Oscars: February 2007 Archives

Marty's win shows delayed reaction of Oscars

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NEW YORK — Yes, ‘‘The Departed’’ was smart, highly entertaining moviemaking. But nary a critic would say it was Martin Scorsese’s best film — not by a mile. Yet nobody but a heartless grinch would begrudge the masterful director his hard-won Oscar, the first in six nominations. It just points to a simple rule of Oscar history: An award isn’t always about the actual work at hand. Often it amounts to a statement: that someone has finally arrived, or, in Scorsese’s case, is long overdue. In other words, when Oscar comes calling, it’s not always for the right film.

Jen's just not a party girl

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"I'm just not a party girl, and I don't think I ever will be," says Jennifer Hudson in today's wrap-up of Oscar after-parties by Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker. And catch up with the final Red Carpet Diaries from columnist Richard Roeper.

Oh yeah, where was Brangelina?

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According to this report, Brad stayed home with the kids while Angelina was jetting back to Africa. They're smart enough to know that "Babel" wouldn't win big...

Oscar ratings stay afloat

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Last night's Oscar ceremony kept its TV ratings afloat, despite the marathon four-hour running time. Zap2It reports that "preliminary ratings for ABC's telecast pretty much on par with last year's Oscars."

Associated Press Writer

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - A global mix of British stars, Hispanic ingenues, hip-hop royalty, politicos and Oscar winners united under one language at this year's Academy Awards parties: glamour. From Vanity Fair's celebrity-packed after-party to Elton John's annual Oscar viewing bash, Sunday night's festivities were as diverse as they were glitzy.

Best supporting actress winner Jennifer Hudson, wearing a snug gold beaded gown, showed up to Vanity Fair's party at Morton's just before 1 a.m., thrusting her trophy for "Dreamgirls" into the air. ...

To kiss or not to kiss?

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To kiss or not to kiss. That was the debate Melissa Etheridge and her lesbian partner were having before this year's Oscar show.

"I have not been one to kiss my partner in public just for sensationalism," Etheridge, who won the Academy Award for original song, told reporters after Sunday's show.

But when her name was called for "I Need to Wake Up" from the film "An Inconvenient Truth," Etheridge planted one right on the lips of Tammy Lynn Michaels.

"I was kissing her because that's what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that's what I grew up believing," Etheridge said backstage. Then, holding up the golden statue she'd just won, the musician quipped, "This is the only naked man that will ever be in my bedroom."


Counting down the Oscars

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232: Length of the show, in minutes.

60: Carats in Gwyneth Paltrow's pink star sapphire and diamond ring by Fred Leighton.

48: Length of the standing ovation, in seconds, the Kodak Theatre audience gave honorary winner Ennio Morricone.

32: Carats in Jennifer Hudson's yellow briolette-cut diamond drop by Fred Leighton.

33: Number of people remembered during the In Memoriam segment.

13.5: Height, in inches, of an Oscar statue.

8: Age at which Penelope Cruz realized she wanted to be an actress.

6: Number of awards handed out before the first acting award was presented.

5: Number of times Jennifer Hudson mentioned God on stage when she won best supporting actress.

4: Number of Oscars awarded to movies made by Mexican filmmakers.

3: Number of times Leonardo DiCaprio has acted in a Martin Scorsese film.

2: Number of lipsticks Jennifer Lopez carried in her purse.

2: Number of Oscars won by a film featuring a former U.S. vice president.


The Thank-You Cam worked! Sort of ...

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Who knows? If not for the new "Thank-You Cam," Sunday night's nearly four-hour Oscar telecast might have run six hours.

The new backstage Internet alternative to the long-held practice of Oscar winners reading long and boring lists of people to thank, and then finding themselves out of time to say anything meaningful, proved a success in its first outing. ...

Delayed reaction doesn't bother Arkin

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It's not like Alan Arkin has spent the past four decades worrying about it, but Lyndon Johnson was president the last time the winner of the supporting actor Oscar was nominated for an Academy Award. That was in 1968, for "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."

Arkin finally took home the gold statue on Sunday for his tragi-comic role as a heroin-snorting grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine."

"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it," he said of winning awards. "I do my work. My main concern is being in projects where I can be excited about something."

He also has his thoughts on why, at age 72, he finally won.

"It's because of my age," Arkin said. "Everybody thinks I'm going to keel over in a year or two."


Oscar win = big DVD bucks

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LOS ANGELES — The Warner Bros. film "The Departed" could see a financial boost as soon as this morning from its Sunday-night win as best picture at the 79th annual Academy Awards.

The film was released on DVD just two weeks ago, the third of the best-picture nominees to hit retail shelves, and its Oscar buzz is likely to lead to increased sales.

"Little Miss Sunshine," from Fox Searchlight, a News Corp. company, and "Babel" from Paramount Vantage, a division of Viacom Inc., have also been released on DVD.

Films can also see a theater box-office bump as large $50 million from Oscar-generated heat.


A memorable night for black actors

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It was a memorable but not completely triumphant Oscar night for black actors as Forrest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson won trophies but Eddie Murphy lost in an upset.

As expected, Whitaker won best actor Sunday for his frightful yet charismatic performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Chicago's Jennifer Hudson, a former "American Idol" contestant, scored the best supporting actress award for her debut performance in the musical "Dreamgirls."

"Receiving this honor tonight tells me that it's possible, it is possible for a kid from East Texas, raised in South Central L.A. and Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them and to have them happen," Whitaker said as he accepted his award.

That's a rap, kiddos. Go to sleep. And when you wake up in the morn, here's what will be in your Monday Sun-Times:

• Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert writes about experiencing the Oscars from a totally new perspective this year — from his living room: "One of the unexpected things about watching the show at home is that I never quite realized how elaborate the lead-up to the program is. "

• Also, Ebert cohort and Web site editor Jim Emerson presents his complete report on the night's show: "In an evening of upsets, 'The Departed' pulled ahead in the final moments of the 79th Academy Awards to take best picture Oscar and also the director prize — at last — for the long overlooked Martin Scorsese."

Jennifer Hudson's family and friends react to her big win.

• Sun-Times TV columnist Doug Elfman rates the telecast's better moments: "Maybe 'Little Miss Sunshine’s' Abigail Breslin, 10, and Will Smith’s son Jaden, 8, should have been co-hosts. They announced two awards for short films (Abigail and Jaden are short, ha ha). And they were more relaxed and composed than just about anyone else, including DeGeneres, but then anxiety is part of Ellen’s shtick."

