Two Fox news anchors tried to interview Ryan Lochte. After he haltingly explained the layout of his bathroom and the anchors bid his beautiful face adieu, they busted a gut for a minute and a half, during which time my girl in red started crying with laughter and almost lost an eyelash. Totally recruiting her for the fourth Girl in Hoodie spot, though if Ryan's available he can join us as a dood in a snood. The YouTube comments on this puppy are worth a quick browse if you're seeking out light content today (WE ARE ALL SEEKING OUT LIGHT CONTENT TODAY): "Guy was probably hungover from puling an all-nighter from stuffing 10's," "If you're an idiot at night, you're an idiot in the morning," "At least he's handsome and won 11 gold medals ! What have you won Miss Thing ????"
James Franco returns to his roots this week, playing a character in a movie in which he presumably just reads his lines and acts, without any extra layers of metacommentary, irony, or self-parody. We emphasize presumably, of course — it's possible that Franco's whole career has been an elaborate work of performance art, from his breakout on the beloved, short-lived Freaks and Geeks, to the 2011 Oscars hosting debacle, to this week's seemingly innocuous Oz: The Great and Powerful. Untangling the mystery that is James Franco is a near-impossible (not to mention obnoxious) task, but we thought we'd start with a few YouTube clips.
Molly, Tess, and Emily had a long gabfest over cosmos this weekend about branding and gender identity and decided to rename the podcast Girls in Hoodies. Now that we finally have a name that won't possibly annoy anyone on the Internet, we can focus on more important things, like this week's Academy Awards, and why exactly it's pretty much impossible not to love Jennifer Lawrence. We also chat about the now-infamous Onion tweet and the pifalls of the infectiousness of Hollywood snark. Finally, we rehash Girls’ road trip to Manitou, where we thankfully didn't run into any murderous demon babies, but where there was still plenty of irresponsible behavior on display.
You can't have her, Jack. Jennifer Lawrence is the world's girlfriend now. She is the rarest, most charming butterfly and can never be pinned onto a piece of decorative corkboard and imprisoned in a frame. Cradle her essence in your hands and then set her free, laughing and dancing against the backdrop of beautiful nimbus clouds in the skies of freedom. Watch the rain tickle the antennae of her many talents, Instagram her wings glittering in the dark night of awards-show disappointments and awful missteps. Don't ever make her a "poor Oscar spouse." Hope. Freedom. Change. Obama. Lawrence. Jennifer. Love. That's a poem, and it's also what I'm going to name my future children. I plan to have at least 15, so I'm going to look ahead to next year's Academy Awards for more ideas. Foxcatcher would make a really beautiful name for a little girl. Definite prom queen potential.
Chris and I took last week off, due to work and travel concerns — there is no truth to the rumor that a media cabal led by Frank Darabont and Bob Greenblatt had us canceled. It turns out we needed the downtime to fully prepare ourselves for the gross orgy of smarm, song, and dance that was the Oscars last night. Although we disagreed strongly on the relative merits of Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom, Chris and I were in total agreement on the not-good-enoughness of Argo and especially the ceremony's dreadful host, Seth MacFarlane. We talked through the backstabbing politicking in the weeks leading up to last night (here's the Los Angeles Times piece we mention on the downfall of Zero Dark Thirty), the awards in each major category as well as some potential future fixes, only one of which involves Jessica Chastain and a return visit to Gdansk.
There's always an element of fatalism with making Oscar predictions. You actually hope you're wrong. You want to be right because people conflate educated awards-guessing with expertise. But when you have to sit and watch more than 190 minutes of the Academy Awards, you really don't want a predicted outcome. You want to be wrong about who the majority of 6,000 or so people will say was the best supporting actor of 2013. You want to go in with a little conventional wisdom and know that Tommy Lee Jones will win so that when Octavia Spencer opens her envelope and says Christoph Waltz's name, you can stare at the television and just say, "Wow."
Waltz was a surprise in a season of surprises. This was the year voters decided to pee into millions of Oscar pools. It was the year that everything started to seem refreshingly upside down: no Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson or Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson up for Best Director, but Benh Zeitlin?
That putrid, dubious carrot of an awards show is coming. Did you hear? Did you know? Are you prepared? Have you studied so you don't suffer a heart attack when you see Jack Nicholson present? Or are you a hater? Don't be a hater. We'll have so much talking to do about the Oscars on Monday here at Grantland. You don't want to feel left out of all this incredibly important talking.
Hello, degenerate gamblers. It’s good to be back. I’m done thoroughly licking my wounds from the monetary disaster produced by that last football game. Really, Bruce Miller — you couldn’t accumulate more than 0.5 receptions?! You’d expect more from the 49ers' part-time fullback.
But all that’s neither here nor there, as the Gambling Gods have hooked us up — commemorating the halfway point between Super Bowl Sunday and the first weekend of March Madness by giving us interesting wager propositions on Oscar weekend.
