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Live at Oscars: Strangers No More Wins Doc Short, God of Love Wins Live Short, Inside Job Wins

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 28, 2011 at 3:14AM

"Three years after a horrific financial crisis, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that is wrong," says Charles Ferguson as he accepts the Oscar for Inside Job. The front-runner won over upstart Exit Through the Gift Shop, depriving Oscar watchers of seeing who would accept the award for Banksy. This is a case of gravitas winning out over a more whimsical film about art. Gift Shop likely benefited from the Brit street artist's graffiti postings in the weeks before the Oscars, which were well-covered by the media, but probably was hurt by Banksy's interview proxy, the wacky subject of his movie, Mr. Brainwash. If anything the movie that was moving up on the outside was Lucy Walker's Waste Land, another movie about art.
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Thompson on Hollywood

"Three years after a horrific financial crisis, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that is wrong," says Charles Ferguson as he accepts the Oscar for Inside Job. The front-runner won over upstart Exit Through the Gift Shop, depriving Oscar watchers of seeing who would accept the award for Banksy. This is a case of gravitas winning out over a more whimsical film about art. Gift Shop likely benefited from the Brit street artist's graffiti postings in the weeks before the Oscars, which were well-covered by the media, but probably was hurt by Banksy's interview proxy, the wacky subject of his movie, Mr. Brainwash. If anything the movie that was moving up on the outside was Lucy Walker's Waste Land, another movie about art.

The short films often make or break Oscar pools. While I called Australia's animated The Lost Thing, my favorite of the shorts, I did not predict NYU grad film God of Love, which won best live-action short. This is one of those cases where I should have listened to what people told me they liked, instead of my own taste. Franco calls out NYU--one of several colleges he has attended. With the doc short Strangers No More, a lovely film about an Isreali school taking care of refugees, I thought it might win, but instead went for The Warriors of Quingang, about a Chinese village fighting against chemical polluters. It was a toss-up. Strangers No More, the glossier, more well-produced and emotionally moving film, took the day.

This article is related to: Awards, Genres, Oscars, Documentaries, Animation, Shorts


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.