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:
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