Oscars Wrap Up 2012

27 02 2012

Do you have an Oscar Buzz hangover?

Weeks of build up to ‘The Big show’, arguably a full year of festival globe trotting, campaigning and rumour churning… by 11:45 last night  the Academy Awards had all been given out, it was all over.

I was live blogging, but I wanted to wrap up the evening with a post- show retrospective and discussion. I havent yet come off of my annual Oscar high… bear with me. Humour me even. Pretend I’m not crazy for one more article about this year’s Academy Award show.

There are a few things I want to cover about last night.

Let’s start with ‘The Production’.
The set was stunning. Better than I’ve seen it in years. That throwback to the old Hollywood spectacle was the centre piece,  the glowing red curtains, and towering gold Oscar statues brought back the glamour of the theatre.

The band was an unusual touch and feature of this year’s show. I’m usually keen on the big orchestra and classical Oscar themes, but I enjoyed the ‘Live jazz club’ feel of the smaller ensemble in the box seats.

There were some good video pieces –  the ‘Famous People Introspectives’ were a great way to include more STARS into the show without having them in the audience. Smooth move. I love me a roomful of mega-watt stars, and last night certainly delivered. Was there really a big name that wasnt somehow involved? Maybe Johnny Depp… but really, The Oscars did a fantastic job of sending invites. Probably highly necessary in a year where smaller movies and unknown talent were poised to sweep.

Now let’s talk Host.

I wasnt the biggest fan in the world of the opening. I thought the video piece was a little bit cliche (even though Billy Crystal himselfcreated the cliche!) and the song wasnt partcularly stellar. However, I was a fan of the job Billy did overall. He was comfortable… no babbling about ‘how wonderful it is to be here’ or ‘wow! I cant believe I’m hosting the biggest show in town”… that gets old and desperate really quickly with some of these lesser experienced hosts. I felt he had an ease about him, he commanded he attention of the audience, he was warm, witty, and he reacted to the show off the cuff with great comedic timing. He wasnt hilarious… but this isnt a stand up show. He was particularly edgy, but this isnt supposed to be uncomfortable and eyebrow raising. This was a celebration of the year in cinema, and the milestone it will leave for years to come. I don’t know if it was Billy or the Producers, but the the show was reverent when it needed to be, humourous and well paced, and every bit a spectacle throughout.

I thought he had a great supporting cast. Hear me out. The presenters werent just rigid cardboard cutouts reading off a teleprompter and leaving the entertainment to the monkey host. The presenters were given a much stronger role this year. Each actor/actress was prepared, at ease, and totally game to make moments happen. And they did…

Stand out awards go to: Emma Stone for her dynamic personality and comic sensability with Ben Stiller (she’s done SNL, and it shows) The cast of The Bridesmaids for the Scorsese drinking game , Gwyneth Paltrow for loosening up and having some fun, Angelina Jolie for executing the HARD pose she’d been working on for days, J-Lo for working out a way to show her front and back silhouette, Sandra Bullock for delivering her speech in “german mandarin”, Will Farrell and Zach G for crashing cymbals beside Brad Pitts head and Natalie Portman for finally coming out of her maternal cave for the event.

The Winners…

There were JUST enough surprises to ruin a clean Oscar pool sweep. Hugo won more than expected, The Artist pretty much did exactly was was expected, and Meryl Streep delieverd the most dramatic turn of events of the evening… appropriately. How many radio stations and tv shows are desperately cancelling Viola Davis and trying to get a hold of Meryls rep this morning?

Shame on everyone for counting out Meryl. She was hardly even mentioned in pre-oscar buzz, I didnt see her talk to Seacrest on the Red Carpet or give copious interviews on Daytime TV in the weeks leading up to last night. She was the curveball the Academy threw at us, but we really shouldnt be surprised… it’s Meryl.

I’m riding high today… it was a thrilling night! The video montages, skits, cirque du soleil, the host zingers, the lighthearted celebration, the presenters… it was fun again.

