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The Golden Globes: The Elephant in the Room

January 17, 2010 Bryce Zabel 2

The humanitarian crisis in Haiti hung thick in the air, mentioned occasionally by winners and presenters and PSA’s, the tragic elephant in the designer-bedecked room. Real life tragedies often impinge on the proceedings at these annual self-aggrandizing soirees; it’s challenging for attendees to strike the right balance and tone. Some may remember the Emmys were scheduled to occur right after 9-11 and pushed back. And right after Martin Luther King was shot, the Academy Awards were delayed a couple of days. Real life and disasters happen on their own time; the most gracious and moving acceptance speeches take eloquent note of this awkward situation.

VOTE NOW: Smackdown Poll on DGA Nominees

January 15, 2010 Bryce Zabel 10

The Directors Guild of America nominations traditionally predict the Academy Award nominees (and winners) with considerable and uncanny accuracy. DGA nominees are also traditionally and almost exclusively white males. This year, in a more-than-welcome break with that longheld and too-infrequently broken tradition, Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) and Lee Daniels (“Precious”) are crashing the extremely prestigious party. Vote here for your favorite nominee:

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) -vs- The Kite Runner (2007)

December 27, 2008 Bryce Zabel 7

Childhood friendships can last a lifetime and have profound consequences. Both Slumdog Millionaire and The Kite Runner tell sweeping stories in the lives of two boys — a set of brothers in the former and a set of friends who act like brothers in the latter. They use narratives that cut back-and-forth across time, forcing them to use multiple sets of actors to portray their characters as boys turn to men. The contemporary story lines are deepened by the children’s experiences we see in flashback. Both films started as novels, force viewers (English-speaking ones anyway) to read a few subtitles and share settings — India and Afghanistan — that have been scarred by terrorism as deeply as the United States. And even though Slumdog Millionaire is assured of a “Best Picture” Oscar nomination this year (and currently, is the odds-on favorite to win), it’s still going to have to hold off The Kite Runner to win this Smackdown… […]

The Departed (2006) -vs- Infernal Affairs (2002)

June 10, 2007 Lak Rana 10

This weekend the theaters are full of fans going back for more of director Martin Scorsese and his muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, in Shutter Island. Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together in Gangs of New York, The Aviator and, most recently and successfully, The Departed, the mesmerizing tale of undercover cops and organized crime infiltration of the police force. […]

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