Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars Recap.

I usually wait to post a post-Oscars account but I have some friends on the other side of the ocean that will read this in the AM so I want it published for them before I go to bed (yes, you Kayla.) 

Well I'm going to bed pretty happy. I predicted 20 out of 25 categories correct, which is around my average. I missed Production Design, Cinemantography, Sound Mixing, Film Editing and Music Score (although I really wanted Mychael Danna to win because I love him).  I got Costume Design correct for the first time! (I don't agree with the winner, but at least I predicted correctly!) Jennifer Lawrence is adorable. Daniel Day-Lewis is a beautiful human being. Seth MacFarlane is hilarious and Musicals RULE! And yes the whole ceremony was a little "gay," - GET OVER IT. 

My bones to pick:
1. Okay, everyone knew Adele was going to win Best Song (c'mon, she's Adele). But the other nominees needed to have their moment in the sun. 
2. Captain Kirk in the opening number? Really?
3. I totally predicted Barbra Streisand singing "The Way We Were" in the memoriam. But it really pisses me off when we tribute one person who died more than all the others. I love him, but really how can Marvin Hamlish deserve any more screen time than any other legend we lost (particularly Nora Ephron.)?
4. Seth, get off the stage. You were a fantastic host and then you sang a song about losers in the end. You were a winner until that moment. Also boob song and puppets - why?
5. Ang Lee over David Russell? Really?
6. Sorry Catherine Zeta Jones had to lipsync.
7. Sorry Russell Crowe can't sing on key. 
8. Who invited Kristen Stewart? Do you want to be an actress? You know half the world wants to be the Academy Awards presenting an award with Daniel Radcliffe? SHUT UP! LOOK HAPPY!
9. I want Meryl on the screen longer. She's my Queen. 
10. With the exception of when Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted, the show never seems that long. This year didn't seem long - but it was. Seriously it wasn't over until after midnight?

My loves:
1. Music Music Music - all of it was great. 
2. Charlize Theron can dance? seriously?
3. Thank you Jennifer Hudson for reminding us that America is an idiot for not making you our idol. Clearly we were wrong. 
4. Seth MacFarlane and Sally Field making out? Beautiful moment. 
5. Jennifer Lawrence being the most perfect 22 year old. Tripping over a dress. Doing shots before interviews. LOVE HER!
6. Ben Affleck getting his due and having a beautiful speech.
7. The reenactment of The Sound of Music! OMG!
8. Maybe I don't hate Daniel Day Lewis - gracious human being. 
9. Michelle Obama presented Best Picture. Ok, didn't see that coming. Well done producers. 
10. My predictions were exceptional this year. I last minute changed one but I didn't do it on my blog so I'll stand by my 20 out of 25 (but it was really 21 out of 25!)

Fashion picks:
Jane Fonda
Sally Field
Sandra Bullock 
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Aniston
Jessica Chastain
Amanda Seyfried

Fashion Fails:
Samuel L Jackson
Anne Hathaway
Zoe Saldana
Bradley Cooper's mom

I've been sitting on the couch for several hours now and I don't want it all to be over. But I guess I'll go to bed now (1am) See you all next year!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Emmanuelle Riva!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's that time of year again. That magical time where I lock myself in a room with a TV, plant myself on the couch, dominate the remote, and smile from ear to ear for several hours. Yes, it's Oscar night. This year will be an interesting year for the show. New host, new voting system and the possibility for many upsets.
As usual here are my predictions and my commentary with each award. I didn't see as many of the films this year as I would have liked, but nevertheless I have an opinion and here we go!

Best Actor: 
My Prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
There are a few categories that are shoe-ins this year and this is one of them.
Who'd I give it to: Daniel Day-Lewis.
Is anyone else nominated?

Best Actress:
My Prediction: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Lining's Playbook"
Other Nominees: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty," Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour," Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"
Okay, so this is one of the more interesting categories. For a long time everyone thought Jessica Chastain would win, then it was Jennifer Lawrence and now a lot of people think it will be Emmanuelle Riva. It really is still up in the air. The Academy loves honoring the older nominees who might not get another chance to win. Lawrence and Chastain's careers are just jumping off and there are plenty more nominations ahead of them, but not so much for Riva who will turn 86 today! But until the nominations, who had even heard of Riva? Also, wouldn't it be awesome if 9 year-old Quvenzhane wins?
Who I'd give it to: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Lining's Playbook"
I'm becoming a HUGE JLaw fan, and it started after seeing this movie. I cannot tell you how amazing of a movie it is. And she kills in this movie. Fingers crossed.

