Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nine Foreign Language Films remain in Oscar race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced that nine foreign language films advanced in competition for the category of best Foreign Language Film. The original list consisted of 65 films in this category.

Here's the list of films in alphabetical order, by country:

Argentina, El Secreto de Sus Ojos Juan Jose Campanella, director;
Australia, Samson & Delilah Warwick Thornton, director;
Bulgaria, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner Stephan Komandarev, director;
France, Un Prophète Jacques Audiard, director;
Germany, The White Ribbon Michael Haneke, director;
Israel, Ajami Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, directors;
Kazakhstan, Kelin Ermek Tursunov, director;
The Netherlands, Winter in Wartime Martin Koolhoven, director;
Peru, The Milk of Sorrow Claudia Llosa, director.

The Academy reports that the short list is determined in "two phases":

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 65 eligible films between mid-October and January 16. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 29, through Sunday, January 31, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The nominees will be announced February 2nd at 5:30 a.m at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Oscar telecast will be Sunday, March 7th, 2010 at Hollywood and Highland and telecast on ABC.

Conan O'Brien on Fox Twitter account a hoax, suspended

The much-reported Conan O'Brien on Fox Twitter account - - has been suspended. The account was discovered two days ago leading to reports that Conan O'Brien was headed over to Fox after losing his 11:30 PM late night spot to Jay Leno after his 10 PM show failed to draw profitable ratings.

Now it has been reported that the Twitter account was a hoax; still the fact is that Conan's leaving NBC.

As for the fake Conan on Fox Twitter account, TMZ reports it was reportedly created by Red Sox fans, perhaps some of the same ones angry with Martha Coakley in her race against now Senator Scott Brown. But there was a real account in its place; that one was switched with tweet, "Triumph means so many things to so many people SoSH." And...

The SoSH can be traced back to a Boston Red Sox fan forum called "Sons of Sam Horn." TMZ contacted one of the site's moderators who told us one of their faithful members, "on his own ... recreated the Conan on FOX Twitter site and referenced SoSH."

The new show, or any new Conan show, could not start until after September 2010, according to, because Conan's NBC contract prohibits his appearance on any other network until that time.

Stay tuned for more on Conan's planned drinking binge.

Conan O'Brien and NBC to reach settlement deal tonight

Late Night Talk Show Host Conan O'Brien and NBC are close to a settlement deal that would net Conan O'Brien with $8.1 million for his staff, a full $600,000 over the original deal.

According to, NBC will pay $7.5 million to his staff, and while his executive producer will make $4.5 million, it's in addition to the $7.5 million to staff as a whole.

NBC thinks they will make money if Conan walks and Jay Leno takes his spot on The Tonight Show. The reason for this is Jay Leno makes $45 million while Conan would lose $5 million.

Meanwhile, all signs point to a Friday farewell for Conan, according to Forbes, which reports Conan saying:

"Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien, and I'm just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history."

Stay tuned.

Tornado warning in Santa Cruz, San Jose, Bay Area

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for San Jose and The Bay Area, today, Wednesday. The NWS issued a tornado warning for parts of Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. This happened after wind gusts as fast as 85 mph were reported today.

This blogger has never heard of a tornado warning in The San Francisco Bay Area until today. In Santa Cruz County, California, 36,000 people lost power. Yesterday, Oakland was battered by hail storms. Rain has pelted the San Francisco Bay Area all day long.

According to and the National Weather Service' Dan Reynolds, what we're experiencing is called an El Niño, where thunderstorms over warm weather over the Pacific Ocean shoves clouds across the Pacific and into the West Coast. Since there's no high pressure system to crowd-out the El Niño, it dominates the weather.

So get an umbrella, if you must go outside.

Stay tuned.

Is All White Basketball League a good idea?

Other than the death of Jennifer Lyon, Senator Scott Brown, and Heidi Montag, one of the more controversial topics is the attempt to develop an All White Basketball League. According to Associated Content, a man named Don Moose Lewis is pushing the idea because, as he put it,..

"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing. I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like. Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch? That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."

But is this, an All White Basketball League, that better direction?

The plan is for the league to be based out of Atlanta, Georgia with all teams owned under a single entity. A $10,000 licensee fee is required to establish an organization in any one of 11 additional cities.