All hail The Oscars, the BEST Award show of the year.

To another year of great cinema, cheers!

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The Academy Awards 2012: Live Blog

26 02 2012

Let’s be honest, no other Award show stands a chance next to The Oscars. Sure, we like the other awards shows, they are cute. We applaud the effort. But this night… this is the night of the ultimate distinction, where the best of the best choose the best of the best to raise onto the ultimate career pedestal.

It’s the biggest night of my year. Not gonna lie.

Overblown? Maybe. But that’s the fun of it!

If you can make it past the pre-pre show, where Z-listers are asked their opinion on the mundane to the insipid. Guess what kind of hair gel you can use to replicate the potential look of the red carpet stars? Lets ask Ken Paves!

Then you’ve got to keep yourself alive through the pre-show where Ryan Seacrest and his E! brood of Hollywood ga-ga bevies take on the Red Carpet. These LA faced ‘hosts’ can talk ad nauseum about the most excruciatingly bland topics. Putting a panel together to argue the difference between red, coral, and pomegranate or nude, beige and ecru. Tip toeing around being inoffensive and politically correct – pretending to be serious when asking questions like ‘when did you wake up this morning?’. When you’re asking people of they brought a flask to calm the nerves, it aint hard hitting journalism.

If you can stand it, if you can be a trooper… you’ve achieved the annual Oscar rite of passage. Only about 4 hours to go.

I hope I’m not making it sound intolerable. I absolutely revel in this night every year. Yah, the Red Carpet hosts are eye-roll worthy, and the hype is usually shameless and over the top… but I’m still that little girl that has every Oscars taped since 1995. I’m still that film school student who threw value village red carpet parties and ‘shhhhh-ed’ anyone who talked during the show. I’m now that girl who turns off her phone and clears her calendar so that she can live blog and takes Oscar pools far too seriously.

I’m ready. I’m so into it, it’s embarrassing.It’s 5 minutes to the show, and I’m tingling with anticipation!

Dim the lights…. curtains opening. #squeal!

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2012 Oscar Prediction Special

24 02 2012

It’s officially Oscar Prediction Season (it’s a window of about a week or two… but I never miss it!)

Do you have Oscar pools this year, or is that now archaic?

I think there is less and less interest in the Oscars based on a f ew things. First, you must know, I am a fan of the Oscars every year without reserve. I block the entire day from my calendar, and start watching coverage at noon. I live blog, and I don’t take calls. I’m THAT person. But I also went to Film school. However, I can be objective and understand the reasons why people are starting to tune out.

One reason, could be becasue the Academy selects ‘Artsy’ or ‘2 streets west of Main Stream’ films. Giving merit to films lacking BILLION dollar budgets and massive theatre appeal is noble, but it also eliminates a huge audience. If you havent seen at least ONE of the nominated films for Best Picture… you are not invested in the ‘race’. If you have not seen the performances of at least ONE fo the lead actors/actresses… why the heck do you care who wins…. unless you are sold on one person’s image over another. For example, we ALL wanted Sandra Bullock to win – because we loved her. Her movie was terrible, nothing more than a nice flick to watch alone in a hotel or on a plane. But guess what? George Clooney and Brad Pitt are going to get beat out by an unknown frenchman in a silent movie. We all WANT George or Brad to take it… but neither of them will. Thats a problem if you’re the Academy.

I’m not dogging the Oscars for upholding that ‘the best movies and the best performances’ will be honoured, no matter the revenue, or public opinion. However, in years where BIG movies like Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Gladiator, Beautiful Mind, Chicago etc were in the mix… more people CARED who would take home gold. Why? Because the best movies of the year, were ALSO the ones people liked the most.

Maybe it’s just one of those years. But I’m telling you, Billy Crystal is not going to single handedly save this Oscars. I predict this will be one of the least watched Oscars… for the simple fact, that the  biggest and most favourite movies of the year are nowhere NEAR the Awards. Bad year for film? Nah. Bad year for BIG films worthy of Academy recognition.

