Blog of the Week: 24 Frames

It’s Oscars week and those of us who really care about movies are pondering such matters as whether the seven-minute animated British film A Morning Stroll has a shot in the Best Short Film category.

We also wonder whether the anarchical British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who acted in the Oscar-nominated Hugo, will be able to pull off his plan to stroll down the red carpet in character as General Aladeen, the protagonist of his upcoming film The Dictator. Or will the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which likes to discourage promoting future films on the Oscars broadcast, will be able to prevent his stunt.

Finally, we may not be so surprised to learn that the median age of an Academy member (that is, the typical Oscars voter) is 62 (not that Kaze and I condone ageism in any form). Perhaps more surprising is the discovery that Anna Paquin’s greatest pleasure, when she became at age 11 in 1994 the second youngest member of the Academy ever, was that she could watch R-rated films without being 17.

Photo of young Anna Paquin and her Oscar.

Anna Paquin and her Oscar for her performance in The Piano in 1994.

I gleaned all this insider’s amusing gimcrackery from 24 Frames, the Los Angeles Times “blog” on “Movies: Past, Present and Future.” As you’d expect from the daily paper in the next town over from Hollywood, 24 Frames has the best, most detailed reporting that I’ve found on the Oscars. (That title, by the way, comes from 24 frames or images per second, the standard rate of viewing for a 35 mm motion picture.)

I’ve put “blog” in quotes above because the LA Times is clearly not what we think of when we think of blogging. But in recent years almost every form of old media has put its reporters and columnists to work “blogging” in their spare seconds in an effort to attract eyeballs to the mother ship’s Web site. Some of these institutional blogs have the depth, firepower, and quality of analysis that’s hard for the classic “lone wolf” bloggers – the likes of Kaze and me – to match. Two of the best of the old-media’s blogs are the New Yorker’s Book Bench on literary matters and the New York Times Bits Blog on the Webverse.

So what do you think? Will the Academy succeed in repressing the man who gave us Ali G, Borat, and Bruno? I’m betting on the unsinkable Sacha Baron Cohen.

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