Oscar Watch – Live from the Red Carpet

February 21, 2007

PascalBob3.jpgFor several months Pascal Pinck, Reuters TV correspondent in Hollywood, and I, Bob Tourtellotte, Reuters show business reporter, have brought movie fans weekly comments on major films opening around the world. Now we’ll bring audiences all the stars parading up the red carpet at the Academy Awards on Feb. 25.
Expect to see the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Penelope Cruz, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett and a host of global movie stars as they stroll into Hollywood’s Kodak Theater on Oscar night. The stars will be dripping in diamonds and donning their best tuxedos, but as always Pascal and I will be taking audiences beyond all the glitz and glamour to discuss a broad range of topics.
Along with star interviews, we plan to provide expert commentary on the wide open races at this year’s and whether “Little Miss Sunshine” can beat back challenges in the best film race from “The Departed,” “Babel,” “The Queen” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” Will Oscar voters award director Martin Scorsese with his first ever Academy Award for best director, or will they snub him again?
But there will be more than just nominee handicapping. Pascal and I will look at Hollywood’s star-making machinery as it seeks to get the stars all the news coverage it can. We will be sharing behind-the-scenes tales of moviemaking, and we will look at how much business all this Oscar spectacle truly drums up Hollywood’s major studios.
Stay tuned to Reuters.com for our live show beginning at 6:55 p.m. ET and running through 7:50 pm ET on Feb. 25.
Send us your questions and comments and we’ll do our best to get to the stars you want to see.

Let the parties begin

February 19, 2007

607.jpgHollywood is busily prepping for its biggest night of the year, the Oscars, on Sunday, Feb. 25. Over at the Kodak Theater in downtown Tinseltown, bleachers are now set up for thousands of fans who will turn out to see stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett and Penelope Cruz parade up the red carpet in their glitziest gowns and finest tuxedos.
    But before that BIG PARTY gets underway, many smaller ones have already started and it will continue through Sunday’s ceremony. At the Kodak, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, celebrated writers of past Oscar-winning movies and famous lines like “Here’s looking at you kid” from “Casablanca.”
    Dialogue like that and the famous “I wish I knew how to quit you,” from last year’s gay romance “Brokeback Mountain,” are featured prominently on the poster promoting this year’s telecast. Diana Ossana, who co-wrote “Brokeback” with Larry McMurtry, told Reuters “it’s a testament to the power of films and the power of words,” that movie dialogue can have a life longer than just one movie find a place in cultural history.
    The Academy also will fete the makers of short movies and foreign films and feature a “food and wine” preview ahead of it’s swanky Governor’s Ball on Oscar night.
    Corporations come to Hollywood and use the Oscars as a backdrop to promote products. Watchmaker Omega held a viewing of antique watches to be sold at an April auction in Geneva, Switzerland. On display were a range of time pieces including one worn by actor Daniel Craig in James Bond movie “Casino Royale” that still has mud on it. “Dirt, dust and DNA,” joked one Omega official.
    The estimated price on another watch is $100,000 to $150,000 — a cost only a Hollywood star, big-budget producer or fat cat Beverly Hills businessman can afford.
    The likes of Kwiat diamonds and L’Oreal cosmetics have set up suites to show off their wares. General Motors is hosting a party where singer Beck will perform and stars such as Teri Hatcher and Mary J. Blige are scheduled to attend.
    All is not corporate, however. Hollywood studios will host parties for Oscar nominees, big-time talent agents will do the same, and well-known stars will fete other well-known stars. Jamie Foxx is hosting a Beverly Hills bash for “Dreamgirls” co-star and Oscar nominee Jennifer Hudson.

Best film is wide open – will it lift viewship?

