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Taking Home Oscar for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd time

6 Mar

Now that we’re a full week+ removed from the 85th Academy Awards, I wanted to throw up a gratuitous pic of the acting winners, along with some interesting facts about each!


Some fun facts abou each of this year’s acting winners:

  • This is the second time in three years Christoph Waltz has taken the best supporting actor statue; both of his winning performances were directed by Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Bastards). 
  • Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence each took home their first Oscar with their second nominations; Hathaway was nominated in 2008 for Rachel Getting Married, while Lawrence was nominated for best actress for Winter’s Bone in 2010.
  • As for Daniel Day-Lewis, he’s been nominated for Best Actor 5 times and has won 3 of them (My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln), which made him the only male actor in history to accomplish this. One more win, and he’d tie Katharine Hepburn as Hollywood’s most Oscar-laden actor.

Also, not sure if you saw this, but JLaw (which is her thing now, apparently?) forgot to thank some VIPs in her acceptance speech: Silver Linings Playbook Director David O. Russell and The Weinstein Company chairman Harvey Weinstein. She released a statement thanking them (which can be seen here), but my favorite part was her closing:

Thank you to both. I will never be able to forgive myself for such a brain fart but I hope that you both can. Obviously it was not on purpose, I couldn’t remember what I had already said and my mind went completely blank–your brain does funny things during the most overwhelming moment of your life!

How can you not love her?!


That’s a Wrap: The 85th Academy Awards

25 Feb

Let me put it out there: last night’s Oscar telecast was fantastic. A little long yes, a tad dry in parts, but overall, I found it to be funny and delightful. I was genuinely surprised that Seth MacFarlane did so well. He was charming and walked the line of cracking jokes at Hollywood’s big players and being respectfully that the he, the dude who voices a vulgar teddy, alien-like baby and talking dog, was hosting the Oscars.

Though there weren’t a ton of surprises, winner wise (see the full list here), there were many moments during the telecast that stood out to me. Here are some quick reactions:

  • I seriously loved Oscars tribute to music, especially the performances from Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Miserables. What can I say? I love me some musicals. 

  • Singing and dancing by Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron, Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Godron Levitt was a definite hightlight, as was the riff on The Sound of Music. The opening monologue parts with William Shatner were not my faves.

Another area in which the show really shined was with the host of wonderful acceptance speeches. Jennifer Lawrence receiving best actress (at the ripe old age of 22, making her the second youngest actress to win the award and the youngest person to have been nominated for Best Actress twice!) really nailed her speech, despite taking a tumble as she walked to accept the award!


Other speeches that stood out were Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis (surprisingly funny, and also history-making, as DDL is the first actor to win three best actor statues!) and Ben Affleck (not surprisingly emotional and poignant!) taking home best picture for Argo. He’s only the fourth filmmaker to take home best picture without being nominated for best director. Go Ben!

Another one for the history books was Oscar’s first tie since 1995 and only the 6th in Oscar history, when Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty both won for best sound editing!

What were your favorites moments from last night’s telecast? Were you a fan of Seth’s schtick? Sound off in the comments and check back in for more in-depth analysis later this week!

All Roads Lead to Oscar: 2013 Award Tallies

19 Feb

Here we are 5 days from Oscar night. All of the major awards leading up to Oscar Sunday have been handed out, which means we should be in pretty good shape to evaluate the trends and (hopefully!) see who is most likely to win.

OscarThis is definitely an interesting year for the awards. I feel confident in predicting that the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards are locked up (by Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway, respectively), but what about the other acting awards? And REALLY, what about best picture? Argo had been the clear front runner all awards season, but the snub of Ben Affleck in the Directing category throws a wrench in things. After all, the Best Picture winner and Best Director winner usually (but certainly not always) go hand in hand. In the last 10 years, the awards have been uncoupled twice, with Crash and Chicago (both had directors who were at least nominated for the top prize there).

I’ve tallied up the acting, directing and picture category from the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, and the various Guilds (Producer’s, Actor’s and Director’s). Do you think all of the eventual Oscar winners are represented below? See any chance for an upset, or is this race un-upsetable? Leave a comment below!

