Showing posts from 2009

82 days until Oscar Sunday®

As of today, Dec. 15, 2009, we are 10 days away from Christmas and 82 days out from the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. While 82 is not really a momentous milestone number, it seemed appropriate for counting down to next year's ceremony. News has been coming in at a steady pace over the past month from the Academy and instead of individual posts, here is one hardy helping of all the Oscar news you need. We left off last month with the 20 Animated Feature contenders, along with Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin being named co-hosts for the telecast. Since then other positions for the telecast have been filled.

Oscar® Update: List for animated contenders announced

A quick Oscar update for you on this Thursday: The Academy announced its shortlist — or rather long list — of films that will vie for the Animated Feature nomination and, on March 7, the Oscar. The 20 submitted features are: • “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” • “Astro Boy” • “Battle for Terra” • “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” • “Coraline” • “Disney's A Christmas Carol” • “The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer” • “Fantastic Mr. Fox” • “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” • “Mary and Max” • “The Missing Lynx” • “Monsters vs. Aliens” • “9” • “Planet 51” • “Ponyo” • “The Princess and the Frog” • “The Secret of Kells” • “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” • “A Town Called Panic” • “Up”

Oscar® Update: Co-hosts named for ceremony

Next year's Oscars has a host! In fact, make that two hosts. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will serve as co-hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards , Academy President Tom Sherak announced Tuesday. This comes two weeks after Sherak announced Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman producers of the ceremony. (Good things must come on Tuesdays.) “We think the team of Steve and Alec are the perfect pair of hosts for the Oscars,” said Shankman and Mechanic, quoted in the press release. “ Steve will bring the experience of having hosted the show in the past and Alec will be a completely fresh personality for this event. ”

Oscar® Update: Producers named for telecast

With less than 150 days out from the 82nd Academy Awards telecast, Academy President Tom Sherak got the ball rolling by naming Bill Mechanic and A dam Shankman producers of the ceremony . This will be the first major Oscar show involvement for both men, Sherak said Tuesday. Mechanic is the chairman and CEO of Pandemonium Films and the former chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Prior to Fox, he served in executive positions at the Walt Disney Company and Paramount. Mechanic’s producer credits include “Coraline” and “Dark Water” (2005). “The last time I was on the show was as a dancer, and to come back as a producer is such an unbelievable honor,” Shankman was quoted in the press release. Shankman’s name may sound familiar to musical and choreography buffs. His directorial credits include “Hairspray” (2007) and other projects he's working on include “Rock of Ages,” “Sinbad,” “Bob: The Musical” and “Bye Bye Birdie.” He also has been a judge on "So You Think You Can

Olympic host city chosen today

So as you're reading this, a host city may have already been selected. But even if that is the case, here are my thoughts and rankings. Choosing the host city Four years ago, on July 6, 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) met in Singapore. My choice — and favorite at the time — Paris lost in the final round to London. Also losing to London: Moscow, New York and Madrid. To determine a host city , once the final four have been decided, a candidate city must win a majority of the votes . According to IOC rules: "If there is no majority in the first round, the city with the fewest votes drops out of the running, and the members vote again for the remaining candidates. If two or more cities are tied for the lowest number of votes, a run-off election is held between them, with the city gaining the most votes going on to the next round." For example, in 2005, London triumphed after four rounds with 54 votes from a possible 104 in the final round. So really, a candid

A final recap of Chautauqua

Alas, my summer in Chautauqua is over . I left the grounds for the season on Sunday. What an amazing season it was. I met some great people, attended some very memorable events and lectures and soaked up the warm summer sun (when it wasn't raining). Here we go… (Click on images throughout for larger versions.) The Chautauquan Daily Let's face it. Without the Daily , I would not have been in Chautauqua for the summer. Matt, the editor, and Ray, the production manager, made my time there in CHQ fantastic and gave me the creative freedom to come up with some wonderful front pages (seen above). Where else would one of my photos run as a skybox photo on the front page? As you can see in the photo below, we were treated to a wonderful display of nature's power Sunday, August 9. My friends and I commented that it seemed like aliens had arrived to Earth, "War of the Worlds" style. Or better yet, the clouds were throwing a huge disco party and we, the spectators,

