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The Simpsons a few weeks back did one of their episodes where they present a different story in each act. They’ve tackled Greek myths, fairytales, and tall tales over the years, among other topics. The loose theme this time centered around woman characters as Lisa and Marge get a mani/pedi (I guess after twenty seasons they’re running out of ideas even for these one-off episodes).

And surprisingly the first story they presented was that of Elizabeth I. But not the actual history. Instead they went with the version as presented in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the widely-panned 2007 Elizabeth sequel that still managed to land Cate Blanchett a Best Actress nom and won the Best Costume Oscar.

Isn’t that odd? The Simpsons maintains some of Kapur’s pretty large dramatic licenses and borrows the film’s imagery, including Elizabeth in a suit of armor on horseback and a flaming English ship sailing into the Spanish Armada. So here’s the fairly well-known story of a famous figure but The Simpsons chooses to play off a box office flop that only made about $16 million domestically. Does that mean next year we can expect vignettes based on Soul Men? Body of Lies? Pride & Glory? Forgot about all of those, didn’t you?

Anyway, the piece was pretty funny with Selma as Elizabeth, Homer as Sir Walter Raleigh, Marge as the lady in waiting, and Moe as the Geoffrey Rush advisor character. The other stories were Snow White, MacBeth, and The Fountainhead of all things. Random. Here’s a clip from the Elizabeth portion:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Hulu – The Simpsons: Spanish Armada“, posted with vodpod

Full episode here until its Hulu window expires. And in other vaguely Oscar-related/Simpsons linkage, here’s a video with Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa) and Ellen Page.

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Oscar nominations will be announced on January 22. We’re counting down to the big day by tackling some tough questions and spouting some mad opinions. Today we’re making predictions. Going out on a limb a little, what will and will not happen in the nominations?

Brian: Torino for the Upset

Gran Torino will squeeze in as a Best Picture nominee, kicking out Frost/Nixon. I think Oscar voters will be blinded by the strong box office performances of Eastwood’s take on the Incredible Hulk, and the old fogeys will be regretful if they don’t throw some dap to what could possibly be Eastwood’s last film. Considering the movie’s pure audacity, I can’t even protest the pick that much, even though it was not very good. I like its chances, and like the Arizona Cardinals making a playoff run, I think that a surprise nomination could give it upset special potential over Slumdog in the end game.

John: TDK Loses, HSM3 Wins

I’ll believe Dark Knight getting a Best Picture nod when I see it. It deserves it but the Academy is so good at disappointing me. Despite love from nearly every guild (producers, directors, writers, art directors, editors, sound mixers, cinematographers, costume designers) SAG skipped it for its Ensemble award and the acting branch is by far the largest in the Academy. I know the correlation between SAG Ensemble and Best Picture isn’t perfect, but I’m pessimistic. The Reader seems so much more up the Academy’s alley that I can definitely see it ignoring the comic book film. This is a prediction I’d love to be wrong, but I expect lots of fanboy bitching tomorrow.

After last year’s debacle in the category I expect High School Musical 3: Senior Year to score at least one Original Song nomination. Fortunately rule changes prevent it from nabbing more than two so it can’t match Enchanted‘s three. None of the groups that names Best Song has given the bland musical tunes any love, but if anyone can it’s the Academy.

Jared: Good News Coming for Happy, Winslet, Leo (DiCaprio); Bad for Jolie, Blanchett, Leo (Melissa)

It is hard to make exciting predictions this year, with so many categories seeing so much uniformity across guild awards and the other precursors.  I won’t make up something crazy just for the sake of being bold, but I can see a few slightly unexpected things to happen.  Happy-Go-Lucky will garner three nominations (Actress, Supporting Actor, and Original Screenplay). I wouldn’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I think the film’s unbridled optimism will resonate with voters in this political and economic climate, and since Eddie Marsan is the one counter to that in the whole movie, he stands out too much not to be noticed.  Kate Winslet grabs two noms, and Leonardo DiCaprio comes along for the ride. The former is more likely than the latter, but I think Winslet peaked at the right time, is a name people know and want to vote for, and I think people want to get her an Oscar win.  There are scenarios where Revolutionary Road or The Reader pull down more nominations, but I see them having difficulty cracking the big categories, so support could funnel to DiCaprio.  Leo, Jolie, Blanchett out for Best Actress. This category is an eight woman (well, no, nine, Michelle Williams has a non-zero shot) free-for-all, and really, nothing is absolutely guaranteed.  I think Jolie misses because Changeling didn’t resonate in general any more than A Mighty Heart.  I’m even now second-guessing myself about Blanchett, since the Academy loves her so, but I think she has more of a chance if Benjamin Button broke out a little more at the box office.  And Leo will suffer from being in a movie released too early and being too little of a name.

Adam: Those Expecting Surprises Will be Disappointed

Not sure how much of a long shot it is, but I think Leonardo DiCaprio edges out Pitt and Jenkins for a Best Actor nod.  I also second Jared’s prediction of Happy-Go-Lucky getting more nods than it deserves (which I have no problem ridiculing in the days to come).  I think Dev Patel rides the seemingly-universal love for Slumdog Millionaire into a supporting actor spot.  Honestly though, I really don’t see that many “long shots” in even remote contention.

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