Feb 22, 2013


Ever year after the Oscars are announced, teams participating in the Toscars, now in its sixth year, have three weeks to make a short parody of the nominated films. These shorts are played live in Hollywood and judged by a celebrity panel. This year the event took place to a sold out audience at the Egyptian Theater with an after party at Sadie’s Restaurant, and PPLA was on the red carpet for all the laughs!

The judges included Janina Gavankar (True Blood), Rex Lee (Suburgatory), Oscar Nomainated actor Eric Roberts, acclaimed directors Alek Keshishian (Truth or DareW/E and Love and Other Disasters), Walk Becker (Van Wilder andWilde Hogs) and hosted by Brian Dunkleman (American Idol). It brought out Oscar fans and celebrities including  Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Josh Sussman (Glee), Tony Denison (Closer), Brea Bee (Silver Linings Playbook), Stephanie Erb (True Blood), and many more!

The Toscars are a chance for the entertainment industry to have a good old-fashioned giggle and includes prizes awarded for ‘Best Whactor’, ‘Best Whactress’, and a slew of comedicly-titled categories.

We chatted with Tehmina Sunny who Plays a Swissair ticketing agent in Oscar-nominated Argo and plays the same role in the Toscar parody Stargo about what both set experiences were like and how she feels about Ben Affleck being dissed by the Acadaemy for an Oscar nom. We also caught up with Doris Roberts on her red carpet predictions, Glee’s Josh Sussman on his thoughts on Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, and more!

Tehmina Sunny (Argo)

PPLA: Tell me about your role in  Stargo

TS: I play the same role as I did in Argo.

PPLA: What was it like on the real set of Argo?

TS: I was laughing on set all the time with Ben Affleck. It was a really wonderful experience. This (Stargo) was guerilla style! It was crazy (in a good way).

PPLA: Why are the Toscars an important part of Oscar weekend?

TL: Any opportunity to be able to enjoy something and actually make fun of something serious is a blessing.

PPLA: What was the most fun about being in a Toscar film?

TS: It was the first time I’ve done it. I had a great team to work with who were so much fun. I made new friends.

PPLA: How do you feel about Ben Affleck not being Oscar nominated for Best Director?

TS: Let’s put it this way, he’s won everything else as Best Director so that says it all.

PPLA: Any red carpet fashion predictions?

TS: I think it’s always important with style that you wear the outfit, not let the outfit wear you. So I always think it’s important to keep things simple.

Doris Roberts-Celebrity (Everybody Loves Raymond )

PPLA: What brings you hear to the Toscars?

DR: My friend Elena Infantino who is nominated for Best Whactress in Stargo.

PPLA: What is your favorite Oscar film this year?

DR: Life of Pi. It’s unbelievable, unique, incredible.

PPLA: Anyone you hope to see on the red carpet?

DR: Me!

Josh Sussman (Glee)

PPLA: What brings you to the Toscars?

JS: I’m excited for the Toscars. I love movies parodying all the movies nominated. I think it should be hilarious!

PPLA: Why are the the Toscars meaningful?

JS: I think it’s more fun and a great avenue for up and coming filmmakers.

PPLA: Any predictions for the Oscars?

JS: I would love to see Robert De Niro win the Best Supporting Actor. I know that Daniel Day Lewis will win for Lincoln but I’d love to see Bradley Cooper. I’ve never seen a performance like that from him.

PPLA: What do you think of Seth MacFarlane hosting the awards?

JS: Yeah he’s the number one guy in comedy. I think it’s the perfect choice. He will be a nice addition to the Oscars. They need to do something to liven it up. I think Seth MacFarlane is the guy. I won’t be surprised if they ask him back next year.

Rex Lee-Toscar Judge (Surburgatory)

PPLA: How did you get involved as a judge?

RL: My friend Craig who’s in Brits in L.A. has always asked me to be involved in this.

PPLA: What criteria are looking for tonight when selecting a winner?