The response to an All White Basketball League has been anything but favorable. Ryan Christopher DeVault wrote:

This just seems like a bad idea all around, and something that won't find as much support as Don Moose Lewis is hoping that it will. While claiming that he isn't racist, isn't it racist in itself to create a league that won't allow people of color to play?

Don "Moose" Lewis is trying to drum up support for his league idea in Augusta, Georgia, where Tiger Woods became the first person of color to win The Masters. Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver thinks the idea is not in the sprit of inclusiveness:

"As a sports enthusiast, I have always supported bringing more sporting activities to Augusta," he said. "However, in this instance I could not support in good conscience bringing in a team that did not fit with the spirit of inclusiveness that I, along with many others, have worked so hard to foster in our city."

What's interesting is Moose" Lewis says he's not racist, but says he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball, and not "street-ball" played by "people of color." In this, "Moose" Lewis failed to mention the number of white players who have mastered the same "street-ball" he says only people of color play.

The other issue is the reverse racism Don Moose Lewis shows by stating that whites essentially don't play basketball well and have to be shielded from black and minority players. But what's more disturbing is Lewis is showing the same segregation active in the 1960s.

The problem with his league idea is that in the diverse 21st Century, players on his all-white league will eventually want to play with black, minority, and European players just to see how good they are. That dynamic alone will cause the league to fail.

Right now, the league is without a place to play. Given the looks of things, it may never get one.

Stay tuned.

Massachusetts Senate Race: Scott Brown won for Brown, not GOP

The Massachusetts Senate Race saw Scott Brown's win the US Senate seat that was occupied by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, but the victory a win for Scott Brown, not for the GOP. Only a charismatic, relatively young, youthful, cocky, and properous-looking white guy could get away with opposing aide to 9-11 volunteer workers and posing nude in Cosmo, yet still fill a seat occupied by the late, legendary Senator Ted Kennedy.

Senator-Elect Scott Brown (R) Mass.

Scott Brown looks like and carries himself like this blogger's good friend and Cal-Berkeley buddy Greg Haywood (who's a Democrat), who also has the great knack for endearing himself to people, sometimes saying ridiculous things, and yet coming away smelling like a rose. CNN's David Gergen is wrong (as usual) because President Barack Obama does not need to "back off" of anything, including health care.

(As a momentary aside, CNN's David Gergen's great at painting a broad-brush concept, yet not filling in the blanks. For example, he says that President Obama must now "Govern from the center". What does that mean? What's the center? How does that square with our economy's structural problems? Gergen doesn't say. But the people on CNN who listen to him come away thinking he's said something smart, whereas this blogger comes away thinking he doesn't really understand the nature of what he's saying.)

Scott Brown said "The independent voice of Massachusetts has spoken." Note, he said nothing at all about the "Republican voice". Why? Because there's is none.

In his acceptance speech, Senator-elect Brown never once referred to the Republican agenda, nor did he use the term "conservative" and that's not by accident.

Scott Brown's cocky, self-assured delivery is what's attractive about him and it has nothing to do with the GOP, and it has more to do with the generation he's part of: The Obama Generation.

It is for that reason President Obama can be more aggressive and yes, run Health Care Reform through Congress, full steam ahead.  Scott Brown is Obama's cattle-prod. His reminder that he serves at the will of the people and not the Democratic Party.

What Obama can use is essentially what will be Scott Brown's downfall: his cocky nature. It's going to rub a lot of people the wrong way and Brown will find himself alone out there if he keeps it up.  But it's that same nature that is a trademark of Obama's rise, so Obama's certainly interested in getting to know someone who is of like minds.

The best move is to give Senator-elect Scott Brown his chance. After all, he won. Moreover, what will happen is this: Senator Scott Brown will save President Barack Obama. Senator Brown will allow President Obama to be more populist, not centrist. There's a school of thought that perhaps President Obama was trapped by his own party - by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid. Obama and Brown are cut from the same generational cloth and that will serve to bind them in a way few predicted.

The key here is basketball. Where problems were once solved in a smoke filled room, now they're settled on the basketball court. That "two-on-two" Senator Brown talked about playing with President Obama - that laughable line - is a foreshadowing of things to come.

The GOP has every reason to fear a new alliance between Obama and Brown, just as the old-line Democrats should be concerned as well. The real change is generational, not political.

Stay tuned.