N.Y. Times ramps up site for awards season

The Gray Lady is rolling out a new red carpet.

New York Times will revamp its online kudos-season effort this year; paper will no longer be calling the section “Red Carpet” and may also re-jig two of its three main contributions from last year, a movie-marketing column from Caryn James and Joyce Wadler’s whimsical series on current movies called the “Underfinanced Production Company.”

It is, however, greatly increasing the output of the third contributor, Carpetbagger — aka media columnist David Carr — who will blog at least several times per week and offer musings on both nommed films and the entertainment biz from now through the Oscar season. He will also keep a video blog.

So far, Carr has covered a lot of trade news, on Wednesday noting Martin Scorsese’s first-look deal with Par and that Sarah Silverman will host the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Paper even dispatched the reporter to AFM, where, of his online alter ego “Bagger,” he wrote: “He was assigned to find a story for the newspaper at the American Film Market, a global rug bazaar-cum-film market held at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica. After rushing over from LAX and walking for blocks along Ocean Blvd., the Bagger had the sense that he was lost.”

He later described the confab in the print edition as a “profanely commercial environment, where plot, narrative and aesthetics take a back seat to deal points, foreign rights and presales” and said the show was “where a mix of international financiers, legit movie companies and skeevy producers look for a piece of films like ‘Butcher House’ and ‘Kottentail.’”

Paper last year launched Red Carpet in early December, not long after the L.A. Times initiated “The Envelope,” its awards-season entry.

But the sites reportedly landed advertisers irregularly, in part because some studios weren’t convinced they were a popular destination for Academy voters.

In fact, in some cases studios opted to spend coin advertising in the paper itself — an ironic twist since the site was launched to augment print revenue.

In other Times news Wednesday, Morgan Stanley is intensifying its push to get the Sulzberger family to loosen its hold on the company.

Financial firm, which has been on a campaign for the company to eliminate its dual-stock structure, submitted a proposal of how to do that.

Among its recommendations was for the chairman and publisher roles to be separated.

Morgan Stanley has criticized the paper for creating a voting and non-voting set of stock, which it says leaves many of the important decisions too tightly in the hands of the Sulzberger family.

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