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TIFF Oscar Scorecard: what this year’s fest tells us about next year’s Academy Awards

It’s still far too early for Oscar pools, but now that the big TIFF movies have screened, it’s high time to get in on the nomination prediction game. Festival buzz, of course, is often the most reliable forecast for Academy Award nominations: Monsieur Lazhar, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty are just a few of the films that made a big impression in Toronto before going on to collect Oscar gold. We break down which of the fest’s buzziest films seem bound for a nod come January.

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Canadians at the Oscars: Christopher Plummer and Justin Bieber edition

Christopher Plummer toasts to his accomplishment (Image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment)

Last night at the 84th Annual Academy Awards, the Canadian quotient was at an impressive low (seriously, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were nowhere to be found). That said, Christopher Plummer did take home Best Actor in a Supporting Role and appeared humbled by the honour (at 82, he’s the oldest actor to be awarded an Oscar); Cirque du Soleil performed an homage to the silent film era, complete with kooky expressions and what looked like jazz hands; and Justin Bieber made a cameo in host Billy Crystal’s Best Picture montage. Sadly, Monsieur Lazhar did not win Best Foreign Language Film. Of course, a number of things that have nothing to do with Canada also deserve mentioning: we confirmed that Billy Crystal isn’t funny to people under the age of 80; Angelina Jolie’s leg was a sight to behold; Emma Stone was positively charming; Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. proved—for the second time—that they have absolutely no onstage chemistry; and the Oscars really need to start thinking about taking a cue from the Golden Globes, because sitting through the painful staged banter requires alcohol (not little cellophane bags of popcorn).

The Dish

Drinks

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Drink the Oscars: just the right drink for each of the best picture nominees

As a companion to our 2012 Academy Awards drinking game, which tells you when to take a swig, we here at the Dish thought we’d bring you a little helpful instruction on just what to drink during your Oscar party this year, depending on which film you’re hoping to see walk away with the big prize at the end of the night.

For fans of The Artist
With the advent of the talkies, silent film star George Valentin turns to the bottle, in this case whisky, for solace. You could turn to a nice, cheap bottle of Dewar’s White Label. ($23.95 at the LCBO)

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Oscar night 2012: the Drinking Game

The Oscars are this Sunday, which means there are just two more days to stock up on spirits, beer and wine for the big night (finger sandwiches would also be nice—just saying). In an effort to make this evening of self-congratulation a little more bearable, we present Torontolife.com’s 2012 Oscars Drinking Game, complete with various levels of game play. Find out how to get completely tossed—that’s Hollywood, baby—after the jump (as always, please drink responsibly—and drink these).

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TIFF to Tinseltown: a tour of the 16 Oscar-nominated features that screened at TIFF

Now that Oscar campaigns involve a full five months of press events, splashy parties and ukulele deliveries, the Toronto International Film Festival has become the unofficial kickoff of Oscar season. Last September, film-mad Torontonians had the chance to see 16 feature films that are now up for an Academy Award (between drinks at Soho House and rubbing shoulders with Bono, of course). Not to worry if you missed a few—before the little golden men are passed out on Sunday night, we take a look at the movies that started their Oscar journey right here in Toronto. Click here to check out all 16, to see what awards their up for and to view their cinematic trailers »

(Images: Hollywood, afternoon; Toronto, journalistjeff)

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Photos from the Vanity Fair Oscar party: George Pimentel takes us through his shots of Bieber, Gwyneth and many more

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber arrive at the Sunset Tower in L.A. for the Vanity Fair Oscars party on February 27, 2011 (Image: George Pimentel)

Toronto’s top celebrity shutterbug, George Pimentel, spent last week—Oscar week—stargazing in Tinseltown. His tour included the Academy Awards’ most VIP red carpet at the Vanity Fair Party. Here, George dishes on Justin Bieber’s new lady, Scarlett Johansson’s superior beauty and why (as we suspected) Natalie Portman is as smug and snotty as they come.

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Culture

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Oscar watch: 10 questions about the Academy Awards with Canada’s gossip girl Lainey

Elaine Lui is Canada’s gossipmonger extraordinaire, with a master’s in Gaga and a black belt in Brangelina. This week, the blogger (find her at laineygossip.com) and eTalk correspondent is in L.A. covering the movie biz’s night of nights. Any news outlet can dish on Oscar outcomes, but only Lainey can tell you if Nicole Kidman has really lightened up on the Botox and whether James Franco and Anne Hathaway are secretly getting it on backstage. (They won’t be—but if they do, Lainey will know). We talked with her about Hollywood’s top dressers, celeb PDA and, of course, all things Oscar.

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TIFF to Tinseltown: a tour of the 14 Oscar-nominated films that screened at TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival may not have the glamour of Cannes, the street cred of Berlin or the skiing of Sundance, but it does have one thing going for it: it’s the unofficial kickoff of Oscar season. The filmmakers who come here every September to show and sell—a full five months before the awards ceremony—are well aware that they’re already in the race to the Kodak Theatre. The early jockeying often pays off: 14 of the 36 feature films nominated for Academy Awards this year screened here (the dubious likes of TRON: Legacy and Salt, for the record, did not). Before the big tally on Sunday night, we take a look at the films that embarked on their trip to the golden boy’s antechamber right here in our backyard.

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Best Actress Oscar Curse: a U of T study shows there’s some truth to it, but can it predict this Sunday’s winner?

