Results filed under: “contests”

@ February 28, 2011

We've had bad hosts before, and we've had predictable awards, but rarely have we had such a potent combination of those two elements in the same broadcast. After an enjoyable opening montage of the nominated films and, for some reason, Back To The Future, James Franco and Anne Hatheway gave us what would qualify as a middling, tolerable SNL opening monologue (complete with audience participation) to set the mood for the evening. For what seems like the 5th time in a row, the theme of the evening was "The History of the Oscars". The first few awards were accompanied by scenes from a classic film projected against an uneven surface that made it difficult to quickly identify what was happening, after which point it seems the concept was abandoned. Bob Hope's disembodied head made an appearance. Halle Berry eulogized Lena Horne to let us all know that, yes, there are black people in Hollywood, too, even though they didn't factor into a single award this year. They just weren't as good at their jobs as white people, but hey, there's always next year, right?

But I persevered through the evening, despite competition from what was, by all accounts, a fantastic basketball game between the Heat and the Knicks, so that I could give you the Oscar pool results in real time. The highlights:

For the first time since I've run a pool, there was a category where nobody got the correct answer (collectively we went 0/9 in Live Action Short).

There was only one category with across the board consensus: 9/9 picked Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Feature.

In the five categories where at least 8/9 agreed on an answer, the majority was right four times. The lone exception was the closest thing to an upset all night, with the majority liking David Fincher for Best Director (Tom Hooper walked away with the trophy). The Academy, in its infinite wisdom, held this award before the top two acting prizes, meaning that any semblance of suspense left the room 40 minutes earlier than it usually would have.

Here are the final standings (all scores are out of a possible 59 points):

The Suze, 18 points - the only entry to correctly predict "The Lost Thing" for Animated Short
Gopher, 24 points - the only entry to miss all four top categories
Daytrader, 26 points - respectable 5/6 in the top categories, but the only entry to miss both screenplay awards

Krista, 30 points
Jim, 36 points
Rose, 36 points

All three went 5/6 on the top categories, but did not do enough at the bottom of the ballot to remain competitive.

Elisa, 40 points

A solid performance by our defending champion, but key misses in Makeup (HOW DID YOU NOT PICK THE WOLFMAN?!?) and the two categories won by Alice In Wonderland (costume, art direction) dragged her ballot down.

The Wisdom of Crowds (ballot based on the most popular answers in each category - in the event of a split, half credit was given), 40.5 points

Runner-up: Jesse, 42 points

Keys to success: Only ballot to correctly name the winner in Best Director, one of only two ballots to correctly name the winners in art direction, doc short.

Failure in retrospect: Got too hung up on the Inception button to correctly identify The Social Network as the winner for Best Score; expected Hailee Steinfeld to pull a Marissa Tomei.

THE WINNER: Kevin, 43 points

Key to success: Correctly pointed out in an email to me that The King's Speech did not win the guild award for best original screenplay because it was not eligible, and was the only ballot to nail that category.

Death montage: NOBODY correctly predicted Lena Horne bringing the hammer, which was an egregious oversight given her status as the first woman of color to take home an award. Dennis Hopper, the most popular answer, was 4th from the end.

@ January 31, 2011

[Each year, Jesse and Jim offer our expert Oscar predictions leading up to the Annual ObscureCraft Oscar Prognisticate-Off. Email your picks in each category to to enter. Keep track of everybody's picks here. Part 1, in which you can see for yourself that Jesse correctly predicted 10/10 Best Picture nominees, is here.]

Film Editing

The nominees: "Black Swan," "The Fighter," "The King's Speech," "127 Hours," "The Social Network."

Jesse's pick

Jim, you and I both consider this a major category, so let's start here with what I consider to be the second biggest snub of the night - and both, by the way, involve Inception. You've already stated your ambivalence towards the film, which leaves me to play the role of fanboy against the critical backlash. Although critical backlash may be a strong phrase, because it implies there was a critical acceptance in the first place, and just about every critic was falling over themselves to be the first to declare that Inception wasn't all that great, actually. I just don't get it. I'll agree with you that Inception worked on a higher level as a technical achievement than as an emotionally gripping tale of a man struggling to get back home to his children, but as a technical achievement I found it to be thrilling. Whether or not it was the "best" movie I saw this year, it was certainly the most entertaining and was, in the words of South Park, awesome and trippy and cool. Or maybe the Academy doesn't like Leonardo DiCaprio's furrowed brow? After all, Shutter Island was completely shut out as well.

