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The Oscar op-eds.

The Oscar op-eds. (photo)

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It’s been fun sharing awards season with you (translation: IT’S ALMOST OVER). As we exit the most over-blogged Oscar season of all time, let’s back up 21 years to revisite some past Academy controversy. Though this year the New York Times felt compelled to run a piece from research scholar Kim Elsesser bemoaning the fact that gender-segregated acting categories still exist (why? Isn’t it enough of a horse race already?), the Oscar op-ed isn’t necessarily an annual tradition.

Their last major NYT Oscar editorial ran four years ago, when Adam Cohen proposed that the 2006 class of “Crash,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Good Night, And Good Luck,” “Syriana” and “The Constant Gardener” represented a new day in awards seasons, acknowledging movies that engaged with the controversial present rather than the safely resolved past. Obviously, this didn’t work out.

20 years ago, the Times archives record one major op-ed contribution, a letter from one Arthur J. Morgan, who expresses his unease about attending a matinee of “Glory” where “cheers were coming every time a black killed a white.” But for real controversy, you have to go back to the 1989 awards, which seem universally remembered as one of the worst ever, mainly due to the opening sequence, a long series of musical numbers featuring “Snow White” (Disney considered suing for defamation of character) singing opposite recent-sex-scandalee Rob Lowe.

03042010_snowwhite.jpgThe Times, as it happened, was sanguine: their wrap-up editorial asked the annual rhetorical question: “Does anybody really want the show to be great? Isn’t trashing it the next morning half the fun?” Nothing’s significantly changed since then, even if the fever-pitch speculations have only increased in intensity.

Watching that opening sequence two decades on, what’s surprising is how well it’s aged. For all the infamy, there’s a lot to treasure. Snow White and Rob Lowe is a great camp moment, of course, but there’s more to it — cameos by Roy Rogers, Cyd Charisse, Vincent Price, Dorothy Lamour and so on suggest the assumption that everyone can remember back 50 years cinematically, something that seems unlikely these days. Worst ceremony ever? Pleasing time capsule (it was also Lucille Ball’s last public appearance)? Just remember: no matter how earth-shakingly awful the Oscars will turn out (already predetermined by your personality), in 20 years that ceremony be nothing more than some era-specific memories and faded outrage. Just enjoy it, okay?

[Photos: “The 61st Annual Academy Awards,” ABC, 1989; “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs,” Disney, 1937]

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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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