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Category: Oscars

Oscars 2012: George Clooney would dig a more diverse academy

George Clooney and Stacy Keibler

George Clooney was as calm as ever walking down the Academy Awards red carpet Sunday, that same charming smile on his face as per usual.

"This is fun because usually it's people who want to have a good time," he said. "This is sort of the Super Bowl of all of the events."

Clooney, up for the two biggest awards of the night -- actor in a leading role for "The Descendants" and adapted screenplay for "The Ides of March," plus "The Descendants" is up for best picture -- said he had the sense it was "going to be a pretty big French night," referring to "The Artist."

PHOTOS: Oscars 2012 red carpet arrivals

"And I'm all right with it, because I really like the film."

Meanwhile, the actor, who has been an academy member since 2006, said he was hopeful the organization would become more diverse.

"That'd be a good idea, don't ya think?" he joked. "I think it represents almost every -- directors in Hollywood, as well. It represents not just Hollywood. You can look at the Senate and it's roughly the same thing. I don't think to diversify is ever a bad idea."

But how does the group actually make change happen?

"It's a tricky thing. I think you'd have to open it up to more, as opposed to trying to kick people out," he said. "Instead of taking their cards away."

 

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-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: George Clooney and Stacy Keibler on the Oscars red carpet Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 


Academy Awards: Billy Crystal tasked with keeping it classy, funny

Billy-crystal

This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

Academy Awards producer Brian Grazer and producer-director Don Mischer definitely had host Billy Crystal's back on the red carpet before the show started.

"He's really excited to be back here after seven years and he's got some very special and surprising things," Grazer said.

Added Mischer: "He's extremely quick on his feet, and that is invaluable in something like this. ... He loves the movies, loves being there and he's really done his homework. So I think he's going to do great, really well tonight."

Grazer saw one great challenge ahead: to entertain.

"We always have the great challenge is to make the show entertaining, to offer some surprises, but don't go crazy with it. Try to keep it classy and try to keep it funny."

And, Grazer said with a laugh, to keep it "as close to on time as possible. Which we've been wrestling with all morning."

As for the host, hours before the Academy Awards were set to begin, a jeans-and-sneakers clad Crystal had taken the Oscar stage at 3:25 p.m., mouthing his routine to himself and gesturing with his hands as he rehearsed in the empty theater at the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Behind the curtain at Crystal's back, the sets still smelled of wet paint and a stagehand pushed a broom across the floor. A phalanx of security officers discussed how they would be transporting the gold Oscar statuettes to the backstage area, and a crewman delivered a cart full of props for the Cirque du Soleil show.

After five minutes of rehearsal, Crystal quietly left the stage. Presumably on time.

[For the record, 8:54 p.m. Feb. 26: This post and video originally referred to Don Mischer incorrectly as Don Hahn.]

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Photo: Billy Crystal opens the 2012 Academy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times


Oscars 2012: Nick Nolte doesn't really hang out with this crowd

Nick Nolte with his son, Brawley Nolte

Nick Nolte wasn't very excited to be at the Oscars on Sunday.

"I'm not really excited deep down inside," the supporting actor nominee admitted. Why so glum, we wondered?

"Because I don't know anyone here. There's nobody that I really hang out with," Nolte said. "I'm not going to have any real deep conversations."

PHOTOS: Oscars 2012 red carpet arrivals

Nolte was happy to be sitting next to his son, Brawley Nolte. As for his chances against shoo-in Christopher Plummer, he said he wasn't frustrated that he wasn't considered the category's front-runner.

"I've had times here where the Vegas odds are in my favor," he said. "I'm not anxious to win because it's a terrible responsibility, what you have to do when you win.

"You've gotta talk to people all over the world. You've gotta pose for a picture with all the winners. It's a lot of work."

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-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Nick Nolte, right, with son Brawley Nolte on the Academy Awards red carpet Sunday. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP / Getty Images

 


Oscars 2012: Where in the world is Ryan Gosling?

Ryan Gosling

To the dismay of many fans, Ryan Gosling was missing from the Oscars red carpet Sunday.

It was rumored the actor was working on a film in Asia, and "Ides of March" screenwriter Beau Willimon — up for adapted screenplay with Grant Heslov and George Clooney — said he wouldn't find that surprising, describing Gosling as a guy who "never stops."

"That's what I think is fantastic about him: his work ethic and his determination and his love for making movies. Sometimes he comes to these things, and sometimes he's busy," Willimon said. 

PHOTOS: Oscars 2012 red carpet arrivals

"But as long as he keeps making movies, that's the important thing."

And if Willimon wins tonight, he's not expecting to hear any words of congratulations from Gosling.

"It would be great to hear from him, but I know how busy he gets on set."

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— Amy Kaufman

Photo: Ryan Gosling, right, with George Clooney at the "Ides of March" premiere in September. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times.


