Quick Recap of the 86th Annual Academy Awards

Photo Credit: Creative Commons License  (Attribution No Derivative Works) by ebbandflowphotography via Flickr

Photo Credit: Creative Commons License
(Attribution No Derivative Works) by ebbandflowphotography via Flickr

I debated doing a recap – there are so many out there that by now opinions are formed and the papers that covered the events of this past Sunday night are securely lying in recycle bins worldwide. So, I asked myself, “is my two cents needed or valid?” Well of course my opinion is valid – everyone’s is (I do not lack THAT much self esteem).

In the end, I resolved to drop a quick list on my reaction to the festivities.

  1. Most of the awards went as I predicted. Pays to check out the odds-makers for probabilities. Also, it has gotten to a point that there are so many awards between January and the Oscars (registered trademark) that a pattern definitely does start to emerge, to the point you end up
  2. Ellen was good. Sure I may have laughed-cringed at the Liza Minnelli joke (rather cruel, and speaks to a larger issue), but overall she kept the show moving and brought audience engagement to new heights with the pizza party and selfie tweeted around the world. I would post the image, but then I think I would have to pay some money to Bradley Cooper or something like that.
  3. Leading up to the show I was really wondering how they were going to fit P!nk into the show; in fact all advertising leading up to broadcast had me questioning if this show was morphing into the Grammys (registered trademark). But she did just fine. But my favorite(s) in the musical performance title was a three-way tie between Pharrell Williams (“Happy“), Bette Midler (“Wind Beneath My Wings” In Memoriam tribute) and Darlene Love’s impromptu song of praise following Twenty Feet From Stardom‘s win the Best Documentary category (good film by the way, check it out).
  4. I must really be a glutton for punishment because I endured an hour of a cable channel’s live coverage of red carpet arrivals. Not that it is bad to parade people in front of cameras and have them ogled at like show-horses or anything, but this take  At the moment I could switch to ABC for their own “Countdown” show, which while in the same vein, provided a little more cinematic insight and context in the buildup to the evening’s festivities.
  5. (really 4B) I always get tickled when I see all these really rich and famous folks in fancy frocks parade down Hollywood Boulevard and ascend the steps into the Kodak Dolby Theatre. I am tickled because the theatre is housed in what can be best described as a mall, albeit a very nice one. In fact on a trip to the Home of the Academy Awards (until 2021) several years ago, I was ‘allowed’ to peek inside and see the theatre. One day maybe I will be able to have a seat when it matters most!

Well, that is all I got! Did you watch the show? What were some of your favorite moments? Hit the comments section below and share, share share

Oscar® Noms Announced! (My Reaction)

Here are a couple of observation about the Oscar® nominations, which were announced earlier this morning:

  1. Regarding ‘Snubs.’ I think contrary to what I might have initially felt about the year overall, this was a very strong year in terms of quality motion pictures produced. In other words, I do not think that any of the nominations are necessarily undeserving but rather there are so many people and films that could have received a nod. Some that come immediately to mind are Her (Joaquin Phoenix’s performance), The Butler, Inside Llewellyn Davis, Fruitvale Station, Saving Mr. Banks – the list can go on, thus proving my point.
  2. One Snub That Stands Out for Me. Pacific Rim Sound / Visual Effects. Maybe they will get a few Sci/Tech Awards.
  3. Favorite Nominations? It’s a tie: Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa for Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (just because) and Before Midnight for Best Adapted Screenplay.
  4. I Feel Kinda Bad … I have not seen ANY of the Best Films not in the English Language. Must be rectified in future.
  5. Who Do I Think Will Win? I never predict these types of things. I usually get it wrong. I just sit back and watch all of the events unfold.
  6. Lastly … I have a lot of ‘homework’ to do before Sunday, March 2nd.

Share your thoughts below …

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Stuff I Learned By Watching the Oscars

Yeah. I got sucked into the fray and ended up watching the Academy Awards last night. It actually was not too bad. But since this is principally a film and not TV blog (although TV does on occasion creep into a post or two), I will not be reviewing or recapping this as a programming event. I leave that to the experts.

What I will gladly do is make a quick list (in no particular order) of the things that I learned by watching this year’s telecast.

