Director Kenny Ortega on Oscar Buzz for “This Is It”
(AP) "Michael Jackson‘s This Is It"
comes too late in the year to be considered for a documentary Oscar,
but the film about the late King of Pop‘s preparations for a series of
comeback concerts could qualify for other Hollywood honors, including
the Academy Award for best picture.
The film, which opened around the globe Tuesday and Wednesday has
already earned rousing praise from fans and critics, who say it
restores Jackson’s reputation as a world-class entertainer.
"What we did here was focus on telling a good story and creating a film
for the fans, really enabling them to understand what Michael Jackson
had dreamed for them," Kenny Ortega said Wednesday.
He added it was his hope "the audience for this film will grow and
that as many people come to see it as possible because I think that
it’s a wonderful story about a brilliant man… Awards, Oscars, that’s
all great wishful thinking."
It may be more than wishful, said Steven Gaydos, executive editor
of the Hollywood trade paper Variety and a self-described cynic. With
the Academy Awards best-picture slate expanded to 10 films this year
rather than the traditional five, "This Is It" could find itself among
the contenders, he said.
To qualify, the film must complete a seven-day run in Los Angeles
County and filmmakers would need to "submit the proper paperwork," said
Leslie Unger, spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences, which puts on the Oscars. The movie could also be considered
in other categories such as sound, she said.
Ortega, a veteran director, producer and choreographer who counts TV’s
"High School Musical" among his credits, could find himself in
contention for a best-director nod, Gaydos said.
"He did a masterful job putting this whole thing together," he
said. "It was so powerful and interesting, so creative and well-done, I
think he should be considered… Kenny just won over all these critics
like me with Michael Jackson that anything interesting could go on with
After completing a weeklong run, "This Is It" could also be
eligible for Golden Globe awards consideration if it’s submitted before
the Nov. 6 deadline, said Michael Russell, a spokesman for the
Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the annual ceremony.
Ortega said an Oscar nod would be a fitting recognition of Jackson’s last work.
"He deserves one," he said. "Come on people."
TII Screened For Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
A veteran Oscar voter predicts Michael Jackson’s "This Is It" will be
nominated for best picture based upon its reception at today’s Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screening.
He e-mails Gold Derby this report, "Just attended Sunday afternoon
screening of ‘This Is It’ at AMPAS in Goldwyn Theater before a capacity
audience (1,000 seats) to experience the most enthusiastic response
I’ve ever witnessed in 40 years of academy screenings. Similar to but
better than the reaction given to ‘Chicago’ a few years ago. Audience
broke into applause at least 10 times. They were ‘mesmerized’ and gave
film an enormous reception as credits rolled. The editing is brilliant.
I predict it will be the first doc to ever make the best picture
nomination list, especially now that there are 10 best pic noms. I also
consider the work ‘a gift to the world.’ "