Friday, January 31, 2014


Unlike most movies that take place in space, Gravity is not science fiction. Alfonso Cuarón set out to make a "love song to space" and the drama of the film depicts space as a metaphor for human life. The film is based on a story by Cuarón's son Jonás and the two co-wrote the screenplay. Cuarón and his team pre-visualized the entire movie, shot for shot, to create the environment of space. The work took two years to complete before the actors arrived on set. Using an animation technique, each shot was blocked, timed and the actors key-framed prior to filming. The Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki invented a "Light Box" of 196 panels with 4096 LEDs each to create how light from the sun reflected off the Earth would realistically look in space. A computer-controlled camera on a robot arm filmed the action in the more than 20 foot tall and 10 foot wide box. A trademark of Cuarón's films are long, continuous, sweeping shots. The filmmakers began using what Lubezki called "elastic shots" to create extended floating sequences where the camera, actor and scene would rotate and roll around one another giving the feeling and dimensions of space. The use of 3D in the final product is restrained and sophisticated. Cuarón uses technology as a true artist. The technology makes the movie possible but does not dictate it.
The Oscar nominations for Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Directing and Best Picture are very deserving. With a total of ten nominations, Gravity is tied with 12 Years A Slave for the most nominations. The music of the film is as haunting as the imagery and the nomination for Steven Price's Score is equally fitting. Sandra Bullock faces uncommon acting challenges in Gravity. There are only seven acting credits for the entire film. All but Bullock and George Clooney are voice credits. Her character is mostly alone and the movie takes place in an environment created by technology. Dialogue also had to be perfectly timed to the pre-visualization process. Perhaps she makes it look easy, but the role seems more difficult than her Oscar winning role in the Blind Side. Bullock won Best Actress only a few years ago in 2010. Frontrunner Cate Blanchett won back in 2005 for Best Supporting Actress in the Aviator and has not won for a lead role. George Clooney oozes George Clooney-ness in his brief appearance in the film. It is clear why he did not receive a supporting actor nomination. He is playing himself in a space suit and it is fabulous.

Monday, January 27, 2014

August: Osage County

Based on the play by Tracy Letts and written for the screen by Letts, August: Osage County showcases the unplanned reunion of the volatile Weston family. August: Osage County is a deeply, dark glimpse of certifiably insane dysfunction. It is a great movie but if dysfunctional families and black comedy-drama are not your cup of tea, you will not enjoy this movie. It is difficult to discuss many details of the film without taking away from the experience of seeing it. It rivals the Wolf of Wall Street in its use of the f-word. The movie is full of fascinating characters, some more sympathetic than others, and is rich with shocking dialogue. I had never been in an audience that gasped in unison together before seeing this film.
The fantastic, large ensemble cast makes the movie and it may just be one of the best casts period. Each actor was so well cast for every part. The cast includes Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, Benedict Cumberbatch, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Misty Upham and Sam Shepard. Each character plays a vital role in the plot and tapestry of the film. In small ways, with a facial expression or a shrug, the actors anchor what would otherwise be caricature. In particular, the pain that Juliette Lewis' character tries to hide with people pleasing and delusion is seen but never discussed. Even the more minor characters are multi-dimensional, which makes it believable. Without that palpability, it would be too dark to watch. Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep are both nominated for Oscars for their acting as the towering matriarchs of the Weston family. While neither are frontrunners in their categories, in the hands of lesser actresses, the drama of the movie could be over-the-top. I was always very love/hate in my opinions of Julie Roberts but after seeing this film, any crazy future behavior notwithstanding, I love her without question. I had a similar experience seeing Jennifer Garner in Juno.

