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.

New members of the team
David Rockwell was named production designer for the show. For the second consecutive year, Rockwell will bring his elegant and aesthetic sense to the theatre his firm designed. How fitting. He is the only architect to design the show. “David is so creative and has such a great big-picture approach to set design,” telecast producer Adam Shankman was quoted in the press release. See an interview with Rockwell during last year's pre-show. The main image of this post features Rockwell's set from last year. Featured prominently was the new proscenium, composed of 87,000 Swarovski crystals that matched the elegance for which the ceremony is renowned. Rockwell also placed the orchestra on stage in an elaborate bandstand.

Hamish Hamilton will direct the telecast. In a possible attempt to make the ceremony more lively producers Bill Mechanic and Shankman gave Hamilton the directing shoes, making it his first time directing the show. “Hamish is a first-rate live-show director who will bring enthusiasm, experience and a fresh eye to the table,” Shankman was quoted in the press release. “He’s also a master of working with all of the latest technology in television production, which speaks to the kind of cutting-edge show Bill and I are planning.” Hamilton has directed live televised events including the “MTV Video Music Awards,” along with concert by artists like U2, Neil Diamond, Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera. In February, he will direct the Super Bowl XLIV half-time show. (Historical note: Roger Goodman directed last year and Louis J. Horvitz helmed the telecast the year before, making it No. 12 for him. Horvitz directed shows including a Super Bowl half-time show and the "MTV Video Music Awards.)

Marc Shaiman will serve as music director for the 82nd Academy Awards. "With Marc on board, we are sure to have some great musical and, hopefully, hysterical moments,” Mechanic was quoted in the press release. Shankman said: “Marc was my inspiration and musical partner on ‘Hairspray’ and he has been responsible for some of the most memorable moments in Oscar history, like Will Ferrell and Jack Black’s comedy numbers.”

Dancers join the telecast
Ceremony producer Adam Shankman announced during last week's "So You Think You Can Dance" results show — on which he is a judge — that he's giving two finalists (the top guy and top girl) the opportunity to dance on the Oscar telecast. Here is the video from HollywoodOutbreak.com:

Oscar Race Update
A few more categories' contenders have been announced since we reported on the 20 vying for Animated Feature last month.

Fifteen films, out of the 89 pictures that originally qualified, advanced in the voting process for Documentary Feature. See the contenders here. The films vying for Animated Short was whittled down from 37 to 10. For anyone wondering, Pixar's short, “Partly Cloudy,” by director Peter Sohn, is still in the running. See the contenders here. For the Live Action Short category 10 films will advance in the voting process, from 71. See the contenders here.

And finally, announced last week were the 15 films selected as semifinalists for Visual Effects. The list includes James Cameron's much-ballyhooed project, "Avatar," and Peter Jackson-produced "District 9." The others on the list are as follows: “Angels & Demons,” “Coraline,” “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” “G-Force,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Star Trek,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “2012,” “Watchmen” and “Where the Wild Things Are.” In early January, members of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee, who selected the semifinalists, will narrow the list to seven.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Student Correspondent Contest
Just a reminder to all the college students out there: submit your two-minute (or less) videos at http://oscars.mtvu.com/ by Friday! All entries must be received by 2:59:59 PM (PT) on December 18, 2009.
"Submit a 2:00 video telling us why you and your camera person should be chosen to take a spot on the Oscars ® Red Carpet to represent your college newspaper or television station. If selected as a finalist, your team would be flown to Los Angeles during Oscars® week to attend and cover pre-events leading up to the big night, and the grand prize winner will earn a spot alongside the best entertainment reporters in the business and have a chance to interview some of the biggest and brightest personalities in the world."
My friend, Rincey, and I submitted a video last year and were no chosen, but still had fun filming the video. (Watch it here.)

Golden Globes
Awards season gets off and running this morning with the announcement of the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards nominations. John Krasinski, Diane Kruger and Justin Timberlake will join Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk to announce the nominations at approx. 5:00 a.m. PT at The Beverly Hilton. Go to the official Web site for more. Look for full coverage here later today and in the days to come.

It's going to be an exciting 82 days to the 82nd Annual Academy Awards!


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