Oscar Facts By the Numbers

It’s that time of year folks — Oscar season. As with every awards season, the culmination always ends at one point, the Academy Awards. This year is no different, as all roads lead to the 88th annual ceremony, which is slated to take place on February 28, 2016. Just to address the elephant in the room, I’m not planning on using this article as a means of addressing the diversity controversy that has dominated the oscar news, you can hear me talk about that somewhere else. Along with this, I thought that it would be a nice change of pace to talk about something a little more lighthearted — some Oscar Facts that you actually may not know.

What’s amazing to me here is how much effort, actually goes into the making of this show that many people write off immediately after watching it. However you may feel about the Oscars, I think that there’s something to be said about this gargantuan production that from the outside seems so simple and easy. Here are some crazy Oscar Facts that you probably didn’t know about 2016’s ceremony.


General Info:


307 — The number of features eligible for Best Picture this year (88th Oscars, 2015).

320 —  The number of features eligible for Best Picture last year (87th Oscars, 2014).

80 — The number of countries submitting foreign language films.

6,261 — The number of voting members in the Academy (as of 12/3/15).

60 — The number of ushers inside the Dolby Theater during the ceremony.

745 — The number of Red Carpet fan bleacher seats.

250 — The number of people who work in the Oscar telecast production office.

100 — The number of production vehicles / trailers (including press and catering).

270 — The number of crew members working during the actual telecast.

20.6 — The telecast rating for 87th Oscars.

37.3 — How many millions of Americans watched the 87th Oscars.



HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Rapper/Actor Common and musician John Legend, with the award for best original song for 'Glory', pose in the press room during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Loews Hollywood Hotel on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

225 — The number of countries in which the 88th Oscar telecast will be seen.

51 — The number of Oscar statuettes given out at the 87th Oscars.

24 — The number of competitive award categories for the 88th Oscars.

787 — The number of press organizations requesting credentials for 88th Oscars.

288 — The number of outlets issued credentials for the 87th Oscars.

1415 — Total number press credentials issued for the 87th Oscars (including technical personnel).

63 — The number of still photographers on the red carpet for the 87th Academy Awards.

1013 — The number of TV press for the 87th Oscars, including camera operators, audio technicians and other crew.

36 — The number of print reporters on the red carpet for the 87th Oscars.


The Oscar Statuette:


3001 — The total number of Oscar statuettes presented since the first Oscars.

13 1/2 Inches — The height of an Oscar statuette.

5 1/4 Inches — The diameter of Oscar statuette base.

8 1/2 Pounds — The weight of Oscar statuette.


Oscar Telecast:


34.9 — Best rating in the past 30 years for a single telecast.

March 29, 1999 — The latest telecast date in the past 20 years.

February 22 — Earliest telecast date in the past 20 years (81st Oscars held in 2009 and 87th Oscars held in 2015).

4 hour, 23 minutes — The longest Oscar telecast (74th Oscars show, held in 2002).

1 hour, 40 minutes — The shortest Oscar telecast (31st Academy Awards show, held in 1959).

March 19th, 1953 — Date of first televised show (25th Academy Awards).

March 29, 1976 — Date since which ABC has been the broadcaster of the Academy Awards (48th Academy Awards).

51 — The total number of years that ABC has broadcast the Academy Awards, including this year (ABC was the broadcaster for a 10- year stint from the 33rd to 42nd Academy Awards, in addition to its current run).


Oscar Venues:


25 — The Venue that has hosted the most Oscar presentations, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with 25 Oscar shows.

15 — Number of Oscar shows hosted at the Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), including the 88th Academy Awards.

3,300 — Seating capacity of the Dolby Theatre on Oscar night.

500 feet — Length of the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre.

33 feet — Width of the red carpet at the Dolby Theatre.


Miscellaneous Oscar Trvia:


19 — The person who has hosted the most oscar shows, Bob Hope.

32nd Academy Awards — The oldest Oscars show poster in the collection of the Margaret Herrick Library (show on April 4, 1960 honoring films of 1959).

34 inch diameter (base), 7 feet tall, 65 pounds — Size of most common set-dressing Oscar during the ceremony.

2011 — The first year that balloting rules first allowed for the possibility of between five and ten nominees for Best Picture. For the first three years, there were nine nominees. For the past two years, there have been eight.

