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Now playing on the Otherppl with Brad Listi podcast, a conversation with Jonathan Herman , Oscar-nominated screenwriter of the film Straight Outta Compton.

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Watching The Oscars has been a tradition in my family ever since my grandma was nominated for best costumes for the original TRON in 1982. We place our bets months in advance, then, when the night of the award show comes around, we get drunk, eat too much, become overly competitive, and lose a lot of money. It’s a blood sport that usually ends in tears. Last year I live-blogged the event from a studio apartment in East Harlem. This year I am back in Los Angeles at my parents’ house. The following is me live-tweeting our inevitable downward spiral.

This list was originally going to include the biggest snubs of the past 10 years, but that proved too daunting a task. Then I cut the list down to include only the past five years, but it still felt endless. The thing is, the Academy overlooks more greatness than it rewards every single year. Blame it on politics, Oscar-baiting or there just not being enough room, but deserving films and performances fall by the wayside all the time.  And this year is no exception.

So, without further ado, here are 15 notable works (give or take) that I think deserved recognition from the Academy this year…

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(Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, during the shooting of Restrepo. )

By Terry Keefe

 

 

I’ll just come out and say this – Restrepo is one of the best films about war ever made. My statement includes fiction and non, although Restrepo’s power is inseparable from the fact that it is a documentary. Filmmakers Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington embedded themselves for a year with the Second Platoon of Battle Company of the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan to shoot the bulk of Restrepo and have created a non-fiction film which approximates the experience of a lengthy military deployment in the country as much as would be possible without actually going there oneself.  The film is nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category of the upcoming Academy Awards, where it will compete for the gold man with fellow nominees Waste Land, Inside Job, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Gasland.

Each year (2009, 2010) I review the Oscar contenders* for you in 6 words each, as inspired by my friends over at SMITH Magazine.

This year, the 2011 nominees are:

I sat near the back with a program folded in my joined hands as composer Jerry Goldsmith took his position before the symphony to a polite flutter of applause.I wore the same dress I’d wear months later to my high school graduation.Ruffles on the cap sleeves, tiny cloth-covered buttons, narrow all the way down.An idea of adulthood I’d squeezed into too soon. Most likely I hadn’t told my friends I was here, but I would be clearing a special place amongst all the rock-concert ticket stubs in my scrapbook to add this one.

By how many votes did Barack Obama beat John McCain in the 2008 presidential election?  9,522,083.

By how many votes did Hilary Swank beat Annette Bening in the 2000 Oscar race?  That’s top secret information.  We will never know.  Ever.

I’m a big fan of SMITH Magazine’s 6-Word Memoirs. So much so, I often find myself encapsulating everyday events both large and small into six-word sound bytes without even being aware of it.

For those of you in the dark about 6WMs, Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story in six words (For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.) and is said to have called it his best work. SMITH has taken this idea and marathoned with it.

With the Oscars just two weeks away (Feb 22nd), some of you may be finding it difficult, in these trying economic times, to fork out the $12.50 on a single movie ticket.  So I present, for your consideration, a condensed review of each of the major* nominees.

All in just six simple words.