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Awards Mania

Who Should Ellen Dance With at Next Year’s Oscars?

There are so many show-open possibilities that come to mind for Ellen DeGeneres March 2 under the tutelage of telecast producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan. And since Billy Crystal recently reminded just how tense the room is when the host first walks out, FishbowlNY would like to float out the following three options.

1) OPTION ONE – Dance With Everybody: Ellen could get the whole crowd into it, in the same way that Tilda Swinton did this spring at EbertFest in honor of the late Roger Ebert. Ellen dancing up and down the aisles would loosen the Dolby Theatre up, fast.

2) OPTION TWO – Dance With Jack: Nicholson would probably never go for it. But is there a more iconic audience member from the era when Academy Awards broadcasts were watchable? We don’t think so. A brief on-stage jig with the sunglassed one would get things off to a gold-standard start.

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Cate Blanchett Tells Reporter It’s a Little Early to Call Oscar Race

The headline of the USA TODAY article by Ann Oldenburg reads “Oscar Buzz Builds for Cate Blanchett.” Builds? Really?

First of all, it’s July. Yes, the Cannes Film Festival can sometimes spark the beginning of inexorable Academy Awards chatter, but by all civilized rights this cottage industry should be kept at a minimum until Telluride, Labor Day and Toronto. Secondly, Blanchett’s turn as a Ruth Madoff type in Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine hasn’t even opened yet.

When Oldenburg raised the specter of an Oscar nomination during her New York hotel room chat with Blanchett, the actress replied with an apt analogy:

“Um,” she says. “The horse is hardly out of the gate. There’s always many great female performances. I just hope people go see the movie.”

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Washington Post Columnist Investigates Perpetually Postponed LA Times Celebration Party

LA Times reporter Jeff Gottlieb’s May 3 email to a Los Angeles Times Media Group exec is one of the ages. Two years after he, Ruben Vives and colleagues won a $35,000 USC Annenberg prize for their exposure of the massive Bell city corruption scandal (ahead of the Public Service Pulitzer), he was having to question the financial allotment practices at his own paper.

Washington Post media columnist Erik Wemple thoroughly retraces the history of this long-simmering matter and also, for the piece, took Gottlieb’s complaints to newspaper spokesperson Nancy Sullivan. When, Wemple wanted to know on Gottlieb’s behalf, was that promised celebration party funded by residual Selden Ring prize money going to finally take place? From Sullivan’s quoted reply:

“A small amount was set aside for a staff party. The party was postponed several times for various reasons but will be held in the near future.”

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Occidental College Academy Award Winner Has a Message from President Obama

Rafael Cortina is the first-ever Student Academy Award winner from Occidental College. Sharply dressed and well-prepared, he gave a charming acceptance speech Saturday night, noting off the top that MC Bob Saget can always be counted on to attract a “full house.”

With a straight face, he then proceeded to pass on some bigger picture news. “Earlier today, I got a phone call from President Obama congratulating me on my award,” he revealed. “And he wanted me to tell the [school] administration that although he went there for two years, please-please-please stop referring to him as an alum. So I wanted to pass that along.”

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FOX 11′s Hal Eisner Tapped for APTRA Achievement Award

For SoCal TV news reporters and anchors, it’s always a cherished honor to be associated with the legacy of retired KTLA legend Stan Chambers. At this year’s Associated Press Television-Radio Association (APTRA) Mark Twain Awards banquet in Pasadena June 22, the Extraordinary Achievement award bearing Chambers’ name will go to KTTV’s Hal Eisner.

From today’s announcement:

In addition to his 32-year career in Los Angeles TV, Eisner is also the dean of the APTRA Academy, an annual boot camp for aspiring broadcast journalists.

“Hal’s accomplishments to journalism go beyond his ability to tell compelling stories on a wide range of topics,” said APTRA board president Robby Messer. “Hal also helps set up young journalists for a lifetime of achievement by mentoring them at the various APTRA academies he plans.”

