Jeff Bridges suggested a short list of colleagues, and last week Hyundai finished recording the final ad, with an assist from actress Kim Basinger. Other stars filling in for Bridges are Richard Dreyfuss, David Duchovny, Catherine Keener, Michael Madsen, Mandy Patinkin and Martin Sheen." BRAND WEEK

• On Friday, the academy announced five funny people -- Sacha Baron Cohen, Jason Bateman, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller -- would be appearing on the Oscars. On Monday, the original "Funny Girl" Barbra Streisand was one of three lead actress winners -- along with Kathy Bates ("Misery") and Charlize Theron ("Monster") -- confirmed for the kudocast. Also added to the roster are past nominees Robert Downey Jr., Queen Latifah and John Travolta. AMPAS

• The ABC 30-minute Oscar pre-show will have three co-hosts: Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle, model turned design mogul Kathy Ireland and Sherri Shepherd ("The View"). TV Guide just announced the addition of Vivica A. Fox to their red carpet lineup which already includes two ABC reality TV stars -- "The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison and "Dancing With the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

• The offical academy YouTube channel showcases rookie Oscars producer Adam Shankman as he takes would-be dancers through their paces in advance of stepping onto the stage of the Kodak Theatere Sunday.  YOUTUBE

Avatar Poster • After a thorough analysis, Sasha Stone predicts "Avatar" will win best picture. Sasha says, in part, "Remember, ABC is inviting people to see the 'popular Oscars,' the 'So You Think You Can Dance' Oscars, the reality-tv Oscars. The 'you’ve never seen Oscars like this before.' So, if it goes 'Avatar''s way, the people will dance in a tribal circle and rejoice that the Academy have recognized them at long last. It just feels right to me that this is how it will turn out. I can’t explain it – and it makes no sense in terms of what I know about the Oscar race (nobody knows anything), and how the story has gone so far. And it will mean that the Academy agrees only with the Golden Globes for Best Picture of 2009. It will also mean that a Sci Fi pic has won. And it will also mean that a film with no writing or acting nominations has won – something that hasn’t happened since 1931. Now, to be fair, they did used to have three separate writing categories – there was one for original story and maybe 'Avatar' would have gotten one of those." AWARDS DAILY

Ramin Setoodeh researches what happens to the Oscar ballots after they are delivered to PriceWaterhouseCoopers no later than 5 p.m. PT Tuesday. On Wednesday, "All ballots are opened by four accountants overseen by two 'balloting leaders' in a room with one door and no windows. It takes three days to tabulate the 24 different Oscar categories. The ballots are counted by hand, with each accountant responsible for one fourth of the total. They are forbidden from sharing information, and only the balloting leaders tabulate the final results, which are then locked in a safe. They will remain the only two people in the world who know the names of the winners before they are announced." NEWSWEEK

Claudia Puig reviews the 10 animated and live-action shorts and gives top marks to "A Matter of Loaf and Death" -- "Oscar winner and claymation maven Nick Park can do no wrong when it comes to short films, and the latest entry into the Wallace and Gromit canon is no exception" -- and "The Doors" -- "The bleak terrain is evocative and the brief, but well-made, tale is deeply poignant."  USA TODAY

Melena Ryzik sits down with "Precious" casting directors Billy Hopkins and Jessica Kelly and discovers their difficulties in finding the right actress for the title role. "Mr. Hopkins and Ms. Kelly spent five months searching for the right person to play Precious, scouting the streets, subways and McDonald’s, before finding their eventual star (and Oscar nominee) through a connection with a drama teacher at Lehmann College, where Ms. Sidibe was a student." THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Hurt Locker poster • One of the top Oscarologists in the business, Tariq Khan, begins a week-long series in which he reveals his predictions for the top Academy Awards. As our good pal writes, "before this year’s nominations were even announced, I correctly predicted 19 of the 20 acting contenders -- including Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Crazy Heart,' something other entertainment journalists described as 'shocking.' They were right." He then concedes, "True, I’m not always right. My love of danger causes Dr. Oscar to sometimes take risks, like calling for a surprise win by Amy Adams in 'Doubt' last year and a best picture nomination for 'The Hangover' this year. (Two things that didn’t happen.) Just remember that I described those as strong possibilities, yet far from certain. Yes, I hedged. I wasn't born yesterday." So says Tariq, "I’m giving both 'Avatar' and 'Inglourious Basterds' a 15 percent chance of winning. I’ll stand by my prediction that 'The Hurt Locker' will prevail." FOX NEWS

