Acad convinces best pix to trim credits

GOOD MORNING: When the Academy Award nominees for Best Picture are announced Feb.15 (at 5:30 ayem PST at the Academy) you can be sure that a maximum of three producers’ names for each of the five films will be read — and no more than three will go up on the stage if their pic wins — unlike last year’s parade for “Shakespeare in Love.” At an arbitration meeting Wednesday of the Academy’s Producers Branch Executive Committee, three movies that appealed were told to lower their number of credits to three. Ironically, one of the members of this committee is Frank Marshall, who, with wife Kathleen Kennedy, Harry Ufland and Ron Bass had been screen credited as producers of “Snow Falling on Cedars.” Marshall said Ron Bass, who also scripted, had graciously OK’d removing his name from this producers’ list for Oscar purposes. And Kathleen Kennedy had been on the Acad’s Producers’ committee as well for eight years. She also tells me that the committee — and the Producers Guild have been fightng the “abuse” of the title “producer.” “It forces everyone to truly evaluate who is the producer(s) . We are really trying to bring respect for that credit.” The Kennedy/Marshall team has producer listing for two other potential Oscar nominees, “A Map of The World,” and, with Barry Mendel, as producers of “The Sixth Sense,” two of my favorite films of the year. Meanwhile, M.Night Shyamalan, director of their “The Sixth Sense,” is already one of the five DGA nominees and Kennedy/Marshall are of course looking to do another with him and Bruce Willis and youngster Haley Joel Osment. Kennedy and Steven Spielberg are readying to produce the next “Jurassic Park” with Joe Johnston (“October Sky”) to direct at Universal. Kennedy/Marshall team on “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” with Rob Kinkoff (“Stuart Little”) directing at Universal and K/M are also readying the “Twister” sequel as a U/WB bigscreen’er. They are also preparing “American by Blood” with screenplay by David and Janet Peoples (“The Unforgiven”) and also at U, “The Big Clock” scripted by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne. And the duo is in preparatons for Roald Dahl’s “The B.F.G.” at Par. Marshall is also directing a feature documentary for Disney, “Last Dance” based on the last year of Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls. There’s no question that Kennedy and Marshall earn their credits as “producers.”

FOUND: THE MARS POLAR LANDER. Where: “On Gilligan’s Island.” When: in 1965 when creator/writer Sherwood Schwartz had a lost probe landing on “Gilligan’s Island” for the seg titled, “Smile, You’re on Mars Camera” written by Al Schwartz and Bruce Howard. NASA can catch the seg as “Gilligan’s” re-runs regularly on TBS. A contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” declined answering a question (but retaining half his accumulated winnings) when asked to choose on which TV show did Woody Allen and Neil Simon work together. The choices givn him were “Your Show of Shows,” “Laugh-in,” “I Love Lucy,” “The Texaco Star Theater.” Regis Philbin noted the correct answer was “Your Show of Shows.” Not so, says Larry Gelbart — who should know — he worked with Woody and Doc on the show titled “Caesar’s Hour”… Sid Caesar will receive a tribute from the Museum of Television & Radio Feb.9 at the Waldorf, celebrating the 50th anni of Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows”… Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Chris Rock are a few of the celeb voices to be in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” animated series version of the feature for for ABC, Touchstone, Miramax. Smith is also aboard as Silent Bob. He also plans a feature sequel to “Clerks,” saying “I won’t let it die”… John Travolta, sidelined by an eye infection and unable to intro the Barbra Streisand Golden Globes seg with Shirley MacLaine, is still sidelined and unable to return to work on Par’s comedy, “Numbers” with Lisa Kudrow for director Nora Ephron. It’s hoped he’ll be back at work next Monday as there is only one day left to shoot sans principals.

THE CHRISTOPHER REEVE PARALYSIS FOUNDATION is the recipient of the “Hope in Motion” fundraiser of the 18th annual American Ski Classic March 11 at Vail. Ski champs team with celebs in downnhill races to raise funds for the Reeve research org … Michael Crawford performs two gratis concerts Jan. 29-20 at the America Cup Village in Auckland … Photojournalist Michael Jacobs, who has lensed everything from Miss World pageants to Barbra Streisand’s millenium concert at the MGM Grand, makes his directorial debut at North Hollywood High for the Jan. 28-29 “Miss L.A.Scholarship Pageant”… Jack Lane, who drew the hundreds of caricatures for the walls of the Brown Derby, has drawn a cartoon strip “Who’s Zoo” peppered with celeb figures … Best-selling author and former U.S. Air Force Capt. Dale Brown has made a deal with Michael Viner and Deborah Raffin’s new Millennium to coproduce features/telepix of his works including his latest, “Battle Born”… Gwen Davis’ romance novel, “Lovesong” (Doubleday Book Club) is part of a sweepstake contest by Four Seasons Resorts Bali and Singapore Airlines.The sweepstakes winnings, a vacation at the resort, are available only to book club members — there are a million of ’em.

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