Posts Tagged ‘Academy Award’


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today my nephew Justin sent me a YouTube video from WatchMoJo.com and as he suspected, it was right up my alley. You can find it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIsoZd4EHeQ.  The makers of this video are upset over some BEST PICTURE Academy Award winners during years when there were (in their opinion and mine except for one) much better and more deserving movies nominated.   Did you know that the BEST PICTURE category is the only one in which any and all Academy members are allowed to vote.  Every other category is limited to members of the group category.  Here is their list: See what you think of the list and their picks.  What would you pick?  My choices are **

  1. 1998 – Driving Miss Daisy  won BP and therefore Dead Poet’s Society* and The Fourth of July lost. 
  2. 1982 – Ghandi  beat out ET* and Tootsie
  3. 1941 How Green Was My Valley won and that meant that The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane* lost! Citizen Kane, REALLY??
  4. 1996 – The English Patient which I actually liked a lot even though it has  been mocked in a SEINFELD episode.  It did win over Jerry MaGuire and Fargo*
  5. 1998 – Shakespeare in Love a very nice movie but no Saving Private Ryan*.
  6. 1990 – Dances With Wolves My main disagreement with this list; I loved Dances With Wolves although I can no longer watch it because of the harm of the wolf. It was pitted against Awakenings and Ghost*
  7. 2002 – Chicago I loved the soundtrack and the movie itself BUT I thought this top award should go to  Lord of the Rings-Two Towers*, The Pianist was an also ran and if I could pick two, it would be included.
  8. 2005 – Crash A good story however, BP needs to encompass story line, acting, casting, set design and direction and as that is the criteria, it’s hard to believe that this movie won over Capote, Broke Back Mountain* and Good Night and Good Luck.
  9. 1956 – Around the World in 80 Days fun, cute but the performances in The King and I* and the cinematography and art direction of the Ten Commandments certainly deserved the BP over the winner.
  10. 1968 – Oliver Hollywood loves its musicals and all things Brittish, but this movie was not as good as 2001 Space Odessey*.

I’m posting my Ten More tomorrow morning. I started this too late, it’s been a long day but the real reason I’m stopping here is because I have to watch Hell’s Kitchen which I DVR’d earlier this evening!

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When I found myself tearing up in the first scene, I knew the next two hours were going to be very long.  I had a lump in my throat through out the entire movie and even those scenes that had the tears slowly rolling down my face did little to relieve that tight feeling in my throat

Lee Daniels The Butler is “gut-wrenching and emotionally affecting” – that is the consensus from the web site, Rotten Tomatoes.  Loosely based and inspired by A Butler Well-Served By This Election,, an article written  by Wil Haygood for the Washington Post

Here’s the GOOD:  Oprah Winfrey gave a fine performance as the likable, edgy and often boozy wife and will probably receive an Oscar nomination.  Forrest Whitaker in the starring role of Cecil Gaines is also an Oscar contender.  When he  looked at the camera and gave us the blank hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing and just serve look, you could never imagine him as the powerful and mad Idi Amin.  The sight of  the uber-liberal Jane Fonda decked out in Nancy Reagen-red  had the audience laughing out loud.  The casting of the “Presidents” was interesting;  Robin Williams didn’t quite embody Eisenhower, Liev Schreiber isn’t tall enough to be Johnson and his Texan accent was questionable but I sure did enjoy his lines.  James Marsden sounded more like Kennedy but was also short of stature and John Cusack was quite brilliant in his sinister shifty-eyed Nixon.

The BAD:  The movie is NOT based on a true story.  The real-life butler, Gene Allen, did not see his father murdered or his mother raped.  He had only one son who served honorably in Vietnam and was not a Black Panther or involved in politics.  Allen was born on a plantation in Virginia not in Georgia.  

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker (Photo credit: Stephen Poff)

There has been considerable  criticism regarding the movie’s portrayal of Ronald Reagan, particularly his position on apartheid in South Africa.  There was no reference to the circumstances surrounding his non-action which had to do with the political climate of the day and the specter of yet another country falling to Communism.  

