Oscars 2015




The Ceremony

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Producers Craig Zadan, Neil Meron confirm Oscars goodbye; new producers coming for 2016

Craig Zadan (left) and Neil Meron at the 2014 Governors Awards. 
New producers are coming to the 2016 Oscars.

Three-time consecutive Oscar ceremony producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron confirmed their departure from the Oscars Thursday, something they hinted at following the Feb. 22 show.

The producing duo shared thoughts via Twitter, thanking the Academy for the opportunity and confirming that they signed up at the beginning to produce for three years.

Craig Zadan (right) and Neil Meron.
Photo by Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S.®

The pair produced three Oscar telecasts with moments to remember from hosts Seth MacFarlane, Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris.

Deadline's Pete Hammond broke the news Thursday with an exclusive interview with Zadan and Meron.

“We’ve got to go back to our day job. So it just sort of worked out where we just thought we feel like we’ve accomplished what we wanted to accomplish by doing the show for three years,” Zadan said to Hammond.

Zadan and Meron will return to Broadway, after signing a new three-year deal with the Shubert Organization to develop shows. The pair also has deals with NBCUniversal Television and Sony.

News of Zadan and Meron producing the Oscars for the first time was announced Aug. 23, 2012, 185 days before the ceremony. Their subsequent contract renewals were announced April 17, 2013 and April 21, 2014.

We learned Thursday that the pair had a secret three-year producing agreement for the Oscars and the Academy would decide to renew after each telecast.

Signing up producers for more than one year provided the Academy with stability, especially after a tumultuous year in 2011, heading into the 84th Academy Awards.

Brian Grazer replaced Brett Ratner in joining Don Mischer to co-produce the ceremony. Ratner resigned after increased media scrutiny for unflattering comments, including a gay slur.

The host had already been announced: Eddie Murphy, who was starring in Ratner's new movie at the time "Tower Heist." Murphy withdrew as a direct result.

Grazer and Mischer hired consummate Oscars host Billy Crystal by the end of the week.

2016 producers
The hiring of producers for next year's show falls under the responsibility of Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The two April producing announcements, both renewals for Zadan and Meron, were among the earliest in recent memory.

Don't expect similar announcements. History tells us to expect an announcement sometime this summer.

Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer were named producers for the 83rd Academy Awards on June 22, 2010, and that was four months ahead of the year before.

Stay tuned to The Gold Knight for the latest.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ON THIS DAY: Halle Berry wins Best Actress Oscar in 2002

It was a historic Oscars on March 24, 2002.

Not only were the 74th Academy Awards in a brand new venue: the Kodak Theatre (now Dolby Theatre), the evening featured a historic first for the Best Actress category and one of the most memorable speeches in the show's history along with it.

Halle Berry became the first and, as of 2014, the only African American woman to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress — for her role in "Monster's Ball."

Russell Crowe, who won Best Actor the year prior for "Gladiator," presented her with the statuette.

Watch her acceptance speech below:

That evening, Denzel Washington won Best Actor, becoming second African American man to win in the category, for "Training Day."

Berry and Washington joined Sidney Poitier, who received the Best Actor Oscar for 1963's "Lilies of the Field" and received Academy Honorary Award that night.

The top prize for Best Picture went to "A Beautiful Mind."

Academy’s Board of Governors scheduled to meet tonight, discuss Oscars

A 2003 look inside the boardroom at Academy headquarters, 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

In its annual post-Oscars meeting, the Academy's Board of Governors is scheduled to meet tonight and recap the season.

The group has quite a bit on its docket as it discusses this year's Oscars ceremony and season, what worked and what didn't.

According to a March 3 article in The Hollywood Reporter, the group will also examine the Best Picture category and whether or not to return to a classic five-nominee category. This would throw out the new five-to-ten nominee system adopted in 2011, if the group decides to go that route.

The Los Angeles Times spoke to governors on both sides of the fence, but argues that it's a bad idea. 

"We should be open to change, sure, but we shouldn't be putting our fingers to the wind every two years," one governor told the Times, "Unless someone has a good argument for going back to five, I can't see a reason to change yet again."

Also on tonight's docket: "Separately, the Academy's awards committee is conducting its own review of the most recent broadcast, and it is expected to present a post-mortem at the March 24 meeting," The Hollywood Reporter article said.

The 51-member board should also set the date for next year's ceremony (Feb. 21, 2016, would be in line with the current trend).

During tonight's discussions, the producers of the ceremony itself could be a topic. While the hiring of producers typically falls under the responsibility of board president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the board could tell her to find new blood.

Three-time consecutive Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have recently hinted on Twitter that they would not be asked again.

This year's telecast had a 16 percent drop in ratings, down from last year’s big numbers, a 10-year high.

Whatever is determined tonight, expect an announcement within the coming days about the ceremony date, along with any big changes.

About the board
There are 51 members of the Board of Governors, according to the Academy's website. That number does not include Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who is listed as an officer.

"The Board of Governors is responsible for corporate management, control and general policies," the site says.

Officers of the board are as follows:
President - Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Public Relations Branch
First Vice President - Jeffrey Kurland, Costume Designers Branch
Vice President - John Bailey, Cinematographers Branch
Vice President - Leonard Engelman, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Treasurer - Dick Cook, Executives Branch
Secretary - Bill Kroyer, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch

The Academy’s 17 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. Officers serve one-year terms, with a maximum of four consecutive years in any one office.

Here is the full list of 51 governors (including the officers listed above) with their respective branches:
Kate Amend, Documentary Branch
John Bailey, Cinematographers Branch
Ed Begley Jr., Actors Branch
Curt Behlmer, Sound Branch
Annette Bening, Actors Branch
Albert Berger, Producers Branch
Charles Bernstein, Music Branch
Kathryn Bigelow, Directors Branch
Jim Bissell, Designers Branch
Kathryn Blondell, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Jon Bloom, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
Rick Carter, Designers Branch
Bill Condon, Writers Branch
Dick Cook, Executives Branch
Bill Corso, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Caleb Deschanel, Cinematographers Branch
Richard Edlund, Visual Effects Branch
Leonard Engelman, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch
Rob Epstein, Documentary Branch
Daniel Fellman, Executives Branch
Charles Fox, Music Branch
Rob Friedman, Public Relations Branch
Alex Gibney, Documentary Branch
Mark Goldblatt, Film Editors Branch
Arthur Hamilton, Music Branch
Tom Hanks, Actors Branch
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Public Relations Branch
Mark Johnson, Producers Branch
Lora Kennedy, Casting Directors Branch
Kathleen Kennedy, Producers Branch
Lynzee Klingman, Film Editors Branch
John Knoll, Visual Effects Branch
Bill Kroyer, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
Jeffrey Kurland, Costume Designers Branch
Judianna Makovsky, Costume Designers Branch
Mark Mangini, Sound Branch
Michael Mann, Directors Branch
Scott Millan, Sound Branch
Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Costume Designers Branch
Amy Pascal, Executives Branch
Jan Pascale, Designers Branch
Phil Robinson, Writers Branch
Bob Rogers, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
David Rubin, Casting Directors Branch
Dante Spinotti, Cinematographers Branch
Robin Swicord, Writers Branch
Bill Taylor, Visual Effects Branch
Bernard Telsey, Casting Directors Branch
Michael Tronick, Film Editors Branch
Nancy Utley, Public Relations Branch
Edward Zwick, Directors Branch

Stay tuned to The Gold Knight for the latest.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 Kids’ Choice Awards printable ballot

The Gold Knight team has compiled the nominees for Nickelodeon's 28th Kids' Choice Awards. Find all of them here in our handy ballot. Feel free to download the ballot, print it out and pass out during your party (go here to download the PDF). It's in glorious color.

New categories this year are Favorite Talent Competition Show, Favorite Family TV Show, Most Addicting Game and Favorite New Artist (*marked with an asterisk).

