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Nominated for Nothing: 'Rush'

Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searches, Groundhog Day, Breathless, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski, Shame — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The Film: Rush, the true-life tale of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda and their odd-couple rivalry, which burned up the Formula One world during the ’70s and to this day remains one of the great moments in Formula One history.

Why It Wasn’t Nominated: Formula What? The Academy doesn’t pay much attention to movies about sports that aren’t boxing, and Rush had a particularly difficult hill to climb, since the average voter probably doesn’t know about this very European story. Star Daniel Bruhl’s turn as the icy bucktoothed Lauda was a physical transformation comparable to past winners like Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln or Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s Capote, but since Bruhl is a lesser-known actor playing a barely-known true-life person, he didn’t get the typical biopic bump. READ FULL STORY

Rock And Roll Hall of Fame answers one great mystery of rock music: When did Rush get so cool?

It’s always been a great irony of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that induction ceremonies might be the least rock ‘n’ roll thing ever. But Public Enemy, Rush, Heart, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones, Lou Adler, Albert King, and Randy Newman took their spots in the canon last night — the actual ceremony happened at L.A.’s Nokia Theater in April, but HBO didn’t air it until a month later — it was clear that many of them must be big fans of irony.

Randy Newman kicked things off with his anthem “I Love L.A.,” which got the whole crowd of Los Angelenos (including Jack Nicholson) earnestly singing the refrain “We love it!,” even though the song mocks their hometown. Later, Dave Grohl noted that Rush were being honored despite the fact that they’ve always been ignored by the mainstream press, especially Rolling Stone, whose editor in chief, Jann Wenner, co-founded the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. The best moment of the night came when Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson managed to give his entire acceptance speech using only the words “blah blah blah.” Speaking in different intonations and using hand gestures, he was able to convey the whole story of the band, right up to the surprising phone call that informed them that they were being inducted (“Blah BLAH blah?”), and the thanks-to-fans-like-YOU! speech that followed. (“Blah blah BLAH!” he said, pointing at the crowd.) He somehow managed to send up every awards-show speech ever — and maybe the whole Rock and Roll Hall of Fame itself — at the same podium where they’re so revered. If you ask me, that’s just as rock ‘n’ roll as any music that earned a golden statue that night.

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