There Will Be Bad Banter

Shorter schedule leaves this year's patter less edited, scribe says
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2008 9:40 AM CST
Actor Colin Farrell, who will be a presenter for the 80th Academy Awards, rehearses at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 22, 2008. Writing appealing banter for presenters can be a major challenge....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Oscar banter may provide the show's shakiest moments, but stars and scribes are known to battle over these lines behind the scenes, the Los Angeles Times reports. This year though is different: The show's strike-shortened schedule is sparing writers from the usual pre-show scrutinty. "The celebrities and their support squads haven't had time to parse every word," banter pro Bruce Vilanch said.

Writers admit to wincing when their patter dies but also celebrate lines that fit a celeb's persona. Naomi Watts presented a special effects prize last year and "went through a long list of mind-blowing effects—lasers, bizarre creatures, stuff like that," one writer remembers. Robert Downey Jr. responded, “Sounds like a Wednesday night in the '80s for me." The line got such applause, he took a bow. (Read more Oscars stories.)