Awards Tracker

All things Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys

Category: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Poll results: Cheers for Eddie Murphy as Oscar host

Eddie Murphy Oscars Academy Awards
The choice of Eddie Murphy as Oscar host gets strong approval in the Awards Tracker poll that went up earlier today. About 64% of respondents said they believe he is a great selection, or at least a satisfactory one, while only 17% (551 votes out of 3,055) replied "Noooooo way."

Nearly half of respondents -- 48% (1,492 votes) –- say Murphy is a "fantastic" choice. Slightly more than 15% (478 votes) say he's an "OK" selection. Other poll options: "Maybe. Let's see if someone comes up with a better idea" (13%) and "I don't feel strongly about Murphy one way or the other" (5%).

Sample reader comments in reply to the poll:

Cari Kotcher: "Yes! No brainer!"

Cliffor Correll: "If Eddie Murphy or Billy Crystal host it's sure to be funny!"

Craig Ballard: "Too bad he wasn't cast to host it during the apex of his career. Regardless, he couldn't be worse than any of his predecessors."

Ray Zirkle: "Eddie Murphy stopped being funny in a 'live' situation 20 years ago. If it was the Eddie from 'SNL' or 'Beverly Hills Cop' then."


Poll: Should Eddie Murphy host the Oscars?

Top 10 Oscar contenders for best picture

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Eddie Murphy in "Dreamgirls." Credit: DreamWorks

Oscars weigh nine scientific achievements for awards

Oscar190Nine achievements have been selected for trophy consideration by the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The academy releases the list so that people and companies may contest claims or enter similar devices or procedures for consideration. Deadline to enter is Aug. 30.

Currently, the committee is considering these methods or devices:

Micro-Voxel Volume Rendering (Side Effects Software Inc.)

Mova CONTOUR Dense Mesh Motion Capture (Mova)

ARRI Zeiss Master Primes Lens Family (ARRI Inc.)

Phantom High-Speed Cameras for Motion Picture Production (Vision Research Inc.)

Pictorvision Eclipse (Pictorvision Inc.)

RealD Cinema System for Theatrical Projection of Stereoscopic Content (RealD)

The "Lowry Process" (Reliance MediaWorks)

FujiFilm Black and White Recording Film ENTERNA-RDS for Archive (FujiFilm North America Corp.)

Lyre Microphone Suspension (Rycote Microphone Windshields)

The committee will review all entries carefully and then vote in December to make recommendations to the academy's board of governors, which will make the final award decisions. The scientific and technical prizes will be presented at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills on Saturday, Feb. 11. For further info, contact Awards Administration Director Rich Miller's office at (310) 247-3000, ext. 1131, or via email at


Oscars: Billy Crystal is 'itchy' to host again

Poll: Who should host the Oscars?

— Tom O'Neil

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Do you think Oprah Winfrey should host the Oscars? [Poll]

The report that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may want Oprah Winfrey to host the Oscars is not going over well with our forum posters. Below are some sample comments. 

Eoin Daly: Big mistake because she would not entertain like her fellow talk show women. Ellen is known for her comedy.

doul15: Ellen didn't even do that well and she's a comedian. Oprah would be terrible.

iskolar: Unless she gives freebies to the whole Oscar audience at the course of the whole ceremony, then I don't see her working as the host.

oscarnutlen: Terrible choice .... Do I really have to endure presenters such as Gayle King, Nate Berjus and Dr. Phil just to push her OWN Network? You know what to expect from Oprah by now.

seanflynn: She likely would have a better impact on increasing the ratings than anyone else they could get. I have no idea if she would make the show fun, but I'm surprised she doesn't seem obvious, and since ratings is what they are mostly after, why they wouldn't do it.

See more here. And add your own comments and vote in our poll below.


Oprah to host the Oscars?

Oscars preview: 15 front-runners for best picture

Academy moves toward electronic voting for Oscars

— Tom O'Neil

Photo: Presenter Oprah Winfrey backstage at the Academy Awards in 2011. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times.

Phil Robinson to produce Governors Awards for motion pictures academy

Phil Robinson, the writer/director of "Field of Dreams" who served as a credited writer for the 2009 Oscars, will produce the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science's Governors Awards, set for Nov. 12. The third annual non-televised awards show pays tribute to the recipients of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Robinson will produce the show with Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare of Don Mischer Productions. Honorees for the night will be selected at a special meeting of the Board of Governors in late August.

Robinson received an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay for "Field of Dreams." His other credits include "Sneakers" and "The Sum of All Fears." Robinson serves on the academy's Board of Governors and since 2007 has chaired the academy's International Outreach Committee.

-- Nicole Sperling

Academy will nominate between five and 10 best picture candidates

Oscars The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Board of Governors voted  Tuesday to change the number of films that could be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Instead of the guaranteed 10 nominees of the past two years, it will allow as few as five nominees and as many as 10 in the best picture category. The number will be announced at the same time as the academy announces its nominations in January.

After nearly seven decades of a five-picture field, the academy in 2009 decided to expand the best picture category to 10 films. The news was generally greeted with approval by studios, which relished the chance to increase the odds of a nomination (if not always the pressure to spend money to support a campaign).

