Newsdeck

The Latest: Oscar producers work to keep show moving along

By AP 29 February 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the 88th annual Academy Awards being presented Sunday at the Dolby Theatre (all times local)

7 p.m.

The Oscar ceremony’s producers weren’t kidding when they warned attendees before the broadcast began that all winners would strictly have no more than 45 seconds for their acceptance speeches.

So far just about all the night’s champions have been getting played off inside the Dolby Theatre by the orchestra, including supporting actress Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. In past years, producers have been more lenient with the time crunch when it comes to famous faces.

The show’s producers said before the show they would scroll the names of people winners wanted to thank as the winners made their speeches.

— Derrik J. Lang @derrikjlang on Twitter.

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6:58 p.m.

The robots of “Ex Machina” have beat out “Star Wars” and “Mad Max” to win the visual effects Academy Award.

The thriller stars Alicia Vikander as a robot able to pass as a human. The understated visual effects beat out the seventh installment of the “Star Wars” franchise and the return of “Mad Max” to the big screen.

The honor denied a seventh Oscar win Sunday night to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which had won in several other categories.

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6:50 p.m.

Leonardo DiCaprio is the life of the party in the front row at the Oscars.

During an early commercial break, the best actor front-runner for “The Revenant” hosted a reunion with his “The Great Gatsby” co-star and friend Tobey Maguire.

Common, who won the original song Oscar last year with John Legend for “Glory” from “Selma,” quickly joined the DiCaprio party for a chat. Meanwhile, Charlize Theron planted a kiss on DiCaprio’s cheek as she headed back to her seat from her Oscar presenting duties.

On the other side of the theater, Jennifer Garner made the rounds , stopping to gab with Emily Blount and Kate Winslet before heading backstage.

— Derrik J. Lang @derrikjlang on Twitter.

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6:40 p.m.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is the winner of the Academy Award for film editing.

The award went to editor Margaret Sixel, who is the wife of “Mad Max” director George Miller.

It is the fourth award the film has won during Sunday’s ceremony.

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6:38 p.m.

Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki has won the Academy Award for cinematography for the third year in a row.

The Mexican filmmaker won for his work on “The Revenant,” his second win for work with director Alejandro G. Inarritu. His use of long shots and reliance only on natural light helped the film garner 13 nominations.

Lubezki won last year for Inarritu’s film “Birdman” and won in 2014 for “Gravity.” He has been nominated eight times in the category.

Lubezki says it is an incredible honor and thanked Inarritu and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, who appeared in the film.

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6:35 p.m.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is steamrolling through some early Oscar categories with three wins for the action blockbuster’s costumes, makeup and production design.

The film about a future where water is a scarce resource is the second-most nominated film Sunday evening, with 10 nominations. It has won awards in the first three categories it was nominated in.

Only “The Revenant” has more Oscar nominations this year.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is also nominated for best picture and best director for Australian George Miller, who returned the franchise to the big screen last year after a 30-year hiatus.

Colin Gibson, who won an Oscar Sunday for production design, compared the film’s eclectic cast of characters to the real-life crisis the Academy faces on diversity of its film nominees. Gibson said in his acceptance speech, “I’d like to chalk this one up as the first Oscar for diversity.”

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6:15 p.m.

Alicia Vikander is the winner of the best supporting actress Academy Award for her portrayal of the wife of an artist who realizes he is transgender.

Vikander is a first-time nominee for her role in “The Danish Girl” opposite actor Eddie Redmayne. Redmayne is nominated for the best actor award, which will be announced later Sunday.

The actress thanked Redmayne, calling him the best acting partner.

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6:05 p.m.

Minutes before presenting Sunday’s first Oscar of the night, for original screenplay, Charlize Theron joked backstage that she’d open the envelope and reveal the winner — for a price.

She said, “I’ll do it for a fiver.”

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5:55 p.m.

