Sid Ganis: Big surprises in store for 81st Oscarcast

Posted by · 4:20 pm · February 2nd, 2009

From Dave Germain, reporting from this afternoon’s nominees luncheon:

Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told the 112 contenders gathered at the annual nominees luncheon to expect a lot of new things at the Feb. 22 ceremony.

“Your categories are being presented in a completely different way. Heads up,” Ganis told actors. “Cinematographers, editors, composers. All of you guys. You’re in for a big surprise.”

Hmm.  Curiouser and curiouser.

→ 26 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

26 responses so far

  • 1 2-02-2009 at 4:29 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    He probably means they will get their own ceremony the night before. Either that, or they’ll receive their award on the red carpet.

  • 2 2-02-2009 at 4:35 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Condon would never do that. Everyone takes the stage.

  • 3 2-02-2009 at 4:46 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    Maybe (more) detailed looks showing off their work? I could see Condon doing that, and myself loving it.

  • 4 2-02-2009 at 4:51 pm

    Pauley said...

    That would be cool, but unfortunately quite hard to do under time constraints.

    This has definitely re-sparked my interest!

  • 5 2-02-2009 at 4:52 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    As long as it’s not a repeat of the 2004 fiasco where they awarded people in their seats — how disgusting was that? — I’m happy.

  • 6 2-02-2009 at 5:20 pm

    Josh said...

    Yes, big surprises; for example, this year, the actors go first, and the last award is Best Editing!

    Seriously, I feel like they’ve been trying to change things up every year for the last few years (not saying it’s true, but that line sounds awful familiar), and nothing major ever changes.

  • 7 2-02-2009 at 5:28 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Well with fresh new producers with exciting ideas at the wheel for the first time in years (seriously, anyone remember a time when it wasn’t Ziskin or Cates?), I think we can believe it this year.

  • 8 2-02-2009 at 6:01 pm

    Josh said...

    Kris, I hope you’re right. Hopefully whatever spectacle Condon puts on will distract me from the disappoining nominees/winners.

  • 9 2-02-2009 at 9:16 pm

    Brad said...

    I forsee a Allan Carr like disaster coming from these two producers. They seem like they are trying to reinvent the wheel too much. You can have someone give the film editing award while standing on their head, that’s not gonna bring in the viewers.

  • 10 2-03-2009 at 1:27 am

    RASGRIZ said...

    my new phone ringtone

  • 11 2-03-2009 at 4:57 am

    Rob said...

    I’m up for anything – although its such a huge shame that they aren’t bringing back last years acting winners.

  • 12 2-03-2009 at 8:08 am

    N8 said...

    When HASN’T Ganis promised us “big surprises” for the Oscar telecast? Hopefully he can deliver this time.

  • 13 2-03-2009 at 9:14 am

    AdamL said...

    Want to get it down to 3 hours? Easy…

    They shouldn’t bother with the short films awards. I mean seriously, who here has seen any of the nominees, and don’t bother replying if you have, we both know you’re in a very small minority. And if we haven’t seen any, what are the chances that anyone else has?

    Why do we need two sound awards?

    What’s the point in the animated film award? 1 in 12 chance of winning just by getting made. Ludicrous.

    What’s the point in Best Song? This aint the Grammys. Just encourages people to make bland, forgettable songs to play over the credits of films, as if somehow a song over the credits somehow elevates a film. I’m normally out of the theatre before the director’s name disappears.

    Ditch the costume award, or nominate them on the art direction list. Same goes for make-up. Who cares? Niche awards like this are pointless. How many films in a given year require outstanding make-up?

    Ditch the special effects awards. No-one cares.

    And there you go. Easily under 3 hours.

  • 14 2-03-2009 at 9:44 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, because costume design and art direction are TOTALLY the same thing. Are you for real?

    Believe it or not, the primary goal of the Oscars is to recognise industry talent, not to run an pared-down telecast. I’m sorry that means occasionally having to shine a light on artists whose names appear on a screen after you’ve already bolted, but hey, look on that as a suitable bathroom break opportunity.


  • 15 2-03-2009 at 12:40 pm

    AdamL said...


    I was just stating how you can make a 3 hour broadcast if that’s your goal. Personally I like the 4 hour show. Anyone that stays up til 7 am to watch this thing is probably keen enough not to care about it overrunning – I assume we are both in that category since we’re both in the UK.

