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#Oscars2015? Zadan And Meron To Produce Academy Awards For Third Consecutive Year

Craig Zadan Ellen Degeneres Seth Macfarlane

The directorial duo Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have become favorites around Hollywood come awards season and now they’ve been called on again to produce the 2015 Oscars ceremony. This will be Zadan and Meron’s third consecutive year running the live broadcast after this year’s ceremony brought in the best ratings in 14 years. Almost 44 million viewers in the United States tuned into the ABC live telecast of Hollywood's biggest night, hosted by comedian, talk show host and potential demigod Ellen Degeneres, 8 percent more than the previous year and the highest number since 2000, according to Nielsen ratings data, via Reuters.

Craig Zadan, Neil Meron
Zadan and Meron's last turn at the Oscars was nothing short of a rousing success.

Whatever Zadan and Meron are doing – so far they have been banking on broad social media appeal – has been working.

Continue reading: #Oscars2015? Zadan And Meron To Produce Academy Awards For Third Consecutive Year

Oscar Producers Zadan And Meron Tease Some Of This Year's Biggest Moments

Ellen Degeneres Craig Zadan Bette Midler U2 Pharrell Williams Idina Menzel Karen O

Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a controversial hit out of the Oscars last year, but they might be on thin ice this time. Getting Seth McFarlane to host anything is a risky bet and his antics last year got a lot of people – notably the feminist crowd – pretty riled up. The controversy served its purpose. Last year’s show pulled in 40.3 million US viewers, the largest audience the show has had in three years. Zadan and Meron’s show was a hit with the key 18-49 demographic and the duo were invited back this year.

Ellen Degeneres
Ellen might be a safer choice for host, but she is far from boring.

And yet. The choice of Ellen for this year’s host suggests that the producers were at least a little bit intimidated by last year’s backlash. This year’s host, Ellen, while hilarious and ever entertaining, is a much safer option and has proven appeal with the Oscars’ key demo – women.

Continue reading: Oscar Producers Zadan And Meron Tease Some Of This Year's Biggest Moments

"Just Prepare", Oscar Producers Advise Nominees At Annual Luncheon

Craig Zadan Tom Sherak

Apart from the award show itself, the Oscar luncheon is the event of Oscar season. Unlike the more stressful award ceremony, the luncheon is an informal opportunity for all Oscar nominees to mingle, regardless of their popularity or likelihood of winning. Attendees of the luncheon receive a goodie bag, a certificate and the chance to mingle with others at their randomly assigned table and the entire event. The Academy also places a member of their Board of Governors at host each table. For an informal event, there are quite a few rules, but this is the Academy, after all.

Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a point of telling them a billion people will be watching in more than 225 countries and that the time begins the moment they hit the microphone and they will have only 45 seconds. “But don’t be nervous,” Zadan said by way of advice to the attendees, according to Deadline. “Just prepare”.

Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, GLAAD Event
Oscar vets Craig Zadan and Neil Meron already know a thing or two about the luncheon.

Continue reading: "Just Prepare", Oscar Producers Advise Nominees At Annual Luncheon

Has The Academy Lost its Nerve Hiring Ellen DeGeneres as Oscars Host?

Ellen Degeneres Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Craig Zadan Seth Macfarlane

Ellen Degeneres has been announced as the host of The Oscars for 2014, confirming our fears that the Academy would lose its bottle after the Seth Macfarlane debacle and retreat to safe, fluffy ground for next year.

"It's official: I'm hosting the #Oscars! I'd like to thank@TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra," the comedienne and talk show host tweeted on Friday (August 2, 2013).

"We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars," said producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who managed to survive the cull from last year, "As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. 

Continue reading: Has The Academy Lost its Nerve Hiring Ellen DeGeneres as Oscars Host?

High Ratings See Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Re-Hired For Oscars 2014

Seth Macfarlane Craig Zadan

Despite widespread criticism – although primarily directed at the host, Seth Macfarlane – The Oscars 2013 was considered a success by The Academy due to the high ratings, especially in the much coveted demographic of ‘young people’.

And in that light, the decision to bring Caig Zadan and Neil Meron back as producers seems less strange. The ceremony was rich in set pieces; Macfarlane, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe did a number, as did the entire crew of Les Miserables. Turns out, people love all that.

Craig Zadan and Neil MeronPartners in crime - Zadan [L] and Meron [R] will work on The Oscars again

Continue reading: High Ratings See Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Re-Hired For Oscars 2014

24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron - 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards held at New York Marriott Marquis - Arrivals - New York City, NY, United States - Saturday 16th March 2013

How Secrets and Lies Got Michelle Obama To The Oscars

Michelle Obama Jack Nicholson Craig Zadan

Michelle Obama was the surprise turn at an otherwise predictable Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday evening (February 24, 2013), presenting the prize of Best Picture to Iranian hostage drama Argo via video-link up. A debate soon erupted on social networking sites: was it right and proper for the First Lady of the United States of America to be getting involved with the Oscars? Right or not, it proved one hell of a job keeping the whole thing under wraps, as the New York Times has since discovered.

"The Academy Awards approached the first lady about being a part of the ceremony," said Kristina Schake, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Obama. "As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all, especially our young people, with their passion, skill and imagination." The original idea to have Mrs Obama participate in the ceremony was hatched by the producers, with film mogul Harvey Weinstein also having a hand in proceedings. "Literally from the first day we were hired we thought, 'How can we make this special?'" said Neil Meron, who helmed the event with Craig Zadan. "We were hoping Obama would win [the elected] so we could have our plan executed." Meron and Zadan soon discovered that Mr Weinstein was pretty close to the Obama family, and the Django Unchained producer made the initial calls. "If we went through normal channels the odds were small it would happen," said Zadan.