• Sun-Times celebrity columnist Bill Zwecker rounds up the hottest moments from the red carpet: "Michael Sheen, when asked how he felt about following up his performance as Tony Blair in “The Queen” with the upcoming 'Frost/ Nixon' — portraying David Frost in the film based on the play — joked, 'I’d better find a fictional character — quick! And hopefully, an American at that!' "

• Fashion reporter Maureen Jenkins awards couture's winners and losers on the red carpet, such as, "Best vintage-inspired flashback: Although Jennifer Lopez walked the red carpet in a vintage-looking stone-adorned, empire waist gown from Marchesa (she also wore Marchesa to this year’s Golden Globes), the design was new. But her much shorter bobbed hair looked straight out of a 1960s roller set (albeit a glamorous Hollywood-ready one)."

Murphy's loss gave Jen Hudson a scare

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

HOLLYWOOD — Backstage at the Oscars ceremony, Jennifer Hudson said the statuette is “going home to my new house in Chicago — along with my SAG Award, my Golden Globe and my BAFTA [from the British film academy].”

Asked if she brought any of her local roots into her “Dreamgirls” performance, she said, “I just drew on it all. It comes from the heart, and that’s what I put into it.”

The front-runner for the prize throughout the Oscar season, Hudson might have had a scare when her “Dreamgirls” co-star Eddie Murphy lost unexpectedly to Alan Arkin.

“I was definitely shocked, but you just can’t count on anything,” Hudson said. “Once again, everything is unpredictable. I'm still in shock. It will take awhile to get used to this.”

She’s always called herself a singer first and an actress second. But after tonight, she said, “Maybe I have to think that through again!”

Backstage abuzz as stars meet stars

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By Sandy Cohen

LOS ANGELES — It was a celebrity mash-up backstage at the Academy Awards as A-list presenters and winners met and mingled in the wings, stage right. Tom Hanks met Anne Hathaway. Host Ellen DeGeneres chatted with young Jaden Christopher Syre Smith. And Naomi Watts bumped into George Clooney, literally, as he left the stage and she prepared to take it. And where else but the Oscars could you see a line for the bathroom that included Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld and Robert Downey Jr.? ...

The list of winners

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A complete list of winners at the 79th annual Academy Awards, presented tonight at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles:

Best picture: 'The Departed'

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It's done. Marty took best director and mopped it up with the top award.

It's Marty's year!

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It took 26 years, six directing nominations and two screenplay nominations, but Martin Scorsese finally has his Oscar.

Righting an injustice that had seemingly swelled to the ranks of poverty in Africa, tonight the Academy Awards bestowed a best-directing Oscar on Scorsese for ‘‘The Departed’’
The great director had lost in his previous five nominations for best director. He had clearly sought the statue, and seemed likely to finally get it two years ago for directing ‘‘The Aviator.’’ ...

Elfman: Mirren's naked talent

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Helen Mirren, no surprise, wins best actress.

I chatted with her last year, and once again she delighted me with her charm and intelligence. But she also talked about her joy in going au naturale.

Here's part of the interview that ran in the Sun-Times:

Elfman: A fabulous gay Oscars

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By Doug Elfman
Sun-Times TV columnist

Wow. Ellen DeGeneres was the first openly gay Oscars host, but she didn't mention it. Instead, it was best song winner Melissa Etheridge who thanked her wife in an acceptance speech.

It was a pretty gay Oscars, and I mean that in a good way, not in a "South Park" way. For those of us who know (or think we know) who in Hollywood is in the closet, we could point out to you which actors and actresses were probably applauding in their secret heart. But we can't tell you that, since we don't "out" people.

Behind the big names backstage

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More backstage vignettes from tonight's Oscars ...

After earning the first of ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’s’’ multiple Oscars, art direction winners Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta speculated about the film’s popularity. ‘‘In this cruel world right now, it is important to give a chance to fantasy,’’ said Caballero, who nabbed his first Oscar with his first nomination. ‘‘I think it’s a movie about hope. That’s why it has been a lucky year for us.’’ For Revuelta, who also took home a statuette on her first try, the movie demonstrated the power of pan-Hispanic coalition. ‘‘It’s good that it was a collaboration between Spanish people and Mexican people,’’ said Revuelta, who took most of the backstage questions in the countries’ common language, Spanish. ...

Zwecker: All eyes backstage on Al Gore

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

Al Gore was backstage still talking to the press when Melissa Etheridge won for best original song for "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore was clearly moved — almost to tears listening to Etheridge pay tribute to him in her on stage remarks — putting his arm around Davis Guggenheim as they listened to Etheridge.

Not surprisngly, nearly all the questions backstage for the Oscar-winners for "An Inconvenient Truth" went to the former vice president. When he was first addressed as "Mr. President," Gore quipped, "Well, I was the president of the Senate, so that's not improper."

As for the political aspects of solving the question of global warming, Gore said "This is not a political issue. It's not a political movie. Some issues will have to be worked out in the political sphere. It is the overriding moral challenge of our time. We have to find a way to build a bipartisan and non-partisan way to solve the climate crisis."

Elfman: Another liberal Oscar hootenanny

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By Doug Elfman
Sun-Times TV columnist

The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars if they weren’t a big liberal fest of feel-good backslapping. Not only was Al Gore the star of the best documentary winner, but Leonardo DiCaprio asked Gore onstage if he would run for president in 2008.

“I’m just here for the movies, Leo,” Gore said seriously.

But then DiCaprio pressed Gore, and Gore taunted the crowd.

“You’ve been very convincing,” Gore said. “So my fellow Americans, I’m going formally announce my intentions to …” And then that Oscar speech-interrupting music chimed in to cut the Gore joke short.

Ellen DeGeneres’ best line was liberal, too, the one about people named Oscar. But it was also funny when she said her dream was always to host the Oscars, not to win an Oscar.

“Let that be a lesson to you kids out there: Aim lower.”

More coming from Elfman on the Oscars telecast in tomorrow's Sun-Times!

The winners list so far

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Partial list of winners at the 79th annual Academy Awards, presented tonight at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles:

Oscars give Grammy regulars stage fright

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LOS ANGELES — Sure, Melissa Etheridge is used to singing in front of thousands of people. It’s just that Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg aren’t usually in the audience, at least not all at once.

Etheridge, on hand to perform her Oscar-nominated song ‘‘I Need to Wake Up’’ from the documentary ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth,’’ admitted to no small amount of stage fright before tonight's Academy Awards show. She added that trying to avoid eye contact with her audience wouldn’t help either.

‘‘Then you go, ‘I’ll just look at the camera,’ and there’s a billion people out there,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a little crazy.’’

