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February 06, 2009

Oscar and the pneumatic cannon

82144575 A 10-minute conciliatory tribute to "The Dark Knight," complete with a star-studded "Bat Dance," a pneumatic cannon to shoot Oscar statues at below-the-line winners nobody wants to see on stage, green room sexcapades, and an extended vamp from nominee Robert Downey Jr.

So that's what the Oscar telecast has been missing.

At least that's what Vanity Fair's Mark Lisanti suggests should happen this year. Go here for his rationale.

The bloated, tradition-laden show has also been missing Judd Apatow, king of the genitalia joke. Until now. The multihyphenate will trot out a new piece of film and live material on Feb. 22, whatever that means. We hope he'll be poking fun at everyone, but we know better. That went over so well when Jon Stewart and Chris Rock did it.

Other bits that've come out lately about the secrecy-shrouded show, produced by first-timers Larry Mark and Bill Condon: There will be exclusive sneak peeks at future films at the end of the three-hour (plus?) kudofest; some of the presenters will be kept so under wraps that they won't even walk the red carpet; and Baz Luhrmann is putting together an "Australia" musical mashup where host Hugh Jackman will play all the roles, even the little aboriginal orphan.

Just that last part isn't true.

Now are you going to watch?


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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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