John Wells directed the movie; he is best known for his work on ER. Funnily enough, George Clooney is among the producers of the film. I am surprised that the music of the film did not receive recognition. The score by Gustavo Santaolalla is strong (he won Oscars two years in a row for Brokeback Mountain and Babel) as is the music, notably, "Last Mile Home" by Kings of Leon. The movie has the feel of a play. The credits convey the tone of a curtain call. I would very much like to see a stage production of August: Osage County. Given that the original play won a Pulitzer and several Tony Awards, it is unexpected that a nomination  was not received for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Letts was nominated by the Writers Guild of America for the adaptation. As the screenplay was written by the original playwright, little seems to be lost in the transition from stage to screen. Favorite quote, in context, as delivered by Julia, "You don't want to break s*** with me motherf***er!"

I love a good dysfunctional family comedy. Check out this list of the 25 Great Movies About Terribly Dysfunctional Families that was compiled before the holidays. I have seen all but four of the movies and three are among my all-time favorites (Home for the Holidays, The Family Stone and The Royal Tenenbaums). August: Osage County is only missing from the list because when the list was amassed the film had not yet been released.

SNL was getting in on the Oscar fun this past weekend with host Jonah Hill. The antics included a visit from Leonardo DiCaprio and a spoof of the movie Her. See the parody trailer here. I could not help but think of the Wolf of Wall Street when a scene with Jonah Hill took place at Benihana.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 Directors Guild Awards

Prior to the 66th Annual Directors Guild ceremony tonight, the race for Best Picture was very close between Gravity, 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle. The DGA were not televised but were hosted by Jane Lynch at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Ben Affleck, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Don Cheadle, Kerry Washington, Anna Kendrick, Steve Coogan and Bill Hader were all scheduled presenters. The guild honors directing achievement in film and television. Alfonso Cuarón won Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Gravity. Interestingly enough, at the DGA, each nominated director for feature film gives a Feature Film Nomination Presentation. Basically they each give an acceptance speech just for being nominated. Winners and nominees for all categories are listed below.
It should also be noted that at the 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards last Sunday, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave tied for Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures. Basically, the Best Picture equivalent of that ceremony. The guilds are very interesting because while not as well know as the Golden Globes, the membership in the guilds overlaps with the voting branches of the Academy. In the nomination process, actors vote in the four acting categories, directors for Best Director, make-up artists for Best Hair and Make-up, etc and everyone votes for Best Picture. The guilds can be a much more accurate predictor of the winners that the Academy will select. In the previous 24 years of PGA Awards, the guild has correctly matched the eventual Best Picture winner 17 times (including Argo last year). The PGA Awards use a preferential ballot system to crown a winner much like the Academy. The Directors Guild gave Best Director to Ben Affleck for Argo last year and it was part of the whole brouhaha about him not being nominated for a Best Director Oscar. In the 65 year history of the DGA awards, the winner has failed to also take home the Best Director Oscar only seven times. Argo ultimately won Best Picture last year and as a producer of the film, Affleck still got his Oscar and an acceptance speech on the Oscar stage. Only time will tell if Cuarón will win Best Director and if the guild wins will accurately predict a win for Gravity for Best Picture. I think at this point American Hustle and the other nominees are out. It will continue to be a close race between 12 Years A Slave and Gravity.

Nominee and Winners List:
WINNER Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
David O Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Zachary Heinzerling, Cutie and the Boxer
WINNER Jehane Noujaim, The Square
Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing
Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell
Lucy Walker, The Crash Reel

Mark Cendrowski, The Big Bang Theory (for the episode "The Hofstadter Insufficiency")
Bryan Cranston, Modern Family (for the episode "The Old Man and the Tree)
Gail Mancuso, Modern Family (for the episode "My Hero")
WINNER Beth McCarthy-Miller, 30 Rock (for the episode "Hogcock/Last Lunch")
Anthony Rich, The Big Bang Theory (for the episode "The Love Spell Potential")

Matthew Bartley, The Biggest Loser
WINNER Neil P DeGroot, 72 Hours
Paul Starkman, Top Chef
J Rupert Thompson, The Hero
Bertram van Munster, The Amazing Race