Which leaves us to pick a winner. I haven't seen 127 Hours, but I hear that the movie does a masterful job of handling the scene where James Franco cuts his arm off (which, to bring us full circle, is why I didn't see 127 Hours - gah!) But my bet is that The Social Network, with its juggling multiple time frames as we jump from deposition to deposition, brings it home. Movies that deftly thread together multiple stories and time frames in a cohesive and propulsive manner tend to win this award. Unless they are Inception, in which case they don't get nominated.

The winner: The Social Network

Jim's pick

Despite my lack of love for Inception, I do believe that it most certainly deserved an editing nod. Seriously, it was an extremely well constructed film -- which is what you expect from Christopher Nolan -- and the climactic sequence that took part along several different layers of dream, each with a different time scale, really drove that point home. But the Academy did not agree, so Inception has go to wee wee wee all the way home.

I'm going to go with The Social Network for this one. The film is masterfully structured and constructed -- who would have thought flashbacks structured around a deposition could be so gripping?


The Nominees: Black Swan (Matthew Libatique), Inception (Wally Pfister), The King's Speech (Danny Cohen), The Social Network (Jeff Cronenweth), True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Jim's pick

This may be my favorite category. I've often loved a film more than I should due to great lenswork, and have lambasted a project that may have merits if it is lit or shot poorly. This is also the category where I've already seen four of the five nominees. So by that logic, I should very easily be able to pick a winner here. My heart says Black Swan -- visually, it was my favorite of the lot by a slim margin. My head says Roger Deakins always wins, but True Grit was not as visually striking as No Country for Old Men or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Inception was a technical tour de force, and was pretty visually striking. But it got shut out of editing, and directing, so you have to ponder if voters are going to stay away from it in other categories.

You have to wonder if the halo effect is going to come into play here. Is this going to be an all "The King's Speech" night or an all "The Social Network" night? If one of the two films starts rolling on technical and other miscellaneous categories, it could take those all the way to the best picture/director bank. (Although, as we'll see later, my early feeling is that this may be a year where picture and director are split -- but that's another blog post).

So, I'm going to go with The Social Network here. Maybe I should listen to my heart with Black Swan, but I just think that MovieBookFaceFaceMovie is going to pick up some trophies. It doesn't hurt that it was my second favorite film of the year from a purely visual standpoint. The crew race sequence was simply breathtaking what with its tilt-shiftness and crazy editing and random shots of people who are dressed like they should be living in the 19th century.

Jesse's pick

Set aside the crew race sequence for a moment. The Social Network looked and felt like every other David Fincher film. The same black-green color palette that dominated Zodiac, Fight Club, and AlienAlienAlien (that's Alien^3, if you were wondering). I'd forgive the Academy voters for finding it off-putting.

I mean, weren't you stunned at all the nominations and love for True Grit? 10 nominations? That's a huge number that basically came out of nowhere. I think there is alot more love for this film than you are giving it credit for, and, also, your head was correct: ROGER DEAKINS ALWAYS WINS.

Pick: True Grit

Sound Editing

The Nominees: Inception, Toy Story 3, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, Unstoppable

Jesse's pick

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATED FILM UNSTOPPABLE, STARRING ACADEMY AWARD WINNER DENZEL WASHINGTON AND ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE THE UNSTOPPABLE TRAIN AKA A MISSILE THE SIZE OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING!!!! God I love the technical categories. And Denzel. I keep coming across Inside Man on one of those HD movie channels, and I start watching it every time, because I know I'm never more than a few minutes from "Thank you, bank robber" or "This ain't no bank robbery!" Is Inside Man the most underrated movie ever made in the history of all-time? Is there any conversation I will not derail to talk about Inside Man?

There is an inviolable rule of the sound categories: you always pick the cartoon or the musical. Therefore, Toy Story 3 is the winner. I dare you to defy me Jim!

The pick: Toy Story 3

Jim's pick

Oh man, I feel really bad that I missed seeing Unstoppable. It's going to be at the top of my Netflix queue when it comes out, and I plan on getting a little drunk and enjoying the hell out of that Unstoppable train. Speaking of Unstoppable, did you see that the trailer for this new Nic Cage movie? It's called Drive Angry and it's shot in 3D. Boo-yay.

As for Inside Man, I agree with you ten hundred percent -- it's the most enjoyable of Spike Lee's films. Great cast, tight script -- and yeah, Denzel -- and the always-enjoyable Chiwetel Ejifor too.

Ok, sound editing. It's interesting that you say that the cartoon or musical always wins this award. The last cartoon to win was The Incredibles in 2004. No musical has ever won. Perhaps you are confusing your sound awards?