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SF Weekly Cover Story Wins Newhouse Mirror Prize

At today’s S.I. Newhouse School Mirror Awards luncheon at Cipriani 42 in New York City, one of the Syracuse University winners was SF Weekly staff writer Joe Eskenazi. He took home the impressive sounding prize of Best Single Article/Digital Media for his October 2012 feature “Top 5 Ways Bleacher Report Rules the World!”

Eskenazi’s look at the evolution The Huffington Post of sports was and remains a great cover story. It starts off with a couple of peripheral references framing the company’s 2012 efforts to add full-time salaries and respectability to the unpaid blogger mix:

During a meeting in New York City, an executive at one of the nation’s largest sports media companies quipped that Bleacher Report’s new strategy was akin to spritzing a little room deodorizer after leaving a steaming deposit in the toilet and failing to flush. An attendee recalls everyone laughing uproariously.

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Ricky Gervais Says He’s Open to Hosting the Oscars

A few days ago, Mark Burnett told Gold Derby’s Tom O’Neil that he thought Ricky Gervais would be a perfect Golden Globes crossover candidate for 2014 Oscar show hosting duties. He even went so far as to make his Webcam case directly to Gervais.

That kind of thing is too good an opportunity for most journalists to pass up and, sure enough, this morning O’Neil has an exclusive update. Gervais says he would be completely open to dishing from the Dolby Theatre stage. With one proviso:

“On the one hand I would be incredibly flattered and whatever you think of those sort of things, it would be a thrill and an honor to be asked,” Gervais said. “On the other hand I doubt the job offer would come without some strings attached. The worst string being, handing in my credentials as a comedian in favor of a family entertainer. We have to be able to poke fun at society without favoring any part of it because we are beholden to someone…”

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Immersive Journalism Pioneer Snags AP-Google Scholarship

Nonny de la Peña is no stranger to heady praise. Last holiday season for example, she was singled out by Fast Company as one of “The 13 People Who Made the World More Creative in 2012.”

Now, thanks to an AP-Google $20,000 scholarship, the former Newsweek correspondent, documentary filmmaker and USC Annenberg Fellow doctoral candidate will be well-positioned during the 2013-14 school year to make journalism even more “immersive.” From this week’s announcement:

De la Peña’s focus is on pioneering immersive journalism, a groundbreaking way for first person experiences of the news using virtual reality and gaming platforms. A graduate of Harvard University, her award-winning documentary films have screened in more than 50 cities globally and she also co-founded the Knight News Challenge winner Stroome.

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San Diego Student Newspaper Racks Up More National Awards

When a student newspaper keeps winning awards in the fashion that Southwestern College’s The Sun newspaper, there is only one thing left to do. Click right on through to the home page and see what all the fuss is about.

The first article that caught FishbowlLA’s eye is a Q&A by staff writer Nickolas Furr with TV showrunner, author, comic book writer, screenwriter and Southwestern alum J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, World War Z). Furr leads with a whole bunch of firsts involving the talented, prolific writer, including one very close to Chula Vista home:

From 2009 to 2010, students, faculty members, Sun journalists and concerned citizens fought with a corrupt Southwestern College administration and governing board to keep the First Amendment Freedoms of Speech, Assembly and the Press alive on the campus. In 2010, when the administration attempted to strangle the newspaper by tying its purse strings around its throat, Straczynski responded by undermining the administration the best way possible – financially.

It was definitely the first time that had happened.

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And the Three Nominees Are… Dylan Howard

When the 55th annual LA Press Club SoCal Journalism Awards are handed out Sunday June 23 at the Biltmore Hotel, please forgive Radar Online’s Dylan Howard for any awkward facial expression as the finalists for category H9 are read aloud. There are a total of three for this Online bracket and all are named Dylan Howard.

The former Celebuzz editor-in-chief has moved on from his Hollywood digs to a return-job with AMI in New York. In his wake is one of the craziest latest examples of the problems caused by the LA Press Club’s paid-entry award finalist process:

H9. ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

* Dylan Howard, Celebuzz, “Caught On Tape: Chevy Chase Rips His Own TV Sitcom
* Dylan Howard, Celebuzz, “Exposed: Hollywood’s Clandestine Poker Ring
* Dylan Howard, Celebuzz, “Family Feud: The Battle Over Michael Jackson’s Millions and His Three Children

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