Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New/Popularized Words of the 00's

This is a list of words of the year over the last decade from the American Dialect Society. These words have been invented, given new meaning or popularized and given a more widespread usage. I just thought it was interesting and wanted to pick some of my favorites:

24-Hour News Cycle-Describing how CNN and its imitators operate and how events pass fast
AfPAk-The hotbed region of Afghanistan and Pakistan
Asterisk Era-The time when almost everyone in baseball was on steroids
Apps-Stuff you put on your iphone
Birthers-Those who demand a birth certificate from Obama
Brokeback-You can say “I’m feeling brokeback” as a sort of gay connotation
Bushism-When Bush flubbed a line during a speech
Chad-I remember reading that this was the word of the year back during that election
Cronyism-What Bush got blamed for with Katrina
Death Panels-Non-existent language in the healthcare bill used by Obama’s enemies
Freedom Fries-Renaming of French Fries because we don’t like the French
Googling-Verb means web searching
Green-Used as an adjective to mean environmental
Life Blogger-People who broadcast themselves to the world without entertainment value except the goings on of their lives
Metrosexual-Straight guy with grooming skills
MILF-A hot mom, invented sometime in the 90’s, used during the 00's
Infotainment-Criticism of news networks for merging entertainment and news
Neocon-Hard-core conservatives with aggressive foreign policy opinions
Nipplegate-The crisis during the superbowl with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake
Post-9/11-Evoked to talk about the War on Terror or to characterize our era
Photobombing-Getting into someone’s photo
Punked-Being pranked, didn’t exist before Ashton Kutcher’s show
Red State/Blue State-States that go conservative or
Sexting-Texting naked pictures of yourselfimages
Staycation-In the time of recession, this became popularized, the idea of taking vacation without leaving
Sub Zero-A term for very thin girls (has to do with dress size)
Super Delegate-They were big in the 2008 election
Super Majority-When you have 60 reps in the senate
Swiftboating-Spreading lies about your enemy
Tea Partiers-People who don’t like big government
Team
______-Which character is your favorite on the Twilight series
Texting-Sending messages
Truthiness-Coined by Stephen Colbert
Tweet-Using twitter
UnAmerican-Not necessarily new, but increasingly more popular
Viral-A clip spreading exponentially
Vlogger-Blogging through video
Web 2.0-Interactive web
Wiki-A format for web sites, used by Wikipedia, and sometimes private organizations for collaboration

And more:
Spiderhole is what Sadam Hussein was trapped in
Lifehack is how to shorten the mundane tasks
Epic fail-How internet commenters respond to something they really think is poorly done (like a sloppily-made youtube video)
Veting: Tthe process of selecting a presidential candidate, it was a word before, but it was used a lot
Wide stance comes from the senator who got arrested in the airport bathroom
Kwanzaka is like a politically correct way to recognize people who don't celebrate christmas, i think christmas is in the word too
Jumping the Couch has to do with Tom Cruise
Thumb novel-Writing text messages that are too long and eloquent
App-Cell phone application
Grinding- A Kind of dancing
Sandwich Generation The generation that will take the burden of paying social security for the babyboomers
Googleganger is I think is someone with the same name as you that you find on google or can be confused for on a google search
Unfriend is to facebook unfriend but it can also mean taking them off your cellphone or email
Firstie-The privilge of being able to be the first person to comment on a new online article or youtube video
H1N1, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Anthrax-Various ailments that have scared America
Cap-and-trade-Green proposal
Twitterati-Those who control twitter with the best ability to gain followers
Cougar-An older woman (mid-30s and up who is into younger guys)
WMD's-Weapons of Mass Destruction purple states
Plutoed-Downgraded ala Planet Pluto
Bailout, stimulus-Financial Crisis 2009 terms
Maverick-Took on a populist meaning once it was misused by Sarah Palin
Six-Pack-Another Sarah Palin-coined term. The image of the American voter that Sarah Palin believes she she is best serving
Waterboarding-Form of torture
Climategate-A negative connotation used by pro-business advocates to label advocates of mending global warming as creating a crisis
War on terror-The war we've been fighting since 9/11
Preemptive Strike-Bush's strategy
Bromance-A strong friendship between heterosexual men that takes work to maintain like a romantic relationship
Creationist/Intelligent design-Proponents against evolution
Jumping the Couch-Committing a public relations blunder (like Tom Cruise did on Oprah)
Civil union-Legally recognized marriage-equivalents for homosexuals
Do-not-call-How to remove yourself from telemarketers. Also refers to portion of the general public that strongly resists advertising