9 — The record for the most Best Picture nominations with for an individual producer, held by none other than Steven Spielberg.

8 — The number of first-time acting nominees in 2016 (Bryan Cranston, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rachel McAdams and Alicia Vikander).

5 — The number of acting nominees who have won previously (Eddie Redmayne, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Winslet).

25 — The age of the youngest four-time acting nominee, Jennifer Lawrence.

6 — The number of actors nominated for the same role in two different films. [Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in Rocky (1976) and Creed (2015) Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley in Going My Way  (1944) and The Bells of St. Mary’s  (1945); Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler  (1961) and The Color of Money  (1986); Peter O’Toole as Henry II in Becket  (1964) and The Lion in Winter  (1968); Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather  (1972) and The Godfather Part II  (1974); and Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in Elizabeth  (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Of these, only Bing Crosby and Paul Newman won Oscars (in 1944 and 1986, respectively).]

13 — The most nominations for Cinematography of any living person, Rodger Deakins. Charles B. Lang, Jr. and Leon Shamroy share the all-time record with 18 nominations each.

12 — The most nominations for Costume Design of any living person, Sandy Powell. The overall record in the category belongs to Edith Head with 35 nominations.

50 — The total number of Academy Award nominations of any living person (including five for Original Song). The only person with more is Walt Disney with 59 total nominations.

89 — The total number of nominations shared between the Newman family (Alfred, Lionel, Emil, Thomas, David and Randy), more than any other showbiz family.

2 — The number of original song nominations this year that come from documentaries, a first for the ceremony. Those songs are “Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction  and “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground

20 — The most individual nominations in a single category. Both sound mixers, Andy Nelson and Kevin O’Connell are tied for the record.

9 — The number of animated features to also receive writing nominations. Inside Out is vying to be the first animated feature to actually win the category.

4 — The most writing nominations for animated films, which is held by both Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton.


Governor’s Ball:


March 26, 1958 — Date of the first Governors Ball, following the 30th Academy Awards presentation. Held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in the Grand Ballroom.

58 — Number of Governors Balls, including the 88th Oscars.

1 — The number of times there has not been a Governors Ball, since 1958 (40th Academy Awards). The ball was cancelled after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

25,090 — Size of the The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

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Pop! Pop! Ep. 19 – Oscars So White… But Are They?

Another week, another Pop! Pop! the Pop Culture Podcast! and another wacky discussion with the LA Nerd and Taylor!

Some dumb ass is starting a petition to make Deadpool PG-13… Over every nerd’s dead body, lady! The Guardians might be coming face to face with a planet… that has a face in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; the guys are sad to report on another death in pop culture this week as everyone’s favorite Harry Potter villain (?) Alan Rickman has passed away at 69; much squee is to be had over the first official Suicide Squad trailer and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and last but not least the guys tackle the subject of racism with this year’s ridiculous Oscars drama of #OscarsSoWhite… but are they!? 

All this and more! on this week’s episode of Pop! Pop! the Pop Culture Podcast! 

Show Notes:

[0:00 – 3:25]  Intro & sweet smooth jams. (Taylor talks about his trip to Oregon, too.)

[3:36 – 8:32]  Petition started for Fox to make a PG-13 version of Deadpool.

[8:33 – 12:27]  Asylum Films starts animation studio and rips off Finding Nemo as their first animated feature.

[12:28 – 17:23]  Ego the Living Planet rumored to be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

[17:24 – 20:56]  Alan Rickman has died at the age of 69; RIP, always.

[20:57 – 28:56]  The first official Suicide Squad trailer is finally released.

[28:57 – 59:20]  The Oscars are facing a giant “racism” controversy this year.

[59:21 – 1:01:18] Shout outs / Outro.

Follow @IMTHELANERD on twitter for all the latest nerdy happenings! 

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The 4 best roles of Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone has more or less admitted that his days of being an action hero are over after confirming that he will no longer be playing the iconic John Rambo ever again. On the UK chat show, The Jonathan Ross Show, he also stated that he plans to act in movies that have a stronger dramatic theme.

