The Conversation

Oscars 2013: Opinion, news and information about the 2013 Academy Awards.

Seth MacFarlane's Terrific Oscar-Opener; Way to Go, Ben Affleck!

Feb 25, 2013 1:45 PM PT

Stuff called "life" came up and I wasn't able to see last night's Oscar telecast. But thanks to the great clips our TV team grabbed and this full 15-minute video of MacFarlane's opener, it looks like MacFarlane did a great job.  

Normally an Internet video can hold my attention for about 92 seconds tops, but I enjoyed all of 15 minutes and now kind of regret missing the show. Huge bonus points to MacFarlane for bringing William Shatner in on the gag -- who once again proved he's The Shat and then some.

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Top 5 Reasons I Like Jennifer Lawrence

Feb 25, 2013 1:13 PM PT

1. She's a legitimately talented actress. Very natural. Unlike overrated show-offs like Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet, you never see the strings.

2. As far as I know, Lawrence has never said anything that reeks of self-importance; that's divisive or insulting. That's a rare quality in the modern-day superstar. Hopefully, she won’t be pressured to change.

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Wanted: An adversarial press

Feb 25, 2013 12:29 PM PT

In response to The Full Fusion of Media Power and Government Power? What Could Go Wrong?:

I've always thought the big problem with media bias isn't when they go hard on Republicans - I prefer vigorous investigation of the political class, no matter what party they belong to, and Washington itself is a perpetual system distinct from the party in power at any given moment.  The problem is when they go easy on Democrats.  

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The Irony of Michelle Obama's Oscar Moment

Feb 25, 2013 11:03 AM PT

I saw Argo when it came out, one of four Best Picture nominated films I've seen so far. I thought it was excellent in part because it was tense and realistic but not deadly serious in the way most Oscar nominated films tend to be. Argo is fun. I was rooting for it to win last night.

Despite it being based on real, very political events it does a good job not weighing the story down with too much political baggage. This isn't a top-down story, it's a bottom up one. Yes, there is a voice over by Jimmy Carter during the credits, but it's really the first time Carter intrudes on the film.

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Finke: Michelle at Oscars 'unnecessary and inappropriate'

Feb 24, 2013 11:03 PM PT

From the doyenne of Hollywood bloggers, Nikki Finke, live-blogging the Oscars:

As if Hanoi Jane wasn’t fuel enough. Oh My God - the Academy actually fans the fire by drafting First Lady Michelle Obama to help present Best Picture from presumably the White House? So unnecessary and inappropriate to inject so much politics into the Oscars yet again. Hollywood will get pilloried by conservative pundits for arranging this payoff for all the campaign donations it gave the President’s reelection campaign. I don’t understand this very obvious attempt to infuriate right-leaning audiences. Clearly the studios only want to sell their movies to only half of America.

Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence Laughs Off On-Stage Tumble

Feb 24, 2013 10:46 PM PT

Entertainment reporters gathered backstage this evening after the Oscar awards ceremony to ask questions of the evening's winners.  One of the best set of exchanges occurred when Jennifer Lawrence, who won best actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook" - and who had earlier tripped up the stairs on her way to accept her award - made her way through rapid-fire questions.

She began the interviews by telling the group of reporters that she'd had a shot before coming out to answer questions.  One asked her about her fall and how it happened.

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¡Michelle Obama, Deus ex machina!

Feb 24, 2013 10:25 PM PT

That extra "¡" seems appropriate to indicate the sheer cultishness of what happened at the Oscars tonight. I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that Michelle Obama has some appealing qualities. That does not mean those qualities must be omnipresent. Her Deus ex machina moment was just obscene, and rather frightening in what it suggests about how low we have fallen as a nation. Healthy societies do not create political personality cults.

Nihilism as humor

Feb 24, 2013 8:53 PM PT

In response to MacFarlane Didn't So Much as Tweak His Shtick for Oscar Night, Did He?:

I think I lean more toward Ace's take on MacFarlane.  He can punch out a funny joke here and there, and he has a great set of pipes for voiceover work (for example, "Hellboy 2") but most of his approach seems lazy to me.  He's selling nihilism as humor - random oddball juxtapositions and bottom-of-the-barrel cynicism.  Wouldn't it be hilarious if your favorite childhood toy grew up to be a foul-mouthed hedonist?  

