I've already covered most of the usual Oscar bases in the print edition of this week's paper, so what's left to talk about now?
Argo continues to build momentum, picking up the WGA's adapted screenplay award just last weekend; that means every major guild has backed it, which strongly suggests those same guild members have put Ben Affleck's stranger-than-fiction thriller at the top of their Academy Awards ballot too. At this point, I'd be shocked if it doesn't take Best Picture.
Canadians won't have much to celebrate. Rebelle (or War Witch, as their calling it down South) won't win Best Foreign-Language Film - that'll likely be Amour or maybe the pageantry of A Royal Affair - and John Williams's stately Lincoln score will likely trump Mychael Danna's work on Life Of Pi. And the odds of Danna bringing home the Original Song statuette are similarly thin; if that one doesn't go to Adele for Skyfall, the new Les Misérables song will snatch it up.
Would you like to know more? Follow me on Twitter Sunday night for near-instantaneous reactions to the awards, and to Seth MacFarlane's performance as host. I give him four minutes before the first dick joke, which he'll excuse by saying he was "just getting it out of the way." (Susan G. Cole will be weighing in as well; follow her, too!)
And then, with the Oscars behind us, we can turn our attention to more serious cinematic goals. On Monday, my good friend Adam Nayman - whose excellent work you may have read in Cinema Scope and Reverse Shot, among others - is starting another lecture series at the Miles Nadal JCC, this time devoted to the works of Joel and Ethan Coen. He'll be studying their entire filmography two films at a time in eight two-hour sessions, pegged to unpacking the thematic links between pictures.
Monday's kickoff class, "Rednecks", studies Blood Simple and Raising Arizona; "Pastiche" classes examine noir (Miller's Crossing and The Man Who Wasn't There, March 4) and screwball comedy (The Hudsucker Proxy and Intolerable Cruelty, March 11). "Crime and Punishment" tackles Fargo and The Big Lebowski (March 18); "Adaptation/Americana" examines O Brother, Where Art Thou? and No Country For Old Men (April 8). "Remake/Remodel" considers the brothers' versions of The Ladykillers and True Grit (April 15), and "Political Science" contrasts Barton Fink and Burn After Reading.
There's one exception: The last class (April 29) is dedicated entirely to their 2009 epic A Serious Man, which is easily the Coens' most personal film and possibly their funniest. I would not advise you to miss that one.
Speaking of film-related lecture thingies, TIFF's ongoing subscription series - themed screenings followed by talks from experts in the appropriate field - produces one of the oddest evenings you'll have this year. Wednesday at 7 pm, the Lightbox hosts a Science On Film showing of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes - yes, the one where James Franco's research into an Alzheimer's cure not only results in the birth of a superintelligent chimp who leads an ape revolt, but also dooms the human race to extinction. (Spoilers? Not so much.)
It's a subscription series, but single tickets will be available at 10 am Wednesday morning. (This is a good idea, and I'm glad to see TIFF making these screenings a little less exclusive.) The screening will be followed by a discussion from Dr. Stephen Scherer, Director of Applied Genomics at The Hospital For Sick Children, who will apparently be doing his best to connect the extremely tenuous science depicted in Rupert Wyatt's very silly movie to, you know, real-world stuff. That should be an interesting evening.
I mean, okay, some medicines can be aerosolized, and some viruses do spread through sneezing and coughing. But everything else in that movie is kind of a stretch, right?