Gwyneth Paltrow steps out for Women in Film celebration

Gwyneth Paltrow and mom Blythe DannerGwyneth Paltrow has touched down in Los Angeles just in time for Sunday's Academy Awards, and she spent some time Friday celebrating her fellow female thespians.

Paltrow co-hosted Women in Film's annual pre-Oscar cocktail reception with producer Cathy Schulman at chic eatery Cecconi's in West Hollywood. The "Country Strong" star greeted ladies such as Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain and her own date -- her mom, Blythe Danner.

A proud foodie, Paltrow snacked on fava beans with pecorino and highbrow pizza and sipped a glass of Perrier-Jouet while admirers floated by, including Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Gabourey Sidibe and Shailene Woodley.

Representing the men, lead actor Oscar nominee Demian Bichir chatted with Viola Davis, both dicussing the big night ahead Sunday. 

Although it's unknown whether Paltrow will present on the Billy Crystal-hosted telecast, she's certainly in a prime position for after-partying. The Ministry is too, so keep coming back for more fabulous party coverage. 

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Photo: Gwyneth Paltrow and her mother, Blythe Danner, at the Women In Film pre-Oscar celebration. Credit: Getty Images 


Jon Hamm lends some handsome to Hollywood Domino bash

Jon Hamm lights up Hollywood Domino

Don Draper may gamble with people's emotions, but sweet and handsome Jon Hamm keeps things a little cleaner in his games -- like Hamm's triumph Thursday night at the Hollywood Domino Tournament, the annual fundraiser from Daya Fernandez that benefits Artists for Peace and Justice.

The charity, founded by director Paul Haggis, once again took over the terrace at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel for cocktails, celebs decked out Old Hollywood style -- including Ben Stiller, Ed Norton, Topher Grace and Ali Larter.

Hamm won the domino tournament and celebrated with a few Heinekens and a chat with Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, while "Twilight" actress Julia Jones hung in a corner sipping VnC cocktails.

PHOTOS: The 2012 Hollywood Domino Tournament

Brittany Snow showed off a new dark red hairdo, while AnnaLynne McCord kept her locks concealed under a cap.

Hamm is back to work on "Mad Men," but this weekend he'll throw his weight behind his costars and the writers from "Bridesmaids" when it comes to the Oscars.

"I'm rooting for Melissa [McCarthy], and of course Kristen and Annie," he said, referring to screenwriters Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. 

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-- Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly 

Photo: Jon Hamm and Daya Fernandez, Hollywood Domino cofounder, during the annual Hollywood Domino Gala & Tournament presented by Bovet 1822 at the Sunset Tower Hotel. Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images 


Sacha Baron Cohen as the Dictator? Fine by Oscars' Brian Grazer

Sacha Baron Cohen

This post has been updated, as indicated below.

Sacha Baron Cohen had the tables turned on him Friday by Oscars producer Brian Grazer, who extended a sort of red carpet invite to the actor to show up Sunday in a tux or in the military regalia of "The Dictator's" Adm. Gen. Shabazz Aladeen.

"We're thrilled to have him and he'll be on the red carpet, I guess, dressed as the Dictator," Grazer told "Extra" on Friday, noting that Cohen also would participate during the award show, where he'd appear as himself.

[Updated, 5:15 p.m. Feb. 24: Tweeting on the @RepublicWadiya account, the general celebrated his triumph: "VICTORY IS OURS! Today the Mighty Nation of Wadiya triumphed over the Zionist snakes of Hollywood. Evil and all those who made Satan their protector were vanquished and driven into the Pacific Sea. What I am trying to say here is that the Academy have surrendered and sent over two tickets and a parking pass! TODAY OSCAR, TOMORROW OBAMA!"

Cohen will walk the Oscars red carpet in character with the academy's approval, his publicist told Deadline on Friday afternoon.]

But can Grazer actually lift the quasi-"ban" that's at the center of this made-for-Hollywood "controversy"?

He's been pretty busy getting the whole production ready, and he might not have heard Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' President Tom Sherak's message to Cohen earlier in the week: that showing up in character garb ahead of the Oscars on Sunday would be "a bad thing to do" because it would make a mockery of the red carpet.

Mockery or not, one thing is certain: In the news lull that befalls Hollywood before the Academy Awards, Cohen certainly has generated a ton of publicity for "The Dictator," which we feel compelled to mention opens in theaters May 11.

As Aladeen, he appeared on the "Today" show Friday, bantering with the hosts and threatening "unforeseen and unimaginable consequences" if his tickets -- presumably still in Cohen's possession -- were not "returned" by midday Sunday.

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Photo: Sacha Baron Cohen as the Station Inspector in "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures


Sacha Baron Cohen: What he wears on the red carpet could hurt him

Sacha Baron Cohen

Has Sacha Baron Cohen been banned from the Oscars? No, he hasn't -- depending on which Sacha Baron Cohen decides to show up.

