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posted: 2/23/2012 12:01 AM

We can help add to the merriment of Oscar Night

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Is it not enough that we can go to a movie on a Friday or Saturday night, throw back a couple sawbucks' worth of popcorn and soda, have a few laughs or a good cry and go home?

Apparently not.

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Thank goodness.

The annual extravagance of the Oscar competition takes to the airwaves this Sunday, proving yet again that we don't see a movie just for a couple hours of personal entertainment.

We luxuriate in the experience and delight in sharing -- and comparing -- it.

The newspaper, interestingly enough, plays a central role in the process.

Pertaining to the Oscars alone, we provide several opportunities for enhancing your pleasure.

Tomorrow, for example, our Time out! section will include reviewer Dann Gire's predictions of who will win what, and we provide them not just to see how well Gire may or may not be able to predict the inclinations of Oscar voters but more so because we know it's fun for all of us to contemplate what may sway "the Academy."

And it's even more fun to pit our own preferences and observations against those of an authority who spends his days and nights examining, evaluating and, yes, sometimes enjoying the scores of movies put out for public consumption every year.

But the fun doesn't end with the predicting. It also includes the watching and the analyzing.

So, to help prepare you for watching the Oscars, both to engage you in the movies themselves and to bring them closer to you, Gire and staff writer Jamie Sotonoff will have more coverage on Sunday examining the matchups and the expectations, the surprises and the disappointments. And, we'll have stories and interviews in print and online with people deeply rooted in the suburbs who may be winning awards.

And after the winners have been announced and the requisite gaffes -- both verbal and fashion -- have been made, we'll have pictures, quotes, descriptions and analysis both in print and online.

We know very well that this is not the most urgent social-issues coverage of the year. But we also know very well that movies, movie stars and Hollywood fashion are subjects you like to talk about,

We can help make the sharing and comparing you do about movies more meaningful, and our Oscars coverage gives us an opportunity to do that.

It's really a culmination of the kind of coverage we seek to provide regarding movies -- as well as other entertainment forms, including sports -- throughout the year. Our reviews and analysis don't aim just to help you decide whether you'll want to see a given movie or not, although that is certainly a factor.

But beyond that, they also aim to help you speak more knowledgeably about the movies you see and to inspire you to think about them in ways that ultimately help you enjoy them more.

So, get the popcorn and beverages ready for Sunday night, then sit back -- whether in your own living room or with a group of friends and neighbors -- and enjoy the show. But remember that the fun doesn't end there. Be sure to keep your Daily Herald handy.

• Jim Slusher, jslusher@dailyherald.com, is an assistant managing editor at the Daily Herald. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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