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Archive for Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tune In: At 83, Oscar looks younger than ever

February 27, 2011

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The 83rd Academy Awards (7:30 p.m., ABC) places special accent on the young. For starters, the combined ages of this year’s hosts, Anne Hathaway (28) and James Franco (32), is 60. That’s a full five years younger than Steve Martin (65), just half of last year’s tandem. Throw in his partner Alec Baldwin’s 52 years, and you have a combined age differential of 57 years.

But those are only numbers. Neither Hathaway nor Franco is a standup comedian. And that’s a welcome break. For the past thirtysomething years, or let’s say, all of Anne Hathaway’s lifetime, Oscar has been hosted almost exclusively by standup comics or comics-turned-actors. 2008’s host Hugh Jackman was a notable, if not memorable, exception.

And not just the hosts are young. Some of the night’s more remarkable nominees include 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, nominated for best supporting actress for her role in “True Grit.” Jennifer Lawrence (20) was nominated for best actress for her memorable turn in the drama “Winter’s Bone.” And no roundup of the year’s remarkable performances by young people is complete without mentioning Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson, who portrayed the teenage children in the much-nominated comedy “The Kids are All Right.”

As it has for some years now, Oscar reflects Hollywood’s mixed feelings about art and commerce. Many of the most-nominated films, including, “The King’s Speech,” “The Black Swan” and “The Social Network” were closer to art-house releases than blockbusters.

In contrast, “Toy Story 3” is among those rarest of creatures, the highest-grossing release of the year and a movie subject to near unanimous critical acclaim. That’s why it has been nominated for both best animated film and best picture.

Speaking of “Toy Story,” Tom Hanks will appear on the post-Oscar special “Jimmy Kimmel Live: After the Academy Awards” (Time approximate, ABC). Look for appearances from Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, Kelly Ripa and many more,

• The three-part miniseries “Any Human Heart” concludes on “Masterpiece Classic” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

Forgotten as a novelist and all but penniless, Logan’s (Jim Broadbent) strange intersection with 20th century history continues as he becomes an unknowing courier for an underground German terror cell. I can safely say I didn’t see that coming when he was babysitting the Duke and Duchess of Windsor!

Today’s highlights

• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): fraudulent stem cell schemes; selling secrets to China.

• Catch three hours (that’s 180 minutes) of “Minute to Win It” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Emboldened by a recent trade, the New York Knicks travel to Miami to play the Heat in NBA action (7 p.m., ESPN).

• Bill wants to renew his vows, all three of them, on “Big Love” (8 p.m., HBO).

• A public stoning on “CSI: Miami” (9 p.m., CBS).

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