James Taylor, on hand for a duet with Randy Newman on the Oscar-nominated song ‘‘Our Town,’’ was taken aback when he arrived on the red carpet to the screams of fans in the bleachers.

‘‘It’s like another world,’’ he said, holding tightly to his wife Kim’s hand. ‘‘We’ll just concentrate on the music, do our best and try to enjoy the moment.’’


Why's Smilin' Jack so bare-headed?

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LOS ANGELES — Is Jack Nicholson playing Lex Luthor in the next ‘‘Superman’’ movie? Maybe he’ll be Daddy Warbucks in a remake of ‘‘Annie.’’ Or perhaps he’s going to the same hairstylist as Britney Spears.

As host Ellen DeGeneres walked onto the stage at the beginning of tonight's Oscars, the camera found its way to an applauding Nicholson, who appeared wearing his signature sunglasses and sporting a very non-signature shaved head.

Turns out the extreme haircut is just devotion to craft.

Nicholson and co-star Morgan Freeman are filming director Rob Reiner’s film ‘‘The Bucket List,’’ a buddy comedy/drama about two terminally ill men who flee a cancer ward to complete a list of things they want to do before they die. It is scheduled for release in November.


Next time, Jen, write down the names

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Jennifer Hudson was just as flustered and unprepared backstage as she was at the microphone. For the Oscars Web site "Thank-You Cam" she was still at a loss for names to thank. As she stammered and took cues from people off-camera, she did manage to thank Jennifer Holiday ("the one and only original 'Dreamgirl'"), her producer, her fellow cast members, the Academy again and "Did I say God? Yes, God."

Yet another upset in foreign film category

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LOS ANGELES — Germany’s ‘‘The Lives of Others,’’ a political thriller about spying in 1980s East Berlin, won the Academy Award for best foreign language film tonight, staging an upset over favorite ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’’ from Mexico. The film marked the feature debut of German writer-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who had previously made short films and done some TV work. ...

Eddie Murphy 'sullen and grim' after loss

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

HOLLYWOOD — The news in the Kodak Theatre backstage is all about “Dreamgirls” nominee Eddie Murphy’s rapid departure after losing the best supporting actor Oscar to Arkin.

It reminded many of Chicagoan Bill Murray’s early exit when he didn’t win the best actor Academy Award for “Lost in Translation.”

Murphy’s facial expression seemed to say it all as he walked out of the Kodak Theatre. He looked very sullen and grim.

Jennifer wins!

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Yeah! Our homegirl Jennifer Hudson wins best supporting actress!

Breathless at the microphone, she fanned herself and said, "I just have to take this moment in. I can't believe this. Look what God can do! I didn't think I was going to win."

She thanked "Dreamgirls" director Bill Condon (who she called a "genius"), her mother, and her grandmother, who "was a singer who had a passion for it but never had the chance" — much like the role she played as Effie White.

Backstage sights and sounds

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By Sandy Cohen

LOS ANGELES — Backstage was bustling tonight at the Oscars as celebrities lined up to take the stage and announce winners. Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, stood with his arms folded and his face stiff as he watched the opening monologue on a monitor and waited to present the Oscar for art direction with Nicole Kidman. Craig finally cracked a grin when host Ellen DeGeneres joked that Americans were the most qualified to fill seats at the Kodak Theatre.

Are you on the list?

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Bad news, B listers: Elton John has scaled back his Oscars afterparty to only 600 of his closest friends at — get this — a reported $50,000 a table. Meanwhile, Prince is having a secret after-after party that even the guests don't even know where it is until they're informed later tonight. Wonder if "Little Miss Sunshine" will be carded ...

Cindy Pearlman

In defense of Sally Kirkland

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I was going to make fun of Sally Kirkland, who seems to be a permanent fixture on the Oscars red carpet every year, for no discernible reason. For God's sake, she even got the brush-off from Joan Rivers.

I was going to say that she's no longer relevant, not having been nominated for an award since 1987's "Anna." I don't personally remember her in anything since 1999's "EdTV."

But then I looked up her entry at the Internet Movie Database, and I must say: Sally's been staying busy! She's got more projects in the works than Leo DiCaprio:

1. The Last Guy on Earth (2006) (pre-production)
2. Resurrection Mary (2007) (filming) .... Lois
3. Big Stan (2007) (post-production)
4. Under the Knife (2007) (post-production) .... Pat Mazur
5. Richard III (2007) (completed) .... Queen Margaret
6. Factory Girl (2006) (uncredited) .... Grandma Sedgwick
7. Coffee Date (2006) .... Mrs. Muller
8. Off the Black (2006) .... Marianne Reynolds
9. Fingerprints (2006) .... Mary
10. Spiritual Warriors (2006) .... Realtor
11. A-List (2006) .... Olga

So I guess she can come back next year, too.

It's mother's day at Oscars

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By Paige Wiser
Sun-Times Columnist

Ryan Gosling earns points for leaving pink-haired girlfriend Rachel McAdams at home, and instead bringing his thrilled mom and sister to the Oscars as his entourage. "I thought I'd do it like Snoop," he explained.

And yet I find it annoying that Beyonce brought her mom. Again. Does that woman not have a sofa?

Zwecker: The Jen Hudson diet!

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

HOLLYWOOD — Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson has received a lot of press for her big weight loss as she has glammed-up her image since the release of “Dreamgirls.” As for the South Side native, she claims she has started something she calls the “Jennifer Hollywood Party Diet. You run from one party to the next one and just as you’re about to eat something someone grabs you to talk to you, so you have no time to eat!”

Ever worried about drinking on an empty stomach at all those fancy parties? “Nope,” said the deeply-religious actress and singer. “You can’t get into trouble when all you drink is club soda with a slice of lemon!” ...

19th loss makes an Oscars record

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LOS ANGELES — Sound engineer Kevin O’Connell didn’t take home an Oscar tonight, but he did put his name in the academy record book — for most Oscar losses, 19, without a win. ...

Diversity plays out as Oscars get under way

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Once an evening of backslapping and merrymaking within the narrow confines of Hollywood, the Academy Awards this time looked like a United Nations exercise in diversity. The 79th annual Oscars feature their most ethnically varied lineup ever, with stars and stories that reflect the growing multiculturalism taking root around the globe.

‘‘What a wonderful night. Such diversity in the room,’’ said Ellen DeGeneres, serving as Oscar host for the first time, ‘‘in a year when there’s been so many negative things said about people’s race, religion and sexual orientation.

‘‘And I want to put this out there: If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars,’’ she said, adding’’ ‘‘Or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that.’’