Our ears perked up last month when we heard about a study out of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management that gave scientific credence to the so-called Best Actress Academy Award Curse. For the uninitiated, the curse refers to how Best Actress Oscar winners seem more likely to split from their spouses than fellow nominees (see: Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet, Hilary Swank and Halle Berry, as well as old Hollywood icons Bette Davis and Joan Crawford). At first, we wondered if crunching Hollywood heartbreak numbers is the most effective use of our city’s most beautiful minds (doubtful), but soon we moved onto more useful thoughts, such as: could the Rotman findings be used to help predict this Sunday’s Best Actress Oscar winner?

The Toronto study looks at what happens post-Oscar, but apply a little Freakonomics-style chicken-and-egg skepticism and all of a sudden it’s unclear what came first: the golden statue or the marital strife. Perhaps a troubled personal life is more likely to inspire an Oscar-worthy performance. With this hypothesis in mind, we examine this year’s nominees »

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Events

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The Weekender: Sandra Shamas, Brothel #9 and six other can’t-miss events

Dum Dum Girls, Brad Mehldau and Anne Sofie von Otter and Sandra Shamas

1. SANDRA SHAMAS’ WIT’S END III: LOVE LIFE
Comedy queen Sandra Shamas started making audiences laugh back in the ’80s—her show, My Boyfriend’s Back and There’s Gonna Be Laundry, was a huge hit at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in 1987, and led to no small amount of success on the comedy circuit. These days, after a nine-year absence from the stage, her shows reflect a performer more comfortable in her skin, perhaps the result of some country living (she moved to a farm and started growing carrots after the aforementioned boyfriend-turned-husband filed for divorce). Whatever the subject matter, Shamas is still making everyone laugh. To March 13. $25-$65. Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., 416-872-5555, ticketmaster.ca.

2. BREAD DAY WITH ANDREA GIBSON (FREE!)
For many DIY foodies, bread is the final frontier. Sure, making a loaf is cheaper than tossing a bag of Dempster’s in your grocery cart, but for some (like, say, us) it can be a little intimidating. Enter the fine folks at The Cookbook Store, who are hosting a day-long ode to bread this weekend. Toronto “bread maven” Andrea Gibson, owner of Fred’s Bread, will be on hand to answer questions, and there will be various loaves of bread available for the tasting. February 26. The Cookbook Store, 850 Yonge St., cook-book.com.

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Genie nominations no big surprise, with Barney’s Version and Incendies in the lead

We’ve already watched the Golden Globes. And Oscar nominations were announced last week. But that doesn’t mean we can forget about Canada’s version of the Academy Awards (albeit with less recognizable statues), the Genies. The nominations were announced today, and this year’s Genie picks seem fairly predictable—the widely acclaimed Barney’s Version roped in eleven nominations, including best picture, direction, adapted screen play and best lead and supporting actor nods.  Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-nominated Incendies netted an even ten.

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TIFF names best Canadian films of 2010 to be screened at Lightbox

Paul Giamatti at the TIFF premiere for Barney's Version (Image: Stefania Yarhi)

While all of Hollywood fires up its engines for the self-love fest that is awards season, the Toronto International Film Festival took a moment to honour some of our own talent. Yesterday, TIFF released their list of the 10 best Canadian feature films and 10 best short films of 2010.

One notable inclusion that has yet to see its general release is Barney’s Version, the film adaptation of Canadian author Mordecai Richler’s classic Montreal-set novel. The film yesterday won actor Paul Giamatti a Golden Globe nomination and was a gala film at TIFF this year. Barney’s Version will hit Canadian theatres on Christmas Eve.

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Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and 11 other chick flicks that dudes like

Bryce Dallas Howard and Matt Damon in Hereafter

Yesterday, TIFF announced that Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter would have its world premiere at this year’s film festival. The movie, in which death brings together the lives of three characters, stars Matt Damon (a troubled psychic who can talk to the dead), Bryce Dallas Howard (his girlfriend, but also Twilight’s new Victoria) and Cécile De France (a French journalist) in a narrative that Eastwood describes as a “chick flick, but one men will like, too.” Not sure what constitutes a chick flick that dudes like? See our slide show of the best of the genre >>

(Don’t agree with our list? Give us your own in the comments.)


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Toronto cult film favourite is the world’s worst movie

Here’s a new way to spend Friday night: watching the worst movie of all time. Leave it to Toronto to embrace a film lambasted by audiences for its horrendous acting, atrocious camera work and laughably awful script. The Room, starring and directed by Tommy Wiseau, has played monthly at the Royal Cinema since July 2009 (it shows tonight at 11:30) and is poised to become the new Rocky Horror Picture Show. The story is essentially a love triangle between a rich banker, his fiancée and his more attractive pauper best friend, but cheap pornos have more sophisticated, or at least sensible, plots than this movie.

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Oscar-winning film successfully mimics walking through Dundas Square

One of our current obsessions is Logorama, the bright and brash winner last Sunday of the Oscar for best animated short film. The movie creates a cityscape completely constructed of and peopled by corporate logos. Witness a shootout between Michelin Man cops and a hostage-taking Ronald McDonald, who escapes on the Grease motorcycle (actually Grease 2, which, of course, makes it all the funnier). The seemingly made-for-the-Web movie was on its way to becoming a viral hit before it was pulled from YouTube and other video sites. (We managed to locate a video library that, at least for now, has the full-length edition.)

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