Place Your VFX Oscar Bets, and 6 Other Stories You'll Be Talking About Today

Also in today's edition of The Broadsheet: Anyone wanna buy Dennis Hopper's art? ... The King's Speech makes a deadly new enemy... A photo history of Nicolas Cage's screen coiffure... You're not deep-reading enough... Because apparently the "mass audience" just doesn't get real creativity... and more... (You might want to have a drink before this edition, honestly.)

· Congratulations to this year's short-listers for the Oscar in Visual Effects, including Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1, Hereafter, Inception, Iron Man 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and TRON: Legacy. Place your wagers on the final five ahead of the Jan. 25 nominations. There is no line on Hereafter, in case you were wondering. [ComingSoon]

· The remaining contents of Dennis Hopper's art collection, including a Warhol Mao through which the tempestuous actor/filmmaker fired two bullets, is going up for auction next week in New York. Do they take holiday gift cards? That's the best I can do right about now. [National Post]

· Screw The Karate Kid -- how about the poison pen of Isaac Chotiner to further impair The King's Speech's road to Oscar? "Less well-remembered is that after Prime Minister [Neville] Chamberlain returned from giving away a chunk of Europe to the Germans, he was immediately invited to Buckingham Palace to appear on the balcony with the King and Queen (the latter is now better known as the recently departed but beloved 'Queen Mum'). This was both a violation of protocol -- the Royals are supposed to stay out of politics -- and an extraordinary endorsement of a prime minister whose foreign policy was disastrous. Much of the Labor Party was rightfully furious. This despicable historical fact is less well-known than it should be, but the film fails twice -- first, by not showing it at all, and, second, by implying that Bertie was staunchly anti-fascist from the start." Ruh-roh. [The New Republic]

· And here's a slideshow of Nicolas Cage's hair throughout his many roles and personas of the years. [LAT]

· Because the onset of the apocalypse hasn't given us enough to worry about, how's this for a Thursday morning pick-me-up: "There is some concern in literary circles that, even though electronic readers grow increasingly popular and book sales are still strong, many people are finding it difficult to sit alone with one book and simply read to comprehend." Sorry, our bad. Maybe don't click this link? [SJ Mercury News]

· No one writes letters anymore either! At least not like this intriguing one from Steve Allen to Nat Hentoff; apparently the "mass audience" was stupid long before the cultural nadirs of today. Anyway, write more letters! It's so rewarding. [Letters of Note]

· And, on a sort-of up note, here's the best Christmas card you probably didn't receive in 2010. There's always this year. [Looker]


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