Still, some skeptics said that the number 10 was misleading since some films had little to no chance of actually winning. Tuesday's news, then, seems designed to eliminate films that are nominated just to fill out the field of 10. Indeed, in making the announcement, the academy said a film would need at least 5 percent of  votes to make the cut as a nominee.

“In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” said Bruce Davis, the Academy's retiring executive director.  But, he added:  “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit.  If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

The final round of voting for Best Picture will still be determined by a  preferential system, regardless of the number of nominees, to ensure that the winning picture has the endorsement of more than half of the voters, the group said.

The academy said if the new system had been used over the past decade, there would have been between 5 and 9 films nominated each year. 

The news was the brainchild of Davis, the group said, though added it was welcomed by incoming chief Dawn Hudson.

One interesting consequence of the change will be how much studios choose to campaign if their research indicates they are not among the top five presumed nominees. Will they spend in the hope of expanding the field, or refrain on the assumption that there isn't an available slot?


Video digest: Oscar's 83 best pictures

Academy moves toward electronic voting for Oscars

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

'Fast Five' stunt coordinator angles for Oscar recognition ... again

Veteran stunt coordinator Jack Gill has been lobbying for an Academy Award category for him and his brethren for the last 20 years. Every year he gets denied. But the 56-year-old coordinator, whose credits range from the "Knight Rider" TV show in the 1980s to "Date Night" and the upcoming film "Change-Up" later this year, is hopeful that his fortunes will change this week when the Board of Governors considers his petition for a stunt coordinator category yet again.

This particular meeting marks the last time that executive director Bruce Davis will attend a board meeting, as the 30-year veteran retires at the end of the month. However, newly hired executive director Dawn Hudson will also attend the meeting, and Gill, who is scheduled to meet with the new director today, is hopeful that the two can wrangle a simple majority from the 43-member board to get his category added to the show — even if it doesn't get televised.

"I hope that the two of them will sit in on this meeting on Tuesday and say, look, this is Bruce's crowning effort. After 20 years, we are finally giving the stunt coordinators their own category," says Gill. "We deserve it. Many films could not be made without a stunt coordinator."

Gill is especially eager to get the category added in 2011. For the experienced stunt man is particularly proud of his work on the Justin Lin-directed "Fast Five," most notably the scene involving a runaway safe and more than 200 wrecked cars. "My work on 'Fast Five' was the quintessential job ... it took the most work I've ever done." 

Yet the chances of Gill succeeding are slim. Despite some Oscar producers' encouragement that a stunt coordinator category would liven up the lengthy broadcast, and despite past petitions signed by such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Dustin Hoffman, among others, the academy has little incentive to lengthen an already interminable show. The governing body already has requests from casting directors and others for a special category. And Gill's suggestion that they present the award untelevised during the pre-show is likely too slippery a slope for the academy to tread.

Gill is confounded by the academy's response and has been so since he began his quest in 1991. "All of our peers think we belong there, and the public thinks we belong there. We're being shoved aside, and I don't understand why."

— Nicole Sperling

Photo: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in "Fast Five." Credit: Universal Pictures.

Academy moves toward electronic voting for Oscars


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has officially begun its shift toward electronic voting for the Oscars.

The academy has sent a letter to voting members asking them for their personal email addresses as Step 1 in its effort to eliminate paper ballots. The news was first reported by Deadline and confirmed by the L.A. Times.

The letter says that a new electronic voting system could be implemented as early as this year and definitely will be in effect by 2012. The academy didn't immediately return a request for comment, but the letter seems to imply that electronic voting could be in effect for the 2012 Academy Awards and definitely will be implemented by the 2013 show. The letter states, "At some point once the system is up and working, mailed ballots will be eliminated."

The academy is requesting the personal emails of all its members, not an address that reaches a member through "an assistant or other intermediary." That may prove problematic for some of the older members who don't use email or even some studio heads who remain reluctant to adopt the widespread technology.

The academy has long said that one of the impediments to moving its show earlier in the calendar year has been the lengthy balloting process. Should a secure electronic system be devised, the academy would be more likely to get ahead of the other award shows that honor the best films of the year.

-- Nicole Sperling


Video digest: Oscar's 83 best pictures

The academy will honor Sophia Loren


Photo: Mo'Nique and Academy President Tom Sherak announce the nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards in January 2011. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

The Academy of Motion Pictures to fete Sophia Loren

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday that the life and career of Oscar-winning Italian screen icon Sophia Loren will be celebrated at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on May 4.

The 76-year-old Loren was the first performer to win an Oscar for a non-English speaking role. She won lead actress for Vittorio De Sica's "Two Women," which was released in the United States in 1961. De Sica also directed her to another Oscar nomination in 1964's "Marriage Italian Style," in which she appeared with frequent costar Marcello Mastroianni. She also received an honorary award in 1990 as "one of the genuine treasures of world cinema."

After becoming an international sensation and sex symbol in the early 1950s in Italy, she came to Hollywood to make her first American film, "The Pride and the Passion" in 1957. She was last seen in Rob Marshall's 2009 musical "Nine."

The gala evening will feature film clips and remarks from friends and colleagues and will conclude with an onstage conversation with Loren.  For more information, go to

-- Susan King

Photo: Sophia Loren. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times 


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