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More on the Oscars Upcoming Telecast

Dance audition photos here.

The NY Times’ Michael Cieply talks to Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman – here is a bit from the article:

“How do we get rid of things nobody notices?” is Mr. Shankman’s description of Mr. Mechanic’s favorite question about the show. One such cut: What the two of them describe as introductions of introductions, something Mr. Mechanic found, in an intensive review of the last 13 shows, can add 15 minutes to a broadcast.

Unlike last year’s telecast, when the producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon built their show around a loose description of the movie-making process, this ceremony will have no narrative. “There’s no unifying theme,” Mr. Mechanic said.

I find the “it’s too long” complaint a lazy complaint. People tune into the Oscars for the same reason they money to see epics. They want it to be that long because otherwise it blends into the rest of the shortened and “zippy” awards shows and it thus, lacking in drama. If the Oscars have to dumb themselves down that much their value is going to diminish as a result. Just saying. More after the cut.

Instead he is counting on the hosts, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, for funny snaps, and on Mr. Shankman — a choreographer, film director and “So You Think You Can Dance” judge whom he recruited as his collaborator — for the comic sensibility he brought to “Hairspray.”

“It wasn’t the saccharine sweetness of my work?” cooed Mr. Shankman, who is trim, high-strung and consistently ebullient.

Asked about his plans for dance in the show, Mr. Shankman promised, “You’ll see something on the show that’s never been done before.”

Mr. Mechanic interrupted. “In some ways it’s less,” he said. It was a married couple moment.

As to how the profusion of best picture nominees will be presented through the evening, Mr. Shankman summed it up in a word: “Equally.” The producers said they had spent extra time identifying clips that, in Mr. Shankman’s words, “get closer to the heart of why a picture is there.”

No, there will be no “Avatar” stunt in which a host or anyone else is projected into a virtual world via the proprietary technology of that film’s director, James Cameron. Such gimmickry is too complex for a broadcast that already has sets more complicated than any in Oscar history, the producers said.

Getting that Avatar vibe fairly strongly here in the final weeks, aren’t we? I will be shocked if it doesn’t collect the Best Pic prize. I am white knuckling it with my prediction that The Hurt Locker will win it, but I feel the Avatar pull very strong indeed, even without the acting and writing nominations. It’s really about the popularity of the film and the money it made.