    But seriously, when was the last time you came out of a film and said, “great costumes.” Anything award that only applies to a small percentage of films shouldn’t exist – I truly believe that.

    Great make-up, special effects and costumes must be a requirement for only something like 20% of films.

    Best picture, acting, cinematography, editing, writing, art direction and score apply to 100% of films. They are the awards to be celebrated. Niche awards that apply to a fraction of the pool are not particularly interesting.

    It also makes stats pointless. Anyone that wants to break Titanic’s nomination tally has to find room in their film for an original song – niche awards create pointless Oscar chasing efforts. How many modern films get nominated for costume design for example? A tiny fraction. That’s why i suggested putting it with art direction, although clearly they are different things. I could go on but you get my point.

    Anyway just my 2 cents…

  • 16 2-03-2009 at 1:06 pm

    AdamL said...

    By “modern” I mean contemporary settings.

  • 17 2-03-2009 at 1:49 pm

    Michael W. said...

    Well, I think it’s time for more Oscar categories. Casting and stunt would be two categories I would love to see being awarded.

  • 18 2-03-2009 at 2:10 pm

    Dario said...

    Cutting down on categories would be insane, when the telecast can be cut down significantly by reducing the number of montages and other insignificant banter. The Globes were marvellously dynamic, swift, in and out, but everyone got enough time to accept their award.

    If anything, there are at least two categories that should be added to the roster! The point of many of them is to make as many people aware that someone actually paints the makeup, designs the costumes, and that short films actually exist.

  • 19 2-03-2009 at 2:20 pm

    Dario said...

    But seriously, when was the last time you came out of a film and said, “great costumes.”

    After Get Smart. Anne Hathaway’s white coat worked perfectly in the final action sequences and I thought Carrell’s suits, almost perfectly tailored but always a bit off to accentuate the goofiness, were a nice touch. And you couldn’t say that was a dressy period drama – but someone (a producer who obviously thought good costumography applies to all fims) hired an Oscar winner to costume it.

  • 20 2-03-2009 at 3:11 pm

    AdamL said...

    Well I walked out of Get Smart after an hour so missed the white coat, but I take your point; but I clearly have a point when I say the vast majority of nominated costume designers get their noms for period films.

    It’s about where you draw the line. There are more technical noms that get awarded separately now anyway (and I dare say some of them are far less niche.) Why not have them come to the big party? These niche awards can have their own party as well if people are against scrapping them.

    Personally the thing I would prefer more of is longer clips of great performances and films. Let’s go to town on celebrating the acting for example. I absolutely detested that year when they scrapped the clips, but even now they are too short. Let’s have lengthy clips from the best picture nominees as well. Let’s go crazy and show extended sequences to celebrate cinematography – imagine showing the train scene in Jesse James in detail for example, then the oil plant fire in TWBB etc… Have people learn what great cinematography is. That’s a real celebration.

    I love the Oscars but hate the fact that it is rushed. My ideal would be to cut down on the awards but retain the running time. Cut out the filler shit like dancing to represent Snakes on a Plane (what the fuck was that?) as well obviously.

    Also the musical interludes should be the scores and not the bollocks original songs.

    Do it properly but concentrate only on categories that apply to 100% of films. Add documentary and foreign film too obviously.

  • 21 2-03-2009 at 3:23 pm

    Dario said...

    All categories apply to 100% of films. Even the realistic, hand-held shot chamber dramas are post-produced via computer. Sound is mixed and edited by separate groups of people.

    Actors don’t come on sets wearing their own clothes, even if they wear jeans and a t-shirt, they were clothed by an expert. And making someone’s face to look realistic is a harder task for the make-up artist than fancying up Marie-Antoinette (as I said once earlier, try taking a photo with your camera and see how dreadful people’s skin looks).

    We’ll celebrate the acting skills of Langella, Ledger, Viola Davis and Brad Pitt this year, but without makeup, those performances wouldn’t be as touching, as disturbing or as authentic as they are. And Rourke without his colourful leotard? Not a wrestler, but just, well, Rourke.

    This extends to the beautiful cinematography of Slumdog Millionaire or The Dark Knight: without the colourful clothing of the former or the dark greys, green and purples of the suits and batsuits of the latter, the camerawork would surely seem less impressive.

