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Oscars and BAFTAs and Bears

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Outstanding British Film of the Year?
Oh my.

Oscars: The highlight we’d pick from the deluge of Oscar features this weekend is unquestionably Jacques Steinberg‘s New York Times piece on the tough time Jon Stewart and his loyal band of writers should be having with Stewart’s Oscar-hosting gig — everyone gets their quip in.

Somehow, Mr. Stewart and his writers must be arch enough to bring along
the 1.4 million viewers who lap up "The Daily Show" each night on
Comedy Central, while being broad enough to win over perhaps 40 million
other people who typically watch the Oscars but may never have seen
"This Week in God," a sendup of religion that is a "Daily Show" staple.

"We’re hoping to disappoint fans of ‘The Daily Show’ and similarly
disappoint new fans who had no idea who Jon was," [Ben] Karlin, now
executive producer of both the Stewart and Colbert shows, said in an

Also in the New York Times, Terrence Rafferty praises Robert Altman while explaining why the honorary Oscar he’ll be getting this year will be his first.

A squib in the New York Post confirms that, rather than casting off lesser nominees to receive their awards in the aisles, producer Gil Cates will have nominees move up to specially reserved seats in the third and forth rows just before each award, a system not unlike the one implemented by Mrs. Langenberg at the piano recitals of our youth, except (probably) with fewer botched renditions of "The Entertainer."

At the LA TimesOscar Beat, Steve Pond takes a closer look at this year’s elusive nominated shorts: animation, live action, and documentary.

Xeni Jardin at Wired News reports on the Sci-Tech Awards, while Caryn James tackles the best foreign film nominees in a decent piece that doesn’t attempt, for once, any strained trend analysis beyond "In this year of politically themed best-picture contenders like ‘Munich’ and ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ the foreign films have a similar urgency." Maria Elena Fernandez at the LA Times chats up reality show producers for ideas on how to make the Oscar broadcast more interesting.

And Roger Ebert goes live with his Oscar predictions.


BAFTAs: British Academy Film Award winners are here. Meh. We don’t think "Brokeback Mountain" winning over "Crash" signifies anything — Haggis‘ film doesn’t have nearly the same critical following in the UK that it does here. And odd but satisfying to see "Wallace & Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit" be named Outstanding British Film of the Year over "A Cock and Bull Story" and "The Constant Gardener" — as if the award were a measure of a film’s sheer Britishness, and "Wallace & Gromit"’s Plasticine sweater vests and tea cozies carried the day over even period-perfect non-empire waist gowns. At the Guardian‘s Culture Vulture blog, Xan Brooks runs down the lessons he learned at the BAFTAs this year.

Bears: At the close of Berlin International Film Festival, the Golden Bear went to Jasmila Zbanic‘s "Grbavica" (Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE has the complete list of award-winners), while over at Greencine Daily, David D’Arcy writes that:

Although it only won a second prize at the Berlinale, a Silver Bear for direction, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross‘s new film certainly won the exposure award. As soon as "The Road to Guantanamo" screened in the Competition, the film and its emphasis on the fact that some 500 prisoners are still held at Guantanamo without charges were all over the media.

BBC reports today "The Road to Guantanamo"’s actors were stopped and harassed at the Luton airport on their way back from the festival: "One of the actors, Rizwan Ahmed, said a police officer asked him if he intended to make any more ‘political’ films."

+ A First-Time Oscar Host in Search of That Fine Line (NY Times)
+ Robert Altman’s Long Goodbye (NY Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part one: animation (LA Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part two: live action (LA Times)
+ Spotlight on the shorts, part three: documentary (LA Times)
+ Gizmos Trump Gowns at Nerd Oscars (Wired News)
+ Five Oscar Nominees: Foreign, Not Alien (NY Times)
+ Let’s add some dirt to all the glitter (LA Times)
+ Ebert’s Oscar predictions (
+ Reflections on the Baftas (Guardian)
+ "Grbavica" Wins Golden Bear At 2006 Berlinale (indieWIRE)
+ Berlin Dispatch. 12. (Greencine Daily)
+ Guantanamo actors held at airport (BBC)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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