Here are my OFFICIAL 2012 Predictions.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Actor: Jean DuJardin, The Artist

Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Help

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants

Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris

Best Picture: The Artist

I dont think there will be many surprises, although there are ususally one or two. I predict those surprises could come if Hugo starts racking up the technical catgories… you might start to wonder if it has a shot at Best Picture. Seriously. I also think it could be a tighter race for Best Actress. We’ve seen Viola Davis and Meryl share the spotlight and trade wins all season. It’s possible that the Academy voted for the long shot, critical darling Michelle Williams (remember who the Acaemy voters are…). Those 3 all have a good shot at the BIG win.

So where are you in all this Oscar talk? Are you a fan every year, no matter what? Or do you only care if Batman or Harry Potter, or Spielberg gets a nod?

I will be right here, live blogging on Sunday night. Feel free to join me… there is no dress code enforced.





Grammy Awards 2012: LIVE Blog

12 02 2012

LIVE from the comfort of my couch to yours… it’s the Grammy Awards and I’ve got my award show sweats on!

Obviously, the news of Whitney Houston is the dark theme behind the production and ceremony tonight. Everyone interviewed on the red carpet seems to have a ‘Whitney’ story. Celebs always want to be associated with other celebs. But I also think that Whitney Houston was such an icon and the proverbial ‘bar’ setter for power vocals… people feel like they are always trying to emulate her level of success and talent. The music biz will be hit hard, will it be Michael Jackson proportions? Perhaps… we’ll have to wait and see as the tributes and funeral arrangements are made.

But let’s get to the show… it is a big show! Adele! Gaga! Springsteen! Coldplay! Rihanna! Maroon 5! Tony Bennett!

Honestly, I am more excited for this year’s Grammys than any other in the past few years. I seriously hope it delivers…

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Kicking it off with Bruce Springsteen in classic tight black jeans, Black perfectly fitted shirt, and his E Street band behind him. What an opening! Great music, still The Boss. Word of advice to other performers tonight… this is the bar.

LL Cool J is making a second career as ‘generic host’. Apparently he and Queen Latifa are listed as ‘professional hosts’ in the Hollywood directory of talent. I just dont see any other reason for him to continually be hired as a host. And that hat… sigh.
Anyways, he leads the audience in a prayer for Whitney and shows a tape of her Grammy dominance over the years. Wow, never gets old… that voice. It is ‘the voice’ of our time.

LL Cool J is making Adele uncomfortable. He also just called Paul McCartney his ‘homie’. I think the same people that wrote Obama’s ‘Yes we Can’ speeches, penned the end of his oration… really reaching now.

and count on Bruno Mars to bring back memories of vintage song and dance on the Ed Sullivan show. Love the live music, the gold suits, the tambourine player, the choreography…. and the Peter Pan hair. If you thought this night was going to be super sad and understated… Bruno Mars didn’t get the memo. (don’t worry, the time to shed tears will come later…)

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Bonnie Rait and Alicia Keys take the stage to present the first award of the night. After they sing an Etta James classic… no, not THAT one. Can I just say that Alicia looks like Bruno Mars tonight, and Bonnie Rait looks like Arlene from Dragons Den? Great pairing though, two talented ladies with soul in their blood.

Best Pop Solo: Adele

There’s a reason you’re in the front row honey…
Tip: don’t thank everyone all at once… you’ll run out of content for your next award speech.

and the controversial return of Chris Brown. Who will the producers decide to ‘cut to’ in the crowd? Hmmm… keep your eyes out for that. Sigh, and I thought we might get a little further into the night without lip-synching and auto-tune.

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Best Rap Performance: Jay Z and Kanye

*Huge eyeroll.* Like those two need anymore to feed their ego…I am thankful I didnt have to hear either of them humbly accept the award.

