2012 Oscar ballyhoos & controversies

Prior to the upcoming Oscar telecast, more than a few eyebrows have been raised over revamped rules and omissions. But a few other stories have been making news or making waves.
From the king to God

Former Hollywood starlet turned nun, Mother Dolores Hart, is the centerpiece of the nominated documentary short, God is the Bigger Elvis.

During her brief career in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Hart was nominated, and even won a few prestigious awards. At 19, she gave Elvis his first on-screen kiss (in Loving You). Thus the doc short title.

The documentary chronicles her life as a nun after a Hollywood career where her costars included Presley, Anthony Quinn and George Hamilton. Her last appearance on the big screen was in 1963. It also focuses on the day-to-day life of the nuns at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, which is also a working farm and produces artisanal cheeses.

I’m guessing that one reason the head of the abbey has allowed this intrusion into the nuns contemplative life is because the abbey is in disrepair. The sisters are looking at $4 million worth of work, from structural to ADA compliance for the aging nuns in order to maintain living standards.

What’s a bit of pimping if it’s all for a good cause? I’m looking forward to seeing Mother Dolores walking the red carpet. She’ll be the only person who won’t get asked, “Who are you wearing?”

God Is the Bigger Elvis airs April 5 on HBO. There is no trailer available, but here’s an interview with Mother Dolores Hart.

The sound of [stolen] music

I don’t even understand this one, known as “The Kim Novak Controversy.” It’s an artistic argument versus a legal choice.

A slice of the film score for The Artist originated in the film Vertigo. Kim Novak, co-star in Vertigo, alleges that the music was a creative collaboration between composer Bernard Herrmann, co-star Jimmy Stewart and herself. Her contention: That piece of music is so specific to that scene within that film, that it should never have been repurposed elsewhere.

Novak refers to the music’s use in The Artist as a “rape.”

Director Michel Hazanavicius released this statement in response.

“The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew’s) admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I’m very pleased to have it in mine. I respect Kim Novak greatly and I’m sorry to hear she disagrees.”

While the use of Hermann’s score has been slammed by some film critics for recalling Vertigo – thus out of place in his film, Hazanavicius did nothing wrong.

He told CNN:

“I used music from another movie, but it’s not illegal. We paid for that, we asked for that and we had the permission to do it. For me there is no real controversy… I feel sorry for her, but there’s a lot of movies with music from other movies, directors do that all the time and I’m not sure it’s a big deal.”

Welcome to Hollywood, Michel! The full text of this bizarre ad was placed in Variety by Ms Novak. Decide for yourself if the choice of music should have been rethought.

No joy in Muppetville

The last petty tale before the 2012 Academy Awards® are presented – dissed Muppets!

That’s right. With only two original songs nominated this year (Man or Muppet and Real in Rio), the Academy chose to shorten the show by scrapping the performances.

Charming as the Muppets are, they could not change the minds of the show’s producers. Personally, anything to shorten the ceremony gets my vote. But in case you didn’t see the film and feel cheated, here’s the clip.

Will you watch the ceremony this Sunday, or just catch up the next day? Don’t forget to check out my predictions.

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