March 7, 2010 |
Adam Shankman's love affair with the Oscars began with an act of petty larceny. Back when he was a little boy, his father -- an entertainment lawyer and manager -- attended the Academy Awards. "He brought home the program from the show, and I stole it," said Shankman, 45. "I kept it and would look through that program for years. I just thought it was the most glorious thing in the world." After being long-transfixed by the entertainment industry, Shankman has suddenly been catapulted directly into the center of it as the co-producer of the 82nd Academy Awards.
March 5, 2010 |
If Sunday's Oscar telecast ends up breaking ratings records, organizers might just want to send a thank-you in the Na'vi language to James Cameron. Cameron's "Avatar," a sci-fi fable about endangered tree-dwellers on the fictional moon Pandora, has become the highest-grossing picture of all time with more than $700 million in U.S. box office. It's also up for nine nominations including best picture. The last time a Cameron picture brought home academy hardware -- for the previous box-office champion, "Titanic," in 1998 -- the award telecast soared to new heights.
February 11, 2010 |
When anyone talks about Oscar ratings, they inevitably mention the Super Bowl -- as in "the Oscar telecast is second only to the Super Bowl." So why is it that when critics and pundits write their inevitable "how to fix the Oscar telecast" piece, we never seem to address the actual competition? This year, Super Bowl ratings broke all records, not surprising since the game had not only the draw of the Manning dynasty but also all the inspirational back story of New Orleans. Not since Notre Dame won it for the Gipper has a game been so laden with sentimental possibility.
February 2, 2010 |
Maybe the world was craving an Elton John-Lady Gaga duet. Or perhaps a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic routine from a nearly naked Pink. Or it could be that viewers just like hearing bleeped rap songs. Whatever the case, the 35% ratings surge for Sunday's Grammy extravaganza on CBS -- nearly 26 million viewers, or about as many as for Fox's singing smash "American Idol," according to early results from the Nielsen Co. -- has the TV business asking: Are award shows staging a comeback?
January 17, 2010 |
In seven weeks, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be hosting its biggest Oscar ceremony in nearly 70 years -- at least as measured by the number of best picture nominees. When Sid Ganis, then-president of the academy, announced the decision to double the best picture field from five to 10, he said deserving films had been "squeezed" out of the race and, besides, back in the 1930s and 1940s, having 10 best picture nominees was the norm. (This was somewhat disingenuous: Studios released a movie a week then and barely one a month now, so the universe of films used to be much, much larger.
November 15, 2009 |
Tom Sherak never forgets that movies are for the masses. The veteran marketer turned new president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences started in showbiz driving around states like Maryland and West Virginia, persuading ordinary people to book such Paramount movies as "The Godfather" and "Love Story" into their small-town movie houses. "They were all real people, postal workers or sanitation workers who also owned the one theater in town. I'd go and meet them at their lunch hour and tell them about the movies."
June 25, 2009 |
In January, all of Hollywood wondered exactly how close "The Dark Knight" came to earning an Oscar nomination for best picture. Now we know the answer: It missed by 12 months. If the "The Dark Knight" had been released this summer instead of last, it would have been part of the new Academy Awards era that began Wednesday with the out-of-the-blue announcement that the best picture category at the Oscars will double in size to 10 films.
June 25, 2009 |
I never thought I'd be caught dead using the words "bold" and "innovative" in the same sentence with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but that's what any Oscar fan would have to call the academy's eye-popping decision to expand its best picture nominee list from five to 10 pictures. All I can say is "Bravo!"
February 21, 2009 |
Perhaps the most conspicuous people onstage during the Oscar telecast -- those graceful creatures once known as "trophy girls" -- are also the most forgettable, gliding around like sophisticated stage props. This year, though, Oscar telecast producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon are going for something with more possibilities, deliberately casting experienced actors -- and one model -- as trophy presenters to bring a little more personality to the job.
March 1, 2008
I read with great interest Patrick Goldstein's article about modernizing and streamlining the Oscar telecast ["Note to Oscars: Get Real," Feb. 27], but frankly, I don't think the conservative academy will go along with a separate award show for the technical nominations. It would come across like a crass snub, pandering to the mass audience. Moreover, many of these technicians are vital to the commercial success of a film.