Of course, a poll on CNN on Tuesday morning (when the nominations were announced) showed (unscientifically, of course) that nearly three-quarters of respondents hadn't seen any of the five nominated films -- and that only 2 percent had seen all of them. Therefore, hie thee to a cineplex before March 5.
The Oscar broadcast, though, could be a mixed bag: Jon Stewart is the host, but only three songs got nominated, instead of the usual five. (Fewer production numbers, but less for Stewart to mock.)
(Im)mortality & r & We all want to make an impact, leave a legacy. But for Chuck Lamb, the dream was slipping away. He was middle-aged in middle America, with six kids and a mortgage, just a regular-schmoe computer programmer for an insurance company. Just once before he died, he wanted to appear in a TV show. But he had no talent and -- even worse -- no agent.
But Chuck Lamb, like any well-trained puppy, can play dead. And then the light bulb went on: What if he took phony pictures of himself -- crushed by his garage door, electrocuted in his bathtub -- and put them up on the Web? Maybe some show like NCIS: Las Vegas CSI SVU would hire him to play, you know, a corpse. Well, www.deadbodyguy.com got 300,000 hits in its first three weeks; 20,000 of them were from Spain. (Chuck Lamb is big in Spain. The bullfighting, maybe?) Now Conan O'Brien is calling. Someday soon, Lamb's name will be in tiny letters on some show's end-rolling credits, and those credits will live on forever. At least in syndication.
The Odd Couple & r & Interplayers has A.R. Gurney's Love Letters coming up (Feb. 13-18). Not surprisingly, it's a series of love letters between two lifelong friends, from childhood on through their separate marriages and enduring mutual affection. Fifteen years ago -- since the dialogue-through-the-years simply requires two actors standing at lecterns -- it was common for theaters to transform their casts nightly with celebrity couples. Which prompts a joke from Interplayers' Ann Whiteman: "I just wanted to get Jim West and Shannon Sullivan up there."