Husband-wife nominees trade places

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LOS ANGELES — Davis Guggenheim played the dutiful date 10 years ago when his wife, Elisabeth Shue, was Oscar-nominated for ‘‘Leaving Las Vegas.’’ His payback came tonight.

‘‘Now she’s my date, so it’s kind of fun,’’ said Guggenheim, who directed ‘‘An Inconvenient Truth,’’ the story of former Vice President Al Gore’s commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. It was nominated for a documentary feature Oscar.

‘‘I told him to just try to stay in the present and keep reminding himself that he’s actually here,’’ Shue said.


Another upset: 'Happy Feet' turns off 'Cars'

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The dancing-penguin musical ‘‘Happy Feet’’ won the Oscar for feature-length animation, denying computer-animation pioneer John Lasseter (‘‘Toy Story’’) the prize for ‘‘Cars,’’ which had been the big winner of earlier key animation honors.

‘‘I asked my kids, ‘What should I say?’ They said, ‘Thank all the men for wearing penguin suits,’’’ said ‘‘Happy Feet’’ director George Miller.

Mexican directors take Oscar recognition in stride

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LOS ANGELES — Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron shook up Oscar night with an incredible 16 nominations between them, leading some to compare the group to another trio of renowned filmmakers: Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and John Ford. Del Toro, for one, wasn’t buying it.

‘‘I was thinking more like Larry, Curly and Moe,’’ joked the director, whose film ‘‘Pan’s Labyrinth’’ garnered six nominations, including foreign-language film and screenplay.

‘‘We need like six of us for one Scorsese,’’ Alfonso said. ‘‘The great thing is to be sharing this moment together.’’ His film, ‘‘Children of Men,’’ was nominated for three Oscars.

Inarritu was up against Scorsese in the best director category for his film ‘‘Babel,’’ which was nominated in six other categories, including best picture.


Even the celebrities are starstruck

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LOS ANGELES — Celebrities are just like the rest of us when it comes to meeting and greeting famous folks: They’re star-struck.

Steve Carell of ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine,’’ making his way along a jam-packed red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars, suddenly found himself next to a tongue-tied Leonardo DiCaprio. ‘‘Leo said, ‘Hey buddy,’ and he’s about the most suave person I know,’’ Carell said. ‘‘I’m going to text message him later.’’ ...

It was rumored to be a shoo-in for Eddie Murphy, who'd won numerous other awards for his role in "Dreamgirls," but Alan Arkina Chicago homeboy, as we reported this week — wins the award. I guess that's what you get for turning in "Norbit" while the ballots are still out.

‘‘More than anything, I’m deeply moved by the open-hearted appreciation our small film has received, which in these fragmented times speaks so openly of the possibility of innocence,’’ Arkin said.

Arkin, 72, won the same prize for supporting actor a day earlier at the Spirit Awards, which honor the best of independent film. ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine,’’ which premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, ruled the Spirit Awards with four prizes, including best picture.

Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert — who picked "Babel" to win to top prize tonight — wrote earlier tonight: "By the time 'Sunshine' began to run up its victories Saturday at the Independent Spirit Awards, I had a sinking feeling that my Oscar prediction was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Why'd they switch the show order?

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If you're like the rest of us here in the Sun-Times newsroom, you're falling asleep from boredom right now as the Academy slogs through these boring technical awards. And if you're scratching your head and wondering if it was always this boring at the start of the Oscars — no, it wasn't. They used to start the show with best supporting actor and actress; this dull lull usually came an hour or so into the show. This year, with so much drama and expectation behind the top acting awards, they're pushing them much later into the show. So order that pizza (we have!) and settle in.

Can't decide? Send it in blank

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Some Oscar voters were so torn by who to vote for — or so dispirited by the choices — that they turned in blank ballots. "I just said, 'Fuck it, I don't like any of 'em,'" one voter explained.

The Sun-Times' red carpet fashion awards go to ...

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By Maureen Jenkins
Staff Reporter

In a year filled with an amazingly diverse group of Academy Award nominees and films, it’s only fitting that looks spotted on the Kodak Theatre red carpet spanned the style gamut, as well. There were starlets in strapless gowns and beautifully bare necks; over-50 actresses in dramatically stunning flesh-tone gowns. And while we won’t call any names, there were those who would have done better to skip the oversized shoulder bows, cropped jackets and overdone dress jewelry and let their lovely gowns speak for themselves.

But here, a peek at those whose red carpet looks earned them four-star reviews tonight.

See photos of these outfits and more in the Sun-Times fashion Oscars photo gallery.

'I hate that dress'

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By Doug Elfman
Sun-Times TV columnist

I watch the Oscars pre-show with friends on my sofa. It occurs to me again how hard it is to be a woman, every time my pal Maria Phelan, 28, says, "I hate that dress." ...

Wiser: Red carpet fashion report

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By Paige Wiser
Sun-Times Columnist

Joan Rivers' mink stole matches the red carpet. Classy!
Maggie Gyllenhaal arrived at 5:09 p.m. That's a little early for a star of her stature, yes? When you're in the next "Batman," you can arrive fashionably on time.
Melissa Rivers and Sarah Silverman: separated at birth?
Al Gore, being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, is asked who would play him in the movie of his life. "William Hung," he responds. Funny! At least, it was funny three years ago!

Sponsorship update: The fashion camera on the TV Guide Channel is brought to you by Jell-O. The countdown clock is sponsored by M&Ms. And I guarantee you that no one at the ceremony tonight has ever, ever had any, not even the pastel ones.
Jennifer Hudson has arrived in a gorgeous gown, and ... a metallic shrug? Help. Can we please open up commentary to the general public? Because I'm struggling to stay positive here.

Hudson off to bad start with sci-fi gown accessory

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Chicago nominee Jennifer Hudson, the favorite to win best supporting actress for her show-stopping role as Effie White in ‘‘Dreamgirls,’’ has started the big night on a sour note — thanks to her fahsion choice. The early buzz from the red carpet is astonishment at her metallic python bolero over a floor-length brown gown by Oscar de la Renta, picked out by Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley.

‘‘I love you, but there’s too much going on here,’’ said fashion critic and E! commentator Jay Manuel as he deconstructed the bolero jacket on television. (By the way, he was no where near Miss Hudson when he said that.)

Role reversal for Eddie

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By Cindy Pearlman

Quote of the night: "People come to see my movies to laugh. They don't usually come to see me dancing, singing and dying of a drug overdose." Words courtesy of best supporting actor nominee Eddie Murphy for "Dreamgirls." ...

