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Nikki Finke Is Giving Me a Headache

By admin Published: February 23, 2007

And its name is Oscar. Possible Sunday-night spoilers, after the jump ...

On Sunday night, I will be watching the Academy Awards, and blogging, and writing a piece for Monday's Beacon Journal. Not sure exactly what I will be writing about -- there is some unpredictability to live events, even carefully stage-managed ones -- but I've been gathering string, including a couple of recent reports by the acidic and well-connected entertainment reporter Nikki Finke.

And why is she causing me pain? Because, under the best of conditions, an Oscar telecast is overlong, the occasional bright spots surrounded by dead zones. And Finke's reporting has indicated this year will not include the best of conditions. One example:

Sunday night's Academy Awards telecast could end up the longest on record. That's the prediction I've been given by one VIP who helps oversee this 79th Oscars and is therefore in a position to know. Sad but probably true, since this year's producer is Laura Ziskin (Spider-Man) who was responsible for bringing in the 74th show at what was then a record 4 hours and 23 minutes. Yikes, is the Academy trying to drive away TV viewers? But I've also received a phone call tonight from an insider working on the show assuring me that today's rehearsal clocked in at only 3 hours, 41 minutes long. "Right now, the show is cutting, cutting, cutting.

Even 3:41 feels way long, especially for those of us staring at a deadline or an early rise. But wait, there's more. Here's a tidbit from her column of 8 Oscar telecast spoilers:

I'm told that there's a big change in the order that the awards will be presented. The Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards will NOT be presented in the up-front portion of the show, as in previous years. Instead, none of the acting awards will be given out until the last third of the telecast. The Academy is doing this, I understand, because Oscar viewership starts out strong and then wanes. Ziskin is hoping that this will keep the audience glued to the entire broadcast hour after hour. But I understand this decision was hotly disputed because it breaks with tradition. All I can say is that now there's not much reason to watch the beginning of the show, either.

I hope that "hotly disputed" means they could yet change their minds. It's tough enough going through that long wait between the early acting awards and the big finish. It will be that much more difficult if there are no significant awards to talk or write about. I can say only so much about fashions. So I'm hoping that Ellen DeGeneres has some great things planned. (Finke also has some spoilers about that, which you can find on the link above.)

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