A couple days ago, we reported that the Oscars were banning Sacha Baron Cohen from attending the ceremony as his character from The Dictator, Admiral General Aladeen. The banning wasn’t unexpected since the Academy has the world’s largest stick jammed up the world’s tightest ass, and while Cohen’s character is comically offensive, it would be entertaining, which is not in the spirit of this year’s Oscars. This morning, Aladeen went on The Today Show and MSNBC to protest being banned from “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Zionists.” The video and the interview give a good sense of the offensive humor he was planning to bring to the Oscars, and it will be sorely missed from the unrelentingly dull ceremony on Sunday.
Hit the jump to check out the response video and his interview on MSNBC. The Dictator opens May 16th. [Update: Oscar producer Brian Grazer has confirmed via Heat Vision that Cohen will appear on the red carpet dressed as The Dictator after all, so prep your DVR's accordingly] [Update 2: Cohen's General Aladeen has posted a victory image with a golden gun and Oscars tickets in hand.]
Every day, the Academy is announcing new presenters for the Oscars, and those press releases are worthless. No one cares if Ben Stiller will be reading nominees off a card. But today, the Academy has made a terrific-yet-maddening announcement regarding a duo of presenters. Kermit and Miss Piggy will present at this year’s Academy Awards, and it will be the fifth time that Muppets have presented at the Oscars. While I’ll be happy to see them, the announcement makes me even more frustrated with this year’s ceremony. First, there won’t be a performance of The Muppets nominated song, “Man or Muppet”, which might have made sense due to set construction concerns. However, there was enough time and money to build a stage for Cirque du Soleil, who should be seen live (or at least in a movie theater) rather than your TV. And now that they’re going to have Muppets on stage anyway, it feels like the Academy is saying, “Muppets, you’re good enough to deliver a little banter and read names off a card, but no one wants to see you sing a song on live television.” At least “Man or Muppet” will probably win the Oscar.
Hit the jump for the press release.
As I’ve been covering awards season pretty extensively here on the site over the past few months, I figured it would be appropriate to (foolishly) try to predict the upcoming Oscar nominations. It’s been a fairly tame year, as a few frontrunners were singled out early in the race and have held their ground throughout the grueling awards season. We haven’t been without a few surprises, as Steven Spielberg’s War Horse took a massive tumble following snubs from most of the major guilds, and David Fincher has surged back into the race bringing his adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with him.
Though there are plenty of safe bets when it comes to the 2012 Oscar nominations, there are still a few wildcards and tricky categories. I’ve put on my prognosticating cap (those interested can purchase one of these nifty hats at your local Target) and compiled a list of who and what I think will make the cut. Hit the jump to see how I think the nods will stack up when they’re announced on January 24th.
In a new trailer, Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox team up at the behest of William Fichtner to track down a mysterious figure who has fallen “off the grid.” While this might not seem too far fetched at the outset, it all turns a bit snarky when you realize it’s a trailer for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. While it’s all very tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating, there’s a certain sigh-factor to it. Even though you know who’s going to show up at the end as the team is looking for a man known only as “The Host,” it made me smile to see who was there waiting for them.
The 2012 Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24th with the live awards show airing Sunday, February 26th at 7pm EST on ABC. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.
It was a bumpy road getting there, but the 84th Academy Awards are on the schedule for February 26, 2012 with Billy Crystal at the helm. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled the official poster for the awards with the tagline “Celebrate the movies in all of us.” The movies the poster celebrates are Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1943), Giant (1956), The Sound of Music (1965), The Godfather (1972), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Forrest Gump (1994) and Gladiator (2000). Curiously, Giant stands out as the movie that did not win Best Picture, though George Stevens won Best Director. Hit the jump for the poster.
by Jason Barr Posted: November 12th, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I’m going to bypass my usual opening paragraph musings this week and simply wish everyone a Happy Veterans Day weekend. Given that I don’t have any immediate family or friends who serve, I won’t claim to know the first thing about the sacrifices that each serviceman/woman and their respective families and friends are continually asked to make. I reap all of the benefits of their service without any of the concessions. As a result, I owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of them.