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pet Peeve of mine with the Oscars

I wish the Oscars wouldn't waste their precious best picture nominations (although admittedly it's expanding) with films that are solely based around the basis of one performance.

I would put Erin Brockovitch, Ray, Capote and arguably The Queen in this category as well as My Left Foot, Shine and Tender Mercies.

Just as we decide the basketball MVP by taking into account the effect of one team without that player vs. the team with the player a strong film is one that I would define as engaging outside of the performance of one actor. That's what acting categories are for. Giving a film a best picture nomination as a way to secure it a place in history and ensure that many movie buffs will check out that film because it's been recommended as one of the five films of the year. The above-mentioned films already get their place in film history because people want to check out the best actor performances in these films. So if these films are not up to par, it's just a waste.

Examples:
Ray would still be a strong movie if Ray Charles weren't in it: The film certainly does a good job at positioning Ray's life within the context of history and the ups and downs of the story had a certain emotional resonance. However, if you replace Jamie Foxx with a slightly less capable actor, the film would have probably dropped to 7th or 8th in the best picture voting behind "Hotel Rwanda" or "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

Erin Brockovitch was an especially unnecessary choice with Soderbergh already getting a nom for Traffic that year. Ask yourself if the film's very existence is even justified without Julia Robert's performance. That was probably the pitch to the studio: Julia Roberts as a skanky, poor and plucky legal assistant, it's Oscar Gold. I would have recommended Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Contender, 13 Days or Almost Famous in its place.

Capote is what I consider to be the worst best picture nomination of the decade. The premise itself of exploring a fish-out-of-water flamboyant urban gay writer in the heartland of America finding himself in the middle of a murder case is gold. But Capote never capitalized on this nearly enough. In fact, a better film with the exact same story came out the year after and it had better performances and lead films. Constant Gardener, History of Violence, New World, Match Point, Walk the Line (which boasted not one but two great lead performances) and Syrianna would have all been better choices.

The Queen is arguable since it's an astute look at politics behind the scenes but would it have lost enough stature to Dreamgirls or Pan's Labyrinth had Mirren not been such a revelation in the film?

Are actors or actresses more crucial to best picture noms?

Right now, I'm just enjoying that a decade has concluded and it's sort of ripe for analysis. It's kind of like a statistician in a room full of data.
For instance, I had this theory as I was making a best actors list that they're much more important than best actresses because they fuel a best picture nomination much more often.

I took the top 15 actresses of the last decade according to my last list. These actresses are Kidman, Blanchett, Streep, Winslet, Zellweger, Whitherspoon, Dench, Scarlett Johannson, Julia Roberts, Juliane Moore, Naiomi Watts, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Connelly, Kiera Knightly, and Charlize Theron. I made that list objectively without

I am working on a list of top actors and I was planning on excluding Daniel Day-Lewis because he hasn't appeared in a minimum # of pictures for comparison, but nonetheless, I have something along the lines of DiCaprio, Crowe, Depp, Penn, Damon, Pitt, Clooney, Denzel, Cruise, Hanks, PS Hoffman, Jamie Foxx, Heath Ledger, Daniel Day-Lewis and Joaquin Pheonix.

