What a Week! Feb. 22-28


NASA announced Wednesday the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star outside our solar system. The TRAPPIST-1 system shows potential to support life, consisting of temperate rocky planets that might even have oceans. So let’s see: possibly livable, might have some great beaches, only 40 light-years away — who’s in? The TRAPPIST-1 planetary system is the new Canada.


While much of the world (OK, the Tristate) is wrapped up in Fiona the hippo coverage, celebrating each precious pound the premie gains, a tiger park in China is dealing with the opposite issue: Their cats are fat. In an effort to slim down the tigers, the park has deployed drones for the massive felines to chase down. Think of it as “cat vs. laser pointer” on steroids. Wait, are we sure this is China and not America?


Singer Lana Del Rey tweeted a cryptic message this week: “At the stroke of midnight / Feb 24, March 26, April 24, May 23 / Ingredients can b found online.” Apparently those dates align with an occult ritual and somehow that has been interpreted as a witchy effort to cast a spell on Donald Trump to prevent him from doing harm,The Craft style. Sure, why not?


The Oscars may have host Jimmy Kimmel, the Kodak Theater as a venue and light jabs at Mel Gibson, but Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards had comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, a tent off the Santa Monica Pier and heavy jabs at Mel Gibson. The director was nominated by the academy for his work on Hacksaw Ridge, and Kroll quipped, “People wondered, ‘How long would it take for Hollywood to forgive someone for anti-Semitic, racist hate speech?’ The answer? Eight years!” The hilarious hosts also advised that political speeches would be most effective if whispered to one’s self in the bathroom, since independent film fans and makers are probably pretty likeminded already. But that didn’t stop them from skewering the Trump administration, going so far as to say Steve Bannon only came to power because of his sexy good looks. “He looks like if Nick Offerman drowned,” Kroll said, so accurately yet horrifically. Moonlight swept, winning Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing and the Robert Altman Award. Could the touching coming-of-age drama recreate this success at the Oscars?


It might have taken well past midnight to answer that question, but yes: Moonlight was king at the Academy Awards Sunday, too. But not before hours of red carpet coverage, more than 20 awards, some humorous bits and major flubs. Between an erroneous “In Memoriam” segment (which left out major actors and included a living Australian producer) and the biggest “Sike!” ever, the 89th-annual Oscars were a comedy of errors. Kimmel shined as host, picking on stars like Gibson, lifelong nemesis Matt Damon and the “overrated” Meryl Streep, who Kimmel said has “phoned it in for more than 50 films over the course of her lackluster career.” In what’s become a trend in feeding celebs in the audience, Kimmel launched movie snacks in tiny parachutes into the crowd throughout the night. He awkwardly recreated a opening Lion King scene with tiny Lion star Sunny Pawar and even more awkwardly surprised a group of tourists on a Hollywood tour as they unsuspectingly walked into the telecast. It felt odd, watching these plebs realize they were surrounded by cinema’s elite, but any concerns about the problematic stunt went out the window when we met Gary from Chicago. Dude live-streamed the entire thing, he snatched Mahershala Ali’s Supporting Actor statue, handing his phone to the actor so he could take a photo. Elsewhere throughout the night, the mercilessly ridiculed Suicide Squad became an Academy Award-winning film (Best Makeup and Hairstyling); banned from the U.S., The Salesman’s Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won for Best Foreign Language Film and had Iranian-American engineer/spacewoman Anousheh Ansari accept on his behalf; and Chrissy Teigen reached peak relatability when she dozed off on hubby John Legend’s shoulder as the show entered its fourth hour. Finally, a case of mistaken envelopes — a duplicate Best Actress card was given instead of Best Picture — led Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to accidentally announce La La Land for Best Picture. Halfway through acceptance speeches, Moonlight was announced as the true winner. Kimmel appropriately blamed the Best Picture snafu on Steve Harvey (he will never live down the crowning of the wrong Miss Universe contestant). RIP to the stagehands executed because of this error. 


A Wikipedia edit war is going down on the Garfield (character) page, and it centers on the lasagna-loving comic cat’s gender identity. While Garfield is often referred to in the comic using male pronouns, creator Jim Davis has stated that the character is “not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old.” A peek into the page’s edit log is rife with arguments over whether Garfield is male, gender fluid or if gender should just be omitted from the page of the goddamned fictional cartoon cat. As of press time, the patriarchy has won, with Garfield still listed as male.


Today is Mardi Gras, a time for king cake, hurricane cocktails and beads, but here in Cincy it’s a reminder to prepare yourself to see lots of Cincinnatians with ashes on their foreheads tomorrow. Pro tip: Don’t offer anyone a wet wipe. It’s a Catholic thing.

CONTACT T.C. BRITTON: [email protected]

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