Thursday, December 31, 2009

Six Degrees of Oscar Season

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, there is a theory that everyone in the world can be connected by six degrees of separation or fewer. Recent studies, which take into account internet communication and cell phone use, have as sought to prove this bit of folk wisdom. One study claims fewer than seven degrees of separation among all of the world’s people.

This was translated to a bar game you may have heard of-- the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, which says that any actor in Hollywood can be connected to Kevin Bacon by six movies or fewer. It works, by the way.

So, I’ve decided to invent my own version: the six degrees of Oscar season. In this exercise, which is nothing more and nothing less than fun and games, I will try to connect some of this season’s Oscar contenders to one another. In comments, please feel free to suggest others. I’ll update with a new one every so often until the Academy Awards.

Today: James Cameron’s science fiction opus and newly crowned box office champion Avatar and Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, a modern tale about making connections. What else?

Co-star of Avatar Sigourney Weaver, who starred in Cameron’s Aliens, also starred alongside Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters (by the way, production of the third Ghostbusters movie has begun).

Ivan Reitman directed the first two Ghostbusters movies. The name is no coincidence. Ivan Reitman is the father of Up in the Air director Jason Reitman. Additionally, the father-son duo share a producer’s credit on Up in the Air, which means that Ivan Reitman is in a position to win an Academy Award with his son this year. Wouldn’t that be a fun acceptance speech?

Simple enough, right? How about one more?

Surprise animated box-office hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Last Station, a hyper-literate drama about the last days of Leo Tolstoy.

One of the main voice actors in Cloudy is Anna Faris, who has actually factored in several Oscar races over the years with co-starring roles in best picture contenders Lost in Translation and Brokeback Mountain.

Heath Ledger, the late star of Brokeback Mountain, made his final screen appearance in this year’s Terry Gilliam fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. The star of the latest Gilliam film is Christopher Plummer who also plays Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station.

And, that’s how the game is played.

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