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February 20, 2009

Oscar winners leaked?


Has PriceWaterhouseCoopers fallen down on the job? Isn't it the only thing these buttoned-up numbers-crunching suits have to do with the Oscars -- tally the results and keep them Top Secret -- and now they've botched it?

It was kind of an intriguing thought, a report that's come out about a list of the Actual Winners somehow leaking just a few scant days prior to the Swarovski-swaddled ceremony. 

But it ain't true.

In fact, there's no such thing as a Master List of Oscar winners. Oh, those damn hoaxes.

Chalk it up to the rabid blogger "community" and the overabundance of scoop-seeking celebrity press. But there is no winner's list yet, and even if there were, it's not on the World Wide Interwebs.

And from where we sit, that wouldn't really be news anyway. Don't we already know, for the most part, who will take home trophies in the major categories? "Slumdog Millionaire," Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, Danny Boyle, Sean Penn. Sure, there could be a few upsets -- Viola Davis? -- but for the most part the results seem like a foregone conclusion.

That's not why people will watch (or won't). 

Your resident Gold Rusher likes to quiz the folks back home in the South, as consistent readers have learned, about their entertainment choices and habits. It's our version of Flyover States/kitchen table research. A chat last night with Sister No. 3 (that's a birth order, not a ranking) found that she's still catching up on the nominated films from last Oscar but plans to watch the ceremony Sunday.

"I like to see who's there, even though I won't even know who all of them are, and what they're wearing," she said. "And they might have something interesting to say."

There you have it (by the way, that's the back of Brad Pitt's head in the photo as he says hello on a recent red carpet to fellow Oscar nominee Sean Penn and wife Robin Wright Penn). So it's about personalities and star power. We suspect there are a lot of people who will tune in for that reason alone, even if they'll be watching with one eye. We'll see how many millions of viewers that turns out to be.


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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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