I'm giving this one to Inception. Though a win by "Unstoppable" would make me giddy. "Academy Award Winning film, Unstoppable!" That's up there with "Academy Award winning musicians, the Three-Six Mafia" in my book.

The pick: Inception

Sound Mixing

The Nominees: Inception, The King's Speech, Salt, The Social Network, True Grit

Jim's pick

This is the category that typically goes to musicals (Dreamgirls was the most recent winner in that genre, and the trophy did go to The Hurt Locker last year). There's no musical nominated this year, so that makes me think we're going elsewhere. I wouldn't be half surprised if The King's Speech -- which I saw this weekend, finally -- walks away a winner. The audio plays a very important role in the film.

But I'm thinking that Inception, just like The Hurt Locker last year, wins both sound awards.

An aside, since this is a good category for asides, have you seen the trailer for "The Company Men?" It's full of academy award winners -- and it lets us know. Academy Award Winner Chris Cooper, Academy Award Winner Tommy Lee Jones, Academy Award Winner Ben Affleck, and Academy Award Winner Kevin Costner team up for this one. One minor issue, though. Two of the four winners won for acting. Two of the four. Costner only holds trophies for directing and producing, and Baffleck's hardware is for writing. It would make total sense if Costner directed the movie and Affleck wrote it, but from what I gather that is impossible. The movie is, sadly, not about a super-smart janitor who wanders around delivering mail in post-apocalyptic Boston.

Which, might I add, is a hell of an idea for a movie. Hell of an idea.

The pick: Inception

Jesse's pick

Jim, how DARE you do research to debunk my lazily tossed out rules of thumb. Have you already forgotten my expertiseness has been made official by my correct prediction of all 10 Academy Award nominated films, a fact which shall heretofore shield me from all incorrect prognostications vis a vis these Oscars and which I will bring up at any opportunity? Besides, this is the Oscars, where facts have no relevance. "The Company Men" is a great example. An Academy Award winning cast! Jim, we're going to make your movie about a post apocolytic genius janitor delivering mail in Boston - Good Postman Hunting In The Town Baby Gone - except I want it to be starring Roger Deakins, written by Marisa Tomei, and directed by Nicholas Cage. Maybe we can get Three Six Mafia to do the cinematography. So much Academy Award winning-ness!

As for the award itself: Inception wins this award because there is no category for Best Oboe.

The pick: Inception

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Jesse's pick

I think we will both be shocked if the Academy doesn't fall over itself giving this award to Hailee Steinfeld, so let's instead talk about one of the few controversies in this year's field of predictability: what the fuck is Hailee Steinfeld doing in this category?

Or should we? I mean, isn't that what the Academy wants? Aren't they doing this to drive me crazy, just so we'll talk about it and therefore keep the Oscars relevant? She was in every scene, Jim! IN EVERY SCENE! EVERY!!! SCENE!!! GAAAAAAAAAAH THIS IS SO DUMB

Okay, I'm better.

Anthony Hopkins was in only 16 minutes of Silence of the Lambs and he not only was nominated for Bet Actor, but he won! 16 MINUTES!!!! Listen, this is simple. If you are in over half of the movie, you are a lead. Less, then you are supporting. Can you get behind these common sense reforms, Jim?

The winner: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Jim's pick

Look, I know research is evil. Global Warming is just a "theory" -- like evolution -- and blood libel is simply a compound word. But I'm evil, so I've got no problem doing research.

As for screen time, it's absurd that Steinfeld got a supporting nomination. Just as absurd as Hopkins, just as absurd as Brando's Best Actor nomination and win for The Godfather, just as absurd as Judi Dench's win for her eight minutes of screen time in Shakespeare in Love. If the acting categories have taught us anything, the category in which you are nominated is based simply on marketing. Silence of the Lambs is a film without a lead actor -- Foster is the only lead. Pacino is the lead in The Godfather, but Brando was the famous one at the time. And Steinfeld is simply not famous enough to qualify as a lead -- even though she is more of a lead than Bridges in The Big Gritowski.

I think this is Melissa Leo's award. She got some long-overdue recognition last year for Frozen River, and now she's got a good shot to win.

The pick: Melissa Leo

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter), Geoffery Rush (The King's Speech), Jeremy Renner (The Town), John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Mark Ruffalo (The Kids Are All Right)

Jim's pick

Well, I've seen two out of the five in this category. Geoffrey Rush was his usual awesome self in The King's Speech, and Jeremy Renner was batshit crazy in The Town. John Hawkes was pretty good on Deadwood, even though I've only seen the first half of the first season, and I really loved Mark Ruffalo in Zodiac.