    1. They really should have been using the Jaws theme for all these years! (Thanks to my friend QTS for pointing out)
    2. Jennifer Lawrence is definitely one of my favorite people in the world (even if I thought that Chastain should have won for Zero Dark Thirty). photo-4_3_r536_c534
    1. Charlize can cut a rug!!! d235888003913550_charlize_channing_dancing.xxxlarge
    2. I knew Seth MacFarlane liked his pop standards, but dude is a serious musical geek!
    3. Speaking of music – this telecast was more Grammys than the Grammys.
    4. I nominate Kerry Washington as the next Bond girl (did you see that Scandal promo? BTW you really need to be watching that show).

  1. ADELE and JHudson threw down.
  2. Kristen Stewart …
  3. DeNiro is a napper.
  4. Last, but certainly not least – apparently Argo directed itself.

Maybe next year, I will have a full-on Oscar party – stay tuned to this space. I am dying to make Oscar-themed cupcakes!

That’s me done – what was your take on the Academy Awards and the ceremony? Were you pleased with the results?

Share your thoughts below.

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The Oscar Curse: Is it For Real?

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Before I dive into my topic/rant, I would like to send a big shout out to my colleagues Aurora (Once Upon a Screen), Paula (Paula’s Cinema Club) and Kellee (Outspoken & Freckled), who put this wonderful blogging meme together. Be sure to check out their sites to see all the other Oscar-related content bloggers around the world have posted.

Oscar Jinx 

The Oscar Jinx – the Origins

Jinx or curse, whatever – you get the idea. It is a theory as old as the actual awards ceremony themselves – the idea being that upon winning an Academy Award in an acting category, the winner finds themselves on the wrong side of Lady Luck – the offers dry up and they end up in a career paralysis, or simply fade into obscurity.

The first time I had ever heard of such a ‘curse’ was when I heard my dad and brother discussing the career of Louis Gossett Junior, following his win for An Officer and a Gentleman and how it ended up not really doing anything of consequence for his career (there was Enemy Mine, however). In subsequent years, as my passion for cinema grew, I discovered a few more instances of the famed curse, especially how ‘the curse’ impacted one of my favorite actresses Joan Fontaine who after her win in 1942 for Suspicion, said the only thing she gained from bringing home the gold was to be typecast as a “simp” (her words folks, not mine).

A little digging around the web unveiled a lot of interesting featured articles where the writer investigates this ‘phenomenon.’ You are forewarned: the various lists have many repeat customers:

Another observation you may have made is that there sure is a LOT of female representation on this list. This observation, unfortunately, leads to my next topic of discussion, the Oscar “Love” curse.

 

Subcategory: The Oscar “Love” Curse

More recently this curse has created a (more personal) subset of those affected – the Oscar Love curse, whereby love-struck members of the fairer sex (females) are afflicted with relationship woes post their awards triumph. According to “the Wikipedia” – which sourced the lists below – this is real, folks; just take a look at some of the winners (past and present) who apparently have been (un)ceremoniously dumped by their significant others upon winning Oscar:

Best Actress

  • Bette Davis (1936 Dangerous and 1939 Jezebel) and husband Harmon Nelson
  • Joan Crawford (1946 Mildred Pierce) and husband Phillip Terry
  • Jane Wyman (1948 Johnny Belinda) and husband Ronald Reagan
  • Elizabeth Taylor (1961 Butterfield 8 and 1967 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and husbands Eddie Fisher and Richard Burton
  • Julie Andrews (1965 Mary Poppins) and husband Tony Walton
  • Barbra Streisand (1969 Funny Girl) and husband Elliott Gould
  • Maggie Smith (1970 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and husband Robert Stephens
  • Jane Fonda (1972 Klute) and husband Roger Vadim
  • Liza Minnelli (1973 Cabaret) and husband Peter Allen
  • Cher (1988 Moonstruck) and boyfriend Rob Camilletti
  • Kathy Bates (1991 Misery) and boyfriend later husband Tony Campisi
  • Emma Thompson (1993 Howards End) and husband Kenneth Branagh
  • Jessica Lange (1995 Blue Sky) and longtime partner Sam Shepard
  • Susan Sarandon (1996 Dead Man Walking) and longtime partner Tim Robbins
  • Helen Hunt (1998 As Good as It Gets) and boyfriend later husband Hank Azaria
  • Julia Roberts (2001 Erin Brockovich) and boyfriend Benjamin Bratt
  • Halle Berry (2002 Monster’s Ball) and husband Eric Benet
  • Charlize Theron (2004 Monster) and longtime boyfriend Stuart Townsend
  • Hilary Swank (2000 Boys Don’t Cry and 2005 Million Dollar Baby) and husband Chad Lowe
  • Reese Witherspoon (2006 Walk the Line) and husband Ryan Philippe
  • Kate Winslet (2009 The Reader) and husband Sam Mendes
  • Sandra Bullock (2010 The Blind Side) and husband Jesse James