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Clooney's Clumsy Start to 'In Memoriam' Saved by Streisand

Feb 24, 2013 8:14 PM PT

The clumsiest part of any Oscar telecast is the In Memoriam segment. Either the crowd starts up an applause contest, or the list of the dearly departed leaves out someone who had a real impact with viewers.

Tonight, George Clooney introduced the somber segment as if he were reading a cereal commercial. C'mon, George, puts some emotion into it. You do have an Oscar, remember?

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After The Oscars

Feb 24, 2013 7:57 PM PT

Watching the Oscars, you'd think these people were curing breast cancer. But the truth is, they're just really good at helping us suspend disbelief for a few hours. 

But when these kings and queens of cachet are all done celebrating themselves, most Americans will still be stuck in a less luxurious reality. After the Oscars are over, the actors, the producers and the directors won't have to cope with smaller paychecks and bigger tax bills, a lower standard of living and higher gas prices. 

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Anti-Sethite

Feb 24, 2013 7:24 PM PT

Yes, McFarlane. You don't like Jews. We get it.

Ow, Wow Man

Feb 24, 2013 7:15 PM PT

He's pretty much making the Oscars into Ted + The Family Guy.

They're not funny either.

More Music? Isn't This Film's Night to Shine?

Feb 24, 2013 7:10 PM PT

I've always been aghast at how many musical numbers an event honoring film manages to squeeze in each year

That said, the just-wrapped musical numbers (Les Mis, Dreamgirls, Chicago) really brought the show back to life. I'm not a movie musical kind of guy, but seeing the cast of Les Miserables belt out their song gave me chills - and also helped me forget how presenter John Travolta mangled the film's title.

Oscars Eschews Politics, Goes for 'Sugar Man'

Feb 24, 2013 6:52 PM PT

The Best Documentary category often lets Academy voters flex their political muscle. Just consider that both Al Gore and Michael Moore have golden statuettes on their respective mantles.

Tonight, with two films casting a negative light on Israel competing in the documentary category (5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers), the Oscar voters went for ... a soulful story about a presumed dead singer finding new creative life in South Africa.

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Bond Tribute

Feb 24, 2013 5:07 PM PT

If I don't see this man during the Oscars' tribute to the Bond movies I will be very disappointed.

 

There are no accidents on the Red Carpet

Feb 24, 2013 4:46 PM PT

In response to Presented without Comment:

Anne Hathaway's dress was completely forgettable and not particularly fashionable.  I hate the necklace with that neckline.  The only thing that could save her from oblivion was to turn on the highbeams.  As Mae West said, "It's better to be looked over than overlooked."

Attention Hollywood Producers

Feb 24, 2013 3:49 PM PT

Why not combine the excitement of the Oscars with the excitement of NASCAR?  I give you the ultimate reality TV cross-demographic ratings bonanza, the NOSCARS - where flaming car wrecks fly into grandstands full of movie actors!

I'm only asking 10% of gross and 25% of merchandise licensing. Let's do lunch!

Spotting an Oscar Winner

Feb 24, 2013 2:40 PM PT

The Red Carpet arrivals start at 5:30 p.m.  We know who the nominees are, but here are a few ways to spot those who think they may win:

- For the most part, all the nominees for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor will be in classic tuxedos.  For instance, if Bradley Cooper decides not to wear a tie, he thinks he'll lose.

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Why Argo, Lincoln beat Zero Dark Thirty's odds

Feb 24, 2013 9:27 AM PT

Presidential leadership is a prominent theme at this year's Oscars--and a lacking theme in American politics today. Three contenders for the Oscar provide an alternative: LincolnArgo, Zero Dark Thirty (Obama). 

Each was written with a view to current (Democratic) politics. Tony Kushner wrote Lincoln to support Obama's ideological push against the Reagan revolution; Argo is an attempt to rewrite history's view of the inept Jimmy Carter's conduct during the Iran hostage crisis; and Zero Dark Thirty was long suspected of being an election-year promotion for Obama (whose White House may have shared information with the filmmakers for precisely that reason). Yet only the first two are considered in the running, because Zero Dark Thirty appears to take the position that torture was necessary to obtain clues leading to Osama bin Laden.

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