80th Oscar Ceremony

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I’d heard that Craig’s List was a good place to find a “masseuse” but how about this ad seeking another sort of hand job:

Attention Film Critics (Los Angeles):

“Hi. We just finished a film and need to buy a one sentence quote from someone who calls himself a film critic. Thanks.”

Happy ending for Roger Freidman?

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PLEASE SEE ABOVE POST for winners.

This was the earlier thread. But we’ve left it up in order to show the comments.

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Animated Feature: WALL-E
Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire
Best Foreign Language Film: Departures (Japan)
Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Art Direction: Benjamin Button
Best Costume Design: The Duchess
Best Makeup: Benjamin Button
Best Live Action Short: Toyland
Best Animated Short: La Maison en Petites Cubes
Best Documentary Short: Smile Pinki
Best Visual Effects: Benjamin Button
Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight
Best Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Best Music Score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Song: Jai Ho, Slumdog Millionaire

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o[/youtube]

George Carlin was 29 when Lenny Bruce died in 1966 — the same year he recorded his debut album, Take Offs and Put Ons. He picked up the comedic blaze of scathing social commentary Lenny Bruce had lit, and for the next 42 years George Carlin torched the fucking joint. The world is gonna feel way too chill without him.

[two of George Carlin’s favorite targets: War and Religion. Religion in the clip above, and a War clip after the cut.]

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The New York Times Magazine spends three days on the set of “Mad Men” with creator/producer/writer Matthew Weiner, and this weekend publishes an 8000-word love letter to the best-written series on television.

Weiner‚Äôs achievements with ‚ÄúMad Men,‚Äù which is produced by Lionsgate, are plentiful, starting with the storytelling. Setting it in the early 1960s, on the cusp between the repression and conformity of the cold war and McCarthy-era 1950s and the yet-to-unfold social and cultural upheavals of the 60s, allows Weiner an arc of character growth that is staggering in its possibilities. It also gives him the opportunity to mine the Rat Pack romance of that period, when the wreaths of cigarette smoke, the fog of too many martinis ‚Äî whether exhilarating or nauseating ‚Äî and the silhouettes specific to bullet bras only heightened the headiness of the dream that all men might one day become James Bond or, at the very least, key holders to the local Playboy Club…

In an e-mail message, Ed Carroll, president of AMC Networks, said: “The network was looking for distinction in launching its first original series, and we took a bet that quality would win out over formulaic mass appeal. In our view, there’s no doubt it paid off.”

No doubt at all. If you’ve seen Mad Men you know how brilliant it is. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, the Season One DVD is released July 1st, so you can look forward to watching the best epic 10-hour Billy Wilder movie that Billy Wilder never made.

Alarmed that Katherine Heigl might be doing a better job sabotaging her career than she is, Lindsay Lohan has magnanimously withdrawn her name from consideration for this year’s Emmys. What? You missed Lindsay’s tour de force performance on Ugly Betty? That’s what you get for blinking. For a couple of hours earlier today you could watch it unfold in its 31-second entirety on youtube, but I guess ABC feels the nuances of Lohan’s immersion in the role are best enjoyed on DVD. As New York Magazine observes:

Even though two of her four lines were “Betty!” and “That’s okay,” she knows there are no small parts, only very small odds of winning an Emmy, which is what everyone else would have had if she hadn’t withdrawn from the race. This whole thing makes us hope Britney Spears wins for her work on How I Met Your Mother (hilariously, Britney did submit her name for consideration) just so we can start a big fight about how it’s just like the 1980 summer Olympics and Britney wouldn’t have won if Lindsay hadn’t stayed home.

Oh NYM, must you mercilessly tease the psuedo-divas? As Katherine Heigl once said, “Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me.”

[ERRATUM: Apparently that last quote is from Hegel (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich) — but I’m sure Katie would concur.]

Who would’ve guessed a tubby bear with an eating disorder could deliver a bigger kick than Indiana Jones? If I were a kid, on the basis on this summer’s movies I wouldn’t want to be a race car driver, or a rocket scientist, or an archeologist. I’d be wishing I could grow up to be a Panda.

