Oscars pick director, unveil documentary shortlist
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar organizers joined the MTV generation on Wednesday, naming Hamish Hamilton as director of March's movie awards ceremony, and they also unveiled their shortlist of films vying for a best documentary nomination.
British-born Hamilton, 43, is a first-time Oscar director, but he is a veteran of numerous live-event programs including this year's MTV Video Music Awards, and the MTV Europe Music Awards and Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2008.
"His approach definitely won't feel like 'business as usual,' said one of the show's co-producers, Bill Mechanic.
The Oscars, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are the second most-watched U.S. television show after professional football's Super Bowl. The ceremony also is seen in some 200 countries worldwide.
But viewership has been in a general decline for many years due to the growing number of honors programs, among other reasons. As a result, Oscar organizers have tried to liven up their show, especially for younger movie fans.
For February's show, they brought on song-and-dance man Hugh Jackman to host, and for the upcoming program on March 7, they have paired comedian Steve Martin and comic actor Alec Baldwin to boost the laughter.
Mechanic's co-producer Adam Shankman, who directed "Hairspray," said Hamilton "will bring enthusiasm, experience and a fresh eye to the table."
Organizers also unveiled their list of 15 films that will vie for a best documentary nomination, including well-known titles such as "Food, Inc.", which looks at the food industry, and "The Cove," about the capture of dolphins in Japan.
The other 13 documentaries up for consideration are:
"The Beaches of Agnes"
"Every Little Step"
"Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders"
"The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and
The Pentagon Papers"
"Mugabe and the White African"
"Soundtrack for a Revolution"
"Under Our Skin"
"Valentino The Last Emperor"
"Which Way Home"