Let's look at how each group of 15 actors has appeared in all 55 nominated films of the last decade:
Guys:
1. Chocolat-Depp, 2. Gladiator-Crowe/Pheonix 3. A Beautiful Mind-Crowe 4. Gangs of New York-DiCaprio/Day-Lewis 5. Mystic River-Penn 6. Master and Commander-Crowe 7. Ray-Foxx 8. Finding Neverland-Depp 9. Aviator-DiCaprio 10. Capote-Hoffman 11. Brokeback Mountain-Ledger 12. Good Night and Good Luck-Clooney 13. Babel-Pitt 14. Departed-Damon/DiCaprio 15. There Will be Blood-Day-Lewis 16. Michael Clayton-Clooney 17. Benjamin Buttons-Pitt 18. Milk-Penn 19. Inglorious Basterds-Pitt 20. Up in the Air-Clooney
Gals:
1. Erin Brockovitch-Roberts 2. Chocolat-Dench 3. Beautiful Mind-Connelly 4. Moulan Rouge-Kidman 5. Chicago-Zellweger 6. The Hours-Kidman/Moore/Streep 7. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring-Blanchett 8. LOTR: Two Towers-Blanchett 9. LOTR: Return of the King-Blanchett 10. Lost in Translation-Johannsen 11. Aviator-Blanchett 12. Finding Neverland-Winslet 13. Babel-Blanchett 14. The Queen-Mirren 15. Atonement-Knightly 16. Reader-Winslet 17. Buttons-Blanchett


In the end, it's not that far of a difference.

Except if I were to only award a half a point for supporting performances that don't really lead the film: You have Blanchett in all 3 Lord of the Rings films, Blanchett in the Aviator, Blanchett in Benjamin Buttons, Winslet in Finding Neverland, Dench in Chocolat compared to Clooney for Good Night and Good Luck so that's something to consider. Even when someone like Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds is a supporting role, he's marketed heavily as the lead as we saw with the recent promotion for that film.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Movie #25: Humpday

I've now seen 25 2009 films, so here's a new ranking:
Adding to 1 Up in the Air, 2 Inglroius Basterds, 3 Soloist, 4 Star Trek, 5 In the Loop, 6 Up, 7 District 9, 8 Funny People, 9 Hangover, 10 Extract, 11 Angels and Demons 12 Invention of Lying 13 Night at the Miseum 2 14 Julie and Julia 15 Whip It 16 Invictus 17 Humpday 18 2012 19 Sunshine Cleaning 20 Brothers Bloom 21 Proposal 22 Wolverine 23 Julia 24 Land of the Lost 25 Bruno:

My review/thoughts on humpday.

Humpday is a film about two straight guys who get caught up in a dare to have sex with each other on tape for an amutuer porn competition. Intrigued yet? The will they/won't they angle on this is certainly amplified quite a bit from the typical straight couple romantic film.

The film had its weaknesses. At times, the dialogue wasn't that strong and it meandered a bit too much en route to the climactic finale. Perhaps, that's a defining trait of indie films: with no studio pushing them to be ecnomical, there's no urgent need to make the movie minute-by-minute interesting. I think the audience just suffers here.

The film, though, really passed the main test that I generally use to determine what I thought of a film right as the end credits are rolling by. After I think about it a while, I might have a fully formed opinion but my initial reaction over whether I was satisfied with how I spent the past two hours is based on two things:
1. Right before the film's ending, If I was invested enough in the characters to want to know how the film would end and how anxious I was for that ending
2. What I thought of the ending.

A very good film, of course, is one that has me anticipating an ending that would be plain wrong outside of the movie-going experience.

One really good example of this was my experience watching the 1915 film Birth of a Nation: This film, is pretty much the first full-length movie epic and introduced many innovations into the art of making movies. The one catch about this film (it's noted for its technical achievements but certainly not its misguided sense of history) is that it glorifies the KKK. The film is so effective, even with the technology available in 1915, that I actually found myself rooting for the KKK before doing a double-take and thinking about how messed up that was.

