Oscars: January 2008 Archives

Oscars plan a clip-job show ... just in case

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As reported here weeks ago, the producers of the Oscars have a contingency plan for the telecast in case the writers strike is unresolved by show date, Feb. 24. Even though there's hope for an end to the strike, the producers today shared the details of that alternate plan — a history-filled clip job.

Complicated films mean little buzz before Oscars

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One film has an oblique ending that’s left some viewers dissatisfied and others floored by its profundity. The other features a slowly developing plot and a brutal, operatically violent finale.

‘‘No Country for Old Men’’ and ‘‘There Will Be Blood’’ are both gorgeous and bold, expertly crafted and intelligently acted. But most moviegoers have seen neither of them — and they never will — even though they’re the two leading contenders for best picture at the Academy Awards.

Oscar-nominated films are often small, dark and unintended for mass audiences; they’re about art, after all, not commerce. But that’s especially true of this year’s crop, which has little mainstream buzz and among the lowest box-office totals in recent years.

Oscars are motivation to end the strike

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The Oscars may have stars, after all. Amid talks between striking writers and studios that reignited this week, USA Today quotes James Schamus, head of Focus Features and a negotiator for the Writers Guild during its contract settlement in 2005, ‘There’s still a way to go, but I’m confident they’ll come to an agreement. I think fences are being mended.’’

And the Oscars apparently are the finish line in this race for an agreement to end the strike: ‘‘I think people are seeing the Academy Awards as an unofficial deadline,’’ says Sasha Stone of OscarWatch. ‘‘Everyone is beginning to look bad in this.’’


LOS ANGELES — With idled entertainment industry workers and Oscar-nominated actors among the interested observers, striking writers and studios are talking again after weeks of bargaining silence.

The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a joint statement they will start informal discussions today aimed at full negotiations and an end to the nearly 3-month-old strike.

The announcement came the day nominations were announced for the Academy Awards, raising the prospect that the Feb. 24 ceremony might proceed without the threatened union picketing that derailed the Golden Globes.

In a goodwill gesture toward another big ceremony Tuesday, the guild said it had decided against picketing the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards.

20th Oscar nod for acclaimed soundman

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LOS ANGELES — Kevin O’Connell’s previous 19 Oscar nominations were nothing like this. The 50-year-old sound mixer, who holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations without a win, received his 20th nomination Tuesday.

More surprises and snubs — 'Norbit' gets a nom?

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It was a wide-open field heading into this morning’s Oscar nominations, so of course there were going to be some notable omissions and surprising choices. Some of them were just stunners, though. Among them ...

Feels great just to be nominated, 'Juno'?

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NEW YORK — ‘‘Juno’’ landed four Oscar nominations this morning, including best picture, completing its late-breaking ascent and securing its reputation as this year’s ‘‘Little Miss Sunshine.’’

Brits fare jolly good in Oscar nods

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LONDON — Oscar loves a British accent — and a Brit who can pass for American is even better.

British and Irish actors — from 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan to 66-year-old Julie Christie — are strongly represented in the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, announced today.

Foreign intrigue in Oscars category

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OK, we know: "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," which won the Palme d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and the awesome animated French movie "Persepolis," which won a jury prize at Cannes — neither film got shortlisted for the foreign film Oscar category. But you have to admit that the nominees announced today are a pretty good lot.

And the winning studio is ... Miramax

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A list of film studios with multiple nominations for the 80th Academy Awards ...

Oscars 'Enchanted' by songs, but where's Vedder?

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Songs from the film ‘‘Enchanted’’ dominated the best original song category nominees for the 2008 Academy Awards, which were announced this morning. Three of the five nods, all with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, went to the film in the form of ‘‘Happy Working Song,’’ ‘‘So Close’’ and ‘‘That’s How You Know.’’

The other nominees are ‘‘Raise It Up’’ from ‘‘August Rush,’’ the music and lyric credits for which are ‘‘to be determined,’’ according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and ‘‘Falling Slowly’’ from ‘‘Once,’’ with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

'Knocked' out: The Oscar snubs

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While Cate Blanchett hogged two separate acting nominations for herself, many others went lacking...