The 69 year old actor, who is born from Italian heritage, won a Golden Globe award for his latest movie, Creed, a spinoff to his hit boxing themed movie series, Rocky. He has also been nominated for an Oscar award for Best Supporting Actor for the same picture. Stallone has had an illustrious career so far, and it will be interesting to see how it continues from here.

Although it is strongly believed that both his career and his acting ability is one dimensional, let’s examine those claims by delving into some of his best work to see if that holds up to scrutiny.

1. Rocky

The one that started it all, Rocky has a heavy historical making of process that almost saw Stallone never get to play the title character! The Rocky films have been heavily parodied throughout the years, and one would be forgiven for mostly referring to the unrealistic fight sequences to come to the conclusion that the Rocky movies, especially the sequels, are nothing but cheesy B-fiction. But the original installment had a substantial dramatic approach that was mainly character driven. The fight scenes at the end were narratively told with a highlight effect with the exception of the first and last rounds. It was really only from the third film on that things started to go toward the route of fantastical, as even the first sequel contained many elements that the first picture employed.

2. Copland

Copland was sadly the start of Stallone’s 1990’s demise, and it was unjustifiably so. You have to give credit where it’s due when an actor, mainly known for playing peripheral characters, dips his toe in deeper waters. Copland is a relatively indeterminate film about police corruption in New Jersey. Stallone plays half deaf sheriff, Freddy Heflin. Instead of seemingly infinite shootouts and car chases, Copland is a dramatic thriller that takes its time to unfold. But sadly for Sly, the film sunk and has disappeared without much of a vocal recalling from anybody. That is a shame, but that goes to show the extensive damage that stereotyping can achieve. Do your best to seek this one out should you be in the least bit curious!

3. Daylight

This road tunnel disaster movie was released in 1996 and was probably the last great action film that Stallone acted in that decade before roaring back ten years later with Rambo in 2008. Kit Latura is a former fire commander who was once involved in a rescue attempt that went tragically wrong. When a tunnel in New York City collapses and attempts to persuade the authorities that he should be involved doesn’t materialise, he sets about going it alone to search for any survivors and getting them out. Daylight’s narrative always made sure that the action scenes had their consequences for the characters involved, some really serious in particular. But being a disaster picture, one should expect that. It is a little more serious than what Sylvester had done up to that point, possibly with the exception of the 1980’s film, Over The Top due to that film’s own main theme of what a devoted father would do to get rightful custody of his son. Right up until the end, you never know whether Kit will ever make it out alive with the rest of them! Daylight is one of those movies you watch every time it shows on television.

4. Creed

Okay, so the author here admittedly thought that the new Rocky spinoff was rather dry and could not connect with the film’s main protagonist. But there must be a reason why Stallone was nominated for an Oscar and has already won a Golden Globe award for it! Being mindful to not include any spoilers due to Creed’s still current release, the character of Rocky Balboa has to fight a battle that is a lot different to what he has faced before, all the while training the son of his former nemesis, Apollo Creed. Sometimes there was a feeling of Deja Vu when watching this movie, and memories of Rocky V may come to the minds of a few, but Creed was still different enough to separate itself in particular from the creative camp feeling of Rocky III and Rocky IV and is more in line with Rocky Balboa and the first two installments. Creed 2 is set for a 2017 release with Stallone again taking a close back seat.

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Nominations For The 88th Annual Oscar Awards Have Been Announced!


(PCM) — Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Guillermo del Toro, John Krasinski and Ang Lee announced the 88th Academy Awards® nominations today (January 14). Del Toro and Lee announced the nominees in 11 categories at 5:30 a.m. PT, followed by Boone Isaacs and Krasinski for the remaining 13 categories at 5:38 a.m. PT, at the live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives. For a complete list of nominees, visit the official Oscars® website, www.oscar.com.

Academy members from each of the 17 branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominees are selected by a vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members on Saturday, January 23, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. Active members of the Academy are eligible to vote for the winners in all 24 categories.

