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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

geowash_flat

Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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