Interviews with some of the 2014 Toscars participants

Glittering gowns are having their final sequins sewn on, dinner jackets are being pressed crisp, and the mother of all red carpets is being checked for minute flecks. No, it’s not the Oscars, it’s the British parody awards, The Toscars.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Toscars

The Oscars are held this Sunday night, the Toscars are held tonight! The idea behind the Toscars is that ten teams are each given three weeks to produce a five minute short parody of a nominated film up for Best Feature. These are then screened at the world famous Egyptian theatre in Hollywood with awards given out by a series of Hollywood names and faces. The event has been running since 2008 and is getting bigger and better each year.

Last year’s best film was the Les Mis spoof, Miserable Lesbians, which went on to become a stage show that toured London’s West End, Off Broadway and the Edinburgh Fringe. If you’re detecting a hint of humour here, and British humour at that, you’d be right. The Toscars are the creation of ‘Brits in LA‘, an organisation which brings together Tinsel Town-based ex-pats and their mates, as well as giving advice and promoting British business. And yes, Toscars is a cheeky pun.

Similar to the Oscars the winners of the Toscars are chosen by a Whacademy – a team of experts in their field – in ten categories which include Best Whactor and Whactress. This year’s comedy event will be hosted by Glee‘s Alex Newell, who plays Unique in the show. Tim Russ of Star Trek Voyager fame has made Cavity, a parody of a certain space-based Oscar contender, and Superstar DJ and general legend Paul Oakenfold is judging the music.

We managed to have a quick chat with Alex Newell, Tim Russ and Paul Oakenfold. Here is what they have to say.

Alex Newell:

TFR: Have you hosted an award before?

Alex: No – NEVER – I am very excited to host one!

TFR: What was it about the Toscars that attracted you to the event?

Alex: Brits making fun of the Oscars? Who wouldn’t want to host this!

TFR: Had you heard of the event before being asked to participate?

Alex: No, but I sure am glad I did! I get to be black Ellen for a night!

TFR: Would you say there is anything specifically British about the event?

Alex: Everyone is British!

TFR: Is Toscar something of a pun on the British slang word Tosser?

Alex: LOL – no idea.

TFR: Which film do you think should win Best Film at this year’s Oscars?

Alex: I loved American Hustle but I love Sandra more so GRAVITY!

Tim Russ:

TFR: What was it about the Toscars that attracted you?

Tim: I was actually asked to direct this particular short, “Cavity by one of the groups involved. I had to join the membership to do so. But I did like the idea of directing a parody of one of the Oscar contenders.

TFR: What was the highpoint of directing Cavity?

Tim: When the project comes together at the end is really the high point. All the efforts of many people in different areas contribute their talents, and you see the whole piece as one complete story – it’s very exciting to see it completed.

TFR: What were the biggest challenges about directing Cavity?

Tim: We had virtually no budget to work with, very little time, and a number of rules and limitations put on us.

TFR: Had you heard of the Toscars before being asked to participate?

Tim: Yes, I had heard of the Toscars last year, and thought it was an interesting and fun idea. I personally love satire.

TFR: Would you say there is anything specifically British about the event?

Tim: To some degree, I think the nature of the humor will be uniquely British in some ways. The very fact that they are having a go at the Oscar nominated films demonstrates that I think.

TFR: What’s your favourite Alfonso Cuarón film?

Tim: I have to say it was Children of Men. That film was dynamic, the story was very poignant and he created camera technology specifically for one shot in a car sequence that blew my mind.

TFR: Which film do you think should win Best Film at this year’s Oscars?

Tim: I would perhaps give Her a good shot. But as is always the case, I have seen a few movies that I think should have been nominated that weren’t.

Paul Oakenfold:

TFR: Have you been asked to judge film music before?

Paul: I’ve worked in the film industry composing and scoring for over 10 years. I’m a voting member of BAFTA, and I’ve been judging music for film for a while but never asked to present an award, looking forward to it.

TFR: What did you think of the entries for this year’s Toscars?

Paul: This years entries were really good in terms of music. Shame that the rules say you can only judge on score and not parodies because some of the parodies are great this year.

TFR: Any tips for creating a film soundtrack?

Paul: Understand the directors vision and work closely with him to get an idea of what he wants before you start writing music.

TFR: Would you say there is anything specifically British about the event?

Paul: Well, the name definitely. Americans don’t use the word tosser. And you know how we like to have a laugh so this should be a great event.

TFR: Which film do you think should win Best Film at this year’s Oscars?

Paul: There are some really great films this year. I love Gravity for pushing the envelope in terms of technology and vision. I thought 12 Years a Slave was a great and compelling film with great acting and really shot well. But for me it would have to be Dallas Buyers Club. Both performances by Matthew and Jared were amazing. The subject matter was uncomfortable and I thought it was a great story that needed to be told.

Check out the Toscars website here!

VN:F [1.9.13_1145]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
Interviews with some of the 2014 Toscars participants, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating