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Entertainment behind the scenes

Hollywood’s Golden Oscar moment, or one long bathroom break?

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is giving the Oscars a makeover for 2009, doubling the number of Best Picture nominees to ten and relegating its honorary Governors Awards to a separate non-televised ceremony that took place Saturday night. Lauren Bacall with Roger Corman, Nov 14, 2009

Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman receive awards

Part of the idea behind separating the Governors Awards, generally given for career and industry achievement, from the gala Oscars that will take place in March is to cut a slow-moving segment from the broadcast during which many viewers get up from the couch to use the bathroom, make popcorn or turn off the show altogether. The Academy’s Governors say it’s also about dedicating more time to the honorees rather than rushing them through the show in a few minutes — especially when, as with Lauren Bacall on Saturday,  it’s a case of a movie legend getting a long-awaited first Oscar.

Listening to Hollywood oldies like Bacall and Kirk Douglas recount stories from the Golden Years of Tinseltown is priceless for those that grew up watching their movies but increasingly lacks relevance for Twitter-age youngsters with a short attention span — hence the bathroom break.

Many at Saturday’s dinner liked the change. Producer Norman Jewison said the lack of TV cameras was great. Warren Beatty relished being able to talk freely without worrying whether there were 36.5 million or only 29.2 million people watching.

Tom Hanks gives good guys a voice, but can he be bad?

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tom-hanks.jpgTom Hanks will become the third American-born male actor in the past decade to be honored at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual Gala Tribute in New York next April. The two-time Academy Award winner is praised by the event’s director Kent Jones for for being able “to make the struggle and drama of being a good man compelling.”

Hanks will follow in the footsteps of Al Pacino in 2000 and Dustin Hoffman in 2005 when he receives the tribute. The Gala Tribute dates back to 1972 when Charles Chaplin was brought back to the United States, and celebrates actors and filmmakers who have ”defined the method by which movies are made and seen, and advanced the understanding of cinema as an art form.”

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