Wow, Reba looks fabulous! Presenting Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson – nothing groundbreaking about this duo. Two good voices, a good radio friendly song. I will give them credit for singing LIVE though…

I also give props to Kelly Clarkson for sticking around so long. She won the first American Idol YEARS ago… since then, she has been productive and consistently in the Top 100. How many other Idols can you name?! If I’m gonna be honest, I had never heard of Jason Aldean until this song came out… (getting ready to receive hate mail from country fans….sorry.)

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Did Jack Black just label The Foo Fighters…Indy? Just because it looks like they don’t have regular showers, doesn’t give them ‘Indy Cred’. However, they are rockin’ out in a Grammy pavilion outside the actual Grammy stage… did they request their own beer tent? Strange…

Glad the Grammys booked a real honest to goodness rock n roll band to play… even if they did stick them out with the riff raff.

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Rihanna/Coldplay collaboration…
Opens with a shaky vocal by Rihanna, might have something to do with the fact that she was writhing on the ground. Props, this girl is SINGING while dancing. Multi taskers are rare in this scene. In comes Chris Martin  stripped down with a beat up guitar (that likely costs more than your car…) Apparently the theme of their album was glow in the dark mini putt. THink about it, you’ll agree.

Chris Martin obviously more comfortable with this format than Rihanna… vocals werent great from RiRi on this occasion. Coldplay emerges to play my gym song of the moment, Paradise. Reminds me… I skipped the elliptical tonight. #guilty

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Um, the awards vs the performances ratio is really lopsided. #giveoutthehardware

Tip: don’t let athletes speak. in public.

Best Rock Performance: Foo Fighters

Big shocker. The ‘Indy’ band that performed minutes ago gets the award. Because the Decemberists are too mainstream. The Foo Fighters need to stop trying to be the Rock n Roll evangelists. I’m just sayin’… I’d like them better.

Now Ryan Seacrest is stealing Bruni Mars’ Peter Pan hair.

Maroon 5 doing Beachboys? Adam Levine is the only falsetto in the building that could take this on… Foster the People steps in and does a pretty great job of ‘Wouldnt it be Nice’. This whole night is turning into a 60’s variety show throwback… Paul McCartney is having flashbacks.

But this tribute wouldnt be complete without… The (actual) Beachboys! Good Vibrations indeed! My psychedelic senses are tingling! Are more people tripping out to this or the Coldplay light show? Hmmm…

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The hat is back. LL introduces Stevie Wonder… who carries a harmonica and a tune everywhere he goes.

I’m LOVING this trio… Paul McCartney, Diana Krall and Joe Walsh! #squeal
I hope this doesnt mean Paul is producing a ‘standards’ album a la Rod Stewart… I’m not ready or open to Paul the Vegas lounge singer.

More non music presenters… If they let Paris Hilton speak, I’m going to bed.

Best R&B Album: Chris Brown

So, we are over it, right? If we can forgive R Kelly, we can forgive this kid? #cantforget

This is a pretty great intro to Taylor Swift, give the Civil Wars their own stage! Ah, but they dont sing about famous break ups… so uninteresting.

Swifty is a talented chick, and she knows how to please a crowd. Her presentation is always top notch. Tonight her backdrop and band are 1920’s jugband at a speakeasy. And banjo sales just spiked. Not gonna lie, I might buy one tomorrow if I could look that fancy-free chic playing it.

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Song of the Year: Adele

Starting to get the hang of it now…

Katy Perry performs… which one of her umpteen hits will she sing? SHe starts with E.T, then abruptly moves into her new song about to skyrocket up the charts. Wayta bring back ‘crimping’, I thought that was long gone circa 1995.

This new song… is a divorce soundtrack. A prenup inspired tune perhaps? seems calculated and timely.

Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley present…

Best Country Album: Lady Antebellum

The Grammys love this group. They got a lot of love last year, and are still reaping the awards.

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Somehow, Gwyneth Paltrow gets the honour of introducing Adele. Is that because she’s, like, kinda british?

