The Oscars
12

Critic Notices Academy Awards Ignore "Excellent Movies" That Are Fun To Watch

"But Skyfall does not fit into the Oscars' strangely limited and calcified definition of excellence. Neither does The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers or The Hunger Games, although all are excellent movies, well-cast and acted from fine scripts made better by good direction. Alas, they were also fun, and fun no longer fits the list of qualifiers for Oscar quality after all the Usual Suspects (grim, inspirational, historical), have been named." —Which of your favorite well-made, enjoyable movies from 2012 were ignored by the Academy Awards? And don't say Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because that's what everybody says.

9

Your Ultimate Oscar Ballot Cheat Sheet for Nominated Shorts

Each year on your pre-party Oscar ballot, you likely take a wild stab at some of the more minor categories. But this is where experienced home Academy Awards predictors clean up. If you want to win that pool, you gotta bone up. And I can help you.

If you haven't watched all the short films… you're not alone! And it would not be a waste of your time to go watch them all. But I've seen all the nominees for Animated Short and for Live Action, and I've got a pretty good idea about what's going to score. Obviously, TONS of spoilers ahead.

23

'The Artist' And What Makes A Movie 'Foreign'

In early 2003, when evidence emerged that plans for war against Iraq were not merely afoot, but were looking more and more like a fait accompli, the French advised the luridly stupid and prevaricating administration of Bush II against an invasion. This sound suggestion was roundly condemned by nearly every Republican who could get in front of a microphone, culminating in possibly the dumbest episode of the run-up to the war: the announcement of Representatives Robert W. Ney and Walter B. Jones, Jr. that thenceforth the various House restaurants would be serving "freedom fries," rather than French fries. "This action today is a small but symbolic effort to show [...]

15

Why Don't We Score Acting Like We Do Sports?

There was a moment, early on filming day for the pivotal scene in Barney's Version, when Paul Giamatti looked to me like an athlete preparing for a big game. As nattily dressed extras milled around the ballroom of Montreal’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, Giamatti, freshly planted in your father’s powder-blue tux, stood by the breakfast table around the corner. The producer, Robert Lantos, greeted him, and the two chatted a bit about the day ahead. Then Lantos, an imposing Hungarian-Canadian, abruptly gripped Giamatti’s shoulders, straightened him up, and gave him what looked like a Knute Rockne–style pep talk. Win one for the Richler, kid.

With that, Giamatti strode to the ballroom, [...]

15

The True Story Of The Oscar Streaker

It was Tuesday night, April 2, 1974, and America and various other parts of the planet were knee-deep in the telecast of the 46th Academy Awards. David Niven (co-hosting with John Huston, Diana Ross and Burt Reynolds) was introducing Elizabeth Taylor, who was to present the Oscar for Best Picture, only to be interrupted by a young man running across the stage behind Niven. The man flashed the peace sign and kept running. He was wearing no clothes. And Niven noticed, and paused to acknowledge the amusement of the audience, and said something Niven-y and withering. And the live broadcast continued. (The Sting won!)

This event is notorious, and often [...]

47

The Great and Terrible News About the Oscar Nominations

While everyone is "upset" about Christopher Nolan not being nominated for best director for Inception, there's way more fascinating news in today's Oscars nominations announcement.

The good news:

Waiting for Superman? Straight-up SNUBBED in the best documentary race. Hooray! The propaganda vehicle for the privatization of education can now slink off to die.

Exit Through the Gift Shop, which is in some ways at least a documentary, though who knows which ways, nominated for best documentary, which, yay.

• Jacki Weaver, who is maybe possibly the last remaining delightfully aging camp diva of our time, nominated for best supporting actress to duke it [...]