Morning Shots: 'Variety' Drops Its Critics, Oscars Are Up, And Betty Is A Go : Monkey See In today's roundup: Two stories involving film critics, big news for Betty White partisans, and improved Oscar ratings.
NPR logo Morning Shots: 'Variety' Drops Its Critics, Oscars Are Up, And Betty Is A Go

Morning Shots: 'Variety' Drops Its Critics, Oscars Are Up, And Betty Is A Go

cup of coffee.

• "What's my conclusion? That low and high culture co-exist side by side, and that the more vigorous the one, the more robust the other." Sing it, guy in The Guardian.

• Apropos of nothing, I admit, I have to mention that I have been reading Pauline Kael's book I Lost It At The Movies, and her essay "Replying To Listeners" is perhaps the most essential thing I have ever read for critics, and women, and the Internet, and ... basically everyone. Just one quote: "There is a standard answer to this old idiocy of if-you-know-so-much-about-the-art-of-the-film-why-don't-you-make-movies. You don't have to lay an egg to know if it tastes good." Find the book. You will not be sorry.

• No details yet on when or in what capacity, but Betty White says yes, she is going on Saturday Night Live. Now don't say the Internet never did anything nice for you.

• The Oscars may or may not have satisfied viewers, but more viewers watched than have done so in a while — the efforts to boost ratings seem to have paid off with a 14 percent bump.

Meryl Streep's dress, another critic controversy, and more, after the jump.

• You know, I heard Meryl Streep say she was in Chris March at the Oscars, and I thought, "That's a very nice dress, and I think I've vaguely heard of Chris March somewhere," and I completely failed to connect it — Chris March! From Project Runway! Adorable, awesome Chris March who made dresses out of human hair, Chris March dressed Meryl Streep in that really, really tasteful white dress. Glory be.

• Loved this little video condensing the process of designing a book cover. Fascinating for both book enthusiasts and people who enjoy computer futzing about.

• Insider-y news about the goings-on at Variety often doesn't hit particularly hard with me (I no longer link to them since their paywall went up), but even I was shocked to hear they'd laid off their long-time film critics. Yeesh.

• There is an interesting story developing in which film critic Armond White has allegedly been disinvited from press screenings of Noah Baumbach's Greenberg. There's a good account here and a copy of the anonymous e-mail in protest that's been going around, and the comments provide an interesting counterpoint. (Caution: strong language in the e-mail, strong language in the comments. But an interesting story.)