With a little over a week to go, the Oscar race is heating up. After cleaning up at the BAFTA awards, The King’s Speech is gaining heavily on The Social Network, whose big night at the Golden Globes seems as distant as that cute stranger you tried to friend on Facebook. Using data that tracks mass opinion, The Daily Beast surveys which actors, films, and directors are most-buzzed about this season to create the Oscar Oracle. While Natalie Portman’s a near-lock, the race for Best Director is coming down to the wire, with Black Swan helmer Darren Aronofsky tiptoeing around The Social Network’s David Fincher. Meanwhile, Melissa Leo’s personal ad campaign made her dip in the polls, and Banksy’s new street art in Los Angeles could garner him some additional notice in the Best Documentary category, but the clock is ticking.
After more than a week of catwalk shows and showroom presentations, the New York fashion industry wrapped up its Fall 2011 runway season Thursday afternoon with all the frisson of a shrug, writes Robin Givhan. For an industry that has spent the greater part of a month lambasting First Lady Michelle Obama for not wearing an American designer’s dress to the state dinner for China, the home team did not provide much in the way of creative exuberance to prevent such public injury from happening again. The industry needed to serve up fall collections so irresistible that turning elsewhere—to London or Paris—would be unthinkable to the fashion-savvy first lady, but those were rarities on the runway. One shining beacon of hope: the group of 16 dresses Derek Lam created for eBay is exactly what other designers need to be doing: giving customers exactly what they want, when they want it—and at a reasonable price.
Is there a diehard chef in your life whose birthday is coming up? Busting the scales at 2,438 pages and 43 pounds, the new book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is a tough endeavor for the most ambitious frequenters in the food world, but the six-volume set is a worthy indulgence. Tech tycoon-turned-chef Nathan Myhrvold worked for three years on the addicting cookbook and the modernist manifesto is laden with illustrations and edibly explicit photography. The book, on sale March 7, delves into the physical properties of thousands of ingredients, ingenious means of manipulating and transforming them, and why it’s actually not crazy to spend 30 hours making the perfect cheeseburger. The $650 price tag is a little hard to swallow, yet just think of what you’ll learn—and eat—when it’s all over.