Several award-winning actors proclaimed their support for the writers strike after the Oscar nominations were announced this morning, saying they would trade in their prizes for a fair contract.

"I think it's a worthy sacrifice," said Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian John Leguizamo. "This is an opportunity for writers to get the respect they deserve."

The stars react to this morning's announcement of the year's Oscar nominees — and to the possibility of a strike-ridden Oscars:

Informal negotiations between the striking Writers Guild of America and several producers are set to begin today, apparently with the goal of accomplishing what the film directors did in reaching a contract last week, according to Variety.

If a deal isn't hammered out soon and the strike lingers through the Oscars on Feb. 24, you might be able to get a seat at the ceremony — because few stars would cross a picket line to attend.

Take that, striking writers!

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Funniest comment thus far this morning about how the Oscars might fare withthe ongoing writers strike, from the nominations report at Defamer: "If anyone was concerned about the Academy's ability to draw star power to this year's ceremony in the face of the ongoing WGA strike, fear no longer. After all, if they can recruit Kathy Bates to read this year's annoucements [sic], they can accomplish ANYTHING!"

Box office tally of the best picture nominees

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Here's the North American box-office performance as of Sunday for Oscar best-picture nominees:

— "Atonement," Focus Features, seven nominations, released December, $31.8 million.
— "Juno," Fox Searchlight, four nominations, released December, $85.3 million.
— "Michael Clayton," Warner Bros., seven nominations, released October, $39.3 million.
— "No Country for Old Men," Miramax, eight nominations, released November, $48.6 million.
— "There Will Be Blood," Paramount Vantage, eight nominations, released December, $8.7 million.

Two for Cate, none for 'Atonement' stars

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This morning's nominations include a host of British actors — though Golden Globes nominees Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were noticeably absent from the acting categories for their roles in the lauded film "Atonement."

"Atonement" did get its expected best picture nod, and Irish actress Soairse Ronan is up for best supporting actress for her role in the film.

Elsewhere, there will be plenty of other Brits to cheer on Oscars night: Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated as best actor, Julie Christie for best actress (even though she said earlier she really didn't want the recognition, she says this morning she will attend), Tom Wilkinson for best supporting actor and Tilda Swinton for best supporting actress.

Meanwhile, Australian actress Cate Blanchett is nominated for not one but two acting awards — best supporting actress for her role as Bob Dylan in "I'm not There" and best actress for the title role of "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."

What's YOUR reaction to the Oscar noms?

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We'll soon be reporting the reactions of the movie stars nominated this morning for the Oscars — but what do you think? Did the Academy get it right? Was your favorite celeb picked? Was your favorite celeb snubbed? Comment below and let us know!

Complete list of Oscar nominees

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Here's the complete list of 80th annual Academy Award nominations announced this morning:

8 each for 'No Country' and 'Blood'

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" led with eight Academy Awards nominations each this morning, among them best picture and acting honors for Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem — but whether any actors would show up was in doubt because of the writers strike.

And the nominees are ...

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Strike or no strike, the Oscar nominations are about to be announced this morning. Stay tuned for the scoop ...

Frankly, my dear ... we're rich!

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No big surprise: "Gone With the Wind" is the best-picture Oscar winner that's grossed the most moolah over the years. "The Sound of Music" is No. 2, while "Titanic" is third on the list of the Top 10 biggies.


PARIS — Luxury brands Christian Dior and Giorgio Armani kicked off Paris couture week Monday with glittering displays, but many of the outfits may not get an airing on the most prestigious night of the year: the Academy Awards.

A strike by writers, entering its 12th week, already has forced the cancellation of the Golden Globe awards, and could lead to the Oscar ceremony — scheduled for Feb. 24 — being scrapped for the first time in its 80-year history.

The loss would be more than symbolic for global fashion brands, which reap millions of dollars of free publicity from media coverage of celebrities walking the red carpet.

