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Academy News: AMPAS Says Oscar Red Carpet Drawing Ends Tonight

You can get a seat over The Red Carpet at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (AMPAS) Presentation of The 2011 83rd Annual Academy Awards by entering a randow drawing, right now at www.oscars.org/bleachers. The drawing, which has been active for the last week allows you to be one of the select 700 people to be there live at the Academy Awards' premier pre-event, event.

AMPAS reports:


To be eligible for the random drawing, an individual must complete the application form in its entirety. Applications may only be submitted online. Forms may not be returned via any other method.

Applicants may register for themselves and one guest. Duplicate registrations will not be accepted.

Those whose names are selected in the random drawing will be notified in late September. They will then be required to submit additional information for security purposes prior to final approval. Eligible attendees will receive a confirmation letter in early January with information pertinent to the event.

Only those individuals who have been pre-approved by the Academy will have access to the bleachers. Those who wait overnight to attempt admittance will not be granted entry.

The Academy will not be responsible for securing travel and/or hotel accommodations for bleacher fans.

In previous years, as many as 20,000 fans have applied online for the limited number of red carpet seats.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


Hurry up. It all ends at 9 PM PDT tonight.

3D Summit - Jeffrey Katzenberg Blasts 2D to 3D Movie Conversion

Note: Jeffrey Katzenberg Blasts 2D to 3D Movie Conversion at 3D Summit - This is 13:11 of a 14 minute speech. This video blogger elected to upload all of what I has, rather than edit it. At first, The plan wasn't to record all of his speech, but when it seemed that, just 30 seconds into the speech, Jeff was going to throw and land a haymaker, plans changed. To be candid, the final two minutes have micro-jumps only because of the editing system used vs the computer's random access memory (RAM) that was consumed to take such a large file all at once - need more RAM.  But I wanted you to see what I had, rather than lop it off.  



Universal City, Ca - On Wednesday, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was the keynote speaker at the 3D Entertainment Summit at the Hilton Universal City. At first, this blogger expected a standard "State of 3D" speech, but Katzenberg had other ideas. He got up with a plan to throw and land a haymaker.

Katzenberg took direct aim at 2D to 3D film conversion and set the tone for the summit - just what a good keynote speech is supposed to do. He didn't call out Clash Of The Titans by name, but everyone knew what he was talking about. But for good measure, Jeff added Piranha 3D.

(As an aside someone at the 3D Summit, when asked about Piranha 3D's budget later in the day, said "It's about $30 million to $40 million. We'll get their in terms of revenue, but we're waiting for DVD sales." But then the man shrugged and said, "Whatever, I'm not there any more," meaning he not with Dimension Films, who made the moviue.)

Clash Of The Titans was the epic 2010 remake of the man-god v. man fantasy that was made in 1981. First planned as a 2D film, Clash was rushed into 3D conversion after the success of Avatar in 2009. The results were terrible, as noted before.

Clash's conversion was so bad that Avatar Producer / Director James Cameron called it out by name and said that Hollywood should not use 3D just to use it. This is what Jeff is echoing in his speech above but with a step - he's panning 2D to 3D conversion, period.

Jeff said "When it comes to 3D conversion, here's the bottom line: over the years the film industry comes up with new ways to make a bad movie worse. Conversion of 2D to 3D is just the newest." Katzenberg says a bad 3D movie is painful to watch (really, it can give you a headache) and to add insult to injury Hollywood asks the customer to pay for it.

Some of the people responsible for the 2D to 3D conversion were sitting right there in the audience at the 3D Summit, including a man next to me who knew Jeff and admitted to me that he worked on Clash Of The Titans.

That guy was squirming in his chair during the speech. Seriously.

As a closing note, Katzenberg notes that six of the top 10 movies were 3D, and says there's a scarcity of 3D movie screens hampering revenue box office, even though it was healthy for 3D. He also says pricing is not an issue - the public is willing to pay a premium price, as long as it gets a premium experience.  Customers, Katzenberg says, can tell the difference "between Pandora and Piranha."  

This is part one: part two is the question and answer session, which was entertaining in as well. Stay tuned.

Mad Men: The Suitcase - Don Draper Is A Racist, Deal With It

Will Don Draper's door ever open for blacks? 
Mad Men is unquestionably an excellent television program with acting and story that is edgy, provocative, and thought-provolking. But because the television show is an entertainment child of the 21st Century, some fans of Mad Men, tend to forget that it was set in the mid-1960s.

Thus, when this blogger asserts that Don Draper, the lead character well-played by John Hamm, is racist, some have a hard time dealing with that observation. Others might point to Mad Men creator Matt Weiner's claim that his work is one of "science fiction," except that Weiner admits the atmosphere of Draper's office is overtly sexist and racist.

Thus, Don Draper himself is racist.

Take Mad Men: The Suitcase. In fact, you should because it's great television. The overall storyline is really about two people, Don Draper and Peggy Olson, who's work lives are a cover for their damaged selves. Draper has only his work. Peggy wants to get more recognition from her work. But Draper's also a boxing fan, and here's where his watered-down racism reveals itself.

Draper issues the standard predominantly white fears of the man we call Muhammed Ali, who was then called Cassius Clay.  Draper complained that Ali always boasted.  Draper wanted Liston to win because, essentially without saying it, Liston was the "good Negro," the person that wasn't threatening to Draper's World view, which has blacks in a certain place.

Draper has not faced a black character who was his 1960s equal: someone who was smart enough to establish their own firm to help companies market to blacks.  There's nothing in Draper's makeup, and the Liston remarks confirm this, that indicates he could work with someone black who was his equal.

In reality, anyone who was a white male ad exec in the mid-1960s New York city could not get their by being a 21st Century non-racist. The fact is the Civil Rights Amendment was passed in 1964. It forbade discrimination in the workplace, in public schools, and in voting registration. Now, just because a law is passed does not mean businesses are automatically going to follow it immediately.

Unless Don Draper was out marching for civil rights, and hired black interns or had a black girlfriend, it's fantasy to think Draper wasn't racist. Indeed, it would be inaccurate to the period to present him as not having racist views, yet achieving that level of success.

Remember, Draper's firm has yet to hire an African American at any level above servant, and if they do, you can bet on this: that person's hire will be controversial and what that person has to do to remain at the firm - what they have to deal with on a daily basis - has to be a part of that story line if Mad Men is to be believable.

If such a hire happens it would have to be approved by Draper. If Draper does so, it would have to be only after he overcame a set of racial personal demons himself. It would not - or should not - happen in one episode. In short Don Draper would have to overcome his own racism.

Remember, it's the times. They were racist to an extreme by today's standards. The biggest problem is that many of fans of Mad Men weren't born at that time; this blogger was.

Which drives me to write this blog post.  The simple fact is that even with that racism, the 1960s were a time of pioneering achievements by blacks in the ad World.  As was pointed out in Racialicious:

It’s unlikely Mad Men will acknowledge executives for Pepsi-Cola—led by men including Edward F. Boyd—pioneered marketing to Black consumers in the 1940s and 1950s. Or the late Vince Cullers of Chicago launched the first Black advertising agency in 1956, while Luis Díaz Albertini founded Spanish Advertising and Marketing Services, the first Latino shop, in 1962. Hell, even Alex Trebek won’t recognize such trivia.

The other biggest problem is that television "critics" - either because of their own blindness to racism and institutional racism or because they want to pretend racism doesn't exist by not mentioning it - have written that Mad Men got the 1960s right. TV Critic Tom Shales committed this display of ignorance when he wrote "Details of the period, however, are nicely captured" when Mad Men was introduced in 2007.