Adele gets a HUGE ovation, and starts off her mega-hit Rolling in the Deep in stunning acapella (take THAT throat surgery). Safe to say this is the most anticipated performance of the entire year. Pure adoration from everyone in the audience – this uber talented young woman is the Queen of the night.

exhaltation. It’s refreshing to see a female performer SING…without costumes, dancing, sex or pyrotechnics.

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Taylor Swift, fresh off a devastating loss, presents aTribute to Glenn Campbell (???) with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton. Scratch that. Tomorrow I’m buying a Mandolin.

If this was any other year, this tribute wouldve been performed by Rascal Flatts and Faith Hill. I’m happy for the change.
By the way, more people on their feet dancing to Rhinestone Cowboy than Chris Brown’s…song.

Have you noticed? This show is seriously lacking… Gaga?! She’s had a few cameos, but I guess unless you’re wearing meat or spikey couture your camera time will seriously suffer.

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Carrie Underwood is pretty. and sparkly. She brings out her duet partner, Tony Bennett.

Best New Artist: Bon Iver

shocking. No Lana Del Ray?

and here comes the ‘In Memoriam’… Kind of a ‘full’ year of loss. So much talent gone in the past year. And yes, they had time to slip Whitney Houston in there…

and time to make the call to Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney’s signature song. I Will Always Love You. She does a stand up job, but the soul behind that song will always be Whitney in her prime.

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Now a tribute to Dance music in the Foo Fighters beer tent. Not featuring Adele.

Lil Wayne is wearing spongebob slippers… I think.

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Best Record: Adele

I think i’m going to start saying ‘thank you’ ‘fank you’ from now on… has a nice ring to it.

Nicki Minaj performs a musical exorcism…. complete with dancing deacons, popes and men of the cloth. I get it. ‘Edgy’ and provocative…I just don’t enjoy pushing the envelope simply for shock value. However, I will agree that the hovering effect was pretty wicked… pun intended.

time for the last award of the night, the best picture… I mean, Best Album.

Best Album: Adele

See now? Isnt it a stroke of “luck” that she wasnt somewhere in the back row…? I do love that every time she went up tonight she grew in ‘crew’ members behind her. For this last one, she’s got the entire cast from Modern Family or something… huge ‘lot’ to ‘fank’ for this records success.

She stole the night, and what a story. The first time I heard Rolling in the Deep I was absolutely captivated, I still think it’s the best song of the year and gives me the best results on my elliptical. The frst time I heard Someone Like You, I wept on public transit. I did. Seriously, you don’t believe me. I think it’s the most gut wrenching, heart breaking song out there… and if you havent heard the entire album, give it a go. It’s fantastic and she deserves the night she had.

Legend Paul McCartney wasnt just in ateendance to sing one measley song, he ended the show too! He sang the last half of Abbey Road Side B (oh, sorry… my Beatle geek is showing). Joining him for Carry that Weight was Bruce, David Groll and a few other, then he concluded the night with one of the best ‘last lines’ in music history (shame on you LL for screwing it up!)

“and in the end, the love your take, is equal to the love you make”.

appropriate.

Goodnight and Fank you for joining me…





SAG Awards 2012

30 01 2012

So the SAG awards were on last night.

Did you watch? Do you care?

I guess it’s yet another step on the road to the Oscars… but it has almost ZERO relevance or influence on the ultimate winners. The Academy is a very different voting panel. However, I guess something can be said for actors selecting their peers for nomination and awarding them with honours for the year.

There are a few things that bug me about it. But then, there are few things I’m quite fond of…

Let’s start with the bad. E! takes a huge dump on everything classy or formal in this town. It’s liek they send in the leeches to suck the celebrity blood out of every event. There is no enchanment, there is no untouched glamour, there is no veil of mystery… E! crashes the party.

It doesnt even cover the event…. it covers the Red Carpet…putting their premium on the soundbites that comes from asking questions like “is it true that you can juggle?” or “are you SURE there’s no sequel in the works?”.

it’s such a cringe fest.

