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Academy Awards rebranded as simply ‘the Oscars’

February 26, 2013

Eighty-five years into its history, the Oscars ceremony appears to be gently dropping the term “Academy Awards” ahead of this Sunday’s annual film prizegiving ceremony.

Organised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscars have been officially known by the grander, annually numbered title since their inception. An Oscar is the golden statuette handed to winners of the main prizes, though the ceremony itself has become known by the informal title.

Official publicity began to use the informal term around three weeks ago, in part of a deliberate move to freshen up the famous event. “We’re rebranding it,” Oscars show co-producer Neil Meron told TheWrap. “We’re not calling it ‘the 85th annual Academy Awards’, which keeps it mired somewhat in a musty way. It’s called ‘the Oscars’.” He added: “It’ll be like the Grammys. The Grammys don’t get a number, and neither will the Oscars.”

Simply calling the show “the Oscars” would presumably mean the end of special celebrations to mark notable anniversaries, such as the montages of past winners and pre-recorded interviews with award-winning stars that were embedded in the 80th Academy Awards five years ago. Nevertheless, Academy spokeswoman Teni Melidonian said the shift might not necessarily prove permanent. “It is right for this show, but we could easily go back to using ‘Academy Awards’ next year,” she said.

Ratings figures for the Oscars telecast in the US are on a long-term downward trend since a high of 55m in 1998, when blockbuster Titanic swept the board. Previous efforts to revitalise the event have tended towards failure, with the installation of youthful hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway in 2011 proving a particular low point. The 2010 expansion of the best film field from five films to up to 10, which was intended to allow room for arthouse fare to compete with more popular films, has so far done little to reverse the trend.

In other awards season news, Spain’s best-known film awards ceremony, the Goyas, have come under fire for what some perceived as the overtly political tone of this year’s event. As well as speeches on Sunday from Javier Bardem – picking up a prize for his documentary about the harsh existence of the desert-dwelling Saharawi people – and Spanish Academy president Enrique González Macho, who hit out against a new tax hike on cinema admissions, several others took to the mic to discuss issues unrelated to film-making.

Presenter Eva Hache attacked government austerity measures and alleged corruption, while best supporting actress winner Candela Peña recalled watching her father die “in a public hospital that didn’t have blankets to cover him and water for him to drink”, and said she feared for her child’s chances of a decent state-funded education. Not every member of the Spanish media was impressed: “Everyone’s talking about all the barbs they launched from the stage, not the films,” wrote Gonzalo de Miguel in El País. “They use the podium to speak out against the issue of the day and then they complain that not enough effort is put into promoting their films domestically. Even at their own big celebration they put more into politics than into selling their own product.”

Away from politics, yesterday saw the announcement of the nominees for the annual Saturn awards, which celebrate genre film-making. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey leads the charge with nine nominations, while Ang Lee’s fantasy Life of Pi has eight and James Bond adventure Skyfall has seven. The awards are staged each year by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

Source: The Guardian

Posted in: Front Page, Industry News

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