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Frozen is up for two Academy Awards Sunday night—Best Animated Film and Best Original Song. Photo courtesy of Disney

Frozen stands out from Disney films of yore in that the storyline doesn’t focus on a princess needing to be rescued by a handsome but blandly boring prince. If the film wins the Oscar Sunday night for Best Animated Film, as anticipated—it won the Golden Globe in the same category last month—accepting the award will be the film’s producer, Peter Del Vecho (CFA’80), who led its transformation from a traditional princess tale to a quirky, touching story based on the relationship between two sisters.

Del Vecho’s career in theater and animation spans three decades, and during that time he has worked on such Disney films as 2009’s The Princess and the Frog and 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. But it is his latest work—which has now surpassed the studio’s blockbuster The Lion King in sales—that has brought Del Vecho his biggest success. Not only did he earn his first Oscar nomination for Frozen, he was named Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures at the Producers’ Guild Awards ceremony in January. Despite its success (grossing nearly $1 billion so far), Frozen also was one of the most challenging films of his career.

Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, the story sees Anna (Kristen Bell) going on an epic quest to save her estranged sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped their kingdom in eternal winter. Anna is aided in her efforts by a thrill-seeking mountain man (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer, and a kooky snowman (Josh Gad).

“In the beginning Anna and Elsa weren’t sisters, but as the story developed we realized that we got more power out of the story if they were sisters,” Del Vecho says from his office at Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif. “From the very beginning, the director had the bold idea to tell the story about a different kind of love, not necessarily romantic love. Was there a way to tell a classic story in a new, fresh way? It was something that resonated with us as filmmakers, and we hoped it would resonate with audiences as well.”

It certainly has. Since its November release,  Frozen has grossed $980 million worldwide at the box office; the soundtrack has been perched in one of the top two positions on the Billboard 200 chart for the last seven weeks; the film’s song “Let It Go,” sung by Tony-winner Menzel, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song; and there are even plans to turn it into Frozen, the Broadway Musical, à la The Lion King. “The response to this film is overwhelming and quite humbling to us,” says the 55-year-old Del Vecho.

A Quincy, Mass., native, Del Vecho studied theater production at BU and went on to work in theater for 15 years, most of that at Minneapolis’ famed Guthrie Theater. It was there, he says, that he learned the importance of story development and visual storytelling. Both of those skills made him attractive to Disney Animation, which at the time was turning out hits such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. The studio approached him in 1995 with a job offer he couldn’t refuse.

“I think it was because they found great success in the past with directors and producers who had come from a theater background,” Del Vecho says. “At the time, the studio was being run by two theater veterans—Thomas Schumacher and Peter Schneider—and so they valued that sort of work.”

He started with the studio in production management, developing films such as 2002’s Treasure Planet and 2005’s Chicken Little, before switching to producing.

As a producer, Del Vecho says, he first has to understand the film the director is trying to make, and then help get that film made. He is involved from the very beginning, hiring writers and artists, overseeing scripts and storyboards, and dealing with schedules and budgets. His job, he says, is to “protect the creative from the business side of what we’re doing, so they can do what they do best and get their artistic vision up on the screen.”

The idea for turning Andersen’s story into an animated film had been kicking around the studio for decades. Walt Disney himself had expressed interest in it, but it died when he did. The project came back several times, but languished, largely because of the difficulties writers faced with the wicked Snow Queen (Elsa) character.

It wasn’t until the success of another animated film about an atypical princess, 2010’s Tangled, that the studio decided to again try developing The Snow Queen, opting this time for a 3-D treatment. Chris Buck (Tarzan), joined later by Jennifer Lee (Wreck-It Ralph), came on to direct and Del Vecho was brought in to produce. As were producers and writers before them, the team was soon stumped over the Snow Queen character, but help with the problem came from Pixar and Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer John Lasseter, an executive producer on the film.

“Originally we portrayed Elsa, the Snow Queen, as a true villain,” Del Vecho says. “But that evolved over time, because we weren’t connecting with her in a way that we could understand what she was doing. We found making her a sister and making her driven through fear made her relatable. So the theme of our movie is ‘love versus fear.’”

As with many Disney animated movies, music was critical, so Del Vecho looked to Broadway. He hired Avenue Q and Tony-winning Book of Mormon songwriter Bobby Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, for their fresh, quirky ideas, he says. (The trio had worked together on Winnie the Pooh.)