Academy Awards host Chris Rock hardly shied away from the topic of diversity in his opening monologue, diving right in by calling the Oscars the “white people’s choice awards” and noting the number of black faces shown in the opening montage of film clips.

The second-time Oscar host said in his monologue that if hosts were nominated like people in the acting categories, people would be watching Neil Patrick Harris instead.

He talked about the pressure put on him not to host the awards following the diversity controversy. He said he wasn’t going to quit because “the last thing I need is to lose another job to Kevin Hart.”

But Rock hardly gave Hollywood a pass. He said Hollywood’s racism is like sorority racism, where a girl is deemed “not Kappa material.” And he said black actors should get the same opportunities as white actors — like Leonardo DiCaprio gets a great part every year.

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5:49 p.m.

The writers of “Spotlight” have won the best original screenplay Academy Award.

The script by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy tells the story of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of sex abuse by Catholic priests.

“Spotlight” is also nominated for best picture and McCarthy is nominated for best director.

McCarthy says they made the film for all the journalists who hold those in power accountable.

___

4:55 p.m.

It seems Ryan Seacrest does not forget.

Seacrest turned down the chance to talk to Sasha Baron Cohen on the Oscars red carpet this year, four years after Baron Cohen showered him with ashes on a red carpet.

This year, when Baron Cohen walked by with his wife, Isla Fisher, Seacrest said “No” and turned away.

Speaking to AP a moment later, Baron Cohen joked about the snub.

Later, the two men hugged it out as Baron Cohen interrupted Seacrest’s interview with Lady Gaga to ask for a hug and the two embraced.

— Nekesa Moody @nekesamumbi

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4:50 p.m.

Veteran actors have a different perspective on all the Oscars hoopla.

So says Sylvester Stallone, up for a best supporting actor award for his role in “Creed.” During the initial hoopla of the first “Rocky,” Stallone said he didn’t really appreciate what it all meant. Now he’s just soaking it in.

Stallone told The Associated Press on the red carpet that “all the aches and pains go away. You feel reborn.”

Same thing for Bryan Cranston, competing for best actor after playing the lead role in “Trumbo.” He says he’s just a kid from California’s San Fernando Valley who can’t quite believe his “fairy tale” life as an actor. He says he never wants to forget how lucky he is.

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4:30 p.m.

He may be a former Super Bowl champion, but on the Oscars red carpet he’s just Aaron Rodgers — the boyfriend of Olivia Munn.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback dutifully stood back as media outlets interviewed his actress girlfriend.

At one point, with not much to do, he chatted up rapper and Oscar winner Common.

— Nekesa Moody, @nekesamumbi

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4:20 p.m.

Dave Grohl is attending his first Oscars, so the Foo Fighters frontman made sure to arrive in plenty of time.

Fans in the red-carpet bleachers responded by showering him with love, cheering and shouting his name.

Grohl responded with a big smile and a hearty wave.

Other early arrivals include songwriter Diane Warren, young actor Jacob Tremblay of “Room” and Whoopi Goldberg.

— Beth Harris @bethharrisap

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3:50 p.m.

Veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr. sympathizes with the protesters who say the Oscars should better represent the nation’s diversity, but he and colleague Whoopi Goldberg had no interest in boycotting the event.

Gossett says that if the Oscars are going to change, it has to come from the inside.

He spoke to The Associated Press Sunday on the red carpet heading into the event. The 79-year-old actor, who performed in “Roots” and “An Officer and a Gentleman,” let his feelings be known when asked who he was rooting for at the Oscars. He mentioned Will Smith, who was not nominated for his role in the movie, “Concussion.”

Goldberg, also on the red carpet, says boycotts are a pain.

She said: “If you really want to protest, then don’t go to the movies that don’t have the people you want to see.”

___

3:40 p.m.

Mark Ruffalo and the director of “Spotlight” have joined a group protesting sex abuse in the Catholic Church before Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.

The Los Angeles Times reports Sunday that Ruffalo and director Tom McCarthy joined a group of about 20 people protesting sex abuse in the Catholic Church outside Los Angeles’ downtown cathedral.

