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Oscars Death Race 2012

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Sarah D. Bunting wins the Oscars Death race as she surveys the race for Best Documentary Shorts

    "The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement." A salute to the many men and women who took enormous risks for the movement without needing name recognition, "TBoB" introduces us to James Armstrong, a barber in his eighties, on the eve of Barack Obama's election. You can't nec...

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    SCORE CARD UPDATE: Sarah D. Bunting wins the Oscars Death Race

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: It's over! With her inclusion of Best Documentary Shorts in this series, Sarah D. Bunting of Tomatonation.com has succeeded in watching every single film nominated for an Oscar this year. Congratulations, Sarah, for winning the Oscars Death Race. You can catch her down at the local b...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the race for Best Picture

    NYMag's David Edelstein posits that "The Artist" is a lock for the gold on Sunday, and I don't disagree, with the conclusion or the reasoning. It's a weird year for the Best Pic slate, with a lot of seriously-flawed-at-best material; it might come down to the least of nine evils.

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the race for Best Director and Cinematography

    Perhaps I should have given each of these categories its own piece, but I don't think you can separate them, and also, we're running out of time here. Let's take cinematography first.

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the races for Best Original and Adapted Screenplay

    Adapted Screenplay is an interesting case, at least to me: what's getting voted on, exactly? Is it the screenplay qua screenplay? Or is it the skill of the adaptation? I realize I shouldn't think too deeply on these criteria, but the category this year points up the distinction I've just mentioned, ...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: A SEPARATION

    "A Separation" opens with an argument in front of a judge. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants a divorce from Nader (Peyman Maadi), which he will grant, albeit reluctantly, and custody of their sixth-grade daughter Termeh (Sarina Farhadi, writer/director Asghar Farhadi's daughter), which he won't. Simin want...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the Race for Best Live-Action Short

    Pentecost. I feel like we get one of these every year, a mini roman a clef about a grade-school kid in which the central gag doesn't quite merit the attention, and Pentecost is this year's. The pep talk by the priest is cute, in theory, but the whole thing needs to move much faster, not least the cl...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: TREE OF LIFE

    It's it fair to review a work that functions, as Roger Ebert said in his piece on "The Tree of Life," as more of a prayer than a story? Can we measure this intensely personal, individual film with traditional yardsticks? I believe it is; I believe we can. Some of the positive reviews of "The Tree...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: BULLHEAD

    "Bullhead" isn't about what you think it's about at first. You start out with a voice-over about things from the past coming back; then you move into a plot about the Flemish "hormone mafia," and whether cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) is going to involve himself in a deal t...

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    OSCARS DEATH RACE: Surveying the race for Best Animated Short

    Dimanche/Sunday. It seemed promising despite the crude animation; the sound design is witty, and it started out as a sort of fantasia on how children perceive things. But it keeps killing animals off horribly for no reason, and the surrealism comes and goes when it's convenient. A clearer visual sty...

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