Richest to Poorest Characters of the 2014 Oscars

by Andrew Osborne

So, a few weeks ago, during awards season, I submitted the following writing sample  to a (fairly cynical) website devoted to wealth…though, ironically, the editors seemed very hesitant about telling me exactly how much $$$ they’d actually pay me per article.  As such, I eventually just bailed on the non-negotiations, but their loss is the Screengrab in Exile’s gain as I (belatedly) present the Richest to Poorest Characters of the 2014 Oscars!

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2014 Oscar Live Blog!

6:47 PM – Rather than watching Oscar coverage from 8:00 AM on, my wife (Amy) and mother-in-law (Dori) and I actually went out for a lovely Oscar dinner at Toscano in Harvard Square, so we’re only just getting to the red carpet now…JUST in time to see Lupita N’yongo’s stylist blasting a hair dryer up her skirt or something.  She looks like a pretty, pretty princess in blue, but the dress isn’t as much of a knock-out as her red science fiction cape thing from the Golden Globes.  In other news, Anna Kendrick gets a thumbs up and Dori’s response to Pharrell’s Little Lord Fauntleroy shortpants is, and I quote:  “What an asshole.”  Which means we’re officially off and running for Oscars 2014!

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Scott Von Doviak Recaps Rake

A title like “Cancer” doesn’t exactly suggest a laugh riot of an episode, yet Rakehad an opportunity this week to mine the titular topic for some pitch-black humor. It doesn’t exactly work out that way. Instead, the show sticks with the same tone of mild amusement it seems to have settled for, with diminishing returns.

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Leonard Pierce Reviews 12 Years A Slave

Slavery, it has been properly observed, is America’s original sin.  It is our first and foremost crime, the most adjacent cause of our civil war, and the source of the racial poison that continues to choke us today.  It is, if this can be said in a way that does not invite outrage and hyperbole, our Holocaust:  a mobile disaster that wreaks its havoc and taints the very souls of those it touched even now, a hundred and fifty years after it officially came to an end.   But in that comparison lies one of the most thorny problems with assessing 12 Years a Slave, both as an aesthetic object and as an attempt to portray the degrading reality of slavery.  In both form and function, it highly resembles what we have come to think of as “Holocaust movies” — which, for dismaying reasons, has come to mean not just a movie about the Holocaust, but a very specifically formulaic kind of movie that is, because of the very sanctity of its subject, guaranteed critic chow and Oscar bait.

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Leonard Pierce Reviews The Wolf of Wall Street

Hetty Green was one of the first women to make a killing in stocks.  The heir to a considerable whaling fortune, the dour and grim New England Quaker increased her net worth more than tenfold with canny investments in everything from real estate to railroads to war bonds, and when she died in 1916, she was the richest woman the world had ever seen.  She was also notoriously stingy; her own son had to have his leg amputated because when it was broken, she frittered away precious time trying to have him treated for free at a local charity hospital, even though she was worth hundreds of millions in today’s dollars.  For a number of reasons — her creepy demeanor, her uncanny ability to predict the markets, and good old-fashioned misogyny — she was nicknamed “The Witch of Wall Street”.

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Leonard Pierce Reviews Her

Even if you’d never heard of him before, you’d know from seeing Spike Jonze’s latest, Her, that he isn’t a first-time director.  Visually speaking, it’s powerfully effective, verging on masterful; he manages to set up almost every shot, even relatively inconsequential place-setting ones, in the most precise manner to deliver whatever mood he’s trying for at the moment.  Her is, as befits a movie about computerized intelligence, saturated in its own artificiality; it looks like it was made by a high-profile advertising agency.  That would be a complaint for a lot of movies, but for Her, which often seems like a blend of a tragicomic romance and an informercial for a future that hasn’t quite arrived yet, it’s perfect; Jonze’s mise en scène is calculated to perfectly fit a movie where commercial products are designed to fill emotional voids.

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Andrew Osborne’s Best of 2013: Movies

On average, I went to the movies a bit less but liked what I saw more often in 2013, and it feels like my Top Ten picks are (a bit) more closely aligned with the general critical consensus than usual this year, give or take the following…

WILD CARDS (potentially list-worthy movies unseen by moi in 2013):  Inside Llewyn Davis, The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, 12 Years A Slave

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