My choral experience in Chautauqua

When I attended the first Morning Worship service at the Amphitheater, I heard the Chautauqua Choir perform and knew I wanted to participate at least once this summer. The stars aligned last week and I knew it was my chance to sing with the 140-member group. The reason why I hadn't sung in the choir earlier in the season is, in part, because these people put in a large chunk of time into this group. Two out of three rehearsals are a requisite for singing on Sundays. Each rehearsal lasts from 6:00 to 7:45 p.m., every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I work on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings so it can be hard to get away for rehearsal and performance. I decided, with the approval of my editor, to sing the choir. I attended all three rehearsals so that I would, quite literally, never miss a note. I was the youngest in the choir — in fact one of the only people under 30. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy myself. It brought me back to singing with the choir at St. S

Oscar® Update: New Academy president named

Remember the name Tom Sherak . As of Tuesday night, August 18th, Sherak is the newly elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , voted by the organization's Board of Governors. Sherak becomes the 33rd president of the Academy, known for its annual presentation of its golden Oscar statuettes. He is also beginning his seventh year as a governor representing the Executives Branch — members of the Academy represent 15 general areas. He served as treasurer of the Academy during the past year. He will served a one-year term, after which time the board will vote again. According to the Academy: "Sherak, a marketing, distribution and production executive with more than four decades in the motion picture industry, is currently a consultant for Marvel Studios. Previously, Sherak was a partner at Revolution Studios where he oversaw the release of more than 40 films including “Black Hawk Down,” “Anger Management,” “Rent” and “Across the Universe.” So what does t

We're (almost) halfway there

Wednesday marks my halfway point here in Chautauqua, N.Y. It's been a quick journey to this point, which I can attribute to great friends, amazing events and a beautiful campus at work. Pictured above is the Chautauqua Belle coming into port to pick up more passengers. I'm enjoying a day off of work on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon. I hope to write more in the days to come, an update of my journey so far. I also plan to upload beaucoup photos from my adventures in Chautauqua on Facebook. Until then, go outside and enjoy the cool summer breeze and soak up the warm rays of sun.

My review: ‘Half-Blood Prince’

The latest film in the series following a bespectacled – and now angst-ridden – teenager, “ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ” is good. I desperately want to write amazing, awesome and stupendous, but the David Yates-directed film does not quite measure up to those descriptors. And it does not top “Prisoner of Azkaban” or “Order of the Phoenix.” But this review is not all doom and gloom. “Half-Blood Prince” has many redeeming qualities . I saw the movie twice at sold out shows because I enjoyed it so much. First among the redeeming qualities are the special effects , which are breathtaking from the opening to final scene. The Death Eaters are brilliantly portrayed as menacing, black clouds of smoke traveling to their next victim. The Pensieve seamlessly and exquisitely transports Harry and Hogwarts head Dumbledore to memories from long ago. Quidditch returns for some good fun. And the exterior shots of Hogwarts befuddle me because they are so enchanting. Probably the best qualit

Hoping for a "sunny day"

Sesame Workshop CEO Gary Knell was on the grounds today for the morning lecture, during which Muppet Rosita  interrupted and had a very adorable conversation with Knell.  Take a look: I'll have more on the first official week of Chautauqua Institution and all the goings-on here later today.

New photos from Chautauqua

I have some new photos I've posted on Facebook, from Chautauqua. Click here to view them. A recap of week two coming tomorrow.

Oscar® Update: Best Picture category announcement

Outgoing Academy President Sid Ganis made a surprise announcement Wednesday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif. As most media outlets reported, the number of nominees for the Best Picture category will be doubled to 10 at the 82nd Academy Awards, which will be presented on March 7, 2010. At the beginning of the press conference, Ganis said, "This morning's event is about the Academy Awards, but it may not be exactly what you think it is. “We'll be casting our net wider and in casting that net wider who knows what will turn up,” he said, adding that a documentary, animated or foreign language film could be included in the larger field. "And what do you know, maybe even a comedy in that group of 10," Ganis added sardonically. The reason for the change is somewhat retrospective and retroactive. For nine years there were 10 nominees; the 16th Academy Awards (1943) was the last year to include a field of that size; “Casablanca” was named Best Picture. In 1931/32, the

