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Links for the Day: The 2014 Hater’s Guide to the Oscars, Nations Mull the Ways to Regulate Bitcoin, Generation X’s Midlife Crisis Strikes Back, & More

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Links for the Day: The 2014 Hater’s Guide to the Oscars, Nations Mull the Ways to Regulate Bitcoin, Generation X’s Midlife Crisis Strikes Back, & More

1. “The 2014 Hater’s Guide To The Oscars.” It’s time again to say horrible, awful things about every movie and actor nominated Sunday night.

“Dying? Check. An actor playing transgender? Check. A handful of sassy lines? DING DING DING YOUR RUNAWAY OSCAR WINNER. I love that voters were dazzled by the scene in which Leto dressed like a man. I bet he was so uncomfortable dressing up like a woman, but then he had to stop dressing like a woman and look even MORE uncomfortable! THAT YOUNG MAN HAS GRIT. I didn’t think Leto was that much better than anyone else here, if he was better at all, but this is why the Oscars are dumb. Somehow, the media and the voters congeal their stupidity into one giant blob of groupthink that decides, ’It’s Leto’s time,’ or that one actor is a RUNAWAY winner over another, as if dying of AIDS on screen made you Secretariat. Barkhad Abdi just spent two hours on screen playing the world’s most desperate man. NOT A LOW-MOTOR ACTOR. But sorry Barkhad. Better luck next time JK there won’t be a next time because we’ll never hire you again the thrill is gone.”

2. “Now, Nations Mull the Ways to Regulate Bitcoin.” Authorities around the world are grappling with how to regulate virtual currency in the wake of the implosion of Mt. Gox, a prominent trading platform for Bitcoin.

“In the weeks before the collapse of Mt. Gox, federal prosecutors in Manhattan sent a grand jury subpoena to the company, according to people briefed on the matter. The prosecutors, who had already criminally charged the founder of a popular website where Bitcoins could be bought, have formed a broader partnership with the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies to crack down on companies using Bitcoin exchanges to filter tainted money and support drug trafficking.”

3. “Generation X’s Midlife Crisis Strikes Back.” Twenty years after Reality Bites, the slackers still don’t know what they want.

“How can Gen X middle age not be caught up in technology? If there’s one thing different about this generation’s midlife crises, it’s that they’re the first to be mediated by technology so thoroughly. But in Mitty, Stiller’s vision of the dating site eHarmony is so out-of-touch and odd that Walter’s main interaction with the site involves an impotent mouse that won’t click and old-school telephone calls with Patton Oswalt’s customer service rep. Jonze’s future feels like Gen X’s present. Theodore gets lost in the bespoke technology, like so many of us. Every shot of [Joaquin] Phoenix stumbling through a frame all alone, talking to nobody, exaggerates that push-pull feel of how technology can blunt our worst days and also, perhaps, prolong them with distraction. He mistakes technological mastery for psychological maturity—and lifehacking for living.”

4. “Oscar Chat 2014, Part III: Best and Worst.” Holding out for miracles: Will the Academy award the most exceptional films of the year?

“But I place Before Midnight above them all because it’s the most attentive to its characters, with an intense concentration on the cinematic moment that reads as if every line were written in real-time. The ultimate proof of this is that you don’t need to have seen the previous Before films to be pulled in from the first scenes of Jesse and Celine with their kids in medias res on their Greek odyssey of a day and a night. You don’t need to have witnessed their previous flirtations to be instantly seduced by the intricate intimacy of their banter. If you’ve never seen them on screen before, I imagine their inside jokes offer a different kind of revelation: one of watching two characters who know each other so well that it makes couples in other movies seem like total strangers.”

5. “5 Casting Directors Who Deserve Oscar Nominations.” There is no Academy Award for casting directors, so we’ve picked five veterans in the field who did Oscar-worthy work in 2013.

” John Goodman and F. Murray Abraham were hand-picked for their roles by the Coens, but everybody else interviewed and auditioned; there was surprisingly intense interest in the role of Johnny Five, the near-silent driver of the car that takes Llewyn on his ill-advised trip to Chicago. ’It became the part that all the cool young guys wanted to play,’ [Ellen] Chenoweth says about the role that eventually went to Garrett Hedlund. The Coens were on hand to audition nearly every speaking role, though their famous hesitance to give direction to actors extends to the audition room. ’I have to sometimes say to people, “Don’t feel bad if they don’t talk to you too much or give you much direction,”’ Chenoweth says. ’When you hear them chuckle, sitting behind you, you know they’re happy with the way someone’s doing it.’”

Video of the Day: Season two of Orphan Black gets a teaser:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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Watch: The Long-Awaited Deadwood Movie Gets Teaser Trailer and Premiere Date

Welcome to fucking Deadwood!

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Deadwood
Photo: HBO

At long last, we’re finally going to see more of Deadwood. Very soon after the HBO series’s cancellation in 2006, creator David Milch announced that he agreed to produce a pair of two-hour films to tie up the loose ends left after the third season. It’s been a long road since, and after many false starts over the years, production on one standalone film started in fall 2018. And today we have a glorious teaser for the film, which releases on HBO on May 31. Below is the official description of the film:

The Deadwood film follows the indelible characters of the series, who are reunited after ten years to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood. Former rivalries are reignited, alliances are tested and old wounds are reopened, as all are left to navigate the inevitable changes that modernity and time have wrought.

And below is the teaser trailer:

Deadwood: The Movie airs on HBO on May 31.

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