Rushes: awards frenzy, Die Hard kills it, Aziz gets sad

If you have even the remotest interest in the movie business, you'll know that it's full steam ahead this week as we gear up for the Night Of Nights that is actually the Afternoon Of Nights: yes, this Sunday at 4pm or so, it's Oscar time. 

And in proof that the glitziest of all paperweights is really just a chance for people like "that Harvey Weinstein" (copyright: My Mum) to spend big in order to win big, this year the Argo and Lincoln teams have been bleeding money in their race to the podium [The Envelope]. LA Times' The Envelope has a fascinating rundown of the likely budgets of those Oscar favourites: "The spending blizzard includes covers in Hollywood's trade newspapers (a single-page Variety cover can cost as much as $80,000), 30-minute TV spots highlighting a film's bona fides (local broadcast time for recent half-hour Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook ads can cost more than $100,000) and first-class air travel, limousines and hotels for filmmakers skipping around the globe to woo awards voters and collect lesser trophies (Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't fly coach and stay at the local EconoLodge)" - and that's just the tip of the cashflow iceberg! It's a sobering report for anyone who still thinks that Oscar night is about celebrating excellence, not expenditure. 

The remaining "lesser trophies", meanwhile, have been being handed out in the lead-up to The Big Afternoon. The latest dog and pony show is the Writers Guild of America Awards, held in tandem on both coasts (WGA has East and West arms). The full rundown of winners [THR] includes Mark Boal's Zero Dark Thirty (Original Screenplay) and Chris Terrio's Argo (Adapted), which ought to give some indication of what to expect come Sunday, while in TV honours, the Louie team took out Best Comedy Series, and Girls copped Best New Series. 

If you are having trouble sleeping you might be interested in The Contenders [Deadline], which is sadly not a musical based on Marlon Brando's On The Waterfront, but instead a series of presentations from studios with films in the awards season race for 2013, including The Weinstein Company (hi, Mum!), Paramount and Warner Bros.; it's from November last year but is quite interesting to revisit at this juncture of the Oscar race, if you're into that sort of thing (i.e. THE BIZ).  

While the supercut "genre" tends to be one of the information age's most tedious fixtures (fake "trailers" that go for six minutes, everyone!), I think we can all agree that this supercut of pizza's ties to cinema [Buzzfeed] will go down in history as a true landmark for human achievement in art: 

Speaking of things that John McClane is not ordering when he calls 911, the fifth instalment in the Die Hard series, A Good Day To Die Hard surprised its doubters by taking out the US box office on its opening weekend [I Watch Stuff]: "$25 million was a weaker opening than what Live Free or Die Hard made six years ago--nearly as low as Die Hard 3's 1995 numbers--but the fact that it already made another $79.6 million abroad hints that, yeah, John McClane is probably going say "yippee-ki-yay" again. Probably in China." Does this mean we're another step closer to Mad About You's inspired Die, Already becoming a reality? 

Like I said last week, you can't stay mad at Bruce!

If, however, you are in desperate need of some awards season schadenfreude to take the edge off the pain of knowing your five unfinished screenplays would surely win awards if you could just meet Mr Weinstein, perhaps this countdown of the 50 worst Oscar dresses of all time [THR] will do the trick. We all remember Celine's back to front tux, but do you remember THIS?!

If bad dresses aren't enough to sate your need for schlock, you can get your Hollywood Babylon fix over at - surprise! - the Daily Mail, which has mystifyingly chosen to give Shirley MacLaine's daughter Sachi Parker free reign to tattle on her wacky Tinseltown upbringing [DM]. Some highlights include Mom's attempt to sabotage her daughter's career with a TV psychic: "But then, as my children grew a little older, I decided I want to act again. I discovered what she thought of that ambition when she turned up to dinner on Christmas Day 2005 with an unexpected guest in tow — a ‘world-famous’ psychic.She announced her Christmas present to me would be a personal reading from this psychic — he hosted a cable TV show in which he claimed to put people in touch with their dead relatives. And he told me he had a message from my father, Steve Parker, who had died in 2001." Read on if you want further proof that MacLaine's performance as Ouiza the "pig from hell" in Steel Magnolias was true to life. 

And finally, on an even more sombre note, a great interview with Aziz Ansari [The AV Club], in which he sounds off about love and relationships - the topic of his upcoming show - and generally, if you've been on the dating circuit in the last few years, makes you punch the air with vindication and then collapse in choking sobs of recognition. "You know when you meet someone and you feel like you had a decent connection, and then you text them and never hear back? That’s what I’m writing about. Dealing with weird problems that only this generation of people has encountered. Getting a text message and thinking, 'Okay, does that mean they are really busy, or are they blowing me off?' Not hearing back from someone you’re interested in, and then seeing them post a photo of a pizza on Instagram. Isn’t that kind of a rude thing to do? Shouldn’t we respect each other a little more than that? Everyone’s been through some version of that shit, and it’s very interesting to me."

So remember: you might be dateless, but if you have enough money you can win an Oscar. See you next Tuesday!!

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