That said, Christian Bale is going to win this. If he doesn't get an Oscar soon he's going to die. I'm serious. If he doesn't win, I predict his being cast as Stephen Hawking in a biopic. The twist? He's actually going to figure out a way to give himself ALS. It's the only way he can really get into the role. And after giving himself a crippling disease, wasting away to 85 pounds, and being required to speak with a computer voice, he's going to start bulking up for the next Batman movie. Somewhere along the way, all of these dramatic changes in body weight and diet are just going to cause him to keel over. And it wouldn't surprise me if it happens at Mary Kate Olsen's house.

What, too soon?

The pick: Christian Bale

Jesse's pick

For the love of god, we have to keep Christian Bale away from the Olsens until we get the next Batman movie. Everybody's fake-growly Batman accent would seem like a pale comparison, and then it would just sound SILLY. Today's fun Batman rumor: they do a fourth one where the bad guy is played by Robin Williams, at which point we all agree to pretend it never happened.

We are in violent agreement about this: Christian Bale will be given the award so that the other attendees have a fighting chance of making it out alive before Bale tears the room apart with his intensity. Remember that season of 24 when Jack Bauer got addicted to heroin so he could fit in better with the Mexican terrorist drug cartel? I bet Christian Bale did that for this role. I bet he got addicted to drugs, Jack Bauer style, so that he could actually be a recovering drug addict to better portray the part. I haven't seen the movie, but everybody who wasn't a former teen idol pop sensation apparently got nominated for their performance in it just by virtue of being within his sphere of ACTING.

Christian Bale is humorously dedicated to his craft.

The pick: Christian Bale

@ September 7, 2010

Last night, I watched almost the entire Boise State/Virginia Tech college football contest. Why did I do this, when I couldn't give less of a shit about college football? Because I am a junkie, and I've got the shakes. The NFL season is so tantalizingly close, but I need it. I need it now. College and playing Madden aren't doing it anymore. If there was a way I could start turning tricks (or, preferably, turn Suzi out as my ho) to get my football fix now, I would be typing this from a street corner.

This means that our essential NFL coverage here at the OC is about to crank up, with all the (horrible) NFL picks and (meaningless) power rankings you can shake a stick at. And it starts with the annual Pro Football Picks League on Yahoo!(.)

Last year, I overdid it with checking the options boxes, as we had both confidence points AND picking against the spread. This year, I've dialed it down: you just have to pick winners (no spread), but the confidence points remain. If you want to join, here's the info:

Group ID: 54140
Group password: boobs

And here's the link. See you there!

@ March 8, 2010

Before the results, some quick hit observations from last night's show:

My side bet with Jim on who would be the last man in the "In Memoriam" package was lost on a technicality: John Hughes didn't get included because he got his own segment.

Although I don't think anybody had Karl Malden slotted into the final slot. That was the upset of the night.

One more "In Memoriam" observation: whither Farrah Fawcett?

Okay, one more "In Memoriam" observation: what does it say about the show that the most second-most talked about segment was clips of dead people? They should have added "Interest in the Oscar telecast" to the reel after last night's snooze-fest.

Literally. Suzi was snoozing.

The most talked about segment, of course, was the director of the winner for documentary short getting Kanye'd by his producer. The fascinating backstory: they ended up suing each other over control of the film, she took her name off of it, and they haven't spoken in two years.

That link via Roger Ebert's twitter feed, as are all links on the internet these days. Honestly, I don't think the man sleeps.

Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin as co-hosts was a seemingly good idea that went horribly wrong, like a fall season of "So You Think You Can Dance."

Speaking of which: was I the only one playing the "spot that SYTYCD alum" during the musical score dance montage? I was?

This year's pool had 15 participants. Some interesting trends I noticed:

There was one 0/15 category (doc short) and one 15/15 category (animated feature).

According to our group, the biggest upset of the night was a tie between Inglourious Basterds losing Original Screenplay to The Hurt Locker (12/15 picked Basterds, only 1 vote for THL) and A Matter of Loaf and Death losing Animated Short to Logorama (12/15 for Loaf, 1 vote for Logorama).

Awards for Special Achievement in Prognosticating are given out to anybody who is the only participate to get a category correct. This years winners are:

Steph for selecting Logorama in Animated Short.
Melissa for selecting The New Tenants in Live Action Short.
Greg for selecting The Hurt Locker in Original Screenplay.
Matt for selecting The Secret In Their Eyes for Foreign Film.

Enough foreplay! On with the winners!

@ February 3, 2010

Oscar fever is here, and I once again forgot to get my shots. Symptoms may include night sweats, an inexplicable attraction to an aged Meryl Streep, and an uncontrollable urge to praise movies about the Holocaust. And the only known cure is to participate in an Oscar pool.

