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October 07, 2008

Hate on Oscar Day


It's a day -- oh, a day -- where the headline, "Can Suri Cruise Even See Past Those Bangs?" coexists with this one, "Fed Joins Global Scramble to Contain Credit Crisis."

Priorities, people!

So, while we're mingling the superfluous with the dire, why not kick up some nasty controversy about Oscar? Yeah, why not? (Did we miss a Let's All Hate On Oscar proclamation?)

We're reminded of the usually-misquoted famous phrase here -- "Money is the root of all evil." The correct Biblical line is really, "The love of money is the root of all evil." (Check your King James).

Which brings us to this question: Is it Oscar, or the relentless, eight-figure, cold-hearted single-minded pursuit of the Golden Guy that's evil? We dare to posit that it's the latter.

Any of us who care to pay attention can judge over the next several months, as Hollywood rolls out its Important Movies and proceeds to spend the equivalent of a mid-sized state's annual budget on trade ads, stunts, star-heavy events and wizened strategists to coordinate same in the fierce quest for statues.

Does it really matter, you ask. It's not just a gross display of drunken sailor-style spending and studio superego. This derby has gotten so far out of control that it's ruining the elite-indie-arthouse-high-brow movie business, says Patrick Goldstein.

Cue ominous music here, preferably something by Danny Elfman from his "Sleepy Hollow" phase.

Entertainment Weekly has been so unimpressed with past Academy decisions that it's calling for a recount going back 25 years.

And the documentary world is P.O.'d big time over recently reworked qualifying rules that dictate screenings in New York and L.A. before Labor Day.

"Waltz with Bashir," which had been thought to be a solid Oscar contender, is one of the films shut out by these "new and improved" guidelines.

Enough to chew on for a Tuesday? Don't look now, but it's almost time for the debate.


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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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