Cohen the actor is more than welcome, it seems, as long as he doesn't appear on the Academy Awards red carpet in character and costume as Gen. Aladeen, his alter-ego from "The Dictator," the upcoming comedy in which he plays a political strongman determined to keep democracy out of his oppressed nation.

Academy of Motion Pictures President Tom Sherak told The Times' 24 Frames on Wednesday that he called Paramount, the studio distributing "The Dictator," and told them "it's a bad thing to do" because it would make a mockery of the red carpet.

"He's still invited. We would love for him to come," an Academy Awards rep told the New York Post on Wednesday. "We have expressed that we don't feel it's appropriate to use our Oscar red carpet as a venue for a movie promotional stunt."

The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday cited sources alleging that the actor, known for his prankish comedy revolving around strong characters, intended to hit the Oscars red carpet in "Dictator" drag. If he shows up in costume or not, the threat alone seems to have generated publicity for "The Dictator," which has a May 11 release date.

It wouldn't be the first time Cohen appeared at an event in character -- witness his turn as flamboyant fashionista Bruno at the 2009 MTV Music Awards, where he was infamously lowered onto the face of one ostensibly disgusted Eminem.

Cohen plays the Station Inspector in "Hugo," which is nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture. He was Oscar-nominated in 2007 for adapted screenplay for "Borat."

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Photo: Sacha Baron Cohen with the Year of Excellence Award for "Hugo" during the 12th Annual AFI Awards in  Beverly Hills on Jan. 13 in Beverly Hills. Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images


Grace Kelly-inspired jewels enjoyed by Dianna Agron, Amber Heard

Amber Heard celebrated Grace Kelly inspired jewels

Need proof that Grace Kelly still captivates the crowd? Even jewelry inspired by the late movie star and royal commands the full attention of Hollywood.

Amber Heard, "Glee" beauty Dianna Agron, Raquel Welch, Jackie and Joan Collins, Brian Grazer and Cheryl Tiegs were among the fans at a celebration for Montblanc's Collection Princesse Grace de Monaco.

In support of its weeklong Campaign Hollywood, Vanity Fair on Tuesday hosted the cocktail fete for the collection of fine jewels and timepieces inspired by the icon at L.A.'s swanky Hotel Bel-Air.

It's a crowded week for Oscar parties, but this one was nice departure from the usual celebrations for the year's nominees. Embracing film legacies seems to be contagious.

The same evening, stars celebrated the 40th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin's honorary Oscar — with guests including Jessica Chastain, Harvey Weinstein, Jared Leto and Kate Bosworth.

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— Matt Donnelly
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Photo: Amber Heard channels her inner Grace Kelly. Credit: WireImage



Oscars: Chaplin legacy toasted by granddaughters, nominees

Charlie Chaplin's granddaughters welcome Jessica Chastain to an exclusive dinner

Forty years after Charlie Chaplin received an honorary Oscar for his contributions to cinema, some modern-day luminaries and his glamorous granddaughters gathered to toast the silent film star.

Dolores and Carmen Chaplin jetted in from Paris to host an exclusive Chateau Marmont dinner party with Harvey Weinstein. Jessica Chastain, Kate Bosworth, Jared Leto, Busy Philipps, Chelsea Handler and Juliette Binoche were among invitees.

In the transformed library off the main lobby (the Chateau has been quite amendable to decor changes this awards season, by the by), heavy velvet drapes shielded the affair from passersby as Weinstein chatted up the likes of Rose McGowan, his "The Artist" actress Missi Pyle and "The Descendants" director Alexander Payne.

Chelsea Handler cuddles wth Kate BosworthHarvey asked Payne to come and say a few words as a representative for all modern filmmakers. No pressure.

"The miracle of Charlie Chaplin is the miracle of cinema," Payne said, pointing out that when the world took notice of Chaplin's work it transcended nation, class and race.

Carmen shared an anecdote about Chaplin coming back to the States from exile in 1972, when he was given only a 10-day visa to come claim his statuette. His family was outraged, but Chaplin had his own interpretation.

" 'Good, they're still scared of me,' " Carmen said, recalling her grandfather's reaction.

After dinner, courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre, funny lady Handler lingered with Chateau owner Andre Balazs (we think it's safe to say they're back on), and Bosworth caught up with a squeaky-clean Leto, who left behind his usual avant-garde duds for a black suit and slick ponytail.

Philipps wowed in black Dolce & Gabanna, but we were more interested in her dress for Sunday — as she'll be Michelle Williams' plus one. She tells us she's got her red-carpet look lined up.

And what about her unpredictable effect on Michelle's Oscar chances?

"I'm glad she won the Golden Globe," Busy said. "That took all the pressure off." 

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— Matt Donnelly
twitter.com/MattDonnelly

Top photo: Carmen Chaplin, left, gets close with Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, center, and Dolores Chaplin. Credit: Jeff Vespa / WireImage.

Left photo: Chelsea Handler cuddles up to Kate Bosworth. Credit: Jeff Vespa / WireImage.



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