Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

from Photographers' Blog:

The room where no one says cheese

You’ve just won your Oscar, given your acceptance speech to the world and are whisked off stage. The world watching on television goes to a commercial break as you are escorted off to meet the press, first stop “The Photo Room”.

Actress Melissa Leo holds her Oscar for performance by an actress in a supporting role for "The Fighter" backstage at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake

You come around a corner and step up onto a 60-foot long low-rise stage. Behind you are three 10-foot golden Oscar statuettes, each surrounded by a bouquet of colorful flowers. In front of you is a grandstand of 60 well-dressed photographers who all want you to hold up your award and look at them, and no one says cheese.

In actuality “The Photo Room” has very little to do with the art of photography on Oscar night. We have all come in days prior and hung strobe lights, tested power packs, synced our data feeds out of our digital cameras, inputed IPTC codes, selected the IP addresses back to our editors and tweaked our lighting from edge to edge. On Oscar night it’s all about the winner looking at you.

Oscar winner for best actress for her role in "Black Swan", Natalie Portman, poses backstage at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2011.    REUTERS/Mike Blake

So the photographers yell: “to your left,” “to your right,” “over here,” “kiss the trophy,” “look up,” “look down” and “it’s me."

From Tony to Oscar and back?


Tony's Denzel

Has Tony really turned into Oscar? True, last night’s Tony Awards didn’t feel that far from the Oscars. There were the hoards of screaming fans outside, the red carpet filled with stars like Scarlett Johansson and Will Smith. And the backstage media room where winners are wheeled in breathless and smiling for an impromptu press conference.

But for all the talk that the Tony’s are going all Hollywood, perhaps they are not. For starters, some of Hollywood’s A-List don’t take America’s highest theater honors as seriously as the Oscars. Some, like best actor nominated Jude Law who was a long shot to win, was nowhere to be seen. Others, like first-time Tony Award winners Scarlett Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, did not bother going backstage to speak to the press afterwards.

from Tales from the Trail:

General Odierno gives “The Hurt Locker” friendly review

OSCARS/As the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno must have on-the-ground knowledge of the American military teams that defuse roadside bombs in Iraq.

So it seems like high praise, indeed, that he complimented the Oscar-winning movie "The Hurt Locker" for how it portrayed the sacrifices made by bomb disposal soldiers in the Iraq war.

“Avatar”, Oscar’s big snub?


AvatarThere is little doubt in our mind that if the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was filled with 10 ft. tall blue people with tails, that “Avatar” would have won the best motion picture Oscar on Sunday night.

But it’s not — perhaps sadly. “Avatar” and director James Cameron picked up three awards in technical categories: visual effects, art direction and cinematography. And for the highest grossing film of all time — $2.6 billion worldwide and counting — that seems like robbery. You can read about “Avatar” as an Oscar “loser” here. And there is no doubt, it lost. But did the Academy get it right?

Going some place? Foreign films hop on Oscar’s train


Foreign filmmakers may not pander to Oscar like some of their American counterparts. But early Saturday morning in front of a packed audience that had even some of the actors from the films scrambling to find a seat, the directors of this year’s five nominees talked about what the Oscars can do to gather the momentum to put enough bottoms on seats to gaze at their subtitled works. The first ever foreign language film nomination for Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” is still looking for a U.S. distributor, but director Claudia Llosa said the nomination was helping to inject film investment in that country.

Respect at Oscar they get. But American box office? Well, that’s always a slightly more difficult task. Even in regards to Oscar, all the filmmakers said they could not allow themselves to even possibly consider an Academy Award when they began to make their films.  As Oscar frontrunner Michael Haneke of “The White Ribbon,” which has swept many of the awards in the past year, put it, “You don’t make films to win prizes, you make films to communicate.”

Oscar beckons Sarah Palin … for shopping.


Palin(Reporting by Zorianna Kit)

What a difference a year makes! Last year, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was catching flak for her shopping habits during her 2008 campaign. This year, she’s strolling around Hollywood’s Oscar gift suites with family members having items given to her — leopard print sandals to match her leopard print jacket, for instance.

The morning after her appearance on “The Tonight Show”, and amid reports she was in Hollywood talking to TV executives about a possible TV show (see below and here on the blog), the former Alaska Governor turned up at the Silver Spoon gifting suite in West Hollywood with daughter Willow, grandson Trip and an entourage of about seven people, according to the suite’s organizers.

Lights. Camera. Action versus inaction.


Everyone knows documentary filmmakers get the short end of the stick. They spend years scraping together budgets, going on rough shoots in poor countries or places that throw them into jail, and when it comes to Oscar time, they’re the ones that keep smiling as they compete for attention with other such serious topics such as who is wearing what label.

But can docs really change things? Watch these videos of the two favorites to win the best documentary feature Oscar, directors Louie Psihoyos of “The Cove” and Robert Kenner from “Food, Inc.” who talk about the long road to their official Academy Award reception for the best documentary shorts and features that was held Wednesday night. More than six months after both films had their U.S. release, Kenner continues to battle big U.S. companies over bad food practices, and Psihoyos knows some dolphins are still being captured in Japan for marine amusement parks and killed for food, not to mention both continually competing for box office from audiences who prefer lighter fare at the cinema.

Oscar shorts clamor for attention … while they can.


Oscar shorts? Who watches them? Why make them? Does anyone care? Oscar does.

It may not have been the most jammed-packed, star-studded red carpet, but a week of official Oscars meet-and-greets and a taste of possible Hollywood glory kicked off Tuesday night with the first official Academy Award reception for the best short film nominees. It was not exactly Power Hollywood. But a crowd of ticket-paying short film lovers laughed and whooped as they crammed into the Academy’s headquarters to watch the five animation and five live-action nominated short films and rub elbows with their makers who flew in from around the world.

Nominees chatted at the reception before the screening about being at the Oscars for the first time. Danish director Joachim Back of “The New Tenants” talks about how his work as an advertising commercials director paved the way for his short and how he keeps changing his possible Oscar-winning speech.

“Project Runway” — Oscar style


Oscar fashion 1Oscar fashion 3Heidi Klum won’t be hosting and Tim Gunn won’t be telling designers to “make it work,” as he does on hit fashion TV show “Project Runway,” but it will have all the glitz and glamor that Oscar and Hollywood can provide. And that’s a lot of glitz and glamor.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday unveiled a competition among nine “up-and-coming fashion designers” in which one lucky winner will see their gown worn by one of the Academy Award escorts — the models who bring the little golden boys onstage to hand to winners — on Oscar night, March 7.

“Twilight” stars Stewart, Lautner grab Oscar spotlight


Lautner1Call it Oscar’s equivalent of hiring a really good Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon to nip a wrinkle here and tuck a chin there.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday said four of today’s hottest young actors and actresses — Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner, Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron — will be Stewartpresenters at this year’s ceremony for the world’s top film honors on March 7.