Best Picture:

  • Argo: Golden Globe (Best Picture, Drama), BAFTA, Producer’s Guild, SAG
  • Les Miserables: Golden Globe (Best Picture, Musical or Drama)

Best Director:

  • Ben Affleck: Golden Globe, Director’s Guild

Best Actor:

  • Daniel Day Lewis: Golden Globe (Best Actor, Drama), SAG, BAFTA
  • Hugh Jackman: Golden Globe (Best Actor, Comedy or Musical)

Best Actress:

  • Jennifer Lawrence: Golden Globe (Best Actress, Comedy or Musical), SAG
  • Jessica Chastain: Golden Globe (Best Actress, Drama)
  • Emmanuelle Riva: BAFTA

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Anne Hathaway: Globes, SAG, BAFTA

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Christoph Walz: Golden Globe, BAFTA
  • Tommy Lee Jones: SAG

A Man for All Seasons (Winner, 1966/39th Annual Academy Awards

19 Aug

When I saw this movie, I immediately thought maybe it has inspired one of my favorite Grease 2 numbers, Girl for all Seasons. Alas, I believe I was mistaken. Actually, A Man for All Seasons, which won the Oscar back in 1966, is decidedly not a light hearted, if somewhat terrible sequel; it’s more like the big brother to this year’s best Picture winner, The King’s Speech, but without a core friendship (actually replaced by some core hatred) and without being anywhere near as fun to watch. So…maybe all they have in common is an Oscar, some British thespians and a King. Close enough!

The man for all seasons in the title is Sir Thomas Moore, the Chancellor of England under the delightful and kill-happy King Henry VIII (or eighth, for you non-roman numeral readers). Why is Sir Thomas, played by Best Actor Oscar winner Paul Scofield, a “man for all seasons,” you may ask? No, he is not a four season athlete, but rather, according to the man who wrote the play the film is based on (also called A Man for All Seasons), that Moore is “the ultimate man of conscience and as remaining true to his principles and religion under all circumstances and at all times.”

In this movie, Moore’s man of all seasons-ness is put to the test. As apparently the only dude with any kind of sense of right and wrong, he tells Henry that it’s a bad idea to divorce his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon, for his mistress, Anne Boleyn, without the approval of the Pope. It’s pretty clear (as history will show), that the Pope is never going to have this, which leads to Henry’s break with the church and the establishment of the Church of England, which Henry conveniently names himself head of and can do whatever he wants. Must be nice to be king.

This raises the question: who cares? If Henry wants to toss out the old lady and get a new wife, why does he care what Sir Thomas thinks? As the chancellor and a member of the Privy Council, More is the only one to refuse to sign a letter to the Pope urging him to dissolve the marriage (that conscience thing coming into play again). Then, when Henry takes it upon himself to form a new church, everyone in England must swear loyalty and recognize the king’s new marriage. Again, Sir Thomas refuses.

If you know anything about Henry VIII, you can likely piece together how this played out for good ol’ Sir Thomas. Spoiler alert: not well. King Henry is played by Robert Shaw, and is a delightful bi-polaresque mixture of batshit crazy and over the top ecstatic. Exactly what one would want in a King and total ruler of their country.

Crazy King Henry, before he killed a bunch of his wives

There are a bunch of other miscellaneous subplots around More’s daughter and her heretic boyfriend, all the other Privy Council members that hate Sir Thomas for being such a righteous jerk and not signing the King’s letter and various monologues about how moral Sir Thomas is, by Sir Thomas himself. I’m not going to call this my favorite Oscar winner to date, but it wasn’t half bad. It was definitely no Amadeus, so that’s something, I guess?

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • One of only 4 productions to win both the Best Play Tony (1962) and the Best Picture Oscar (1966). The other 3 are My Fair Lady (1957/1964), The Sound of Music (1960/1965) and Amadeus (1981/1984)
  • Paul Scofield won the 1962 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for “A Man for All Seasons” and recreated his role in the filmed production
  • Budget: $3.9 Million (estimate) gross revenue: $25 million worldwide

The Godfather (Winner, 1972/45th Annual Academy Awards)

17 Aug

So I’m mildly ashamed to write this: this was the first time I’ve ever seen The Godfather. But I’m a girl, so I guess it’s not THAT embarrassing. Seriously though, I’ve seen bits and pieces, and knew some basic references, which are now engrained in pop culture.  I already knew about the horse head, but this is where I learned everything  else I knew about The Godfather:

Ok, maybe that is a little embarrassing, come to think of it. But, good news? I am now of the camp that this is the most badass movie ever. Yes, ever. Without crazy special effects and a billion dollar budget, The Godfather still manages to own all movies, and has for almost 40 years. With a perfect 100% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and appearances on countless other lists (best movie of all time, most influential movie, blah, blah).

The movie is the original gangster movie; set during 10 years between 1945 and 1955, The Godfather follow the rise of the Corleone crime family.  Led by the Don (Marlo Brando, in an iconic role for which he won best actor), the movie is based on the Mario Puzo novel of the same name. Interesting fact: though Puzo wrote two sequels to The Godfather, neither are the inspiration for the second 2 movies in the series.  However, Puzo did serve as a screenwriter for all three movies.

Me with "the don"...

...and Alyssa. She's his fave!

So back to the movie; the Don has his good son Michael, who stayed out of the family business, and his “family” son, Sonny, who’s lined up to be the next Don.  Of course, the best laid plans are never meant to be, and nothing turns out as planned.  With rival Mafia families, assassination attempts and a (gorgeous) side story filmed in Italy, The Godfather is proof that a gangster movie can be done right.  Personally, I found that this movie has a very human element; with the focus on family and doing right by your loved ones, you almost forget that you’re watching warring Mafioso factions—no small feat.

