Psst More Secrets About The Oscars This Year

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The Envelope
More secrets leaked about Oscars telecast
Feb o2, 2009

Those rascals Bill Condon and Larry Mark are at it again. Those producers of the Oscars’ TV show — master showmen both — continue to leak tidbits about the Feb. 22 ceremony, this time to the New York Times’ Michael Cieply. All this leakage is sending Hollywood into twitters.

Today I got a frenzied phone call from a top Oscars consultant, gasping, “Did you hear that there may not be a red carpet arrivals area at the Kodak this year?!”

No, not so. Calm down! There’s scuttlebutt, yes, that Oscars chiefs — who are intent upon hushing up the names of stars who’ll present awards — may hide some superstars from media gaze by sneaking them in a back door. But they’ll still roll out the red carpet.

Also leaked is news that producers have asked studios to provide footage of major releases due out next year so that host Hugh Jackman can “sign off the broadcast with fresh 10-second snippets of two dozen new movies, to run on a split screen with the end credits,” reports the Times. “That and other changes are aimed at raising low ratings for what the academy, which depends on the Oscars for almost all of its roughly $70 million in annual revenue, has been calling ‘The Biggest Movie Event of the Year.’ ”

Best news I’ve heard so far: Producers have expanded the input of Bruce Vilanch from mere gag-writer to serious creative contributor. Hurrah! That’s long overdue! The Times notes that Vilanch “let slip that there might be a shift in what he called ‘the grouping’ of awards, though he declined to say what that might mean. Others said the show itself would have a narrative line, with the awards arranged to tell a story that will involve presenters as well as nominees.”

That’s all well and good. I really love the fact that Condon and Mark are so bold while daring to re-invent the show. I’m just very leery of them ditching some sacred traditions like having last year’s winners of acting awards bestow them to this year’s recipients of the opposite gender. To boot that is like booting daddy out of his job to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, don’t you think?