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Oscar Talk: Ep. 84 -- Special Edition! -- 2011 Oscars postmortem, Meryl Streep's upset, Billy Crystal, 'The Artist''s big night

Oscar Talk: Ep. 84 -- Special Edition! -- 2011 Oscars postmortem, Meryl Streep's upset, Billy Crystal, 'The Artist''s big night

Also: What will we be talking about this time next year?

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

As of last night, the season is over. There are no more predictions to make, no more logic to peddle, no more considerations of how voters are responding to this or that. We know how they responded. Now it's time to pick over the rotting carcass of the season. So, with Guy Lodge in tow once more this season, let's see what's on the docket for today...

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<p>Jean&nbsp;Dujardin after last night's Oscar ceremony</p>

Jean Dujardin after last night's Oscar ceremony

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

My first time

An overview from a recently devirginized Oscar blogger

My first foray into the realm of the Oscar blogger has yielded varied results. I have a sharper set of skills with which to run the metaphorical pool table, but a deeper sense of bemusement in regards to the AMPAS and the awards circuit.

The Oscars are a horse race. Or rather, the Oscars are a series of races on one grandiose and glitzy track. It represents millions of dollars in PR and marketing expenditures alone, a potential revenue increase for the nominated films, and is easily one the of the entertainment industry’s most significant events.

And yet, it remains its own unique niche. In general terms, there are public relations specialists who handle awards, there are marketing strategists who design and unveil awards campaigns. And then, there are Oscar bloggers, those whose business it is to track, judge, evaluate and predict the outcome of the awards season. But there are still people that have, and do, work in various capacities in this industry who do not have a full handle on how or why the season unfolds as it does.

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<p>James Spader as Robert California on &quot;The Office.&quot;</p>

James Spader as Robert California on "The Office."

Credit: NBC

Losing California: James Spader to leave 'The Office'

Actor wanted only a one-year tenure, but will he be missed?

Will the last one out the door at Dunder-Mifflin Scranton please turn out the light?

As first reported by Variety's Andrew Wallenstein, James Spader — who was brought in to give the show some star power in the wake of Steve Carell's departure late last season — will not return to the show when it presumably returns for a ninth season. "The Office" showrunner Paul Lieberstein told Wallenstein that Spader had only wanted to do a one-season arc.

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Credit: Ovation

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 117

Dan and Alan talk Oscars, 'Awake,' 'GCB' and 'We'll Take Manhattan'

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls. Time for a thrilling post-Oscars installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
 
In this week's installment, Sepinwall and I discuss the Oscars and then review NBC's "Awake," Ovation's "I'll Take Manhattan" and ABC's "GCB." We also answer a pile of mail.
 
It's a full show!
 
Here's the breakdown: 
The Oscars (00:00:40 - 00:19:15)
"Awake" (00:19:15 - 00:35:15)
"I'll Take Manhattan" (00:36:50 - 00:45:00)
"GCB" (00:45:10 - 00:53:45)
Listener Mail - What caused NBC's plight (00:54:00 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - "Top Chef" this season (01:03:10 - 01:08:55)
Listener Mail - Why do networks put shows at midseason anyway? (01:09:00 - 0:1:18:00)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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<p>John Mayer</p>

John Mayer

John Mayer sets new tour dates, release of first single 'Shadow Days'

New album 'Born And Raised' out later this Spring/early Summer

Fully recovered from vocal surgery John Mayer will hit the road for his first tour in two years on April 9.

The 18-city tour precedes the release of Mayer’s fifth album, “Born and Raised,” which will come out shortly thereafter. Mayer teased the first single from the album, “Shadow Days,” last week and it sounds like he’s taken a fairly stripped down turn under the guidance of producer Don Was.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Antebellum are readying a new album, while 'Own The Night' lives on

The Grammy-winning trio is already writing and collecting songs

Even though Lady Antebellum’s “Own The Night” still has a lot of life left in it, but the trio is already looking ahead to the next album.

"We probably have at least a dozen songs already, whether they're outside songs or ones we've written," the group's Hillary Scott tells Billboard.com. "Songwriting is such therapy and such a release for us, and it's a way for us to kind of not get caught up in the madness of our schedules. We really do write a lot. Whether we're at home or on the road, we'll find time to write."

[More after the jump...]


She adds that even though the group is writing, there’s still much more to be mined from the Grammy-winning  “Own The Night.” The third single, “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” is at radio and there could be three more singles. Plus, Scott says that the band felt that they “kind of rushed” “Own The Night.”  “So we’re going to just settle in and write and write and write. We may try to go in [to the studio] at some point this year just to try some things, but honestly, it’s hard to tell.”

The trio, which also included Charles Kelley and David Haywood, is in the middle of its first arena headlining tour. The U.S. leg ends  June 30, then the band heads to Europe.


 

 

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<p>Madonna</p>

Madonna

Listen: Madonna's new single, 'Girl Gone Wild'

Does it make you want to go crazy?

Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild” should be called “Girl Gone Mild.”

The song from Madge’s forthcoming “MDNA” is a straight-ahead electro-pop club track that is generic and bland. There’s nothing about it that signifies the presence of one of the biggest artists on the planet. It’s like Britney Spears-lite.

[More after the jump...]