Research was another important piece of the puzzle. To make an authentic Norwegian kingdom, animators traveled to the Scandinavian country to observe the culture, art, and architecture. They also went to Cheyenne, Wyo., to wade through waist-deep snow. The lighting team was sent to an ice hotel in Quebec to see how light reflects and refracts. Reindeer were brought into the studio so animators could observe their expressions, but, as Del Vecho says, “reindeer aren’t that expressive in daily life. In typical Disney fashion, we have caricatured and brought in dog-like behavior just to give them a little more personality.”

But by late February 2013, he says, the film just “wasn’t working,” despite some great ideas and a talented team. Over the next four months they reworked and rewrote scenes and songs, scheduling a public preview in June. Even though the animation was only half-finished, the creators could see the film was going to be a success. “We did two screenings, one for families and one for adults,” Del Vecho recalls. “It was exhilarating to be in the theater and watch their reactions. Everyone could relate to the characters or relate to the movie. That’s what you hope for, whether it’s film or theater. You want the audience to relate to the story.”

Del Vecho continues to be busy with awards season and worldwide premieres (the film opens in Japan on March 14). Afterward, he plans to take time off and reconnect with family. He says that Disney has several films in production he would be thrilled to produce.

He still remembers the first Disney movie he ever saw—Bambi—and how upset he was when (spoiler alert!) Bambi’s mother is killed. “As I went into filmmaking, I knew that to make a great, classic film, it has to go through a range of emotions,” he says. “And so I always look for that as we develop a story.”

Amy Laskowski can be reached at [email protected].

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The Best Frozen Pina Colada Recipe

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This frozen pina colada recipe is the best pina colada recipe that I’ve ever tasted. The creamy coconut flavor mixed with the pineapple and rum will make you feel like you’re on a beautiful beach somewhere.

As a lover of all things coconut, it’s no surprise that I love pina coladas. For the record, I hate the song – listen to the lyrics… It’s awful.

Anywho, as I was saying, I love making pina coladas from scratch. The mix is never as good as the real thing. Besides, it’s still a pretty easy recipe.

This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Frozen Pina Colada Recipe FAQ Pina Colada Ingredients

Pineapple Chunks (frozen is fine)

Cream of Coconut

Pineapple Juice

Rum

Ice (if not using frozen pineapple)

What kind of rum goes in a pina colada?

Traditionally, white rum is used in pina colada. However, I also like pineapple rum or even spiced rum.

Hubby surprised me by using spiced rum in these and they were amazing.

Get creative! All rum is delicious.

Is cream of coconut and coconut milk the same?

No. Cream of coconut is much thicker. Coconut milk is the consistency of watery milk.

The flavor is also a bit different. Cream of coconut has added sugar. It also has more coconut flavor.

Cream of coconut is a must for making pina coladas from scratch. It can be found with the mixers in the grocery store. I like Coco Real, but Coco Lopez is another popular brand.

In a pinch, you can substitute cream of coconut with coconut extract and sweetened condensed milk.

I’ve also used coconut rum instead of cream of coconut. It doesn’t give it the creamy consistency, but it gives it the coconut flavor.

What is the best blender for mixing frozen drinks?

I can’t say enough good things about my Ninja blender. It’s the best blender I’ve ever owned.

It’s strong enough to crush ice (and frozen fruit) without a ton of added liquid.

Plus it’s very easy to clean, which is always a plus in my book!

You might also like:

Yield: 4

Frozen Pina Colada Recipe

This delicious frozen pina colada recipe is amazing! It contains pineapple chunks, cream of coconut and rum for a classic tropical taste.

Prep Time

5 minutes

Cook Time

2 minutes

Total Time

7 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups pineapple chunks

1/2 cup cream of coconut

3/4 cup pineapple juice

4 oz rum

ice (optional)

Instructions

Core and cut up pineapple or use frozen chunks.

Blend all ingredients until smooth, except rum.

Pour into glasses.

Add rum as desired for each drink.

Garnish with slices or pineapple and cherries as desired.

