Just a couple of hours before Francis Ford Coppola arrived for a 50th anniversary celebration of “The Godfather” on the Paramount lot, the Academy announced that it had nixed the live presentation of Oscars for eight categories at this year’s Academy Awards.
The legendary director hadn’t heard the news until he was on the red carpet. “All those [categories] are important,” he told me. “It seems odd, but I guess they have their reasons.”
As outlined in a letter sent to Academy members from the organization’s president David Rubin, original score, makeup and hairstyling, documentary short, film editing, production design, animated short, live action short and sound will be presented during a pre-show of the upcoming March 27 ceremony, then edited into the broadcast.
Coppola reminisced about enjoying the Oscars when the ceremonies were simpler. “I don’t like it so much as a big razzle-dazzle production,” he said. “I like it more intimate, when they had a gentle quality that I think was nice.”
He added, “There are too many awards shows now. I liked it when it was just the Oscars.”
Coppola picked up his first Oscar in 1971 for original screenplay for “Patton.” “The Godfather” racked up 10 noms with three wins, including best picture, actor for Marlon Brando and adapted screenplay for Coppola. “There were so many negative thoughts about the picture at the time that I was very unsure and, quite honestly, astonished that it had this success,” Coppola said.
“The Godfather” is currently having a a limited theatrical release in Dolby Cinema at AMC theaters in the U.S., as well as in international territories around the world. All three “Godfather” movies have also been restored under the direction of Coppola and will be made available on 4K Ultra HD for the first time on March 22.
Coppola’s sister Talia Shire, who played Connie Corleone in “The Godfather” films, called her brother “the greatest living director.”
“He’s a marvel and he’s a great, great writer,” she added.
Shire is confident that Coppola will finally make “Megalopolis,” his $120 million film that he is self-financing. “He’s got something extraordinary there,” she said. “It’s a piece that has something spiritual. It’s complex, and maybe we need some ideas right now. This is a transformational period we’re living in — that’s a nice kind word — and Francis’ ideas in this particular piece are very exciting.”