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Feb 27 2017

It's A Warren Piece

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Unknown(Image via New York Post)

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The Revenge Of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: MOONLIGHT Wins Best Picture After Announcement Blunder

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Warren-beatty-best-pictureDo NOT try to pin this on Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway! (Video still via ABC)

At the end of this year's highly entertaining Oscars came its single, solitary surprise — and it was a two-tiered doozy.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway emerged to announce the winner of Best Picture, which everyone expected would be the light but charming La La Land, especially since its helmer Damien Chazelle, 32, had just become the youngest director to ever win an Oscar.

When it came time for Beatty to read the name of the winner, he appeared to be grandstanding, drawing out the moment for laughs, but in retrospect, he was genuinely befuddled. Apparently, he had been handed an envelope that read BEST ACTRESS, and the card inside read EMMA STONE, LA LA LAND; Stone had won the penultimate award.

Not knowing quite how to react, he stalled, then he showed Dunaway the card. Dunaway, who had already chided him, clearly believing he was goofing off, glanced at it and said, “La La Land.”

C5pbrhGUoAAM0Gu(Video still via ABC)

Once the producers of La La Land had begun giving earnest speeches, there was confusion onstage, with a dude in a headset dashing around frantically. (I was scared there was some kind of threat going on!) Once it became clear to producer Jordan Horowitz that his film La La Land really had not won, he graciously confirmed the error and said he was proud to hand the Oscar over to his friends behind Moonlight.

 

It would seem that Beatty and Dunaway were unwitting victims, having been given the wrong envelope. The firm entrusted with the envelopes keeps two of each category, and Stone confirmed backstage she was in possession of the one used to announce her Oscar, so that makes it seem pretty obvious the accounting firm goofed.

Still, I'm sure a lot of people will be treating Warren and Faye like:

ShotRemember_BonnieClyde11 jpg.ashx(Image via Warner Bros.)

And, in fact, Faye seems to be rat-a-tat-tatting Warren — she sniped to Extra, “I'm not the one to talk to. Warren is.”

With its shocking win, Moonlight becomes the first gay-themed film to win the Oscar, seemingly avenging that time Brokeback Mountain got robbed.

However, I would point out that what happened (minus the mix-up!) was actually very similar to what happened the year Brokeback lost to Crash. That year, Brokeback won EVERY major award. It was such a foregone conclusion that it would win the Oscar, there was plenty of time for the Oscar voters to resent the expected and vote for something unexpected. (Crash's win could also have been aided and abetted by homophobia, but we'll never know how much of a factor that was.)

This year, the same thing happened with La La Land, which had been enduring a fairly loud backlash for some time.

Only difference is that this year, the unexpected winner was, in fact, a far superior film. That it was gay-themed like the superior loser of 2005 was probably just a (happy) coincidence.

Congrats to everyone behind Moonlight, a great film, a gay film, the best film I saw all year.

Watch the moment unfold after the jump ...

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Feb 26 2017

MARNIE Analyzed: Sick Chick Flick .. Or Priceless Masterpiece?

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Tippi_Hedren_and_Sean_Connery_in_-Marnie-_(1964)_(b)(Image via Universal)

I've always kinda loved Hitchcock's twisted 1964 flick Marnie, a claustrophobic thriller that feels a lot like how Tippi Hedren probably felt toward the lecherous director during its making. It has eye-popping color, freaky sequences you'll never forget, some deliciously hammy acting and more fake-driving-in-the-car sequences than any film that ever came before or after.

But for an alternate take, check out a juicy read on the film that includes this passage:

Hitchcock apparently couldn’t be dissuaded from using heavy-handed effects in which to hit audiences over the head—like the red light special filter whenever Marnie literally sees red! Or the zoom lens, in and out, whenever Marnie is under great stress. What’s it all about, Alfie? We get it, we get it—it’s SIGNIFICANT!

Marnie, the master of disguise, sports wigs and/or dye jobs, the worst of which is a jet-black number perhaps borrowed from Diane Baker’s Strait Jacket co-star, Joan Crawford.

Click here for more. It's like an anti-Oscar!

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Ga-Ga Land: I Love Oscars 2017

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I was NOT looking forward to Oscars 2017, mainly because I haven't seen many of the nominated films, and while I loved Moonlight and admired La La Land and Fences, I wasn't too invested in the slate. Also, I hadda work it for my dayjob.

However, as I'm watching, I'm finding Jimmy Kimmel to be the perfect mix of sardonic and unafraid to introduce whimsy. The bit with the tourists was genuinely charming, I laughed uproariously when Matt Damon was played off and I found the musical performances spot-on.

The In Memoriam sequence was exquisite.

I've even been liking the winners for a change.

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WHEN WE RISE: A Valiant Effort

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Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 11.46.16 AM(Image via ABC)

When We Rise, ABC's miniseries event written by Dustin Lance Black to capture the long arc of the gay-rights movement, debuts February 27 on ABC at 9 p.m. Positioned as a gay Roots, it isn't, at least judging from the opening installment.

Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 11.56.14 AMCharlie Carver & Jonathan Majors seek a reprieve from the horrors of Vietnam. (Video still via ABC)

A terrific idea bogged down by too broad a scope — the creatives seemingly try to jam in every aspect of the LGBTQ movement from the early '70s on  — When We Rise is further done in by a canned, stagey quality with dialogue that's forced to cue viewers about significant milestones rather than allowed to serve the characters. That makes it more docu than drama, and leads to a preachy tone.

Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 12.11.45 PM

Among the performances, Jonathan Majors & Charlie Carver are briefly sweet together in a Vietnam War romance, Austin P. McKenzie has an ethereal idealism as young activist Cleve Jones and Emily Skeggs, whose character finds herself caught in the crossfire between the feminist and lesbian movements, nails the mix between personal coming-of-age and finding one's greater purpose.

Guy Pearce doesn't come off nearly as well.

Famous faces like him— Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel Griffiths — tend to feel like stars whose presence helped get this made; friendly faces, but distracting more than acting.

When-we-rise-austin-p-mckenzieAustin P. McKenzie as Cleve Jones (Image via ABC)

Though When We Rise is by no means great drama, let's hope it will draw in some non-gay viewers desperately in need of some enlightenment, and some LGBTQ viewers desperately in need of reminding that people fought and died for their rights — and that those rights could be in the process of going up in smoke.

Bottom line: Commendable endeavor, informative, occasionally quite watchable, but not great art. If you can live with that, you might find yourself hooked for the run.

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Judge Wapner Of THE PEOPLE'S COURT Dies @ 97

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Wapner_5Joseph Wapner: November 15, 1919—February 26, 2017 (Video still via Lorimar TV)

Via ExtraTV.com: He's been on my Stars Over 80 list forever, but all good things must come to an end — Judge Joseph Wapner, the retired star of the original incarnation of The People's Court for 12 years, has died at the age of 97.

Wapner, a real-life judge and decorated veteran of WWII, became an institution as he decided ferocious small-claims cases on TV, setting the stage for Judge Judy Sheindlin (whom he despised) and many other copycats.

Wapner was said to have suffered issues with breathing last week, and was moved to hospice care this week.

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Oscars 2017 Wise-Ass Of The Night

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Lin-Manuel Miranda Laughing Through The Tears On Oscars 2017 Red Carpet

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Screen Shot 2017-02-26 at 9.26.37 PM(Video still via E! News)

Via E! News: Watch the Hamilton cast pull tears out of Lin-Manuel Miranda as they support him in his bid to win for his work on Moana at the Oscars.

So cute ...

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