Oscars news: Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o to present

As expected, last year’s four acting champs — leads Cate Blanchett and Matthew McConaughey and supporting players Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o — will return to present at this year’s Oscars on Feb. 22. In making the announcement, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said, “the great tradition of having the previous year’s Oscar-winning best actors and actresses in all four categories happily continues this year with this amazing quartet.” Oscars

UPDATEDExperts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Tim Gray notes, “the academy has been under fire for the lack of racial and gender equality in Oscar nominations, but there’s one area where the org can freely boast about diversity: this year’s international contenders. There are non-U.S. nominees in 22 out of 24 categories. The long list includes two of the five directors — Norway’s Morten Tyldum (‘The Imitation Game‘) and Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (‘Birdman‘) — as well as all five nominees in the music-score category, the first time that’s ever happened.” Variety

Francesca Wade reports on “the covetable goody bag, officially titled the ‘Everybody Wins at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag’, is being handed out for the 13th year by the Los Angeles-based marketing firm Distinctive Assets. This year’s bag is valued in excess of $80,000 (£53,000) – half the value of the $150,000 bag on offer in 2005, since which the Internal Revenue Service deemed the gifts taxable. Goods donated by 59 brands, the most expensive including art, fine wine, jewellery and luxury travel vouchers, are delivered in a box the morning after the awards ceremony to 20 nominees in the acting and directing categories who don’t take home a gong. But just in case disappointed nominees might consider letting themselves go, the bag has a notably health-conscious focus.” Daily Telegraph

See Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Bill Desowitz observes, “There is no greater showcase of  ‘Interstellar”s VFX and sonic excellence than in the ’emergency docking’ scene. The Oscar-nominated VFX involves both full CG and practical, as well as a combination of the two, while the Oscar-contending sound editing and mixing immerse us in the action in a most visceral way … As VFX supervisor Paul Franklin explained, ‘The opening shots of Dr. Mann reversing into the airlock on the side of the Endurance were accomplished with the miniatures with the full size Ranger [from New Deal Studios], which we used for the foreground elements and then the 1/15 scale miniature of the Endurance for the moment when we see the Ranger entering the docking port. That involves very precise motion control work by New Deal. They had to reconcile the movement of the motion control camera with the live-action camera that Chris had shot on the full-size model.'” Thompson on Holllywood

For Mike Reyes, “the subject of a Best Stunt Performance category is one that needs to be had. A stunt performance takes as much skill and dedication as any traditional ‘acting’ performance. If anything, that sort of performance takes more from both columns, as stunt coordinating is an exact science that plays with a lot of variables that could either thrill or kill on a movie set. The only thing that might be really tricky is deciding who would actually get the award, as David Leitch admits that the performers, the coordinators and the choreographers all play different sized parts on different projects.” Cinema Blend

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