Louis CK, Louis CK: Oh My God
Joel Gallen, 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Louis J. Horvitz, The 55th Annual Grammy Awards
Don Mischer, The 85th Annual Academy Awards
WINNER Glenn Weiss, The 67th Annual Tony Awards

Stephen Herek, Jinxed
Jeffrey Hornaday, Teen Beach Movie
Jonathan Judge, Swindle
WINNER Amy Schatz, An Apology to Elephants
Adam Weissman, A.N.T. Farm

Dave Diomedi, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Andy Fisher, Jimmy Kimmel Live
Jim Hoskinson, The Colbert Report
WINNER Don Roy King, SNL
Chuck O'Neil, The Daily Show

Stephen Frears, Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight
David Mamet, Phil Spector
Beth McCarthy-Miller and Rob Ashford, The Sound of Music Live!
Nelson McCormick, Killing Kennedy
WINNER Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (for the episode "Blood Money")
David Fincher, House of Cards (for the episode "Chapter 1")
WINNER Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad (for the episode "Felina")
Lesli Linka Glatter, Homeland (for the episode "The Star")
David Nutter, Game of Thrones (for the episode "The Rain of Castamere")

Fredrik Bond, "Voyage" for Heineken and "From the Future" for Johnny Walker
John X Carey, "Real Beauty Sketches" for Dove
WINNER Martin de Thurah, "The Man Who Couldn't Slow Down" for Hennessy and "Human Race" for Acura
Matthijs van Heijningen, "Perfect Day" for Playstation and "48" for Verizon"
Noam Murro, "Basketball" for Guinness and "Kids" for DIRECTV and "Mask" for VW
Franklin J Schaffner Achievement Award: Vincent DeDario (presented by Keith Jackson)
Robert B Aldrich Award for Service: Steven Soderbergh
Frank Capra Achievement Award: Lee Blaine
Diversity Award: Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Her is the story of a lonely man who purchases a new operating system with artificial intelligence and proceeds to have a romantic relationship with the OS. Myself and other patrons frequently were moved to say out loud, this is weird. There is something to be said for what a challenge it must have been for Joaquin Phoenix to act alone as his character Theodore interacts with only the voice of Scarlett Johansson. Amy Adams gives a strong performance as she does in anything she appears in. Olivia Wilde and Rooney Mara also make solid performances of their supporting roles. Chris Pratt is a comic bright spot as Theodore's coworker.
Some noticeable costuming choices were made. Joaquin Phoenix is almost always seen wearing a bright orange. The men very obviously all wear high waisted wool pants for no explicable or symbolic reason. Amy Adam's character has unkempt hair and dresses very plainly. These clearly intentional choices do not have any clear purpose or association with the characters.

It is understandable from an industry perspective why the Academy nominated Spike Jonze's original screenplay. It is a unique idea and a probable look at the near future technologically speaking. However, it is not very well written. The movie is full of stereotypical male and female interactions. It is quite emotionally manipulative and several characters make big philosophical proclamations that do not ring true. It is an interesting idea to contemplate. For a moment, not two hours. Perhaps because I came of age during the Terminator era, artificial intelligence evolving seems more like impending doom than a possible relationship. The movie does paint a scary picture of personal relationships that texting and social media could devolve human interaction into. The guy who is having a relationship with his computer has the career of writing other people's personal letters. Putting pen to paper is a dying art now and it is another odd piece that does not quite fit. To think that people would pay to have someone write letters to their spouses and children for them is so empty. It is another way that interpersonal relationships are portrayed as manufactured in the movie. As strange and unlikely as the situations seem, there seems to be a therapeutic aspect to the character's interactions with their OSs.

