“Younger viewers live their lives pushing the envelope, breaking rules and bending rules,” Manhattan ad exec Shari Anne Brill tells The Envelope‘s Scott Collins. “As long as the Oscars are perceived to have a certain rigidity, they’re not going to be relatable to young people.” Adds [publicist Howard] Bragman: ‘The problem with the shows is that they lack any kind of spontaneity or buzz factor.'”
Collin’s piece suggests/contends that the show may get higher ratings if Borat‘s Sacha Baron Cohen is given two or three minutes worth of microphone time. This is because his “ribald acceptance speech at the Golden Globes…was perhaps the only buzz-worthy moment in a night otherwise deemed fairly dull. And though he may not have been single-handedly responsible, ratings climbed too: The telecast delivered a total of 20 million viewers, up 6% compared with the previous year, according to Nielsen Media Research.”
Of course, the only way Cohen would have any real impact would be if he was hosting the show, which he’s not — Ellen DeGeneres is. I’ve said this a couple of times over the past year, and here goes again: if the Oscar show producers want their stately presentation to have spontaneity or buzz factor or simple hilarity, get Sarah Silverman to host it. She killed at the IFP Spirit Awards last year, and her comic sensibility is right in the under-40 groove — provocative, nervy, deadpan/put-on.
Nikki Finke is reporting that last Saturday night, at a swanky dinner party thrown by movie producer Leonard Goldberg in honor of Viacom honcho Sumner Redstone, that Redstone passed along a Dreamgirls post-mortem that had originated with Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey. Redstone told the gathering that Brad explained that the reason Dreamgirls wasn’t nominated for a [Best Picture] Oscar was because “everyone hates David.” As in Geffen, the producer of Dreamgirls.”
After hearing yesterday of his death, I tried to recall a vivid movie memory pertaining to Sydney Sheldon, the very successful screenwriter, TV producer, Broadway producer and hack romance-novel author. I thought and thought, and the only thing that punched through was a moment from 1977, when I was watching The Other Side of Midnight — a somewhat grotesque soap-opera about an ambitious hottie (Marie France Pisier) climbing her way to wealth and privelege through a series of relationships with powerful men — in a small theatre in Westport, Connecticut.
I’m speaking of the pseudo-legendary ice-bucket scene between Pisier and Raf Vallone, playing an Aristotle Onassis-like tycoon, and a moment when a naked Pisier, riding Vallone like an equestrian, grabs a handful of ice cubes from a nearby bucket and, at the moment of orgasm, mashes the ice into Vallone’s privates. The camera doesn’t show this — we are shown only an insert shot of Pisier’s hand scooping up the ice, and then we hear Vallone moan like a large animal who’s just been speared.
No offense to Sheldon’s memory, but that, for me, in my moviegoing life, is the most memorable thing that Sheldon produced, and for all I know the scene wasn’t even in the book — it may have been an invention by Herman Raucher, the screenwriter who adapted Sheldon’s book, or director Charles Jarrott.
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