The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscar® presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

The nominations are as follows:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”
Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”
Performance by an actress in a leading role

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”
Best animated feature film of the year

“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Achievement in cinematography

“Carol” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” John Seale
“The Revenant” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” Roger Deakins
Achievement in costume design

“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West
Achievement in directing

“The Big Short” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Room” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy
Best documentary feature

“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor
Best documentary short subject

“Body Team 12” David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chau, beyond the Lines” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
“Last Day of Freedom” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman
Achievement in film editing

“The Big Short” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
Best foreign language film of the year

“Embrace of the Serpent” Colombia
“Mustang” France
“Son of Saul” Hungary
“Theeb” Jordan
“A War” Denmark
Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Best motion picture of the year

“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers
Achievement in production design

“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy
Best animated short film

“Bear Story” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
“Prologue” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow” Don Hertzfeldt
Best live action short film

“Ave Maria” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage
Achievement in sound editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord
Achievement in sound mixing

“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
Achievement in visual effects

“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
Adapted screenplay

“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue
Original screenplay

“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

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Chris Rock Will Return To Host The 2016 Oscars!


(PCM) Multi-hyphenate artist and filmmaker Chris Rock will return to host the Oscars® for a second time, producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin recently announced. The 88th Academy Awards® will be broadcast live on Oscar® Sunday, February 28, 2016, on the ABC Television Network. Rock previously hosted the 77th Oscars telecast in 2005.

“Chris Rock is truly the MVP of the entertainment industry,” said Hill and Hudlin. “Comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, documentarian – he’s done it all. He’s going to be a phenomenal Oscar host!”

“I’m so glad to be hosting the Oscars,” said Rock. “It’s great to be back.”

“We share David and Reggie’s excitement in welcoming Chris, whose comedic voice has really defined a generation,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “He is certain to bring his amazing array of talents to this year’s show.”

“Chris may be best known as a stand-up comic, but we think of him as a creative innovator in many other ways. He is unafraid in his artistry,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome him back to the Oscars.”

“Chris Rock is a comedic powerhouse who will bring tremendous energy to the event, and we’re honored to have him,” said Paul Lee, President ABC Entertainment Group.

With a career spanning more than three decades, Rock most recently directed the comedy special “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo,” which premiered this month on HBO. In 2014 he wrote, directed and starred in the critically acclaimed feature “Top Five,” and in 2009 ventured into the documentary world as a writer, producer and star of “Good Hair.”

Rock has enjoyed ongoing success in both film and television as a comedian, actor, writer, producer and director. His feature acting credits include “I Think I Love My Wife,” which he also wrote and directed, “Head of State” (writer, producer and director), “Death at a Funeral” (also producer), and the first three films in the blockbuster “Madagascar” series, as the voice of Marty. His other acting credits include “The Longest Yard,” “Nurse Betty,” “2 Days in New York” and “Lethal Weapon 4.” In 2011 Rock made his Broadway debut starring in “The Motherfucker with the Hat,” which was nominated for six Tony Awards®, including Best Play. In television, Rock created, executive produced and narrated the series “Everybody Hates Chris,” which ran from 2005 to 2009 and was inspired by Rock’s childhood. He was a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1990 to 1993.

Known internationally for his groundbreaking stand-up comedy, Rock has won four Emmy® Awards for his comedy series and specials, including “Chris Rock – Kill the Messenger,” “The Chris Rock Show” and “Chris Rock: Bring the Pain,” and has achieved record audience numbers around the world. He also has earned three Grammy® Awards for his comedy albums Never Scared, Bigger and Blacker and Roll with the New.

The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Nothing Common About This Renaissance Man

Common1Common is on the ride of his life and he is savoring every moment of it.

This Renaissance man won an Oscar, Golden Globe, and a Grammy for his song “Glory” from the historical drama, “Selma,” in which he also starred as civil rights leader James Bevel

Now, he is playing the ultimate bad guy — a super villain — opposite Liam Neeson and Ed Harris in the riveting action thriller, “Run All Night,” which opens on Friday, March 13.

The Warner Bros. movie centers around Neeson’s character, Jimmy Conlon, a mobster and hit man, who has one night to figure out where his loyalties lie: with his estranged son, Mike, whose life, and the lives of his wife and two young daughters, are in danger, or his longtime best friend, mob boss Shawn Maguire, played by Ed Harris, who wants Mike to pay for the death of his own son.

The action, car chases and fast-paced camera work makes “Run All Night” exhausting and well worth the wild ride. Neeson and Harris are mesmerizing, and give thrilling and highly emotional performances. The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (“Non-Stop” and “Unknown”).