Directa trifecta for Oscar category

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SPOILER ALERT: Columnist Nikki Finke reports that one of the highlights tonight will be Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola presenting best director — perhaps to Martin Scorsese.

Cindy Pearlman

Pearlman: What is she wearing?!

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By Cindy Pearlman

Jennifer Hudson, we love you, but please ditch the "Star Trek: Next Generation" coat.

Beyonce, who is performing tonight, on Jennifer Hudson's chances: "I hope she wins. I hope Eddie wins." What about "Dreamgirls" getting dissed as best picture? "I can't complain. Eight nominations is not so shabby," she says. ...

The formula to Oscar gold

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Here's a funny blog post in which Invisible Law Student has formulated a mathematical formula to predict the best picture winner at the Oscars:

F(9,15) = 50.97
Prob > F = 0.0000
R-squared = 0.8259
Root MSE = .21547

So, yeah, run that and see if "Little Miss Sunshine" pops out.

Oscars — born in Chicago

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The Oscars site has another great "Road to the Oscars" video — this one showing a parade of film students walking the red carpet, each bearing one of the Oscar statuettes to be given out tonight, and led by the Chicago trophy maker, R.S. Owens & Co., who's been making the Oscar statuettes for years.

Pearlman: Gossip from the carpet

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By Cindy Pearlman

Maggie Gyllenhaal admits that she's "scared of tripping. I'm presenting the science tech award." Now, only if she could walk in heels. And, yes, she would like to work with brother Jake again. She also just did a short film with fiance Peter Scarsgaard. When it the wedding? No date is set. ...

A special message for Miss Hudson

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Ryan Seacrest on E!'s red-carpet show caught Chicago's Jennifer Hudson and chatted with her, looking ... er, certainly noticeable in her silver-gold lame sci-fi shrug.

Ryan, of course, being the boob he is, remarked on her weight. She attributed her slimmer silhouette to "working out with my trainer in Chicago every day the whole summer. I get up at 4 a.m., run for an hour. ... No short cuts. If you're not working hard for it, it's not worth it."

Then, a really special moment with her ...

Not exactly electric, more like coal-powered

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David Spade is somehow blogging on his "Showbiz Show" site, reporting that the atmosphere on the red carpet isn't "exactly ... 'electric.' More 'coal-powered.'" Also says E! red-carpet slut Ryan Seacrest "appears very at-home talking about dresses and other things female."

Rain doesn't dampen spirits on carpet

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Gray clouds floated over the red carpet as limousines began delivering early guests to the Kodak Theatre tonight, but the hint of rain didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of spectators on Hollywood Boulevard as the likes of Maggie Gyllenhaal, James McAvoy, Al and Tipper Gore and Melissa Etheridge passed by.

‘‘You can feel the excitement building,’’ said Kyle Wilson, 45, an events planner for a nursing home in San Diego who had been in the bleachers for about eight hours. ‘‘This is when the wait is all worthwhile.’’

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck walked the red carpet showing off specialties created for the post-show Governors Ball: Oscar-shaped smoked salmon with caviar, mini-cheeseburgers, and gold-colored desert chocolates shaped like Oscar statues.

And the winner is ... pizza delivery!

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Papa John's just released some surprising data about pizza sales and Oscar night. Papa John's sells 2-1/2 times as many pizzas on Oscars' Sunday as it does on an average Sunday. Nearly 1 million households will be ordering in pizzas on Hollywood's biggest night.

The No. 1 pizza ordered is just plain cheese, with no toppings. A heck of a lot different than the meat fest that is Super Bowl Sunday. The No. 2 most ordered pizza is pepperoni with one veggie topping — be it mushrooms, black olives or green peppers.

Ebert is on the ball, if not on the carpet

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Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert is home here in Chicago tonight — not on the red carpet for Oscars, as he's been every year for nearly four decades. He's still recuperating from several surgeries last year. But he will be writing (like we could stop him ... or would want to) his thoughts about the show. Stay tuned at the Sun-Times Web site for his comments late this evening and at his site.

What we want out of tonight's show

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Five things we're hoping for on tonight's Oscars telecast:

• Here's to producer Laura Ziskin's idea for the online Thank-You Cam and the push to make sure nominees are prepared to give meaningful, interesting and — dare we say it — entertaining acceptance speeches, relegating their laundry lists of thank-yous to the Web site. Now let's pray it works.

• A fresh hosting gig from Ellen DeGeneres. No reruns of the Grammy and Emmy gigs. We need belly-laughs.

• An upset or two. Except for Jennifer Hudson. And we're nervous about this — because a few no-name Academy voters, in pre-Oscars interviews, have voiced their weariness with Jen's accolades leading up to tonight, which means they might have voted for someone else. An anonymous actor in last week's Entertainment Weekly said it this way: "This whole bulls--- with Jennifer Hudson is completely out of hand." Gulp. Don't be a Jen hata!

• A truly wicked iPhone commercial.

• And, hey, we know we're destined for disappointment, but our faith in Hollywood and humanity would enjoy a boost if "Little Miss Sunshine" drove away in its little VW bus with the best picture trophy.

The social context of tonight's Oscars

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Putting the Oscars in a social context, this article looks at tonight's milestones already — the show's first openly gay host, the number of strong roles recognized for women and the growing presence of African Americans in Hollywood. Good links ot further reading, too.

Zwecker: Chicago on the carpet

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

HOLLYWOOD — As I arrived on the red carpet, I heard, "Bill! Bill" Four Chicagoans — Tina Koegel, Sue Peterson, Denise Stefan and Ann Carson — recognized me. This is their second year sitting in the bleachers, having arrived at 9:30 a.m. They used Joan Rivers' famous line on Peterson — "Who are you wearing?" She's wearing her own creation — she's a designer herself — maker of Sue P. Knits. Who are they most hoping to see today? Penelope Cruz! ...

Is Roeper in two places at once? Tune him in

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Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper is in Hollywood this weekend, reporting on the Oscars hoopla for suntimes.com — but if you tune in the Starz and Encore cable movie channels today, you might catch a glimpse of him lounging in a lounge chair, wearing a black Tarrantino suit and sunglasses, introducing films as host of those channels' “Black Tie Tailgate” movie marathon today — all Oscar-winning movies, including "The Aviator" (which Rich just introduced), "My Cousin VInny," "Wall Street" and more.

