...Oscar Oscar Tonight!"
Oh wait, Billy Crystal isn't hosting the show tonight is he? That of course was his tagline and the reason why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science keeps getting him to host whenever he feels creative enough to host. In other years we get the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, and tonight John Stewart. Haven't seen Stewart yet (of course) but Rock was too hip for the room (and most of the audience at home) and Goldberg, well Whoopi was the centre square on Hollywood Squares on at least one of the broadcasts when she was host, so you'd think she could have had better writers. No, give me Billy or the ghosts of Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. And their writers (which points out why Billy Crystal doesn't do the show more often - he doesn't have their writing staffs).
But enough about hosts, let's look for TV connections for this year's nominees. There seem to be a lot of connections.
Paul Haggis (Producer of nominated movie Crash, nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay): A list of writing and creation credits of TV too long to list, but check out his IMDB entry. Two highlights: he created and wrote seven episodes of Due South (one of my favourite series ever), and he had co-creator credit on Walker: Texas Ranger. Apparently his involvement with the show was to help write - or rewrite - the pilot, but that was enough to get his name on the credits for nine long seasons and a TV movie. He was also a writer on The Facts Of Life from 1984-86.
George Clooney (Nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Good Night, And Good Luck, and Best Supporting Actor for Syriana): The current flavour of the month on the Raging Right's politico-cultural hit list, he also has an extensive list of TV credits including two shows called ER. There's the famous one that's still running, and a rather obscure comedy featuring Elliott Gould, Mary McDonnell, and Jason Alexander, more properly titled E/R. He also produced and starred in the live TV version of Fail-Safe. He was a regular on Facts Of Life during the 1985-86 season, which was during Paul Haggis's time as a writer for the series.
Steven Spielberg (Producer of nominated movie Munich and nominated for Best Director): Probably his best known TV work was the movie Duel (starring Dennis Weaver and a truck) which he did in 1971 but early work included episodes of Marcus Welby MD, The Name Of The Game, and Night Gallery. He was also executive producer on Amazing Stories, Tiny Toon Adventures, Anamaniacs, Seaquest DSV, and High Incident as well as the mini-series Band of Brothers, Taken, and Into The West. In 1994 he was one of the Executive Producers of ER, which starred George Clooney. He's also Producer of the new movie Flag Of Our Fathers which was written by Paul Haggis.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Nominated for Best Actor in Capote): His only TV acting work was a single 1991 episode of Law & Order, called "The Violence Of Summer".
Terrence Howard (Nominated for Best Actor in Hustle & Flow): He has done three series, the short lived (three weeks) Tall Hopes on CBS, the UPN series Sparks, and the Showtime series Street Time His first acting role was as a cop in an episode of the Canadian series Street Legal, and he has done a number of guest appearances on series from Coach and Family Matters to NYPD Blue and Fastlane.
Heath Ledger (Nominated for Best Actor in Brokeback Mountain): Credited as a regular in two Australian series, Ship To Shore and Sweat and the short lived Shaun Cassidy series Roar.
Joaquin Phoenix (Nominated for Best Actor in Walk the Line): Did a number of guest appearances on series under the name "Leaf" Phoenix, but his only series was a very obscure CBS series called Morningstar/Eveningstar about which no one seems to know too much.
David Strathairn (Nominated for Best Actor in Good Night, and Good Luck): Most recently seen in The Sopranos he has done a number of guest appearances in series. He was a regular on Another World in 1987, and in two seasons of The Days And Nights Of Molly Dodd. He was in the 2001 CBS series Big Apple which unfortunately only ran six episodes.
William Hurt (William Hurt Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in A History of Violence): Appeared in two episodes of Kojak and three miniseries - The Best of Families (1977), Dune (2000) and the French-Canadian series Rivière-des-Jérémie (2001). He was in Syriana with George Clooney
Judi Dench (Nominated for Best Actress in Mrs. Henderson Presents ): As a TV actress best know for two roles, Jean Hardcastle in As Time Goes By and as Laura Dalton in A Fine Romance in which she played opposite her husband, Michael Williams.
Felicity Huffman (Nominated for Best Actress in Transamerica): Star of Desperate Housewives and Sports Night.
Charlize Theron (Nominated for Best Actress in North Country): Played Britt Eklund in The Life and Death Of Peter Sellers and did five episodes of Arrested Development.
Amy Adams (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Junebug): She's done a number of guest appearances including roles in Charmed, That 70s Show, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Smallville, and The West Wing. Most recent TV work was as Katy in three episodes of The Office.
Frances McDormand (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in North Country): Only series was a short lived CBS effort called Leg Work, but appeared in six episodes of Hill Street Blues, and was the narrator of the seriesState of Grace.
Michelle Williams (Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Brokeback Mountain): Had a recurring role as Jen Lindley in Dawson's Creek and was in a show produced by NBC which was never broadcast in the United States called Raising Caines.