Friday, February 17, 2006

Cloud 9 could forecast Oscar's Best Picture

Oscar controversy abounds. Our Man Elli in Israel reports from Jerusalem that most everyone in Israel hates Spielberg’s Munich and that “The Revoke the ‘Paradise Now’ Oscar Nomination Petition is red hot, averaging well over a thousand signatures a day, and increasing speed. The revulsion being felt around the world over Hollywood's nomination of Paradise Now, a movie glorifying PLO suicide bombers, is palpable….”

And with Heath Ledger doing public anti-gay whinging and the Associated Press reporting that “while the cowboy love story ‘Brokeback Mountain’ has been established as a solid favorite for the best-picture Oscar, the ensemble drama ‘Crash’ has an ardent following and some late-season momentum that could make it a surprise winner…” We look to the Cloud 9 crystal ball and agree that Crash could be a winner… if only by default.

This site has already pointed out the uncanny similarities between Cloud 9, the surprise motion picture sports comedy hit of the 2006 DVD crop (written and produced by Burt Kearns and Brett Hudson of Frozen Pictures and Academy Award winner Albert S. Ruddy) and Best Picture nominee Crash-- and even more outrageously, the two-degrees-or-less-of-separation between Cloud 9 and every single major 2005 Academy Award nominee.

Now, research by the Tabloid Baby staff has revealed an even scarier, more wondrous connection: two degrees of separation --or less-- between Cloud 9 and every Oscar Best Picture winner of the last 10 years.

The research went back more than 30 years. There was the 1972 Best Picture Oscar, given to The Godfather and its producer Albert S. Ruddy, who’d go on to write and produce Cloud 9 with Hudson and Kearns.

In 1974, the Best Picture Oscar went to Cloud 9’s executive producer, Gray Frederickson, for The Godfather: Part II.

But we skip forward to the past ten years, and look at only the most obvious connections between these lauded films, and Cloud 9, the hilarious motion picture comedy now out on Fox DVD:

1995: Braveheart
Braveheart star, director and producer Mel Gibson is an important presence in Cloud 9's script. Billy Cole, played by Burt Reynolds, is supposed to deliver a ficus tree to Gibson's estate, and is constantly berated by Wong, the nursery owner played by Paul Rodriguez, for failing to do so.

1996: The English Patient
Harvey Weinstein of Miramax took home the statuette. Cloud 9 writers and producers Burt Kearns and Brett Hudson of Frozen Pictures worked with--and for-- Harvey when they produced and wrote Miramax’s first reality television project, The Best Money Can Buy (executive produced by ‘Crocodile’ Dundee director Peter Faiman).

1997: Titanic
Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio was the leading contender to star as the boy who masquerades as a girl soccer player in the 1992 comedy Ladybugs, produced by Cloud 9 producers Albert S. Ruddy and Gray Frederickson (Harry Basil, who directed Cloud 9, was associate producer on the project). Leonardo was rejected after it was decided that he was too pretty.

1998: Shakespeare in Love
See “The English Patient.” Cloud 9 writers-producers Kearns & Hudson produced the Miramax TV project while Weinsten bought-- uh, campaigned for-- the Best Picture Oscar that beat Private Ryan. Meanwhile, Cloud 9 movie-stealer Gary Busey and Ben Affleck starred in the 2003 "World Poker Tour" Hollywood Home Game. Ben was featured with Cloud 9 costar D.L. Hughley in Comedy Central’s Last Laugh ’04.

1999: American Beauty
Star Kevin Spacey appeared with Gary Busey in the 2002 television special, Inside the Playboy Mansion and 1999’s Saturday Night Live 25th Anniversary.

2000: Gladiator
Star Russell Crowe appeared with Burt Reynolds in the film Mystery, Alaska. Costar Joaquin Phoenix showed up at the book party for Tabloid Baby, written by Cloud 9 writer-producer Burt Kearns, at the Bel Age Hotel on the Sunset Strip in 1999.

2001: A Beautiful Mind
See Gladiator for the Reynolds-Crowe connection. Also, Cloud 9 actor Rick Overton appeared in The Rocketeer with A Beautiful Mind’s Oscar-winning Best Supporting Actress, Jennifer Connelly.

2002: Chicago
Star and Oscar nominee John C. Reilly starred in Boogie Nights with Burt Reynolds (who received an Oscar nomination for his role).

2003: The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King
Cloud 9 star Burt Reynolds directed and starred in the film, The Last Producer, featuring Rings hobbit Sean Astin. Gary Busey’s son, Jake, starred in Rings director Peter Jackson’s film, The Frighteners.

2004: Million Dollar Baby
Cloud 9 writer and producer Albert S. Ruddy won his second Best Picture Oscar for this film. Ruddy signed the Million Dollar Baby deal with director Clint Eastwood on the Cloud 9 set in Pacific Palisades. Cloud 9 actors Ken Garito and Tony Danza appear in Crash, co-written and directed by Ruddy protégé and Million Dollar Baby writer Paul Haggis.

As for 2005? Now of course, there are connections between Cloud 9 and Brokeback Mountain, which were pointed out on this site (as well as the new screenplay by Brett Hudson and Burt Kearns of Frozen Pictures that has its own place in the Brokeback trend), so anything goes when it comes to Oscar voting.

But for now, the Cloud 9 Magic Volleyball is pointing toward Crash.

Can you find more Cloud 9 Oscar connections? Send them here!

And see clips from Cloud 9 here!

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