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9 Possible Oscar Hosts for 2017



As the 2016 – 2017 awards season gets into full swing, all eyes will turn towards the Oscars or, more specifically, who will be hosting the Oscars.

Chris Rock was, albeit retrospectively, an inspired choice as host following six weeks of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and his scathing political routine won over large tranches of its audience. In 2017 things may get a little more traditional, by which we mean introspective, or white [probably] Americans mocking their own silly ways as they welcome a new diverse generation of members into their fold.

2017 will be a year that celebrates the different, the unconventional and the wonderfully diverse corners of the film industry. The Academy are under immense pressure to find a host that is accepted by both the inner and outer echelons of its construct – suit just the former and the Oscars once again return to their very white ways, but pander too much to the latter and it’s a knee-jerk reaction that positively discriminates.

The right host also needs to have showmanship, confidence and entertainment value in oodles, not just finding approval before the show but winning fans throughout and, crucially, winning Nielsen ratings.

So who could the Academy pick as their crucial compere? We have a few suggestions…

Louis C.K.

The man of the moment (pictured above) delivered the most memorable presentation of an award last year, launching into his typically hilarious observational comedy whilst introducing the documentary short nominees. Before the credits even rolled on 2016, fans were taking to the internet in droves calling for Louis C.K. to take the reigns.

The upside – as a man with some big credits to his name including Trumbo and American Hustle, award winning comedy shows and some of the best stand up this century, it would be an obvious choice.

The downside – for Louis to shine he needs the autonomy a-la Ricky Gervais Golden Globes, and with that comes inherent risks. He could be seen as too unpredictable for the show’s producers, unless they’re feeling brave.

Jon Stewart

Former host Jon Stewart has little to do these days, though he will likely be a sporadic personality during the US election media circus. If his little appearances for old friends is any indication, he may just be interested in reprising his duties for the Academy.

The upside – let’s face it, he has nothing better to do in February, and he’s worked this crowd before so he knows the drill. A political satirist may also be just what the Oscars needs to strike the right balance between ridicule and poignancy as diversity takes center-stage to a race-sensitive social backdrop.

The downside – he’s been there before and he knows the drill. At a time when the Academy are trying to usher in a new generation, and with it a regeneration of their own image, the last thing they want to do is look behind them for inspiration.

Will & Jada Smith

This may have been a tongue-in-cheek suggestion from our Chief Editor, but let’s roll with it. The Smiths made headlines last year following Jada’s quick succession from the ceremony following her husband’s snubbing, which was embroiled within the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Will on the other hand seemed quite unphased by the whole situation, so wouldn’t it make great TV to have them both on stage, husband and wife, angel and devil, fronting the very show they challenged last year?

The upside – Will Smith is a popular guy, and a husband-wife duo has never happened before so comparisons to previous comperes is limited.

The downside – they are not natural hosts and Jada’s attack on the Academy last year would likely shape the whole show. Whether or not the crowd would take so kindly to this is doubtful.

James Corden

One of several Brits to invade the late night talk show game across the pond, James Corden has had a meteoric rise to fame in the past few years. In broad appeal and cheeky entertainment value could be the required antidote to a year of controversy.

The upside – young, funny (allegedly) and a friend to the stars, Corden is a low risk, inoffensive choice for Oscar host who its producers can trust not to make a scene amid a gauntlet of possible catastrophes.

The downside – inoffensive also translates to forgettable. Though he is a safe pair of hands he wouldn’t do much to boost ratings. People want unpredictability and headlines, and Corden would do little to sell ad space.

Jessica Williams

The face of American equality could come in the form of Daily Show graduate turned late night host Jessica Williams. Hotly tipped as a successor to Jon Stewart, she is one of the most popular, bold and politically savvy comediennes in America and the Oscar gig would do wonders for her prime time profile.

The upside – little known compared to many potential hosts, Williams brings an edge, an predictability and a potential spontaneity to proceedings. And a African-American woman host would be a nod towards diversity without bringing back old-timer Whoopi.

The downside – who is she, and why should we watch? Such will be the sentiment of many families sitting down in front of their televisions on February 26th. Fickle as it may be, Williams lacks the star power to pull in punters, and the experience to reassure show bosses she could handle such an A-list crowd.

