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February 22, 2009

Manly men like Oscar

84979766 A few of the guys here at Busby's East admitted to having fallen asleep during previous Oscar telecasts. They prefer sports, after all, and really just watched the kudofest when somebody else in the house turned it on and they were too lazy to leave the room.

Tonight, it's a different story. They're not only watching, but they seem to be enjoying it. They're connecting with it. The reasons are running the range -- they saw more of the movies nominated than they usually do, they're digging first-time host Hugh Jackman, who's likable in a charming and manly way, and they think it's flowing a lot better than usual. Less stiff and uptight. Looser.

"There's more interaction with the audience, and Hugh Jackman is really keeping it all moving along," said Rob, a non-industryite who came to the viewing party with his filmmaker girlfriend. "It really does feel different than in the past."

We won't know until the ratings come in whether more people decided to give it a go this year -- the Oscars suffered a record-low rating last year of 32 million viewers, and this whole revamp is happening to try to woo the lapsed viewers, the indifferent and the haters. Maybe those who did tune in like what they're seeing? We do, though it sure is still a butt-numbingly long event.

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celebrity tube

I like Oscar too.

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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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