Best Supporting Actor:
My Prediction: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"
Other Nominees: Alan Arkin, "Argo," Robert De Niro, "Silver Lining's Playbook," Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master," Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
The producers would be smart to wait to do this category a little let in the ceremony. For the first time in Oscar history all the nominees in a category have been nominated once before! And there really isn't a shoe in. Or is there? Waltz has sweeped all the other awards but lately De Niro has been picking up some steam. He's done more press for Silver Linings Playbook than he has for any of his other movies. Also it's been 32 years since he won. Remember when Meryl Streep hadn't won in 29 years... I'm just saying.
But still usually when you sweep all the other awards you can pretty much go ahead and write your speech. But this will be a category I'm happy to be wrong about.
Who I'd give it to: Robert De Niro, "Silver Lining's Playbook"
Have you seen this movie? Enough said.

Best Supporting Actress:
My Prediction: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Other Nominees: Amy Adams, "The Master," Sally Field, "Lincoln," Helen Hunt, "The Sessions," Jacki Weaver, "Silver Lining's Playbook"
Well everyone knew Anne Hathaway was going to win back before the movie was even released. And rightly so. I'm not a fan of the movie personally, but you can't deny that Hathaway KILLED it. I'd personally love for Field to win, just because she's awesome and I can't deny the fact that I like her, but if anyone other than Hathaway wins it would be the biggest upset in Oscar history.
Who'd I give it to: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

Best Adapted Screenplay:
My Prediction: "Argo"
Other Nominees: "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Lining's Playbook"
I don't have a real guess with this one. But Argo has the momentum to win.

Best Original Screenplay:
My Prediction: "Django Unchained"
Other Nominees: "Amour," "Flight," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Zero Dark Thirty"
Quentin can't go unrecognized at this show, so here ya go. However, Zero Dark Thirty won the WGA...
Who'd I give it to: "Moonrise Kingdom"
This movie was awesome and it deserves more recognition than it got this year.

Best Animated Feature:
My Prediction: "Brave"
Other Nominees: "Frankenweenie," "ParaNorman," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits, "Wreck-It Ralph"
Who I'd give it to: "Brave"
"Brave" isn't as good as past Pixar movies, but it's still Pixar and can't do wrong.

Best Director:
My Prediction: David O. Russell, "Silver Lining's Playbook"
Other Nominees: Michael Hanke, "Amour," Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Ang Lee, "Life of Pi," Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Talk about unpredictable. When Ben Affleck didn't get nominated, it really rocked the world of award shows. He was won best director at every award show INCLUDING THE DGA! So it's anyone's guess who will win. But Lincoln was really the "Daniel Day-Lewis Show"no one cares about anyone else involved in the movie because Day-Lewis overshadowed them all. Ang Lee I'm sure did a great job (haven't seen Life of Pi yet), but he's already won. And Silver Lining's Playbook is amazing so I hope it wins.
Who I'd give it to: David O. Russell, "Silver Lining's Playbook"

Best Picture:
My Prediction: Argo
Other Nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, "Les Miserables" "Life of Pi,""Lincoln," "Silver Lining's Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty"
If Ben Affleck had gotten nominated for Best Director, this may be a different race. But everyone wants Affleck to have his day in the sun so let's give him the biggest honor we can. Best Picture trumps Best Director.
Who I'd give it to: "Silver Lining's Playbook"
I've only seen 3 of the 9 nominated movies this year, a record low for me. Lincoln was good, Les Mis was disappointing. Silver Lining's Playbook was an unexpected gem and it wins my Best Picture award.

Best Costume Design:
Because I work in costumes I always give my commentary of the category. I, embarrassingly, have never predicted this category correctly, but the Academy and I have very different opinions of what makes good design. Just because costumes are elaborate and spectacular, doesn't mean they are a good design. Nevertheless here is my prediction and opinion, whatever it's worth:
Who I'd give it to: "Les Miserables" - actually had good designs but they aren't pretty, so it can't win.
My Prediction: "Anna Karenina" - A pretty historical drama. Sounds like an Academy winner to me.

