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DID YOU READ

My (Sure To Be Wrong) Oscar Picks

My (Sure To Be Wrong) Oscar Picks (photo)

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You can know a lot about movies and still know very little about the Academy Awards. The Oscars are a specialized skill, sort of like scouting in baseball: you can be the best baseball mind on the planet, but if you can’t predict who has the talent and drive to become a great player (or the desire to spend 250 days of the year on the road — a trait that, admittedly, does not hold up in this analogy), that’s not the job for you. I know a lot about baseball and movies, but I wouldn’t be a great scout and there’s a reason I don’t run one of those Oscar all-the-time websites.

But making Oscar predictions is an essential part this job, like creating a top ten list at the end of the year or making fun of Rob Schneider movies. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it — I do — it’s just that I’m not great at it. Last year, my former podcast co-host and I made a bet on the show and I lost. As a result, I had to drink an entire bowl of Austin’s finest (and thickest) queso dip. I almost went blind. On cold nights and right before it rains, I can still taste guacamole in my mouth.

Here is my one helpful Oscar picking tip: learn about the short films. Anyone doing an Oscar pool is going to know the main contenders, and unless they’re desperate to lose money (or, in my case, their appetite) they’re going to do some rudimentary research on the frontrunners in all the main categories. By good info on the animated, documentary, and live action shorts categories is in short supply and requires a bit more digging than many of your competitors will be willing to do. So find yourself an article like this one on indieWIRE and study up.

I say all this so you know exactly who is making these picks: a very knowledgable moviegoer with a layman’s knowledge of the Oscars. So you should take them all with a grain of popcorn salt, and shop around for comparative picks before entering your own cheese-drinking Oscar pool.

The 2011 Academy Award Nominees
(My picks in bold and italics)

Best Picture
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“Inception”
“The Kids Are All Right
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3”
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, “Black Swan”
David O. Russell, “The Fighter”
Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
David Fincher, “The Social Network”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “True Grit”

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges, “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”
Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
James Franco, “127 Hours”

Best Actress
Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman, “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams, “Blue Valentine”

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
John Hawkes, “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner, “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld, “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Best Original Screenplay
Mike Leigh, “Another Year”
Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington, “The Fighter”
Christopher Nolan, “Inception”
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, “The Kids Are All Right”
David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy, “127 Hours”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, and Michael Arndt, “Toy Story 3”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “True Grit”
Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini, “Winter’s Bone”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful,” Mexico
“Dogtooth,” Greece
“In a Better World,” Denmark
“Incendies,” Canada
“Outside the Law,” Algeria

Best Animated Film
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Toy Story 3”

Best Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“True Grit”

Best Cinematography
“Black Swan”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Best Costume Design
“Alice in Wonderland”
“I Am Love”
“The King’s Speech”
“The Tempest”
“True Grit”

Best Documentary Feature
“Exit Through the Gift Shop”
“Gasland”
“Inside Job”
“Restrepo”
“Waste Land”

Best Documentary Short
“Killing in the Name”
“Poster Girl”
“Strangers No More”
“Sun Come Up”
“The Warriors of Qiugang”

Best Editing
“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”

Best Makeup
“Barney’s Version”
“The Way Back”
“The Wolfman”

Best Original Score
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”

Best Original Song
“Coming Home,” from “Country Strong”
“I See the Light,” from “Tangled”
“If I Rise,” from “127 Hours”
“We Belong Together,” from “Toy Story 3”

Best Animated Short
“Day & Night”
“The Gruffalo”
“Let’s Pollute”
“The Lost Thing”
‘Madacascar, a Journey Diary”

Best Live-Action Short
“The Confession”
“The Crush”
“God of Love”
“Na Wewe”
“Wish 143”

Best Sound Editing
“Inception”
“Toy Story 3”
“Tron: Legacy”
“True Grit”
“Unstoppable”

Best Sound Mixing
“Inception”
“The King’s Speech”
“Salt”
“The Social Network”
“True Grit”

Best Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”
“Hereafter”
“Inception”
“Iron Man 2”

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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