My other job is in the news:
Interview in Business Week with Maria Bartiromo:
With regard to the subprime mess, compensation was structured so that people were paid based on the number of transactions rather than the quality of transaction. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that that is going to lead to disaster.
Washington Post article on the failure of boards of directors:
“Corporate governance is about managing risk. It’s about incentive compensation. It’s about corporate strategy and sustainability. And all of those things are what the boards failed to do,” said Nell Minow, a co-founder of the Corporate Library and an advocate of reforming corporate boards.
And in Bloomberg about the new pay restrictions:
“There’s a political climate here to support tarring and feathering, said Nell Minow, an expert on corporate governance who founded and edits the Corporate Library. Officials may describe any changes in rules as a strengthening of the restrictions, Minow said.
A nice interview on AOL’s Daily Finance site, which says “As the co-founder of The Corporate Library, Nell Minow has done more to raise awareness about shareholder rights than just about anyone in history.”
Zac Bissonnette: You’ve been crusading against corporate governance problems for a long time. How much of the current financial debacle can be blamed on bad corporate governance?
Nell Minow: It takes a village to create a disaster as broad and deep as this one and there is plenty of blame to go around. But poor corporate governance is at the heart of it. Boards are supposed to manage risk, tie pay to performance, and make sure that the corporate strategy is directed at sustainable growth. They failed on all counts. Indeed, they agreed to pay packages with incentives that all but guaranteed this result and to corporate influence in Washington that short-circuited oversight from regulators and from the market itself.
Howie Weed of the industry newsletter “Worth a Mention” has some news very much worth a mention indeed. He reports that “‘Toy Story 3′ is definitely on its way (This eagerly awaited sequel will roll into theaters on June 10, 2010). As is ‘Cars 2′ (The Studio recently moved up its release date to June 24, 2011). But based on the questions that Pete Docter kept fielding at Saturday’s Up panel at New York Comic-Con, what the fanboys really want to know is when is ‘The Incredibles” sequel showing up?”
Not for a while. Writer/director Brad Bird is working on a live-action feature called “1906” about the San Francisco Earthquake, according to Weed. But after that we can hope for more from The Incredibles — can’t wait to see what Jack-Jack is up to!
Wired Magazine has a fascinating story about the breathtaking special effects in “Coraline.” In an era when we are used to astonishingly “true” images generated by computers, the old-school charms of this stop-motion movie, where everything you see was actually there being photographed, enhanced with ground-breaking 3D technology, is entrancingly tactile. A painstaking process meant that no more than 2-4 seconds a day were completed, with thousands of tiny adjustments in each scene. The title character’s 200,000 facial expressions, required 350 top plates for her eyebrows and forehead and 700 bottom plates for her mouth.
It’s the stunningly inventive DIY visual effects that director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) used to bring the story to life. A quarter-million pieces of popcorn are transformed into cherry blossoms, superglue and baking soda are whipped into snow, and black fishing line becomes creepy chest hair.
In all, the crew hand-built 150 sets and 250 jointed puppets, as well as plants and toys with countless moving parts. “What makes this film different,” says Tom Proost, one of the art directors, “is that everything is real and everything moves.”
Every detail is brilliantly imagined and brilliantly executed. I love the way they created the steam from a tea kettle: cotton spritzed with hair spray. I’ve seen the film twice and plan to go back again just to see the extraordinary garden and theater scenes and to catch some of the many details I know I have missed.
Jeannette Catsoulis tells us the Oscars should embrace the lowbrow in Las Vegas CityLife:
[S]tudios spend all year milking dollars from young people only to turn around at Oscar time, overcome with shame and a newly minted commitment to quality, and nominate a bunch of old-lady favorites. (Only one of this year’s nominees is even set in this century.) Am I — gasp! — arguing for award by populism? Damn right I am: If Hollywood wants support for its sickeningly expensive, annual display of onanism, it needs to be proud of what it does best. Leave the recognition of Art to the Independent Spirit Awards and the Director’s Guild and give Oscar back to the people who keep him in business: average Americans.
She makes a compelling argument that the movies overlooked by Oscar like “Dark Knight” and “Quantum of Solace” are not just bigger at the box office — they are better.
In the future, the organizers should give Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin co-hosting duties (with no restrictions on the jokes), have Matt Stone and Trey Parker write the intros, give Stan Lee as many awards as possible and invite Miley Cyrus and the Jonas clones to sing the nominated songs.
Christopher Orr also objects to stuffiness of the nominees at The New Republic, which he describes as “the mushy middle, a showcase of high-toned, politically palatable films meticulously engineered to approximate art.”
“WALL-E,” for my money the best film of the year, was relegated to the animated-film ghetto from which only “Beauty and the Beast” has ever emerged. “The Dark Knight”–which, for all its flaws, was an ambitious, fascinating work of pop mythology–will have to content itself with whatever technical awards it can scrape up. (Best Visual Effects! In your face, “Iron Man!”) And even as the Academy ignored the summer’s big mass-cultural phenomena, it simultaneously managed to skip over the fall and early winter’s quieter, more thoughtful indies–“The Wrestler,” “Rachel Getting Married,” and the bleak, bewildering “Synecdoche, New York.”
Dana Stevens in Slate finds the “aestheticization of Indian poverty unsettling” in “Slumdog Millionare” and is bothered by the “icky premise” of “The Reader.” She wistfully hopes for more “weirdness,” not just in the movies but from the actors, to make it more fun to watch.