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The Oscars revisited—the trouble with stars

By David Herman  

Two films that didn’t fare too well in yesterday’s Oscar nominations were American Gangster, Ridley Scott’s terrific thriller about drugs dealing in late 1960s/early 1970s Harlem, and Charlie Wilson’s War, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Aaron Sorkin, a clever film about the twists and turns of US policy in Afghanistan during the end of the cold war.

What the films have in common is big names. Big name directors and big stars: Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe fight it out in Harlem, and Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman take on the Soviets. And this, the…

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