Zwecker: Paparazzi on overdrive today

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By Bill Zwecker
Sun-Times Columnist

HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood, as usual, is in full Oscar mode this morning. There are paparazzi everywhere! Last night I was coming out of dinner at Mastro's, a popular Gibson's-like steakhouse in Beverly Hills where Steven Spielberg and separately Jim Carrey (and Jenny McCarthy) were having dinner. When I walked out of the restaurant, there was one photographer quietly hanging out a few feet from the restaurant's entrance, but as soon as Carrey's white Cadillac Escalade pulled up —
at least 20 paparazzi came out of nowhere and started flashing away! Then several jumped in cars and gave chase — all I could think of was Princess Diana and Paris! Anyway, Carrey's driver pulled a fast one — without warning — just before a light changed; he did a U-turn and roared off in the opposite direction. ...

Why the best actors are British

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A writer for Britain's Guardian newspaper expounds on why the best actors are British. "Steeped in Shakespeare and a culture committed to live performance, they have by necessity developed their physical instruments and, in particular, that region of the body that lies between the back of the throat and the tip of the tongue."

Making up for it with montages

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CBS commentator Mo Rocca reminisces about the Oscars of yesteryear: "Audrey Hepburn or Ingrid Bergman would float across the stage to present an award, then disappear from our TV screens for the rest of the year. These days the show makes up for a lack of wattage with montages of yesterday's greats. Lots of montages."

Think Eddie Murphy is a lock on best supporting actor? Or that Chicago's Jennifer Hudson is guaranteed best supporting actress? Or that Helen Mirren ... well, OK, she's best actress. But many of the categories we assume are sure things still have upset potential.

No Borat at Oscars ... and no Gore?

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Sacha Baron Cohen will attend but not present at the Oscars tomorrow night. That's as much as the Associated Press is reporting. Other outlets report that he simply passed on the offer because producers would not allow him to present an award in character as Borat, or that Cohen is outright boycotting the show.

Also, is Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," wins in its documentary category, the former vice president — who will be attending and walking the red carpet — still does not have permission to go to the podium and make an acceptance speech.

Ellen feeling nervous about hosting gig

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Ellen DeGeneres says she's a little nervous ahead of our Oscar hosting gig tomorrow night — this despite having previously hosted the Grammys and the Emmys. Will she dance her way to the stage the way she does on her popular daytime talk show? "If I dance, it'll be a surprise to me," she says. "I'm not planning on it, but there's a DJ during commercial breaks. I'm going to try and dance with Clint Eastwood or Jack Nicholson during the breaks."

The Road to the Oscars

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The Oscars site has some nifty video featurettes, called "The Road to the Oscars," that nicely catch up with all the pre-show prep and news leading to tomorrow night's ceremony. Watch the crews build the red carpet — so much more than just unrolling some crimson shag.

Friday's rehearsal: the music of Oscar

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LOS ANGELES — The Oscars are all about movies, of course, but on this night only music filled the golden guy's hallowed hall. Beyonce, Celine Dion, James Taylor, Randy Newman and Melissa Etheridge were among those who stepped onto the Kodak Theatre stage on Friday evening to rehearse for Sunday's 79th Academy Awards ceremony. ...


LOS ANGELES — A classic Hollywood cliffhanger will conclude Sunday's Academy Awards, and organizers hope the suspense of an up-for-grabs best-picture race will be enough to keep TV audiences tuned in through the finale.

Hollywood's biggest party has lost some of its luster for viewers at home over the last decade, with TV ratings on a general decline and smaller movies that fewer people have seen dominating key Oscar categories. Fewer eyeballs on the movies usually translates to fewer eyeballs on the Oscar ceremony, as the TV audience feels less vested in the outcome. This time, though, the best-picture race is as wide open as it has been in years, lacking the usual front-runner or two that everyone just knows will end up winning. ...


LOS ANGELES — Most people watch the Academy Awards on a single TV screen — but not Louis J. Horvitz. He watches on 85 screens at once.

Horvitz, 60, directs the Oscar show. But he won't be rubbing tuxes with the fancy folks inside the Kodak Theatre. His seat is out back in the parking lot, past the loading dock and smoking area, inside a high-tech production truck that controls Oscar's television operations.

"We're in the space shuttle," Horvitz says, "and they're on land."

From red ribbons to red teardrops

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At the Oscars, it's all about the bling. "It's all about the jewels," celeb Stylist Phillip Bloch told "Good Morning America Weekend Edition." "Now more than ever it's not just about the classic diamond. … People are more willing to take chances and do different things with jewelry … just to jazz it up."

And precisely for that reason — and, no doubt, because the film "Blood Diamond" got such a high profile this year — Amnesty International USA and Global Witness have asked artists and filmmakers to wear a red teardrop pin to raise awareness about conflict diamonds and their impact on child soldiers. Artists who will wear the pin at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony include nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling and Djimon Hounsou. ...

Roeper reporting from Hollywood

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Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper is already in Los Angeles — and already reporting on the Oscars hoopla. He'll be posting his Red Carpet Diaries through the Sunday Oscars ceremony and perhaps beyond. His predictions are included.

And the Oscar predictions are ...

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A round-up of Oscar predictions ahead of the big weekend (with their best picture picks in parentheses — say that five times fast) ...

At the Oscars, green goes beyond envy

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Leo DiCaprio started it, and now everyone wants to go green to the Oscars. Did you even know there were hybrid limos?

Everyone loves Ennio Morricone

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NEW YORK — What are Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Metallica, Yo-Yo Ma, Roger Waters, Renee Fleming and Andrea Bocelli all doing on the same album? Paying tribute to composer Ennio Morricone, the prolific film composer who at age 78 is also getting a long-awaited Academy Award. ...

If Marty loses again, it's a record

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LOS ANGELES — Among the five Academy Award directing nominees, one name seems to be on everyone’s lips: Martin Scorsese. Nominated five times previously for best director since the 1980 masterpiece ‘‘Raging Bull,’’ Scorsese has gone home a loser each year. With Scorsese’s sixth directing nomination, this one for his return to the vivid and violent crime genre on ‘‘The Departed,’’ seemingly everyone in Hollywood figures he finally will have his Oscar come Sunday.

Many Oscar films already on disc

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If you haven't caught up on all your Oscar nominees before this weekend, most of them are already on DVD.

After a string of fumbling, gasping and guffawing acceptance speeches, best actor nominee Forest Whitaker is finally getting some help preparing for the speech he's bound to give Sunday night. In fact, as we reported here earlier, the Oscars organizers have solicited speech writing aid for the nominees. Which is a good thing, because producer Laura Ziskin — who's trying to cut down on the televised thank-yous by putting a Thank-You Cam online instead — recently told them that if they write a bunch of boring speeches, the Oscars "will just go away." ...

