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Movies: Alfonso Cuáron's 'Gravity' and Other October Pleasures

  Gravity-huddle
Outer Space Movie Star Huddle: Sandy & Clooney 

BY NATHANIEL ROGERS 

There's a brief scene in Nicole Holofcener's engaging indie hit ENOUGH SAID that repeats enough times that it could be the chorus if the movie were a song. A massage therapist (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) arrives at the home of a fit male client who lives on the top floor of his building. Every time she arrives he pops out with a killer smile looking down to greet her. He never thinks to help her as she arduously lugs her massage table up the entire steep flight of stairs.  

Excuse the stretch but this is sometimes how it feels to write about movies. Especially the ones that are true lookers that you're still just not that into.

By any definition GRAVITY is the movie of the moment and by some measures it will come to be regarded as The Movie of the Year. (You can lock it up for a Best Picture nomination).  If you've ever wondered "What's all the fuss?" about something that everyone else loved I hope you'll choose empathy when you learn that I did not love it. In the binary-thinking of the 21st century the internet this makes me a hater but this is not the case.  At every zero gravity step of its way I was trying to love it.  And I did mostly like it... at least through its astounding 20 minute (?) opening act, which appears to have been miraculously filmed in one continuous shot.  

MORE AFTER THE JUMP...

Gravity-sandra-bullock

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Ellen Degeneres To Host 2014 Academy Awards: VIDEO

Ellen Oscars

Ellen Degeneres, one of the foremost funny people in America, will be hosting the 2014 Academy Awards on March 2, 2014. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the announcement this morning amid the already fresh buzz about the newly elected president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Isaacs is the first African-American president of the Academy, and she resoundingly approved of Ellen's nomination to host.

The Hollywood Reporter reports:

Ellen DeGeneres will host this year's Oscars. DeGeneres herself announced the news Friday morning on Twitter, writing, "It's official: I'm hosting the #Oscars! I'd like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra."

DeGeneres previously hosted the show in 2007 and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for her work.

"I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say -- the third time's the charm," DeGeneres said in a statement.

Ellen is receiving support from all involved with the Academy and with the Oscars broadcast, due largely to her warmth, a refined sense of humor, and her universal appeal (qualities which many felt this year's host, Seth MacFarlane, lacked).

Zadan and Meron added: "We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars. As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. There are few stars today who have Ellen's gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect that the audience at the Dolby Theatre, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are."

Newly elected Academy President Isaacs said, "I agreed with Craig and Neil immediately that Ellen is the ideal host for this year's show. We're looking forward to an entertaining, engaging and fun show."

Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO added. "Ellen is talented, wonderfully spontaneous, and knows how to entertain a worldwide audience. She's a big fan of the Oscars; we're huge fans of hers. It's a perfect match."

Meanwhile, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee said, "It is an honor to welcome back Ellen DeGeneres as the host of the biggest entertainment celebration of the year. She is the consummate entertainer, equally beloved by her peers in the industry, movie fans and television viewers. We very much look forward to having her back on ABC for Oscar Sunday."

Degeneres was previously nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for her hosting abilities. Let's hope the second (and the third, and the fourth...) time's the charm. 

Watch Ellen's previous Oscar hosting gig, AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Oscars Were Amazing: VIDEO

Amazing

Was "amazing" the most overused descriptor during Oscar coverage?

Jimmy Kimmel took notes, and the number of times is was used may amaze you.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, the Oscars had its best ratings in three years:

A total of 40.3 million people watched in the US, providing a fillip for producers struggling to halt a slow but steady decline in viewers since 57.25 million tuned in to watch Titanic win 11 gongs in 1998.

MacFarlane's jokes about female nudity, domestic violence and Jews in Hollywood have led to vilification from commentators, but his "edgy" approach saw a 20% boost among viewers aged 18 to 34 and a dramatic 34% hike in male viewers in the same age range. Men aged 18 to 49 were up 18% for a show that has traditionally been more popular with women viewers. Overseas, it is estimated that up to a billion people watched at least part of the show, though there are no official figures.

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Jennifer Lawrence Reveals What She Was Thinking When She Fell on the Stairs at the Oscars: VIDEO

Lawrence

And it starts with the letter 'F'.

Watch Lawrence get real with interviewers backstage, AFTER THE JUMP...

Jl

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'The Onion' Called Quvenzhané Wallis the 'C' Word

Onion

The Onion pushes the envelope, but did it go too far this time?

Buzzfeed writes: Wallis

After being up for an hour, the backlash gathered, and the tweet was deleted. Was it meant to be some sort of joke reflecting on how people talk about someone like Anne Hathaway? I tweeted at The Onion for comment, and emailed its editor, but have not gotten a response.

During the show, MacFarlane sexualized her as well: "To give you an idea of just how young she is, it will be 16 years until she's too old for Clooney."

In other, more upbeat news, she's going to take over for Willow Smith in the Annie remake:

"With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhané Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star," said Hannah Minghella of Columbia Pictures. "She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can't wait for audiences to further discover her."

UPDATE: The Onion apologizes.

Feb. 25, 2013

Dear Readers,

On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.

The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.

In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.

Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.

Sincerely,

Steve Hannah
CEO
The Onion


Michelle Obama Hands Out Best Picture Oscar to 'Argo': VIDEO

Oscar_obama

Apologies for this was the best quality embeddable clip I could find of FLOTUS delivering the Best Picture Oscar in a surprise appearance live from the White House.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Dominic Patten at Deadline writes abou how the appearance came together:

“The Academy Awards approached the First Lady about being a part of the ceremony. As a movie lover, she was honored to present the award and celebrate the artists who inspire us all — especially our young people — with their passion, skill and imagination.”

The idea of getting the First Lady on the show first came from Lily Weinstein, who mentioned it to her big Obama contributor dad Harvey, who suggested it to the Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Academy president Hawk Koch. The group flew to DC a week and a half ago to put the logistics together with the White House. The Oscar producers told Deadline’s Pete Hammond earlier this week that they “were being like the CIA” about a couple of surprises on the show, keeping things top secret. In towns like Hollywood and DC where people love to talk, they pulled it off. There was no indication on the show’s rundown and most of the people on the Oscars had no idea who the secret guest would be. “I knew we could do it and we did it,” Koch told Deadline tonight about keeping Obama’s name under wraps.

The First Lady was actually handed the envelope with the winner’s name in it by the head of PricewaterhouseCoopers at the White House, where she and President Obama hosted a dinner for the nation’s Governors tonight. Nicholson had a back-up envelope just in case.

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