March 7th, 2010
06:30 PM ET

Join our Academy Awards Live Blog with Jack Gray

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Jack Gray
AC360° Producer/Writer

Starting tonight at 7 p.m. ET join us here for the AC360° Academy Awards Live Blog.  The winners, the losers, the debate over Best Supporting Kardashian…we’ve got your running commentary. And sure, considering all that’s going on in the world, the Oscars aren’t hugely important. But if you’re looking to get away from the bleak news-of-the-day for a few hours, then this blog is the place for you.

We should also point out that we’re not encouraging you to change the channel from CNN, but if you’re going to watch the Oscars anyway, you might as well watch them with us.

What makes me qualified to lead this live blog? Well, I once worked at a video store/tanning parlor. And I own Fletch on VHS.

If you would like to participate in our Live Blog (and we hope you do) please follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Please keep your comments short
2) Don’t write in ALL CAPS (we don’t like screaming)
3) No links
4) Use your real name

Please note that due to volume we may not be able to post all comments.

Follow Jack Gray on Twitter

Filed under: Academy Awards • Live Blog
March 7th, 2010
03:36 PM ET

Dear President Obama #412: And the winner is ... way too noisy...

Reporter's Note: The White House has its own movie theater, which I suppose was a lot more impressive before scads of houses had their own surround sound, widescreen, knock the plaster off of the walls home theater systems. Still, I’ll bet it’s cool sitting there with the president watching some flick. Not as cool as being his pen pal, but cool.

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I guess I have been living under a rock because it just occurred to me that the Oscars are upon us. I used to be a movie critic (in my spare time) and the Academy Awards were something I really looked forward too (in my regular time.) Now I can take them or leave them.

Not sure why that is. I still love a really great movie, and certainly some nice movies are being made, so you’d think I’d still be into it, but…not so much. Actually I guess I do have one idea why I’m not so much into it: People talking in the theaters. Drives me up a pole faster than a cat with a pit bull on its tail. There was less talking at the Yalta Conference than I’ve heard in some movies.

I suspect the reason this has happened is that movies just aren’t so special any more. Used to be that any time you saw a movie, whether in the theater or at home, you had to keep quiet and pay attention or you missed it. There were only a few channels, no Tivo, no home videotape machines, no nothing; so if you talked during a scene it was gone and never to be recovered. “What did he say? The butler did it? Or the butter did it? Was the butter poisoned?”


March 7th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
March 7th, 2010
12:36 PM ET

Following the elections from so far away

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Charity Tooze
Special to AC360°

Iraq continues to sputter in convulsions from its transition from despotic dictatorship to democracy. Today is Iraq ’s second election since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Although the incumbent candidate, Nouri Al Maliki, has been accused by some of being corrupt and dictatorial, many claim Iraq is more unified today than anytime since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

A significant effort has been made to support Iraqis living abroad in exercising their right to vote. The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) organized out of country voting in 16 countries around the world. According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), there are an estimated 2.2 million displaced Iraqi refugees. There are nine polling locations throughout the U.S. The UN News Center said the United Nations (UN) has been working with the IHEC to supply polling stations, workers, lawyers and election officials. It is not clear exactly how many Iraqis in the U.S will be voting but the U.S. increased its resettlement quota of Iraqi refugees to 17,000 at the end of 2009. “No one I know in Boston is traveling to DC to vote,” said Razzaq Al Saiedi, 41, an associate fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “It’s too far and it’s expensive to get to DC but I did talk to friends in New York who are going to vote in DC,” Al Saiedi said.


Filed under: Iraq
March 7th, 2010
11:33 AM ET

'Dating Game' winner now a convicted serial killer


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Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Before he was a convicted serial killer, Rodney Alcala was a winning bachelor on "The Dating Game."

"Oh yeah, I remember it quite clearly," said Jed Mills, the contestant who sat next to him. "He was creepy. Definitely creepy."

Found guilty in Southern California in February of murdering four women and a child, Alcala, 66, is acting as his own attorney in the penalty phase of the trial. He is hoping to convince the jury to spare his life.

The crimes he committed date back to the late 1970s. Nobody at the time knew the man with the wavy long hair and toothy grin was a psychopath.

That includes Mills, a veteran television and film actor, whose only encounter with Alcala was when both of them appeared as bachelors on "The Dating Game." "That's when I became part of a nightmare and I didn't realize it was a nightmare until 32 years later," Mills said.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon