Oh boy. In a year where Hollywood was already on extra-thin (and OK, fine, mildly complex) ice with its adulation of the "Why won't anyone think of the white people?" rewrite of history in The Help, the 84th Academy Awards were already going to be a bit of a potential racism minefield. But for that buildup, it's almost impressive that the producers of the show came so correct in the opening minutes of the telecast, barely missing a beat before marching confidently into a cluster bomb no one in the audience even realized might be there, announcing confidently in the show's opening montage, "For real, we might give a couple black people some Oscars tonight, but check this shit out: Billy Crystal in blackface."
Even though there are only two songs officially nominated for awards this year at the Oscars, that's no reason you can't make a 2012 Oscars mixtape anyway. We compiled some tunes related to and/or inspired by (loosely speaking!) this year's nominees. Maestro, play them off!
"Man or Muppet" - Jason Segel and Walter the Muppet (Oscar nominee)
Need a reedy-voiced inspirational ballad about maturing into adulthood for your Muppet movie? Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords and Jason Segel are here with a '70s AM-flavored serenade to self-exploration. Segel can SANG, but we knew that already from "Lady L." (He can also play basketball, but that's another story.)
As the Academy continues to discuss an accelerated awards calendar for future Oscars (coming in 2013: Goodbye, paper ballots; hello, electronic voting and endless conspiracy theories about hacking!), there’s one thing I hope the Board of Governors will bear in mind: They need to allow one week for generalized postnomination rage. This wasn’t necessary before the Internet, which tends to reinforce in everyone the need to express, via blog, tweet, or status update, the conviction that anyone who doesn’t share their taste must by definition be dumb or corrupt. This year’s anger seems to have taken two forms:
I’d like to thank the Academy for throwing an extra mystery at those of us who treat predicting the Oscars as something between a hobby and a blood sport: This year, we have to figure out not only which movies will be nominated, but how many. After concluding that the appropriate number of Best Picture contenders was five for 65 consecutive years, and then 10 for two consecutive years, what the Academy’s board of governors has now settled on is “from five to ten.” How can we narrow that down? Well, the Academy did offer one clue by revealing that when it experimentally retabulated the ballots from 2001 through 2008, the results yielded, in different years, five, six, seven, eight, and nine nominees — but never ten.
The next month of the Oscar campaign — from today until January 13, when nomination balloting closes — is in some ways the most interesting phase of the process. There are no more tea leaves to read, no more wild cards, no more embargoes on the expression of opinion, no more “precursor” awards that could seriously reshape the race. As Hollywood shuts down for a vacation, thousands of Academy voters will watch the contenders — or, more importantly, decide which contenders they feel like watching. And the tectonic shifts that result can be so gradual that you won’t know anything has changed until you realize a couple of weeks from now that a particular movie has somehow lost momentum or pushed forward in the pack.
Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego? has been optioned by Walden Media as a live-action adaptation for Jennifer Lopez to co-produce and possibly star in. In the new version, top detective Sandiego goes on the run as an alleged thief, and has to be tracked down by her former partner. This is a good time to point out that one fun thing to do, when people ask you what kind of music you like, is to just say, “Rockapella.” Grade: A- [Deadline]
What do Stanley Kubrick, John Huston, Sylvester Stallone, and Prince have in common? They’ve all been nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director! The Razzies have always prided themselves on nominating a mix of directors for the industry’s biggest prize. Sure, actors (Kevin Costner, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy) who step behind the camera are always favorites. But the Razzies voters seem to enjoy taking auteurs and top-notch pros down a peg, as well; by RazzieWatch’s count, 14 directors have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Director and the Razzie for Worst Director.
Worst Actress is traditionally the most difficult Razzie category to predict, because the performances are the most widely varied. Will nominations go to Oscar nominees slumming it (as when Diane Keaton was nominated for 2007’s Because I Said So)? Or will it go to the forgettable female “lead” in an action movie (as in Megan Fox’s nominations the past two years, for Jonah Hex and Transformers 2)? Or will a single nomination go to a whole group of ladies (the casts of Sex and the City 2, The Women, and Bratz: The Movie) in a manner that doesn’t at all suggest that the Razzies find all women and movies about women interchangeable and icky?