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Entries in Oscars (11) (327)

Friday
Mar022012

Podcast: Spread the Wealth, End the War

I couldn't let the postmortem on Oscar's 84th close without inviting my ol' podcast pals Katey, Nick and Joe to join me for one last conversation of the season. We ended up talking for over an hour. See we all share this "can't stop talking Oscar!" addiction and none of us will ever go to rehab. So you get the podcast in two parts. Part two late tonight.

Here's part one where we start goofy with Octavia Spencer's ubiquity and end all serious like (well, mostly) with Viola and Meryl. Join the conversation in the comments.

Topics include but are not limited to...

  • Octavia Spencer, Angelina Jolie
  • "Cut To Camera 3. No, Camera 4. Wait, Back to 2!"
  • Spreading the Wealth. What Did They Actually Love?
  • Billy Crystal's 9th Go-Round
  • Emma Stone vs. Anne Hathaway with a side of Jonah Hill
  • Red Carpet Reveals and Lead Actor Presentations
  • CLIPS! Commercial Breaks
  • Meryl & Viola and the Narrative vs. Performance Problem

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post.
UPDATE: PART TWO NOW AVAILABLE AS WELL.

Post Oscar Part One

Wednesday
Feb292012

Red Carpet: Oscar Fashion Votes & Snubs

It's all over but for the Oscars finding their place in the expansive homes of the winners: night stand treasure? fireplace mantle trophy? foyer bragging spot? bathroom door stopper? ‪personal office knick knack? - Just a little something to brighten the room. Or each room if you're Robert Richardson or Meryl Streep. Oh and the fashion. We haven't discussed the fashion yet.

NATHANIEL: Welcome back to the red carpet lineup, Kurt, Jose and readers. I type this with my eyes half open. It's been a long season. I actually feel like someone's train, just dragging along the ground. Though with less grace.‬

Sandy, Goop Girl, Penelope, Black Swan in Red Polka Dot, Leg

Carry me with you Penelope!

 


 

JOSE:  ‪You need to smoke/drink/inhale whatever Jean Dujardin's been on since November‬ 

KURT:  ‪My guess is it was that toddlers and tiaras concoction‬.

Nathaniel:  ‪Ohhhh Dujardin. If I could tap dance to revive my flailing career, I would

Jose:  ‪just teach Monty a few tricks, grow a 'stache and you're set! If not you can ask Super Gwynnie to help you‬. Yay super Gwynnie!‬

Kurt:  ‪Paltrow gets my Best Dressed in a walk. and did she ever walk. I'm just in love with super gwynnie. Damn those cape haters!‬

Nathaniel: Quoth Edna "NO CAPES!"

"NO CAPES"Kurt: LOL

Nathaniel: I was trying to think of a superhero name for her but all I came up with was "‪Goop Girl. Able to leap the Atlantic in a single bound.‬"

Jose:  ‪ugh I am so happy that we all agree on Gwyn for once, I always stick up for her, even when she does crazy ass stuff‬

Kurt:  And this is so the year of the bracelet.

Jose: Lynda Carter must be pissed they're stealing her decades old thunder.

Nathaniel: Big wrist-hiders. Somewhere Natalie Wood is smiling down from heaven.‬

more after the jump including best actress...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb282012

Tues Top Ten Pt 2: 84th Oscar Takeaways

It's (almost) all over but the dresses. But first we're counting down the ten takeaways from Oscar's 84th year. Your takeaways may vary of course but these are the ten things I expect I'll keep thinking about beyond the big night....

10 Direction is Everything
09 Fincher's Oscar Stride
08 Leggy Angelina Jolie
07 Movie Stars on Movies
06 A Separation's Win


Jessica and her Nana

05 Jessica Chastain is a Girly Girl
Just when we started thinking of her as a Serious Serious Actress she showed up in awards season all giggling, bouncy, girlish. This doesn't mean she isn't a serious actor of course but it was rather a shock, even after speaking with her. Celia Foote's uninhibited enthusiasm in The Help might be the closest we've seen to the real woman behind the chameleon. This impression continued on Oscar night when she brought her Nana and went all womanchild shy and cuddly after her clip. Later during the Best Actress presentation she looked enormously worried for Viola Davis. No wonder she's an actress; her face registers every flush of big feeling. 