February 15, 2007

    The Hollywood pundits say the Oscar race for best film is wide open, but what does that mean for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which will give out the world’s most coveted movie awards on Sunday, Feb. 25. It’s an opening for one of the more exciting shows in recent years. For the movie industry, it means a more competitive environment, and that could translate into better movies to come, the experts say.
    Oscar viewership has dropped in recent years, except for a few spikes when box office blockbusters were also critical hits. Last year when little seen “Crash” won best picture, the audience size was about 38.8 million viewers, which was off by more than 3 million from the year before. When 2003’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” ($377 million U.S.) swept to victory in 11 categories, more than 43 million viewers tuned in.
    But a close Oscar race like this year’s means tension in the air on Hollywood’s biggest night and if there is anything movie lovers love, it’s tension. Moreover, Oscars are expected to be spread among a variety of films including “Dreamgirls,” “Little Miss Sunshine” (cast pictured right), “The Departed,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “The Queen” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.” That means fans of each of those movies will likely see their favorites claim some sort of victory, giving those fans reason to cheer.
    “There will be two or three surprises the entire night, and who knows what they’ll be,” said David Poland of Moviecitynews.com.
    That is true even in the acting categories where Helen Mirren in “The Queen” is the only true shoo-in.
    Best actor favorite Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland” faces veteran Peter O’Toole (left), who has been nominated for best actor seven times, but only once in 2002 was given an “honorary award.” No actor has ever lost on all eight actor nominations, said Tom O’Neil of TheEnvelope.com. Will Smith is well-liked in Hollywood, and he starred in a box office blockbuster hit, “The Pursuit of Happyness” ($161 million U.S.). Don’t count out either O’Toole or Smith.
    Best supporting actor nominee Eddie Murphy in “Dreamgirls” goes against veteran Alan Arkin in well-liked “Miss Sunshine” and comeback kid Jackie Earle Haley in “Little Children.” Oscar likes veterans and comeback stories, so don’t count them out.
    “Dreamgirls'” Jennifer Hudson has as a rival the adorable 10-year-old Abigail Breslin for “Miss Sunshine,” and Oscars love adorable little girls. Some experts believe may be the big surprise may be Adriana Barraza for supporting actress in another well-liked movie “Babel.” Don’t count them out.
    Tight races and surprise winners are a good thing for the movie industry overall, too, said Oscar historian Robert Osborne, who has authored a series of dubbed “The Official History of the Academy Awards.”
    “I think it’s great in an Oscar year when you got really good movies…and they don’t make it for (nominations),” Osborne said. “When you got good movies that don’t make it, then when you win an Oscar, it really means something.”

Sundance — why it matters

January 30, 2007

A few days ago, someone commented to a post I wrote on the parties at Sundance, questioning whether anybody saw or cared about Sundance movies. It was the middle of the festival, and I didn’t have a chance to answer. Another responder did, however, point out this year’s best Oscar nominee “Little Miss Sunshine” was a Sundance 2005 film.

Whoa everybody! Best film race is wide open

January 29, 2007

 The sun shone brightly on “Little Miss Sunshine” in Hollywood’s Oscar race on Monday after the film’s cast won the Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble. If last year’s SAG win by the cast of “Crash” is any indication, then “Sunshine,” takes the front runner position in the Oscar sweepstakes.

Last thoughts on Davos

January 27, 2007

I began this blog on Tuesday by saying that it had started snowing. The big issue for many of the less well-heeled among us — those without heavy duty limos and helicopters — is whether the snow that has built up all day will let us get home now that the World Economic Forum’s meeting is essentially over.IMG_2306.jpg

Food for thought at Davos

January 27, 2007

davos1.jpgDavos is nothing if not international. So it seemed no big deal when lunch on Friday turned out to be a Saudi Arabian buffet. It was brought to us by people “proudly investing in the future of Saudia Arabia”. And very nice it was too.

Trading up at Davos

January 27, 2007

davos_formin.jpgWhat business wants business (often) gets. Many of the executives popping in and out of panel discussions in Davos this week have been pushing harder than usual for a resumption of the stalled Doha round of world trade talks. Abracadabra! A meeting of government ministers on the sidelines, to use the jargon, agreed to get the ball rolling again.

Seen and not heard at Davos?

January 27, 2007

My colleague Alex Smith writes: The WEF invites spouses of the great and the good to its annual meeting in Davos but they don’t usually get stuck into the nitty gritty of the sessions.

SAG awards: Mirren has odds on

January 27, 2007

On Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild presents its annual awards. Usually, the winners of the SAG awards go on to win Academy Awards. With this year’s Oscar nominations thrown into chaos after presumed front-runner “Dreamgirls” was left out of a Best Picture nomination, the SAGs gain special importance.