The film's Best Picture nomination seems unwarranted. While not my new favorite movie, Her is certainly better than the movie Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for last year, The Master. That was a truly terrible movie and I am happy to report I could not even remember the name of it without consulting imdb. The other nominations the film received are for score, original song and production design. These acknowledgements seem more substantiated.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club is the true story of how Ron Woodroof dealt with his HIV diagnosis in 1985. The first known profile of Woodroof was done in 1992 in the Dallas Morning News when Bill Minutaglio interviewed him. An interview with Minutaglio can be found here. The story caught the eye of Craig Borten, one of the film's screenwriters. Borten interviewed Woodroof for three days and the movie took roughly twenty years to be made. Along with the attention and honors that the film has received, there are now those that question the accuracy of the portrayal of Woodroof. Such is the plight of most bio pics and true story Oscar noms. A movie can be informative, shed light, and bring attention to an issue. Film is first an art form and a medium for entertainment. I take a movie for what it is and at its best intention. The poster does say inspired by a true story. The film is a great character study with strong acting performances. 
The movie received six Oscar nominations, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, editing, make-up and hair, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. McConaughey and Leto are the frontrunners for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Both have won the Golden Globe, Critics Choice and SAG Awards in their categories. McConaughey's performance fits well with his persona as the ultimate Texan. The accolades he is receiving seem to be at least in part for his extreme weight loss and physical transformation. Leto is heartbreakingly good. Jennifer Garner is also excellent as a doctor who treats both. The last three Oscar movies that I have seen have three common themes, lots of sex, lots of drugs and federal agents (American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club).

And on this, my 33rd birthday, I have discovered that I share a birthday with Diane Lane, John Hurt, Olivia d'Abo, Linda Blair, Guy Fieri, Balthazar Getty and Katie Finneran. And I've always know that I shared it with Patty Stoeck and Stacy Lizzo.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street

The three hour length film does not seem that long upon viewing. From one extreme scene to another sight of debauchery, it holds your attention. It would be distractingly offensive if it were not so sharply written and clearly not serious. Based on the book by real life main character, Jordan Belfort, Leonardo DiCaprio gives a manic performance as narrator and ring master to the shenanigans. The Wolf of Wall Street received five Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor for DiCaprio, Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill, director and adapted screenplay. There is a huge cast. Margot Robbie is captivating as Belfort's wife. Jon Bernthal is almost unrecognizable and Kyle Chandler, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Matthew McConaughey, and Joanna Lumley all make big impacts with their small roles. All the merry idiots Belfort employs are seamlessly cast as well.
Martin Scrosese has the established career and the talent to pull off such a romp. With his partnering with DiCaprio they manage to pull off such elements as breaking the fourth wall, having Belfort speak directly to the audience, characters speaking telepathically to one another, and much of the movie is narrated. In the hands of a lesser director, the movie would be schlock. Do not see this film with mixed company, it is full of drugs and orgies. And orgies of drugs. A record 506 f-bombs in a R rated movie. Dicaprio's full dedication to the role and lack of any sign of hesitation is also responsible for the success of the picture. Not likely to win any Oscars, the five nominations are the movies reward. The victims of the real life Belfort are non to pleased with the attention and lack of their own restitution. That's Hollywood baby.

Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Critics Choice Awards

A lesser know award show, the Critics Choice Awards aired on the CW Thursday January 16th. The actors and filmmakers continue on their award season campaigns as they walk the red carpet. The results give hints to the outcome of the Academy just as the various Guild Awards do. This year the Writers Guild winners will not be announced until the day before the Oscars on March 1st. The Independent Spirit Awards always take place the night before the Oscars. The Directors Guild winners are announced January 25th. The BATFA Awards, the British Oscar equivalent, are Sunday February 16th.
While there are many additional categories in the Critics Choice Awards, the main awards seem to compare with the results of the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. The winners reiterate the frontrunner status of Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Cate Blanchett seems to be the frontrunner for Blue Jasmine as well. 12 Years A Slave has the buzz to be in the lead for the Best Picture Oscar. Spike Jonze has a good shot at the Best Original Screenplay statue with wins at both the Critics Choice and Golden Globes.

