This year, Slate asked Buck Loughlin, last seen co-hosting the climactic dog competition in Best in Show, to talk with me about this year's Oscar race. Below is an edited transcript.
Buck Loughlin: Live from Hollywood, this is Buck Loughlin, here with David Edelstein, for the second biggest day of the movie year—the penultimate lap of the Oscar race. David, your thoughts on this great, great competition?
David Edelstein: Well, Buck, I just want to say at the outset that I don't really like to do this sort of racing commentary. I'm a serious critic for a serious magazine, and I have little interest in trying to fathom the middlebrow taste of the Academy--
Loughlin: So you're a pretentious two-bit whore is what you're saying?
Edelstein: Well …
Loughlin: Hold on! They're out of the gate! Actors, actresses, directors! All in the running for that golden statuette. Whatever happened to his genitalia, by the way? I'm just kiddin' ya. David, you gotta like the legs on that Julia Roberts.
Edelstein: Well, she does have certain coltish, equine--
Loughlin: And there's Russell Crowe in his souped-up chariot! Backed by those big DreamWorks bucks. Oh, you don't wanna mess with that big dog! Go get 'em, Russ! Rrrroooof!
Edelstein: Just a laughably crude movie—a high-minded splatter picture.
Loughlin: And he's flattening everybody, isn't he?!!! Billy Elliot, watch out! Whoa, that was ugly!