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Handicapping women, minorities, violence.

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A history of violence.
The National Board of Review has announced its awards for the year, officially officially kicking off awards season — stragglers beware! We won’t reprint them, as they’re everywhere, but you can find the list here. Best Film is Clint Eastwood‘s "Letters From Iwo Jima" — what does it mean? Ah, nothing much.

At the New York Post, Lou Lumenick writes that "the Best Actress field is the strongest in the two decades I’ve been handicapping these things." He goes on to handicap several other categories, while over at the LA Times‘ Envelope, Greg Braxton proclaims that "[a]lmost a year after the racially tinged ‘Crash’ scored a best picture upset at the Academy Awards, deep explorations of nonwhite cultures have dominated the silver screen as have a number of ethnic performers who have delivered penetrating, emotional portrayals." Some of the actors of whom he takes special note are Forest Whitaker (for "The Last King of Scotland"), Shareeka Epps ("Half Nelson"), Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls") and, naturally, minority icon Penélope Cruz, who’s proved a real inspiration for the long-underrepresented peoples of Europe.

David Carr at the New York Times finds that the prevailing theme of this Oscar season is violence: "Academy members in the thick of screenings for the Oscars could be forgiven for wishing they had donned surgical scrubs for what has become a very bloody year." "The Departed," "Blood Diamond," "The Last King of Scotland," "Apocalypto" and on, and why?

“These are bloody, serious times,” said David Thomson, film historian and author of “The Whole Equation,” among other books. “There are extraordinary cruelties out there in the real word — bodies hung on bridges, Daniel Pearl being murdered — and I think that’s why torture has come into our entertainments in a serious way. There is a truthfulness to it that audiences seem to be responding to.”

At the Risky Biz blog, Anne Thompson makes similar observations about the films in her UCLA Sneak Previews class, most of which are in the same award-contending field:

Perhaps the movie most disturbing to the class was Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical fairy tale about how an innocent young girl deals with the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. The movie creates an imaginary underground world of fantastical beauty, while also not stinting on showing the horrors of fascism, sadism and war.

In other award happenings, "Ten Canoes," Australia’s first-ever indigenous language feature film and the winner of the Un Certain Regard jury prize at Cannes, won six awards at the 48th annual Australian Film Institute Awards, including best picture and best direction (Rolf de Heer and Peter Djigirr). The film will be released in the US by Palm Pictures, someday. Via The Australian.

+ Awards for 2006 (
+ Minority report (LA Times)
+ Stalking Oscar, With Carnage and Mayhem Galore (NY Times)
+ A Violent Season at the Movies (Risky Biz Blog)
+ Ten Canoes wins AFI best film award (The Australian)

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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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