Nominee and Winners List:
WINNER 12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
The Wolf of Wall Street

WINNER Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Robert Redford, All Is Lost

WINNER Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks

WINNER Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Daniel Brühl, Rush
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini, Enough Said

WINNER Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Scarlett Johansson, Her
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler

WINNER American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels' The Butler
The Wolf of Wall Street

WINNER Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color
Asa Butterfield, Ender's Game
Liam James, The Way Way Back
Sophie Nélisse, The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan, Mud

WINNER Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze for Her
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell for American Hustle
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

WINNER Her, Spike Jonze
American Hustle, Eric Warren Singer, David O Russell
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen
Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Nebraska, Bob Nelson

WINNER 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley
August: Osage County, Tracy Letts
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Captain Phillips, Billy Ray
Philomena, Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

WINNER Lone Survivor
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness

WINNER Mark Wahlberg, Lone Survivor
Henry Cavill, Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr, Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt, World War Z

WINNER Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow, Iron Man 3


WINNER American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World's End

WINNER Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Christian Bale, American Hustle
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Simon Pegg, The World's End
Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back

WINNER Amy Adams, American Hustle
Sandra Bullock, The Heat
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy, The Heat

WINNER Gravity
The Conjuring
World War Z
Star Trek Into Darkness

WINNER Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past

WINNER 20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim's Vermeer

WINNER Frozen, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez "Let It Go"
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion "Atlas"
Despicable Me 2, Pharrell Williams "Happy"
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Bono "Ordinary Love"
Inside Llewyn Davis, T-Bone Burnett, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Justin Timberlake, George Cromaty, Ed Rush, "Please Mr. Kennedy"
The Great Gatsby, Lana Del Rey "Young and Beautiful"

WINNER Gravity, Steven Price
12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer
Her, Arcade Fire
Saving Mr Banks, Thomas Newman

WINNER Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners, Roger Deakins
12 Years a Slave, Sean Bobbitt

WINNER The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn
Gravity, Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin
Her, KK Barrett, Gene Serdena
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Dan Hennah, Ra Vincent
12 Years a Slave, Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker

WINNER Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker
American Hustle, Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers
Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse
The Wolf of Wall Street, Thelma Schoonmaker

WINNER The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
12 Years a Slave, Patricia Norris
Saving Mr Banks, Daniel Orlandi

WINNER American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
Lee Daniels' The Butler
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

WINNER Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek Into Darkness

Sunday, January 19, 2014

American Hustle

American Hustle is the hilarious, somewhat true story of two con artists paired up with a green FBI agent to catch fish bigger than them in order to avoid jail time. Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are all nominated for their work in the film. A definite ensemble piece, in addition to the four nominated actors, Jeremy Renner, Louis CK, Michael Peña and Elisabeth Rohm give stellar performances. The hair, make-up, costuming, sets and music all capture the 1970s. Bale, known for his transformations into his roles, has a unique and humorous look.
Each of the nominated actors have won or been nominated for their roles in previous David O Russell pictures. Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook and Bale for the Fighter. Cooper was nominated last year for Silver Linings Playbook and Adams for the Fighter. American Hustle is nominated for ten Oscars, four for acting, production design, costume design, editing, directing, original screenplay and best picture. Only Gravity received as many nominations. No current sure things but with that many nominations they are bound to walk away with at least a couple of technical awards. The acting categories seem to be headed for Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club and Lupita Nyong'o has a strong lead in the Best Supporting Actress category for 12 Years A Slave. Best Actress is an open race, with Cate Blanchett picking up early honors at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Sandra Bullock seems the critical favorite to win for her work in Gravity. Adams is the only one not to have won before in the category so a win for her would be great.

