The year the Academy Awards went to The Os­cars

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REELNEWS ON THE RECORD -

Al­most un­no­ticed (un­til now), this week­end’s Os­cars have un­der­gone a de­gree of sly re­brand­ing. Last year, posters and of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tions re­ferred to the cer­e­mony as the “84th Academy Awards”. That for­mula ap­peared on this year’s pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial un­til about three weeks ago, when the num­ber “85” was shuf­fled away with the gongs’ of­fi­cial ti­tle. It seems that we are now look­ing for­ward to “The Os­cars”.

Ear­lier this week, Neil Meron, co-pro­ducer of the tele­cast, con­firmed the sus­pected re­mar­ket­ing. “We’re re­brand­ing it,” he told The Wrap. “We’re not call­ing it ‘the 85th an­nual Academy Awards’, which keeps it mired some­what in a musty way. It’s called ‘The Os­cars’.”

Sure enough, the lat­est poster features Seth MacFarlane, Sun­day’s host, clutch­ing an award be­neath those two words. Press re­leases now use the phrase “Os­cars for out­stand­ing film achieve­ments of 2012”, rather than “the 85th Academy Awards”.

It’s hardly a mas­sive break with his­tory, but it does look as lit­tle as if the Academy is try­ing to echo the lan­guage of nois­ier awards such as the stupid Gram­mies.

As we move into the fi­nal fur­long, Ben Af­fleck’s Argo – de­spite not se­cur­ing a best di­rec­tor nom­i­na­tion – now looks close to un­beat­able. It is hard to see any­one other than Steven Spiel­berg or Ang Lee tak­ing home the di­rec­tor’s stat­uette.

If Argo does tri­umph, then we should see one of those two film-mak­ers re­peat the un­wel­come feat of win­ning best di­rec­tor for a film that doesn’t take the top prize. Nei­ther Lee’s Broke­back Moun­tain nor Spiel­berg’s Sav­ing Pri­vate Ryan con­verted the mega­phone stat­uette into a best film or­na­ment.

Gold-fin­gered: Seth MacFarlane is the Os­car ring­mas­ter

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