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February 22, 2009

The opening: kitsch and wink


Stars went for the empathy chic instead of the ostentatious bling on the red carpet, and producers of the 81st Annual Academy Awards put the opening number together with cardboard, crayons and duct tape, all in deference to the Economic Armageddon this country finds itself in.

It worked. It really worked, from the paper Oscar statues to the intentionally goofy dancers.

Don't recall an opening bit that got a standing ovation (big whoops from the local crowd here, too).

It deserved it, and so did host Hugh Jackman, who sang that he hasn't gotten around to seeing "The Reader" yet, like most of those people watching at home, and admits he's still stinging that "The Dark Knight" was snubbed, again, like most of the folks out there in TV-land.

Good on producers Larry Mark and Bill Condon for the kitsch and wink of that opening, and on Jackman for delivering it.



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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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