Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Ranking the 5 Best Editing Oscar Nominees Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Oscar Loves Diseases and Disorders: 6 Contenders and the Hard Truths They Don't (or Do) Ignore Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Screen Actors Guild Awards: 'Birdman' Takes Ensemble, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne Win Leads Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

Oscar Hell Week: Play By Play

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 12, 2011 at 6:27PM

Exactly how did all the changes go down at the Oscars last week? Well, Academy president Tom Sherak gives us the play by play.
0
AMPAS president Tom Sherak
AMPAS president Tom Sherak

Exactly how did all the changes go down at the Oscars last week? Well, Academy president Tom Sherak gives us the play by play.

Last Sunday morning, Brett Ratner called Sherak to tell him "I messed up. I did something, made a remark, I didn't mean anything by it. But it's going to come back and haunt me." Ratner had said "rehearsals are for fags" at a Friday night "Tower Heist" screening Q and A. Sherak immediately gave him public relations 101: "Write an apology." Ratner emailed Sherak his statement, Sherak read it, approved it, and told the director to have his people get it out.

Sherak also told the filmmaker that what he said was terrible, insensitive, reckless and dumb, but he knew him, and believed that he made a mistake, and that his apology was sincere. "But you can't do this again," he warned Ratner, who replied, "I got it."

Ratner's statement: “I apologize for any offense my remarks caused. It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body. But as a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words.”

On the same Monday that Sherak released his own statement of support for the filmmaker, a friend emailed him to tell him some of the colorful things Ratner had said on that day's Howard Stern Show. "You're kidding, right?" said Sherak. He wasn't. Sherak went home that night and turned on the show. He was appalled.

Tuesday morning an Academy officers meeting had already been scheduled, with the Oscar show on the agenda. Ratner called during the meeting and said, "Tom, I screwed up, I know, I want to resign, I know I made a mistake."

After Sherak accepted Ratner's resignation, the calls started pouring in from people offering to help. One of the people who called was "Tower Heist" and "J.Edgar" producer Brian Grazer. "What do you need me to do?" he asked. The Academy had approached Grazer before, but he had always been too busy to serve. "You have to give up five months to do this show," Sherak says. This time, Grazer was eager to do it. (The way he tells the story, Sherak called him.) "Will you produce with Don?" Sherak asked. Grazer said, "Yes."

Sherak knew immediately that host Eddie Murphy would ask to be let go. "He signed on because of Brett," says Sherak. "Once a host doesn't want to do it, you can't go back. Doing it as quickly as he did helped Don and Brian."

The three men, Sherak, Grazer and Mischer met at 4 PM Tuesday and agreed to go to Billy Crystal. "If he wants to do it, fine, I'm in," said Sherak. "There was never any chaos." And Ratner's team of writers? "We're working on that."

This article is related to: Awards, Awards, Oscars


E-Mail Updates