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Oscars 2012: The lauded films that got the Academy’s cold-shoulder

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If you were looking for an upset at this year’s Academy Awards, you aren’t going to find it in the nominee pool announced today. The nominations went out to the expected recipients — hey there, “The Artist,” “The Descendants” and “Hugo” — while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opted to have only nine Best Picture nominees instead of adding a tenth dark horse.

Unfortunately, that meant a lot of well-deserving movies didn’t make the cut. Indies didn’t do too well this time around (sorry, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”), and neither did the movies that were both critical and box office successes (here’s a tissue, “Harry Potter” and “The Muppets”). It seems that the films that could be fairly labeled awards season bait caught their prey, though they’re well-deserving of the awards they received. But we wish that some of these other flicks could have received the recognition they deserved as well.


“Drive”

Ryan Gosling gave the best performance of his career in Nicholas Winding Refn’s violent thriller, but didn’t receive any recognition from the Academy for his efforts. We would have at least expected Albert Brooks to get a nod for Best Supporting Actor (I mean come on, that scene with Bryan Cranston towards the end!), but no cigar. “Drive’s” only nomination was for Best Achievement in Sound Editing, which doesn’t do too much to ease this snub.


“The Ides of March”

Speaking of Ryan Gosling snubs, where was the love for “The Ides of March”? The movie picked up Golden Globes noms for Picture, Director, Actor and Screenplay, but only got a Best Adapted Screenplay nod from the Academy. Sorry if you were looking for a second Best Director nod, George Clooney, but at least you were recognize for your work in “The Descendants.” Between this, “Drive” and last year’s “Blue Valentine,” it seems safe to say that the Academy isn’t the biggest Ryan Gosling fan. In fact, maybe they were the ones who voted for Bradley Cooper to be People‘s Sexiest Man this year, too.


“Shame”

It seems as though that NC-17 rating really was the mark of death for “Shame’s” Oscar chances. Despite Michael Fassbender‘s well-regarded performance, he didn’t pick up a nomination for Best Actor, and the movie was jilted with no nominations across the board. And, to us, that’s a real shame. Yes, we went there.


“50/50”

“50/50” was the little indie that could this year. The feel-good cancer dramedy had earned Joseph Gordon-Levitt some Oscar buzz when it came out in September, as well as writer Will Reiser. But no luck, come nomination time. The film walked away from the Academy announcement empty-handed.


“The Adventures of Tintin”

The fact that “The Adventures of Tintin” didn’t pick up a Best Animated film nomination after winning the Globe for it is probably the biggest shocker in today’s nominations announcement. All we can think of is that the movie was submitted to be a Best Picture contender and didn’t make the cut, but still it seems shocking that “Puss in Boots” was picked over this Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson collaboration. At least Spielberg can take comfort in the fact “War Horse” got some serious love.


“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

This movie was never going to be an easy sell. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” got a nod for Best Visual Effects, but I personally was pulling for Andy Serkis to get some sort of acting recognition for his role as Caesar, even if it was as Best Supporting Actor. Matt Singer disagreed, but it seems unfair that Serkis repeatedly walk away unrecognized.


“Martha Marcy May Marlene”

Where was the love for this Sundance darling? Elizabeth Olsen broke out onto the scene early this year in an amazing performance, but the Academy opted instead to honor frontrunners like Michelle Williams and Viola Davis. We get it, and those actresses duly deserve their recognition, but it doesn’t make us any happier about Olsen — and the movie’s — snub.


“The Muppets”

First, let us preface this by saying that we are over the moon that “Man or Muppet” is nominated for Best Song. Thank goodness, there is some justice in the world. But that’s all that “The Muppets” walked away with, and that seems unfair. The movie was almost universally critically beloved, and all that without any cynicism or guile. If this loses to “Rio” for Best Song, there really is no justice in the world.


“J. Edgar”

Honestly, we’re sort of glad “J. Edgar” didn’t make the cut. The movie is Oscar-bait through and through, down to Clint Eastwood directing, Dustin Lance Black writing and Leonardo DiCaprio starring in it. But DiCaprio gave a genuinely great performance, and was probably a more popular choice than Demian Bichir, Gary Oldman (who we’re very pleased made the cut) and Jean Dujardin. Give DiCaprio his Oscar, already.


“Take Shelter”

This list seems overloaded with men who were snubbed the Best Actor nomination this Academy Awards, but this was a year that had plenty of great male performances. Michael Shannon‘s turn in “Take Shelter” was phenomenal and another Sundance darling, but the movie has walked away from the major awards show season completely empty handed.


“Warrior”

“Warrior” is probably the year’s most underappreciated film, so we’re thrilled that the Academy awarded Nick Nolte a Best Supporting Actor nomination. But the movie really should have landed a Best Original Screenplay nod as well, arguably over the surprise pick “Margin Call.”


“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

This was your last chance, Academy, and you blew it. “Harry Potter” is the top-grossing film franchise ever, and for good reason. While many of the “Potter” films are good not great, “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” was a surprisingly wonderful finale to the decade-long series. It also was the highest grossing movie and one of the most well-received movies of the year. It at least deserved a Best Picture nomination, if not a win. And the fact that Alan Rickman wasn’t rewarded with a nomination for Best Supporting Actor is a real shame. If “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” walks away without winning any of its three technical nominations, the franchise will have never won a single Oscar.

Which movie do you think should have been nominated, but wasn’t? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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