Lane Brown, one of those sassy vultures, offers up predictions in all 23 competitive categories at the Oscars. He sees "The Hurt Locker" winning three awards -- picture, director and editing -- while "Avatar" should take home five -- art direction, cinematography, sound, sound editing and visual effects. Lane is going with the four acting front-runners. NEW YORK

Tim Masters talks to Andy Serkis about a separate acting honor for performance capture. "'It's a very interesting debate,' Serkis told the BBC. 'The industry is going to be using performance capture more and more in films. Personally I've never believed there should be a separate category because the essence of the performance is pure acting.' Serkis is an expert in the field, having played Gollum and King Kong via a performance capture suit. He will be seen as Captain Haddock in Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's Tintin trilogy using the same technology." BBC

• The show that launched Susan Boyle -- "Britain's Got Talent" -- is contending for best entertainment program at the Royal Television Society annual kudos against "The X Factor" and "Newswipe With Charlie Booker." Among the other categories, "EastEnders," "The Bill" and "Casualty" have all been nominated for best soap/ continuing drama while "The Thick of It" -- from which the Oscar nominated "In the Loop" was spun off -- vies for comedy series against "Miranda" and "The Inbetweeners." Winners will be announced March 16 at London's Grosvenor Hotel.  THE STAGE

RELATED POSTS:

'Precious' sweeps NAACP Image Awards

ASC focused on 'The White Ribbon'

'The Hurt Locker' sounded like a winner to CAS

'The Hurt Locker' debate: accuracy vs. entertainment

Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Top photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

Middle photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

Bottom photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


'The Hurt Locker' debate: accuracy vs. entertainment

February 26, 2010 |  2:53 pm

The Hurt Locker Oscars Academy Awards Kathryn Bigelow Jeremy Renner As a trio of Los Angeles Times writers -- Julian E. Barnes, Ned Parker and John Horn -- reported Friday, "Although 'The Hurt Locker' has numerous supporters within the military -- including Purple Heart winner Drew Sloan, who participated in a 'Hurt Locker' panel discussion in Hollywood with other veterans and the film's makers Wednesday night -- the movie's detractors share a consistent complaint about its representation of the Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team as they attempt to disarm improvised explosive devices."

Indeed, "members of EOD teams in southern Iraq said in interviews arranged by the Army that 'The Hurt Locker' is a good action movie if you know nothing about defusing roadside bombs or the military. Sgt. Eric Gordon of San Pedro, an Air Force EOD technician on his second tour in Iraq, has watched the movie a few times with his friends. 'I would watch it with other EOD people, and we would laugh,' Gordon said." And they add, "an EOD team leader in Maysan province, Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Phillips, said although he was glad the film highlighted their trade, he disliked the celluloid treatment of EOD units. 'There is too much John Wayne and cowboy stuff. It is very loosely based on actual events,' he said. 'I'm honestly glad they are trying to convey to the public what we've been doing, and I wish maybe they had just done it with a little bit of a different spin on it,' he said."

Among those also interviewed was the film's Oscar-nominated screenwriter and co-producer Mark Boal who said "the film was not intended to be a documentary or a training film. 'We certainly made creative choices for dramatic effect,' he said. 'But I hope the choices were made respectfully and conscientiously.'"