In this film, what I wanted to happen for the characters (to have sex with each other) and what the protagonists wanted to happen themselves was completely devoid of reason ordinarily but it made complete sense within the context of the film. Because you see: This wasn't a film about having sex, it was a film about searching for something we don't know how to define but we know how to define it against. One character is newly married and uncomfortable with the new impositions of his life. In wanting to produce a sex tape with his male friend, he is acting out of a desperation to retain some part of his identity that doesn't have to do with being married. Both characters also want to establish themselves as people with artistic credibility: Neither of them are artists or define themselves as artists but they enter into a world of bohemian free-living people and want to feel like they belong in that community. These two friends are reuniting and want to show that they still have some of their wild youth in them.

So off they go on this truly misguided journey before it hits them (I won't reveal exactly how far they go, how much they get away with) that this very thing they want that will satisfy their identities might be a very unpleasant thing after all. Not the best film I've seen this year but one of the most memorable

Saturday, March 13, 2010

District 9 Review: What's worthy of a best picture?

This is my 24h film I've seen of 2009. Suggestions for my 25th?
I'm thinking Informant, Capitalism a Love Story, Bad Luietentant, Blind Side, A Serious Man, Avatar, Adventureland, Taking of Pelham 123. Year One is readily available on itunes but I think I will avoid it.

Also, click this link for articles that I write

Nonetheless, here's District 9:

The film is a science fiction movie and one of only about five that have ever been nominated for an academy award, which says a lot about the film already (even if it was clearly in the 6-10 category). So right away, I expected before watching the coming in that this film is either very well-made, managed to crossover to mainstream elements, or just hit a chord with the academy. I’d probably place it in the third category.

I don’t think this is a film that it stands out to everyone who watches it. Some problems were that it lost some of my attention once the exposition into this neat little world was out of the way. The problem was that the theme of aliens as a parallel for human oppression became obvious in a way reminiscent of the 1960’s version of Star Trek so sloppily used aliens of the week as a way to discuss current issues (I still like to watch Star Trek for nostalgia). One other problem is that the film hinges on the chemistry between a human and an alien and it’s hard for the alien to have a lot of character because there’s no modulation in his alien voice: it’s a series of clicky throaty noises he speaks in.

On second viewing, I came to like it a lot more and see the film’s value. Its theme is kind of obvious but the film approaches that theme with a lot of realism and fleshes out this fictional society with a lot more detail than an episode of Star Trek. In this sense, it’s a mood piece: You’re admiring the details of the camerawork and visuals as much as you’re paying attention to the story. At the same time, while there isn’t a lot of chemistry between the two main characters, the one main character with a speaking voice, bureaucrat Wikus van der Merwe, is a magnetic enough character to follow the story along with and a very unique point of view.

Julie and Julia Review

By the way, Oscar review is up here

I was worried that Julie and Julia, written and directed by Nora Ephron, would have nothing in it that appealed to me as a male. In other words, I thought it would be a “chickflick” and watching it was an experience in determining specifically what it was that made this film a chick flick. I’ve actually seen three of Nora Ephron’s previous films- Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Bewitched- and liked them all and I enjoy Ephron’s style. If contemporary storytellers are supposed to make sure their stories reflect the times they’re in, Ephron does it very literally: she’s set romantic story around radio call-in shows, and later the cybertexting revolution of AOL and her Hollywood-comeback story about the remaking of Bewitched was a commentary on nostalgia as a driving force in Hollywood (that summer, alone three of the biggest films in the theater were remakes).

This film here is one of the only movies I know to center around the art of blogging and just as film professors have told me that Shakespeare in Love is a supposedly important film about how and where art exists, the same must be true here. The story takes these themes about art and imbues them into a story that’s about the struggle to find your calling. These were elements I could get behind.

At the same time, it’s a chick flick. It’s not a love story: the two protagonists are already married and one marital spat doesn’t make this a film about finding Mr. Right. Nevertheless, the struggle to find your calling in life is told from a feminine perspective. It’s about the struggle for finding your calling in life but it’s from a very feminine perspective. These characters’ motivations are based on biological clocks and reactions to what their friends are doing at baby showers’t'heal the mend caused by this problem. mathat are things productive is a long road. You need to continue to get psychological and the resistance to being a “domesticated housewife” and it becomes obvious to the male viewer that these aren’t our struggles (of course, they are struggles we empathize with).