Notes Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Ninja Professional Countertop Blender

Pineapple Corer

Coco Real Cream Of Coconut, 2 Pack

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Calories:

362

Total Fat:

17g

Saturated Fat:

12g

Trans Fat:

0g

Unsaturated Fat:

4g

Cholesterol:

34mg

Sodium:

71mg

Carbohydrates:

37g

Fiber:

3g

Sugar:

31g

Protein:

2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…

Who Has The Best Mathematical Models For Predicting The Oscars?

Social Oscars screenshot

The Social Oscars is one of several statistical models now at work predicting this year’s Oscar winners.

Forget what movie you actually liked. And forget the experts. The hot new way to predict winners is by using quantifiable data and rigorous statistical analyses. As one quantitative Oscar-predictor wrote in the Huffington Post, “This method is entirely mathematical: no personal hunches are taken into account.” A little impersonal, but hey. This is life in the Nate Silver era. Herewith is our guide to some of the top mathematical models for predicting the Oscars:

PredictWise

PredictWise is run by David Rothschild, an economist now with Microsoft Research.

PredictWise’s Oscar projections combine data from several prediction markets, as well as data gathered from a game people can play to help with Rothschild’s research. PredictWise’s political forecasts use some numbers that don’t apply to the Oscars, such as past election results and the state of the economy.

Rothschild correctly predicted 50 out of 51 jurisdictions (the 50 states plus Washington, DC) in last year’s election, but he doesn’t seem to have tackled the Oscars before.

Argo for best picture, Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) for best director, Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) for best actor and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) for best actress. See the rest here.

Ben Zauzmer

Zauzmer is a Harvard sophomore who blogs for the Huffington Post.

Zauzmer’s model uses critics’ scores, other award shoes and guild awards from the past 15 years, he wrote in the Huffington Post.

Last year, of the 20 categories for which Zauzmer offered a prediction, he was correct for 15, including popular categories such as best picture, best director, best actor and best actress.

Argo for best picture, Ang Lee (Life of Pi) for best director, Day-Lewis for best actor and Lawrence for best actress. See the rest here.

Still from Argo

Peter Gloor

Gloor is a researcher at MIT who studies the wisdom of the crowd in projects such as Wikipedia.

Last year, Gloor’s model correctly pinned the best picture and best director wins, as well as 70 percent of the acting categories.

Sadly, Gloor and his students didn’t submit predictions for this year, as they’re too involved in other projects.

The Social Oscars

The Motion Picture Association of America apparently wanted in on the game. The association hired a data scientist, Edward Crook, to put together quantitative measures of public opinion, as culled from the Internet.

This is a first-time effort for the Motion Picture Association of America.

See the latest predictions here.

Still from Lincoln

Farsite Forecast

Farsite is an Ohio-based consultancy that makes statistical models.

The Farsite website doesn’t offer an explanation of what data sources its model uses, but the New Scientist reported that critical sentiment and the Writer’s Guild of America awards play roles.

Oscar-predicting is a new venture for Farsite.

Argo for best picture, Spielberg for best director, Day-Lewis for best actor and Lawrence for best actress. See the rest here (in the right sidebar).

The verdict

My pick for best model–based mostly on my gut–is Zauzmer, as he’s done a fine job predicting the Oscars before. Meanwhile, the Social Oscars offers a cool way to see critics’ and popular favorites, which the actual Oscars often snub.

Ethereum Heads To Us$5K! Eth Merge To Trigger ‘Triple

The Ethereum upgrade will soon trigger a massive price rally, making ETH the largest cryptocurrency

The Ethereum price soared after Tim Beiko denoted that the ETH Merge will most probably be released around September. Not just ETH, but the wider crypto market retained back its US$1 trillion mark after Ethereum embarked on its first price rally of 2023. The highly anticipated ETH Merge upgrade is considered to be one of the biggest upgrades that the crypto market will see, but earlier predictions around the Merge scared most ETH investors that denoted that the Merge protocol will be yet another failure like Terra 2.0, given the current predicaments of the market and of the crypto investment community. Since the announcement, ETH rose above 50%, quickly recovering from the sharp market decline. Now, analysts await Ethereum to reach US$5,000, if the Merge upgrade is successful. As the big event is coming closer, the crypto market is prepping to experience increasing values.

