Analysis: 3 ways the Oscars are different this year

ANALYSIS: This will be my fifth year covering the Academy Awards from Hollywood. Even in the short time I've been covering the Oscars, this year feels different.


By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

This will be my fifth year covering the Academy Awards from Hollywood.

Compared to some bloggers and reporters, this is something they've already celebrated a few times over. Nonetheless, I count myself lucky to be part of a crowd of voracious prognosticators and awards season aficionados.

Even in the short time I've been covering the Oscars, this year feels different.

Chatting with fellow Oscar fanatics, I find that I'm not the only one.

And maybe it's also different for the Academy.


1. Poster
Tuesday night I confirmed that no official ceremony poster was printed this year. I know we live in the digital age, but that shocked me. The Academy represents an industry that thrives on posters.

As a fan, I've been collecting Oscar posters since they were made available to the public for the 2000 ceremony (the 72nd Academy Awards). Remember this phenomenal poster? I also have a few classic posters that I cherish.

Granted, there are a series of 14 artistically and fantastically designed posters in galleries on the Academy's Facebook page and on Oscar.com. The nonprofit organization is just not printing one out for promotional purposes.

So the poster tradition continues, but in a different way.

Reporters and bloggers from around the world cover the Red Carpet in the morning on Oscar Sunday 2014. 
2. Oscar Sunday
Come Oscar Sunday, there will be a few things missing from the Red Carpet area.

For four years, I've reveled on the morning of the big show with fellow reporters and bloggers on the covered up part of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre archway (formerly the Kodak Theatre archway), aka the Red Carpet. It didn't matter my level of credentials, I was still there. Sometimes, all day. Other times, just until 11 a.m. PT, when my "setup credentials" would expire.

This year, only members of the media with all day "Oscar Sunday credentials" can be in the Red Carpet area on Feb. 22. Those with "Oscar Week credentials" have access until Saturday evening.

My guess is that having all of those people in the Red Carpet area, especially those without full background checks, is a security concern. Unfortunately, we can live in an increasingly scary age. I understand.

So this year, I will miss out on that Oscar Sunday glow while reporting from the dewy and freshly uncovered carpet.

Elmer Armstrong has been an Oscar Sunday staple in the bleacher seats for more than a decade.
3. Bleacher fans
One of my favorite parts of covering the Red Carpet on Oscar Sunday is interacting with the fans in bleachers than flank the famous walkway. (I was a bleacher fan in 2008 so I can relate to the memorable experience.)

I love interacting with fellow Oscar fanatics, especially those lucky enough to be a fly on the wall on Oscar Sunday.

I still remember my first year reporting from the Red Carpet in 2011 and interviewing the bleacher fans, some with whom I've kept in touch over the years.

Elmer Armstrong, of St. Louis, was in that first group of bleacher fans I interviewed. We check in with each other every year on Oscar Sunday.

He is part of a bleacher fan group that has held spots for more than a decade, back when the Academy had people wait in line to get tickets for the bleachers — long before the Internet helped make that process easier and more accessible. They were grandfathered in with the new system. Until now.

Armstrong, part of the "Oscar Chatter" group, emailed me two weeks and shared this news: "The story on the Oscars is that after 17 years for us and 29 years for our group leader Tina, of being invited as special bleacher fans, the Academy last year notified us that last year was going to be our last invite. They told us to play the social media game (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) So there you are."

So some familiar faces will be missing from the Red Carpet. Armstrong will celebrate Oscar Sunday in town, but not in the bleacher section. He is still coming to the area so see all of his good friends.

Indeed, Oscar Sunday will be different this year.

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

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The Gold Knight - Latest Academy Awards news, predictions and insight: Analysis: 3 ways the Oscars are different this year
Analysis: 3 ways the Oscars are different this year
ANALYSIS: This will be my fifth year covering the Academy Awards from Hollywood. Even in the short time I've been covering the Oscars, this year feels different.
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The Gold Knight - Latest Academy Awards news, predictions and insight
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