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December 18, 2007

Dreaming of a white (noise) Christmas

Debaters5

War. Mortgage meltdown. Raging wildfires. Obscene gas prices. Chinese toys that somehow morph into date rape drugs, and L.A. cops who overlook some poor dead woman in her wrecked car. (They find her a day later in the tow lot).

Don't we all have more pressing matters to think and write about than entertainment industry awards? Nah.

If this is what we choose to do, can't we all just get along? Apparently not.

Patrick Goldstein's column in this morning's L.A. Times goes on a bit of a rant about all the ranting that's taking place over awards season. And he doesn’t mean any battles between studios competing for the coveted prizes. He means us -- those of us who write about such races as the Oscars and Golden Globes.

We snipe at each other, use our various platforms to denigrate our competitors, and generally think our opinions on Hollywood's creative output matter. We prognosticate as if anyone cares. So says Goldstein, who really does have a point. We're all mean and self-important and should be forced to read every single movie and TV review in every single Midwestern community newspaper, circulation 1,435 and below, for the rest of our miserable lives. Plus we should get only coal in our stockings.

Since Gold Rush is the new kid on the block, and we weren't specifically called out for any of our perceived bad behavior, we realize a few things: a) we haven't been nearly nasty enough and b) we promise to do better.

There are way way too many "best of" stories written anyway, says Goldstein, who notes that "the occasional astute observations are drowned out by the 24/7 blather." So without irony he adds another set of predictions to the pile, complete with stats! Favorites: "Sweeney Todd" and "Atonement." Long shots: "The Great Debaters" and "Into the Wild." Revelatory? Anyone?

Read it here, if you feel inclined, and judge for yourself if his are the astute observations he's talking about or just more white noise.

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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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