So overall, a good movie, one that caters less to the male viewer than Nora Ephron’s previous films. Oh, and also, Meryl Streep is once again phenomenal (as if that needs to be said). Watching Meryl Streep is like watching Kobe Bryant or the world champion at anything manhandle his competition.

Tracking Guest Stars: Updated edition

I've done this before. Just an interesting update of who's guest-starred where.
The Office:
Idis Ebra, Kathy Bates, David Koechner, Amy Adams, Chip Esten, Nancy Walls, Amy Ryan, Joey Slotnick, Andrew Daly,
Modern Family:
Ed Norton, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Schall, Judy Greer, Chaz Pallimantieri, Minnie Driver
Community:
Jack Black, Eric Christian Olsen, Katherine McPhee, Luke Wilson, Iqbal Thegba, Tony Hale
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
Kathy Nakymura, Nora Dunn, Stephen Collins, Anne Archer, Rob Thomas, Sinbad
30 Rock:
Recurring: Rop Torn, Will Arnett, Chris Parnell, Sherri Shephard
Season 1: Paul Scheer, Will Forte, Paul Rueben, Rachel Dratch , Conan O'Brien, Jason Sudeikis, Sean Hayes, Wayne Brady
Season 2: David Schwimmer, Al Gore, Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Richter, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Paul Scheer
Season 3: Jennifer Anniston, Selma Hayek, John Hamm, Megan Mullally, The Cast of Night Court, Steve Martin, Alan Alda, Elvis Costello and a bunch of musicians in the last episode
Season 4: Elizabeth Banks, Al Gore, Jan Hooks, Michael Sheen, Julianne Moore, Brian Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Betty White, Jimmy Fallon
Monk (just wrapped up):
Sara Silverman, Michael Donovan, Rachel Dratch, Andy Richter, DJ Qualls, John Turturro, Dan Hedya, Rena Sofer, Elizabeth Berkley, Wade Williams, Melora Harden, Reginald van Johnson
My Name is Earl:
David Arquette, Mike O’Malley, Christian Slater, Kathy Kinney, Giovanni Ribisi, Frank Rappaport, Burt Reynolds, Norm McDonald, Alyssa Milano, Paris Hilton
Flight of the Conchords:
Patton Oswalt, Kristen Wiig, Art Garfunkel, Aziz Ansari, Sutton Foster, Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin
Parks and Recreation:
Fred Armisen, Meghan Mullally, Louis C.K., Paul Scheer, John Larroquette, Andy Samberg
Glee:
Kristen Chenowith, Eve, Michael Hitchkock, Josh Groban, Mike O'Malley, Niel Patrick Harris
Better off Ted:
Chris Parnell, Khandi Alexander, Jennifer Irwin, Taye Diggs

