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Snubs, Stalin and stagnation amidst early Oscar reactions.

Snubs, Stalin and stagnation amidst early Oscar reactions. (photo)

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Last night, per tradition, there was a fake leaked list of Oscar nominations (“It’s Complicated”!). This morning was the real thing, none of which struck me as particularly surprising, but what do I know? I’m no Oscar pundit!

Okay, there were some small surprises. In the now doubled Best Picture field, the Coen brothers “A Serious Man” crept in over the more awards-baiting likes of “Invictus” and “A Single Man,” serving as a Serious source of glee for Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells, who calls out nine predictees who anticipated “Invictus” being nominated instead and chortles “If we were living in Stalinist Russia in the 1930s the above Gurus would be looking over their shoulders, changing the locks on their doors just in case, and wondering whether to plan extended vacations at the dachas or stay inside the Kremlin and wrangle it out with their enemies.” Oscar time: serious stuff! Just like the gulags!

The good people who thought “The Hangover” was going to score a Best Picture nomination were disappointed, Golden Globe and all. Raucous, lowbrow comedy isn’t going to be on the Oscar agenda anytime soon; the “vulgarity” factor (as I imagine is a common concern among elderly Academy voters) probably killed it off.

Certain pundits — the LA Times‘ Tom O’Neil, say — are convinced that the dual Best Picture nominations of “District 9” and “Avatar” signal that “a strong bias” (against sci-fi) has been “shattered,” since only two sci-fi films (“Star Wars,” “E.T.”) have ever been previously nominated. Of course, the latter two are, respectively, the second and fourth-highest grossing films of all time, adjusted for inflation. (“Avatar”‘s #21 right now.) As for “District 9,” c’mon, South African racial allegory! Oscar voters get that.

02022010_hurtlocker.jpgIn the category of “snubs” (a word I seem to hear at no other time of year), widely noted were the absence of “Invictus” for anything other than acting nods, Julianne Moore for “A Single Man” and Christian McKay’s made-for-Oscar Orson Welles in “Me and Orson Welles.”

Less widely noted: the grievous and frankly inexplicable absence of Marvin Hamlisch’s score for “The Informant!” You’d think they’d take an opportunity to cheer on a veteran whenever possible, but no — we instead get James [profanity redacted] Horner, now on his 11th nomination (he won two for “Titanic”) and well on his way to becoming the new John Williams.

In other Academy news: Lee Daniels is the second African-American director ever nominated (the first was John Singleton for “Boyz N The Hood”). And Steve Pond at The Wrap crunches the numbers to show that the five films with the most nods overall (“Avatar,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Up In The Air,” and “Precious”) also accounted for five Best Picture nominations.

All in all, par for the course — those five films add up to much the same race as ever, unignorable box-office muscle and technology vs. awards bait, with Tarantino somehow in the middle of it. “Avatar” will win, duh; don’t stay up nights worrying about “The Blind Side.”

Onwards, upwards!

[Photos: “A Serious Man,” Focus Features, 2009; “The Hurt Locker,” Summit Entertainment, 2009]

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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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