The 84th Academy Awards will be presented live at the Kodak Theatre on Sunday, February 26th, but not without a tinge of controversy. As you may recall, in November, the Academy was left in a mad scramble to cast a new team when former producer, Brett Ratner, resigned after discussing his sex life openly with Howard Stern and then going on to use an anti-gay slur during an interview for his film, Tower Heist.
The film starred Eddie Murphy, who was also slated to participate as host in a highly anticipated Oscar ceremony, but subsequently dropped out a day later over the loss of his creative partner.
So, enter Billy Crystal, entertainment extraordinaire and writer/actor whose credits include The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, and Monsters, Inc. Along with producing partner, Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Cinderella Man), Crystal will help keep it clean and bring some of the razzle dazzle back to what has become a very tired and misguided affair.
Said Crystal, “Some of the best moments of my career have happened on the Oscar stage. I am thrilled to be back there.” But mostly, “I am doing this so that the young woman in my pharmacy will stop asking me my name when I pick up my prescriptions.”
Remember last year’s disaster when a distracted and dazed James Franco stumbled through the ceremony with his cell phone while his partner, Anne Hathaway, was left to fend for herself? And then, created quite a rift on Twitter with Oscar writer, Bruce Vilanch, over who was the bigger punch line.
Those types of shenanigans won’t be happening this year. Not with a well respected, nine-time host who just so happened to steal the spotlight during the same ceremony last year with a special tribute to another popular presenter, Bob Hope. Only Bob Hope has hosted more Academy Award presentations with 19 ceremonies between 1940 and 1978.
This year’s focus will “Celebrate the movies in all of us,” a theme meant to evoke the emotional connection to the movies. And will highlight eight films from eight different decades – Gone with the Wind (1939), Casablanca (1943), Giant (1956), The Sound of Music (1965), The Godfather (1972), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Forrest Gump (1994), and Gladiator (2000).
Which movies created the biggest emotional connection this year?
Check out my Oscar picks right here to find out: The Reel Deal.
-Mark Sells, “The Reel Deal”
Mark Sells is a nationally recognized film journalist and Critic-at-Large for 100.3 FM The Sound (Los Angeles). In addition to his blog on 303, you can follow The Reel Deal on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and interviews.
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