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Oscars in 50 tweets

And there you have it the Oscars live-blogged by me via web
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K-Big thanks military, cliche (yawn), thanked firemen, cliche again, but hazmat workers, now that's original, bravo! via web
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and lastly Hurt Locker and K-Big winning, I was hoping for a director-picture split, moreto the point, I was hoping for Up in teh Air via web
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Bullock is from my hometown, gotta love that, wish Meryl won but what can you do, at least Bullock gave a great great speech via web
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Bridges needed to save it for the thank you cam, no need to act surprised either, you were the favorite via web
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I found it funnier that Remmer;s career is so unremarkable up to this point that colin farrell of swat had to praise him via web
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Clooney's head is going to soon explode, i loved Stanley Tucci's jab at meryl streep. via web
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hated the new format for five random colleagues giving their adorations to the nominees, besides, G Clooney doesnt need any more love via web
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hope everyone enjoyed my live oscars, didn't make it to the end, but briefly: via web
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sorry, i stopped liveblogging the oscars, went to the gym via web
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let's hope q tarantino pronounced those names correctly via web
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even a pedestrian joke like Pedro and Quentin being pet names for each other works because of delivery! via web
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Editing went to Hurt Locker...hoping for the District 9 or Up in the Air via web
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up in the air had a good short montage via web
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i don't even remember what tyler perry introduced via web
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ahhh #tylerperry, you're self-conscious that your filmic work is an embarrassment, that's step 1, step 2: now stop making bad movies via web
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ok, don't worry, i slept through the documentary category via web
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mark gianiccio's speech reminded me of Steve Sodebergh's speech and Russell Crowe's Beautiful Mind BAFTA Speech...good cross-pollination via web
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Mark Gianiccio or whatev his name is gives best speech of the night via web
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And Up wins score! was this the first Pixar win in a non-cartoon category? via web
these dancers for best score are amutuers, let's hope that EW gives them the proper low grade, how do i even know what thye're dancing for? via web
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lastly, Brittney Murphy, man, i never thought i'd see her in memoriam. teary eyed via web
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natasha richardson could have won an oscar, i think, too bad she never got the right bait, also, Karl Malden RIP via web
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i miss natasha richardson via web
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anyone notice that army archerd, film writer, was in the in memorium this year? i hope that if this twitterfeed is good enough, i get in too via web
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an old tradition: the hottest lady in Hollywood gets to meet the dorks of Sci and Tech awards: lds & germs: Eliz Banks! via web
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i swear to god i just saw kathryn in the mr. rogers audience via web
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kind of looks like Charlie from IT's Always Sunny won an Oscar, even though it's just Mark Boal via web
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District 9, The Blind Side and Education are being introduced, are they going in order from least to most likely to win? via web
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star trek wins in make-up, then again, if you go to any trekkie convention you'll see self-applied makeup artists doing that i'm sure via web
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ben stiller did the same thing before, aha! via web
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inglorious basterds got robbed for best screenplay via web
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OK, Downey Jr. and Tina Fey are on a roll together, it's the same exact bit as last year but more corrosive, Downey is letting Fey have it via web
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sorry, loyal viewers twitter literally got stuck on me via web
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NO complaints on them showing multiple scenes from each acting nom, 3 yrs ago they showd 4 seconds of Abby Breslin screaming, this is better via web
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Christophe Waltz wins! Certainly a respectable choice. DYK Inglorious Basterds was his first English-language film? (i'm 90% sure of that) via web
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Can you imagine a professional writer wrote that speech Penelope Cruz gave? via web
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Yeah, that's right George Clooney..if you don't make nice with the hosts, they'll make you look bad, they didn't even lampoon you! ha! via web
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precious...the only movie to live up to the video game. zinger! via web
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dam helen mirren? not all the jokes are hitting but i'm ok with it, A for effort, wish Alec Baldwin would be more physical and move more via web
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hahahaha, Invictus has the two things you love "rugby and the mixing together of white and black people" niiice delivery, alec via web
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yes, i concede not a lot of jokes they can make about the hurt station which i'm ok with a spoiler alert joke there via web
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opening: they're just rolling jokes out rapidfire everyone the room and they're not even worrying if they hit or not via web
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and by couple, i just mean like a hope-crosby jay-silentbob pair, and you need to hold hands to sow just a little bit of hetero-love via web
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glad to see Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin holding hands, a small amount of homoerotic chemistry is certainly needed, since they're a couple via web
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ahhh yes, the great pairings in movie history: astaire and rogers, hope and crosby, the guy in prison who "dropped" the soap via web
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omg, did they just use a prison shower rape reference? little kids at home, cover your ears via web
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ok, are alec and steve running late? now it's neil patrick harris? via web
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why are the 5 actors and actresses up there, they look like wax museum figures via web
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morgan freeman doesn't seem that close to his daughter, they're not even standing next to each other, but he looks fly with his shades via web
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helen mirren, happy to see her nominated via web
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watching (mostly fwding) through the red carpet)...does the red carpet realize Zach Efron's not nominated...he's friends with adam, congrats via web
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live bloggng the oscars on 13 hour tape delay, ready, everyone? via web