LIANE HANSEN, host:
Tonight, beautiful movie stars will hand out Oscars for art direction, makeup, sound mixing, and by midnight Best Picture. WEEKEND EDITION's Sunday food commentator Bonnie Wolf suggests they should stretch the show with one more award.
BONNIE WOLF: How about food in a supporting role? Movie characters often are what they eat. Can anyone think of "Michael Clayton" without seeing Tom Wilkinson holding a big bag of freshly-baked baguettes? That quick image says a lot. He's turned his back on corporate greed and found authenticity from the neighborhood baker.
"Juno" opened with Ellen Page walking around her neighborhood drinking an enormous bottle of Sunny Delight. Her boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker, is addicted to orange Tic-Tacs. And Juno describes him as "the cheese to my macaroni." They're a part of the generation that eats only from the orange food group. Obviously, they're not ready to raise children. Oh, she also has a hamburger phone.
"Atonement" is set in England in the 1930s so the food isn't going to be very good, but the turning point comes at a formal dinner, clearly the breakdown of civility.
Remember show me the money from "Jerry Maguire"? Now we have, I drink your milkshake from "There Will Be Blood." Daniel Day-Lewis' character also laces his son's milk with whiskey to keep him sedated.
Milk also plays a bit part in "No Country for Old Men." Chigurh breaks into the Mosses' trailer, sees they're not there and sits on the couch and drinks their milk. Even heartless murderers are little boys inside. Then there's the huge role played by the empty candy wrapper slowly un-scrunching on a dusty countertop. Very ominous, very Coen Brothers.
"Sweeney Todd" is almost anti-food. The demon barber of Fleet Street butchers his customers and uses their remains to make meat pies from Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop. Business booms, by the way. Things are not always what they seem.
"Ratatouille" uses food as a metaphor for the outsider's lonely pursuit of excellence. Remy, a provincial rat, has a refined palate and wants to be a chef. A rat in the kitchen seems a risky gamble by the filmmakers but, as food critic Anton Ego finally admits in the movie, not everyone can be a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
The envelope please.
HANSEN: Bonnie Wolf is author of "Talking with My Mouth Full" and host of Kitchen Window, NPR's food podcast.
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