This Tuesday, Molly Lambert, Tess Lynch, and I convened in the hallowed studios of the Grantland Network, poured some freshly filtered water into those B.S. Report glasses, and kicked off our inaugural episode of the podcast that we're gonna call GrantlandW for now to talk about TV, the Internet, and other pop culture matters close to our hearts. We start things off with a (spoiler-free for the second half of the series) chat about House of Cards and the perennial Mara sister debate. Final verdict: We all love Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes, Rooney Mara is a great actress, and it's not a competition, guys. We also get into it with our alternating respect for and frustration with Girls and our even bigger frustration with the majority of the criticism about Girls. Is it our responsibility, as members of its titular gender, to support Lena Dunham's ever-controversial series, or should we hold it accountable the way we do other shows? Most importantly, have our feelings about Adam changed?
From there we somehow stumble onto a discussion of the 12th season of American Idol, and the line in the sand is drawn between Team Mariah and Team Nicki. We also discuss our mixed feelings about the highly addictive, highly suspicious Catfish: The TV Show and reminisce about the good old days when you didn't need Facebook to meet weird strangers off the Internet. Finally, we take a brief survey of our varying levels of apathy about the Academy Awards, which we may be too busy looking up exotic insects and stoner music videos on YouTube to care about.
This is it. The last envelope of the night. We’ve waited through a lot of travesties to get to this point, so I won’t bother prolonging the suspense any longer. Drumroll, please …
 Stanley Kubrick never wins Best Director (WINNER): 1,871  Martin Scorsese doesn't win Best Director until The Departed: 704
This is a just result, as Stanley Kubrick is unquestionably one of the best film directors (if not the best) who ever lived. This result is also bullshit, as Martin Scorsese is unquestionably one of the best film directors (if not the best) who ever lived, and making him wait nearly 35 years after he filmed the single coolest scene of all time — I’m talking about the part in Mean Streets where Harvey Keitel watches Robert De Niro and two girls from the Village walk into Rick Romanus’s bar in slow motion as the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” plays in the background — for his Oscar is simply ludicrous. But at least Scorsese won something, amirite? But doesn’t Kubrick’s win sort of completely go against the rules laid down for this tournament, which is that only post-1972 travesties will be considered, which means the guy who made Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut (all great-to-excellent, iconic films) walloped the guy who made Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Last Waltz, Raging Bull, The King of Comedy, After Hours, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Casino, The Aviator, AND The Departed (which is many more great-to-excellent, iconic films)?
Welcome to the Oscar Travesties finals! As expected, Crash, the most egregious error of collective judgment in the long and distinguished history of the Academy of Crash Mistakes and Haggis Sciences will face off against ... wow, Crash again, in a winner-takes-all battle for the honor of being the most contentious kudos recipient since two Cro-Magnons bludgeoned each other to death with jagged rocks over a disagreement about the artistic merits of a poorly rendered cave-scrawling of a three-legged bear that earned an approving nod from a blind elder.
It was The Wizard of Oz in 1939 that provided Hollywood with its most enduring depiction of the divide between the head and the heart. In their desperation to gain the organs they lacked, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man proved themselves willing to endure any indignity, from flying monkeys to grabby munchkins. No task was too great, no road too yellow or too long. Everything was worth it in their tireless quest to appear either smarter or more caring.
The Wizard of Oz didn't win the Oscar for Best Picture — the trophy that year went to some overheated epic about wind. But in many ways the shared journey of the Scarecrow and the Tin Man toward wildly disparate goals presaged every stupid Academy decision for the next 70-plus years. When given the chance, the Oscars always trip themselves up lunging for hearts or smarts, never rewarding actual artistic achievement when something tear-jerking or historical is there to get in the way. Hollywood, as one or two (million) people have blithely commented, is a wildly insecure town, its denizens desperate to be thought of as both relatably human (they are not) and inspirationally erudite (ditto). The Oscars, more often than not, reflect this; the final tally saying more about how the voters wish to be perceived than anything about the movies themselves.
In the epic, contentious, slanderous 40-person e-mail chain that kickstarted this endeavor a few weeks back, I slavishly recalled more than 20 perceived Oscar Travesties" occurring before 1972, our cutoff year in this arbitrary contest. (Here's one: Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine beat Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca for Best Actor in 1942. Think about that.) I never thought we would vote on these ancient mistakes, no matter how deeply I believe Dr. Strangelove deserves that shine over My Fair Lady. I was merely trying to point out that the Oscars, before we were watching them, before we were born, hell, before our parents were born, have been blowing it. And though the voting procedures have changed over the years (revisit Mark Harris's essential Oscarmetrics coverage from 2012 for more details on the evolving voting body), the fact has remained: Getting it wrong is the only way Oscar can be right.