Ruffalo is nominated for best supporting actor for his role as a tenacious investigative reporter who helped uncover abuse by Catholic priests in a series for the Boston Globe. The film is also nominated for best picture, and McCarthy is nominated for best director and as a co-writer of the script.

The rally was one of several nationwide organized by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Times reports Ruffalo told the group, “I’m here to stand with the survivors and the victims and the people we’ve lost from Catholic priest childhood sex abuse.”

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3:25 p.m.

He’s not up for an Academy Award but there’s a reason chef Wolfgang Puck gets one of the loudest ovations of any celebrity on the Oscar red carpet: chocolate.

Puck’s arrival Sunday created a fan frenzy in the Oscar bleachers outside the Dolby Theatre when he tossed handfuls of plastic-wrapped chocolate Oscars to the crowd.

Fans scrambled to grab the tasty treats, which will also be served to celebrities at the post-Oscars Governors Ball.

___

3:10 p.m.

Rev. Al Sharpton is threatening larger protests if the Academy Awards ever has an all-white slate of actors nominated for Oscars again.

Sharpton addressed a group of several dozen protesters near the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars will be handed out Sunday evening. He has called for a boycott of the 88th annual awards show and told the group he will organize larger protests if diversity complaints are not addressed.

Sharpton says, “This will be the last night of an all-white Oscars.”

All 20 actors nominated Sunday are white. Sharpton criticized the Oscars for failing to nominate films such as “Straight Outta Compton,” ”Creed” or “Concussion” for any of its top honors.

Sharpton led the group in a march around the parking lot of a vacant shopping center in Hollywood. The group shouted, “This is what diversity looks like!”

The Oscars are being hosted by comedian Chris Rock and Sharpton did not want to criticize him.

Sharpton says, “He tells jokes, I tell the truth.”

Sharpton also said his group is not protesting actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, who is nominated for best actor. Sharpton says, “We are not anti-Leonardo. We are anti-exclusion.”

— Derrik J. Lang (@derrikjlang on Twitter)

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2:50 p.m.

The weather is perfect for the Oscars red carpet.

Skies are partly sunny in Los Angeles and it’s 73 degrees on Hollywood Boulevard outside the Dolby Theatre with a slight breeze.

It’s a far cry from last year’s cold and showery conditions.

There’s no plastic covering the carpet, leaving it open to reveal a palm tree backdrop along the boulevard.

___

2:30 p.m.

Protesters urging a boycott of the Academy Awards are congregating near the venue where the awards are being presented Sunday.

Dozens of protesters converged on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue holding signs and calling for more diversity in feature films. The protest site is near the Dolby Theatre and on a route traveled by many Oscars attendees and media covering the ceremony.

Some of the signs include the slogans, “Hollywood Must do Better” and “Shame on You.”

Protesters also yelled, “Hollywood, Hollywood, you ain’t looking so good” and “I got to be up on that screen.”

The protests are part of a boycott of the 88th annual Academy Awards organized by Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton called this year’s ceremony, which features an all-white slate of acting nominees, the “white Oscars” during a press conference Sunday.

— Derrik J. Lang (@derrikjlang on Twitter)

___

9 a.m.

Hollywood is bracing for an Academy Awards that more than any in recent memory, has the feel of a high-stakes showdown.

After a second straight year of all-white acting nominees prompted industry-wide scrutiny, viewers and stars alike are hanging on the opening words of host Chris Rock. The Dolby Theatre ceremony, which begins at 8:30 p.m. EST, stands at the center of a swirling storm over diversity in the movies and at the Oscars. Protests are planned near the red carpet and some viewers are organizing a boycott of the broadcast.

The Academy Awards, normally decorous and predictable, are this year charged with enough politics and uncertainty to rival an election debate.

Best picture is considered up for grabs, with “The Revenant,” ”The Big Short” and “Spotlight” in the mix.

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