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Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 117: Oscars, 'Awake,' 'GCB' & more

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 117: Oscars, 'Awake,' 'GCB' & more

Dan and Alan also review Ovation's 'We'll Take Manhattan' and answer your mail

The

Dan and I are a little punchy at the start of this Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, thanks to lots of time last night spent watching and writing about the Academy Awards. We talk about Billy Crystal a bit, then move on to reviews of NBC's parallel worlds cop drama "Awake," ABC's Texas soap opera "GCB," Ovation's TV-movie "We'll Take Manhattan," and letters about the sorry state of NBC (a podcast perennial!), the current season of "Top Chef" and the strategy behind mid-season premieres.

The line-up: 

The Oscars (00:00:40 - 00:19:15)
"Awake" (00:19:15 - 00:35:15)
"I'll Take Manhattan" (00:36:50 - 00:45:00)
"GCB" (00:45:10 - 00:53:45)
Listener Mail - What caused NBC's plight (00:54:00 - 01:03:10)
Listener Mail - "Top Chef" this season (01:03:10 - 01:08:55)
Listener Mail - Why do networks put shows at midseason anyway? (01:09:00 - 0:1:18:00)
 
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. Or you can always follow our RSS Feed, download the MP3 file or stream it on Dan's blog.
 
And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.
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<p>Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.</p>

Best Actress nominee Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Safety first: putting a lid on the 2011 Oscars

Meryl Streep's upset win typified a conservative night for the Academy

Having had a few hours to quite literally sleep on last night's Academy Awards after blearily turning in at 5.30 in the morning, I've woken up with a post-Oscar feeling that is unfamiliar to me, or at least has been for several years: sincere, sober, slightly stricken disappointment.

That is, I admit, a selfish and somewhat irrational response to an evening in which one of the most singularly delightful films of the year -- and comfortably my favorite of the nominees -- won Best Picture; in which, for the first time in far too long, the routinely dismaying Best Foreign Language Film award somehow found its way to a work of genuine consequence and artistry; in which "Academy Award winner Bret McKenzie" became a legit combination of words for future use and enjoyment; in which, after two straight years of getting it mortifyingly wrong, the Academy managed to stage a swift, entertaining if not especially imaginative show.

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<p>Danny&nbsp;DeVito was in a great mood when we sat down to discuss his work in the new Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax'</p>

Danny DeVito was in a great mood when we sat down to discuss his work in the new Dr. Seuss adaptation 'The Lorax'

Credit: HitFix

Watch: Danny DeVito talks 'Lorax,' promises 'War Of The Roses' Blu-ray soon

The star of the new adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic talks about the role

Danny De Vito is a hardcore fan of home video, and has been for at least 20 years, so it's good to hear he's preparing Blu-ray special editions of his films "Hoffa" and "War Of The Roses" right now.

I met DeVito for the first time when I was working at Dave's Video in the early '90s.  There were three customers at that store who bought everything that came out, and I'm not exaggerating.  Danny DeVito, Ivan Reitman, and Steven Spielberg were voracious fans of laserdisc, and they all had the same standing order with the store.  Whatever we ordered, we were to order them copies for purchase as well.  I can't even imagine what DeVito's laserdisc collection must have looked like, but I know he took it seriously.

When it came to transferring his own films, he went above and beyond.  Both "Hoffa" and "War Of The Roses" got the deluxe treatment from Fox at the time, and when we sat down to talk about his work in the new film "The Lorax," I couldn't resist asking him about Blu-ray, and he told me that he's getting ready to bring those films out again, with new features added just to take advantage of Blu-ray.

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<p>Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.</p>

Harry Turtledove's 'The War That Came Early' has been a huge hit for the author, but it meant more to one reader, and the story of how Turtledove reached out to him is quite moving.

Credit: Del Rey Publishing

One Thing I Love Today: Author Harry Turtledove and Reddit make a wish come true

There are times the Internet restores my faith in people, and this is one

There are days where I think the Internet is one great big snark machine designed to take everything and transform it into this non-stop barrage of one-liners and attitude and irritating self-satisfaction, and I'm sure I'm as much a part of that as anyone, and then there are days where the Internet coughs up something so human and wonderful that it wipes away any complaint I might have.

I didn't see this until yesterday, but it's actually been bouncing around since Friday, and I think author Harry Turtledove might have just won me as a fan permanently.

By now, we've become used to the idea of Make-A-Wish and the way they reach out to help people diagnosed with terminal illnesses.  I've seen some pretty remarkable acts of giving since I moved to LA from people who were deeply moved by their encounters with the kids they came in contact with, and I think if you're in a position to help someone whose life is about to be cut brutally short, there's an obligation to try and do it.

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<p>Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography&nbsp;Oscar for &quot;Hugo&quot;&nbsp;at the 84th annual&nbsp;Academy Awards.</p>

Robert Richardson accepts his Best Cinematography Oscar for "Hugo" at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Tech Support: 'Hugo' dominates Oscar's craft categories

Wrapping up the year and the Academy Awards below the line

It’s not usually appropriate for journalists to speak of how their personal experiences affect their views on particular events. But my experience watching the 2012 Academy Awards affects my analysis of it to such an extent that it would be dishonest for me to pretend anything otherwise.

Meryl Streep has been my favorite actress of all time for as long as I’ve had a “favorite actress of al time.” And as much as I loved Viola Davis’s performance in “The Help,” Streep remained my favorite of this year’s Best Actress nominees. Her victory and her speech made me extraordinarily happy last night.

She divided her “thank yous” between her husband, her makeup artist, and her Hollywood family. Notice that second class as a category unto itself. Roy Helland and Meryl Streep have worked together for almost four decades. His win for “The Iron Lady” is oh-so-deserved and I’ll give Streep the utmost in kudos for recognizing the work of the men and women below the line. Recognizing the importance of such work is what we’ve tried to do here at Tech Support.

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