Recently, BitMEX’s founder Arthur Hayes predicted that Ethereum is gearing up for an intense price rally that would enable the token to reach the long-waited US$5,000 mark. Hayes also indicated that the current market value of Ethereum gives massive investment opportunities to buyers as it is currently selling around 70% below its model price range of US$2,000. Considering that the Ethereum Merge will be launched in September, Hayes predicts that the Fed’s motto to promote growth rather than fighting inflation would provide more support to the suffering economy of the country, offering more buying power to crypto investors. If the Ethereum Merge protocol is successfully launched in September, it is most likely that the ETH token will soon breach US$5,000 by 2023.

Ethereum’s Triple-Halving Event to Promote Instant Price Surge

As per expert predictions, the launch of the Merge upgrade will trigger a triple-halving event for the crypto. They believe that since BTC has mostly reacted positively to halving, it is also likely that Ethereum value will also surge instantly, given the two are quite closely related. Now, let’s dive in deep to understand the ‘triple-halving event’ and the reason behind its importance to raise the value of Ethereum.

When the Ethereum network turns to the PoS consensus mechanism after the Merge upgrade is launched, the ETH supply will decline by approximately 80% to 90% through a process called ‘burning’ and generating ‘deflationary pressure’ on the network, which is equal to halving the Bitcoin system three times, this is the ‘triple-halving’ for Ethereum. The crypto’s EIP-1599 protocol, also known as the Ethereum London fork, accompanied by the PoS consensus algorithm will drastically reduce the issuance of ETH. After this development, the demand for Ethereum is expected to dramatically increase in the upcoming months.

So, when should you buy Ethereum?

Based on expert perspectives, Ethereum 2.0 is supposed to establish a stronghold for the crypto in the DeFi and Web 3.0 industry, leaving little room for Bitcoin to reign as the largest cryptocurrency in the world. There are plenty of assumptions revolving around the market that depict the Merge upgrade will fail to appease investors, but its current price rally proves quite otherwise. According to Hayes, ETH is currently providing massive investment opportunities for buyers, hence, now will be a good time for investors to buy and hold the token to generate massive amounts of profits in the future.

Com Students Star In Nesn Next Producer Monday

COM Students Star in NESN Next Producer Monday Amateur filmmakers among 10 finalists for $20,000, jobs

If you’re watching the Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles on local cable sports network NESN on Marathon Monday, be sure to stay tuned when the game ends. Three College of Communication students will be featured on the network’s new reality show, NESN Next Producer, immediately after the game. They are among the 10 finalists on the seven-episode series, and if they win, the women will be $20,000 wealthier, and more important, will secure jobs at NESN.

Amateur filmmakers Christina Beiene (COM’17), Brittney Badduke (COM’17), and Kaley Roberts (COM’17) and their film On the Mic: The Connor Lenahan Story will face off against student filmmakers from Boston College on episode three of the show. The Eagles filmmakers profiled a player on the BC women’s hockey team.

The series, which premiered earlier this month, gives a behind-the-scenes look at New England college filmmakers creating short sports films. Two films are shown on each episode, along with backstories about the student filmmakers and reviews of their work by Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr. Judging the show’s offerings are Tom Werner, chairman of the Red Sox, and Brad Falchuk, cocreator and executive producer of Glee and American Horror Story.

Beiene, Badduke, and Roberts teamed up after learning about the competition from Jay Atkinson, a COM journalism lecturer. They had to submit their treatment, or story pitch, to NESN by October to be considered for the show.

It was Badduke who came up with the idea of profiling Connor Lenahan (COM’17), familiar to Terriers fans as the announcer at men’s and women’s basketball games. Lenahan has a rare, incurable congenital bone disease called osteogenesis imperfecta that causes weak bones, which can break easily. He needs to spend most of his time in a wheelchair as a safeguard against falling and injury.

“We wanted to profile Connor because he is all over BU,” Roberts says. “Everyone knows him. But we wanted to take a different angle and not make his osteogenesis imperfecta the focus of our story.” Because Lenahan is “someone who announces for sports, but can’t participate in the traditional sense,” Badduke says, she was drawn to his story instead.

The team began interviewing Lenahan, BU Athletics staff, and members of the men’s basketball team in the fall, augmenting the interviews with footage of Lenahan wheeling around campus and announcing at games. Despite an early start, Roberts says, the December 31 deadline snuck up on them—they submitted their finished piece just hours before it was due.