Kevin Hart

Another black comedian to follow in the footsteps of Chris Rock. Slightly more extroverted, a bit louder and one of the biggest comedy actors in Hollywood at the moment.

The upside – he is current, he has a big fan base and if star power is the order of the day it doesn’t get much bigger than Kevin Hart. His box office appeal is a clear indicator that he will drive the hype up for the show, and no doubt he’ll deliver something memorable on the night, though maybe not for the right reasons.

The downside – he would directly compared to Chris Rock, and the Academy may want to shake it up with someone a bit different.  If anything, it seems more likely they would ask Rock back than go straight to someone like Kevin Hart.

Tina Fey & Amy Poehler

Following three wildly popular turns as hosts of the Golden Globe awards, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have collaborated on hit comedy Sisters. The double act are leading the way for female led comedies and have made a strong case for taking their shtick all the way to the Oscars.

The upside – popular, funny, women, so why the hell not? They have proven themselves on the awards circuit and will bring a big dose of entertainment to the show. They can be trusted to pick up the pieces of any mishaps in their trademark awkward manner, and let’s face it Hollywood are short of a double act.

The downside – the Academy like to be seen as the classier, more respectable older cousin to the Golden Globes. They may not wish to be hiring their cast offs, and the last double act Oscar host (James Franco and Anne Hathaway) hardly set the world alight.

Ricky Gervais

So maybe if Fey and Poehler won’t be considered, another Golden Globes host of old may be invited to take the stage. Gervais is not busy much any more but brings with him a scathing tongue and a merciless sense of humor that will cut right to the heart of the Academy.

The upside – giving the Oscars a much needed reality check, and following on thematically from Chris Rock, Gervais would shake things up big time and give the Oscars something to think about. Sure enough he’ll make a few headlines.

The downside – if the Academy want this kind of host, they will likely turn to Louis C.K.: he’s a bigger star right now and probably funnier right now too. Gervais’ five minutes of fame has been and gone and he just may not be on their radars any more.

Will Ferrell & Jack Black

One of the all time classic presenter collaborations, Will Ferrell and Jack Black have created some truly memorable moments at past Oscar ceremonies. From their Get Off the Stage to A Comedian at the Oscars – they have given us more musical skits than anyone else.

The upside – they are proven at the Oscars and they are stars. They work together and they have earned their opportunity to host. It’s about time and how could they possibly let us down?

The downside – they may be great for five minute segments, but can they hold up the entire telecast? Possibly better in short doses, they may not scream compere potential.

Awards News

Black Panther Aiming For Best Picture, Not Best Popular, According To Chadwick Boseman



It’s Hollywood’s worst-kept secret; Marvel Studios’ chief Kevin Feige wants an Oscar. And not just a technical Oscar either. Following in the footsteps of Walt Disney, Feige’s ultimate goal is for one of his movies to win Best Picture. With Black Panther being a cultural juggernaut, the producer-extraordinaire sees it as his best chance yet and has reportedly hired veteran award strategist Cynthia Schwartz’s company – Strategy PR – to push for the nomination.

However, The Academy themselves threw a spanner in the works last month, when they announced the introduction of a brand new category at next year’s awards ceremony: Best Achievement in Popular Film. With Black Panther presently the highest-grossing film of the year domestically, and the second-highest internationally, it’s the clear favourite to win in the new category (at least, to the best of everyone’s knowledge – The Academy have, frustratingly, refused to define the new award). However according to King T’Challa himself, Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, that’s not the goal.

“We don’t know what [Best Popular] is, so I don’t know whether to be happy about it or not,” Boseman told The Hollywood Reporter, “What I can say is that there’s no campaign for Popular Film; like, if there’s a campaign, it’s for Best Picture, and that’s all there is to it.”

“A good movie is a good movie,” the Get On Up star continued, “and clearly it doesn’t matter how much money a movie makes in order for it to be ‘a good movie’ because if [it did], the movies that get nominated and win [predominantly low-grossing, highly-praised art-house fare] wouldn’t get nominated; and if it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter on both sides. For my money, the only thing that matters is the level of difficulty.”

“What we did was very difficult. We created a world, we created a culture … we had to create a religion, a spirituality, a politics; we had to create an accent; we had to pull from different cultures to create clothing styles and hair styles. It’s very much like a period piece. … So, as far as that’s concerned, I dare any movie to try to compare to the difficulty of this one. And the fact that so many people liked it — if you just say it’s [only] popular, that’s elitist.”

Chadwick has a point – the gross of a film has never, and should not, affect a film’s chances at winning Best Picture. However, whilst The Academy has made clear that a film can be nominated for both Best Film and Best Popular (frustrating many members who have then rightfully asked what the point is), they have somewhat written themselves into a corner when it comes to Black Panther. See, through a very specific sequence of events, The Academy have manufactured a situation where the most likely events to play out on the night will be Damien Chazelle’s buzzy First Man, a movie with an all-white cast and crew, winning Best Picture… whilst the all-black cast and crew of Black Panther accept the new ‘separate but equal’ award for Best Achievement in Popular Film. Yikes.

Black Panther is available on Digital, DVD, Blu-Ray and 4K now, and is rated 12A.

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Awards News

Danny DeVito To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award At The San Sebastian Film Festival



Batman Returns star Danny DeVito is set to receive the coveted Donostia Award, honouring him for his career achievements, at the sixty-sixth annual San Sebastian Film Festival this September.

“The award recognizes a career of almost five decades related to acting in theatre, film and television, telling stories as an actor, producer and director,” the Spanish festival’s organisers said in a statement, “The Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner is known for his roles in television series Taxi and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and movies such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment, Romancing The Stone, Twins, Ruthless People, and Tin Men.”

“He has also directed – and starred in – hugely emblematic films, including The War of the Roses (1989), Hoffa (1992), Death to Smoochy (2002), Throw Momma From the Train (1987), Curmudgeons (2016), Duplex (2003), The Ratings Game (1984), and The World’s Greatest Lover (1977).”

The San Sebastian Film Festival will run from the 21st to the 29th of September. Danny DeVito can next be heard in animated children’s flick Smallfoot, which will premiere on the 23rd at the Festival.

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Oscars 2018




2017 was not overly kind to Hollywood. A drop in cinema audiences. Dismal summer box office. Increasing competition from the rise of Netflix and compelling television shows. Decreasing ratings for movie awards shows. Justice League.
And please, nobody even mention Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey.

In short it all went a bit Pete Tong for La La Land last year.
In fact the La La Land /Moonlight mix up at the Oscars in February now seems a rare bright spot in the 2017 tinsel town calendar. Reading out the wrong best picture winner? Light relief! Oh, how we can laugh now at a ‘wrong envelope mishap’ in the wake of #metoo and #sheknew

So, where and when did the rot start?
I’d suggest November 2016. On 8th November to be precise. Hollywood was tux and gown ready to celebrate the presidential victory of the woman whose campaign many A listers had funded to the tune of millions. However, 60 million Americans had a different plan. Enter the Donald!
The rest is outrage history.

Hollywood has since used Twitter, late night chat shows the press and most of all, awards shows to bash Trump……….and by association the 60 million who voted for him. 60 million potential movie fans.

Some love the political content of awards shows. Some are infuriated by it. But for many the politics has just got old really quickly. All they want from their movie and tv stars is entertainment. Yet the one industry that has the power to bring polarised communities together isn’t managing it. Nor does the entertainment media help.

The dumbest question on the movie red carpet in 2017 was one that was repeated the most, earnestly each time as if it was something unbelievably profound: what do you think will Trump voters make of your film?
Alexander Payne when asked it at the Venice film festival was one of the few who refused to be baited. He said he hoped that he made films for everybody. Unfortunately for him, his film Downsizing didn’t exactly please everybody but at least he recognised that his role is as a filmmaker not political campaigner. Similarly, while other stars have lost fans due to their relentless political tirades, Frances McDormand has been gaining them by being funny, entertaining and making it clear that her politics are her private business. But Payne and McDormand are rare. Too many stars and filmmakers take the media bait or can’t resist lecturing the world on the cause du jour when it isn’t the time and place to do so.