    But even in visually simple films like Happy-go-Lucky or Rachel Getting Married, makeup and costumes are vital. Look at Kym’s pale, haunting face and eyes – you’ve seen the first hour of Get Smart, so I believe you know that’s not Anne Hathaway’s natural complexion. And I think one of this site’s editors already mentioned that the soundwork in Rachel is impeccable.

    That’s why I don’t see the point you’re making.

  • 22 2-03-2009 at 3:46 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I gotta agree with Dario — the reason the costume category can seem like a niche award is because the Academy has such a prosaic idea of what outstanding costume design is, and rarely takes intelligent, character-serving contemporary threads into account. (If this year’s award were mine to give, I’d give it to “Happy-Go-Lucky” in a heartbeat.)

    So Adam, while I now better understand your point (and I’m sorry for being overly snarky earlier), I think the issue is less with the relevance of certain crafts than with the narrow view the Academy takes of them.

    PS. Dario, it was me sticking up for “Rachel”‘s sound design a while back. Glad you agree. I was also rewatching “Wendy and Lucy” tonight, and man, the sound work there is superb.

  • 23 2-03-2009 at 3:54 pm

    AdamL said...

    “all categories apply to 100% of films”

    How does best original song apply to 100% of films?

    Anyway your points are surely very valid but when was the last time the academy took any notice of what you’re saying?

    This year’s make-up nominees: Hellboy 2, Batman, Benjamin Button. All make-up heavy films. How many make-up heavy films are they actually battling against? 5? 6? It’s completely biased towards showy make-up.

    And I’ve actually got the clinching argument in this anyway – having a make-up category means that Norbit is an Oscar nominated film. No-one on this planet can be happy with that, can they?

    However much you justify its inclusion, and you make some excellent points, clearly the academy are nominting films for their showy, obvious, look-at-how-great-I-am efforts rather than for the Slumdog, Frost/Nixon or Get Smart type more subtle efforts.

    And, do we really want to nominate the women who chose Sally Hawkins’ costumes in Happy-Go-Lucky? I mean come on. Is her Oscar as worthy as the winner of Best Actor. An Oscar should be for outstanding, incredible achievement. Going to a thrift sale and picking out some kooky clothing…

    Anyway, once again the academy ignores your points in any case. Elizabeth 2 won last year and it’s a film almost as bad as Norbit.

    Year before Marie Antoinette.

    Year before Memoirs of a Geisha.

    You get the picture.

    I see what you’re saying, but the reality is clear – these films are only competing with 20% of the film pool. Fact.

    And my point on sound was that I don’t see why we need 2 awards, but that’s probably my ignorance. At least every now and again I *have* come out of a film and thought the sound was great. Doesn’t happen often but it does happen. That’s infintely more than the times I’ve said “great costumes” or “great make-up.” And also sound genuinely applies to 100% of films so I’m definitely happy to have it there.

  • 24 2-03-2009 at 3:58 pm

    Chad said...

    AdamL, if you don’t care about all the arts and crafts that go into making movies, don’t watch the Oscars.

  • 25 2-03-2009 at 3:59 pm

    AdamL said...


    I think we’re basically on the same page – if the academy opened their minds and looked at the entire pool of films instead of only the showy ones then that would be fairer.

    I’m almost certainly being unfair on the Happy-Go-Lucky costume designer but maybe costumes are just not my thing.

    Interesting that you watched Wendy and Lucy tonight – so did I. I liked it. Can’t say I thought “this sound is great” mind you, but now you mention it…..!

  • 26 2-03-2009 at 4:05 pm

    AdamL said...

    Thanks for your input Chad, great comment.

    Anyway I love arts and crafts – I adore amazing cinematography and art direction.

    I like Changling almost solely for how well it did both. The Fall is absolutely incredible and again largely due to thoose two crafts. Even Australia was almost saved from complete ignominy by them.

    I dislike special effects. They ruin films. Subtle, you don’t notice them type effects like those that went into recreating the priod look in Zodiac are great. Films that have no plot and rely solely on special effects like many superhero films are not. Guess which get nominated more often than not (although the 3 nominees this year happen to be for decent films for a change.)

    BTW The Fall used no special effects at all and achieved wonders. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon similarly.

    So I do like arts and crafts but not *all* arts and crafts. I don’t see why that means I can’t watch the Oscars.

    Anyway I’m clearly on my own here so I’ll shut up.