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Little Miss Sunshine Producers Get the Oscar Axe

Littlemisssuns_1 Here's the THR story on Bona Fide producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa getting the axe on accepting the Oscar for "Little Miss Sunshine." The Academy decided not to include manager-producer-turned-studio-chief Brad Grey's name on "The Departed," and struck Berger and Yerxa from the five "Sunshine" producers. The movie wouldn't exist without them. They're the ones who had worked on Alexander Payne and Tom Perotta's "Election" and got to know Matthew Broderick's then-assistant, Michael Arndt, who gave them the screenplay when he finished it because he really liked and respected them. (They also produced Perotta's Little Children.)

"The problem is with the Academy's rule-of-three; two of the five would have had to voluntarily drop out," writes THR film editor Gregg Kilday. "It seems it would have been fairer if either Ron or Albert dropped out, leaving one of them to be represented. Marc Turtletaub would remain one of the three, since it was his money. But then you'd have to lose either his old partner David Friendly or his new partner Peter Saraf, and that must have been impossible." (Friendly cares so much about indie film that he wants to go back to making studio comedies because there's more money in it.)

I'm starting to think this Academy rule of three thing sucks. Little Miss Sunshine without Albert and Ron? They're the ones who stuck with the writer and the directors through thick and thin. And found Turtletaub. They're the quiet solid good guys who do the work, consistently, year in, year out. Damn.

UPDATE: I'm up in Santa Barbara to do a writing panel; ran into Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton after their directors' panel. Faris was upset, saying, "Ron and Albert brought us in," that all five producers did their bit along the way, and that Yerxa and Berger shouldn't be cut out.

UPDATE: At the SAG awards, Little Miss Sunshine star Greg Kinnear made a point of thanking all five producers, not three or two, but five, he said.


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  • Risky Biz blog takes a deep, daily look at the film industry's ups, downs and deals from around the world and the heart of Hollywood. It is edited by media and entertainment journalist Steven Zeitchik, with contributions from The Hollywood Reporter's worldwide team of film editors and reporters. Zeitchik is a Los Angeles-based writer for THR and also has written for The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

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