Showing posts from February, 2009

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

Can this Sunday's show reverse a downward trend?

Recent ratings for the Academy Awards have been - to say the least - abysmal , a downward trend of bad to worse. Ratings for last year's ceremony were the lowest ever, according to Nielsen figures, and down nearly 20 percent from the year before. ABC’s showing of the 80th Annual Academy Awards attracted 32 million viewers . The broadcast lasted from 8:30 to 11:38 p.m. ET ( Source ). The 2003 ceremony was Oscar's previous low, with 33 million viewers ( Source ). An average of 39.9 million people watched the 79th annual Academy Awards two years ago, an improvement of one million viewers from the year before but still down from the '04 and '05 shows. "The Departed" took home the Best Picture Oscar. Ellen DeGeneres hosted; the show ran about three hours and 50 minutes -- the longest Oscarcast since the 2002 show, which stretched to more than four hours ( Source ). According to a study by Nielsen Preview , Academy Awards viewership correlates directly with the b

A preview of my talk show

Tomorrow evening, my talk show's annual Oscar ® Special airs on my Web site, . We filmed the episode on Valentine's Day and our panelists had some great commentary to share. Here is the preview: Side note : Voting ends tomorrow evening for mtvU's Red Carpet Correspondent contest. Vote here .

New details on set; hi-res images obtained

Poking around the Web this morning, I stumbled across the official press release (and even high resolution images!) by the Rockwell Group about the set for Sunday's ceremony , which I discussed yesterday in a post (see here ). Some more details I learned: David Rockwell is the first architect to design an Oscar set Designed to "create an atmosphere of an elegant party rather than a formal gathering" Twelve "transforming sets" depicted throughout the night Peninsula part of stage ("thrust stage") will have four steps between the sage and seating level in order to bring presenters closer to audience Stage floor will be "an abstract floral pattern referencing the curve of the thrust stage" Here are the images I found (click for larger view): Above and to the right is the picture used on the cover of Sunday's New York Times Arts&Leisure cover.  Above is a picture I have not seen anywhere else; it depicts eight different settings for

An observation: Kodak sign change

I was looking at Sunday and Monday's preparation photos and noticed a slight modification in the Kodak Theatre's iconic archway façade , where the stars head into the Academy Awards presentation from the red carpet. If you look at the above photo, you'll notice "theatre" no longer in all caps and a slight modification of the word "Kodak." The logo is now in keeping with the changed Kodak logo , which was revealing at the beginning of 2006. Since the theatre opened in November 2001, the logo would need to be changed. The company paid an estimated $75 million to have its name associated with the theatre - and consequently the Oscars. (The 3,332-seat cost $94 million to build.) Thus, why wouldn't Kodak want its refreshed logo updated on the arch. Interesting observation is all. Now you know.

Oscar set revealed in NYT article

I opened my Sunday New York Times with much surprise. Were my eyes seeing what I thought...? It was not a dream. There was the set for Sunday's 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony , pictured grandly on the Arts&Leisure cover. Here are the details extracted from the 1,900-word article, which can be read if full here : This year's set is designed by none other than the architect of the Kodak Theatre itself - the very place designed for the ceremony: David Rockwell . (Note NYT, its theat re , not theater.) Rockwell said he is out to " redefine the show's DNA ," trying to tame the beast - "a show on television celebrating the movies in a theater," as writer Patricia Leigh Brown describes it. " It's about celebration ," said Rockwell, 52. " We want to make it less a big, pre-taped package and more a live show . " Rockwell designed the set with all this in mind. The set includes a 92,000-Swarovski-crystal curtain , fluted crystal ch

Oscar Week begins... Some notes

Hi everyone who is reading my blog or subscribing to the RSS feed. I wanted to take moment to tell you about this upcoming (amazing) week and a little bit about myself. First, if you're subscribing to my RSS feed, try to visit my actual page at least daily. I will be posting videos and other media onto this page; however, some content might not appear in the RSS feed (or on Facebook, for example) because I will be using the sidebar to the left. So please, come visit the Web page. Second, I will be posting anything and everything related to the Academy Awards - from the setup and the secrets to the red carpet. If I miss anything, comment and fill me in. Also, follow me on Twitter (jamesamolnar) this weekend for the latest news. Finally, I want to prove myself to you about why I should be your source for Oscar news: I've been watching, taping and rewatching the ceremonies for nearly a decade; I have bought every ceremony poster (except one) since they were made available to th

