The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored this year’s Oscar contenders at its annual Nominees Luncheon Feb.7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 115 nominees from 24 categories gathered at noon for the traditional pre-Academy Awards fete.
The big news was the announcement that the awards show itself will see a different format from years past. Some winners will not go on stage to pick up their awards but nominees will sit together in the auditorium while a presenter goes among them to announce the winner and hand over the Oscar. In other categories all five nominees will go on stage before being told who has won. The traditional system will be used as well.
In additional news, ABC has signed a deal with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to continue broadcasting the ceremony until at least 2014.
It was also announced that 12-time Oscar telecast producer Gil Cates will keep a blog for the next three weeks leading up to the big show on February 27. He began with a surprising display of insight:
- I love producing the Oscars and I would like to tell you why.
First, I should tell you that not every producer feels the same way. In fact, I can assure you that some other Oscar producers have inquired about my sanity for repeatedly returning to the challenge.
Even a great hero of mine, the legendary film director Federico Fellini, asked me why I would want to come back again and again. As we walked together across the Oscar rehearsal stage to inspect the position where the great man was to accept an honorary Oscar in 1992, he abruptly stopped and looked at me as he absorbed the cacophony and seeming anarchy of near final set, house, lighting, camera and other preparations: “You do it because you love the circus,” he said.
And he was right. He knew that I have loved the circus since I was a boy. Early in my show business career, I reveled in producing television specials featuring famous circuses from all around the world. To understand why I love producing the Oscars, you need to realize that the Oscar telecast is the biggest circus in the world.
Every Oscar show reflects what is going on in the world during that year. I believe that anthropological scholars studying our civilization in the future will find no better way to determine the people we are and the society we live in than by viewing the Annual Academy Awards broadcasts. They will see the kinds of movies we watch, the clothes we wear, the way we talk to each other, what makes us laugh or cry, and plenty more.
Perhaps this underlies the show’s widespread appeal.