And they put their ‘best’ people on it. People like the artful Giuliana Rancic who asked to ‘lei’ George Clooney. People like Ross the Intern who’s voice sets off the limo alarms 3 streets away. And people like fashion ‘guru’ and authority figure on all things high-style and taste… Kelly Osbourne.

Dream team.

But we expect that,  if I hate it so much… why do I tune in 2 hours before the show? It’s a question I seriously struggle with.

Moving on…

Something I DO like about this award show, is the lack of host, and the serious star power. More actors show up to the SAGs than do the Golden Globes. There is a VERY rare ‘so and so couldnt be here’… actors really feel like they owe it to their peers and their profession… to be there. It has a more serious actor vibe. You know what I mean? Like those who are really in it for ‘the craft’ and respect for ‘the arts’ are there. Of course, that means Meryl, George, Brad, Angelina, Plummer, and anyone else who considers themselves a ‘serious’ actor gets an invite, and marks the date. It’s a campaign for their careers as much as it is for an award.

It’s another award for an award crammed mantle. But these are the people that NEED the accolades. Actors, as a group, are some of the biggest egos yet weakest self esteemed people… most of them get into acting because they were shy, because they had no friends, because they were ‘different’, because they needed the spotlight to feel validated, or because they felt a rush at the sound of applause.

Nobody applaudes a dentist. Nobody applaudes a secretary or a car salesman. Validation comes from other places, not superfluous awards and constant applause.

These are the people that need it. They know it. So they make up as many awards as possible to feed the need for attention and applause.

That’s my two cents… I don’t mind watching, there are parts I LOVE watching… but I shake my head at the shameless ego stroking that takes place at every one of these events.





Golden Globes 2012: Live Blog

15 01 2012

Ready folks? ‘Serious’ Award season will begin tonight at the 2012 Golden Globes.

Here are my Pre-Awards, Red Carpet Awards

Best use of double sided tape: charlize theron

Best ‘ keep your eyes up’ or risk looking like a creepy tongue wagger : sophia vargara

what are you doing here…. heidi klum

Biggest style of the night? mermaid dresses and head bangs  (remember those?)

Best walking wax figures: Brangelina

Biggest Debbie Downer moment: The “war and rape” bomb Angelina drops on Ryan Seacrest.

Colour fad of the night: midnight blue/purple

Biggest waste of a bangin’ body: Mila Kunitz wearing blah blah black.

Cups runneth over… Reese Witherspoon. I will say no more.

Regretting that gaudy tattoo and dye job: Kelly Osbourne (surprised?)

Best use of ‘edgy gloves’ to hide age veins… Madonna

‘I left my best accessory’ at home… Jessica Biel (you know what I mean).

Best Baby weight rebound: Jessica Alba… ugh, pass the depression food.

Most effortless, dress I might actually wear… Claire Danes.

aaaand we’re going in….curtains up, turn the channel from E! to NBC…

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First Kardashian joke of the night. Stars are SO awkward in these situations. They hate to laugh at ‘their own’.

With so many SNL and ex Snl-ers in the audience, tough crowd for Ricky.

It’s funny, they all know its coming, they all know what to expect, they’re all actors… but everyone has trouble gracefully reacting to Ricky. Amazing.

However, when in doubt, bring out the man of mystery himself… Johnny Depp.  He ‘brings down the house’ not in the way you might think, introducing the first best picture nominee Hugo.  Good thing Johnny’s alreayd a mega star… his personality would be a PR nightmare.

First award of the night, Best Supporting Actor (movie): Christopher Plummer
…the only time tonight he’ll have something other than a drink in his hands.

Ashton Kutcher is here…boo hiss…right?

Best Actress TV comedy: Laura Dern
and she’s wearing a sequinned Mr Rodgers cardigan… I’m jealous, it’s stunning…suddenly my Roots sweats arent as hot as I thought they were.

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