By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Wolfgang Puck Marks Twenty-Fifth Year Feeding Oscars Governors Ball

91ST OSCARS® GOVERNORS BALL CREATIVE TEAM ANNOUNCED

LOS ANGELES, CA – Academy governor Lois Burwell, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto and master chef Wolfgang Puck will team to create this year’s Governors Bal, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ official post-Oscars celebration, which will immediately follow the 91st Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 24. The Ball’s 1,500 invited guests include Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and other telecast participants.

This year, the 91st Oscars Governors Ball presents “Filmscapes” a compilation of images from world cinema, orchestrated with live soundtracks and instrumental movie songs to accompany live projected films. The ballroom décor palette of rich merlot with Oscar gold emulates movie theater design, to accentuate an immersive, movie-going experience.

For the second time as the Academy’s Awards and Events Committee chair, Makeup Artist Lois Burwell will oversee the décor, menu and entertainment planning of the Ball. Lois won an Oscar for her work on “Braveheart” and earned a nomination for “Saving Private Ryan.” Her other feature credits include “The Princess Bride,” “War Horse,” “Lincoln” and “Ready Player One.” Lois, a member of the Academy since 1997, is currently serving her second term as Makeup and Hairstylists Branch Governor and holds the office of First Vice President on the Academy’s Board of Governors.

Sequoia Productions for the 30th consecutive year, helmed by Cheryl Cecchetto, will work closely with Burwell on the conception, execution and management of the event from start to finish. From micro to macro, the overall theme, design, colors, fixtures and textures all fall under Lois and Sequoia’s creative scrutiny.

For the 25th consecutive year, legendary chef Wolfgang Puck and the Wolfgang Puck Catering team will set the stage for Hollywood’s biggest night with a menu pairing glamour with innovation. Vice President of Culinary Eric Klein worked closely with Chef Puck to create more than 60 imaginative dishes, from one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees, that will be tray-passed throughout the evening. Alongside signature guest favorites of Smoked Salmon Oscars, Potato and Caviar 2.0, and Winter Truffle Baked Cavatappi and Cheese sit newly created menu items such as Heirloom Carrot “Tartare” Vegan Torchio Pasta with Arugula, Tomato and Caper Berries; Nashville Hot Fried Quail with Red Velvet Waffle; and Loup de Mer with Romesco salsa. There will also be made-to-order sushi and raw bar served atop hand carved ice. The pastry team of Kamel Guechida, Garry Larduinat and Jason Lemmonier will create a seemingly endless array of three dozen show-stopping desserts including the popular 24K Gold Dusted Chocolate Oscars, Golden Piper Heidsieck Champagne and Strawberry Push-Up Pops, Square Pillow Cake with Coconut Mango and Passion Fruit, Black Forest “Cherry”, plus multiple action stations such as Affogato with Housemade Ice Cream and Stumptown Nitro Cold Brew. Wolfgang Puck Catering CEO Carl Schuster will direct more than 900 event staff through the evening’s intricately detailed logistics to deliver guests a true restaurant-style hospitality experience.

For more information on the food, beverages and décor of the Governors Ball, visit http://www.oscars.org/press/governors-ball.

The Governors Ball will take place in the Ray Dolby Ballroom on the top level of the Hollywood & Highland Center® immediately following the Oscar telecast.

The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 5:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY
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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin