By Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood February 23, 2012 at 4:01PM
The Hollywood Reporter sat down with embattled Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson to discuss critics of change at the Academy, the Brett Ratner backstory, and Oscar voters' white male rep. The interview is available to subscribers only, but THR posted a brief lead-in. MediaBistro posted a juicy quote about what Hudson sees as her biggest challenge:
“The scrutiny. I had what I thought was a casual meeting [during] my first couple of days, and 20 minutes after they left the LA Times called me. Then I thought, “OK, no meeting is off the record.” The Academy matters to people around the world. It’s such a global mark. And so the flap of the butterfly wing really does create [a worldwide effect]."
In his "NikkiLeaks" series, Richard Rushfield asserts that THR's exclusive interview with Hudson spurred Deadline's hasty report that Sacha Baron Cohen was banned from the Oscars: Deadline's Cohen news was Nikki Finke's payback. This is yet another example, he writes, of how "Hollywood's most ruthless blogger stops at nothing to punish a source who gives a scoop to a rival publication."
Didn't catch the juicy Cohen item? Deadline wrote that the controversial comedian (who plays a lovelorn Paris train guard in Oscar nominated "Hugo") was "BANNED FROM THE OSCARS" because of fear that he would do something contentious - like dress in dictator costume to plug his upcoming comedy, "The Dictator." The Academy denied that Cohen is banned, per se.
In a puffier pre-Oscar interview, Entertainment Weekly interviewed Oscar host Billy Crystal. He waxes nostalgic on his first night hosting the Oscars over thirty years ago in 1990: “I remember walking out and seeing Francis Ford Coppola and Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson and feeling—boom!— this is pretty great." This will be Crystal's ninth time as the master of ceremonies and he hopes to liven things up, noting missed opportunities in the humor of last year's show:
"I’m watching the show and Wally Pfister wins for cinematography for "Inception" and his glasses are on his forehead the entire speech, which is funny. Then Kirk Douglas comes out and does what he did. Then Melissa Leo drops the F-bomb. And [Hathaway and Franco] didn’t say a word! And I’m back there going [makes shocked, sputtering sound]. That’s when I knew maybe I should come back. It’s fun to be out there when moments like that happen.”
And in an enterprising effort to turn red carpet mania into cash, People Magazine has partnered with both Gilt Group and Redbox, reports AdWeek, to offer single-copy buyers of People's Oscar issue a free one-night movie rental from Redbox. And capitalizing on sartorial fascination with the Academy Awards, People.com Stylewatch editors will create a "Get the Look: Red Carpet" sale for Gilt Groupe.
We at TOH are live-blogging and tweeting (via @akstanwyck) Saturday's Spirit Awards from inside the big lunch tent in Santa Monica as well as the backstage interview tent. (Set your DVR for the later telecast, Saturday, February 25 10/9c on IFC). On Oscar Sunday we'll be tweeting, taking pictures and doing flip-cam interviews on the Oscar red carpet (at Hollywood & Highland, the theater is no longer called The Kodak) and live-blogging updates from the backstage interview room as the winners come through (we're sharing a DSL line with Awards Daily's Sasha Stone). And we will also cover the Governor's Ball.
Set your DVRs for ABC's exclusive pre-show “Oscars Red Carpet Live” at 7 p.m. Eastern, with GMA's Robin Roberts, EW Editor Jess Cagle, Brit fashion commentator Louise Roe, and "Project Runway" fashionistas Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia, as well as the Oscar show itself (ABC Sunday at 8:30 p.m Eastern). When it comes to Oscar fashion we recommend TV Guide's must-see Red Carpet Fashion Wrap (Monday, February 27 @ 8 e/p on TVGN). That's when Oscar season 2012 will truly be over.