Billy Crystal poses with Oscar statues at the 2012 show. (Getty Images )
EXCLUSIVE: The Academy Awards get a fair amount of coverage (and then some) from Web prognosticators. But a full documentary treatment is a much rarer thing.
That’s the effort the decorated documentarians Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will undertake, directing a documentary about the Oscars for cable network TCM. The pair are just beginning to shoot material but aim to have the film ready in time for broadcast before next year’s show, they said.
The documentary will focus less on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and more on the history of the awards, along with what titles and people have won throughout the ages. "It’s the trends and patterns that interest us,” Epstein said in an interview with The Times.
Epstein is on the Board of Governors of the motion picture academy and said that the movie is being made with the group's cooperation.
There have been compilation films about winners produced previously, but few broadcast pieces take on both the culture and rules that have led to the big winners and upsets over the years (“Shakespeare in Love,” anyone?). This year’s race for best picture — nominees of course will be announced Thursday morning — is believed to be anyone’s game, with no fewer than four movies considered strong contenders.
Epstein and Friedman are Oscar winners themselves, with the former winning the feature doc prize for 1984's “The Times of Harvey Milk” and the pair winning for their 1989 “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,” about the lives of people represented on the AIDS memorial quilt.
The pair are also behind the Amanda Seyfried-starring biopic “Lovelace” that will premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival (more on that shortly).
Separately, Epstein and Friedman, seasoned documentarians who made the scripted drama “Howl” about Allen Ginsberg a few years back, are coming aboard to direct HBO's Anita Bryant drama, the pair said.
“Sex and the City” veteran Darren Star is executive producing the scripted film, which tells of the controversial singer-turned-anti-gay-activist. “She’s a fascinating figure, and Chad [Hodge] wrote a fully realized screenplay,” Friedman said.
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