Here's how it works: you send me your picks for the winners in every category. Points will be awarded for correct picks based on the following criteria:

Top prize (Best Picture): 7 points
Major categories (Best Director, Actor, Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay): 4 points
Intermediate categories (Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Foreign Film, Animated Feature, Documentary Feature): 3 points
Minor categories: (Cinematography, Score, Original Song, Film Editing): 2 points
Random bullshit categories: (Everything else) 1 point

If you are anything like our prior winners Yaworm and Elisa, you can go ahead and send your picks now to Or, if you are like last year's loser, Kevin, you'll want to get some expert advice. No, not from Yaworm and Elisa. From me and Jim! We'll be spending the next few days breaking down each race, and making our picks for winners and losers? Think you can beat us. Well, you are probably right. But you can't win if you don't enter!

@ August 17, 2009

Football season is almost here, and that means that football fever is about to flare up again. Instead of taking our antibiotics this year, ObscureCraft is throwing the medicine away and basking in the delirium of football mania. Each week during the football season you will see more football related content than a Detroit Lions' season ticket holder. Didn't get that joke? Here's what I have to say to you:


To start the season off, I've started a football pick 'em league on Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. If you enjoy having fun, read below. If you don't want to play because you hate fun and America, then why don't you take your ball and go back to your cave, Osama, because we don't want you here!

The Game

Each week during the football season you pick each game against the spread. The person with the most correct picks at the end of each week wins the week, and the person who gets the most correct overall wins the season.

Yahoo! will publish the matches and the spreads for you. All you have to do is put a check mark next to the team you think will be the winner. It's that simple!

How To Sign Up

Go to, and enter the following information:

Group ID:
Password: boobs

How To Play

Step 1: Check out each week's matchups and spreads
Step 2: Carefully consider the teams involved, their on-field performance so far this year, the location, the injury report, the weather report, and anything else you think might influence the outcome
Step 3: Make your picks and watch the games

Good luck!

@ March 28, 2009

With Jim's allegedly forthcoming video turning into the Smile of nannerpuss videos, I think its time we wrapped this up.  We can do that because the standings are no longer close.  Sorry, Adam and Rose, but Revenge of Nannerpuss has taken off.

1) "Revenge of Nannerpuss!", 1,606 (+1,292)  views, 15 (+9) comments, 13 (+11) ratings (4 stars)
2) "Adam & Rose Nannerpuss", 642 (+313) views, 5 (+2) comments, 8 (+2) ratings (4 stars)
3) "NANNERJIM", 99 (+43) views, 2 (+0) comments, 1 (+0) rating (1 star)
4) "JessePuss", 60 (+17) views, 1 (+0) comment

I'm going to take this moment to enjoy a victory, since my bracket took it in the rear this weekend (more on that Monday).  Thanks for participating - and if anybody has any new video contest ideas, let me hear them in the comments.

@ March 16, 2009


I hurt my back this morning.   Doing double-takes does not feel very good when your back hurts.  So if the next time you see me I am in traction, blame this commercial.

Elaborate joke, right? Well, not according to this contest website.  These are the first words you see:  This is an actual sweepstakes.

This is an actual sweepstakes and, if you are the grand prize winner, we will fly you and a companion to New York where you will receive a free colonoscopy. You will also be given three nights' accommodation in a suite at the luxurious Loews Regency Hotel, which will include the night before you are "awarded" the colonoscopy.
I am creeped out by this contest.  No, this isn't a gay panic thing where I'm afraid that having anything go near your butt makes you homosexual (although PS: it totally does). No, my problem is the way they put "awarded" in quotation marks. It makes the word awarded sound like a euphemism for rape. Now you lie still and be quiet while I award you this colonoscopy, or I'll cut you. Please, CBS, no! No!!

Also on the TV tonight? Perhaps my favorite local news tease ever:

A local pastor in Fort Bend County is accused of dealing out more than the Lord's word. He's accused of dealing crack.
He could have stopped after the first sentence. "Accused of dealing more than the Lord's word" is evocative enough for the viewer to infer what he might have been dealing instead. But no. He is dealing crack. CRACK. He hit the word "crack" like Chris Brown hit Rihanna. Which is to say he hit it very hard. HARD.