In this week’s “Top 5″ installment you can find the first trailer for Snow White and the Huntsman, a cornucopia of interviews for Immortals and Cars 2, new set images from the set of The Expendables 2 featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, and a look at the road that led Billy Crystal and Brian Grazer to the top of the 2012 Oscars. Hit the jump for a brief recap and link to each.
Earlier this week, the 2012 Oscars lost its producer and its host, and within the last 24 hours it has replaced both. We previously reported that Brian Grazer would take over producing duties from Brett Ratner, and now Billy Crystal has tweeted (and Variety has confirmed) that he will be hosting. Here’s what he said on Twitter (via @AwardsDaily):
“Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”
Crystal is the safe choice the Academy needs after this recent debacle. He’s hosted the show eight times before, and at last year’s disastrous ceremony he was one of the brief enjoyable moments. The Academy obviously doesn’t want any more headaches when it comes to their self-congratulatory bash, and Grazer and Crystal will get the job done with no behind-the-scenes drama. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which is now included after the jump.]
With producer Brett Ratner and now host Eddie Murphy exiting the 84th Academy Awards ceremony, Academy president Tom Sherak is rushing to get a new producer in place. According to THR, Sherak’s top choice is producer Brian Grazer, a Hollywood veteran who has the hair of an anime character and an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind. (He was also Ratner’s date to the Emmys.) The story is developing, but I can see Grazer as a reasonable (and more importantly, safe) choice to co-produce with the previously announced Don Mischer. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Sherak is also considering previous Oscar producers Adam Shankman or Bill Condon. Gil Cates would’ve been the obvious choice since he produced the show 14 times between 1990 and 2008, but he passed away less than two weeks ago.
Expect a producer to be named within the next 48 – 72 hours, and the announcement of a new host within the next week or so. The 84th Academy Awards will take place on February 26, 2012. Seriously, Neil Patrick Harris should host. He killed at the Tonys and the Emmys. I’ve heard The Muppets as a suggestion and I think that would be great, although it would be an interesting challenge to build the entire set around hiding the muppeteers or at least always shooting around them.
[Update: The Academy officially announced Grazer will produce the show. Hit the jump for the press release.]
There was a bit of a question as to whether or not Warner Bros. would mount an awards season campaign for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. On the one hand, it’s the culmination of a singular series that both honored it source material, but eventually became a great work of artistic achievement in its own right. However, the franchise has moved through different directors, the final film put an emphasis on action, and it’s technically half a movie. If the Academy stuck to its ten Best Picture nominations rule of the last few years, then it would have a better shot, but the new rule states that anywhere between five and ten movies can be nominated.
But Warner Bros. is going to give the boy wizard’s final film a shot and they’ve released a 30-second “For Your Consideration” ad. It’s going to be an uphill battle, but if Warner Bros. can get Academy voters to remember how they honored the Lord of the Rings movies (both franchises are blockbuster action-fantasy-dramas), then Deathly Hallows – Part 2 may have a chance at a nod for the top prize. Hit the jump to check out the FYC ad.
Physically unable to remove his foot from his mouth, Brett Ratner is having a very bad week. The Tower Heist director came under scrutiny for crudely bragging that he “banged” Olivia Munn a few times but didn’t remember who she was, when responding to a passage in Munn’s recent book that described a highly unflattering encounter she once had with the director. He then apologized for his claim, saying that he actually lied about having relations with Munn (excusing himself by exclaiming “She’s hot!”). Then, he came under intense fire for responding to a Q&A question about his directorial style by saying “Rehearsal is for fags.”
So it’s no surprise that Ratner has now stepped down as producer of the upcoming Oscar telecast. There’s no word on what this means for Eddie Murphy’s involvement as host, but I’m hoping he stays onboard. As for Ratner, he was a strange choice to begin with and the ignorance and overall asshole-ness of his comments have actually made him an even less appealing human being. Tom Sherak, president of AMPAS said in a statement: “Words have meaning, and they have consequences.” Hit the jump to read an open letter of apology to Hollywood from Ratner himself.