Week one in Chautauqua

Looking out the window of the tour, I thought to myself, "Where am I? What is this place?" That was last Tuesday afternoon, June 16th. Today, I'm still asking that same question to myself - if only to a smaller extent. I am spending the summer as a design editor at the Chautauqua Institution's daily newspaper, the Chautauquan Daily . I'll be here at this utopia-like place until the end of August. That may answer the first question I asked myself, but there's still the second... Trying to describe the Institution is very hard. Over dinner Tuesday night, Institution president Tom Becker gave us a better idea of the place. It's like chocolate in that it's incomparable to anything else, he said. For me, Chautauqua is like many things: a resort, a summer home or lake house, a small college town, Disney World and, in a sense, Monaco. On Monday, resident archivist and historian Jon Schmitz stopped by the newsroom and helped describe the Institution anecdo

The Road to Chautauqua

Left my home in Toledo for a cottage along Chautauqua Lake in western New York. It's a four-hour drive - essentially like driving to Chicago. What waits for me there is a design internship at the Institution's daily newspaper. I'll give you the details some time tomorrow. Off to New York I go until the end of August!

'Talent' update: Voting Percentages

As promised in Monday's post , here are the percentage breakdown figures for the public voting on the "Britain's Got Talent" finale , in order of highest percentage: Act % of vote in SF Diversity 24.9% Susan Boyle 20.2% Julian Smith 16.4% Stavros Flatley 16.3% Aidan Davis 6.5% Hollie Steel 3.9% Shaheen Jafargholi 3.8% Flawless 3.6% Shaun Smith 3.4% 2 Grand 1% It looks like Susan Boyle did not lose by too much . Doing a simple calculation, based on the reported approximately 4 million votes, Diversity received around 996,000 votes; Ms. Boyle received around 808,000 - a difference of 188,000 votes . The difference between Julian Smith and Stavros Flatley, however, is VERY CLOSE : approximately 4,000 votes , according to my estimates. Well,

What a season for 'Talent'!

Saturday evening was full of "Talent" for all of Britain. And it appears the country was all tuning in to find out which act would walk away 100,000 pounds (approx. $159,000) richer and get a spot to perform for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance show in December. A remarkably large 19.19 million viewers tuned in to the finale, making it the most successful TV show in the country for five years, according to the show's official Web site. More than 71 percent of people with a TV on had it tuned to "Talent." Granted, 19.19 million viewers seems average compared to the American standard. The final night of "American Idol" garnered more than 23 million viewers ( source ), which was considered low. Of course, one must also consider the size of the United Kingdom, which has a population more than five times smaller than the United States ( source ). Here are a few more interesting facts from the show's site: • That many people haven&

‘Idol’ hopeful in Milwaukee today

"American Idol" hopeful Danny Gokey is now in the top three. While I was not excited to see Allison Iraheta go Wednesday night, I was excited by the fact that the final three are visiting their hometowns today, Friday, May 8th. The powerhouse singer that is Gokey is thankfully from Milwaukee and will be stopping by the "sexiest city in the world" for a quick visit — and my college town will be on TV next week! Sounds awesome to me... Plus, he giving a free concert !!! Here is his schedule, thanks to my friend Rincey (subject to change): 7 a.m. : Danny arrives at the WITI Fox 6 studios for TV interviews, 9001 N. Green Bay Road, Brown Deer. 11:15 a.m. : Danny makes a visit to the AT&T store (9078 N. Green Bay Road). 3-4:30 p.m. : Scheduled short stops at Milwaukee downtown area landmarks : the bronze Fonz, the Harley-Davidson Museum the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. 4:15 p.m. : Main gates to Summerfest open. 4:30 p.m. : Short car parade to the Summe

SNL, Zac Efron poke fun at HSM

I saw this on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend and thought I should share it. Video Recaps | Full Episodes | Webisodes

Final Oscar post of the season: Looking ahead

Yesterday, the Academy announced key dates for next year's Academy Awards, the 82nd annual. Set your calendars... ABC will televise the 82nd Annual Academy Awards from the Kodak Theatre on Sunday, March 7, 2010, Academy President Sid Ganis announced yesterday. Key dates: Tuesday, December 1, 2009: Official Screen Credits forms due Monday, December 28, 2009: Nominations ballots mailed Saturday, January 23, 2010: Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT Tuesday, February 2, 2010: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Samuel Goldwyn Theater Wednesday, February 10, 2010: Final ballots mailed Monday, February 15, 2010: Nominees Luncheon Saturday, February 20, 2010: Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards presentation Tuesday, March 2, 2010: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT Sunday, March 7, 2010: 82nd Annual Academy Awards presentation The blog will return to normal next week.

