Why is this man smiling?
See how you are doing in your Oscar pool without having to sit through the neverending show.
While there was a certain amount of beauty to be had in director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's previous outings 21 Grams and Babel, it's hard to find any in Biutiful. Not only is it another real downer of a film, it also takes place entirely in the crowded, dirty slums of Barcelona, Spain, which makes it visually, as well as emotionally, harsh. A few truly beautiful scenes peek through, but for the most part the movie is a series of devastating revelations and creeping dread. But there's plenty of drama to go around the cast of characters, which means it'll probably win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. (Although Javier Bardem likely won't win Best Actor.) After all, Babel was nominated for Best Picture, and that was a pretty disturbing film. Biutiful isn't as sly with its interconnectedness as Babel, but it's got everything -- poverty, illness, mental illness, the plight of immigrants and death.
The Academy Award nominees have been announced, and they're... eerily familiar! The actor nominees almost mirror the SAG Award nominees, and all of the Golden Globe nominees for Best Drama, Best Screenplay and Best Director (well, except one) are represented. There are still some oversights, but no real upsets, except maybe in the director category. Somewhere in Gotham City, a bat is crying.
America, or at least the Americans who cover the film industry, were stunned by the out-of-the-blue announcement that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be expanding the number of Best Picture nominees next year, from five to ten. The last time there were ten Best Picture nominees was 1943; apparently, winning the war gave Americans less desire to praise movies? Anyway, some people are crying foul, saying that crummy movies will now get nominated, and that's just dumb. We think this is a great idea, and we've got five reasons why in the last five years' worth of great films that didn't make the cut. Of course, in honor of the we also have a list of five other things that the Oscars still need to fix.
Since he wasn't getting a nomination for Vantage Point this year, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker joined Academy president Sid Ganis this morning to help announce the nominees for this year's Academy Awards. And while there were a lot of familiar faces on the list, there were also a few nice surprises. Here's hoping they all show up.
Here is a bit of Academy Awards trivia for you: Did you know that since the Oscars started being televised in the early 1950s, movie studios were not allowed to advertise any of their films during the telecast? Did you ever notice? Me neither. And it's too late to look for it, too, because this year, that's all about to change. In years past, the worry was that letting studios advertise during the show might appear as though the studios were influencing the outcome of the awards, despite the fact that votes had already been cast and collated. Still, the fact that Hollywood was actively trying to defer even the hint of impropriety is really rich. There's a first time for everything!
Last night, the TWoP staff were busy little beavers, building damns (and other mild cuss words) to create the snarkiest coverage of the Oscars to be found on the Internet. Not only did we Liveblog the entire event, commenting on each and every moment of the show worth noting, we also have a guide to the Best and Worst Moments! Fashion your thing? Or maybe just making fun of what people are wearing? Then check out our gallery of the Best and Worst Fashions of the night! It's breathtakingly judgmental and resplendent! And, of course, to simply see who won everything without the snark, click here.
There are just a few days till the golden statuettes are handed out. You're running out of time to see all the nominees so you can sound like you know what you're talking about at your Oscar party. Don't panic! You have options. You could call in sick and go on a nonstop marathon of movie watching, get your guests liquored up on party night so they just think you know what you're talking about, or tell everyone you're taking a vow of silence until Capitol Hill sorts out this whole economic stimulus thing. All these carry with them a certain amount of risk, though, so I propose a fourth option: just watch Pixar's WALL-E instead. Seriously. Recently I was embarking on my own movie marathon to re-familiarize myself with the choices. I started with WALL-E, which is up for an award in the Animated Feature category, and it occurred to me how it shared many elements of other Oscar nominees. Really, if you've seen this endearing story, you've seen most of the others. Keep reading to find out how adorable robots can help you out come the night of the 81st Academy Awards.