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October 02, 2008

Sky falling, Oscar movies following


Grab a stiff drink -- it's 5 o'clock somewhere and it's world-gone-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket time everywhere -- and listen to the predictions of the trend spotters who gave us the dreaded terms metrosexual and cocooning.

Financial collapse, ongoing wars, tainted food, natural disasters and skyrocketing prices are damn depressing, say Faith Popcorn and Marian Salzman. (Gee, we probably could've come up with that).

What we didn't know: More men will be impotent, fewer women will be cougars, 9/15 will become the new 9/11, materialism is bad, bingeing is good.

Gives us all something to look forward to, right?

It's a mighty gloomy outlook from these two pop culture analysts -- people will hide under their beds! -- but there's good news for Hollywood. People still want their TV and movies but -- bad news for the upcoming Oscar season -- they want it to be Entertainment Lite, says Salzman.

"People want happy endings. And fantasy. Lots and lots of fantasy, which will be so much better than reality. If it feels too familiar or close to home, we're going to reject it outright."

Hmmm. Doesn't bode well for uber-serious Academy pictures, which are back-loaded into fourth quarter -- the feel-bad movies of the holiday season! (We've already predicted they could reek havoc on the boxoffice). And we think we know what's in store, ratings-wise, if next February's Oscar telecast is a parade of "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" version 2009.

But there's a bright spot, at least for some folks, in the malaise. Popcorn says the makers of alcohol and tobacco will see their business boom as people drink and smoke like there's no tomorrow.

"We're falling off the edge; what difference does it make?"

Carry on, everybody!


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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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