With endless ripples of spring-loaded sight gags and razor-sharp wordplay for all ages, King of the Hill writing partners Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger understand the delicate dynamics of chain-reaction entertainment. Kung Fu Panda generates a magical momentum with that indispensable script component Indy IV sadly lacked: a writer with a sense of humor. (“Jeff Nathanson!” you say. “Speed 2: Cruise Control?” I say.)

This won’t be a standard review though, because I’m not big on plot summaries and cast rundowns. I just feel like riffing on a couple of things that struck me about the movie and open up a topic where everybody else can share their impressions too. Compare and contrast. What works in one movie and why don’t the same rules work in another? Endure a few more paragraphs from me after the cut and then, Let the Pandamonium begin!

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It isn’t that big of a surprise that the courts opted out of giving the long-suffering Crash producer, Bob Yari, a retroactive Oscar. Yesterday, the 2nd District Court of Appeals denied the “right of fair procedure” as applicable to this case. According to the AP, “Private organizations can make their own decisions when it comes to their awards.”

Bruce Davis was pleased to know this and added, “it is nice to be assured that the courts don’t want to be in the business of deciding who wins an Academy Award.”

Okay, fine, Bruce Davis, but if someone produced the movie and the movie won Best Picture should not that person also win an Oscar? Deserved retroactive Oscars would open a can of worms you KNOW the AMPAS would rather avoid. The AMPAS is like the Pope, loathe to admit and atone for past mistakes.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lxcMMGOhFA [/youtube]

Peter Guber and Peter Bart, on today’s Sunday Morning Shootout, only two weeks late with an Oscar preview featuring Amy Ryan and Javier Bardem. Pretty speedy for these guys, since they’re approximately 10 years behind the curve in their concept of what the Oscars are and should be.

  • “It doesn’t mean that the Oscars need to totally snub all pictures which don’t have artistic pretensions.” — Peter Bart
  • “Even Norbit got a nomination, which I think is great. Too often the Academy ignores movies that aren’t good.” — Jon Stewart

Basically the same perspective — except Jon Stewart was joking. So many things about this clip leave me dumbfounded, I don’t know where to begin. Maybe you guys can get us started. Finale of The Wire Party will dominate my evening, but I’ll be back to pound this from several jaggedy angles in a bit. Meanwhile, snark amongst yourselves.

Do many Americans feel “left out” of the Oscars? Here is one point of view from the News Democrat (Montana):

The only show that makes me feel more out of touch with the rest of society than the Oscars is the Grammy awards. But, since I just have a passing interest in music these days, I actually feel worse about not being up to date on what’s happening in the movies than I once was.

Oh, I still attend an occasional flick with my wife, but I used to go to an average of two films a week. I saw almost everything. So, when the Academy Awards show would roll around, I understood all the jokes the host would crack about the nominated pictures and performances. I even went to a few documentaries and foreign films.This year, the only two films nominated for Best Picture Oscars I had seen before the broadcast were “Michael Clayton” and “Juno.” I still have not seen the winner, “No Country for Old Men,” but am eager to catch it. I love movies from the Coen brothers.

It’s also kind of frustrating for me to watch the “red carpet” reports before the Oscars, because there are plenty of actors and actresses my wife and I don’t know. We sound like an elderly couple asking each other “Who’s that?”

It’s embarrassing when the only people you can easily identify are people the stature of Harrison Ford or who are constantly in the public eye, like Heidi Klum.

Still, we had a good time watching the Academy Awards telecast.

I have always enjoyed Jon Stewart, who was the host of the event, and it was interesting to see all the winners. There were no truly wild moments, but it was a pleasant way to kill some time.

I guess the good news is, he watched the ceremony anyway! Unfortunately, the money demo is all about Miley Cyrus (an idea that flopped) so the Oscars are probably going to try to keep up with today’s youth rather than satisfying their base.

Ever wonder how someone gets a 20 out of 24 score on Oscar predictions? We here at Awards Daily do. This year’s winner, Brandon Jones, tells us the secrets of his success:

AwardsDaily: What made you choose both Cotillard and Swinton?
BJ: Swinton, I think, gave one of the best performances of the past few years. She is also an actress that is consistently good (and one of my favorites.) I picked her because I had convinced my little brain that they wouldn’t let Michael Clayton go home empty handed. It was such a good film, (I loved it) and it was critically well received.  Unfortunately, the film was always nominated in categories with heavy, heavy favorites. Supp. Actress was the only category that had a window of opportunity. And when she won the BAFTA, that sealed the deal.

