Oscars do Emily Litella impression: ‘Never mind!’

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may have pulled an Emily Litella. “Never mind!”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has retreated from a plan of awarding four Oscars during commercial breaks, according to reports from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline: Hollywood.

As Emily Litella (a 1970s reference you can find on Google) might say, “Never mind!”

Originally, the academy planned that Oscars for cinematography, editing, live action short and makeup and hairstyling be given out during commercials, with edited versions being shown later.

This didn’t go over well from academy members of the affected categories, especially cinematography and editing, two crucial parts of movie making.

Had the rule been in effect last year, the broadcast would haven’t included live coverage of director of photography Roger Deakins finally winning after after a long string of nominations. One of Deakins’ nominations was for the 2012 007 film Skyfall, and many Bond fans were pulling for him to finally win in 2018.

Here’s an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter story:

In a statement on Friday afternoon, the Academy stated that it “has heard the feedback from its membership regarding the Oscar presentation of four awards – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling.” The statement continued: “All Academy Awards will be presented without edits, in our traditional format. We look forward to Oscar Sunday, February 24.”

The move came just nine days before this year’s Oscar telecast. The academy and ABC, which airs the awards show, have been trying to keep the program to three hours.

UPDATE (9:40 p.m., New York time): The statement is on the academy’s website.

The Oscars step in it again

Oscars logo

So the Oscars show on Feb. 24 is relegating cinematography, film editing, live action short and makeup and hairstyling will be given out during commercials and not shown live, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The news came after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to its members today, according to THR.

The move comes as academy is trying to keep the Oscars broadcast under three hours. The group previous removed honorary Oscars and awards such as the Thalberg (honoring a producer’s career) to a separate event in November.

However, no matter what the academy does to slim down the broadcast, it finds other material and the broadcast stays around four hours. The show insists on doing including skits airing after 10 pm. eastern time when the audience is more than ready to get to find out the winners of major awards such as acting and Best Film.

Had the new rules been in effect last year, the TV audience wouldn’t have seen cinematographer Roger Deakins win an Oscar live after numerous nominations. One of those nominations was for 2012’s Skyfall.

Directors certainly think a lot of their directors of photography. In the documentary Inside You Only Live Twice, Lewis Gilbert called Freddie Young one of the great artists of British cinema. Young had photographed, among other films, Lawrence of Arabia.

Also, a number of directors leaned on their editors. Verna Fields (1918-1982) edited Steven Spielberg’s first theatrical, film, The Sugarland Express, and his first big hit, Jaws. Anne Bauchens (1882-1967) edited a number of movies for Cecil B. DeMille, including The Ten Commandments. Editors are vital to helping a director achieve his or her vision.

Well, as they say, there’s no business like show business.

Roger Deakins breaks Oscar drought

Oscars logo

Roger Deakins, often nominated for Oscars for cinematography, finally got a win Sunday night.

Deakins received the Oscar for his work on Blade Runner 2049. His many previous nominations included 2012’s Skyfall.

One of the other nominees in the category was Hoyte van Hoytema for Dunkirk. Van Hoytema also photographed 2015’s SPECTRE.

Lee Smith, who edited SPECTRE, won earlier in the evening in the editing category for Dunkirk.

Dennis Gassner, a three-time 007 film production designer, had been nominated for Blade Runner 2049. However, The Shape of Water won in the category.

Chris Corbould, a veteran 007 specials effects man, had been among a group nominated for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The winner in the category was Blade Runner 2049.

UPDATE (11:10 p.m.): Roger Moore was included in the “In Memoriam” segement, saying, “My name is Bond. James Bond,” from For Your Eyes Only. Also included were actors Martin Landau and Bernie Casey as well as director of photography Fred Koenekamp.

UPDATE II (11:25 p.m.) The website for the Oscars has an expanded In Memoriam, with photos of more than 200 people.

007 film veterans get Oscar nominations

Oscars logo

Nominations for the Oscars were released this morning. A few had connections to the 007 film series.

Cinematography: The directors of photography for the last two James Bond movies received nominations. Roger Deakins (who worked on Skyfall) got a nomination for Blade Runner 2049. Hoyte van Hoytema (who worked on SPECTRE) received a nomination for Dunkirk.

Production Design: Dennis Gassner shared a nomination with Alessandra Querzola for Blade Runner 2049. Gassner has been the production designer on the Bond series since 2008’s Quantum of Solace. Gassner has said he’ll be back for Bond 25.

Film Editing: Lee Smith, who is part of director Christopher Nolan’s regular crew, received a nomination for Dunkirk. Smith worked on SPECTRE.

Visual Effects: Chris Corbould was among four people getting a nomination for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Corbould has Bond film credits going back to the 1980s.

As an aside, Nolan — who some 007 fans would like to helm a Bond film — received a directing nomination for Dunkirk. That film also received a nomination for Best Picture.

Here’s why the Bond 25 distributor is a legitimate question

On Twitter, the blog got some push back about continuing to ask about what’s going on with Bond 25’s distributor.

“I think you need to chill about the distributor,” a Bond fan wrote on Twitter. “It’s going to happen don’t you think.”

Here’s why asking about the Bond 25 distributor is a legitimate question.

–The distributor will likely supply a good chunk of the production budget: Sony Pictures (via its Columbia Pictures brand) co-financed Skyfall and SPECTRE while only getting 25 percent of the profits.