The imbd page for American Hustle is unique in that it has a full format and layout, complete with cast photos and video clips. This is the first time an imdb entry was customized for the project, not just ads behind the homepage. It will be interesting to see if this is a new feature to the website.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 SAG Awards

The Screen Actors Guild Awards are about actors honoring their peers and celebrating the importance of their unions. The ceremony opens with actors telling a story of how they got their SAG card and each concludes with, I am an actor. Last year the speeches were fairly weak. This year, they were much stronger. First to go, the eternally youthful Rob Lowe and also Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco. Lupita Nyong'o was delightful in her acceptance of the Female Actor in a Supporting Role, the first award of the night. She told the story of telling her father she got the role in 12 Years A Slave. She asked him, "Do you know Brad Pitt?" His reply, "Not personally, but I am glad you got a job." Jared Leto gave a better speech than he gave at the Globes. He is working his way up to that big Oscar acceptance speech. Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her actor in character. Ty Burrell won Male Actor in a Comedy Series, as did the cast of Modern Family for Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Rita Moreno was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Morgan Freeman. He pointed out that she is one of the eleven performers to "EGOT" (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar Tony) but the only one to have many other honors, including the National Medal of Arts, ALMA and Golden Globe Awards. She was hilarious in her speech and even dropped an f-bomb as she took the stage.

The final season of Breaking Bad was once again honored with Actors to Bryan Cranston for Male Actor in a Drama Series and the cast for Ensemble in a Drama Series. Male Actor in a Leading Role went to Matthew McConaughey. He needs to work on his speech for it to be a good one come the Oscars. American Hustle won for Cast in a Motion Picture. A full list of winners is listed after red carpet coverage.
Julia Roberts looked fantastic in a bright pink Valentino jumpsuit. Jennifer Garner wore a classic look in a Max Mara column gown with train and matching David Webb earrings. Newcomer and Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong'o stunned in a bright turquoise Gucci gown with Fred Leighton jewelry. Nyong'o is quickly making a name for herself for her award winning acting and her fashion on the red carpet. The asymmetrical blue Antonio Berardi Amy Adams wore was great. Sandra Bullock's green Lanvin was beautiful. The silver Donna Karan Atelier Sofia Vergara wore was gorgeous. Anna Gunn had the best accessory of the night, her custom Breaking Bad logo Edie Parker box clutch, paired with a sequin-embellished midnight-blue Monique Lhuliler gown.

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
MALE ACTOR IN A TV MOVIE OR MINISERIES Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Oscar Nominations

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth announced the nominees this morning at 5am Pacific time. American Hustle and Gravity have the most nominations each with ten and 12 Years A Slave follows with nine nominations. No nominations for the Butler, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Oprah or Emma Thompson. For two years in a row the casts of David O Russell films have been nominated in all four of the acting categories.
It is a good solid mix this year and no surprises. It is the typical mix of critical faves that have scored with audiences as well: American Hustle, Gravity, and the Wolf of Wall Street, along side the critical and independence darlings like Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Nebraska.

The Oscars are Sunday, March 2nd on ABC and will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

And the nominees are...

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

David O Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell, American Hustle
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze, Her
Bob Nelson, Nebraska

"Alone Yet Not Alone" Alone Yet Not Alone; music by Bruce Broughton, lyrics by Dennis Spiegel
"Happy" Despicable Me 2; music and lyrics by Pharrell Williams
"Let It Go" Frozen; music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
"The Moon Song" Her; music by Karen O, lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze
"Ordinary Love" Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; music by Paul Hewson, Dan Evans, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen, aka U2; lyrics by Paul Hewson, aka Bono

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest and Celestine
The Wind Rises

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom

The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
Omar, Palestine

John Williams, The Book Thief
Steven Price, Gravity
William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her
Alexandre Desplat, Philomena
Thomas Newman, Saving Mr Banks

Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
Roger A Deakins, Prisoners

Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration), American Hustle
Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration), Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration), The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration), Her
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration), 12 Years a Slave

Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, Dallas Buyers Club
Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, The Lone Ranger

Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster
Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
Michael O’Connor, The Invisible Woman
Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave

Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten, American Hustle
Christopher Rouse, Captain Phillips
John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa, Dallas Buyers Club
Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger, Gravity
Joe Walker, 12 Years a Slave

Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould, Gravity
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick, Iron Man 3
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier, The Lone Ranger
Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton, Star Trek Into Darkness

Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro, Captain Phillips
Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro, Gravity
Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland, Inside Llewyn Davis
Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow, Lone Survivor

Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns, All Is Lost
Oliver Tarney, Captain Phillips
Glenn Freemantle, Gravity
Brent Burge, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Wylie Stateman, Lone Survivor

Facing Fear
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
The Voorman Problem

Get a Horse!
Mr Hublot
Room on the Broom

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014 Golden Globes

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened with a solid monologue though nothing really groundbreaking. Emma Thompson was hilarious as presenter for Best Screenplay. She arrived on stage carrying her shoes with a martini in the other hand. When Amy Poehler won for Parks and Rec she was sitting on Bono's lap and proceeded to make-out with him. Matt Damon is the new drinking game to take the place of Martin Scorsese from the 2012 award season. Woody Allen did not appear to accept his Cecil B DeMille Award. Diane Keaton accepted it on his behalf. Breaking Bad won Best TV Drama as did Bryan Cranston. Andy Samberg won for Best Actor in a TV Comedy and his show Brooklyn Nine-Nine won Best TV Comedy. Despite the adequate hosting delivery, as they are already signed on to host again next year, Tina and Amy will need to step it up. The way in which the Fey/Poehler duo introduced the presenter for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama, "like a supermodel's vagina, let's all give a warm welcome to Leonardo Dicaprio" was the best line of the night. It was met with a blackout delay and a looping of Dicaprio's first words on stage. I have not yet been able to locate what Dicaprio actually first said. There also seemed to be something that occurred when Drew Barrymore entered the stage to present that was evident to the studio audience but not the home audience.

As far as Oscar prognosticating goes, 12 Years A Slave and Dallas Buyer's Club seem to be the front runners for carryover success from the Golden Globes. Keep in mind, there is no crossover in the membership of the Hollywood Foreign Press that awards the Globes and that of the Academy that nominates and awards Oscars. Both Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence won for American Hustle and the actors and the films should receive several Oscar nominations.

The red carpet fashions are always part of the fun and excitement of any awards show and the Globes are the first prestigious one of the season. Taylor Schilling, first time nominee for Orange Is the New Black, wore a vibrant emerald green Thakoon dress. Amy Adams wore a red Valentino inspired by her character in American Hustle. Lena Dunham, we love your quirkiness, you are wonderfully talented, but good lord woman, hire a stylist, you need one. At least talk to Melissa Rauch about how to pull off a yellow gown. The teal, aquamarine, Calvin Klein Reese Witherspoon wore was a perfect cut for her and the color was very unique. Julia Roberts rocked a very Meryl Streep look in a Dolce and Gabbana ensemble that included a white, pressed dress shirt. Julie Bowen of Modern Family usually stuns on the red carpet but on a night of bright colors, her Carolina Herrera color-combo was a fail, though it did look better on stage. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler looked lovely, confident and ready to host in their red carpet looks. Fey was in Carolina Herrera and Poehler was in Stella McCartney.

The Oscar nominations will be announced in four days, Thursday, January 16th at 5am Pacific Standard time and the SAG Awards are live at 5pm Pacific Standard time Saturday, January 18th on TNT and TBS.

The Winners List:
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: Amy Adams, American Hustle
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Director, Motion Picture: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: American Hustle
Best Motion Picture, Drama: 12 Years a Slave
Best Original Score, Motion Picture: Alex Ebert, All Is Lost
Best Original Song, Motion Picture: U2, "Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture: Spike Jonze, Her
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen

Best Actress, TV Series, Comedy or Musical: Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Best Actor in a TV Series, Comedy or Musical: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Robin Wright, House of Cards
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Best TV Series, Drama: Breaking Bad
Best TV Series, Comedy: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Best TV Mini-Series or Movie: Behind the Candelabra
Best Actress, TV Movie or Miniseries: Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
Best Actor, TV Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Miniseries, Motion Picture Made for Television: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Miniseries, Motion Picture Made for Television: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge