Oscars news: Last year’s Academy Awards made $56 million, battle for Best Director

Tim Gray reports,”The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released their yearly report on Wednesday, which revealed the budget for the 2014 Oscars: $40.8 million. The 86th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, posted $97.2 million in revenues, up from $93.7 million the previous year. Featuring the infamous Oscar selfie, the show drew more than 45 million viewers becoming the most-watched entertainment event in over 10 years.” Variety

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Kevin Polowy prefaces his predictions thus: “As usual, some of this year’s races — including Best Supporting Actor and Actress — appear so settled that the announcements feel like a mere formality. Other categories, however, are agonizingly close: The Best Actor and Best Actress races, for example, are crowded enough to ensure that at least a handful of big-name stars will get shut out. And even though there are at least a few shoo-ins for Best Picture, you never know what surprises the Academy has in store for us.” Yahoo!

For Sasha Stone, “One of the most slippery categories, alongside Best Picture, is Best Director this year. There is really no precedent to what we’ve been seeing at all. While on the face of it, the circumstances look like 2012 all over again, where the consensus was rejected by Academy voters, swapping out the popular choices, Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck with Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin, indeed, the DGA itself broke with consensus by inserting Clint Eastwood (‘American Sniper‘) and Morten Tyldum (‘The Imitation Game‘) for David Fincher (‘Gone Girl‘) and Ava DuVernay (‘Selma‘). Awards Daily

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Esther Zuckerman observes, “After Chris Pine and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce this year’s Oscar nominations Thursday morning, those who have been following this year’s race will have a lot to talk about. Will ‘Boyhood‘ be unstoppable? Did ‘Selma‘ get the attention it deserves? Which actor is crying into his cereal? Have you seen ‘Cake‘ yet?” EW

Kris Tapley & Greg Ellwood note, “Thursday is a big day in Hollywood. Not only do we finally find out the nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, but later that night many of the expected winners will get to rehearse their Oscar acceptance speeches at the 20th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Like the HFPA and the Golden Globes, the Broadcast Film Critics Association has traditionally fallen in line picking the consensus selections that most pundits expect to win the most coveted golden statue of them all. That being said, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards have often gone against the grain and, sometimes, made the better (for lack of a better word) “choice.” In fact, they have done it more often than you’d think, at least as far as we’re concerned.” HitFix

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