Other Category Predictions:
Cinematography: "Skyfall"
Film Editing: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Foreign Film: "Amour"
Make-Up and Hair: "Les Miserables"
Music (Original Score): "Lincoln"
Music (Original Song): "Skyfall" from "Skyfall"
Production Design: "Les Miserables"
Sound Editing: "Zero Dark Thirty"
Sound Mixing: "Skyfall"
Visual Effects: "Life of Pi"

I don't include Documentaries and Short Films in my predictions because I have no way of having a clue but here are my predictions whatever they are worth.
Documentary Feature: "Searching for Sugar Man"
Documentary Short: "Inocente"
Short Film (Animated): "Paper Man"
Short Film (Live Action): "Curfew"

Happy Oscar Day Everybody!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Samantha

Time heals all wounds. It’s a lie. Time only makes pain more tolerable. And then one little thing happens and the pain is as fresh as the day it started.

 Everyone has hard times; everyone has chapters in their lives they want to forget - I’m nothing special in that sense. I’m an open-book. Almost. There is one chapter that I don’t share openly. I’m not ashamed of it. But sometimes I feel as though talking about this time in my life is, in a way, bragging of my own sob story. Then it seems trivial, when it was anything but. Others have had harder times and my story isn’t very unique. But it is precious; therefore I shield it from judgment and harm because I don’t think anyone can really understand. But it has come to define me. It is my chapter, my life, my story.

 I remember when the age of 25 seemed old, but it’s not, it’s so young. We should be facing our quarter-life crises together, getting drunk at bars, worrying about money, and kissing men - not boys. But instead today is just another day where I’m left wondering about all the stories we never made. Samantha would be 25 today. My quarter-life crisis started when I was 21, the same time Samantha’s life ended.

 My emotions have become a brick wall when it comes to cancer. I am not fazed by it, nor am I saddened by the mention of it. It’s hardened me in a way that is unflattering, for I am unsympathetic towards cancer, an evil and indifferent disease. But almost everyone has been touched by cancer in one way or another, therefore I am not special, and those affected by the disease are no less deserving of my sympathy. I guess it’s made me bitter - that I had to live through it and witness its unmerciless attacks while my best friend had to die from it.

 My unflattering and emotionless brick wall may appear bitter, and it is. But it hides the sincere empathy I have for those that have the ill fate to be affected by the disease. I understand more than anyone really realizes. But I reserve and withhold my understanding and empathetic nature for fear that it will open up the wound of my loss and pour salt in it. That would simply be unbearable.

 And then the other day, while watching a silly television show, with an ill written cancer storyline, I burst into tears. An unimportant, minor character was discovered, frail and pale, in chemo treatment. The character had relapsed and all the old memories that I had buried were all on the surface again – or maybe they were already there because of her impending birthday. I remembered Samantha’s voice each time she told me she relapsed, what she looked like after weeks of treatment, my fears and my loss. And it was unbearable.

 It doesn’t get easier. I don’t cry as much, but I still think about it. Not the cancer – never the cancer. But I still think she’s a phone call away. There’s still a hole in my life where I know she would- should- be. How can it be four years since we turned 21? How do you get past losing a best friend?

 I carry Samantha with me everywhere. She’d love West Virginia, and St. Louis and even Danville. She would love the bars, the music, the dancing. She’d tell me my jokes are horrible and kick my ass in the gym. She’d tell me to get over my broken heart and then kill the boy that broke it. She’d also tell me the truth, that the guys I waste time on don’t deserve me. She’d be sympathetic when I didn’t deserve it, loud when I am quiet. She wouldn’t put up with any shit and wouldn’t linger on the unnecessary or unwanted.

 Sometimes, I think I romanticize her memory, but she wasn’t perfect. She’d speak without thinking. She had horrible taste in boys. She liked crappy romance movies like Tristan & Isolde, The Lake House. She took terrible care of her car. She didn’t always give people second chances. She had a hard time saying “no.” Jokes sometimes had to be explained her. But she was smart, she was fun, and she was kind. She needed me as much as I needed her – which is my favorite quality in a true friend.

 She was fierce. She was loyal. She was human.
And I miss her.

 “Remember that the pain of parting from friends will be felt by everybody at times, whatever be their education or state. Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience. Or give it a more fascinating name: call it hope.”