Monday, March 03, 2014

My Post-Oscars Post

I thoroughly enjoyed the Oscar broadcast last night. The montages were a little much, but overall I thought the program was really fun. First of all, Ellen did a great job. Her opening monologue was funny, with just enough, but not too much, celebrity bashing (although calling Liza Minnelli a man may have gone a little too far). Ellen is self-depricating in a way that allows her to pull just about anything off, and her style reminds me a lot of Billy Crystal (fantastic!!). I honestly felt relieved when her opening was over, and I knew that the Anne Hathaway/James Franco debacle would NOT be repeating itself this year.  And her selfies: wow!! So fun!!

I love the years when the awards are spread out among many films, and this was that type of year!

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)

I feel very satisfied with which people/movies won awards, and the only performance I didn't see was Cate Blanchett. I'm also happy, because I picked all of the above on the ballot I completed! (And those of you who know me well know that I am very competitive and I like to be right!! lol)

The acceptance speeches this year were outstanding (with the possible exception of Cate Blanchett's speech, which I found very uninspiring and hard to follow, but the awkwardness may have been partly because of all the controversy surrounding Woody Allen these days, and the way she thanked him in this speech!). I, of course, appreciated that Jared Leto thanked his mother, and Lupita Nyong'o gave a very emotional speech that was gracious, paid tribute to the trials of those who came before her, and inspired hope for those who are to follow. (For more on her speech go here!). I got a little lost during Matthew McConaughey's speech (mostly at the end), but he seemed genuinely happy and humbled by the award, and I just like him.

Other random thoughts:

I was thankful that in the description of Nebraska, they included the part about how things are not black and white, but many shades of gray. I hadn't been able to figure out why that movie was not in color. Now I know.

At first glance, Sandra Bullock's hair looked A LOT like the color of my new hair. Upon further examination, I realized it wasn't. I'm still adjusting to having dark brown/reddish hair, and for whatever reason, having the same hair as Sandy made me very, very excited. Oh well.

I absolutely loved that Ellen ordered pizza and had it delivered - especially for the sake of the pregnant Kerry Washington!

John Travolta missed the mark on many, many levels. I'll just leave it at that!

So, there you go. I would love to hear your thoughts!! Another Oscar season behind us!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

My 4th-Annual Oscar Preview Post

Here I am, writing my Oscar post hours before the broadcast! This year I saw 6 of the 9 movies nominated for best picture, and very few of the movies that contained the other nominees. This post will be short, but I have a few thoughts.

The nine movies nominated for Best Picture are: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street. I didn't see Her, Philomena or Wolf. I was not particularly excited about this group of movies. These were important stories to tell, profound even, but there was not a feel-good movie in the bunch. I guess the Oscars don't tend to recognize feel-good, nor do I really wish they would, but this year the movies were mostly very difficult - meaningful stories, exceptional acting, but very hard to watch! My top two were Gravity and 12 Years a Slave. I found Gravity to be incredibly profound in it's simplicty. The story of 12 Years a Slave was heart-breaking (to say the least), but it felt, to me, like a movie that every single person should watch! For Best Picture this year, I'm going to pick 12 Years a Slave.

The nominees for Best Actor are: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (Wolf), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years), and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas). I am surprised that Tom Hanks (Captain) is not on this list, but I don't know who he would replace. The only performance listed here that I didn't see was Leo DiCaprio, and I'm honestly glad to see him included, because I think the Academy tends to not give him the recognition he deserves. (I DID see him in Gatsby this year, which was a stellar performance, in my opinion). While Bruce Dern gave a powerful performance, I think Matthew McConaughey will win this year, but I would pick Chiwetel Ejiofor.

I'm ashamed to say that I saw less than half of the best performances by women this year. Had I gone about it more systematically, I would've made sure to see more of the Best Actres nominees, which are: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County). I'm particularly sorry that I didn't see Philomena, beause I heard it was beautiful movie. I also have plans to see August: Osage County, I just haven't done it yet. The two performances I saw were those of Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock, and each was outstanding, in my opinion. Choosing between them, I pick with Sandra Bullock. 

The supporting nominations for men are: Barkhad Abdi (Captain), Bradley Cooper (Am Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years), Jonah Hill (Wolf), and Jared Leto (Dallas). I think Jared Leto has this category, going away. He gave an amazing performance as a transgendered person- absolutely stunning!  The Best Supporting Actress nominations are: Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (Am Hustle), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years), Julia Roberts (August), and June Squibb (Nebraska). I feel extrememly uninformed in this category, but I hope that Lupita Nyong'o wins!

I have many more thoughts that I would love to share about each of these movies. I truly ran out of time this year, on several levels. Please share your opinions and predictions. If any of you would like to discuss these movies further, let's get together for coffee, or send me a fb message. I always love the discussion!!