Friday, April 19, 2024

Rainy, Cold Oscar Weekend: Studio Paranoia Bans Press from Parties, Stars Avoid Fox Searchlight Possible Farewell


It’s sunny in New York today.

In Los Angeles, it’s rainy and cold. Flooding is the enemy of the Oscars since there’s no runoff here for rainstorms. Water just accumulates. On the radio, the announcers actually have to instruct listeners on how drive in the rain. They don’t know turn on lights or windshield wipers here.

The 2018 Oscar weekend is underway, and it’s a snore so far. The studios– Fox Searchlight, Focus/Universal, little A24, Sony Pictures Classics–are so paranoid about sexual harassment claims and other mysterious notions that they banned the press from their parties. All season they preyed on us for publicity, and now, not even a canape.

At Fox Searchlight that idea boomeranged since the studio’s two Best Actress nominees– Sally Hawkins and Frances McDormand– didn’t bother showing up. Fox Searchlight is also teetering since despite two Best Picture nominees, the little sub studio may be eaten by Disney in weeks to come.

The irony here too is that suddenly wherever you go the odds on favorite to win Best Picture is neither “Shape of Water” nor “Three Billboards.” All anyone talks about is “Get Out,” the Jordan Peele directed thriller-social satire from Universal. Could “Get Out” be the “Moonlight” of 2018?

And then there’s the Academy’s actually brilliant idea of bringing back Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway for a do-over from last year. Will they flub the winner’s name again? No. But they’ll make fun of it. Whoever had this idea– Mike DeLuca? — has created buzz for a show that had none. The whole world now has to watch the very end of the show to see what Warren and Faye. Now we’ve got game.

This afternoon comes the Indie Spirit Awards. Last year, “Moonlight” won Best Feature before scooping up its Oscar. Will this be a replay of the same thing? “Get Out” here, “Get Out” there? The Spirit Awards are also awarding Best Ensemble to “Mudbound,” which already received the same exact award from the East Coast version of the Spirits, the Gotham Awards. But at least that makes two times to see Mary J. Blige in person, so that’s the upside.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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