Because of the Sony hacks of 2014, it’s known that Sony only had a modest profit from Skyfall. Despite doing almost as well as Skyfall, Sony’s take was even less from SPECTRE. The various studios trying to cut a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for Bond 25 know this.

–It has been almost three months since MGM and Eon Productions announced a November 2019 release date for Bond 25: That’d be fine except neither MGM nor Eon actually is in the business of releasing movies. Eon never has distributed films. MGM hasn’t since emerging from bankruptcy in 2010.

Essentially, two parties who don’t release movies said there was a release date.

OK, the 007 film series is established and this may not be a big deal. However…

–Until the distributor is established, Bond 25’s budget won’t be either: It remains to be seen whether Bond 25’s distribution deal is the same as Skyfall and SPECTRE. But it seems pretty evident the Bond 25 distributor will be providing some of the cash to make the movie.

It’s fun speculating whether Denis Villeneuve will be Bond 25’s director, whether director of photography Roger Deakins will return, etc., etc. But until the budget is nailed down, things can only go so far.

Just to be clear, the blog isn’t pushing the panic button. There isn’t information available to push the panic button.

At the same time, legitimate questions ought not to be shooed away simply because they’re inconvenient. Bond 25 has been handled almost from the start in a very peculiar way. The fog isn’t clearing yet.

Some thoughts about Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 poster

A lot of James Bond fans really, really want Denis Villeneuve to direct Bond 25. Also, The Guardian ran a story this week practically begging the guy to helm Bond 25.

The blog decided to check out Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve’s newest effort. So here are some general reactions.

The film looks gorgeous. The movie has one memorable image after another. It was photographed by Roger Deakins, who performed the same job on Skyfall.

The pace is a bit slow. Consider this the anti-Bourne, anti-Quantum of Solace, the anti-John Wick.

That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. In a way it’s reassuring to see a movie that doesn’t travel at a frenetic pace.

However, at times, Blade Runner 2049 seems to linger for a long time on its imagery. Then, after awhile, the movie remembers it needs to move the story along. So we get a scene or two that does that. Then, we go into another period of lingering on the images. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The score gets a little repetitive after awhile. There’s this recurring “BRRRRRRRUUUNNNNNG!” bit throughout the film that gave me a headache.

One positive: You don’t need to see the original film. I never saw the original Blade Runner in 1982. There’s a bit of text at the start that gives newbies enough they can figure things out.

The movie (for me) had more positives than negatives. But it was very long and at times had me checking my watch.

Blade Runner 2049 probably won’t change anybody’s mind about Villeneuve and Bond 25. Those who have advocated for him will feel it reinforces their opinion.

What critics are saying about Villeneuve

Blade Runner 2049 poster

Denis Villeneuve, a potential Bond 25 director, is getting a lot of attention in reviews for Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to Blade Runner that he helmed.

007 fans are playing a game of “will he or won’t he” regarding Villeneuve, He’s acknowledged being in talks about the next James Bond film while also having other projects on his plate. The Blade Runner 2049 reviews may further boost the interest of Bond fans in Villeneuve.

Blade Runner 2049 currently has a 94 percent “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website that collects reviews.

With that in mind, here are non-spoiler excerpts (focused on Villeneuve) from some reviews.

CHRIS KLIMEK, NPR: “I’m severely restrained in my ability to tell you very much, as the publicity team read to the critics at the screening I attended an appeal from Villeneuve: an exhaustive list of specific characters and plot developments he has kindly asked that we not discuss. I’m complying because he has made a superb movie, one that really is stocked with revelations and counterrevelations worth preserving intact.”

A.O. SCOTT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Like any great movie, Mr. (Ridley) Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ cannot be spoiled. It repays repeated viewing because its mysteries are too deep to be solved and don’t depend on the sequence of events. Mr. Villeneuve’s film, by contrast, is a carefully engineered narrative puzzle, and its power dissipates as the pieces snap into place. As sumptuous and surprising as it is from one scene to the next, it lacks the creative excess, the intriguing opacity and the haunting residue of its predecessor.”

MICHAEL O’SULLIVAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: “‘Blade Runner 2049,’ the superb new sequel by Denis Villeneuve (‘Arrival’), doesn’t just honor that (Blade Runner) legacy, but, arguably, surpasses it, with a smart, grimly lyrical script (by [Hampton] Fancher and Michael Green of the top-notch ‘Logan’); bleakly beautiful cinematography (by Roger Deakins); and an even deeper dive into questions of the soul.”

DAVID JENKINS, LITTLE WHITE LIES: “What Villeneuve had presumed in his lightly passive-aggressive memo (asking critics to not include spoilers) is that there would be material in his film that viewers would possess a natural urge to spoil. And yet, to these eyes, there was nothing. This film is little more than a bauble: shiny, hollow and shatters under the slightest pressure. Maybe it’ll be good news for the spoilerphobic among us, but there is little in the film that is actually worth spoiling – at least not without reams of fiddly context and turgid backstory.”

DANA STEVENS, SLATE: “Denis Villeneuve, who made Arrival, Sicario, and Enemy, is a director who enjoys not-fully-solved enigmas, and 2049’s twisty, misdirection-filled story alternates between suspenseful and tediously murky. But Villeneuve is working with the legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose mobile yet stately camera provides stunning bird’s-eye perspectives on the bleak urban habitat where these humans and replicants live.”