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January 27, 2009

Oscar nominee stories redux


Pity the Oscar nominees who are still hot on the trail of their whistle stop tours of daytime chat shows, "Entertainment Tonight," Comedy Central, "The View" and late night TV.

Or should we? Because, when you think of it, we're the ones who have to listen to them tell the same tired stories over and over again.

While best actress nominee (and recent SAG winner) Meryl Streep has already informed the klatch at "The View" how distasteful she finds awards campaigning, her fellow actors continue to engage in the new-ish practice. (So does she, truth be told).

Evidence from last night: The sometimes coherent Josh Brolin told an anecdote on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" about being a little husky, weight-wise, when he arrived on the set of "American Gangster." Decked out in his '70s leisure suit costume, the Oscar-nominated "Milk" actor met with co-star Russell Crowe, sat to rehearse and promptly and audibly ripped out the seat of his pants.

He figured all that was left was to get fired by director Ridley Scott which, of course, didn't happen.

NUP_133748_0055 Great story (better than those platitudes about "Milk"), but it's a repeat. Just like the charming Viola Davis who keeps saying that acting in an intense scene in "Doubt" with Streep was like "going 15 rounds with Mike Tyson." Well, it probably was.

If the questions don't get any better -- don't hold your breath on that score -- chances are the stories won't either. And we still have nearly a month to go.

Contrast this phenom with a John C. Reilly appearance last night on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (yep, a little insomnia going on here). Conan's winding down his 12:30 a.m. slot, getting ready to step in for Leno at 11:30 p.m., and he's inviting his friends onto the show, whether they have a project to promote or not.

Reilly, a previous Golden Globe and Oscar nominee, did not. But he told great stories of kissing the chimp on the set of "Walk Hard," his childhood garage bands and singing show tunes. He also brought a clip, but it wasn't of any of his movies past, present or future. It was "Taxi Driver." Just because.


We'd like to see Philip Seymour Hoffman pull that off.


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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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