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January 14, 2009

Give that Oscar back!


Hey, you didn't deserve that Oscar. Give it back! 

Or better yet, give it to the person you inexplicably beat.

The good folks at Entertainment Weekly now have the results of their first "Recall the Gold" campaign, and the news for Gwyneth Paltrow isn't good. The agents, producers, directors, actors and other film professionals who participated in the exercise think the blond-haired beauty shouldn't have won best actress for "Shakespeare in Love." (Instead, the trophy should've gone to Cate Blanchett for "Elizabeth." That would be the one from 1998, not last year's movie-of-the-week-quality sequel).

But Gwynnie doesn't have to give the award back. Not really, just metaphorically.

There were others whose triumphs didn't hold up so well to the armchair quarterbacking participants, who looked at a few key results in the years 2003, 1998, 1993, 1988 and 1983. 

Cold3 Among the retroactively unlucky? Tommy Lee Jones, Renee Zellweger, Roberto Benigni and Geena Davis, among others. Preferable outcomes? Ralph Fiennes for best supporting actor in "Schindler's List" instead of Jones for "The Fugitive," Shohreh Aghdashloo in "House of Sand and Fog" instead of Zellweger in her much-maligned performance in "Cold Mountain," Ed Norton in "American History X" instead of Benigni in "Life is Beautiful" -- finally, somebody said it! -- and Frances McDormand for "Mississippi Burning" instead of Davis in "The Accidental Tourist."

But don't fret, Charlize Theron ("Monster"), Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia"), Barry Levinson ("Rain Man"), Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List"), Holly Hunter ("The Piano") and Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings"). Your wins have held up under scrutiny.

If anyone had asked us -- they didn't -- we might've bumped Sean Penn out of that '03 win for "Mystic River" and replaced him with Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation." But maybe we're just trying to cement our pick this year for Penn in "Milk." Wouldn't it be better/more likely if he hadn't won before?

And that still-raging debate about "Shakespeare in Love" winning over "Saving Private Ryan"? Outside the icy glare and Oscar campaigning tsunami of Harvey Weinstein, voters said that the Spielberg WWII drama really should've won. Gotta agree with that one. 

Go here for all the EW details.


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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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