Who's that on stage? The Oscar babes

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LOS ANGELES — They’ve held more Oscars than Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson combined, but they never give a speech or take the golden guy home. They aren’t nominees, they’re trophy presenters. The statuesque beauties who accompany Oscar and his winners on and off stage are actually models for hire.

The real Effie

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Jennifer Hudson's getting all kinds of love for her role as Effie in "Dreamgirls." But who was the real Effie? Read the backstory in today's Sun-Times.

DeGeneres has been ready for the Oscars for years

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BURBANK, Calif. — On Feb. 25, Ellen DeGeneres will make good on a six-year-dream. She’s had her eye on hosting the Oscars since her turn as the Emmy Awards frontwoman in 2001. ‘‘I thought, well this is fun and if I’m going to do this, I should do the biggest one of all,’’ says the 49-year-old comedian, who’s tinier and more intense than she appears on TV. ‘‘I’ve been hoping they would ask me for probably six years now.’’

Oscar ads are no Super Bowl, but still pricey

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NEW YORK — The Academy Awards are not only a big spectacle for the Hollywood crowd, but also for Madison Avenue folks. According to a new report from research firm TNS Media Intelligence, annual advertising during the Oscar broadcast has more than doubled during the past 12 years to more than $80 million in 2006, but the ad field is less cluttered than during other big events, making it ‘‘one of the premier television events for advertisers.’’ ...


LOS ANGELES — The Academy Awards typically are a gloomy Sunday, ending with a heavy drama crowned as best picture. Yet there’s good news for this year’s exhilarating romp, ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine’’: Over the last decade, academy voters have lightened up and handed the top trophy to the occasional comic frolic rather than a big, tragic pageant. ...

The final five films: How they stack up

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Humphrey Bogart once suggested that since it’s impossible and maybe even a little nutty for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to compare comic performances and dramatic performances during Oscar season, the best actor race should be decided by making every nominee get onstage and perform Hamlet’s soliloquy. That makes sense in a way: Let actors do the same job and compare the results. Ditto directors, cinematographers, costumers and so on. There’s only one problem: How do we pick best picture? ...

Analyzing a very diverse set of nominees

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HOLLYWOOD — Whatever flaws the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ voting system has — no matter how greatly the nominations might be influenced by massively financed advertising campaigns — most insiders agree that this year has provided an exceptionally fine vintage. Nowhere is that clearer than in the four acting categories, where knowns and unknowns, Americans and foreigners, Caucasians and minorities are all competing in an astonishingly diverse and talented pool. And in choosing these nominees, the Academy has shown a willingness to look beyond celebrity...

Winning the Oscar isn't always a good thing

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"Winners like F. Murray Abraham, Brenda Fricker, Linda Hunt, Marlee Matlin and Louise Fletcher are hardly household names despite earning the film world's most coveted award." This article finds actors discussing how winning an Oscar sometimes busts a career instead of boosting it.

'Sunshine' chances getting brighter

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Oscars science awards given out

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The Oscar science awards ceremony got positively geeky. And you gotta love a sentence like this: "Ceremony host and movie star Maggie Gyllenhaal won the second-biggest round of applause for correctly pronouncing the word 'densitometer.'"

Movie fans vote on their Oscar picks

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The Blockbuster company conducted a survey among its customers about who should win in various Oscars categories. The results, with only the best actor category being a bit of a surprise ...

The most ethnically diverse Oscars ever

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MEXICO CITY — A year ago, Rinko Kikuchi was appearing in mothball ads on local Japanese television. Today, she’s nominated for an Academy Award as the world breaks into that most exclusive of clubs: the Oscars.

No matter who wins at the Feb. 25 ceremony, the global movie community is already gushing over this real-life version of a Hollywood feel-good movie. This year’s lineup is the most ethnically diverse ever, with five black people, two Hispanics and an Asian among the 20 acting nominees. Best-picture nominee ‘‘Letters From Iwo Jima’’ is almost entirely in Japanese. Hispanics alone garnered a record 19 nominations, including three Mexican directors contending for some of the biggest prizes of the night. ....

Longtime Oscar spokesman retiring

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — You may not know his name, but you certainly know his work.
A little something called the Academy Awards. John Pavlik is the official spokesman for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. And after 39 Oscar shows, he’s calling it quits. ...


LOS ANGELES — Looking at winners of the best-director category at the Academy Awards over the past decade is a study in extremes. The filmmakers have crafted either visual spectacles (Anthony Minghella’s ‘‘The English Patient,’’ James Cameron’s ‘‘Titanic,’’ Steven Spielberg’s ‘‘Saving Private Ryan’’) or intimate character-driven dramas (Sam Mendes’ ‘‘American Beauty,’’ Clint Eastwood’s ‘‘Million Dollar Baby,’’ Ang Lee’s ‘‘Brokeback Mountain’’). There is no in-between.

Not that looking back is necessary for predicting this year’s winner. Martin Scorsese should finally capture the prize that has eluded him for decades, despite having been nominated for such classics as ‘‘Raging Bull’’ and ‘‘Goodfellas.’’ ...

Sometimes, award voters tie one on

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LOS ANGELES — Grammy voters just couldn’t decide. Twice. Which led to two ties at Sunday’s awards ceremony. Jimmy Carter’s spoken-word album, ‘‘Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis,’’ tied with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee’s ‘‘With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.’’ In the Latin pop album category, Arjona’s ‘‘Adentro,’’ tied with Julieta Venegas’ ‘‘Limon Y Sal.’’

Calling all Oscar nitpickers

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From the blog Edward Copeland on Film: "Recently, I wrote a post here because of anger at some incorrect Oscar facts that were being repeated in news stories in various sources. The issue prompted me to think about other statistical and historical questions about different Academy Award statistics through the years, so I decided to write the Academy itself to get official rulings on some of the most common questions I could think of at the time. Wonder whether Orson Welles and Warren Beatty both are the only people to earn producing, directing, acting and writing nominations for the same film? Want to know if Sunrise's prize in 1927-28 is equivalent to best picture? Those official answers from the Academy's standpoint are here."

Murphy's dream role: acceptance speech

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LOS ANGELES — It’s a dramatic shift, when funny men turn serious. Even Eddie Murphy, the latest of Hollywood’s top comic performers to try, has had some laughs over his own transformation, which could bring him an Academy Award.

