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Academy Yanks Credentials After Nikki Finke Spoils Oscars

After website publishes entire lineup of Oscar show, reporter Mike Fleming’s credentials are revoked

Nikki Finke's Deadline website has had its Academy Awards credentials revoked after publishing a number of spoilers about the Oscar show, including the entire lineup of the telecast, complete with the names of the presenters and the order of awards and production numbers.

Oscar statuesFinke posted the lineup Friday morning with the notation that the show "looks to be yet another snorefest from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences." The report, which misspelled the names of Oscar show writers Jon Macks and David Wild among other errors, caused Academy communications director Leslie Unger to pull the pressroom credentials of Deadline reporter Mike Fleming, who had flown from New York to Los Angeles for the show.  

"Deadline was banned from covering the Oscars precisely for covering the Oscars," wrote Finke in an outraged post on Saturday morning.  She later added that "a few" of her spoilers were published "with the permission and encouragement … of Oscar bigwigs who were hoping to spike more viewership for Sunday's show."

When contacted by TheWrap, Unger said the Academy had no comment on Finke's complaints.

Finke traditionally live-blogs (or, as she says, "live-snarks") during the Oscars, almost always in a severely negative tone. She does not attend the show, and in the past did not employ a reporter whose credentials could be revoked.

The Academy's action came on the heels of an equally outraged column from Movie City News columnist David Poland, who has long been famously critical of the woman he refers to as "Crazy Nikki."

Calling her actions "trying to spoil the show for everyone else … while live-blogging like a bitchy teen who never got asked to the prom," he also took aim at the Academy for not striking back. "It's time for people in this town to grow some balls and respond to Ms. Finke like the half-pint playground bully she is," he wrote.

On Saturday, Poland responded to the pulling of Fleming's credentials by saying "thank God the Academy did this" and calling it "a normal Academy response to bad behavior by someone to whom they are giving access." He also questioned the complicity of Academy officials who, he charged, had been leaking information to Finke. 

In the past, a number of press outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, have had credentials pulled because of coverage of the show that revealed spoilers.

One person close to the situation said that Finke had been incensed that Oscar show co-producer Bruce Cohen had served as a host of the Hollywood Reporter's Oscar party on Thursday night, and that his show of favoritism led to her publishing the lineup.

Finke wrote that she has "lodged a formal protest (couched in strong language)" with the Academy.

The Academy action has not affected other Deadline personnel. Awards columnist Pete Hammond and the site's owner, Mail.com Media Corporation CEO Jay Penske, both have tickets to the Oscar show.

(Photo by Jonathan Alcorn)