If you are “of a certain age” as I am, then the chronological series of historical events was a trip down memory lane.  The “events”  marked the 34 years Gene Allen served eight Presidents. Unfortunately, we view these historical  moments in Gumpian fashion through the eyes of a morally challenged hero rather than the mentally challenged Forrest.

THE UGLY; What was really ugly in this film?  Racism is ugly, poverty is ugly, hunger is ugly, classicism is ugly.  The true events were ugly because they really happened.  Freedom Riders were killed, protestors were beaten and hosed down.  College kids who sat in at the Woolworth’s counter were harassed, spit on and knocked down.  That in my lifetime, there were still signs that said WHITE and COLORED is really ugly!   Yes the truth is that the Ugly parts of this movie were all the true parts.

But that was then and this is now, and Barrack Hussein Obama is our President, who would have believed it?

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The big night is rapidly approaching and the educated guessing is full out by now. It’s not  a science, it’s not a horse race and it’s hard to use statistics all because you can never really second-guess humans.  They can always change their mind at the last minute.   Apparently they did because here’s a few more memorable upsets.

1.1981 – Reds was nominated for 12 categories and yet it was outrun in the race for Best Picture by Chariots of Fire!  Sometimes a race is won in the final sprint to the finish line. Must be the case here.

2. 1998-Titanic, a pathetic remake riddled with special effects drowned out L.A. Confidential  and Good Will Hunting Sad but true.

3.1988 – The Academy was Moonstruck by Cher’s outstanding performance and she went home with Oscar and Glen Close and Meryl Streep went home with their husbands.

4. 1999 – He scampered over chairs, he jumped around on stage – Roberto Benigni won Best Actor and none were more surprised than Tom Hanks.  Hanks was the favorite for his role in Saving Private Ryan.

5. 1994 – There really is a pattern here. The Academy seems to vote more often for feel-good, loveable or the down and out rise to good fortune through their courage, fortitude and a measure of luck.  And that’s how it went the night in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino was “Gumped” by Robert Zemekis.   Pulp Fiction must have been just too avante-garde for the Academy voters.

6. 1980 – Martin Scorcese made his first feature length film in 1967 and didn’t win an Oscar for his directorial achievements.  In 1980 he lost Best Director to Robert Redford who won it for Ordinary People and he lost it for Raging Bull.

7. 2008 – More than an upset, the fact that The Dark Knight wash’t even nominated! Slumdog Millionaire took home Best Picture and it was an entertaining movie which took audiences to a part of the world they rarely see.  No dispute here, BUT shouldn’t The Dark Knight have been on the table with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, The Reader and Frost/Nixon?

8. 1969 – Oh how I remember this one!  John Wayne wins Best Actor for his role of a cowboy (wow that’s a switch) in True Grit and Dustin Hoffman and John Voight who were spectacular in Midnight Cowboy.

9. 1985 – Another surprise ! The Color Purple was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won NONE!

10. 1968-Oliver,  won Best Director and Best Picture.  It was a buoyant musical retelling of the story of Oliver Twist and sent Stanley Kubrick’s startling and innovative science fiction epic  2001: Space Odyssey  home hungry.

Best Actress Academy Awards

Best Actress Academy Awards (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

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So who do you think is going to win this year?  Unlike some other years, there isn’t just one picture which will run away with all of the top awards.  The field is open and the predicting is hitting fever pitch.  Is it anybody’s guess?  Maybe.  I have my own predictions and I’ll post them before Sunday evening.  Feel free to write in your own choices for Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director, and any other BEST you want to pick.

Sometimes a dark horse emerges and at the last moment, streams past all the other contenders and snatches the top prize.  Do you remember these well-known Oscar upsets?

1. 2006 Crash beats out Broke Back Mountain for Best Picture! WTF? Crash was interesting and full of racial and social tension but when it was announced that it won Best Picture, there were some audible gasps and best of all, do you remember that Jack Nicholson, who announced the winner, raised one of his famous eyebrows in a betcha didn’t see that coming!

2. 1943 – What were they thinking???  Paul Lukas won the Best Actor Award for his role in Watch On The Rhine.  And Humphrey Bogart LOST for his role in Casablanca.  OMG!!

3. 1999 – Shakespeare in Love  was a fine movie, with great costumes but did you expect it to beat out Saving Private Ryan?  I mean really? Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns????

4. 2002 – Who beat out Nicholas Cage, Jack Nicholson, Daniel  Day-Lewis, and Michael Caine for Best Actor?  Adrien Brody! He was relatively unknown compared to the heavy-hitters he was up against.  If his win was a surprise, imagine what Halle Berry was thinking when he grabbed her and planted a great big kiss on her mouth and when they tried to stop his acceptance speech, he said NO. Then gave an anti-war speech and received a standing ovation for it.

5. 1994 – Schindler’s List won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing and 5 more Best categories, BUT Ralph Fiennes did NOT win Best Actor.  Tommy Lee Jones took the top prize with his role in The Fugitive.  Jones was good as a cop but seriously?  Fiennes was Oscar-worthy as the odious Nazi, Amon Goth.  I can only imagine how awful that night was for him as Schindler’s List racked up win after win.

6. 1991 – It was not a good night for Goodfellows!  Dances With Wolves snapped up the Best Picture Award.  The other nominees were Godfather Part III, Awakenings and Ghost.  And yet another “you lose” for Martin Scorcese.

7. 1942 – Only time will tell and it did…How Green Was My Valley won Best Picture over……are you ready? Citizen Kane!  Consistently on the top of greatest movie lists for years, in 1998 AFI declared Citizen Kane to be the number one greatest movie ever! Better late than never??

8.1977 – Should we have been surprised when a feel-good-loser-wins-in-the-end-against-all-odds movie punched its way to Best Picture and in doing so knocked out Taxi Driver and All The President’s Men? YES! OMG, Taxi Driver? DeNiro?

9. 1993- This was the night the wild card entry won! Marisa Tomei played the sassy and saucy Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny.  And Vanessa Redgrave and Miranda Richardson went home empty-handed.

10. 2010– No list of Oscar upsets would be complete without mentioning Kathryn Bigelow.  She was the first female to win Best Director for The Hurt Locker and truly upset her ex-husband James Cameron who was the favorite to win with Avatar!

Academy Awards night has been full of surprises and upsets many times over and this list is by no means complete.  Perhaps I can post another list before the big night!

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Finished key lime pie.

Key Lime Pie

Ok yes it is Tuesday and I THOUGHT this week was going to be better in terms of getting things done on time.  Somehow, self-discipline is slipping away as a very late spring and summer state of mind take hold!  I know it sounds as if I just made up that excuse, I think I just did.  I am feeling a bit out of control lately and know I need to inject some what? some self-discipline? some exercise? YES to all but basically to go to bed earlier to get up earlier and then the day seems to just go better.  I would like to blame my spouse for most of the time/sleep problems and I do believe he is at the root of the problem, I know I must own my own behavior in these areas.  Well now that we have that settled, here are Monday’s Six Word Memoirs and there are only a couple.

Key lime pie is sooooo good! – Heather

Florida beckoning, hope I don’t melt – Susan Celtic Lady

Stress is contagious, so “they” say – Me

Trying to get back on track – Me

I’m reaching out to all of you in my cyberspace and asking that you send in those SIX WORDS  that sum  up your day, your week, your life, your dreams, your passions, your loves, your problems.  I NEED your input and if you will just help me out a little in this area, I’m going to try to get back on track and keep the posts coming as I originally intended and promised. So there!!

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Six-Word Memoir book cover image

"The Book"

One Life, Six Words, What’s Yours?  The quest continues and the challenge remains – can you? Will you? – try to put your life into just six words, no more, no less!  Well my life, you say, is way too big and complex to distill into six words! Maybe, maybe not.  Some GREAT writers have done and each week I post about 5 Six Word Memoirs from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning. 

Some weeks we focus on a theme and this week’s was supposed to be about FOOD, our love of, our abstinence from, from taste sensations to tasty tidbits and tasty recipes and of course the throes of dieting. WHATEVER you are thinking or feeling about food is your source of a Six Word Memoir.