Tune into the Kids' Choice Awards on Saturday, March 28, 2015, on Nickelodeon. Nick Jonas is set to host the event live at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) from The "Fabulous" Forum.

Download our ballot here.

Find the full list of nominations here.

Nickelodeon’s 28th Kids’ Choice Awards will air live from The “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif., on Saturday, March 28, 8-9:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Inside the Warner Bros. VIP studio and backlot tour

Just over the mountain featuring the famous Hollywood Sign, you can find the headquarters for Warner Bros.

It is in the shadow of Mount Lee, part of the Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California, that you can find this entertainment giant’s Burbank studios.

On a recent Friday, The Gold Knight was given a tour of its studios, museum and backlot.

This working studio is like hallowed ground for those in the entertainment industry. TV shows like “Friends” were filmed here. “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” currently tape here.

From “Public Enemy” to “Argo,” Hennesy Street, part of the backlot, is famous for iconic scenes from movies old and new. (Oscar fans may remember this street from the trailer featuring host Ellen DeGeneres dancing.)

The occasion felt exclusive and unique, but the public is afforded this opportunity daily with the Warner Bros. “VIP Tour.”

It’s been voted one of the Top 25 attractions in the U.S., according to our tour guide for the day, John Kourounis.

Each VIP Tour is different, offering a two-hour customized journey into the entertainment business.

Tour guides answer questions and tailor each tour around the Warner Bros. lot to the people in their tram.

And off we go…

Hop onboard our digital tram for a ride around the Warner Bros. lot (click to enlarge any of the photos):

Our tour of the Warner Bros. lot started by entering Gate 5.

Our tour guide John Kourounis told us he once gave a tour to the King, Queen and Princess of the Netherlands. He described them as the nicest and most polite people he had ever met.

As the tram drives around the lot, you will see a real working gas station and a fire station. There are nice full-time firefighters. (Those temporary sets are highly flammable.)

First stop on the tour was the backlot. Hennesy Street, mentioned above, is styled as a New York tenement street with four-story façades and large storefronts. Oscar fans may remember this street from the 2014 trailer, featuring host Ellen DeGeneres dancing.

Next up is the Warner Bros. Museum, an exclusive stop for those on the tour; you have to be on the tour to get in.

Through April 5, there is a special "Awards Season Showcase," featuring Academy Award-winning films and memorabilia from the Warner Bros. archive.

Props and costumes on display are from Oscar-winning films such as "Casablanca," "Argo" and "American Sniper."

Take a look at these winning Best Picture envelopes from the Oscars (above). A ceremony ticket (below) from the 28th Academy Awards, from March 21, 1956, is also something to see at the special exhibit.

The first floor of the museum features a celebration of the 75th anniversary of DC Comics' "Batman." The 2014 exhibit has been extended through at least May. It's a must-see for any Batman fan.

The second floor is dedicated to most successful franchise ever, "Harry Potter."

The second floor may get a makeover in the coming months, but "Harry Potter" will remain, according to Kourounis.

The costume and prop department is bustling. Trucks from Universal and Disney are parked nearby. Kourounis, our tour guide, tells us other companies come to Warner Bros. to rent from its large collection.

With the famous logo on its side and mountains in the background, Stage 16 is the tallest soundstage in North America. "Shameless" currently films there, according to Kourounis.

Then, we're off to the Car Vault. Right now, it’s dedicated to all things Batman (through at least May), as is the first floor of the museum.

The vault, located on the studio lot, has a selection of the Dark Knight’s most iconic vehicles, including the Bathammer, Bat-Pod and Tumbler. The Bat-Signal, a working and touchable prop, is also on display.

After leaving the vault, we stopped by the enshrined set of Central Perk from "Friends."

One of the best parts of the tour was visiting a soundstage, in which no photos or videos are allowed.

Interest and what shows are not filming will determine where the tour guide will take you. Maybe it's the set of "The Ellen DeGerenes Show" or "Pretty Little Liars" or maybe… "The Big Bang Theory."

The latter was the case for us.