The initial plan was for Mrs Obama to guest at the awards show, though the First Lady had a conflict of engagements. After agreeing on a video-link, Meron and Zadan were given a private flight for the trip to Washington though told people they were heading to New York to avoid suspicion. The only other invited Oscars guest to know of the surprise was actor Jack Nicholson, who presented Mrs Obama from the stage in Hollywood. Wearing a shimmering Naeem Khan gown, the First Lady did the honours and opened the all-important envelope to reveal Ben Affleck's C.I.A drama as the winner of this year's Oscar for Best Picture. 

Continue reading: How Secrets and Lies Got Michelle Obama To The Oscars

Seth MacFarlane to Host Oscars 2013

Seth Macfarlane Craig Zadan

The man behind one of the USA's most controversial comedies Family Guy, as well as its spin off The Cleveland Show, and American Dad, Seth Macfarlane will be hosting the 85th Oscars on Sunday 24th February, 2013. MacFarlane's latest work was ‘Ted’, the comedy about a mischievous animated bear voiced by MacFarlane himself and starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.

The Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said “We are thrilled to have Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars. His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh... He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him."

In response to this tremendous accolade, MacFarlane responded by saying "It's truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars” and in true comedic tradition, followed this saying, "My thoughts upon hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors; and two, I hope they don't find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen Roast."

Continue reading: Seth MacFarlane to Host Oscars 2013

Picture - Craig Zadan amd Neil Meron , Saturday 24th March 2012

Craig Zadan - Craig Zadan amd Neil Meron Saturday 24th March 2012 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis Hotel - Arrivals

Picture - Craig Zadan, Michael Urie, Rob... , Tuesday 24th January 2012

Craig Zadan, Michael Urie, Nick Jonas and Rob Ashford - Craig Zadan, Michael Urie, Rob Ashford, Nick Jonas and Neil Meron Tuesday 24th January 2012 attending the after party to celebrate the return of Nick Jonas to the Broadway musical 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying', held at the Glass House Tavern

Craig Zadan, Michael Urie, Nick Jonas and Rob Ashford

Picture - guest, Beau Bridges, Darren Criss,... New York City, USA, Tuesday 3rd January 2012

Beau Bridges, Craig Zadan and Darren Criss - guest, Beau Bridges, Darren Criss, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan New York City, USA - After party for Darren Criss's Broadway debut in the musical 'How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying', held at Sardi's restaurant. Tuesday 3rd January 2012

Picture - Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Theresa... New York City, USA, Monday 12th December 2011

Theresa Rebeck, Craig Zadan and Michael Mayer - Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Theresa Rebeck, Michael Mayer, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan New York City, USA - Special Broadway community advance screening of the TV show 'Smash' held at the Museum of Modern Art. Monday 12th December 2011

Footloose Review

A surprisingly faithful remake of the iconic 1984 hit, this crowd-pleasing romp finds some intriguing present-day resonance without pushing it too hard.

Instead, it centres on the interpersonal drama and exhilarating dance moves.

After his mother dies, Boston teen Ren (Wormald) moves to small-town Bomont to live with his aunt and uncle (Dickens and McKinnon). Teens here are prohibited from dancing due to a tragedy three years earlier, so Ren is soon at loggerheads with the local minister (Quaid), whose daughter Ariel (Hough) is a wild child with a redneck boyfriend (Flueger) and an eye for Ren. As Ren deals with his own issues, he teams up with new friends Willard and Woody (Teller and Blain) to take on the system.

Continue reading: Footloose Review

The Bucket List Review

There will likely be people out there who will like The Bucket List. They will like its easy-to-follow premise, the hollow and overplayed jokes that occasionally come rumbling along, and the AARP-approved folksiness. And they'll really like Jack Nicholson, mugging for the camera as though terrified people will forget that he's still that same devilish old scamp he's been for longer than most moviegoers have been alive. This is not to say that the reason The Bucket List is a terrible film is because there are so many people out there predisposed to liking it. The Bucket List is a terrible film because it's thinly-conceived and even more thinly-executed faux serenity for the masses whose overbearing sentimentality trivializes death in a manner that's truly disturbing, even for Hollywood. But it will find its audience -- many terrible films do.

The conceit behind Justin Zackham's cloying script is a sort of retiree meet-cute: Stick two old guys from completely different backgrounds with utterly opposite points of view in the same hotel room, tell them both they've got terminal diseases that will kill them in a number of months, and then watch them try desperately to do everything in life they've never gotten around to. Make one of those old guys Nicholson and the other Morgan Freeman, add in a director like Rob Reiner who's shown himself in the past to possess both a sense of humor and compassion, and it would seem that the producers would have on their hands a film sure to please nearly everybody: raunchy camaraderie mixed in with earthy wisdom that stares death in the face and dares to crack a smile. Needless to say, that isn't the case here.

Continue reading: The Bucket List Review

Footloose Review

Hey everybody, let's dance!

The teen, male version of Flashdance inspired a love of dancing to bad pop music -- especially if you could do the move where you run, jump, and slide on the dance floor on your knees. Cool, man!

Continue reading: Footloose Review

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