@ February 27, 2009

There has been much debate in the comments over the comparative quality of competing Nannerpuss-inspired videos that have appeared on the site.  I've decided to settle this scientifically: let YouTube decide!  Here are up-to-the-minute Nannerpuss standings on YouTube

1) "Adam & Rose Nannerpuss", 150 views, 1 comment, 3 ratings (4.5 stars)
2) "Revenge of Nannerpuss!", 116 views, 1 rating (5 stars)
3) "NANNERJIM", 36 views
4) "JessePuss", 35 views

You might look at this and say Adam and Rose are winning, but I see it as my two videos have a combined viewership of 151, making me the leader. You gonna argue with me? Yeah? You and what blog?

Don't like the results, these videos, or anything about this bullshit? Well, it's not too late to get your entry into the Nannerpuss video derby! Send me your video or your YouTube link.

@ February 23, 2009

Before we get to our winners and losers, some winners and losers from last night.

Exploitation of Indian children by Hollywood
Adorable Japanese men
The Holocaust (again)
Cuba Gooding Jr.

Early bedtimes
David Fincher's patience for this shit
My boner (thanks, Sophia Loren!)
Anyone who listened to my predictions

Tier 1: Full Retard
Kevin: 26 points
Rose: 28 points
Greg: 29 points
Jesse: 32 points

Never go full retard. Collectively 1/4 on Best Actress, 0/4 on Supporting Actress, 0/4 on Foreign Language Film, 2/8 on the Screenplay awards. Jesus Christ, only one of us figured out that the costume drama would win Best Costume!

Tier 2: The Non-Contenders

Daytrader: 35 points
The Suze: 35 points
Krista: 35 points
Steph: 36 points
Jim: 37 points

Special props to Daytrader for being the only one of two players to nail the top 4 categories.  Which brings us to...

Tier 3: The Mother-Loving Champ

Elisa: 47 points

This was a beat-down like I have never seen in an Oscar pool.  This thing was over before we even got to the top categories.  4/4 on the top 4 awards, 7/8 on the top 8 awards (throwing in the supporting acting categories and the two screenplay awards).  Elisa, you truly are the Mistress of Media.


Jim and I share some final thoughts on the ceremony, the winners, and the losers after the jump.

@ February 20, 2009

They call him Nannerpuss. Nannerpuss. And guess what? HE LOVES PANCAKES.

ALL GLORY TO NANNERPUSS. Jim gives his glory unto Nannerpuss:

Jesse gives his glory unto Nannerpuss:

The Nannerpuss demands that you give your glory unto him. Record yourself and send the file or a YouTube link to me.

(Additional contest reminder: The Oscars are this Sunday! If you haven't sent me your picks, you have two more days.  For Jesse and Jim's picks, click here. And here.  Also here. Here too. And here.)

@ February 10, 2009

While everyone was busy being shocked -SHOCKED! - that Alex Rodriguez used steroids at the height of the Steroids Era in baseball during his tenure on a team that apparently used the same trainer as Ivan Drago in Rocky 5, you may have missed an even more surprising nugget.  A-Rod's name was one on a list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids in the not-so-confidential test in 2003.  104 players.  One hundred and four. Think about that for a second.

And guess what? It is just a matter of time before that list becomes public.  So, rather than spending your nights weeping over the lost innocence of your childhood game, let's try to have some fun here, okay? OKAY? I DON'T HAVE ANYMORE TEARS, BASEBALL.

Let's have a Steroids Pool. Here are the rules (if you've ever participated in a Death Pool, these rules will sound familiar to you).

  • Submit a list of up to 15 names (send them to me here with the subject line "Steroid Pool"). 
  • Once the list is made public, if you correctly identify a player on the list, you get one point.
  • If nobody else picked that name, then you get three points.
So there will be obvious choices (Bonds, Giambi, uh, A-Rod), but also some incentive to pick a less obvious name.

There is no deadline for this contest, because there is no official deadline for the list to be released.  Winners will be announced when the list becomes public.  But don't delay - I think that might be sooner rather than later.

@ January 28, 2009

[Jesse and Jim are interrupting their conversation on the mid-season TV shows to talk about the 2009 Oscar nominations.  Now that we are done with our picks, go ahead and send in your own.  The scoring rules are located at the end of this entry.  Here is part one, part two, part three, and part four.]

Best Original Score
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Defiance, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E

Jim's take

As you so astutely (and correctly) observed, Slumdog Millionaire is pretty close to being a musical. So it wins this one.

Jesse's take

Slumdog wins. Of course, I'm predicting that Slumdog will carry the night - if TCCOBB has more support than I thought, maybe it swoops in. Also, Slumdog was a musical, but WALL-E was a dialogue-free-but-not-silent-film, so maybe that score as some support... or maybe I just want to throw everyone off my trail so I win the pool...

