Roll out the red carpet

With this year’s Academy Award broadcast happening two weeks earlier than usual, you could be forgiven for not having a clue who just walked by the red-carpet paparazzi or why that movie with the strange title just won seven Oscars.

Hey, it’s all good. Your friendly neighbourhood pop-culture pundit is here to sift through the winners, the nominees, and the also-rans.

Speaking of also-rans, you might be surprised how many of this year’s Oscar hopefuls bore a strong resemblance to people we’re used to seeing in our local headlines, beginning with…

Birds of Highway Prey: Colourful renegade Hardly Quits, also known as Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda-Chisholm Beaton, teams up with an impossible-to-miss band of costumed characters to overhaul the Port Hastings Rotary and bring flashing greens to Reeves Street. Hardly Quits’ first allies are Cape Breton Partnership CAO Carla Arsenault as Hunter’s-Orange and Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie as Tartan Canary. Rounding out the crew is Darlene Berthier-Sampson alias CAO Comin’-For-Ya, who hopes the Birds of Highway Prey can also slow down traffic at the turning lane opposite the Auld’s Cove Big Stop.

Frozen, Too: Animated heroines Anna and Elsa find themselves on a new quest as they join the Canadian Armed Forces to dig Newfoundland out of a monstrous snowfall that has landed the city of St. John’s in a state of emergency. But first, the Arendelle duo must find their friend Olaf the Snowman, who could be lost forever under the mounds of snow that fell on The Rock since their arrival. Musical numbers include “Can’t Get Through My Front Door,” “For The First Time In Forever (The Power’s Finally On).” and the anthem of all Atlantic Canadians from November to April, “Sick of Snow (The Cold Really Bothers Me Every Day).”

Knives Out: When Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer (Patton Oswalt) abruptly announces his resignation just as the public learns the party has paid for his children to attend private school in Ottawa, suave and debonair detective Peter MacKay (Daniel Craig) arrives on the scene to determine who could have taken down Scheer’s chances to become Prime Minister. However, before he begins his investigation, Detective MacKay must destroy the evidence that he trash-talked Scheer at a post-election conference in Washington. Co-starring Toni Collette as Rona Ambrose and Christopher Plummer as Elmer MacKay.

Belittled Women: The fate of democracy lies in the hands of four Democrats from the backwoods of America (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar), and their wise, fearless leader (Nancy Pelosi, an Oscar nominee this year in the Best Shredding Actress category). The trouble begins when the President they’re trying to take down accuses four of them of not actually being from America and suggests the fifth doesn’t mean it when she says she’ll pray for him.

Underwater: Angered over Premier McNeil’s insistence that Northern Pulp’s Boat Harbour effluent treatment plant must shut down at the end of January, Paper Excellence executives Norah Pulp (Kristen Stewart) and Paper Fable (T.J. Miller) take a sub to the bottom of the Northumberland Strait, determined to prove that their plan to pipe treated effluent into a traditional lobster fishing ground is perfectly safe. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Pulp and Paper learn the hard way that those lobsters mean business.

Bad Boys For Life: Tired of being dismissed as a pretty-boy and former drama teacher, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) grows a rough-and-tumble beard and dares to order donuts from an independently-owned shop that isn’t Tim Hortons. The resulting media frenzy helps the Canadian populace by distracting them from the fact that Trudeau’s counterpart to the south has attempted to start World War III on three separate occasions and tried to bribe a European country by withholding foreign aid until their leaders delivered dirt on a political rival.

New Demo-Cats: Determined to win two provincial by-elections on March 10 and prove that their party is still relevant, the party’s four remaining MLAs – leader Gary Burrill (Ian MacKellan), Lisa Roberts (Taylor Swift), Claudia Chender (Jennifer Hudson), and Susan LeBlanc (Francesca Hayward) – undergo surgical procedures to become more cat-like and thus appeal to more Nova Scotia voters. Musical highlights include “The Moments of Unhappiness,” “Dum Dum Dexter,” and the “Memory” rewrite “Gary, All Alone In The Moonlight.”

America – Endgame: The World’s Mightiest Democrat Superheroes unite in a final effort to remove the evil Trumpos (Josh Brolin), but they stumble badly when their Stark Industries technology breaks down during their first caucus in Iowa. Undaunted, the Democrat Avengers continue to seek Trumpos’ impeachment and are emboldened when the Indefatigable Romney-Man (Tom Hanks) casts his vote with them. But Trumpos’ army of impotent GOP senators proves too much for the Democrat Avengers to overcome.

Can the world – and the movie industry – be saved? Stay tuned…