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Seth MacFarlane Oscar Host + Foreign-Language & Documentary Shorts in Contention

Seth MacFarlane Oscars host confirmed: Unusual pick

Seth MacFarlaneSeth MacFarlane, best known internationally for the comedy box office hit Ted, will host the 2013 Oscar ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 24, Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have announced. This will mark not only MacFarlane’s first Oscar-hosting gig, but also his first appearance on the Academy Awards show.

Seth MacFarlane movie and television credits

Seth MacFarlane made his feature-film directorial debut with Ted, starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and a talking (via MacFarlane’s vocal cords) Teddy bear. To date, Ted has grossed $434.11 million globally – the raunchy comedy is no. 9 on 2012’s worldwide box office chart.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Additionally, Seth MacFarlane is the two-time Emmy-winning creator of the television series Family Guy, besides being the co-creator of American Dad! and The Cleveland Show. Last year, MacFarlane released his debut album, “Music Is Better Than Words,” which received two Grammy nominations.

Previous solo Oscar ceremony hosts include Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Jackman, Ellen DeGeneres, Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Chris Rock, Steve Martin (also as Alec Baldwin’s co-host), Chevy Chase, Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, and Fred Astaire. James Franco and Anne Hathaway shared hosting duties a couple of years ago. Much like Seth MacFarlane, DeGeneres, Crystal, Letterman, Carson, and Stewart were known – at least in the United States – chiefly (at times solely) for their TV work.

Among the Oscars’ pre-television hosts were the aforementioned Bob Hope, plus Jack Benny, Will Rogers, Frank Capra, Douglas Fairbanks, William C. de Mille, George Jessel, Conrad Nagel, and Dick Powell.

Eddie Murphy was scheduled to host the Oscar ceremony earlier this year, but bowed out after show co-producer Brett Ratner resigned (or was forced out) following a series of controversial statements.

Seth MacFarlane photo: Courtesy of AMPAS.

Oscar ceremony: Michael B. Seligman named supervising producer

Oscar 2013: Michael B. Seligman will be the supervising producer of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony
Michael B. Seligman will act as supervising producer of the 2013 Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have announced. This will mark Seligman’s 36th association with the Oscarcast.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ press release, Seligman has more than 300 “major television events to his credit.” He has earned ten Emmy nominations, including eight nods for his work on the Oscar telecasts. Among his other producing credits are “America Celebrates July 4th at Ford’s Theatre”; the New Year’s Eve celebration “America’s Millennium”; the NBC special “Funny Women of Television”; and “Return to the Titanic … Live!”

The 2013 Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the United States, the Oscar show will be televised live on ABC.

When I Saw You movie Oscar 2013
The Palestinian territories’ Oscar entry, Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You, with Mahmoud Asfa.

Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: 71 submissions

A record 71 countries, including first-timer Kenya, have submitted movies for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. (See below.) Entries range from France’s international blockbuster The Intouchables to Cambodia’s first submission in 18 years and the Southeast Asian country’s second submission ever: Lost Loves.

Also in the running are Christian Petzold’s Barbara (Germany), winner of the Best Director Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival; Kim ki-duk’s Pietà, winner of the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival; and Michael Haneke’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Amour (Austria; though Amour is a Franco-Austrian production set in France and spoken in French).

Not in the running is Iran’s A Cube of Sugar, which was to have been that country’s submission – until Iran’s powers-that-be decided to boycott the Academy Awards this year (officially) because of the anti-Muslim video/film Innocence of Muslims.

The 2013 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Jan. 10. The Oscar ceremony will take place on Feb. 24.

List of Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entries

Afghanistan, The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi, director;
Albania, Pharmakon, Joni Shanaj, director;
Algeria, Zabana! Said Ould Khelifa, director;
Argentina, Clandestine Childhood, Benjamín Ávila, director;
Armenia, If Only Everyone, Natalia Belyauskene, director;
Australia, Lore, Cate Shortland, director;
Austria, Amour, Michael Haneke, director;
Azerbaijan, Buta, Ilgar Najaf, director;
Bangladesh, Pleasure Boy Komola, Humayun Ahmed, director;
Belgium, Our Children, Joachim Lafosse, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Children of Sarajevo, Aida Begic, director;
Brazil, The Clown, Selton Mello, director;
Bulgaria, Sneakers, Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors;
Cambodia, Lost Loves, Chhay Bora, director;
Canada, War Witch, Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, No, Pablo Larraín, director;
China, Caught in the Web, Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, The Snitch Cartel, Carlos Moreno, director;
Croatia, Vegetarian Cannibal, Branko Schmidt, director;
Czech Republic, In the Shadow, David Ondrícek, director;
Denmark, A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, director;
Dominican Republic, Jaque Mate, José María Cabral, director;
Estonia, Mushrooming, Toomas Hussar, director;
Finland, Purge, Antti J. Jokinen, director;
France, The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, directors;
Georgia, Keep Smiling, Rusudan Chkonia, director;
Germany, Barbara, Christian Petzold, director;
Greece, Unfair World, Filippos Tsitos, director;
Greenland, Inuk, Mike Magidson, director;
Hong Kong, Life without Principle, Johnnie To, director;
Hungary, Just the Wind, Bence Fliegauf, director;
Iceland, The Deep, Baltasar Kormákur, director;
India, Barfi! Anurag Basu, director;
Indonesia, The Dancer, Ifa Isfansyah, director;
Israel, Fill the Void, Rama Burshtein, director;
Italy, Caesar Must Die, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani, directors;
Japan, Our Homeland, Yang Yonghi, director;
Kazakhstan, Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe, Akan Satayev, director;
Kenya, Nairobi Half Life, David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga, director;
Kyrgyzstan, The Empty Home, Nurbek Egen, director;
Latvia, Gulf Stream under the Iceberg, Yevgeny Pashkevich, director;
Lithuania, Ramin, Audrius Stonys, director;
Macedonia, The Third Half, Darko Mitrevski, director;
Malaysia, Bunohan, Dain Iskandar Said, director;
Mexico, After Lucia, Michel Franco, director;
Morocco, Death for Sale, Faouzi Bensaïdi, director;
Netherlands, Kauwboy, Boudewijn Koole, director;
Norway, Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
Palestine, When I Saw You, Annemarie Jacir, director;
Peru, The Bad Intentions, Rosario García-Montero, director;
Philippines, Bwakaw, Jun Robles Lana, director;
Poland, 80 Million, Waldemar Krzystek, director;
Portugal, Blood of My Blood, João Canijo, director;
Romania, Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, director;
Russia, White Tiger, Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
Serbia, When Day Breaks, Goran Paskaljevic, director;
Singapore, Already Famous, Michelle Chong, director;
Slovak Republic, Made in Ash, Iveta Grófová, director;
Slovenia, A Trip, Nejc Gazvoda, director;
South Africa, Little One, Darrell Roodt, director;
South Korea, Pietà, Kim Ki-duk, director;
Spain, Blancanieves, Pablo Berger, director;
Sweden, The Hypnotist, Lasse Hallström, director;
Switzerland, Sister, Ursula Meier, director;
Taiwan, Touch of the Light, Chang Jung-Chi, director;
Thailand, Headshot, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director;
Turkey, Where the Fire Burns, Ismail Gunes, director;
Ukraine, The Firecrosser, Mykhailo Illienko, director;
Uruguay, The Delay, Rodrigo Plá, director;
Venezuela, Rock Paper Scissors, Hernán Jabes, director;
Vietnam, The Scent of Burning Grass, Nguyen Huu Muoi, director.

Annemarie Jacir’s When I Saw You, with Mahmoud Asfa photo: Philistine Films.

Oscar 2013 Paraiso Nadav Kurtz documentary short‘Paraiso’ Nadav Kurtz documentary short is potential Oscar contender.

The Oscars: Eight documentary shorts in contention

Paraíso (photo), The Education of Mohammad Hussein, and Redemption are among eight documentary shorts still in the running for the 2013 Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced. Only three of the eight documentary shorts – out of 31 eligible entries – will ultimately receive an Oscar nomination. The eight documentary short Oscar 2013 semi-finalists are the following:

  • Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s The Education of Mohammad Hussein, described on the IMDb as “an intimate look at how the largest Muslim community in America responds to the provocations of an anti-Islamic preacher.” Ewing and Grady have a previous Academy Award nomination, for the 2006 documentary feature Jesus Camp, which also deals with religion in the United States.
  • Sean Fine and Andrea Nix’s Inocente, about 15-year-old Inocente, a homeless undocumented immigrant in the United States. Inocente is also an artist with big dreams. Inocente was shown on MTV last August. Both Fine and Nix have a previous Oscar nod, for the 2007 documentary feature War Dance.
  • Sari Gilman’s Kings Point follows six longtime residents of Florida’s Kings Point, a retirement community near West Palm Beach that a few decades ago became the destination of hundreds of thousands of senior New Yorkers. Gilman was nominated for an Emmy as editor of the 2007 documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.
  • Cynthia Wade’s Mondays at Racine, which revolves around “two bold, brassy sisters” who, every third Monday of the month, do the hair of women diagnosed with cancer. Wade, along with Vanessa Roth, won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short for Freeheld (2007), which also featured cancer as a subject (along with anti-gay discrimination).
  • Kief Davidson’s Open Heart tells the story of eight Rwandan children suffering from deadly heart conditions resulting from untreated childhood strep throat. With only months left to live, they embark on a journey to Sudan, where they hope to undergo heart surgery at a hospital that offers the procedure for free.
  • Nadav Kurtz’s Paraíso follows the plight of three Mexican immigrants who “risk their lives every day rappelling down some of the tallest skyscrapers in Chicago as they wash windows.” Paraíso was the Best Documentary Short at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Tali Yankelevich’s The Perfect Fit, a Scottish Documentary Institute production that offers a portrait of a ballet shoemaker.
  • Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill’s Redemption, about New York City’s “canners,” those who eke out a living by redeeming bottles and cans. Alpert and O’Neill have a prior Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Subject category for China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (2009). Last year, their In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution was one of the semi-finalists in that category.

The Oscar 2013 semi-finalists were selected by voters in the Academy’s Documentary Branch. They will also be the ones picking out the three eventual nominees.

The 2013 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The 2013 Oscar ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 24, at The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.

Paraíso image: Nadav Kurtz / The Strangebird Company.

Golden Globes: Tina Fey & Amy Poehler ceremony hosts

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, two NBC stars in, respectively, 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation (both are also alumni of the network’s Saturday Night Live), will host the Golden Globes ceremony, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced. The Golden Globes will be broadcast on Jan. 13 via … you guessed it, NBC.

Two-time Golden Globe winner Tina Fey (for 30 Rock) and Golden Globe nominee Amy Poehler (for Parks and Recreation) are big-screen performers as well. In fact, Fey and Poehler co-starred in the 2008 comedy Baby Mama. Fey’s feature-film credits also include Mean Girls, which Fey adapted to the screen and for which she earned a WGA Award nomination; The Invention of Lying; Date Night, opposite Steve Martin; and the upcoming Admission, co-starring Paul Rudd.

Poehler, for her part, has three movies coming out in the next year or so: A.C.O.D., You Are Here, and They Came Together. Additionally, her voice could be heard on the big screen in animated fare such as Monsters vs. Aliens, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and The Secret World of Arrietty.

In the last couple of years, Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes ceremony, much to the enjoyment and/or embarrassment of those present.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Baby Mama photo: Universal Pictures.

Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting: First South African Finalists

Jennifer Garner Butter
Jennifer Garner in Butter, written by Nicholl fellow Jason Micallef.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the ten finalists for the 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. Those ten scripts – from a record 7,197 submissions – will be judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, which may award up to five $35,000 fellowships.

Curiously, four of the ten selected scripts were written by California residents. Only one is from outside the United States: “Killers,” from South Africa – a first for that country. The ten Academy Nicholl Fellowships finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

  • Nikole Beckwith, New York City, NY, “Stockholm, Pennsylvania”
  • Ryan Belenzon & Jeffrey Gelber, Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks, CA, “X”
  • Robert Carter, Red Bank, NJ, “A.W.O.L.”
  • Sean Robert Daniels, Laezonia, Gauteng, South Africa, “Killers”
  • James DiLapo, New York City, NY, “Devils at Play”
  • Allan Durand, Lafayette, LA, “Willie Francis Must Die Again”
  • Laurel Minter, Seattle, WA, “When Thunder Sleeps”
  • Bob Roden, Berkeley, CA, “Return of the Dipsticks”
  • April Rouveyrol, Glendale, CA, “Life Copy”
  • Michael Werwie, Los Angeles, CA, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile”

The recipients of the 2012 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting will be announced before the end of October. The fellowship ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 8, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Additionally, the winners are expected to complete a feature-length screenplay during their fellowship year.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee is composed of producer Gale Anne Hurd (Chair), writers Naomi Foner, Tom Rickman, Daniel Petrie Jr., and Dana Stevens; 1954 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Eva Marie Saint; cinematographers Steven B. Poster and John Bailey; producers Peter Samuelson and Robert W. Shapiro; costume designer Vicki Sanchez; film executive Bill Mechanic; marketing executive Buffy Shutt; and agent Ronald R. Mardigian.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting fellows

Nicholl fellows include Destin Daniel Cretton, whose I Am Not a Hipster premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; Jason Micallef, who wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Butter; and Raymond De Felitta, whose documentary Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival.

Jennifer Garner Butter photo: The Weinstein Company.

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