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February 27, 2009

Oscar from the pulpit


Statue indoors Someone dressed up like The Joker -- Heath Ledger's version -- and another did a Richard Nixon impression of sorts, but with the "Frost/Nixon" character played as a winged monkey. You see, it was a "Wizard of Oz"/Oscar tribute/mashup at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Burbank on Sunday dubbed "Oscar Extravaganza."

Say, does the Academy know about this. No, really. Or do next year's producers need a head start on ideas?

Because so many industry folks live in the area, home to and frequent butt of "The Tonight Show" jokes going back decades, the church has had an annual ritual of putting on a live show Oscar morning. The goal is to acknowledge Burbank as a company town and, at the same time, put the whole awards grab in perspective, pastor Paul Clairville told The Burbank Leader.

It's also to honor the most-thanked individual in Oscar history -- God. (Hey, isn't that an Aussie drinking game?)

This was the seventh year for the Oscar-centric service. Quick question: does the studio exec involved, identified in the paper as working in "rights and clearance," not know just how picky Oscar is about his trademark? Seems odd. And ironic. And hilarious. 

If we'd been there ourselves, and we so wish we had, we couldn't have come up with a scene setter like this:

"The performance ended with a song in honor of Jesus, before the congregation stood and sang along as the church's garage band played a punk rock song about God that had attendees tapping their feet and bobbing their heads to the sounds of drums and electric guitars."

Not sure what's better here, the actual event or the description of it. Ah, community journalism (at a paper that's owned by the Los Angeles Times).

Check here for the full story -- with photos! -- here for a video of the sermon (but not the show) and here for a local columnist's observations. Now go in peace.

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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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