A look at the Tribune

I found this Web site called Issuu , a place to put your documents and display them in Flash format. Here is a look at Tuesday's edition of The Marquette Tribune : Open publication - Free publishing - More student media I laid out the news section and designed the MUSG Primary Election coverage page.

Oscar ratings up, but not excellent

As I discussed in a post Thursday , Oscar ceremony ratings hit an all-time low last year . So this year, getting above 32 million viewers didn't seem like a huge challenge. The challenge I hoped the new producers, along with a Hugh Jackman-hosted ceremony, would meet was the 46.2 million threshold, putting the ceremony in the Top 10 for best rated telecasts. Alas, it was an uphill battle. With no "Dark Knight" Best Picture nominations, viewers and film goers were not happy with the snub. And the results are... "Ratings for this year's Academy Awards improved substantially over last year and are the highest for any TV show (sports excluded) in two years ," according to . ABC says an average of 36.3 million people watched the 81st annual Oscars on Sunday , making it the most-watched entertainment program of the season and bigger than any other entertainment program since the 2007 Oscars' 40.17 million viewers. The adults 18-49 rating was up, to

My official predictions and winners (updated!)

As the show starts, here are my predictions (and winners): I got 19/24 correct. Tied for the lead in my pool. Best Picture “Slumdog Millionaire” √ Best Director Danny Boyle √ Best Actor Sean Penn √ Best actress Kate Winslet √ Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger √ Best Supporting Actress Taraji P. Henson X Penélope Cruz Best Original Screenplay "Milk" √ Best Adapted Screenplay Simon Beaufoy for “Slumdog Millionaire” √ Best Foreign-Language Film “Waltz With Bashir” X "Departures" Best Animated Feature “Wall-E” √ Best Original Song “Jai Ho” √ Best Musical Score “Slumdog Millionaire” √ Best Art Direction Donald Burft, Victor Zolfo for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” √ Best Cinematography Anthony Dod Mantle for “Slumdog Millionaire” √ Best Costume Design “The Duchess” √ Best Film Editing “Slumdog Millionaire” √ Best Makeup “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” √ Best Sound Editing “The Dark Knight” √ Best Sound Mixing “The Dark Knight” X "Slum

View all the Best Picture nominees

On Saturday, I will not be blogging too much. Why? I will be at the movie for - wait for it - 14 HOURS! Yes, tomorrow, as I've done in the past, will be devoted to seeing all five Best Picture nominees - “ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), “ Frost/Nixon ” (Universal), “ Milk ” (Focus Features), “ The Reader ” (The Weinstein Company) and “ Slumdog Millionaire ” (Fox Searchlight). AMC Theatres offers this quite amazing opportunity to see all the nominees back-to-back in a special package . It's $30 - or $25 for rewards members - and includes all five movies, large popcorn, unlimited pop and a cool collectible pass so you can leave the theater between showings and walk around. Here is the schedule: # Milk 10:30 a.m. # The Reader 1:05 p.m. # The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 3:45 p.m. # Slumdog Millionaire 7:15 p.m. # Frost/Nixon 9:45 p.m. Entertainment Weekly named the Best Picture Showcase No. 1 on its " Must List " for this week.

mtvU names Red Carpet Correspondent

And the award goes to... Faheem Ahmed and Anish Patel from Rice University . The team has been selected as the Grand Prize winners for the first-ever “Oscar Correspondent Contest,” a joint promotion by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and mtvU. Their coverage will be posted on the week of February 23. Congrats! I'll try to get an interview with them and post it this weekend. Photo: Faheem Ahmed (left) and Anish Patel from Rice University have earned a spot on the red carpet and will also have access to the backstage press rooms and the Governors Ball. Photo: Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Oscar logo for Sunday

If you are like me, you stay up late at night and wonder what this year's Oscar ceremony graphics would look like. Well, even if you are even close to that description, I've found a picture, thanks to the Academy, of what looks like this year's logo and artwork. I mentioned in a post earlier this week that the theme for this year's show was going to be "a rich, deep blue ." Other notes: The Academy and mtvU will be announcing the Red Carpet correspondent at noon PST / 3 p.m. EST. So I'll keep you posted on the lucky team of students chosen to stand on the red carpet and interview celebs. The finalists will be on ET tonight , according to one of the teams. Also, I interviewed a very happy finalist , Megan Telles, Wednesday night and am playing to chat with the other two teams. Those interviews will be posted here this weekend. I am currently editing my OSCAR® SPECIAL for my talk show and will let everyone know when it's online. More prep work is bein