This is what I received last week:

A pinch of this and that – Heather

Packing my bags. The adventure continuesWeez

Far away California, grandkids, Jersey coast – Heide

Diet ice cream flavor? Green Tea! – Me

And from the above-referenced book…

I hope to outlive my regrets. – Bob Logan

All night phone calls complete me – Harry Manning

Texas childhood can lead to wisdom – Kristen Ahlemeier-Olfe

Sweet life, good sons – I’m rich –  Roger Waggener

Barrister, barista, what’s the diff, Mom? –Abigail Moorhouse

Ok readers, I’m going to try again and this one is for EVERYONE! Mother’s Day is around the corner, let’s sum up Mom in SIX WORDS!

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Oscar icon

"Hello Gorgeous"!

Everybody has jumped into the game!  Predictions are coming in from far and wide, expected and unexpected.  Who doesn’t have an opinion?  Well of course I do…From My Point of View.

Who deserves it?  Who is getting a popularity vote?  How much is insider Hollywood politics playing a role?  Is it a case of money talks and walks away with the Oscar? Is it just a crap shoot?  Does anyone really believe that BEST is really the best?  Tomorrow night we’ll all find out.  Oscar parties abound, champagne and popcorn are my favorite combination to celebrate!  Although in past years we have gone the whole movie candy route too, Junior Mints and all!!

Okay, OK, onto the predictions of this opinionated blogger.

BEST PICTURE: The King’s SpeechHands down, this will win.   It’s gotten the hype, the buzz and the right cast to win.  Only real contenders were True Grit and Social Network. True Grit because the Coen brothers never make anything but excellent films and Social Network because the subject matter is so NOW and Jesse Eisenberg was fantastic.

BEST ACTOR: Colin FirthExtraordinary embodiment of the character and as an actor he is extremely versatile and a great risk-taker.  Flapping his gums and rolling around the floor, Colin proves once again, the depth and breadth of the excellent training Brittish actors receive.

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman Young as she is and up against veteran Annette Benning, I believe  Natalie will take it.  Very popular movie, the dieting, the work, the pregnancy and the engagement all add up to beating out Annette whose role was not a stretch for her by any means.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian Bale This is the only movie of the 10 that I didn’t see but I have read enough about the movie and the role and know Geoffrey Rush is keen competition but I don’t think the Academy is going to have The King’s Speech walk away with every award and also Christian apparently was superb in this difficult role.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Melissa Leo This IS a really tough call because there’s been so much buzz around Hailee Steinfeld and the Academy loves to honor up and coming actors in this category.  Conventional wisdom says Melissa will win but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hailee is called up front and center.

BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher Going out on a limb here because it isn’t often that the Oscar for Best Director goes to other than the Director of Best Picture.  However, Finch is overdue and is more like recent winners in this category.  Not quite a toss-up but we’ll see.

Those are my top picks; I think Best Editing will go the Social Network , I think Costume Design will go to Jennie Beaven although I think Collen Atwood SHOULD win for Alice in Wonderland. Best Adapted Screenplay-Social Network. Best Original Screenplay-The King’s Speech.

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The Pageant Of Childhood

Image via Wikipedia

The day is quickly slipping awayMe 

My days/life so often feel like they’re quickly slipping away that I decided I should begin this blog with my own Six Word Memoir.

And from some faithful readers:

Bought ski pass -now love snow! – Anonymous

A birthday again I am blessed – Rachel

Snow, snow, melt, sleet, more snow – Susan in the Grove

And from the “book”…

Soul’d out so I could prophet – Gotham Chopra

Strange name. Transparent shame. Instant fame – Bumble Ward

In the office. It smells here. –Meera Parthasarathy

I am trying in every regard – Lionel Shriver

Birth, Childhood, Adolescence, Adolescence, Adolescence, Adolescence… – Jim Gladstone

Happiest when ignoring huge financial debt – Ayanna Bryan

Looking forward to hearing from a few more readers next week.

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BEST?  BEST?? – Oh what have we come to?  To what depths of mediocrity have we sunk?  TEN!!!  There haven’t been 10 BEST MOVIE possibilities since the 70’s and even then, not all in one year!!!  WHY? WHAT FOR?  What’s this all about?  politics? lobbyists for the producers? $$$???