The above report is just the latest dispatch in an ongoing debate about the Oscar contender. On Feb. 4, Iraq war veteran Kate Hoit detailed her concerns with the film in a column that appeared on the Huffington Post. As she wrote, "'The Hurt Locker' made it seem like the EOD team were taking on the streets of Baghdad; just them against a world of improvised explosive devices. However, this is when I realized the scriptwriters were lazy. This movie is a full-throttle adrenaline rush that is comprised of ditching common sense and the realities of war. The writers did not attempt to formulate a story based on the actual job of an EOD soldier. Instead, they created a war junky, sniper, commando guy who relied on no one (and no radios?) and stressed-out everyone around him, including those watching the movie."

In rebuttal, retired EOD officer and executive director of the EOD Memorial James P. O'Neil explained, "'The Hurt Locker' takes place over a year, compressed to two hours. Every moment of it is intense. Jeremy Renner's character and personality is a composite of a dozen or so EOD techs that I know. Were we as reckless as James? Hell no. I probably would have punched him out as well. The 'beyond the wire' insurgent hunt and hoodie run may not be entirely realistic, but no one can honestly say they weren't entertained and glued to their seats during these sequences."

And the film's technical adviser, James Clifford, addressed Hoit's criticism of the film as follows: "I will stipulate that Ms. Hoit's points are accurate, but they amount to differences without distinctions. Her commentary demonstrates that she has the vision to see the trees but appears to lack the judgment to see the forest. She is apparently unable to tell the difference between entertainment and education. 'The Hurt Locker' is entertainment based on real situations."

RELATED:

Poll: Do you prefer Sacha Baron Cohen as Oscar host?

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars odd couple | 'Lost' actors find new work

Will 'The Hurt Locker' team be punished for breaking Oscar rules?

'Hurt Locker' producer apologizes for his 'extremely inappropriate' e-mail

Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Photo: "The Hurt Locker" still. Credit: Summit.

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: 'The Hurt Locker' accuracy questioned | Sandra Bullock vs. Meryl Streep

February 24, 2010 |  5:45 pm

The Hurt Locker Oscars • After acknowledging he is not a film critic, Paul Rieckhoff, executive director and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), writes in a guest column for Newsweek: "As a voice of the new veterans' movement, and of thousands of IAVA members across the country, I have a responsibility to serve as pop-culture watchdog, and to help the American public understand what accurately depicts the military's experience in Iraq and what doesn't. Especially because with less than 1 percent of American citizens now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, films are one of the few ways to connect the other 99 percent of Americans to the reality of modern combat." He then says, "'The Hurt Locker' tries to articulate that experience, but those of us who have served in the military couldn't help but be distracted by a litany of inaccuracies that reveal not only a lack of research, but ultimately respect for the American military" and catalogs these errors. Rieckhoff concludes, "Americans want to think they know what the ground truth is in Iraq, but until Hollywood and the media give them the right information, our experience will continue to be lost in translation. So someone, do us a favor and tell our story properly. Or maybe Hollywood will help one of us tell it ourselves." NEWSWEEK

Christopher Torchia talks to the members of a bomb disposal squad in Afghanistan and discovers "finding and destroying IEDs is, of course, slower and more nuanced than the high-octane version portrayed in the movie thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which could make a run for the Oscars." While the soldiers like "The Hurt Locker" well enough as a movie, they questioned its accuracy. Platoon leader Sgt. 1st Class Natividad Ruiz said, "We don't dress up in that big old suit," referring to the heavy bomb gear worn in the movie. Staff. Sgt. Joshua Rickerts "said his job was about teamwork, and that the movie's portrayal of 'an EOD guy gone rogue' was inaccurate, though he acknowledged its entertainment value." And Senior Airman Kyle Brown said, "Some of the things he does in the movie -- quite out there. I wouldn't say we were that undisciplined. It makes us look like rebels in the military." AP

