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February 22, 2009

'Man on Wire's' magic act


Illusionist and daredevil Philippe Petit balanced the Oscar statue on his chin and did a magic trick after "Man on Wire," the incredible film about his insane tightrope walk between the Twin Towers, won the Oscar for best documentary.

Bet the team from "Trouble the Water" couldn't have done that.

Petit can't resist the spotlight, as anyone who's seen the compelling movie about his life and mind-boggling World Trade Center stunt can tell you. He's energized, delighted and fortified by it.

"Man on Wire" so wonderfully captured who Petit is, what motivates him and the gift that compulsive drive gave the rest of us.

And it helped our batting average for the night, which ain't too shabby. (Full tally after all the dust has settled.)


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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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