  1. INCEPTIONI already reviewed this movie way back when it was released.  I think it belongs in the list of nominees if only for its bizarro concept.  It was confusing at times and you didn’t know what was the dream-like altered state of mind and what was real.  MMMmm who knew INCEPTION’s fantasy versus reality would only be the beginning of a movie season filled with UN-reality!  See prior blog INCEPTION-What’s All the Twitter About? .
  2. THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT: Warmly received at Sundance , Ms. Cholodenko’s third feature has the same narrative motor as Laurel Canyon and High Art sexual attraction! The first two were obliquely personal but this one draws more directly on Ms. Cholodenko’s life.  She co-wrote the movie with Stuart Blumberg, who interestingly enough had been a sperm donor in his youth – “art imitating life”??
  3. THE FIGHTER: David Russell’s Best Picture nominated film is NOT another Rocky or Cinderella Man.  It is the true life story of Mickey Ward,  a welterweight boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts.  Most movies about athletic conquest lend themselves to the dramatic side of cinema but The Fighter is more like a dark comedy about the delusions and realities of fame, fortune and success in America. Definitely “a contender”.
  4. SOCIAL NETWORK: Another film I previously reviewed, see prior blog, The Social Network .  You know,  this was a very entertaining movie.  In this day and age who under the age of _____ wouldn’t want a peek into the founder of Facebook’s life.  I know I was interested and I am most surely a woman of a certain age.  Facebook is everywhere and that buzz alone could usher it into first place.   I love the movie and the story and I love Jesse Eisenberg but Best Picture?  It was my understanding that the Best Movie winner should really be a BEST movie, not just a popular one.
  5. BLACK SWAN: Even the director  says the movie is weird!  A dark fantasy about a ballerina whose pursuit of perfection takes her to the edge of madness, death and perfectly choreographed oblivion.  The louder the score, the more intense the craziness – definitely the love-it hate-it movie of the year.
  6. THE KING’S SPEECH: It’s a good film, it doesn’t take you as far as it should, that’s my main problem with it.  The performances are brilliant and convincing and that alone may be enough to win the big prize.  Read my review in a prior blog post. The King’s Speech or Rather the Lack Thereof.
  7. TRUE GRIT: Joel and Ethan Coen; that says A LOT.  Let’s face it – they wouldn’t have made it if they didn’t think they could do it differently and maybe better.  Casting is great, the story is great, and as far as the acting; Hailee Steinfeld makes an impressive debut, Matt Damon didn’t get the nod for his part and Jeff Bridges, while always a favorite, might have taken this role over the top sometimes.  It’s in the top four as far as I’m concerned.
  8. TOY STORY 3: The third installment of what has become the Toy Story Trilogy, spaced out over 15 years.  Pixar is genius and in this movie, many more technological innovations are at play (no pun intended).  The movie is warm, touching and sweet yet it’s about plastic and polyester doo dads, stamped and molded.  There’s the genius; about our consumer economy, the ups and downs of our materialistic way of life as told through the eyes and mouths of the commodities themselves.  Genius YES, Best Picture NO.
  9. 127 HOURS: Between a rock and a hard place was never so true.  I only watched this movie because it was nominated, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I love watching movies and ALWAYS get caught up in the story, I NEVER remember “it’s only a movie”, although Peter does remind me sometimes when I am freaking out in my seat over some horror. Sooooo after covering my eyes during the big scene, my take on the film is this:  If I didn’t know it was a true story, I would find it hard to believe. Aron Ralston was a warrior, a young man in incredibly great shape and of a strong mind. Note that I didn’t say sound mind.  I found Danny Boyle‘s split and triplex screens a little overdone and although I understood why he kept shooting this inside of the water bottle, I think we could have gotten the message with less footage.  James Franco performed the equivalent of several Shakespearean soliloquies.  I wonder if it is harder to act alone? This is not a BEST Picture but Franco is very very good and although I don’t think he can beat out Colin Firth, you never know…..
  10. WINTER’S BONE: I wish I had been able to see this movie before I wrote this blog but as life would have it, I didn’t-Thursday came and I wanted to put the TEN nominated films in my Thursday’s Top Ten and sooooooo I will try to catch before we get into Oscar countdown and my predictions.
  11. Between a rock and a hard place, James Franco, Danny Boyle

    Good but not Best

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