Pete Hammond surveys the Oscars race and observes, "Most see this as 'The Hurt Locker' versus 'Avatar,' or David versus Goliath as it has been called so many times. Now in the final stretch, with awards galore and the wind behind its back, 'The Hurt Locker,' it seems, has turned into Goliath and 'Avatar' is becoming David. Weird. The real question is, what 'message' do academy voters want to send? Do they want to embrace the future, the global popularity and the success of 'Avatar'? Or the independent spirit and pure visceral film experience of 'Hurt Locker'? Or will those 'Basterds' creep in?" NOTES ON A SEASON

Sandra Bullock Meryl Streep OscarsAnne Thompson writes, "At this stage of the Oscar race, Jeff Bridges ('Crazy Heart') has taken the momentum away from  former front-runner George Clooney ('Up in the Air') for Best Actor, but some in Hollywood sense growing support for newcomer Jeremy Renner ('The Hurt Locker'). Meanwhile, rookie Oscar nominee Sandra Bullock ('The Blind Side') and 16-time nominee, two-time winner Meryl Streep are in a tight race for Best Actress. In this dueling blog, Moviefone Oscarologist Jack Mathews and I consider the odds of a Renner upset and another Streep defeat." THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD

Scott Feinberg crunches the numbers for the 81 best actress races to date at the Oscars and discovers that the statistics favor a win by Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side"). Among the factoids Scott uncovers: "Since the first SAG Awards in 1994, only 4 women have won the Golden Globe for best actress (either drama or comedy/musical) but not the SAG Award for best actress and still gone on to win the best actress Oscar. This bodes well for Bullock, but not for Streep." AND THE WINNER IS

•The academy is celebrating the Oscars with a week-long series of screenings and symposia at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. It is not surprising that the screenings of the nominated shorts -- at a bargain $5 for the public and just $3 for members -- are selling out while the free sessions on foreign film and makeup and hair are fully booked. AMPAS

Melena Ryzik has fun with the following news: "In a move that absolutely no one saw coming whatsoever, 'Avatar' swept the International 3D Society’s inaugural awards. It got both the month-old group’s top prize and a People’s Choice award for best live-action film over worthy competitors like 'G-Force' and 'Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.' Somewhere, Nick Jonas is crying. Giovanni Ribisi, who played a baddie but not the baddest of the bunch in 'Avatar,' accepted the awards on its behalf. 'Up' won best 3-D animated film. Nope, not predictable at all." THE CARPETBAGGER

RELATED POSTS

Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Top photo: Scene from "The Hurt Locker." Credit: Summit

Bottom photos: Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" (Warners) and Meryl Streep in "Julie & Julia" (Columbia).

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: Dave Karger predix Oscars | So does Sasha Stone | Oscars marketing gambits

February 23, 2010 |  4:12 pm

The Hurt Locker poster • Before revealing that he is sticking with "The Hurt Locker" for the best picture Oscar, Dave Karger recaps the derby parallels between that film and "Brokeback Mountain" four years ago: "'Brokeback' managed the rare feat of winning Best Picture and Best Director at both the New York and Los Angeles film critics awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' also picked up those two big prizes at the Broadcast Film Critics Awards; so did 'Hurt Locker.' 'Brokeback' won the trifecta of PGA, DGA, and WGA trophies; so did 'Hurt Locker. 'Brokeback' won 4 BAFTAs, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay; 'Hurt Locker' picked up 6 awards, including Best Film, Director, and Screenplay. And of course, 'Brokeback' lost the SAG cast award, and so did 'Hurt Locker.' (The main difference between the two films’ tallies is that 'Brokeback' did win four Globes, including Best Drama and Best Director, while 'Hurt Locker' went 0 for 3.)" ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

