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Scene Selects

Scene Staff Report | Monday, February 27, 2012

1. Billy Crystal’s Movie Montage

Yes, Billy Crystal has taken a humorous trip through the year’s major awards contenders every year he’s hosted the Oscars (this was his ninth time at the job). But even though we all knew it was coming, his lip-lock with George Clooney and exasperation at Billy Bean’s baseball advisors began the show on a high note, setting us up for a night that was funny, even if totally expected. 

2. Robert Downey, Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow present award for Best Documentary

This moment was the first genuine laugh of the night, when the duo came out to present the award for Best Documentary and Robert Downey Jr. was followed by a camera crew for his documentary “The Presenter.” The bit itself wasn’t comedic genius, but it was certainly appropriate and it worked because Downey Jr. always seems like sort of a jerk and Gwyneth Paltrow is nice. Plus, he got to say that he turned down doing “The Descendants” with George Clooney in the audience. Now, that’s hilarious. 

3. Emma Stone and Ben Stiller present Best Visual Effects

Emma Stone burst on to the Oscar’s stage with a beautiful Giambattista Valli couture gown. Some may say she copied Nicole Kidman’s Balenciaga gown from 2007, but we say, who cares? The color, the bow and the lanky silhouette were a class act. It drew even more attention to her gingery hair and her equally spicy sense of humor. She held her own with Ben Stiller, overplaying her excitement to present her first award to humorous effect. Emma has a sneaky, subtle sarcasm that goes perfectly with her snarky smile.  

4. “Wizard of Oz” Focus Group

This hilarious short from the Oscars broadcast gave insight into the inner workings of the film industry. Or at least satirized them. Suggestions to improving the classic movie included removing Dorothy, who they called annoying, to featuring more flying monkeys. The clip made light of an important part of the filmmaking process, but in an informative way, with spot-on jokes and excellent delivery.

5. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis present Best Original Song

If anything proves that Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis can make an audience laugh at next to nothing, it was their entrance as award presenters at the Oscars. Ferrell and Galifianakis entered the stage together Sunday night in white tuxedos, carrying (and fumbling) giant hand cymbals and mispronouncing names before announcing the winner for Best Original Song.

6. 2011 “In Memoriam”

The Oscar’s annual “In Memoriam” should always be a moving part of a night that is otherwise for celebrating. Unfortunately, the awards often make a misstep with the video of those lost in the last year and don’t do the segment full justice. This year, however, the “In Memoriam” was perfectly understated and a wonderfully tasteful celebration of some of Hollywood’s lost visionaries. 

7. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress

With a surprise win over admittedly deserving Viola Davis, poised and charming Meryl Streep proved yet again why she’s the classiest, most beloved woman in Hollywood. Her acceptance speech deftly mixed humor and emotion. “When they called my name,” she joked, “I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no! Oh come on, why her? Again!’” Add a loving tribute to her husband and humble gratitude to her friends and peers and it was enough to move anyone to tear up along with her.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Scene Selects

Scene Staff Report | Monday, February 20, 2012

1. Shrimp Creole

This classic Louisiana Creole shrimp and rice dish is the perfect culinary complement to any Mardi Gras celebration. You may not be able to celebrate in New Orleans, but you can bring the holiday to Notre Dame with just a pinch of cayenne seasoning, vegetables, shrimp and white rice. So wear some festive purple, green and gold beads around your neck and celebrate with delicious New Orleans cuisine before the Lenten fast begins

2. Easter Candy

Luckily, the wonderful workers at the Huddle have put out the Easter candy in time to gorge on before Lent and Spring Break diets start. Whether your poison is pure sugar or chocolate, you are covered with a selection ranging from Peeps to caramel-filled eggs. These treats are perfect for pick-me-ups in between classes or late night indulgences. Feast away!

3. Beignets

While beignet literally means “bump” in French, it’s more fondly known as the deep-fried, smothered-with-powdered-sugar pastry. Beignets are an essential part of any Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. You can buy them stuffed with fruit or maple fillings, covered in frosting. It’s like a donut married a cake and had powdered-sugar beautiful children together. They are best served with a nice cappuccino or hot chocolate. Beignets are the bomb.

4. Shamrock Shakes

You may not be quite in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations just yet, but its never too early for a Shamrock Shake. To make up for no-meat Firdays, why not treat yourself to the perfect minty treat courtesy of your neighborhood McDonald’s? Even for mint-phobes, this shake is the perfect antidote to perma-cloud blues, with the sweet overpowering the mint for a dessert to please all.

5. King Cake

One of the best traditions of Mardi Gras is the colorful king cake. This is the centerpiece covered in purple, yellow and green sprinkles and frosting. The cake is usually baked in a twisted version of the bundt cake. Not only is this dessert delicious, but each cake hides a small toy baby. Whoever has the piece with the baby in it is the king for the night. Varieties include cream cheese, praline, cinnamon, strawberry, chocolate and more.

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Scene Selects

| Monday, February 13, 2012

1. Julia Roberts

As today is Valentine’s Day, I feel justified in professing my love of Julia Roberts movies. From the true classic “Pretty Woman” to “Eat, Pray, Love” Julia Roberts always steals the screen. I cannot count the times I have watched Richard Gere and Julia Roberts walk down Rodeo Drive or Hugh Grant interview actress Anna for Horse and Hound magazine. She not only shines in romantic comedies, but in movies like “Mona Lisa Smile” and “Ocean’s 11″ too. Whether you’re forcing your boyfriend to endure a chick flick today or just chilling with the girls, you can’t go wrong with Julia Roberts.

2. Cake Pops

Whether preparing a gift for that special someone or celebrating being single with friends, cake pops are the perfect sweet treat for Valentine’s Day. These mini cakes in lollipop sticks can be made in a variety of different flavors and shapes. Add some Valentine’s-themed sprinkles or make them heart-shaped and they will look and taste great for this special occasion.

3. Sweet Hearts

These little candies with romantic messages can bring joy both to those in relationships and those without love this Valentine’s Day. For those who have found love, use these messages to demonstrate your affection for your special someone. Slide one across the table when you’re on a dining hall date or studying together at LaFortune. For those unlucky in love, laugh at the ridiculous saying and just enjoy the sugary treats. Or get a laugh and send one to a friend, making sure you pick the sappiest one in the box.

4. “19″ by Adele

Sunday’s Grammy Awards proved the world has come to worship at the altar of Adele’s powerful voice thanks to hits like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” off her sophomore album, “21.” However, it was the soulful tunes on “19″ that began the bright burn of her career. The album has an innocence to it that makes the maturation to “21″ all the more resonant and it is truly joyous to see how Adele’s voice has grown in power and nuance since 2008. “Hometown Glory” might be the best of her songs, while “First Love” shows a breadth of style and skill that makes Adele’s vocals all the more impressive for their range. “Cold Shoulder” is bitterly excellent while “Crazy For You” brings a more light-hearted attitude to the game of love. “Chasing Pavements,” the first single from the album, is what set Adele up for the superstardom she has since attained.

5. Anna Howard Shaw Day

Whether in romantic bliss or debilitating self-pity, everyone can have a grand old time laughing at the misfortunes of the fictional character that is worst at Valentine’s Day, “30 Rock” protagonist, Liz Lemon. All of the “30 Rock” Valentine’s-themed episodes are hilarious escapades through the holiday that can brighten anyone’s mood. The most recent such episode is on Hulu, and the greatest, the fourth season episode in which Liz chooses to celebrate Anna Howard Shaw Day, is on Netflix instead.