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Monday, July 14, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 1/24/2009 - Updated: 3 years ago

Not so boldly predicting the Oscars' 10 Best Picture nominees

The Blade's blog Culture Shock is a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

As part of a Detroit Film Critics Society-themed blog in December, I predicted 10 films I thought the Motion Picture Academy would nominate for Best Picture.

"127 Hours," "The Social Network," "Winter's Bone," "True Grit," "Black Swan," "Inception," "All Good Things," "The King's Speech," "The Kids Are All Right," and "Toy Story 3" or possibly "The Town."

Tuesday, the Oscar nominees will be announced. I'll be covering the event "live" for The Blade, and will have a story up with my thoughts soon after the nominees are announced beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Now, though, I'd like to make a few changes to my December predictions ...

"The Social Network" and "The King's Speech" are the two most obvious locks, followed by "127 Hours" and "Black Swan." I think as long as the Academy has the 10-nominee format, and as long as Joel and Ethan Coen keep making movies they will be near-permanent fixtures in the race, so score another nomination for the brothers and their wonderful western "True Grit." "Inception" is in, as is "The Kids Are All Right." That's seven films.

Now things get more difficult. I still think the indie thriller beloved by critics, "Winter's Bone," gets a nod. I'm not sure about "Toy Story 3" receiving a nomination since it will be nominated for Best Animated Feature and will win. Everyone knows that, which is why it may be left off the Best Picture ballot. If "Toy Story 3" doesn't get nominated, then look for "The Rabbit Hole" to take its place. I could see the Academy then nominating "The Town," which was a Ben Affleck crowd pleaser, in the 10th spot, even though "Blue Valentine" and "All Good Things" were much better movies. (Both films also featured brilliant performances by Ryan Gosling who's been shown zero love thus far.)

But for now, those are my picks by the Academy. Tune in Tuesday to fight out how right or wrong I was.

Originally Monday's blog topic was to be about replacement singers until I went with the Oscars instead. So, here are my abbreviated thoughts on the singer topic.

When I was a teenager, I believed there were two irreplaceable parts of a band: lead singer and lead guitarist.

Yeah, AC/DC pulled off the new singer in Brian Johnson, but that was when the band was in its prime. And Johnson does more than a passable Bon Scott anyway. Van Halen, when David Lee Roth split, was smart enough to go in a completely different direction with Sammy Hagar. That worked out. The band's third singer, Gary Cherone, did not. Now Roth is back in the picture. Or was. So Van Halen kinda proves my point.

For the most part, a frontman cannot be replaced. Look at INXS. After finding their new Michael Hutchence on a CBS reality show, the band dumped the singer a year or two later. If memory serves, they left/fired the dude at an airport. All class, that INXS.

But having a new voice for a band doesn't seem to matter to many classic rock acts.

Journey is on to its third singer after Steve Perry left. Styx long ago replaced Dennis DeYoung and hasn't really looked back. The same for Foreigner. Jon Anderson from Yes became ill and couldn't tour for a while. The band didn't wait for his recovery and hired a sound-alike from a Yes tribute band. Really, I didn't think ANYONE could sound like Anderson's elf-like voice.

Of course, Judas Priest is the best known example for that, having replaced Rob Halford with Tim "Ripper" Owens, himself fronting a Judas Priest tribute band. I interviewed Owens in January 2002 about the gig and the movie, "Rock Star," starring Mark Wahlberg, which was inspired by the Owens story. When I asked Owens about job security and what he would do if Halford wanted back in Judas Priest, he said he wasn't worried. About a year and 1/2 later, he was out and Halford was back in.

That's as it should be, which is how I've always felt about bands. To me, replacing a lead singer is like going to your favorite sushi restaurant, ordering California rolls and finding out they substituted crab with "krab." It's a big letdown and a cheap imitation.

When I see Journey -- not that I want to see Journey -- I don't want someone who looks and sounds like Perry. I want Perry. If Perry cannot or will not perform anymore, then it's time for the band to call it a day.

A lead singer isn't the bass player nobody accept die hard fans know. He's not the keyboardist or percussionist. He's not even the rhythm guitarist. He's the face and voice of the band. And unless you're Santana, that matters to most of us..

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734. Or even better and easier, rant on the message board.



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