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Culture

German Director Sweeps Anti-Oscars Ahead of Big Night

As preparations were underway for the 81st Academy Awards on Sunday, Germany's Uwe Boll was named worst director of the year at the Oscars parody bash organized by the LA-based Golden Raspberry Award Foundation.

Golden Raspberry Razzie Award

The Razzies honor the worst flops in the movie industry

The German director, producer and screenwriter, best-known for his cinematic adaptations of violent video games -- and for challenging his critics to a series of boxing matches in 2006 -- won the Razzie on Saturday, Feb. 21, for three raucous, over-the-top movies: "1968: Tunnel Rats," "In The Name of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" and "Postal."

Uwe Boll reading a script

Uwe Boll does not respond kindly to his critics

He was also awarded a special Worst Career Achievement dishonor for an extraordinary range of fantasy and horror classics that included "Zombie Massacre" and "BloodRayne II: Deliverance."

Boll himself did not attend the Razzie award ceremony, often thought of as the anti-Oscars, but was nonetheless kept in good company.

Canadian comic Mike Myers' box office flop "The Love Guru" was named Worst Picture of 2008, and he was named the year's worst actor.

US celebrity and actress-wanna-be Paris Hilton picked up three awards for worst actress for the comedy "The Hottie and the Nottie," worst supporting actress for the musical "Repo: The Genetic Opera," and a prize for being part of the worst couple in "Hottie."

Pierce Brosnan -- formerly in the service of Her Majesty as special agent 007 -- won worst supporting actor dishonors for "Mamma Mia!" whereas "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was declared the worst "prequel, remake, rip-off or sequel."

The real thing

US celebrity Paris Hilton attends the Vienna Opera Ball 2007

Who said hotel heiresses couldn't act? Pretty much all the critics

As per tradition, the 29th annual Razzies took place on the night before the Oscar ceremony.

According to the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, only four past winners have appeared at the ceremony in person to accept the dubious honors: director Paul Verhoeven, actress Halle Berry, screenwriter Michael Ferris, and actor/director Tom Green.

The 81st Academy Awards on Sunday night -- with a celebration of glamour and glitter that embodies Hollywood -- will have no problems attracting international movie stars to the event, but in the midst of a debilitating recession and a slide in viewer interest, the show will feature some important changes.

For a start, you won't see the usual line-up of stars strutting their stuff on the red carpet. Organizers believe that viewers who are mainly interested in Oscar fashions tune in to watch the stars arrive and then don't bother with the actual ceremony. Though many well-known faces will still run the red carpet gauntlet, the actual presenters will be smuggled in and kept far from prying cameras.

Younger and hipper?

A worker removing the clear plastic rain tent from above the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles

Organizers promise that this year's Oscars will be different

As far as the presenters go, you can expect to see many more up-and-coming Hollywood stars rather than the established royalty. The idea of having youth-friendly prize givers like Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens is aimed at attracting young viewers -- and help rid the Oscars of its stuffy image.

Steadily declining viewership and the widening recession caused the ABC network to drop its advertising prices from $1.8 million (1.4 million euros) per 30-second slot to $1.4 million.

You might see the stars, but not in all their finery. This year's styles will tend to be muted -- in deference to the grim economy.

"It used to be chic to say, 'I'm wearing $16 million worth of jewels'," publicist Howard Bragman told the Los Angeles Times. "That's distasteful right now."

Surprise strategies

A scene from The Baader-Meinhof Complex

German film "The Baader-Meinhof Complex" is competing for an Oscar

Oscar organizers are also promising other surprise strategies aimed at revitalizing the format. Host Hugh Jackman, recently voted the "sexiest man alive," marks a break with previous hosts -- and comedians -- Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal.

Jackman joked that the surprises would include everyone presenting in the nude. He also revealed that the Kodak Theatre would be transformed into a dream nightclub for the event, and that the prize-giving segments would be less formal than usual.

Outside the official Oscar ceremony, the glitterati will still be feted as though the world continued to exist in the booming economy of yesteryear. So-called gifting suites are being set up all over town where companies hoping for some publicity, will shower celebrities with all kinds of baubles.

Among the goodies are the yet-to be released Palm Pre smartphones, Koolaburra sheepskin boots, Milus watches worth $6,000, Sakroots bags, Waterford crystal glasses, Stuart Weitzman shoes and various essential accoutrements for the trendy Hollywood jet-setters.

"Our gift lounges backstage are not seeing any change," organizer Samantha Haft told daily USA Today. "We haven't seen anyone pull out. It's business as usual. It's a perfect opportunity to get your products into the hands of celebrities and build some buzz."

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