One thing that surprised me: there are a TON of famous people in this movie! Besides Brando, you also have Al Pacino (who was surprisingly hot as a young guy!), James Caan (who I ID’d as Buddy the Elf’s dad from Elf), Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton. I literally had no idea all these actors were in this movie. I think I was vaguely aware of Brando and Pacino, but surely not the others.

Next up: waiting for The Godfather part II and III (via Netflix, obv). ALL THREE in the series were nominated for best picture, with both part I and II taking home the statue.  I’ve heard that part II is even better than part I, but I’ll save the official Oscartini verdict until I’ve actually seen them both =)

Now, confession time: since I’ve professed serious ignorance about all the Godfather, can I get some affirmation from anyone else that “You’ve Got Mail” was how you were familiar with The Godfather? “Take it to the mattresses”?  It would make be feel better about my (former) lack of Godfather education!

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • There are approximately 61 scenes in the film that feature people eating/drinking, or just food.
  • The line “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” was selected by the American Film Institute on it’s list as one of the top 100 movie quotes.
  • Although it is now recognized as one of the most acclaimed and beloved films of all time, The Godfather only received three Academy Awards (best picture, actor and adapted screenplay)
  • Budget: $6.5 Million, gross revenue: $133 million+

It Happened One Night (Winner, 1934/7th Annual Academy Awards)

8 Jun

OK, so three random factoids about this 76 (!) year old movie (besides the fact that it was the first film to win the Big 5 of the Academy Awards):

1) In 1934, the 7th Academy Awards were held at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel (now the Millennium Biltmore). The Biltmore was constructed in 1923, and at the time, was the largest hotel west of the Mississippi. Besides hosting the Oscars 8 times in the 1930’s and 40’s, the Biltmore also hosted me and my friend Alyssa overnight in January! What a storied place =)

2) I just saw Sex and the City 2 this past weekend, and It Happened One Night is the black and white movie that Big and Carrie watch after Anthony and Stanford’s wedding! What are the chances of that?!?

3) In spite of the title, the movie takes place over several nights, which I thought odd.

So, I succeeded in finding a non-depressing winner, horray! Though I had my reservations about watching this, I was more than pleasantly surprised. It didn’t hurt that an actor I was familiar with (Clark Gable, from Gone with the Wind), but I really enjoyed It Happened One Night. An early precursor to today’s romanic comedies, It Happened One Night follows a spoiled rich girl Ellie Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert, who runs away from her rich father to meet up with her new husband, who her dad hates. As she’s on the run, she comes across a recently fired journalist (Gable, as Peter Wayne) who recognizes her from the papers (as she’s been all over them since her father lost here) and offers to help her in exchange for her story.

Of course, funniness ensues, and like every romcom we’re used to seeing in 2010, the two leads fall in love after some serious chance happenings threaten to keep them apart. I’ll let you see the details for yourself, but I definitely thought this was cute and funny.  My favorite part about watching it was definitely seeing the differences between movies then and now. For example, the only kiss in the movie is between Ellie and her at-the-time husband, and it’s very brief. The difference between the strict moral and social conduct back in the 30’s is so different from movies now! Seeing the conduct and dress was also a trip; men in suits and hats and women in buttoned up dresses. The scene from this movie that’s mimicked in Sex and the City occurs when Ellie is trying to flag down a car for a ride, and in doing so, hikes her dress and shows a little leg (which is how Carrie flags down a cab for the girls in Abu Dhabi!)

I thought this was a fun watch, light and fluffy fair from 1934. I was able to stream this one from Netflix, which was super convenient. It’s also out on DVD.

And as for Sex and the City 2 (which I saw with my friends Elisa and Ashley), I thought it was much better than all the reviews said! It was a little long in places, but it was a nice escape to a life most of us won’t ever have. Of course, the designer clothes and wonderful shoes might make me a little biased, but I still miss the show and will probably continue to turn out to see Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte as long as they keep making the movies. SatC2 also marked my first experience at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in the lovely city of Nashua NH, which was a lot of fun, as I’m sure you can tell!

Elisa and I enjoying Chunky's!

Up next—I’m on a mission to find the Hurt Locker at  Redbox and see what took down Avatar! Check back soon =)

Fun facts (courtesy of IMDB and Wikipedia)

  • In 1993, It Happened One Night was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
  • On December 15, 1996, Clark Gable’s Oscar was auctioned off to Steven Spielberg for $607,500
  • Neither star of the film was the first choice for their roles, and both were said to have thought the movie was a stinked during filming
  • Estimated budget: $325,000 (roughly the equivalent of $5,316,926.14 in 2010!)