I picked Cotillard because of Tilda Swinton. She also gave an INSANELY amazing performance. I had a strong hunch that the Oscars were going to mirror the BAFTAs in most ways (except for Picture.) I think Marion‚Äôs reaction at the BAFTAs was too cute to pass up in the USA. Also ‚Äî for some oddball reason, I always think the Academy loves to have a ‚Äútheme‚Äù for its voting. I could be wrong ‚Äî and have no true substantial evidence — but having 4 foreigners win seemed likely this year. (I know Christie is a Brit but she lost to Marion at the BAFTAs and was also a previous winner.)

Do I sound crazy??
[AD: Are you kidding? Not in a mil]

AD: How did you go about making your choices? Were they based on hunches or what?
BJ: I usually make my choices based on the Guild & Critic Award wins. Also, based on hunches. The Globes only come into play in my mind when it’s a tie breaker. Other categories are based on a general consensus from critics. I have no idea what differentiates a movie with great sound editing vs. a movie with good sound editing.

AD: Are you always a good Oscar predictor?
BJ: I generally fair pretty well. Better than my friends ‚Äî but that‚Äôs simply because I am obsessed. It‚Äôs kind of embarrassing…ha ha. Awards Daily is really a source for a lot of my predicting material. (It‚Äôs my secret weapon for Oscar Pools.) This year, however, I did win the movies.com Oscar contest as well. And a few years ago finished in a close 2nd on that contest, too.

AD: Is this your best record?
BJ: This ties my best record. The year of Million Dollar Baby, I got 20/24 but missed Best Pic and Best Director (I went with Aviator/Martin S.) . But I consider this my best. I generally score between 14-17, though.

AD: Have you entered our contest before?
BJ: Yes. It is usually the first contest I enter during the year. so my scores have never been too good. But I have to say it is my favorite contest to enter.

That’s what we like to hear! You can take a gander at Brandon’s picks after the cut.

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jon3.jpgAs Dave Lettermen observed, “I think it takes a lot of nerve for a show that is 4 1/2 hours long to give out an award for editing.” The most popular annual complaint about the Oscars is that the show lasts too long. The speedy pace of the SAG awards fit tightly in a two-hour time-slot, and they had time for just as many awards with nobody rudely rushed offstage before they had time say, “Thanks.” Personally, the length never bothers me. I’d be happy if the Oscars started right around noon and lasted till a couple of hours past midnight — like the Super Bowl seems to. And maybe there’s the key to the length question. Back in high school, weren’t football games played in a couple of hours? (Stop calling those time-outs and they could wrap it up an hour and 15 minutes, technically, right? Time-outs are for sissies. Get on with it! Run your asses off like the real men in soccer do. 90 minutes, tops.) So why does the Super Bowl need to last all damn day? Possibly something to do with the ad revenue of $2.5mil per 30-second spot, ya think? The Oscars bring in a little less, locked in at $1.8 mil, but that’s still plenty of incentive to pad the show in order to squeeze in as many plugs as possible for Big Macs and Cokes, L’Oreal and Amex, GM & M&M’s.

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diablohornysmall.jpgHere with your Daily Dose of Diablo, is The Huffington Post, apparently just catching up to the “price of fame” angle that we’ve been talking about for the past 4 months. Seems like there’s a “backlash to the backlash” now, with a new wave of haters hating on the original haters, and all kinds of huffiness about selling out and cashing in. Which has everybody tittering and all aflutter since it’s never happened before in the history of Hollywood.

“She always seemed like a rebel, a social rebel who now seems to have cashed in and joined the club. And I think what we’re witnessing is resentment to that,” said O’Neil, who noted that Cody’s raunchy backstory likely proved irresistible to Hollywood types who don’t get a chance to show their bohemian, darker sides in public.