04 Emmanuel Lubezki Is Never Going To Win an Oscar
I was more sure that "Chivo" aka Emmanuel Lubezki would lose the cinematography Oscar for The Tree of Life than I was sure who would win it. I predicted The Artist but the prize went to Robert Richardson (Oscar #3) for Hugo.  Lately AMPAS seems much more interested in cinematography as a complicated technical profession rather than a spiritual one that's all about light and tone and feeling. For the past three years Oscar has definitely preferred heavily processed CGI behemoths here. We hope they one day get back to movies that feel crafted by hand... and God. Like There Will Be Blood (which miraculously won).

Lubezki is brilliant but it's lost on the general voters. At least the cinematography branch knows his worth. He has the unique distinction of being nominated with frequency despite rarely lensing Best Picture nominees (which is rare) and despite not being inextricably tied to any one specific filmmaker (also rare). His nominations, all of them deserved (rarer still!), come from filmmakers as diverse as Alfonso Cuaron, Terrence Malick and Tim Burton.


03 Best Presenter: Emma Stone
Easy A was such a confident comic star turn that it was inevitable that she would ascend but it's delightful that she's just as funny at the big show as on the big screen. Entering the stage to present strenuously waving, emphatically gesturing, widely grinning, Emma Stone was so keyed up you had to ask if she was for real. Before she spoke you were caught for an instant on the line between 'is this a skit? and 'ohmygod she is really into this' which, as it turns out, was the skit.

We are here tonight to present the award for visual effectsTHIS IS MY FIRST TIME PRESENTING AN AWARD. Hiiiiiii. 

Waitwaitwaitwait let's stop rushing. We should have some banter.

What joy. Emma is just as funny as herself. Or maybe as Anne Hathaway, if you take this as a comic send up of that ill fated Oscar hosting last year. (In tonight's performance Ben Stiller will be playing the supporting of the less stoned but equally dull James Franco there only to bring his partner down). From Stone's unbridled enthusiasm to her ADD Show Person energy to the spontaneous singing... Was it too Mean Girl? I am crazy in love with Anne Hathaway myself but I laughed and laughed.

(Runners up: The Bridesmaids "SCORSESE!!!!!" [knocks back drink]. It was smart to give the six of them the three short film awards as their numbers dwindled on stage. I only wish they could've had a Sound of Music send off or some comic interstitial to shoo each other off the stage 'adieu adieu to you and you and you'. Distant third: Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr in "The Presenter")

02 Meryl Streep's Third Win. Be Careful What You Wish For
As previously discussed... but also the night's best speech. (Streep would have had a rival in Christopher Plummer but for his speech being in syndication for a couple of months now)

01 They Weren't Fooling Around With 'The Year of Nostalgia'
The Oscar Producers will see your Hugo and The Artist and The Help and War Horse and The Tree of Life and Midnight in Paris and every other backwards gazing collage of deeply felt memories, shared at the movies or privately recreated by or vicariously lived through the movies and they'll raise you Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Meryl Streep Winning, Tom Hanks all over the place, Cameron Diaz, and Billy Crystal thawed from his cryogenic freeze. If you squint your eyes a little this ceremony took place in...1994.

What will you take away from the 84th Oscars? 
Are you already dreaming of the 85th?

Tuesday
Feb282012

The Best Oscar Press Room Photo


Jean Dujardin (aping his already famous George Clooney photo op at the Oscar luncheon) with Movie Queen Meryl.

Tuesday
Feb282012

Tues Top Ten Pt 1: Takeaways from the 84th Oscars

We love to do top tens on Tuesdays and more of them will be coming your way soon. Today's top ten is not strictly ascending, some of these moments I loved and some I decidedly did not but they're ten things that I'm thinking about today and that I imagine will always come up when I think of the 84th Oscars.

TOP TEN TAKEAWAYS
Things to remember, for better and for worse, from the 84th Oscars

10 Direction is Everything With Dance
When I first heard they were doing a Cirque Du Soleil number at the Oscars, I groaned. Not that I don't enjoy the odd acrobatic but why at the Oscars? If you want it to be a variety show, stop being so inexcusably high and mighty about the Original Song category (that music branch and those rules. sigh) and start nominating 5 songs each year like in every other category. There are several songs this year that might have made for great ceremony moments. But when it began with that graceful, hypnotic liftoff via North by Northwest, my spirit lifted off with the twinned Cary Grants And then crashed back down to earth when I realized that the guy in the control booth had ADD and felt it necessary to show me closeups during big elaborately choreographed acrobats, which made for entirely confusing moments. Sometimes you couldn't even tell what film clips they were dancing to.

