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January 22, 2009

'Waltz,' 'Man on Wire' lead foreign, docs


Neither the foreign language race nor the documentary category gives us many surprises today. As far as the foreign derby goes, all the hubbub happened long before we got to this point (omissions, omissions, omissions, mostly of the edgiest fare like Italian mob tale "Gomorrah").

Now, all that's left is to hand over the trophy to recent Golden Globe and Critics' Choice winner Ari Folman for his Israeli animated memoir.

Here are the foreign language finalists:

"The Class," France

"The Baader Meinhof Complex," Germany

"Departures," Japan

"Revanche," Austria

"Waltz with Bashir," Israel

In the documentary race, we feel a make-good here for Werner Herzog, who was snubbed in '05 for "Grizzly Man" but makes it in this go-around for his spellbinding Antarctica tale. We're still expecting James Marsh to walk away with this prize, for the mesmerizing Phillippe Petit walk across the then-newly built Twin Towers, no matter how compelling the Katrina tale "Trouble the Water" turned out to be.

The contenders:

"The Betrayal"

"Encounters at the End of the World"

"The Garden"

"Man on Wire"

"Trouble the Water"


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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.

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  • 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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