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February 12, 2009

Peek at 'Spirit Awards' musical numbers

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No one can say that Film Independent's Spirit Awards don't dance to the beat of their own drummer.

The annual awards take place beachside in Santa Monica the day before the Academy Awards, with micro-budgeted films ("Ballast," "Secret of the Grain") vying for attention alongside some non-household-name stars (Summer Bishil, Jeremy Renner).

People show up in their own clothes, sometimes with sneaks instead of stilettos. The whole shebang's fueled by copious amounts of adult beverage and freed by cable TV from watching the language.

In other words, it's Oscar's tipsy, foul-mouthed, party-hearty cousin.

And here's another selling point: Unlike the Oscars, which have tried to throw the Cone of Silence over its plans for this year's remodeled telecast, the Spirit Awards are happy to let the cat out of the bag. At least as far as some of the performances go.

This Feb. 21, we'll have Christina Applegate spoofing the bleak immigrant-smuggling drama "Frozen River" with a song-and-dance number. Will a parka be involved? Taraji P. Henson plans to poke fun at the bleak Southern poor folks drama, "Ballast," and Teri Hatcher (?) will do the same for the bleak girl-and-her-dog road trip drama, "Wendy and Lucy." Rainn Wilson, last year's ballsy host, has a song up his sleeve about the bleak grappler-on-the-ropes drama, "The Wrestler." Probably not approved by The Boss.

Can't. Freakin. Wait.

For a full list of nominees, go here

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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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