At the Screen Actors Guild awards, where he won yet another supporting-actor prize for ‘‘Dreamgirls’’ amid the build-up to Oscar night, Murphy copped a British accent as he soberly remarked how honored he was to be recognized by his peers. Murphy could not keep the wiseguy with the broad grin in check for more than a few seconds, though. ‘‘No, I’m sorry,’’ Murphy said after a moment, cracking up with laughter. ‘‘It’s just when the British people come and get the awards, it’s so smooth with their stuff. And I feel goofy up here, ’cause I don’t be winning stuff.’’

Judi won't make Oscars ceremony

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BERLIN — Judi Dench won’t be at the Academy Awards ceremony; instead, she will be watching from bed. ‘‘I can’t go to the Oscars because I’m going to have a knee operation,’’ said Dench, who’s a best-actress nominee for her performance in ‘‘Notes on a Scandal.’’ ...

This weekend in Sunday Show, the weekend arts section inside the Sun-Times, Roger Ebert returns to name his predictions — and his preferences — for ’07 Oscar winners.

Think he's whack? Fill out the ballot with your own picks and compete for seven trips to Mexico in the annual Outguess Ebert contest.

Not easy to quantify the effect of Oscar blogs

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The Celine Dion prophecy: New song at Oscars

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LOS ANGELES — Celine Dion will unveil her new song, ‘‘I Knew I Loved You,’’ during a tribute to Italian composer Ennio Morricone at this year’s Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said today. ...

Oscar Insider: Planning the big show

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LOS ANGELES — On Feb. 25, the Kodak Theatre lobby will be filled with superstars in tuxedos, designer dresses and boatloads of bling. On Tuesday, though, it was occupied by the Oscar-show staff — from the producer to the parking guy. Most wore jeans and sneakers. They gathered for the annual Oscar production meeting, which serves as an official call to arms for the big show. ‘‘Blast off is actually in, I think, 20 days,’’ producer Laura Ziskin told the group. ‘‘Scary!’’

Fantasy football? Try fantasy Oscars!

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You read that right. Play it here.

'Dreamgirls' to perform at Oscars

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In an exclusive interview with E! News from yesterday's annual Oscars Nominees Luncheon, Jennifer Hudson confirms that she and her "Dreamgirls" cast will perform during the Academy Awards telecast on Feb. 25. "We have a few songs that are nominated … yeah, we'll be singing," Hudson said. When asked who of the cast would be joining her up on stage, Hudson responded, "Yes, my 'Dreamgirls' sisters … my dream sisters." Tune in to E! News at 6 tonight for the full interview, or watch the E! Web site.


NEW YORK — When the Oscar is given for best actress, everyone watches for waterworks. Best actresses are renowned for their weepy acceptance speeches, just as their winning performances often feature crocodile tears. An analysis of this category over the past decade found several such trends — including the academy’s propensity to honor beautiful women who hide it. ...

Oscar luncheon a real power lunch

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Talk about a power lunch. Chew on this: Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Will Smith and Penelope Cruz were just some of the 140 nominees chowing down Monday at the 26th annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon. There were luminaries all around the International ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. ‘‘There are no power tables in this room,’’ academy president Sid Ganis told the crowd, noting the luncheon’s ‘‘relentlessly democratic’’ seating process. ‘‘This is a power room.’’ ...

Oscar night party ideas and recipes

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Even the most dedicated movie buffs probably won’t find their mailboxes jammed with invites to hip Hollywood parties. So the trick to hosting your own buzz-worthy Academy Awards party is to make your home and guests feel as glam as the real thing. A little planning and a few simple recipes and party tips from Oscar party veterans are all that’s required. ...

Good idea: Hire help writing acceptance speeches

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The Sun-Times' Scurrilous column reports today: "The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which gives out the Oscars, has laid on three speechwriters to help people write acceptance speeches. Can’t hurt, I guess, if it stops flustered stars from thanking their accountants, lawyers, baby-sitters, dental hygienists, mechanics, drug dealers, etc. ...


NEW YORK — ‘‘Wake up and smell the coffin.’’ Venomously delivered by Jack Nicholson’s character in ‘‘The Departed,’’ this line was cut from the film but remains a deadly wake-up call for an unsettling number of the characters. Now that ‘‘The Departed’’ is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, it’s worth discussing the most troubling part of Martin Scorsese’s morbid crime drama: the ending. ...

WARNING: The rest of this post discusses the end of the film — lots of spoilers. Don't read on if you haven't seen the film!

Watch all five best picture nominees at AMC

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AMC Theaters said Friday it will show the five movies nominated for the Best Picture Oscar back-to-back at 78 theaters across the country on the Saturday before the Academy Awards.
The nation’s second-largest theater chain is selling $30 tickets to the mini-film festival set for Feb. 24.

Beginning at 11 a.m. with ‘‘Babel,’’ the showing also will include ‘‘The Queen,’’ ‘‘The Departed’’ and ‘‘Letters from Iwo Jima,’’ before ending with ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine’’ at 9:45 p.m.

In all, that amounts to 10 1/2 hours of film time, not including 15 minute breaks and a longer dinner break. Each ticket grants the moviegoer unlimited refills of soda and popcorn during the shows, said AMC spokeswoman Sun Dee Larson.

‘‘They’re some of the most celebrated movies this year,’’ Larson said. ‘‘We recognize that some people haven’t had a chance to see all of them and others might want to see them again and the best way to see them is on the big screen.’’

Other theater chains and individual movie houses have tried similar movie marathons with the ‘‘Star Wars’’ films.

These Chicago-area AMC theaters are included in the event:
• River East 21, 322 E. Illinois
• Randhurst 16, 101 E. Euclid Ave. in Mount Prospect
• South Barrington 30, 175 Studio Drive in South Barrington
• Crestwood 18, 13221 Rivercrest Drive in Crestwood
• Cantera 30, 28250 Diehl Rd. in Warrenville

Moviegoers can go to AMC’s Web site for more information.


Oscar honoree finally debuts in America

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UNITED NATIONS — Ennio Morricone, who has been performing for some six decades and is heading to Hollywood to pick up a long-awaited Academy Award, finally made his conducting debut on the shores of the United States. The night before his first official U.S. concert at Radio City, the 78-year-old Italian conducted the Rome Sinfonietta Orchestra on Friday in a performance for invited guests who filled the U.N. General Assembly hall.


LOS ANGELES — Martin Scorsese’s long-overdue glory at the Directors Guild of America Awards clearly paves the way for his long-overdue glory at the Academy Awards. That leaves just one category at the Oscars — the biggest of all — still up for grabs as this busy awards season nears its end. ...

Awards calendar

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oscars category from February 2007.

Oscars: January 2007 is the previous archive.

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