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THE TV COLUMN

TCM prepares for awards with 31 Days of Oscar

By Michael Storey

This article was published January 30, 2014 at 2:50 a.m.

gone-with-the-wind-starring-clark-gable-and-vivien-leigh-will-be-featured-saturday-in-the-kickoff-of-tcms-31-days-of-oscar-celebration-abc-airs-the-academy-awards-march-2

Gone With the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, will be featured Saturday in the kickoff of TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar celebration. ABC airs the Academy Awards March 2.

It’s award season on TV and cinephiles are in tall cotton.

The Big One - the Academy Awards - airs live at 6 p.m. March 2 on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres will again host from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

But just as Super Bowl fans start their official warm-up days in advance, film fans also gear up for their big night by camping out at Turner Classic Movies.

TCM kicks off its annual 31 Days of Oscar celebration Saturday. The most ambitious edition yet runs through March 3 and each day will be devoted to showcasing movies nominated in a particular category in a given year.

The main event will unfold in prime time each evening.

Meanwhile, TCM daytime programming will focus on specific categories, with winners and nominees from multiple years.

The Academy Awards celebration begins with a new documentary. And the Oscar Goes To… premieres at 7 p.m. Saturday. It traces the history of the awards and features a number of memorable moments from 85 years of Academy Award ceremonies as well as highlighting the relationship between the honored movies and major historical events and trends.

In addition to plenty of classic film clips and TCM host Robert Osborne, the special includes interviews with directors, actors and writers: Robert Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Steven Spielberg, Helen Mirren, Ben Kingsley, Liza Minnelli, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Jon Voight, Ellen Burstyn and George Clooney.

The two-hour special will be followed at 9 p.m. by 1939’s Gone With the Wind starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The film won eight Oscars for best picture, actress, supporting actress, director, screenplay, color cinematography, art decoration and editing.

Saturday’s Gone With the Wind caps TCM’s first day in the countdown - a day highlighting Best Picture nominees from 1939.

Here’s the rest of the lineup for the first week.

Sunday: Best Picture nominees, 1945.

Monday: Best Costume Design, Color nominees, 1954.

Tuesday: Best Director nominees, 1932-33.

Wednesday: Best Supporting Actor nominees, 1946.

Feb. 6: Best Actress nominees, 1966.

Feb. 7: Best Actor nominees, 1953.

Feb. 8: Best Picture nominees, 1949.

It goes on like that for the entire month and finishes big.

March 1: Best Picture nominees, 1967.

March 2: Best Picture nominees, 1935.

March 3: Best Special Effects nominees, 1958.

For your DVR planning, the 31 Days of Oscar schedule (daytime and prime time) is available at tcm.com.

Does all this sound too esoteric? No more so than knowing all the team stats and player minutiae for Sunday’s 49ers and Seahawks game.

Or that the Vince Lombardi Trophy is 22 inches tall, weighs 7 pounds and contains $3,500 worth of sterling silver.

Or that Dallas Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley was the MVP of Super Bowl V even though his team lost.

Movie lovers can be just as obsessed as football fanatics.

I have a cinephilic co-worker who can debate for an hour those 1935 Best Picture movies to be featured on March 2. Mutiny on the Bounty will air at 7, followed by Captain Blood.

For the record, Mutiny, starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, won Best Picture, even though Blood was Errol Flynn’s first swashbuckler and made him a star.

More awards. Speaking of football, Fox will kill some more time leading up to the Super Bowl with the third annual NFL Honors at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Alec Baldwin is host. The two hours will recognize the best players, performances and plays from the 2013 season. The highlight is sure to be the prestigious Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Aaarrr. I neglected to remind you that Starz launched a new series last week. The second episode of the pirate drama Black Sails airs at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Black Sails, starring Toby Stephens as Captain Flint and Luke Arnold as John Silver(before he got Long), is set in 1715 (“the Golden Age of Piracy”) in and around Nassau in the Bahamas.

Starz is a premium channel (home to Spartacus and DaVinci’s Demons) so, naturally, we have gory battles and gratuitous, lusty sex and nudity scenes. But there are no parrots, eye patches, peg legs or folks saying, “Aaarrr.”

There will be eight episodes. A second season has already been ordered. If you missed the first offering, you can catch up with full episodes at Starz.com.

Note: Spartacus has run its course, but DaVinci’s Demons returns for Season 2 at 8 p.m. March 2.

The Assets. If you were among the few watching ABC’s The Assets, I have bad news. The network quietly yanked the spy drama off the air after two abysmal episodes.

So few tuned in, The Assets set a record for the least watched hour drama from any Big 4 broadcast network. Ever. The remaining six episodes will likely never see the light of day.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email: mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend, Pages 32 on 01/30/2014

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