• After noting that, "'The Hurt Locker' director Kathryn Bigelow could be the first woman to win Best Director, a triumph for female filmmakers everywhere," Nicole Laporte wonders, "is the Academy voting for her movie or her gender?" She begins her analysis of the issue with this anecdote: "At a recent awards ceremony where Bigelow accepted one of the many accolades she's earned on the pre-Oscar circuit, Bigelow, who is 58, was met with a whooping cry of 'Go, Girl!' It was the kind of remark that's hard not to smile at -- at least, at first -- but that lingers in the air, eliciting a longer-lasting cringe, and ultimately dumps out a suitcase's worth of sexist issues of the sort that have been trailing Bigelow on her long march to the Academy Awards." THE DAILY BEAST

Pete Hammond reports, "campaigners are pulling out all the stops trying to position their movie as the one with the gravitas that befits a best picture winner. In addition to the usual trade and newspaper ads, TV spots and billboards, at least one 'Hurt Locker' nominee apparently feels the best way may be hand-to-hand combat via e-mail. The Academy may frown at this direct attempt to contact its members, but 'Hurt Locker' co-producer Nicholas Chartier, who through his Voltage Pictures was the film's key financing wizard, is making pleas to friends and friends of friends to get out the vote for 'Hurt Locker' like it was some sort of political grass-roots campaign. His pitch isn't so much about the quality of the film, but rather its independent nature versus that movie with the blue people that cost so much to make. He doesn't mention 'Avatar' by name." NOTES ON A SEASON

• Gold Derby's Emmys forum has been buzzing with speculation over which category Showtime will enter "Dexter" star John Lithgow: supporting or guest? Lithgow recently won the Golden Globe in the supporting slot, but Showtime media chief Richard Licata tells us that Lithgow will compete in the guest slot at the Emmys. The actor won the first of his four Emmys as a guest performer on the series "Amazing Stories" back in 1986. The other three came for his regular lead role on the laffer "Third Rock From the Sun."

The Blind Side PosterSasha Stone offers up her Oscar predictions in a compelling piece of writing that includes these observations: "In the Best Actress category, it is perhaps a three-way race, with Sandra Bullock firmly in the lead, followed by Meryl Streep and then perhaps Carey Mulligan in a possible upset. There is little doubt that Meryl Streep gave the best performance, but Sandra Bullock has paid her dues and 'The Blind Side' managed to get a Best Picture nomination, which is practically a miracle. For Bullock to lose at this point there would have to be a good reason for it -- and that reason would probably be something like a messy divorce or a bar room brawl. Best Actor still feels like it’s Jeff Bridges’ to lose. There isn’t anyone gaining Adrien Brody-like steam. The only one would have been Viggo Mortensen in 'The Road' but he didn’t get a nod. Jeff Bridges is so beloved and his performance was so good -- and he was in a movie that people seem to really like, certainly enough to give Maggie Gyllnehaal the supporting nod." She also says, "Supporting actor and actress couldn’t be more locked. Both will seen as the big wins for their respective films, which means they can’t really lose. The two open categories right now are still Picture and Original Screenplay in the major categories. Everyone is so quick to call the race done and done, but the truth is, with ten nominees and preferential ballot, anything could happen." AWARDS DAILY

Randy Lewis reports, "Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham will make what may be their swan song appearance together in conjunction with the film 'Crazy Heart' when they perform one of the movie’s songs at  the 25h anniversary Spirit Awards ceremony on March 5 in Los Angeles. Rather than singing the much-lauded theme 'The Weary Kind,' the best-song Oscar-nominee that Bingham and Burnett wrote, the trio plans to offer up 'Fallin’ and Flyin’, written by the late Texas singer and songwriter Stephen Bruton, who oversaw the film’s music with producer and longtime friend Burnett. Bruton died of cancer shortly after completing work on the music." POP & HISS

Roger Friedman reports, "Monday night in the main ballroom at the Plaza Hotel, AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, gave its lifetime achievement awards to an eclectic bunch. They were: 'Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, CBS' Charles Osgood, 'Soul Man' Sam Moore, the cast of 'Sesame Street' and Latin American artist Juanes. The winners inspired an equally eclectic group of presenters: Don Imus, for Sam Moore; Tony Bennett, for Juanes; Bill Geist for Osgood." SHOWBIZ 411

