Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Oscar season kicks off with trailer directed by Paul Feig

Director Paul Feig on the set.
Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have until 8 p.m. to cast their vote for this year's Oscar nominees.

Then all fates are sealed.

Winners will be announced during the 86th Oscars Nominations Announcement event (held in the wee hours of the morning) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Days of Oscar-this and-Oscar-that will then follow until Oscar Sunday, March 2.

The sophisticated process of tabulating and verifying votes is conducted by the tuxedo-clad accountants at the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers; the same ones who strut the red carpet with fancy briefcases.

Speaking of tuxedo-clad men and women - have you seen the Oscar trailer directed by new Academy member Paul Feig and choreographed by dancers Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker? 

Albeit absent of any film stars or films for that matter - it does feature the show’s host Ellen DeGeneres dancing with a whole lot of tuxedo-clad men and women. 

“I was admitted to the Academy last year and you have to be an Academy member to direct anything for them,” said the Chippewa Valley High School graduate and director of “The Heat” and the upcoming comedy “Susan Cooper” starring Melissa McCarthy. “Ellen said she’d be interested in me directing a promo for her since she’s a fan of ‘Bridesmaids.’ I obviously jumped at the chance.”

No one had any plans for the promo but being Feig is in the process of putting together a men’s style website he had been kicking around the idea of having people in suits and ties dancing to the Fitz and the Tantrums’ song “The Walker,” which is one of Feig’s favorites.

“I realized that it could be fun to have Ellen dancing down the street lip-synching to the son in a tuxedo as she’s joined by hundreds of other people in tuxes. The message being, that this year everybody gets to go to the Oscars, not just people in show biz,” Feig said. So he wrote up his idea and Ellen and the Academy approved it. Since tWitch works with Ellen on her show choosing him to choreograph it was a no brainer.

What was difficult for the director, who grew up in Mount Clemens, was working with 250 dancers and extras and trying to make sure that he captured their amazing moves on camera in one continuous shot. Two versions of the promo were made -- one 60 seconds and one 30 seconds -- but each spot is different since each is one continuous shot.

“Ellen was a joy to work with and brought such fun and energy to it all,” Feig said, adding that it was an absolute honor to do this for both Ellen and the Oscars. “Now, I just need to win an Academy Award for one of my movies and I’ll be a happy man,” he said.

DeGeneres also said she had the best time making the trailer. “I love Paul, I love tWitch, I love Fitz and I like most of the Tanstrums,” she said.

The trailer is running in theaters nationwide. The video also can be viewed on the Academy’s YouTube Channel at youtube.com/Oscars.

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