Best Original Song
Down to Earth (WALL-E), Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire), O Saya (Slumdog Millionaire)

Jim's take

There was some technicality that kept Springsteen from getting nominated here, no? Because "The Wrestler" only played over the end credits of the film? The same kind of stupid technicality that kept Eddie Vedder from getting a nomination for the Into the Wild score?

Regardless, Peter Gabriel is no Phil Collins.... Jai Ho is my choice for this one.

Jesse's take

Nice, I love Genesis humor.

Springsteen was not eliminated due to a technicality. The song just didn't get a high enough score in the Oscar's convoluted song-nominating process.

Here is the reason I think you are wrong: Slumdog is going to split the difference in the Oscar voting. Am I supposed to listen to a song from Slumdog Millionaire and then remember if I just heard Jai Ho or O Saya? Or will I vote for "The Slumdog Song", resulting in a 50/50 split between the two that leaves the door open for WALL-E?

Best Director
Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry, David Fincher, Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant

Jim's take

It's a travesty that Darren Aronofsky's name is omitted from this list. Travesty. His direction of The Wrestler perfectly complements Rourke's performance. The faded 16mm film stock, handheld camera work, and constant use of a wide-angle lens draw the viewer into the world of the film. There is a moment, late in the film, that is simply perfect. I have no other way to describe it. I'll simply say that it involves Guns 'n Roses, and that if the film speaks to you, it will be the image that you take away.

But, seeing as he's not nominated, Aronofsky isn't going to win this one. Apparently he only gets love from the Academy when he's making dull, depressing films about how heroin is bad for you...

My personal preference for this award, from those eligible, is Gus Van Sant. Milk was my second-favorite movie of 2008, and his direction was a big part of that. Van Sant hit my cinematography buttons, with a cinema verite approach to camerawork and a liberal use of high-speed/grain film stock

However, my preference is not in line with the voters. I'm thinking this is Danny Boyle's year.

Jesse's take

You are upset about the snub of the Wrestler. I am surprised by the snub of The Dark Knight. And here's why:

I think you and I long ago got over the pretension that this or any awards show will find "The Best Picture".  Defining the Best is subjective and personal and blah blah blah. Even last year, when a pretty great film, No Country For Old Men, won, I don't think there is any consensus that it was the Best Picture of last year.

Instead, I think of the Oscars as a culture-wide Movie Night Movie Project. And in order for that process to have any kind of legitimacy, people need to actually care. Who the fuck cares about a single film in this milquetoast field? Now here's an Academy Awards best picture roster that people would actually care about:

Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, WALL-E

You know why? Because that list includes movies that are great and that people HAVE ACTUALLY SEEN.

Yes, we are talking about Best Director, but in this year (and most years) the correlation of Director to Picture nominees is one to one.

Now I'm done bitching about what a boring show this is going to be, and I'll make a pick already: Danny Boyle wins director.

Best Picture
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire

Jim's take

Did I mention that The Wrestler should be nominated, and should win this award yet? Ad naseum, eh? Ok, let's move on.

You mentioned that you were surprised to see The Reader here. I am too, although I did enjoy the film very much. I certainly liked it better than Button. It was a nice little movie, a compelling story that was competently told, with great acting.... but best picture? Not in my eyes.

Having still not seen Frost/Nixon, this leaves us with Indian game shows and gay Sean Penn. My personal preference here is Milk. It's a good Van Sant film -- more in the vein of "My Own Private Idaho" rather than "Finding Forrester."

At the end of the day, though, Milk doesn't win this. I'm getting this odd sense of Slumdog momentum, after the Globes and the SAG awards... I'm going to fill that out on my pool, just so I can be disgusted and bitter when Benjamin Button wins. (My pick: Slumdog Millionaire)

Jesse's take

Jim, how DARE you badmouth Finding Forrester. How dare you. YOU'RE THE MAN NOW DAWWG!

You and I both agree that Slumdog is the night's big winner. Slumdog momentum. Slumdogmentum? Whatever.

Final Thoughts

Jim's take

Your dream Best Picture short-list is perfect. If those were the five nominees for the big prize, I'd be on the edge of my seat. As it stands, I can't remember the last time the five best movies of the year made up the field of nominees. Johnny Wikipedia tells me that it's 1975 (Cuckoo's Nest, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, and Nashville).

Trivia: One of the five directors of the aforementioned films did not get a Director nomination that year: Steven Spielberg. He was bumped in favor of Federico Fellini, for Amarcord. Now, *that* is a freaking field. Milos Forman, Stanley Kubrick, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, and Federico Fellini. Will we ever see that again?

I also wanted to congratulate both of us for writing ten emails about the Oscars with "Milk" being nominated all over the place, without making one "I.... DRINK.... YOUR.... MILKSHAKE" joke. Seriously, that's self-control.