Supporting Actress

  • Goldie Hawn (1970 Cactus Flower) and husband Gus Trikonis
  • Anjelica Huston (1986 Prizzi’s Honor) and boyfriend Jack Nicholson
  • Geena Davis (1989 The Accidental Tourist) and husband Jeff Goldblum
  • Kim Basinger (1998 L.A. Confidential) and husband Alec Baldwin
  • Renée Zellweger (2004 Cold Mountain) and longtime boyfriend Jack White
  • Jennifer Hudson (2007 Dreamgirls) and longtime boyfriend James Payton

 

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, including –

Best Actress

  • Joanne Woodward (1958 The Three Faces of Eve) and husband Paul Newman were married on January 29, 1958, prior to the March 26th Oscar ceremony and remained so, until Newman’s death in 2008.
  • Sophia Loren (1962 Two Women) and husband Carlo Ponti were married on September 17, 1957. However, the 1962 annulment of their marriage was for legal, rather than personal reasons. Loren and Ponti were formally married on April 9, 1966 and remained so, until Ponti’s death in 2007.
  • Jessica Tandy (1990 Driving Miss Daisy) and husband Hume Cronyn were married on September 27, 1942 and remained so, until Tandy’s death in 1994.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Maggie Smith (1979 California Suite) and husband Beverley Cross were married on August 23, 1975 and remained so, until Cross’s death in 1998.
  • Judi Dench (1999 Shakespeare in Love) and husband Michael Williams were married on February 5, 1971 and remained so, until Williams’ death in 2001.

Side note: Dame Maggie made BOTH lists – BOOM!

Side, side note: my simple observation is that with some of these actresses, notably for the aforementioned Dame Maggie and member of her cohort Dame Judi Dench, their respective wins gave them a “second career” of sorts and they are more popular than ever. This observation in of itself should be an indication of what my final conclusion will be (see below).

 

So With All of this Evidence, Does the “Curse” Hold Water?

In this blogger’s humble opinion, the answer is: maybe kinda sorta  – but maybe not really. WHAT ON EARTH DO I MEAN? My reasoning is quite simple really. YES winning such a prestigious award will change your life – for better or worse, but like with many things in life, it is a combination of preparation, effective decision making and sheer luck that determines the ultimate outcome. Now, that is not to say that ripe acting opportunities are limited. So while the Oscar may get you in the door, it is not a sure-fire ticket to continued success.

Also if you are fortunate enough to win, there is an added pressure to find a vehicle that potentially can match the acclaim of that winning performance. Granted, some folks are lucky enough and lightning WILL strike more than once (see above); but really that is more the exception, not the rule. If anything, the winning performance by an actor is more so an indication of them being the top of their game, the peak of their powers – and as the phrase goes it is all downhill from here in most cases. So sad, but so true.

As it pertains to the “love” curse I suppose especially for those folks whose partner is also in the business there is the chance that a little professional rivalry and/or jealousy exists and will precipitate hurt feelings and such. But seriously, looking at some of these entries on Wikipedia are a bit of a stretch given that in some cases, the relationship ended YEARS after the actress won the statue. In other words, I am calling BUNK on this part of the theory.

In the end, I say take the Oscar and hope for the best …

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But that is just me and my humble opinion; I could probably spend another 1000 words trying to debunk this further, but my fingers are tired.

Now is your turn; how about you? What do you think? Is the Oscar curse, be it professional OR personal something real?

Share your comments below.

The Weekend that Was …

This weekend was quite busy with the Academy Awards and all; but there was a lot of other stuff going on too. Here’s a recap:

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO …

I lifted my embargo, if ever so slightly – I probably caught about an hour in total of whole awards show. I was flipping between this, Black in Latin America and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? on TCM. Overall there were no major surprises for my part. I was happy for The Artist win. I mostly followed the action on twitter, which was quite fun.