Oscars Expanded Best Picture RaceMelena Ryzik makes merry with the academy's proposed party kit for Oscar night. "When you think Oscars, you think, 'Bingo!' right? The Academy’s reaching-out-to-the-youth campaign continues with snazzy party-planning tips on its website, including a downloadable card for Oscar bingo, with squares for 'Crying,' 'Winner Accepts Oscar in a Foreign Language' and, mystifyingly, 'Lauren Bacall.' (Spoiler?!) Also on the Academy’s fun primer -- available at oscars.org/partykit -- is a video with Cheryl Cecchetto, a producer of the Governors Ball, the official Oscar afterparty, offering 10 tips for throwing your own Oscar-watching party. 'Must-have number three,' according to Ms. Cecchetto: 'Set the mood by featuring the soundtracks of the nominated pictures.' (Right, since you won’t be hearing them on the actual show.) And must-have No. 4 is 'Champagne, Champagne and more Champagne.' No argument there." THE CARPETBAGGER

• While Heidi Klum won't be on hand, the academy is staging its own version of "Project Runway" this year. Nine up and coming designers -- five from LA, two from New York, and one each from Chicago and Phoenix -- have created gowns to be worn by the models who appear onstage at the Kodak Theater. But only of their creations will make it to the Oscars with online voting from now till March 1 determining the winner. The unveiling of this design will be in the pre-show airing on ABC just before the Oscars on March 7. AMPAS

• One star who has definite ideas about what she will be wearing to the Oscars is best actress nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education"). As Phil Boucher writes, "Having already appeared once in Vogue, is Mulligan taking editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s advice on what to wear to the Oscars? Not according to Mulligan, who has visions of her own. 'Anna said I should wear short for the Oscars,' says Mulligan. 'I was like 'No, that is so not what I had in my head when I was six years old!'" PEOPLE

RELATED POSTS

Poll: Can Carey Mulligan pull off an upset at the Oscars?

Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Top photo: "The Hurt Locker" poster. Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "The Blind Side" poster. Credit: Warners

Bottom photo: Academy Award statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Gold Derby nuggets: OMG! Kristen & Taylor at the Oscars | Emmys for Betty White and Ann-Margret? | Memorable Oscars of yesteryear

February 22, 2010 |  4:48 pm

Taylor Lautner Kristen Stewart Twilight Oscars • While last year's Oscar champs Sean Penn, Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz were referred to by their last names in the Feb. 11 academy news  release touting their appearances on this year's Oscars, tween and teen stars Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart merited first-names only in Monday's announcement of their bookings. For Cyrus and Efron, it will be their second time on the Kodak Theatre stage while "Twilight" stars Lautner and Stewart will be making their debut appearances at the Oscars. AMPAS

Scott Feinberg talks to Harvey Weinstein about the Oscar odds of "Inglourious Basterds" and a wide array of other subjects. As Scott reports, "Over the course of our 20-minute call, he repeatedly tries to steer the conversation back to 'Basterds,' Waltz, and especially Tarantino, with whom he’s collaborated ever since the boy wonder’s first film 'Reservoir Dogs' (1992) 18 years ago. But the reason that I requested this interview was to talk not about the puppeteer but rather about the puppeteer’s puppeteer." AND THE WINNER IS

• Four-time prime-time Emmy champ Betty White could be in the running again this year if the Facebook campaign to land her a hosting gig on "SNL" pans out. Michael Ausiello reports, "White would not be hosting alone. Rather, I hear 'SNL' is putting together a 'Women of Comedy' episode that would team the former Rose Nylund with several of her younger contemporaries. Ex-'SNL' MVP Molly Shannon is on board, I hear, and feelers have also been put out to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler." Last year, Fey and Justin Timberlake won the guest acting Emmys for their hosting of "SNL." ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