There's a certain cross-section of film critics that have been so cynical and mean spirited about our Best Picture, The Artist, that you'd think it was directed by Ed Wood, Alan Smithee or Michael Bay. They've been so weirdly hyperbolic about their hatred that it's been hard to actually hear an argument within the bile. But the Cirque Du Soleil number only served to illustrate how wise Michel Hazanavicius was with the physicality of The Artist, especially in its last glorious continuous take moments where you could see (wait for it) ENTIRE BODIES DANCING. This is quite possibly the simplest visual performance concept of all, that to understand / absorb / fully enjoy a dance, you have to see the body. It's such a simple concept that 96% of the (modern) time, directors screw it up. Well done Hazanavicius. Should the Oscars choose to ever have musical numbers again, please hire a control booth with less panicy "ohmygodthey'llgetbored" insecurities. It's hardly ever boring to watch great dancing / acrobatics / performances. It's only boring when you can't see them and are forced again and again to look at one particular detail at the expense of the whole.

09 David Fincher's Oscar Stride
With Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall's semi-surprise win in film editing for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (I predicted it as the "spoiler" should there be one and now of course I wish I'd just gone for it fully) they achieved an Oscar miracle: it's the first back-to-back editing Oscar since 1935/1936 when Ralph Dawson took home prizes for A Midsummer Night's Dream and Anthony Adverse. Baxter and Wall won last year for The Social Network and though they really are superb editors, what this most definitely illustrates (along with the great guild showing for Dragon Tattoo) is that David Fincher has really hit his stride with the Academy. It took them a long time to get there but now that they're there expect every one of his films to win nominations in some category or another. It was hard not to view the clip selection for Rooney Mara as the Academy own cheeky response to Fincher's preemptory quipping about his movie's AMPAS fate.


There's too much anal rape in this movie to get nominated."

 

08 Leggy Angelina
Angelina has always felt a bit like a cartoon version of a movie star, so overripe, so perfectly visual. The best part is that she knows it. Her strut to standing hip swung leg out pose was so deliciously diva that it must be celebrated (and mocked by the next Oscar winner) immediately thereafter.

07 Movie Stars Talking About Movies Is Love.
King Kong Morgan Freeman talking King Kong. Brad's amusing description of The Gargantuans. Adam Sandler talking James Bond and Sean Connery's chest hair and saying "can i please do that?" (um which part?) And most of all Gabby Sidibe marveling over "My Left Foot" (who knew?) we love this sort of thing.

"Nader & Simin" watching Farhadi accept the Oscar

06 Art is Global. Art is Political. Art is Good For the World.
Asghar Farhadi and cast were present and Iran won its first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Farhadi got political in his speech and we're glad he did. Though some of the sentiment was lost in his English, we appreciate any reminder that respectful discourse and rich cultural exchange is possible and admirable, especially in the face of so much lowest common denominator politics. So many politicians these days play on people's worst instincts toward hostility and resentment for all, never thinking through the effects of war mongering rhetoric.

But back to the movies. We hope that A Separation marks a turning point and the category that used to give us the Bergmans and the Fellinis of the world will return to its roots and start giving statues to the masterpieces again. What a great start.

FIVE MORE TO GO - from Jessica to Emma Stone.
But what's your take on these five topics?

Tuesday
Feb282012

Curio: Oscar Food 2012

Alexa here. When my friend Mike found out that I would be making a pie in honor of this year's Oscars, he made some quick guesses as to the theme: 

  • Black and white for The Artist?
  • Pineapple coconut for The Descendants?
  • Ringling Bros clown cream pie for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close?
  • Humble Pie by Alabama for The Help?
  • A Trip To The Moon cheesecake for Hugo?
  • French Silk pie for Midnight in Paris?
  • Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet for Moneyball?
  • Pi for The Tree of Life?
  • Cowpie for War Horse

I quickly wished I had the energy to make nine pies instead of just one. In that spirit, here are some great Oscar-themed goodies I've seen around the web, along with the pie I ended up with. Feel free to share your own menu cleverness in the comments.

Of all the Oscar recipe ideas I've seen, I thought these Oscar-themed dogs were best (but then again I'm from Chicago, where encased meat is king). From the top: The Help Southern fried chicken sausage dog, The Artist old-time Hollywood dog, Midnight in Paris Parisian Pâté dog, The Descendants Hawaii dog with grilled Pineapple and Sriracha, Hugo watch dog, War Horse bruised and bleeding dog, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close NYC dog with mustard and sauerkraut, The Tree of Life dog with spinach, and a simple ballpark dog for Moneyball.

Click for yummy desserts... 

Click to read more ...