RL: I haven’t even figured it out because everything is a parody. I’m a little unclear of the criteria. I was telling someone else I think it’s just going to be what I respond to. Whoever touches me, I think is funny, I think is a good actor, who ever is over the top in the best way.

PPLA: Why are the Toscars valuable?

RL: It’s just fun to poke fun first of all. This is an industry town. I think it’s actually cool for everyone to make films.

PPLA: Who are you rooting for at the Oscars?

RL: I‘m rooting for Silver Linings Playbook but I think Argo is going to win. To win without getting a Best Director nomination.

PPLA: How do you think Seth will do as a host?

RL: He’s a really funny guy. I’m really looking forward to it. He’ll probably sing too right? Have you heard him sing with his band? He’s a good singer.

Brian Dunkleman (Host, American Idol)

PPLA: You’re hosting the Toscars tonight are you nervous?

BD: A little bit. It’s exciting. I think if you’re not a little bit nervous something’s wrong.

PPLA: What are some tips on hosting?

BD: Drink heavily before and after!

PPLA: How do you think Seth will be as a host on Sunday?

BD: My old buddy. I can’t wait. No pressure. He was fantastic on SNL so I’m sure he’s gonna do a great job.

PPLA: What was it like co-hosting the 1st season of American Idol?

BD: You don’t have enough time. I was an actor before Idol and I figured this whole reality television thing was gonna blow over a year or two and it turns out I was sorely mistaken. The show is still going strong and it was a great opportunity, but now I’m concentrating on my standup and acting.

PPLA: Do you still keep in touch with Ryan Seacrest?

BD: No. He stopped returning my calls along time ago!

Heath Deatherage (Toscars Team Leader)

PPLA: So I hear that you have been participating in the Toscars for five years and led team Zamour this year. Tell us about that.

HD: I’ve been friends with Craig and Eileen, the founders, for years. The idea started after they first saw the film Be Kind Rewind  and thought that what a grat idea it would be to take all the films that were nominated from the Oscars and do pardoies. It’s grown more and more every year. I didn’t do it the first year but have done it every year since and this is my first year as team leader.

PPLA: How does the process of selecting the teams work?

HD: We meet in a bar the night the Oscars are announced. We draw team members for 10 teams. It’s always complete strangers but you make friendships for life. You draw your teams Oscar announcement night and you film a parody of the movie your team selects. You have to film it from Feb 1-3rd, everyone films those days, and you have a week to do the post production. It’s become very competitive and the bar is raised every year.

PPLA: How does the team stay on task and decide who does what?

HD: There is private Facebook page where members can communicate and there is a lot of banter back and forth. This year there was a new twist- a rule that said the founders will show up unannounced and on the spot, right on set,  you need to incorporate them into your production. Ever team has a max budget of $250 to work with and the rest is favors.

PPLA: How did you feel when you picked Amour?

HD: We got the film that nobody wanted! It’s a beautiful film but it can be depressing because it’s about a women who suffers a stroke and her husband who cares for her. It’s not exactly a laughing matter. Our director was Tammi Sutton who has directed over twenty-five horror films. It was her first time to participate in the Toscars. We decided to do a zombie version of the film because we thought it was the only way to make it funny! Tammi brought one of the best makeup artists in the business, an experiences cinematographer, and some amazing musicians and choreographers. We ended up doing a zombie dance scene at the credits which is where we incorporated the founders when they surprised us on set.

PPLA: Who do you think will win tonight?

HD: I hope we take home some awards. There are a lot of great films. You know we had to add a film this year. There were only 9 Oscar nominated films but we have ten teams so we added Skyfall  (aka Skyfell for the Toscars) into the mix. The last two years the Toscar winner has actually predicted the Oscar winner so we will see. There is a lot of buzz aroundMiserable Lesbians which could mean Les Miserables takes it home on Sunday!

With titles like Django UnleashedBreasts of the Southern WildSiliver WhiningsMiserable Lesbians, and more, there is sure to be some tough competition. You can watch the Toscar films here and be sure to tune in to the Oscars this weekend.

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