SVU LogAnn-Margret might finally nab the Emmy that has eluded her five times in the past with the news that she will be guesting on "Law & Order: SVU." As per Robyn Ross's exclusive interview with executive producer Neal Baer, "the actress will portray "a star of commercials that were made in the '70s" and will be joined in the episode by Jaclyn Smith, who Baer says will play "a retired cop who works with Benson and Stabler to solve an old crime." Baer calls it "'Charlie's Angels' thirty years later." Over the years, guest actresses on "SVU" have earned 14 Emmy nominations resulting in four wins. TV GUIDE

Brad Brevet does a superb job reviewing the Oscar-nominated live action and animated shorts.  As Brad notes, Short Films International and Magnolia Pictures are currently screening all 10 shorts theatrically. For Brad, "Miracle Fish" from Australia is the best of the live action bunch while among the animated shorts, it may just be "A Matter of Loaf and Death." As Brad writes, "What is there really to say? It's Aardman. It's Wallace and Gromit. Isn't that enough? This time around Wallace has started up a baking business and all around him other bakers are being knocked off one-by-one." ROPE OF SILICON 

• While Steve Pond thinks "The Hurt Locker" will win best picture at the Oscars, he still isn't ready to say the race is over. As he writes, "'Avatar' has already beaten all the odds at the box office, and it’s picked up a good chunk of voters who view it as such a transformative, groundbreaking experience that it’d be crazy to vote for anything else. 'Avatar' is the reason the Oscar show will see its ratings increase dramatically, and Academy voters know that. All of which makes “Avatar” the film that could possibly, conceivably throw the usual rules out the window and grab a win that hasn’t been indicated at any of the significant precursor awards." THE WRAP

Oscar nominations 2010 Avatar The Hurt Locker The Blind Side Up in the Air UpJeff Wells observes, "It's being asked which of this year's Best Picture nominees will be watched by film buffs 50 years hence. Just as I've watched (and will watch again) a 50 year-old Korean War film called 'Pork Chop Hill,' I can't imagine 'The Hurt Locker' not being a fascinating timepiece for those looking to absorb what the Iraq War was for U.S. troops. And just as 'Ben-Hur' is a necessary flick to own (especially when it finally comes out on Blu-ray or at least see once, who can imagine 'Avatar' not being a essential sit in 2060?" Jeff then recaps the merits of the 1959 Oscar nominees as well as those films snubbed by the academy. HOLLYWOOD ELSEWHERE

• A trio of Time Out scribes -- David Fear, Joshua Rothkopf and Keith Uhlich -- count down their top 50 most-deserving Oscar winners of the past 81 years. While the cinematography of "The Third Man" (1950) just made the cut, topping their list is the visual effects of "2001." As Rothkopf writes, "Our consensus choice by a galaxy-wide margin, Stanley Kubrick’s seismically influential special effects—landmark accomplishments in their field—were steered by an intelligence that spent years pursuing a vision of total realism." TIME OUT NEW YORK

RELATED POSTS

'The Hurt Locker' wins six BAFTA Awards

Tom O'Neil's 'fearless, peerless, 100% accurate Oscar predictions'

Oscar predictions: best animated and live-action shorts

Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars nixed 'Bruno' for host | Dave Karger BAFTAs predix | WGA Awards preview

Beware: Here comes an 'Inglourious' upset at the Oscars

Top photo: Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner in a scene from "Twilight: New Moon." Credit: Summit

Middle photo: "Law & Order: SVU" logo. Credit: NBC

Bottom photo: Academy Award statuettes. Credit: AMPAS

Get Gold Derby on Twitter. Join the Gold Derby Group at Facebook. Become friends with Tom O'Neil on Facebook. Get Gold Derby RSS feed via Facebook. RSS Feedburner. RSS Atom.


Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Stay Connected:


About the Blogger


Pop & Hiss



Categories


Archives
 



In Case You Missed It...