Chicago exhibition opens

Academy President Sid Ganis was in Chicago Friday to open the " Meet the Oscars, Chicago " exhibition. He was at The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue downtown. All Chicago people need to see this! My friends and I went to the one adjacent to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood last year. It was awesome to be able to hold an Oscar statuette - albeit for a limited time. Make sure you get there quick, though. Remember, this is the only exhibit this year so it will probably be packed . The exhibition closes next Sunday , Feb. 22nd (Oscar Sunday). Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. The president of the statuette maker, R.S. Owens, Scott Siegel helped cut the ribbon. Other notes: Some singing drama, as reported by E!: Peter Gabriel announced to Laurence Mark , producer of this year's ceremony, that he will be attending the Oscars, but he won't be performing during the Best Song medley with &

Preshow hosts named

Tim Gunn , Robin Roberts and Jess Cagle with host the 30-minute red carpet show, the Academy announced Wednesday. Executive producer Robert Morton announced the first-time hosts for show, which airs on ABC beginning at 8 p.m. EST., prior to the 81st Academy Awards® presentation. Gunn, as the press release stated, is chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne Inc. and well known for his co-hosting of the Emmy®-nominated program “Project Runway." Roberts is a “Good Morning America” anchor and has traveled from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to the Persian Gulf covering a wide array of topics. She was a commentator and contributor to ESPN before joining ABC News. Cagle is the managing editor of Entertainment Weekly and the former executive editor of People. He contributes to CBS News and has appeared on “Today” and “20/20.” That's all we know for now. 10 DAYS UNTIL OSCAR SUNDAY ®

Top three announced for mtvU contest

My predictions last night were correct. mtvU announced the finalists for its red carpet correspondent contest, in association with the Academy. They are as follows: Megan Telles , sophomore - San Diego State University; Justin Shackil , senior - Fordham University; and Faheem Ahmed , senior - Rice University. The latter in the list was no. 9 on my list, but hey, he got the votes. The person that's missing is my no. 1 pick - David Distenfeld , junior- Duke University. He would have been great, but alas, the people decided. Voting begins here today and ends around 5 p.m. EST on Friday, February 20, 2009. That's a long voting period. I will try to interview Telles for sure, maybe Shackil and Ahmed. Good luck finalists! Get out the vote!

Scientific and Technical Awards given out last night

Last night, Jessica Biel , pictured, hosted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards in Beverly Hills. Set was nice. Congrats to all those honored last night. Other notes: Tomorrow we find out the three finalists for mtvU 's Oscar® Correspondent Contest , and consequently voting opens for them. So far, this is what I know: Don't look for Nick Maslow , but look for one of my favs Megan Telles . (Can't tell you how I know...) Here's hoping good news was given to David Distenfeld , but he removed his entry video from YouTube so I'm not thinking that's a good sign... Good luck to my other top five picks, Justin Shackil and Dylan Steinberg . Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson performed on the Grammys this evening. She brought down the house! You could see the emotion on her face. The Orange British Academy Film Awards took place tonight at the Royal Opera House in London. Award winners included " Slumd

Oscar Sunday: 15 Days to go

Here is a video I saw on that is getting me pumped for the big night.

Oscar® Notes - Feb. 4th

With 18 days until the 81st Annual Academy Awards (on Feb. 22nd) and just about three days left until voting closes for the mtvU Oscars Correspondont Contest (this Friday around 5 p.m. ET), I thought it would be appropriate to discuss odds and ends... Event news In a New York Times article published Monday (" Oscars Suspense: Will People Watch? "), writer Michael Cieply discusses the secrets behind this year's ceremony and building pressure on the Academy to get more viewers to watch. Worth the read. Jessica Biel will host the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. The " Oscars Live Challenge " on OSCAR.COM went live earlier this week. Here , you can predict the winners and the during the ceremony answers questions for more points. There have not been any prizes announced for a possible nationwide winner, but maybe the Academy might not be offer a cool incentive this year. Nominees for this