Under consideration for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature will be 18 contenders, some of which have yet to have their qualifying runs on screen. Major features include The Adventures of Tintin, Rango and Cars 2. Disney/Pixar has won 6 out of 10 years, while winning the last four in a row, but with DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots in the running, it could very well be their turn. Though there are some dark horses in the mix.
Submitted films must satisfy the category’s qualifying rules, including their theatrical release, in order to continue the submission process. In order to activate the award category at all, no fewer than 8 animated features must be released in theaters in Los Angeles County within the calendar year. If these films meet requirements for other categories, including Best Picture, they may be eligible for those awards as well. Hit the jump to see the full list.
With Brett Ratner’s comedy Tower Heist opening this weekend, I was able to chat with the busy director on the phone when he was in New York City promoting the movie. Starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe, Téa Leoni, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Michael Peña, and Alan Alda, Tower Heist centers on a group of disgruntled employees who decide to rob a white-collar criminal living under house arrest in their high-rise after he scams them all out of their savings.
During our wide-ranging conversation, Ratner talked about how he got involved in the project and who was originally going to star in it, the test screening process, deleted scenes, improv, what will be on the Blu-ray/DVD, and what it was like to work with Eddie Murphy. In addition, Ratner talked about producing next year’s Oscars, future projects like Movie 43, 39 Clues, Hercules, Hong Kong Phooey, Beverly Hills Copy 4, Rush Hour 4, the Woody Allen documentary that he’s producing, and a lot more. Hit the jump for the interview and audio.
Brett Ratner is a very busy guy at the moment. He’s currently preparing for the release of his latest directorial effort Tower Heist, which features an all-star cast that includes Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, and Alan Alda, and he’s also gearing up to produce the Academy Awards. In addition, Ratner is juggling a number of other projects. Steve recently got the chance to talk to Ratner and the conversation covered a wide range of topics. In addition to talking about his plan for the Oscars and getting Eddie Murphy as a host, Ratner also spoke about Tarsem Singh’s Untitled Snow White Project which he’s producing, a comprehensive documentary about Woody Allen (which sounds awesome) that he’s also producing, a miniseries on Sidney Korshak, and much more including updates on Beverly Hills Cop 4 and Hong Kong Phooey. Hit the jump to check out the full conversation.
As you may or may not know, every country is only allowed to submit one movie for consideration. It’s a little weak that a country can have multiple Oscar-worthy films but can only submit one and I think it would be better if each country could submit three to five films (unlimited submissions would be unfeasible). The full list of eligible contenders for this year’s Best Foreign-Language Film Oscar has been announced and it features some notable submissions that have already picked up some buzz. Brazil submitted its highest-grossing film of all-time, The Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, directed by RoboCop reboot helmer Jose Padilha. Mexico has chosen the acclaimed crime thriller Miss Bala as its submission, Germany put forward Wim Wenders’ snooze-fest Pina, and China has selected Zhang Yimou’s historical drama The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale
Hit the jump for the full list. Only five of the films will receive nominations for Best Foreign-Language Film. Oscar nominations will be announced on January 24, 2012, and the winners will be announced at the 84th Academy Awards on February 26, 2012.
I am one of those naive suckers who hopes for great things from Eddie Murphy when he hosts the Oscars—I pray the live stage will revive the Funniest Man Alive in him. I am in good company among the believers now that Bowfinger co-star and three-time Oscar host Steve Martin penned an open letter to Murphy with advice on how to handle the ceremony. This is my favorite line:
“If you feel tired midway through, give Neil Patrick Harris a Red Bull and throw some sheet music at him.”
The full letter—including a dig at Norbit and a dick joke—is up at Martin’s official site. It’s hilarious, as you would expect from a fellow perennial Funniest Man Alive contender. Given Martin’s past history with the Academy, it’s a safe bet he will be involved in the telecast in some form. It would be great to see Martin and Murphy work together again, especially since 1999′s Bowfinger is often cited as Murphy’s last solid comedic performance. I’ll try to keep my expectations in check for now, but at the very least, Murphy should be able clear the low bar set by Sunday’s Emmy telecast. Right? … Right? … Guys?