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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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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

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

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

Neurotica_series_image_1

IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.