The five are back, but who is presenting to whom?
This year's 82nd Academy Awards show should be an intriguing mix of old and new, but one of the most successful aspects of last year's critically lauded show appears to be receiving a strange makeover.
The 81st Academy Awards featured the innovation of having five former winners present each acting award to that year's nominee class. It was a classy move that effectively had the previous winners "welcoming" that year's recipient into the Academy "club," while praising each nominated performance. The reveal of each former winner -- secrets the producers did everything to try and protect -- also created a sense of excitement as the show progressed and was visibly moving to many of the nominees in the audience.
Academy announces more big names for Sunday's big show
As interest in this Sunday's 82nd Academy Awards heats up, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced more presenters today for the big show. Headlining the star-filled group was none other than former Oscar winners Barbra Streisand, Kathy Bates and Charlize Theron, two-time nominees Robert Downey, Jr. and John Travolta and singular honorees Queen Latifah and Samuel L. "I never met an awards show I couldn't attend" Jackson.
Best Director won't be affected by 'Lockergate'
All of Hollywood is a buzz over "Lockergate," the "scandal" where "Hurt Locker" producer Nicolas Chartier broke Academy rules by sending E-mails to members asking them to vote for his Best Picture nominee. Coming out just a week before member votes are due on Tuesday, March 2, it has cast doubt among many that "Locker" can upset "Avatar" in a David vs. Goliath match up for Oscar's most prestigious award. One race where this controversy should have no bearing, however, is Best Director.
2010 Oscar Predictions continue with Best Supporting Actress
When this pundit attended the world premiere of "Precious," then known as "Push," at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the entire audience knew the actress and comedienne known as Mo'Nique had delivered a career-defining performance. To be blunt, it was jaw-droppingly unexpected.
As perhaps one of the most hateful mothers in modern screen history, Mo'Nique accomplished almost the impossible in making the audience teeter on the verge of sympathy for a character you'd grown to hate. It was a role that everyone in that theater knew would be an Oscar player. However, as the days and months progressed, it was clear there was very little competition that could match the intensity of Mo'Nique's work. But then the media reared its ugly head.
Producer's rule-breaking E-mails could benefit 'Avatar'
Somewhere this weekend executives at Summit Entertainment and their Academy Awards consultants are sweeping the floor of all the hair they pulled out after a week of bizarre and possibly game-changing events in the Best Picture race. In one of the stupidest moves ever, Nicolas Charier, one of the officially accredited producers of "The Hurt Locker," sent out E-mails to friends and their acquaintances (ie, friend of friends) in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences urging them to vote for his picture. It might sound silly, but that's a blatant violation of Academy rules.
Originally reported by The Envelope's Pete Hammond on Tuesday, the E-mails didn't sell the quality of the critically acclaimed thriller, but pushed the "independent" nature of "Locker" against a "$500 million" competitor. Chartier didn't name "Avatar," but his campaign tone ("Please call one or two persons, everything will help!") did not suit well with the Academy. By Thursday, the Academy had made Chartier send an apology to every member he'd contacted originally which included -- get this -- producers and filmmakers who worked on the other competing Best Picture nominees. Chartier was seemingly unaware of his bad taste and breach of Academy rules and it is expected that either Chartier or Summit Entertainment will be penalized because of his actions. In the past, punishment in these types of matters has been confined to the allotment of tickets to the nominee (the golden egg to all involved). In this case that would constitute Summit Entertainment, the filmmakers and "Hurt Locker" producers. The Academy have made it clear they won't comment on the situation or any reprimand until after the voting period closes on Tuesday, March 2 at 5 PM PT.
But, wait. It got worse.
It appears Chartier sent out even more E-mails telling people how to rank their votes in order of preferential treatment. Specifically, he noted that members put even if they are going to vote for "Locker," they should put "Avatar" as low as possible (say, No. 10 out of 10) because "we" need the win. How the Academy will deal with these additional E-mails, which Chartier finally admitted to a shocked Summit Entertainment on Friday, will also remain unclear until next week. However, at this point it wouldn't be surprising if Chartier is denied entry to the big show. And, obviously, if "Locker" wins that would me he wouldn't get to appear on stage to accept the Oscar with his fellow producers including director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. And considering how this story has spread across town like wildfire, even if he is in the theater, he may want to avoid stepping up on stage if "Locker" wins. It might get a very ugly reaction from the audience.