Among the many things I learned this year:

  • Jean Dujardin is adorable – probably due in large part to the broken English. I wonder if I would come over as charismatic and endearing with my horrible, non-existent French? I think I know the answer to this one 🙂
  • Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are now on my list of favorite people in the world
  • Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne are not fans of Vodka
  • Hugo may be worth seeing (wish I had done in 3D)
  • No awards show will ever get the “In Memoriam” part right.
  • Angelina Jolie has a leg 😉
  • Meryl Streep is awesome (but kinda already knew that)

Congrats to all the winners!

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE CHAMP

Over at Box Office Mojo, the results are in and it looks like Act of Valor took top honors over this past weekend. Gone and Wanderlust did not perform so well. Nothing to see here.

ANOMALOUS MATERIAL MOVIE DRAFT

On Saturday and Sunday, Anomalous Material was on fire with bids for film titles flying off the board! Alas, my list is complete and the 8 films that I will be tracking over the next twelve months will be:

  • Beast of the Southern Wild
  • Hysteria
  • Hotel Transylvania
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
  • Untitled International Thriller (50% split) – a.k.a. Bigelow Bin Laden film
  • Taken 2
  • The Lucky One
  • Sparkle

MY DWINDLING DVR LIST

If you follow my tumblr account, you will see that I also was playing catching with my DVR queue. From Friday, any image posted to my tumblr account represents a film I have seen (less Something New and North and South, which were re-watches). Incidentally, stay tuned for tomorrow’s entry in the ‘Overlooked’ series, as I will be covering one of the films.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Well I am getting better at this whole planning thing so in addition to my entry tomorrow, you can look forward to the following this week:

  • My Fantasy Movie Pitch (Thursday)
  • Profile of the Pelham Picture House (this weekend)
  • Revisiting another Universal Classic (Wednesday)
  • and possibly a few more surprises …

How about you? What were you up to at the weekend? Share below in the comments section.

 

Tuesday Evening Quarterback: The 2008 Oscars

Well it is official – these Oscars were the lowest rated (in the United States anyway) since the new ratings system was put in place in 1974. This is according to an article on the BBC.

I have a few theories in no particular order:

1.     Ambivalence due to the just recent writer’s strike

2.     The independent nature, or I daresay “spirit” of the films nominated

3.     Early talk that predicted many of possible winners were not originally from the USA

4.     American mainstream cinema was just pretty lame and catered to the lowest common denominator

5.     When I watched clips from the red carpet I immediately lost interest – I was like there are plenty of actors here tonight, but where are the movie stars?

6.     Many of the female stars are pregnant or just had a kid

7.     There was no Vanity Fair after party – a bit of a shaky point – seeing that many attendees of the annual party usually skipped the formal ceremony

8.     After being out of work all this time, many of the “celebs” were not red-carpet ready

9.     In a contradiction of #4, where were movies that achieved a critical and commercial appeal; “American Gangster” immediately comes to mind.

10.   Maybe with noted exceptions this was just one of those years of polar opposites (?)

(that is all I can think of now)

This comes to a head when one thinks the Academy may be at a tipping point. For years there has been much talk about the politicizing of the nomination and awarding process. With that talk has been the justifiable argument that what SHOULD be awarded is “excellence in filmmaking,” an objective measurement at best. For the first time when you look across all categories, I feel that if that is the objective of the Oscars, then they got it right. But they do it at the peril of holding on to the mainstream audience.

In addition, this highlights (as I do in reason #5 above) demonstrates that there is clearly a difference and being a movie star or idol and a genuine thespian. And what most people want to see at an event like this is star wattage. This in spite of the various questions people asked about “Why is Miley Cyrus/Jessica Alba/Katherine Heigl, etc. at the Oscars?” I guess you can have it both ways but this year it was not that way.

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I can wholeheartedly admit that like every year I have not seen all the movies that were nominated. In fact I only saw “Atonement” (which I loved). But in discussions with other fans of cinema that saw any of the nominated films, there was not much of a real desire to, say, go out and catch “There Will be Blood.”

Also complicating the matter is that for studios it will continue to be a win-win; studios currently own the very indy film companies that produced many if not all of the nominated films. This makes the line drawn in the sand between mainstream and indy very hazy indeed.

Overall, from my understanding, those that were recognized did all deserve to be honored; with obviously many omissions. This process is never going to be to everyone’s satisfaction but this year the Academy was rather niche in its choices than in previous years.

As the rest of the industry and film going world tries to figure this one out, I am popping in “Hot Fuzz.”