“We were laid back at first, shooting interviews every two weeks,” she says. “But my parents will tell you, I took the film home over Christmas break and didn’t talk to anyone because I was so busy. I would wake up, edit, and go to bed. Then I’d send the film to Christina and Brittney for more edits.”

When NESN Next Producer airs on Monday, viewers will not only see the women introducing their film, but footage shot by NESN of them following and interviewing Lenahan as they were making the documentary. That part took some getting used to, concedes Beiene, whose previous experience was strictly behind the camera. “It was weird to have a camera crew follow us,” she says.

Beiene believes she and her team have a shot at winning the grand prize, because unlike the competition, On the Mic: The Connor Lenahan Story offers something more than a traditional profile of a student athlete. “It’s a twist on that idea,” she says. “Rather than making a film that’s just about, say, an athlete overcoming an injury,” they chose to focus on someone “behind the scenes in athletics with an inspiring story.”

On next week’s installment of NESN Next Producer, another team of BU filmmakers will be shown, Kyle Floyd (COM’17) and Jake Reiser (COM’18), with their film Can They Get There, about a group of high school hockey players who dream of playing professionally.

The NESN Next Producer episode with Beiene, Badduke, and Roberts will air Monday, April 20, immediately following NESN’s postgame Boston Red Sox coverage (about 3 p.m. EDT). The episode showcasing Floyd and Reiser’s film will air Monday, April 27 on NESN at 10 p.m. Find a full schedule of episodes, view the student films in their entirety, and vote for your favorite here.

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Cloud Data Warehouse – The Road To The Future

The need to interpret the vast data is growing unprecedently in the world. With digitization taking over industries, more and more organizations are generating digital data like never before. The growing data is not only a huge asset but also presenting immense opportunities for the industries. To derive interpretations and insights from the data means going a rigorous process of collecting, transforming, loading, and finally

Bidding Goodbye to Traditional Processes

When it comes to managing data, most businesses were using the same traditional on-site infrastructure a few years back. While this worked a few years ago due to a variety of reasons, the winds of change have taken over. Enterprises looking for smarter solutions, because their data was increasing and so were the data management costs. This led to huge turbulence in the traditional data management system, which was mainly on-site. Since the on-site data warehouse was not only difficult to manage but also had more than a few issues, enterprises found their solution in the cloud. Ad as we know today, a cloud data warehouse is excessively popular among enterprises and helping them make sense of all the data. They help businesses streamline their operations and gain visibility to all departments running within. Moreover, cloud data warehouses help enterprises serve their customers and create further opportunities in the market. As businesses come up with new plans and products, data warehouses begin to play even a more important role in the process. They are becoming the new norm. Gone are the days when an enterprise had to purchase hardware, create server rooms along with hire, train, and maintain a dedicated team of staff to run it. Today, the tables have turned and everything is being managed on the cloud. But, to precisely understand why cloud data warehouses outperform traditional systems we need to dive down into their differences.  

Cloud Data Warehouses Becoming the New Norm

Today’s businesses are moving faster than ever. In other words, they are racing out too far more customers and accomplishing a lot more things. Data has become a part of their core processes. For example, banks are processing the credit and debit cards of customers at every second. Similarly, insurance companies are maintaining their customer profiles and updating them frequently with policy-related information and changes. On the other hand, we have brick and mortar stores, process in-store purchases while the online stores process the purchases made digitally. The idea behind this is that all these stores process information that is transactional in nature. They have to be written and updated frequently. Right now businesses have an online transaction processing database to take care of these. This is just one side of the coin. The other side means managing revenue, business operations, customer engagements, and many other things, that are potentially based on the transactional data. Moreover, this data is only growing and businesses need a solution for their optimization. The problem is, however, that online transaction processing systems are designed for managing and processing one small transaction at a time. When it comes to tons of data they fail to deliver the required results. This is where the solution of data warehouses emerges. They already can perform processing on large amounts of data. As a link to the traditional transactional database, they will hold a copy of it and store it safely in the cloud. Moreover, the best part of using a cloud data warehouse is that they only charge you for the services you use. For example, based on your company data, you will require a certain amount of space in the cloud. Similarly, for the number of computations, you have to perform you will need a separate computational space. In the

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