Episode #1508

Alfonso Cuarón & Laura Cantrell

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Friday, February 21, 2014

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity' George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Who is Oscar? (Hint: his real name isn’t Oscar.) This week, we reveal the man who inspired the Academy Awards’ iconic gold statue. Kurt Andersen talks with filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, who explains why the astounding special effects in his movie Gravity (up for 10 Oscars) take second place to Sandra Bullock’s performance as an untethered astronaut. The director of the disturbing and singular documentary The Act of Killing takes us into the minds of Indonesian paramilitaries. Plus, Laura Cantrell performs the songs of country legend Kitty Wells live in the studio.

How to Make a Super Scary Short Film

A couple weeks ago, we gave you a challenge: create a scary movie on the theme of “young genius,” no longer than 30 seconds. The filmmaker Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) will judge the submissions. We’ve already had a ton of submissions ...

Enter the contest


Alfonso Cuarón Defies Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón wrote Gravity’s screenplay with his son, Jonas, in three weeks. Considering the visual effects needed to realize their vision, the senior Cuarón knew it would take much longer than that to direct the film, but he had no idea he was in the incipient stages of ...

Alfonso Cuarón's 3 for 360


Awards Night Bingo: 2014 Oscars

Watching the Academy Awards? Play bingo with us! The awards shows have turned into parodies of themselves: stars thanking their lawyers, refusing to "wrap it up," trying to exit off the wrong side of the stage. We’re embracing the clichés. 

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Oscar’s Real Name Is Emilio

At the Academy Awards, the Oscar statuette is as iconic as the gowns and the red carpet. With his square chest, broad shoulders, and tapered legs, Oscar is an art deco god. But, as familiar as he may be, it turns out we don’t know Oscar very well. For one, Oscar’s name isn’t Oscar ...

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Where Killers are Heroes

“We killed happily,” a sweet-faced septuagenarian says to the camera as he re-enacts a murder. The man is Anwar Congo, a former death squad leader in the 1965 Indonesian mass killings. He is a central character of the astonishing Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing ...


Laura Cantrell Sings Kitty Wells

When she died in 2012 at age 92, Kitty Wells was the oldest living member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her music can still surprise unsuspecting listeners. 

Video: Laura Cantrell performs "I Don't Claim to Be an Angel"

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