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DID YOU READ

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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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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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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.