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November 13, 2008

Michael Moore's dollars and sense

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We already know who the winners are as a result of the historic presidential election of Barack Obama -- America, the world, sellers of various Shepard Fairey-esque "Hope"-emblazoned t-shirts.

Now the losers are starting to emerge, too -- the stellar ratings of "Saturday Night Live," 24-hour cable news networks, tellers of various "John McCain is so old" jokes, and, potentially, Michael Moore.

The Oscar winning provocateur has reportedly retooled his upcoming documentary to center on the economy and the global financial crisis. It had been intended to be a sequel of sorts to "Fahrenheit 9/11," with its focus on foreign policy.

As THR's Steven Zeitchik reports today, Moore faces a number of obstacles with this project, namely, he won't have W. to kick around anymore, so we're minus the best villain, events are changing so quickly that even a lightning fast turnaround could make the film obsolete, and is there a solution to offer to the situation? Also, will anyone show up to watch a replay of an incredibly painful time?

They did during the Bush reign, to the tune of more than $300 million in worldwide boxoffice for Moore's films. Will the confrontational muckraker continue his own reign in a different political climate?

Don't claim to have the answer, but happy to entertain a discussion, since we've found ourselves ("Sicko" aside) less and less able to separate the outsized personality from the creative product, with our estimation of the latter suffering as a result.

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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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