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February 09, 2009

Grammys love rock royalty


Paul McCartney didn't really have to win at the Grammys last night -- he didn't -- to loom large over the event. Larger than the Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic situation? Well...

It did for those of us watching from a distance, meaning not at the Staples Center. In fact, it was impossible to overlook the reverence for a raft of rock royalty on display at the 51st annual Grammy Awards. That included Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles nervously giving a shout out to the Beatle from the podium after winning a trophy for her empowered-other-woman song, "Stay."

84701034 And Coldplay's Chris Martin apologizing for ripping off Sgt. Pepper's with the band's military-esque getups. (Those are getting old, honestly, or is it just us?)

And a Coachella ad that aired in Los Angeles, and maybe nationally, that touted Sir Paul as the headliner of the three-day May desert music fest.

That's a lotta Paul.

But he wasn't the only veteran who held sway on the event (he performed "I Saw Her Standing There" with Foo Fighter frontman Dave Grohl sitting in on drums, in another trend of the night, mixing icons with younger talent). Robert Plant, whose iconic Brit rock band Led Zeppelin never won a Grammy, took the biggest swag of the night with his "Raising Sand" co-star Alison Krauss, who's now the winningest woman ever in Grammy history (26 awards in all).

Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Neil Diamond, B.B. King -- they all contributed to a show that was more about the performances (thankfully) than the awards themselves (winners were completely predictable).

And speaking of those performances, it would be well worth your time today, dear readers, to track down a few of those on the YouTubes like Al Green (who was a last-minute fill-in because of the Chris Brown/Rihanna cancellations), Radiohead with the USC marching band, show opener U2, and Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke's tribute to New Orleans.

But see our fave below, where a nine-months-pregnant M.I.A. did her best Amy Poehler-on-her-last-"SNL" impression, accompanying the Rap Pack (Jay Z, Kanye West and T.I.). Awesome. And go here for a full list of winners and tons more Grammy coverage.


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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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