NEW YORK (AP) — With only a week to catch our breath after the lengthy cavalcade of Winter Olympics coverage, this year's Oscarcast may have seemed a refreshingly snug handout of awards. After all, it lasted only slightly more than three and a half hours, aired on ABC from a single venue (Hollywood's Dolby Theatre), and was emceed by the comfortably reliable Ellen DeGeneres.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a blustery few days of torrential downpours, Hollywood appears ready for smooth sailing at Sunday's Academy Awards. But things got off to a soggy start as lingering showers persisted through midafternoon, soaking portions of the red carpet that had been uncovered in anticipation of clearing skies.
Hollywood counted down the hours Sunday as stars gathered for the most fiercely contested Oscars show in decades, with three movies leading the field for Tinseltown's most highly coveted prizes. They awoke to gray skies but no downpours for the first time in three days, and a canopy protecting the Hollywood Boulevard runway leading into the Dolby Theatre was finally removed. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs told AFP: "This has been an incredible year for films. On the acting front, Cate Blanchett is favorite for her turn in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine," while Matthew McConaughey is widely fancied to strike Oscars gold for his portrayal of homophobic HIV-positive AIDS activist Ron Woodroof in "Dallas Buyers Club."
By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In true Hollywood fashion, the Academy Awards on Sunday promised a cliffhanger finale to the tight race for best picture Oscar between favorites "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" and a big gamble on rain and the red carpet. After three days of heavy downpours soaked parts of the red carpet along Hollywood Boulevard, workers removed the plastic tenting and unwrapped the golden Oscar statues hours before hundreds of movie stars in designer dresses and tuxedos begin arriving for Hollywood's biggest night. And while it was still drizzling outside the Dolby Theatre as TV crews from around the world went live from Hollywood, organizers were confident that the most glamorous of red carpet shows would go off without a hitch.
By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Non-Stop", a thriller starring Liam Neeson as a U.S. air marshal trying to stop a string of murders on an international flight, collected $30 million in ticket sales to soar into the lead at the domestic box office. It swept the week's other new film, "Son of God", into second place with $26.5 million in sales during a strong box office weekend which coincided with Sunday's bestowing of its annual Oscars, Hollywood's biggest night. The voice of the 61-year-old Irish former amateur boxing champion is also featured in the animated "Lego Movie," which "stars" characters based on the colorful plastic toy blocks. "This was a great result for the weekend," said Nikki Rocco, president for domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, which released "Non-Stop".
The searing historical drama also earned prizes for British director Steve McQueen, supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o, best cinematography and best screenplay. The film, inspired by the true story of Solomon Northup, recounts the harrowing tale of a black violinist from New York state who was kidnapped and sold into slavery before the US Civil War. Brad Pitt -- who starred in and co-produced the film -- said he had been touched from the outset by the story of a "man trapped in completely inhumane circumstances and trying to maintain his dignity." To be part of that doesn't come along that often," Pitt, who braved the rain to attend the laid-back ceremony in Santa Monica with his partner Angelina Jolie, told reporters.