You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Journal follows in Variety‘s footsteps

GOOD MORNING: Hey, Wall Street Journalists, polling Academy voters on their Oscar choices — that’s old stuff to Daily Variety staffers and readers. This paper holds a batting average of .868 in announcing the upcoming correct winners in eight categories. For 11 years, the polls’ results were front page-bannered on the day of the Oscars and bows were taken on page 2, the day following, along with the actual results of the previous night. The last poll was printed Wednesday, March 26, 1958. Among the Oscar winners, “Bridge on the River Kwai,” Alec Guinness, Joanne Woodward, David Lean, Red Buttons and Miyoshi Umeki (Variety missed with Umeki, its poll reporting Elsa Lanchester of “Witness for the Prosecution” as the projected winner). The next year, Daily Variety, then under the helm of its new editor Tom Pryor, did away with its poll. Pryor (84) says, “I didn’t think it (the poll) was right.” Neither the Acad’s or studios’ negative opinion about the poll had anything to do with his decision. And he says, if they had asked him to pull the poll, “I would have told them to go —- themselves.” The winners that year were: “Gigi,” director Vincente Minnelli, David Niven (“Separate Tables”), Susan Hayward (“I Want To Live”), Burl. Ives (“The Big Country”), Wendy Hiller (“Separate Tables”). The TV show — without commercials — was produced by Arthur Freed and it was skedded for 90 minutes; it ran 20 minutes short which occasioned m.c. Jerry Lewis to bring the entire cast on stage at the Pantages and had them repeatedly singing choruses of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” until NBC finally pulled the plug and subbed a filmed sports show to fill the gap. The next year, the TV show ran two hours and 10 minutes and again it was skedded for only 90 minutes. It’s hard to picture a 90 min. Oscar show anymore!

PARAMOUNT APOLOGIZED TO the Alan Ladd family after reading here that the studio’s “Wonder Boys” had erroneously named the onetime Paramount superstar as a “suicide.” Sherry Lansing immediately told Alan Ladd Jr. his father’s name would be deleted in the upcoming video and — what else could they do? Ladd, fils, suggested naming a building on the lot after him. Many Paramount studio buildings bear names of far less successful stars than Alan Ladd. That, too will be corrected. “Shane” is back where he belongs! … Meanwhile, Alan Ladd Jr. who has moved his company off the Par lot, is busier than ever — after a three-year drought in which none of his projects reached the screen. He has set up financing with German and N.Y. backers to immediately launch, through the Ladd Co., “Unfinished Life,” to be directed by Mark Rydell, “Glimpses of the Moon,” scripted by Leslie Dixon, and the Bette Midler starrer, “Finders, Keepers” by John Luessenhop. Also the big budgeter, “Day After Tomorrow,” in turnaround from MGM, and a thriller-actioner to star Pierce Brosnan (subject to rewrite). Ladd has also purchased rights to the screenplay of “The Storm,” a bank heist during a Miami hurricane, by Alex Pacjin in which Ladd partners with ex-associate Don Kopoloff. Plus a period adventure , “Knights Of The Sky,” by Brad Mosley and Gerry Gacek, a WW I fighter pilot story. As earlier noted, Ladd also has the WWII “With Wings Of Eagles” to go at Par in a year with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also at Par, “The Hand of God” by Randall Wallace, “North of Cheyenne” to be directed by Jon Amiel, “The Orient Express” TV series and Pat Conroy’s “Beach Music.” As Laddie noted about this bizness, “It’s either a feast or a famine!”

FURTHER PROOF OF KIRK DOUGLAS’ determination — and ability — to resume his amazing acting career is CBS’ “Touched by an Angel” seg airing Sunday. Titled “Bar Mitzvah,” about an 83-year-old recuping from a stroke, was co-written by Douglas’ rabbi-teacher for his own Bar Mitzvah, Rabbbi Joseph Telushkin and Allen Estrin. But Kirk laments, “I’m now unemployed!” Not for long, for sure … Billy Wilder, who receives Germany’s highest honor, the Cross of Merit, today, from German ambassador to the U.S., Juergen Chrobog, viewed the Oscar nominated docu, “One Day in September,” about the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich, and tells me the pic “is very moving and very touching” … Roy Christopher who won the Art Directors’ Award for designing last year’s Oscars, returns to the stage, acting in David H. Vowell’s “Acts of Passion” at the Two Roads Theater in Studio City. Christopher is also designing the sets for B’way’s Kristin Chenoweth’s upcoming NBC pilot at Par … Annie Potts who joined the troupe of “Vagina Monologues” at L.A’s Wiltern, joins the Gotham production with Gina Gershon and Lynn Thigpen, April 4-16 … Women In Film’s Finishing Fund launches twice-yearly online auctions of celeb memorabilia beginning with this year’s Oscars via FilmFestivals.com. WIF asks all nominees to donate items. Latest addition at NBC’s new talent agency, Beyond Talent Management, is Donna Chavous alumna of SLBG and CAA … Norman Lloyd joins the April 9 CBS “live” re-creation of “Fail Safe,” directed by Stephen Frears in the role of Secy. of Defense, originally played by William Hansen in the 1964 Sidney Lumet feature … Although Steven Spielberg says no final decision has been made on his next pic, it looks more and more like “A.I” (“Artificial Intelligence”) as those attached to ready his “Minority Report” are freed and other regulars of the Spielberg team have been asked to be ready for a July 15 start of “A.I.” for DreamWorks/WB.

More Voices

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    WGA, Agents Face Tough Issues on New Franchise Pact (Column)

    The Writers Guild of America and the major talent agencies are seven weeks away from a deadline that could force film and TV writers to choose between their agents and their union. This is a battle that has been brewing for a year but few in the industry saw coming until a few weeks ago. [...]

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. Related 'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. Related 'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig [...]

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. Related 'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & Elizabeth Kruger Board Series Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content