That is the issue. There is a time and place to make earnest speeches, to berate, to demand change, to highlight injustice. The Oscars podium isn’t it.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Oscars. It was a terrific experience. It was everything I’d imagined the Oscars to be; glamorous, fun, starry and an escape from the norm. The dresses were colourful and gorgeous. The jokes were funny. Everyone was out to party!
Was it frivolous, unreal and superficial. Yep. And it was all the more wonderful for that because I’d come to the event from conducting a 15 day case in the High court about a paedophile ring. So I know about the real world, thank you. And so do the millions who watch the Oscars on television around the world. The Oscars is their escape from the real world, as it was mine.

Yes, the Oscars has always been political to a degree; Marlon Brando sending a Native American woman to collect his Oscar for The Godfather, Michael Moore leading the charge against President Bush and the Iraq war, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon highlighting Haiti and many more issues. But those were moments in a lengthy ceremony. The rest of the show remained light and fun. The atmosphere overall wasn’t somber, even funereal. In the last 3-4 years the politics has completely overshadowed the films and the film stars.

The Oscars now seems to be first about race, sexuality, political affiliation, hashtag movements with the actual work second.

The #oscarssowhite in 2016 campaign was the first year that I can remember when a cause dominated the coverage, pushing the films and actors in contention for the awards out of the limelight. But it has continued. Last year the subject was President Trump. This year it’s #metoo and #TimesUp.
Around Oscar time I get asked 3 main questions: which of the nominated films do I recommend? Who do I think will win? Who had the best dress?

The first suggests that being nominated/winning really does help a film’s box office. And since the Oscars is essentially an industry event at which the film business shows off its wares, that’s a good thing. The second shows that humans are a competitive lot at heart. It’s why we love sport. No one truly likes ‘participation prizes’. We want there to be a ‘best’ so we can endlessly argue about it for evermore afterwards.
And yes, the third question is every bit as legitimate as the first two. Hollywood is the epitome of glamour. Fashion is big business that employs many people. The Oscars brings the two together on a world stage. And yes, women get asked about their dresses because it’s what many people tune in to see. The men’s tuxedos are the same each year. They aren’t the draw.
Funnily, the questions that don’t crop up are ‘what does Chris Hemsworth think about Brexit’ or ‘ What are Rebel Wilson’s views on the fiscal crisis’.
Maybe, just maybe, people don’t really care.

As I write this, some media outlets are reporting that Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster will present the best actress award this year instead of Casey Affleck. He withdrew recently from the tradition of the previous best actor winner presenting the new best actress winner with her gong, most likely, because he didn’t want or need the media coverage that would have dogged him in respect of allegations of sexual misconduct which were subject to an agreement between him and two women. None of the trio are legally allowed to speak publicly about the agreement. No one outside their respective close circles and legal advisers knows what the terms of the agreement were. Affleck could have agreed terms because he’s guilty as hell and didn’t want a court trial to prove it. The women could have been lying through their teeth and didn’t want a court trial to prove it.

Or, you know, the truth could lie somewhere in the middle. As it often does. Point is, we will never know.

That, of course didn’t stop hysterical speculation last year on social media of what Casey Affleck was ‘definitely, absolutely, 100% guilty of” – because – wait for it- he always plays creepy guys on screen! And it wouldn’t have stopped it this year, specially in the wake of #metoo. So Affleck stepped aside.

If it’s true that Lawrence and Foster will replace him, has the Academy really thought it through? What’s the message here:

That it takes two women to replace one man?

That there are no men left in Hollywood who can even safely present a woman with an award?

That only women can present an award to a woman because gender segregation is where we’re at in 2018??!!

See, this is what happens when you add politics to the mix. You may think you’re doing something right but it can come out all wrong.

On Oscar night on Sunday, armed police and security guards will protect stars who will go on stage and speak passionately against guns. Actresses who cheered and gave standing ovations to convicted child rapist Roman Polanski will now speak passionately against sexual predators. The list is endless of hypocrisies Hollywood can be called out for, so the wise thing to do might be to leave politics outside the door and, you know, entertain on the biggest night of the glamour industry.

However, I’m not betting on it.

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