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Oscar Round Up | Votes Due! Ceremony Details; Ebert Predictions; Parties & More

Oscar Round Up | Votes Due! Ceremony Details; Ebert Predictions; Parties & More

The Votes are Due!

The deadline is today! The 5,810 voting members of the Academy must be turned in today to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5pm, Tuesday, February 17. Ballots received after the 5 p.m. deadline will not be counted, according to AMPAS. Final ballots were mailed to the 5,810 voting members of the Academy on Wednesday, January 28. Brad Oltmanns and Rick Rosas, the lead balloting partners, will be the only people to know the results prior to the envelopes being opened on Oscar Night.

Ebert Gives Oscar Predictions on Oprah with “new voice”

Roger Ebert made his Oscar predictions on the Oprah Winfrey Show with a new computerized voice, according to the A.P.’s Carla K Johnson. “Ebert has been using off-the-shelf computer voices but they didn’t sound like him. Now computer programmers at a Scottish company called CereProc have captured the sound of Ebert’s voice from DVD movie commentary tracks.”

And as for his predictions? He is giving “The Hurt Locker” Best Picture with Kathryn Bigelow picking up Best Director for the film. As for other picks, he wrote, “I will be gob-smacked if Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz don’t win,” in a recent article for The Chicago Sun-Times.

Ceremony Details

Spoilers ahead. So seriously don’t read if you’d like to be surprised. But word is leaking across the internet about what might be going down Sunday night. While the Academy has announced over 25 presenters -including today’s announcement of Sam Worthington, Ryan Reynolds, Keanu Reeves, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tom Ford, Bradley Cooper, Gerald Butler and Chris Pine – HitFix has uncovered something the Academy has not made public: That last year’s innovation of having five former winner present the acting awards is getting a peculiar makeover. Gregory Ellwood reported that “in order to give it a new ‘spin,’ Shankman and Mechanic announced that they would have ‘friends’ of each nominee present.” And now HitFix has revealed some of the participants. Get the full list here, but one quick spoiler: “Precious” producer Oprah Winfrey might be celebrating one of the film’s stars.

Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Mike Fleming has also uncovered details about the ceremony, reporting that hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin won’t be the first two folks we see on Oscar night. Instead, “the show will open with a silhouette of a pair of guys only … wait for it … they’re Neil Patrick Harris and Martin Short. Anything can change, but that unlikely duo has been rehearsing an original opening song and dance routine that is one of 2 big production numbers choreographed by executive producer Adam Shankman.”

More Oscar Parties for 2010

The sting of the recession may still be felt, especially in California, but this year’s Oscar night is gearing up for more parties this year. More than “three dozen glitzy events” are on tap, according to Bill Higgins and Liz Stinson in Variety. Still, big studios are not rolling out the red carpets this year – not even Disney or Warner despite multiple nominations each. Other organizations or brands will be hosting this year, with only “a handful” of film companies throwing Oscar bashes this year.

The Particulars of Voting for Best Picture

With the increase of Best Picture nominees from five to ten this year has also ushered in a system of voting for this category not seen since 1943. Voting members will rank their 10 choices in order of preference, which could, nevertheless, eliminate a top contender. According to an example sited by The Guardian, “even if a film such as A Serious Man received the most second-choice votes, it might be eliminated in the early stages if it received very few first-choice votes. Some have argued that if arthouse films do get knocked out, ‘The Hurt Locker’ is more likely to benefit than ‘Avatar.'” In the article, The Guardian questions whether the system actually produces the most deserving winner…

“In 1939 the instant run-off was used to separate arguably the strongest 10-candidate field of all-time, which included ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington,’ ‘Goodbye, Mr Chips,’ ‘Of Mice and Men,’ ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘Wuthering Heights.’ And the Oscar went to? David O Selznick for ‘Gone With the Wind.'”

No Oscars Telecast for Metropolitan New York?

The Oscar telecast will be shown live on ABC in the United States, but a row with cable provider, Cablevision in metropolitan New York, including portions of Connecticut and New Jersey is threatening to make the world’s biggest film awards show unavailable for many in America’s largest television market. The problem stems from revenue, of course, with ABC’s parent company, Disney, locked in a fight over money with Cablevision.

At issue, said Disney to The Los Angeles Times, is the fact that Cablevision charges subscribers $18 a month for basic service that includes WABC but shares none of the revenue with the Disney-owned station.

“Despite our best efforts, it has now become clear that Cablevision has no intention of coming to a fair agreement,” WABC General Manager Rebecca S. Campbell said in a statement. “We can no longer sit back and allow Cablevision to use our shows for free, while they continue to charge their customers for them.” According to the LA Times, Disney chose the night of the Academy Awards telecast to raise the stakes in the dispute.

Considering Best Actress

Last week, Nat Rogers’s annual Oscar symposium over at The Film Experience got pretty heated regarding the best actress race, where “The Blind Side”‘s Sandra Bullock and “Julie & Julia”‘s Meryl Streep are widely regarded as the favorites, with Bullock most having the edge after her SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Choice collection.

Yesterday, The Los Angeles Times‘ Pete Hammond took on the race suggesting that it’s “all over the map,” according to his informal polling.

“Pundits seem to be favoring Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” as almost the same kind of lock as the other actors,” he said. “I don’t know where the evidence for this level of confidence is.”

Hammond suggests it may actually be a four-way race between Bullock, Streep, “Precious”‘s Gabourey Sidibe, and “An Education”‘s Carey Mulligan.

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