Except for the Smoking Gun (we should all look this good in our mugshots, Shia). Or MSNBC (how much more bohemian can you get than Johnny Depp?) Or on the red carpet (ok, maybe not bohemian, but it’s fun to watch). Publicity junkies wish they could whip up a dark side as playfully bohemian as Cody’s. Or maybe they just wish their pimps PR people worked half as hard as hers have. The Cinderella story now has a Ruby Slippers slant too, with some sort of brouhaha still simmering over a pair of million dollar shoes.

“They’re using me to publicize their stupid shoes and NOBODY ASKED ME,” wrote Cody, who ultimately wore gold flats. “I would never consent to a lame publicity stunt at a time when I already want to hide.”

“…but hell. since that horse already trotted out the barn door, I might as well straddle the sucker and ride him bareback for a piece longer,” she forgot to add (with a strangely Sheriff Bell syntax and accent).

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In a couple of hours, I’ll post results of yesterday’s poll in some kind of semi-organized manner, complete with the pretty pie charts. It’s already easy to see which write-ins were most predominant. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and The Dark Knight were far and away the two summer movies you guys think might be poised to be this year’s Bourne Ultimatum. It might be fun to do a shorter and less elitist poll of movies we go see purely for the mindless thrill of it — films that sometimes manage to plumb surprising depths in the hands of skilled directors, writers and other craftsmen. Aside from the tentpoles just mentioned, what other big tent populist films are you most looking forward to this year? Your answers will determine the make-up of the poll. Iron Man, Speed Racer, Wall-E… you know, not the Indies, but the Indys of 2008.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-aTmzuw7FI[/youtube]

Seriously, watching Daniel Day Lewis in this video makes it painfully obvious that not only are Brits and Irish smarter than we Americans but we think they’re smarter and we treat them like royalty. Check out this interview with Day Lewis and how the reporters are almost afraid to ask him questions regular folk might be interested in hearing. Come on America! We’re not dumber than Europeans! We really arent. Are we? Maybe we are. Oh god, maybe we are.


(thanks, of course, to ONTD)

You know, I’ve never been one to defend the sometimes silly decisions AMPAS makes, but reading all of the post-game stuff is a bit tiresome. Yes, the show got the worst ratings ever. No, it wasn’t a great show. Yes, it was probably Plan B after all. Here is Patrick Goldstein giving his suggestions as to how to get more eyeballs to tune in:

Our family’s version of the Oscars, thanks to the magic of TiVo, didn’t drag a bit. If academy chieftain Sid Ganis is going to staunch the bleeding, he needs to put the telecast under the knife. Although I’m sure it will cause a firestorm inside the academy, the technical awards — sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, makeup and costume design — have to go. No one outside of the academy wants to hear acceptance speeches from people they’ve never heard of, no matter how heartfelt. The Oscars may have once been a celebration of craft, but the world has changed. Today’s audience wants a horse race. The show is just bad TV.

From The Film Experience:

Maybe I love the split screen for the same reasons that everybody else loves sports and reality TV. The thrill of victory (solitary) and the agony of defeat (multiplied)

I find the actors generally boring when it comes to the split screen box… and the DVR shut off before Best Actor so I couldn’t look at the leading men again. Note to self: Always set the DVR to record the program AFTER the Oscars too. How could you forget? They always run over

In Supporting Actor Javier Bardem is the only one with any readable interesting emotion… so I’m not showing the whole box. Plus Jennifer Hudson killed the drama (it’s because she’s not really an actress) by reading the sentence like this

“and the Oscar goes to Jarvier Bardem”

WHERE WAS THE ELIPSIS? There has to be one or you kill the tiny quintupled drama. Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer. Do-Over.

“And the Oscar goes to Javier Bardem”

See what a difference that makes. Make us wait. You have to have the elipsis!

Snatched this fab foto from Nick Plowman’s smart blog, Fataculture. (I think he snapped it himself.)

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzx1X9Y6sPk[/youtube]
I know there are those on this site who think that Javier belongs to them. But can I just say that watching him accept his award makes my female parts go primitive. That’s all I’m saying.

Yeah, it’s gonna get taken down soon but while it lasts…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLJobVC7uR4[/youtube]

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