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September 29, 2008

Paul Newman: Class act


Was it the brilliant baby blues? The range that propelled him from Western to Southern gothic to courtroom drama to caper and points in between? The masculine bravado beside the honest humility? The big heart for sick little kids?

No way to isolate why people loved Paul Newman, the man and the actor, so much. Something we always found the epitome of class -- his anti-Don-Draper ways, famously summed up in an interview with Playboy in which he said of Oscar-winning wife, Joanne Woodward: "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?"

An authentic gentleman.

Newman's pictured here with the Jean Hershholt Humanitarian Award that he picked up at the Oscar ceremony in 1994.

The Oscar- and Emmy-winning Hollywood legend died late Friday of cancer. He was 83. Read more about his career at THR here, and check out the Peter Travers/Rolling Stone tribute 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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