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The Cube Critics take on the Oscars

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Cube Critics
MPR's Cube Critics Euan Kerr, left, and Stephanie Curtis watch a film clip on a computer screen in the MPR newsroom.
MPR Photo/Chris Roberts

Stephanie Curtis, The Movie Maven and Arts reporter Euan Kerr sit across the cube at Minnesota Public Radio News, where they have a rapid, running dialogue about movies.  For some strange reason, those golden, perfectly postured male statuettes are today's topic on Cube Critics.

Euan Kerr: I have to admit this is the time of year where I get deeply conflicted because, frankly, there's something I find really irritating about the Oscars.  I can't believe we get so whipped up about them.

Stephanie Curtis: I get whipped up about them every year and I'm just no longer embarrassed about it.

Kerr: I am so embarrassed.

Curtis: I love the spectacle.

Kerr: Do they really matter?  I mean, here's a question.  Because you could look at this in several different ways.  You could look at it in terms of, do they matter to the studios?  Do they matter to the actors?  But the thing I'm interested in is, do they matter to the audience ultimately?  Is the audience served by this?

Curtis:  I think that they are.  I think that they've really, I think in the past couple years when they added, I think that the expansion to 10 Best Pictures has really made a difference, its brought in a wide range of films.  The Academy has brought in younger members of the Academy, who aren't just voting for creaky old costume pictures and that's it, they're bringing in young people to host.  

I feel like they're really trying to keep up and stay relevant and even, and really, the Best Picture, the ten Best Pictures, those were all good movies, there's nothing on there that I'm like oy-yoy-oy, what are they thinking?

Kerr: But ultimately isn't it just about selling tickets? I mean, this is really...

  It's about saying, ok... we can get these things back into the theater and get another 10 to 12 bucks off...

Curtis: no, no it's not, they are choosing movies like Winter's Bone because they are they really are also. ... Yes, it's partially about selling tickets but it's also about trying to show the best of the industry.... 

 They are trying to find the best movies. They're not, they're not...

  Kerr:I think you're being Pollyannish.

Curtis: I'm not being Pollyannish.  I really think, I mean, there obviously is some of it that's just about making money. 

  Kerr: True.

Curtis:  And the Academy made a ton of money from the TV screening of people watching the movies, but...

Kerr: And then the show itself sometimes is just...

Curtis: The show is often...

Kerr: ...dreadful.

Curtis: No, the show is dreadful.  I don't know why everyone why people say it's dreadful; of course it's going to be dreadful.

Kerr:  But will it be dreadful this year?

Curtis: It will be dreadful, but you still gotta watch it.

 You still gotta watch it,  it's going to run long, it's going to be bad.  But there's going to have a great In Memoriam.  I love that. I love seeing the unexpected little moments, and every year I hope people stop thanking their manager or their lawyer, their everybody, but they never do.  Whatever.  It's the Oscars, you know, so...

Kerr: But you know, this year, someone is going to say something political, I bet.

Curtis: Oh, I think so.  I think, either the freedom in the Middle East or the unions in, you know, because it's a big union town...

Kerr: It will be interesting.

Curtis:  But I'm really looking forward to seeing James Franco, and what's her name, the pretty gal who's co-hosting?

Kerr: Anne Hathaway.

Curtis:  Anne Hathaway.  She'll be very much...

Kerr: I'm more interested in watching Anne Hathaway.

  Curtis: She's a pretty girl, yes...

Kerr: Yes.

Curtis: Yes, she's charming.

 So, what do you think is going to win?  Best Picture.  What do you think will win?  What do you think should win?

Kerr: I think that despite the single transferable vote, it will be won by The King's Speech, but Winter's Bone should win.

Curtis:  I agree that Winter's Bone should win, and I think The Social Network is going to win.  

Kerr: Interesting.

Curtis:  Call me crazy.  No one else agrees with me, but I still think it's going to win.  What about Best Actor?

  Kerr:  Ah, Colin Firth probably will win it, but I think Javier Bardem.

Curtis: Oh, really?  I think James Franco.  The performance he turned it in 127 Hours carried that movie.  He made it.  It was amazing.  Best Actress?

  Kerr:  Oh, I think it should be Annette Benning.  It will probably be Natalie Portman for Black Swan.

  Curtis:  Agree totally with both.

Kerr: OK. We agree on something?

Curtis:  We agree on something.

Kerr: That is a really bad idea.