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Published: 2/19/2009

Gearing up for the Oscars at Thin Slices

"...as human beings we are capable of making sense of situations based on the thinnest slice of experience."

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point.



THIN SLICES ALERT: Blade Pop Culture Editor will be blogging about Sunday night's Oscars. Tune in right here. With that in mind, here's a special all-movies popcorn edition of Thin Slices.

NO CHEATING!: Other than the Super Bowl and, perhaps, the American Idol finale, the Oscars are the most-watched program on network TV. (At least, they were until last year's ratings debacle, when only 32 million viewers tuned in.) But how well do you REALLY know the Oscars.

Take this quiz by Edward Guthmann at the San Francisco Chronicle and find out. (KB)

DVD PICKS OF THE WEEKEND: Sunday night millions will tune in to 81st Annual Academy Awards to see Hollywood crown either Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Wrestler, Doubt, or The Reader as its best film of the year. It's a great honor, sure, but the Academy voters haven't always gotten the selection right. Crash was an entertaining movie, but Brokeback Mountain was eloquent and touching in ways that usually elude Hollywood. It was the same scenario for Gladiator, which was a thrilling sword-and-sandals epic made all the better because of Russell Crowe, but Traffic, which examined the drug wars crisis from multiple vantage points, was the better film. And does anyone still think Shakespeare in Love more deserving of Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful and the Thin Red Line? Let us also not forget that Fargo lost to The English Patient, and Goodfellas lost to Dances With Wolves. Oscar "losers" are in good company. So, check out one of the also-rans this weekend, and remember the best film isn't always the Best Film. (KB)

WHEN OSCAR WINNERS GO BAD: Winning the Oscar does not guarantee future success -- or good judgment in picking scripts -- as this rundown of 10 Worst Post Oscar Career choices makes clear. (RS)

THE LEDGER FACTOR: Heath Ledger's name will be announced as winner of Best Supporting Actor at Sunday's Oscars. So then what? No one's really sure, other than the fact his Oscar will go to his 3-year-old daughter Matilda Rose Ledger once she turns 18. Until then, Ledger's ex-girlfriend and mother of Matilda, Michelle Williams, will keep the statue in trust. As to who will claim Ledger's Oscar, Academy Awards producers are keeping that under wraps. Ledger received raves for his villainous turn as Batman's greastest nemesis, The Joker, in the summer blockbuster "The Dark Knight." Ledger, 28, died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in January 2008. Look for Kirk Baird's Grammy blog right here on Thin Slices Sunday night. (KB)

DOUBLE VISION: There are a lot more famous twins out there than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Or rather, there are a lot of celebrities out there who have much, much less famous twin siblings. Like Ashton and Michael Kutcher. Check them and others out in this

photo gallery. (RS)

OOH, OOH, THAT SMELL: Another season of American Idol is careening forward with some rather tepid reviews. This wag thought the first 12 of the final 36 who performed Tuesday night were mediocre, describing their musical selections as "Light FM." Ew. (RL)

HE DOTH PROTEST: With Genesis, singer Peter Gabriel was fond of lengthy prog-rock tunes, including the album closer "Supper's Ready" from "Foxtrot," that clocks in at nearly 23 minutes. So it shouldn't be a surprise that Gabriel, who long ago left Genesis and has enjoyed a successful solo career,

balked at the idea of trimming the performance of his and Thomas Newman's Oscar-nominated song "Down to Earth." Gabriel was asked to perform a minute of "Down to Earth" from the animated feature WALL-E in a medley of Best Song nominees during Sunday's Academy Awards telecast. Gabriel, though, took a sledgehammer to that idea and has opted not to sing. Look for Kirk Baird's Grammy blog right here on Thin Slices Sunday night. (RL)

WHO'S IT GOING TO BE?: With the Oscars just a few days away, the suspense surrounding Sunday's awards ceremony involves the Best Actor category and whether Sean Penn will win for his role in Milk or Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. Be sure to look for Blade Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird's Oscar preview story in Sunday's paper and online at Toledoblade.com. (RL)

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THE SOUND OF HARMONIES: Simon and Garfunkel renewed their on-again, off-agin, on-again, off-again, etc., relationship Friday in New York with a mini-reunion that included "The Sound of Silence" and "The Boxer." Baby boomers like Paul McCartney -- seriously, he was there -- swooned. (RL)

PRESIDENT"S DAY SPECIAL: Not that you'd ever need to or anything, but if you're wondering how to memorize all the American presidents' names here's how. (RL)

Rod Lockwood


PAST THIN SLICES

Week 1 Slices, Week 2 Slices, Week 3 Slices, Week 4 Slices, Week 5 Slices, Week 6 Slices, Week 7 Slices, Week 8 Slices, Week 9 Slices, Week 10 Slices, Week 11 Slices, Week 12, Week 13, Week 14, Week 15, Week 16, Week 17, Week 18, Week 19, Week 20, Week 21, Week 22, Week 23,Week 24,Week 25,

Week 26, Week 27, Week 28



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