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The Shambling, Bedazzled Dinosaur and the 2011 Oscar and Razzie Winners

The Shambling, Bedazzled Dinosaur and the 2011 Oscar and Razzie Winners (photo)

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As expected, “The King’s Speech” topped this year’s Oscars, winning Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Original Screenplay, though not, as expected, the slew of technical awards it was also nominated for. In fact, while it dominated the major categories, it lost more awards than it won and it wound up tied for the most Oscars of the night with “Inception,” which cleaned up in the technical categories: scoring wins for Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and, in what amounted to an upset on a very predictable evening, Cinematography over “The King’s Speech” and the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, “True Grit” director of photography Roger Deakins. Early Best Picture frontrunner “The Social Network” walked away with three awards, for Best Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, and Editing.

Much has already been made — and will continue to be made — about the relative worthiness or unworthiness of “The King’s Speech” as Best Picture winner. Even Best Picture presenter Steven Spielberg seemed to raise the issue by alluding to the illustriousness of the list of Best Picture losers in his introduction to the nominees. His reference seemed particularly appropriate since his own “Saving Private Ryan” famously lost to brilliant Oscar campaigner Harvey Weinstein’s “Shakespeare in Love,” just as the more critically acclaimed “The Social Network” was about to lose to Weinstein’s “The King’s Speech.”

I suppose if you’re a “Social Network” fan (or a “Winter’s Bone” fan or a “Toy Story 3” fan…) this is something to get upset about. But let’s be realistic here: getting it “wrong” is one of the few things the Oscars do really well. Though few people will admit to it, this is the real reason we love the Oscars: because they’re fun to make fun of. They stir up conversation and give us nerds something to complain about. And nerds love to complain about stuff (see: the internet). Mind you, I’m not even suggesting any award really can get it “right.” The only thing that can prove a movie’s greatness is time, and that is something Academy voters do not have the luxury of.

Much will also be made of the show itself, and of hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway who were more uncomfortably odd couple than adorably odd couple. Hathaway was all bubbly energy and excitement, while Franco looked increasingly bored throughout the evening, particularly when he was paired with his more animated co-host. Franco and Hathaway self-deprecatingly acknowledged that their presence pointed to the fact that the Oscars were going for a “young and hip” audience, a fact even more clear during embarrassingly unfunny schtick like the AutoTuned nominees bit. But again, this is what the Oscars do: try and fail to be contemporary. The Oscars, so long, so stodgy, so soaked in the illusion of glitz and glamour, are like a shambling, bedazzled dinosaur. The Oscars have been out of touch since I’ve been watching, dating back the last couple decades. To me, watching the Oscars make awkward stabs at relevance is all part of the fun. If the Oscars got it right, what would we joke about on Twitter?

Really what this year lacked compared with other Oscar telecasts wasn’t comedy but surprise, and that’s something that’s beyond the show’s control. When we remember our favorite Oscar moments, we don’t think of planned material. We love the crazy spontaneous moments — David Niven and the streaker, Sacheen Littlefeather accepting Brando’s “Godfather” Oscar, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s refusal to yield to the wishes of the You’re Taking Too Long! music. The fact that the show went largely as predicted by award season prognosticators isn’t the fault of the the Oscars’ producers, though it may point to the fact that while these prediction websites make winning Oscar pools a lot easier, they also may make watching the Oscars themselves a lot harder.

Harder to watch than the Oscars? The Razzies, but that’s because they’re not televised at all. How is that even possible? Not even on the Internet? I would watch the Razzies, especially if they showed really embarrassing clips of the nominees, and particularly to see if any of the winners showed up to accept their awards.

As I predicted last week, M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” was the biggest loser at the Golden Raspberry Awards this year, earning Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay, and a particularly deserving Worst 3D. The deadly “Sex and the City 2” wasn’t let off the hook either, picking up awards for Worst Actress (for all four leads), Ensemble (for all four leads and everyone else in the movie), and Worst Sequel. And speaking of sequels, I’m sure we’ll revisit this ongoing conversation about the merits of these shows this time next year.

The 2011 Academy Award Winners
Best Picture: “The King’s Speech”
Best Director: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech”
Best Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan”
Best Original Song: “We Belong Together,” “Toy Story 3”
Best Editing: “The Social Network”
Best Visual Effects: “Inception”
Best Documentary Feature: “Inside Job”
Best Live-Action Short: “God of Love”
Best Documentary Short: “Strangers No More”
Best Costume Design: “Alice in Wonderland”
Best Makeup: “The Wolfman”
Best Sound Editing: “Inception”
Best Sound Mixing: “Inception”
Best Original Score: “The Social Network”
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”
Best Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World”
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
Best Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3”
Best Animated Short: “The Lost Thing”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”
Best Cinematography: “Inception”
Best Art Direction: “Alice in Wonderland”

The 2011 Golden Raspberry Award Losers
Worst Picture: “The Last Airbender”
Worst Actor: Ashton Kutcher, “Killers” and “Valentine’s Day”
Worst Actress: The Four “Gal Pals,” “Sex and the City 2” (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon)
Worst Supporting Actress: Jessica Alba, “The Killer Inside Me,” “Little Fockers,” “Machete,” and “Valentine Day”
Worst Supporting Actor: Jackson Rathbone, “The Last Airbender” and “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”
Worst Eye-Gouging Mis-Use of 3D: “The Last Airbender” (Released in “Fake 3-D”)
Worst Screen Couple or Ensemble: The Entire Cast of “Sex & the City 2”
Worst Director: M. Night Shyamalan, “The Last Airbender”
Worst Screenplay: M. Night Shyamalan, “The Last Airbender”
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel: “Sex & the City 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.

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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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