The critical question is whether this drama will truly affect Academy member votes. The Academy does not release what percentage of voters tend to send in their ballots early or late in the process and anecdotally it seems to depend on the year. With members already complaining about how difficult it is to understand the Academy's instructions on how to vote for the new ten Best Picture system (next year they might send a video), you could deduct many have not submitted yet. Therefore, this negative press could have a huge impact on "Locker's" chances.
Complicating matters is the fact 20th Century Fox has launched a major media campaign buying national television spots that hype up the critical accolades and once in a lifetime achievement of "Avatar." These are absolutely aimed at Academy voters and while the buy has no doubt cost millions of dollars, it's a drop in the bucket when you've made $2.46 billion worldwide (and counting).
These events have only increased the drama for a race that was too close to call even before the news of the E-mails spread across town. Could Chartier's mistake scuttle his own film's chances of beating James Cameron's blockbuster? We'll all find out on Sunday, March 7, but no matter what the outcome it's a sad footnote to what had been a memorable underdog campaign for Summit, Bigelow and "Locker" this awards season.
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Black Eyed Peas, Morgan Freeman, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston also take home statues
The 41st NCAA Images were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight and as expected, the Oscar nominated Best Picture "Precious: Based on 'Push' a novel by Sapphire" dominated the night with six awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture. The complete list of winners from tonight's show are as follows:
The 41st NCAA Images were held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles tonight and as expected, the Oscar nominated Best Picture "Precious: Based on 'Push' a novel by Sapphire" dominated the night with six awards including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
The complete list of winners from tonight's show are as follows:
One of last year's best dramas features a striking debut by newcomer Tahar Rahim
It's been an incredibly dramatic year for the three men behind France's acclaimed drama "A Prophet" (or "Un Prophete" as the filmmakers would prefer). The film was generally regarded as the best picture at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, where it made its debut, but lost the prestigious Golden Palm to Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon." And since then, that's been a constant outcome for director Jacques Audilard, writer Thomas Bidegian and breakout star Tahar Rahim.
"Loser, loser," Bidegian jokes after we chatted following the Golden Globes last month. "That's been our life for the past six months. We travel 6,000 kilometers. We put on a tux. We go, we sit. We applaud Michael Haneke, we have a couple of drinks and we go home."
The cast of 'Jersey Shore' to parody Oscar's biggest contenders
Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic may have had their first choice to host the Academy Awards swatted down by the Academy board, but they have still found a way to get Sacha Baron Cohen on the big show.
It was announced today Cohen will make his first appearance on this year's 82nd Academy Awards to present an award. Cohen has previously only appeared in person, and not as one of his famously outlandish characters, to present at the Golden Globe Awards. Joining him are returning presenters Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Ben Stiller. Additionally, Jason Bateman has attend the show previously, but this will be the first time he will present. Fey had a very memorable bit with this year's co-host Steve Martin during last year's show as did Ben Stiller alongside Natalie Portman.
2010 Oscar Predictions continue with Best Supporting Actor
When the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actor is a previously unknown Austrian character actor best known for his television work it makes you consider, "Why exactly isn't there a race here?" Christoph Waltz received rave reviews for his role as the terrifying and hilarious Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's summer blockbuster "Inglourious Basterds," but was his performance so good there was absolutely no competition? Well, it's never that easy, but it may be the sad truth.
To be clear, Waltz is not slipping by. He deserves all the accolades he's won including the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor honor, the Golden Globe, the BAFTA and even the American Screen Actor's Guild Award. What's surprising about this inevitable outcome is that Waltz's turn wasn't heralded as the second coming like other recent portrayals such as Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood," Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls," Helen Mirren in "The Queen" or Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men." But, unfortunately for those of us looking for a bit of Oscar drama, the field hasn't shaped up to challenge him.
Tyler Perry will present at the 82nd Academy Awards, is Oprah Winfrey next?
Proving that this year's Academy Awards may be its most populist ever, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that movie mogul Tyler Perry will make his debut on the 82nd Academy Awards as a presenter.
Better known for his big screen role as the sharp tongued Madea, Perry has become an industry unto himself with such profitable hits as "Madea's Family Reunion," "Why Did I Get Married?" and "Meet the Browns." This past year Perry, who writes, stars and usually directs his own films, appeared in another filmmakers work for the first time when he played an Admiral in J.J. Abrams "Star Trek." Obviously, while this pundit and many viewers would like for nothing more than Madea to show up "herself" and giving a talking to the Academy audience, its expected Perry will appear as himself.