Jesse's take

Maybe we are over-reacting, because this is a pretty terrible year for movies. Look at last year's list of nominees. Isn't that a pretty good list? A couple of blockbusters, an indie underdog, and at least two really fantastic movies. That's all I want. Everybody has something to root for. This year the only thing I have to root for is a nomination recount.

Well, Jim, its been fun. If anybody is still reading this, they should send me their Oscar picks and see if they can beat either of us, or last year's winner, Yaworm. And speaking of last year's winner: can you believe I've been doing this stupid website for almost a year already? But more on that another time.

Here are the rules:

Top prize (Best Picture): 5 points
Major categories (Best Director, Actor, Actress, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay): 4 points
Intermediate categories (Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Foreign Film, Animated Feature, Documentary Feature): 3 points
Minor categories: (Cinematography, Score, Original Song, Film Editing): 2 points
Random bullshit categories: (Everything else) 1 point

Most points = winner. In the event of a tie, I will pick a winner based on whatever random criteria I make up on the spot. Good luck, and I'LL SEE YOU AT THE OSCARS!!!!!

@ November 6, 2008

On Monday, I challenged you, the Obscure Nation, to try to beat my prediction of the Electoral Map.  In keeping with the spirit of this historic election, you responded in near record numbers - that's right, two people entered!!

The final Electoral Map shows Obama with 364 electoral votes, McCain with 174.

My map was hopelessly pessimistic. I predicted an Obama victory, but with only 291 votes to McCain's 247.  I think some of the excess red on that map might be from me cutting myself. 

The winner of the challenge is William Ockham, who predicted Obama would take down 376 electoral votes.  His only misses were Missouri and part of Nebraska, which he put in Obama's column.  Here's how the standings break down.

First place: Reality, Obama 364 - McCain 174
Second place: Willie O, Obama 376 - McCain 162 (+12)
Third place: Nate Silver,  Obama 349 - McCain 189 (-15)
Fourth place (tie): Kevin CJ, Obama 338 - McCain 200 (-26)
Fourth place (tie): Karl Rove, Obama 338 - McCain 200 (-26)

(Hey, have you ever seen Kevin and Karl Rove in the same place? I know I haven't.  Interesting...)

Last place: My dumb ass, Obama 291 - McCain 247 (-73)

Thanks everyone for playing.  Or not playing.  Whatever.

@ November 3, 2008

I made my prediction of the Electoral Map using this website.  Think you can do better? Make your own map, send me the screenshot, and I'll post the winner whenever the final returns are in. 

You want a prize? Shit, I just gave out a prize.  This contest is too easy for a prize.  Just do it.  I'm not made of prizes.

@ November 1, 2008

Greg, obviously.  Our only other entry was of a pumpkin painted onto a fan man's (man's?) ass - although Of course, I would expect nothing lest from our first graduate from the School of Bracketology.

See his winning entry here.  Greg, I'll be in touch about getting you your prizes - and when you get them, I expect pictures of them in action!

@ October 21, 2008

And we have our first entry in the Obamaganda contest! This entry is inspired by David Sedaris' essay in the New Yorker on undecided voters.  Thanks to Jesse who sent in this entry. Oh, wait, that's me. Thanks, me!

The above image was made at a resolution of 1000x600 so it fits on the square sticker.  The other option is a 3" diameter circle.  For when you guys make your entries.  You know you want to. 

@ October 21, 2008

I decided that I needed to start buying lefty propoganda stickers for my electric bike, in case I didn't look like enough of a whack-job already on the way to work. (PS: I hope to have some pictures of me on this thing soon).  I did a quick internet search for "Obama stickers" and one of the first images to come up was this:

(Via Portland Octopus)

Well, now that I know there are Obama stickers out there featuring bare-breasted women and unicorns, I can no longer settle for anything less than the finest Obamaganda sticker for my electric bike.  So, I present the first ever Photoshop Challenge!

The winning entry will meet the following criteria:

- The image fits on one of the standard CafePress sticker sizes (from 3" circle up to bumper-sticker sized)
- Feature either the word "Barack" or "Obama" somewhere on it

That's it.  The rest is up to your imagination.  And guess what? There's a prize! The winning entry will be added to the ObscureStore on CafePress.  The winner will also receive a free copy of the sticker AND a complementary Katrina & the Hurricanes refrigerator magnet, and I will put the winning sticker on my bike and take pictures.

In case you didn't know, Saturday is my birthday.  Didn't know what to get me for my birthday? Now you know: I want Obamaganda!


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