He means details like the furniture; Shales left out the dirty issue of people and society in Mad Men.  The simple fact, is that save for Draper quizzing a black waiter on cigarettes, which says more about Don's desire to get information from any source than how he feels about African Americans, Mad Men has not addressed the issue of American racism toward blacks. That was the defining issue of the 1960s.

Toward A Better Mad Men

At first, I must admit, I didn't pay attention to Mad Men because I thought it was going to be a fake-period-piece that didn't hire non-white actors for anything more than five lines at best.   Now, I see it as a potentially useful show that can demonstrate not just the similarities but the differences between race in the 1960s and today.

The burden of proof that Don Draper's not racist is on those who would have to rewrite the history that was the 1960s. Those fans have to accept what President Lincoln said are "the hard facts that created America," and those that continue to shape it.

Michael Douglas Cancer, Paris Hilton Arrest: Celeb Contrasts



On Tuesday night, legendary Actor Michael Douglas was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman.

It was already publicly known that he had throat cancer, but the news that it was at state IV was a shock to Letterman and the public.

This news and the outpouring of love and support for a celebrity who's contributions to the public good have been well noted, contrasts dramatically with last Friday's arrest of Socialite Paris Hilton.

Michael Douglas Will Beat Cancer

Douglas told Letterman that doctors found a "walnut-sized tumor" at the base of his tongue. According to WebMD.com, that means he likely has oropharyngeal cancer. Douglas said it was caused by smoking and drinking.

Just how much Douglas smoke and drank, and what kind of alcohol he was drinking on a regular basis is not known as of this writing. But Douglas vows he will beat the cancer. The son of he legendary Actor Kirk Douglas said he has an 80 percent chance of survival.

Hope That Paris Hilton Survives Her Drug Bust

That Paris Hilton's in trouble with the law again - having been arrested for felony possession of cocaine in Las Vegas last Saturday morning - is sad news. Hilton has been arrested now three times this year alone, but in different countries: France, South Africa, and the United States.

This is a sad current affair considering her 23-day stay in jail in 2007, and the really embarrassing visit to David Letterman which followed that year. On top of the cocaine bust, now Las Vegas police are reporting they found a "joint" in the car Paris Hilton was in.

The trouble is, while the car's being reported as "Paris Hilton's car," there's no evidence to indicate that's the case. It's more likely that the car belongs to her boyfriend Cy Waits. Thus, to even try to pin what the Daily Mail reports as a "wet" and "unable to be tested."

Moreover, the person police described as "the driver" - Cy Waits - said he just finished smoking. So, pinning that on Paris Hilton is at best piling on.

Hilton herself has responded to that rumor, and others like being banned from the "two Wynn resorts on the Las Vegas Strip" on Twitter. Paris tweeted:

These rumors going around are so ridiculous, untrue and cruel. I'm not going to even pay attention to them, because I know the truth.


Here's hoping the best for Paris Hilton: that she beats the charge and is able to get on with her life.   Hopefully Hilton uses Michael Douglas as a role model for the reformation of her image.

ESPN's "Around The Horn" Jay Mariotti Talk Classless

Yesterday, ESPN's Around The Horn TV Show took up the "awkward" subject of the problems of one of its own, ESPN Personality Jay Mariotti.

As sports fans know, Jay Mariotti was arrested on suspicion of domestic assault against a woman said to be his girlfriend.

Jay Mariotti was known for flaming athletes accused of domestic assault, so its weird still that he's accused of doing the same thing.

And while Jay's being raked over the coals for all of that in the media, and he should be, it just seems totally classless for his own show to talk about it. Here's the video:



That should be the one place where they at least take a wait-and-see out of respect for Jay. It's like this: Jay cracks on athletes for domestic abuse problems, Jay gets cracked on for his domestic abuse problems, Jay's own show cracks on him about same problems. So what"s next?

Maybe they don't have respect for Jay?

The logical next step is for someone else at ESPN's Around The Horn to get into the same trouble so they and we can talk about that person.

Does it ever end?