Common, who received a standing ovation at the Oscars, and is still basking in the glory of his musical triumph, is looking forward to a stellar acting and musical career. He said there is room in his life for both creative endeavors, in addition to writing books.

“This movie is about working with the greats,” Common explained, during a recent Manhattan press event for “Run All Night.” “When you tell your friends that you are in a film with Liam Neeson and you are going man-to-man with him, you know you are going to get your ass kicked.”

Q: It must be fun to have a character, an inspiring leader, like the one you play [in Selma] and then hear about playing his opposite in “Run All Night.”

Common: It’s a lot of fun for me as an actor to do different roles so that I get to expand. I get to show different things as an actor and explore too. I like being bad, too. As soon as I took the role of Andrew Price I knew it was going to be a journey to get there.

Q: What drives your character of Price? Is it the job? Just getting it done? Or is it revenge?

Common: It’s a drive of getting it done. He’s a goal oriented individual and his goal is to kill. He does have some joy in that and inflicting pain on people, but ultimately it was people like the police officers that were coming and he was like ‘I’m taking you out, I’m taking you out,’ without thinking twice because he has a goal, he’s determined, he’s relentless about taking out Jimmy and his son.

Q: It really showed that there appeared to be a great chemistry among all of you in the movie – Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman and Common.

Common: One thing I enjoyed when I watched the film was that I felt the relationships between the people, I believe that the stories, felt authentic.

Q: What else was going on?

Common: Jimmy and his son really have this friction and have to repair things. Seeing Liam Neeson being hunted, and not at the top of his game and dealing with alcohol, he’s almost rock bottom. He was this hit man that was really great at his job, but he’s not happy about what he did and it was great seeing that transition when he calls Sean, Ed Harris’ character, and he’s like ‘you sure you wanna go through this?’ That’s when you see him rise up and he’s the unstoppable Liam Neeson that we see sometimes. I love how this movie allows for characters to go through things. It’s like a French Connection-type movie but with some new things. It gave me a ‘70s feel.

Q: We talked about the physicality and the stunts. Was there any kind of special training you had to do? The movie was intense to watch and looked extremely intense to make.

Common: The training we did was intense. It was like real fight training. You’re dealing with some of the best because Liam’s team and the stunt coordinator we had are the best. I had to be super sharp.

Q: Did you enjoy it?

Common: Yes, I was looking forward to it because I was like ‘I get to be in a movie with Liam Neeson. I wanna go toe-to-toe with him.’ It was a lot of fun; it was a lot of work, but it was definitely fun. Once we got into that room with the fire we had to get it done because there was only so many takes we could do.


Q: What was your favorite scene to shoot?

Common: The fight scene with the fire turned out well because we worked on the fight coordination a lot. When we were shooting it we had this certain energy and I was like “This is good!”

Q: You have such a way with words, what’s it like building a character with very little language?

Common: It’s funny. Until I watched the movie, and it was mentioned to me, I didn’t realize he didn’t have a lot of dialogue, but his presence is still felt. As an actor, I’ve starred in movies where I only have a couple of lines.

Q: So how do you convey who this person is without the words?

Common: You just got to be alive and present in those scenes so you create the character and he’s alive and breathing so people know him regardless. We know who Price is, even if he didn’t have one word of dialogue we knew who he was. You just have to create those characters. I don’t mind characters without a lot of dialogue because so much can be said with actions and through the eyes. Sometimes you just feel things coming off of people in a scene.

Q: Please talk about your recent Oscar experience for “Selma.”

Common: Being a part of Selma was a life changing, life enhancing experience. Getting to meet Ambassador Andrew Young, one of the first things he said to us was ‘what are you willing to die for? Live for that.’

Q: Wow, that’s pretty powerful to hear.

Common: Yes, that made me go home that night and think about what am I really living for? What would I die for? Those are some of the messages and inspiration we were getting for doing Selma.

Q: What do you recall from the “Selma” experience?

Common: The whole experience was inspiring. Working on the project itself, knowing we were extensions of what the people of that time did, and now seeing the impact the movie had, and [that] the song had [such] an impact. Now younger people know about “Selma” because of the movie and they’re going back and doing research. I feel like that movie is an extension of that movement. It was definitely a great experience for me.