Kourounis took us inside and we sat in the audience as he explained how TV magic is made.

Fun fact: He told us why sets are covered during filming breaks. The first reason is to prevent dusty set pieces, but the second reason was more interesting: cats! There is a cat problem on the Warner Bros. lot. Cats were brought in to solve the rodent problem and now the cats have been known to scratch and destroy set pieces — just ask Ellen.

There are many more fun tidbits one can learn during the two-hour tour, but we'll leave something for tour guides to tell.

And that's the tour!

With 30 soundstages and 17 current productions, every day is different on the Warner Bros. lot so you're never quite sure what you'll see in the shadow of Mount Lee.

Each tour is $54 and leaves every 15 minutes from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Each tram fits 12 so groups stay small. Some groups will be smaller depending on the time of day and year. (Spring Break is typically the busiest time of year.)

For more information, go to the official tour website.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

My bizarre Oscars dream from last night

When you cover one topic so much, sometimes it can invade your dreams.

This was not the first time I’ve dreamt about the Oscars — and probably not the last. But this time, it was truly bizarre and memorable.

It’s nearly two weeks after the show and somehow I know this… Maybe it’s “take 2” on the Oscars ceremony.

I’m back in Hollywood, staying with one of my friends. It’s Oscar Sunday and we’ve just finished dinner.

It’s probably around 4 p.m. I’m exhausted so I doze off for a little bit.

I believe my friend was taking a bath or otherwise occupied.

I know I was dreaming of bizarre things (a dream within a dream). Is this “Inception”?

I wake up and it’s around 9 p.m. in California, meaning the Oscars are almost over.

I’ve overslept and the show is almost done!

I quickly get up and tune in to ABC.

The show looks similar to what we all witnessed on Feb. 22, but something is a little off.

They are about to present Best Original Song. It appears that all of the nominees have performed and are awaiting the announcement of the winner backstage.

“And the Oscar goes to… ‘Liberty’ from ‘American Sniper.’”

At this point, my dream takes a turn.

The curtain rises to reveal all of the nominees and Professor Albus Dumbledore, from the “Harry Potter” movie franchise, come forward to accept the award.

Yes, Dumbledore (here, it’s Michael Gambon dressed in character) accepts the Oscar for writing a song for “American Sniper.”

He gives a sweet but brief acceptance speech.

And the music plays as we go to commercial.

What appears next on screen is also bizarre.

As the camera pans before the commercial break begins, I see life-size candlesticks à la Lumière from “Beauty and the Beast.”

During the commercials, my friend emerges and I ask him why he didn’t wake me up for the Oscars.

He tells me he forgot.

But he did say he checked social media and the show was a hit, something you couldn’t quite say about the Feb. 22 show.

Neil Patrick Harris next appeared on stage, continuing the show.

From the surreal dream world, he appeared in his element, killing it on stage.

The audience laughed and the whole show just seemed different and a little irreverent.

At this point, my alarm went off and the show was over for me.

Harris, Dumbledore and the dancing candlesticks were gone.

I wonder what else would have happened. I can only imagine who would have accepted the award for Best Picture…

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Video: Ansel Elgort on pronouncing Oscar nominees, taking his mom to the Oscars

Photos courtesy NBC.
Ansel Elgort, starring in the upcoming movie "Insurgent," appeared on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" Tuesday night and talked about his recent duty as presenter at the Oscars.

He described his tough job of pronouncing the potential winners' names for Best Visual Effects.

One of the nominees for "Guardians of the Galaxy."
"The people who make visual effects are really good at their job," Elgort told Fallon, "but they have really hard names to pronounce for some reason."

Names of the nominees for "Guardians of the Galaxy" were especially hard to pronounce, he said.

Their names are Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould.

He said he was hoping for the presumed frontrunner, "Interstellar," to win since the nominees' names are a little easier to pronounce — Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher.

Elgort also talked about his date for the night, his mom, and how she embarrassed him in front of Bruce Willis.

Take a look:

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, were presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.