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Inside the Oscars 2013, from Weinstein Anxiety to the Governor's Ball

Thompson on Hollywood By Peggy Siegal | Thompson on Hollywood April 1, 2013 at 6:35PM

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had just opened its doors for ticket pick-up for the 85th Oscar telecast. Forty voting members, the distinguished director Norman Jewison, and I were on a long single-file line that snaked through the lobby. We patiently waited to go upstairs to pick up our tickets, clutching our photo IDs.
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Oscars 2013 - Jessica Chastain

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had just opened its doors for ticket pick-up for the 85th Oscar telecast.

Forty voting members, the distinguished director Norman Jewison, and I were on a long single-file line that snaked through the lobby. We patiently waited to go upstairs to pick up our tickets, clutching our photo IDs.

Suddenly, a messenger slipped in and cut the line. He announced to the uniformed guard in a stage whisper, "Dreamworks," and it was as if God-like Steven Spielberg himself had just delivered the Gettysburg address: The messenger was ushered upstairs--the final act of the "Lincoln" campaign.

Sleep deprived and jet lagged, I had just taken a six-hour flight from New York sitting next to Paula Wagner, who was Tom Cruise's agent-turned Broadway producer for Jessica Chastain's theatrical presentation of "The Heiress." We discussed Jessica's nail biting chance to beat Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress. Chastain was bringing her new aristocratic boyfriend, Count Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo to be premiered on the red carpet.

I mentioned Oscar guru Harvey Weinstein's concern about Emmanuelle Riva's last-minute surge for Best Actress for "Amour." The French phenomenon doesn't speak English; neither did last year's Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin. Riva had never been to L.A. Her campaign felt like voting for a ghost, even for her 86th birthday.

This was the year I got phone calls in September from top studio executives, all announcing their win for Best Picture. This giddiness was due to the excellent quality of the films, which resulted in the priciest Oscar war on record.

Read the entire report at Avenue Magazine here and Huffington Post here.


This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards, Awards


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.