In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, the Academy offers a slew of events and contests to interest the public in their little shindig.
With the last of the Academy screenings of nominated films taking place this Sunday night (“In the Loop” will be the grand finale), the Academy has a big, beautiful theater nice and empty as the big show approaches. So they’re turning those final few days into an official Oscar Week celebration, with a series of events that are open to the public, if they’re not already sold out. The press release is here, with links to the individual events as follows: a screening of all the animated shorts, and an onstage discussion with the filmmakers on Tuesday, March 2; clips of all the Documentary Short Subject and Documentary Feature nominees, again with an onstage discussion with the filmmakers, on Wednesday; a symposium with the makers of the Animated Feature nominees on Thursday; the annual Foreign-Language Film Award Nominees Symposium on Saturday afternoon, with the directors of the five nominees usually in attendance; and a symposium with the nominated makeup artists and hairstylists on Saturday night. The shorts, foreign-language and makeup/hairstyle events are sold out, but standby tickets may be available; tickets to the doc and animated events are still available for $5, or $3 for students and Academy members. (AMPAS)
More AMPAS goings-on: for the second year in a row, the Academy is allowing the public to vote for the gown that’ll be worn by one of the “trophy presenters” on the upcoming Oscar show. Nine “up-and-coming” designers showed off their entries at a Tuesday morning event at the Academy, and now photos of the contenders are available at the AMPAS website. Given the amount of walking and carrying heavy statuettes the job entails, I’d 86 the two strapless numbers and the two that seem tight around the knees. (AMPAS)
“If intellectuals had a say in the Oscar race, ‘The Hurt Locker’ would surely win,” writes Melena Ryzik after attending Tuesday night’s party for screenwriter Mark Boal at the Monkey Bar in New York City. By intellectuals, I think she means New Yorkers. (The Carpetbagger)
“May the best message win,” says Pete Hammond, who runs down the narratives currently being offered by the three Best Picture frontrunners. “Avatar,” he says, has retooled its campaign to play up its environmental credentials; “Inglourious Basterds” has emphasized support from Jewish groups and a charity effort of auctioning off art to benefit Haiti; and “The Hurt Locker” has been “beefing up its antiwar credentials” through events like a Wednesday night Arclight panel discussion with Air Force and Army officers from the Truman National Security Project. Nicholas Chartier, the producer who financed that last film, has apparently been sending out some questionable emails to Academy members asking them to vote for his movie. (Notes on a Season)
Scott Feinberg marshals the stats to prove his thesis: “Like it or not, it will be Bullock for Best Actress.” Among the facts & figures: 51 of the 82 Best Actress winners … won for a performance in a film that was nominated for Best Picture” and “only 11 of the 82 Best Actress winners … were the sole nominee from their film.” I know this is gonna kill me in all the Oscar pools, but I still have trouble going there. (And the Winner Is … )
Sasha Stone repeats her mantra that the preferential ballot makes this year’s Best Picture race completely unpredictable. She’s still leaning toward “Hurt Locker,” but she posits what I imagine is an accurate scenario for an “Avatar” win: “My thinking is that ‘Avatar’ has to win the first round, with no competition from either ‘Inglourious Basterds’ or ‘The Hurt Locker’ to win.” (Awards Daily)