Study: Dramas and women rule Oscars

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They say laughter is the best medicine — and you’ll need it if you’re a comedian hoping to win an Oscar.

A new study reveals that actors in dramatic films are nine times more likely to be nominated for an Oscar than those in comedies.

That’s not surprising, but this may be: The study also found that women are twice as likely to get the Oscar nod than men.

Oscars voted by old-fashioned paper process

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Dangling chads will never stand in the way of the Academy Awards.

Oscar nominees have been calculated using the same low-tech, all-paper process the film academy has relied on for years.

They call it the ‘‘preferential voting system,’’ and it’s used in municipal elections all over the country, said Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Democrats used a version of the vote-counting method at the recent Iowa caucuses, he said.

Oscar crafts alternative mystery plan

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Still going! Producers of the Oscars continue to insist that the show will go on as planned Feb. 24, but now the plans are beginning to change. According to Variety, the usual show is in the works — but there's also an alternative plan if the strike lingers on another month. What that alternative is remains a mystery, "but it's likely that the alternative show would rely on industry heavyweights penning their own speeches and presenting the awards."

Either way, they released the 80th Oscars poster for the year ...

Oscar shortlists foreign-language pics

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Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the foreign-language film category for the 80th Annual Academy Awards, though the big surprise is the omission of Romania’s ‘‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,’’ which won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Festival de Cannes and has been named best foreign-language film by numerous critics groups.

Forget the clips, what about the clothes?!

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Sure, filmmakers are lamenting the loss of the Golden Globes, and fretting about the Oscars. But there's another group of workers really worried about the state of award shows this season: the fashion designers. Including this one in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Academy hopes Oscars red carpet not shredded

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While the writers’ strike has pulled the rug out from under the Golden Globes, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is quietly making plans for the 80th Annual Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 24, hoping that it isn’t tripped up as well.

But with no writers on hand, the trophy show already is behind schedule. ...

Oscar insists show will go on ... somehow

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LOS ANGELES — Academy Awards organizers insisted today their show will go on, though some say the Oscar broadcast could evaporate after the writers strike shut down the Golden Globes ceremony.

Without special agreements with the Writers Guild of America, awards planners cannot hire union members to work on their shows, and such major telecasts would be the target of pickets. With the Screen Actors Guild in lockstep with writers, nominees and other celebrities would have stayed away from Sunday’s Globes. The same prospect now hangs over the Oscars.

‘‘No matter what anybody says, if the WGA goes on strike and SAG is in support, then there’s no Oscar show. It’s as simple as that,’’ said Harvey Weinstein, whose former company Miramax was a frequent Oscar winner and who now runs the Weinstein Co. ...

The latest Awards Tracker list

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A list of honors the top movies are winning leading up to the Oscars ...

Accountants still prepping for Oscar tally

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The Oscars must still be planning for a show because the accounting firm for the balloting process released a press release today announcing that it's prepping to count the votes yet again. ...

When award shows suffer, films suffer

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"The season of trophies is truly a season in hell."

That's Sean Penn, quoted in USA Today, describing this November-March run we chronicle so lovingly here at The Gold Rush. But Penn also went on to admit understanding of what these shows are really all about — promoting the film's he and other filmmakers craft so lovingly. Awards shows, he says, get "butts in seats."

But if there are no — or at least fewer, or scaled-back — awards shows, earnings will suffer, which is why many in Hollywood are glum over the Globes news ... and worried about the Oscars. ...

Simple solution: Move the Oscars back to March

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At long last, someone stands up amid the writers strike and suggests the simplest solution: postpone the show and wait for the strike to be settled. ...

Veteran actress: Oh, please don't nominate me!

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Julie Christie dreads being nominated for the Oscars again. While most actresses pine for such an honor, Christie would rather be overlooked, she's been telling British newspapers, and not have to leave her native Wales for Los Angeles.

"I get deep anxiety about it," she told the Daily Express. "It's like you have to go to Mars and pretend to be a Martian."

Christie, 66, is expected to get an Oscar nod for her portrayal of an Alzheimer's victim in "Away From Her." She won best actress for "Darling" in 1965.