Q: It was very timely, indeed since the anniversary of the Selma March was just this past weekend.

Common: I didn’t get to see everything, but I heard the President had an incredible speech. Just to see the people there celebrating, but at the same token saying ‘we got a way to go. We’re here to commemorate and honor the people who were here 50 years ago, but we have a way to go.’

Q: Was it inevitable that you’d combine your singing and acting? It feels like your acting has improved your music and made certain things possible.

Common: I would say it improved the music, to be honest. I didn’t know I was going to be an actor. I loved acting when I was a kid. Like I did a play and I didn’t get the best reviews so I left it at home. But music was something that felt very natural for me. I loved going to the theater and going to movies. It was one of my favorite things to do and still is. I just started taking acting classes and I felt like this is it.

Q: But you kept them separate, right?

Common: Yes, initially I didn’t want to combine the two. For most movies that I have done, I didn’t also [perform] that soundtrack, because I didn’t want to be viewed as a rapper-actor. This guy is an actor and also a hip hop artist. I represent hip hop culture, obviously, but the point is I’m also an actor and didn’t want to get bunched in with the rest of the people that pursued it from a rap career. Now I’m like it’s great to do music for movies.

Q: Especially for things like “Selma.”

Common: For “Selma,” it’s very inspiring. And it’s great to be able to do films like “Run All Night.” Maybe my music isn’t in it, but you get to see me as an actor. I didn’t come to Run All Night wanting to do music for it; I wanted to be an actor. So when the two combine organically, it works like in Selma. But sometimes I separate them and they just do what they do.

Q: So overall do you see yourself as a storyteller – as an actor or musician?

Common: That’s a good way to say it, a storyteller, that’s great. I eventually want to write scripts. Some of the songs that I write are… they have a visual component to them, a story to them. As an actor you write certain things, you write the person’s story as you tell it. I’m working on a new book, too.

Q: Do you work as an actor as seamlessly as you do with [fellow musician] John Legend, your collaborator on “Glory”?

Common: Acting has opened me up… when I write songs I get into the back-stories and themes and I feel freer as an artist. When you’re an actor you can’t keep cool, you just got to let go. That transferred into some of what I do as a musician. Why you say it’s seamless is because John Legend and I have worked together before, he’s a friend of mine, and we have the same intensity. We want to put out great music and help improve the world in any way we can.

Q: Tell me about the educational aspect?

Common: John has been doing it through educational programs and he’s been very adamant about it. I’ve been doing it through my foundation, Common Ground, and helping the youth and get them to reach their dreams. It was the perfect voice, I couldn’t choose someone better to do that song, it’s like God’s blessing us. At one moment I just said “let me call John about this song.” [Selma director] Ava [DuVernay] mentioned to me late in the film process, while she was editing, ‘Why don’t you do a song? Let’s just call John and see what happens.’ And we just went from there.

Q: How is it now that people are recognizing your talent, your ability, your poetry and durability…?

Common: That’s a good word; and perseverance. They key is if you really love what you do and believe in what you’re doing; and you continue to do it. Sometimes the spotlight will be on you, and sometimes it won’t. Obviously, this has been the most recognition we have ever gotten.

Q: How does that feel?

Common: I wanted my music and art to touch people like it was 10,000 people or 10 billion people paying attention. I just honestly want to keep growing and remembering what that purpose is and growing within that purpose, as a human being, as an actor, and as an artist. The message of “Glory” is similar to things I’ve done before, but everything happens at the right time. If we had the opportunity to do these things before, I don’t think we would have been able to deliver this at such a [high] level.

Q: There’s a maturity involved with all of this.

Common: Maturity and evolution.

Q: And timing…

Common: Definitely timing. Who would have known when we were making “Selma” that unfortunately you have situations like Mike Brown and Eric Garner and protests. We were doing press [events] for “Selma” with protests happening outside. You couldn’t put that together. And because those things happened together it’s moving the meter, bringing up discussion. Younger people who already want to be part of the protest are seeing Dr. King and saying ‘We wanna do that. We can do that in our own way.’ Everything happens when it’s supposed to happen.

Q: So when all is said and done how will you balance your music career with your acting?

Common: I love both; I guess I will be spending less time at the bar.

The post Nothing Common About This Renaissance Man also appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

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