Tag Archives: Academy Awards

VOD: Children Re-Enact Best Picture Nominees in time for Oscars

With the Olympics wrapping up it is time to look forward to the next worldwide television event – the 86th Academy Awards. The Oscars will be airing March 2. Don’t worry, that’s obviously ages away and we have plenty of time to catch up on all the nominated films before the ceremony airs…Wait. February is a short month. The Oscars are next Sunday! Crap! I haven’t seen anything in theaters since Her! (Which is a phenomenal movie, by the way. Joaquin Phoenix kills it and it brings all the feelings.)

There is obviously not enough time to get to the theater to see everything. Honestly, it’s a little unfair to nominate nine films for best picture and expect people to get to all of them anyway. But don’t worry. The fine folks at Cinefix have found the best way for you to be in the know for the ceremony in under five minutes – and cute kids are involved! They’ve compiled a medley of scenes from the nominated films and had them acted out by adorable primary schoolers. It is pretty ambitious considering one of the films, The Wolf of Wall Street has the Guiness World Record for most f-bombs in a movie – 506 times, averaging 2.81 times a minute. They also pick the only scene in 12 Years a Slave the producers felt comfortable re-enacting with kids (the very end spoiler alert).

It’s actually unfortunate that none of them had seen Philomena. The joke was great but it would have been even better to see one of those kids try to pull of a Dame Judy Dench. Oh well, we should be able to make it through one movie before next Sunday, right? If not we’ll just let there be a little bit of mystery to the proceedings.

What did you think of the video? Are you planning to watch the big show? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

August Osage County: The Fall of Woman

august osage countyHoly Hannah. Can you spell d-y-s-f-u-n-c-t-i-o-n and m-i-s-e-r-y?

I want to think the main characters in August: Osage County are just cinematic creations—the vitriolic pill-popping Violet and her three daughters—tight-jawed, unforgiving Barbara, quietly wounded, faithful Ivy, New Age escapist Karen. But no.

The film induced too many pangs of recognition, reminders of my own alcoholic step-father and his verbal abuse; the unhappy weirdness of so many of my friends’ parents growing up; Mommy Dearest sitting on book shelves; alcohol and drug abuse statistics; news stories. And from the murmurs, gasps and reactions of the audience it seemed pretty much everyone else in the theater was personally affected too.

“I always wondered if my mother killed my father,” the middle-aged woman behind me stated calmly to her seat-mate as the credits rolled. Really?

“I always knew I’m fucked-up because of my mother,” another woman said, strolling past on her way to the door.

“Holy crap.” Francesca, the friend I’d gone to the film with, turned to me, eyes wide. “Is the world really like this?”

Is it? I’d like to know! Comments please!

For sure the film drives home the point of just how much pain there is locked up in human beings—and how suffering, meanness and abuse are passed from one generation to the next. The sins of the fathers and mothers as it were—not “sin” as in doing bad and wrong, but sin as in missing the mark on life—relentlessly passed from one generation to the next, century after century until?

Until we get to see it.

Sin was originally an archery term that meant you “missed the mark” or bulls eye—your targeted goal. And what is the targeted goal of life anyway? Being a better person? Figuring out how it all works? Having fun? Contributing to the wellbeing of the whole? Having interesting experiences? If so, surely we’re ready to stop seeing this kind of experience as interesting? Like, maybe soon we’ll have had our fill of meanness and sorrow and be ready to call these kinds of people and their drama-filled lives “boring?”

But until that happens audiences will pay to see stories like these. It’s what theatre was designed to do from the most ancient times.

Stories let us witness ourselves. They let us stand (and sit!) safely outside our pain and see how it contaminates and ruins everything—how we unconsciously contaminate and ruin everything—how the bleakness that rules so much of our lives happens. The camera zooms into Violet’s face as she sits on the swing telling the story of her mother’s Christmas present to her and we get it. We can’t hate her. We want to, just like her daughters and everyone else around her want to. But she is us. Her story is our story, tirelessly passed along—the story of the ravening dark Goddess that lives in us all; the maddened Goddess that shows herself most clearly through women.

Beyond doubt, August: Osage County is a story of the Fall of Woman and what has happened to her. The men, who clearly are not without their flaws, mostly move around as loving foils enduring abuse. Even Violet’s husband’s suicide occurs off-screen. It isn’t important. It’s simply the kind of normal fall-out that happens when The Feminine is too deeply wounded to care about anything or anyone anymore.

The image of The Feminine we enjoy seeing and being around does not live in this film. The light side of the Goddess is beautiful, lyrical, self-sacrificing, loving, passionate, compassionate and inspiring—like Arwen, the elven beloved of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. In Violet we see the opposite. Here She is the equivalent of the Orc and the Uruk-hai—the fallen elves, tortured and mutilated beyond endurance until they become a force for evil.

The blessing of August: Osage County is that here evil has a human face on it and we are able to see Violet is not evil at all, just wounded. We are able to see what pain does—how it looks, what it says, how it lashes out—and finally have compassion. We see the light, love, beauty and hope in us all—the young woman in Violet’s wedding picture—marred and twisted into unrecognizability and we feel for her and feel for ourselves.

It’s not an easy movie to watch. But then life is not an easy movie to live. And in both there is hope. One day all of us will get in a truck in our pajamas and move on.

Stress and Resilience: Sandra Bullock’s Example

All of us have some sort of stress is our lives.  Stress can come from positive or negative experiences, in packages large or small, and over a long period of time or all at once.  The Holmes-Rahe Social Readjustment Ratings Scale, developed in the 1960’s, is one way for us to measure stress that may have accumulated during the past year.  The idea is to look at the list of “life events,” choose the ones that you have experienced in the last 12 months, and add up the corresponding scores to evaluate your possible stress load. 

Let’s take a look at Sandra Bullock’s score to get an idea of how this works:

Divorce is second on the list to “Death of a spouse” and comes in at 73 points.  She has filed for divorce, so I’m using that score rather than the one for “marital separation.”  Gaining a new family member, her son Louis, adds an additional 39.  Given the circumstances surrounding the divorce, I’m guessing we could say “change in frequency of arguments” applies, for 35 points.

There’s no score for “winning a major award” but there is one for “Outstanding personal achievement, so we’ll use that, at 28 points.  Since she won several major awards, we could probably multiply that, but we’ll just double it for a total of 56 to keep it simple.  Change in residence is 20 points.  I’m guessing she’ll be keeping her home in Austin, but she did move out of the home she shared with Jesse.  Having a new baby around means a change in social activities, so that’s another 18 points.  There’s definitely a change of sleeping habits, too, for another 16 points.  She’s probably had a vacation in the last 12 months, which gives her another 13 points.  And Christmas comes in for an additional 12 points.  With that, Sandra has a total of 282 points. 

There are other factors we don’t know about that would add in more points.  A major mortgage is worth 32 points.  Change in health of a family member is 44 points.  Trouble with in-laws is 29 points.  Change in responsibilities at work is 29 points.  Any one of these “events” would put Sandra’s total over 300 points, which increases her risk of serious illness over the next two years by 80%.  Now that’s stress!

Many people would fall apart under these circumstances, let alone having the circumstances played out for public scrutiny in the tabloids.  And yet, this woman who has gone through so much in such a short period of time looks no worse for wear.  Here she is smiling at her sweet baby on the cover of People Magazine!  What makes a person so resilient to handle all of this stress with such grace?  In a word – Closure.

Closure is understanding that there is a purpose to the events in our lives, and it is being able to move forward with a newfound wisdom from the experience.  Sandra Bullock has been able to recognize this strength in others.  Of the students at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans, a school that she has supported after Hurricane Katrina, she says: “I fell in love with the kids at Warren Easton – their spirit, their elegance, their soul, their profound ability to see the beauty in an experience that would have left most people hardened and angry.”

Now, after weathering her own storm for the past couple of months, Sandra is modeling this same strength for her fans.  Rather than playing the role of the victim, or lashing out at a betrayal, she instead has opted for a kind of “chop wood, carry water” attitude and has gone on with the business of her life.  She is learning and growing from the experience, from the changes in her relationships, and she is grateful.  In the People Magazine interview she says: “To say that I am changed is an understatement.  But that might not be a bad thing.  I have learned a lot about what I am and what I am not.  But the most important thing to me was to protect and know the truth.  And the truth is simple.  The things I hold most dear are things that could not have happened without Jesse.”

Life is complicated.  Relationships change.  But yes, the truth is simple.  The truth is that all of it, the good and the bad, the fantastic and the painful, the sunshine and the rain – no matter how we choose to judge it or categorize it – all of it is here to serve the process of our growth.  We can take these lessons and learn from them.  We can look at examples given to us and follow them.  When we are in gratitude, we are in the present moment.  We’re not dwelling on the past or worried about the future, we’re simply in the here and now.  And now is the only time there is.

 

Academy Awards: Oscar Winning Quotes

For those of us who are hooked on watching the Academy Awards, because we love movies, the glitz of Hollywood, or just because it is a time-honored tradition, here follow the best ‘award-winning’ quotes from last night’s Oscars.

And the Oscar for Best, Most Sincere, and Inspired Quote goes to:

For the Moms …
"I would like to thank what this film is about for me which are the moms that take care of the babies and the children no matter where they come from. Those moms and parents never get thanked." – Sandra Bullock, afor best actress.

For the Women and Men in the Military …
"I’d just like to dedicate this to the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world. And may they come home safe." – Kathryn Bigelow, best director.

For Groovy Professions …
"Thank you, Mom and Dad, for turning me on to such a groovy profession. Oh, my dad and my mom, they loved show biz so much. … I feel an extension of them. You know, this … is honoring them as much as it is me." – Jeff Bridges, best actor.

For a Shiny Dose of Inspiration …
"What we did with Avatar, if you really look at it, we took things that are out there in the world every day, we just made them bigger, shinier. … But all our inspiration comes from the real world. So if you really look, you can see all those things around you, and I would just encourage people to get out and look for it." – Joe Letteri, best achievement in visual effects.

For Making It Real … and for Sidney, too …
"I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics. … Thank you so much to my amazing husband, Sidney. Thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forgo doing what’s popular in order to do what’s right. And baby, you were so right." – MoNique, best supporting actress.

For the Precious Dream …
"This is for everybody who works on the dream every day: precious boys and girls everywhere." – Geoffrey Fletcher, best adapted screenplay award for "Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire."

For the Possibilities and flip books…
"Never did I dream that making a flip book out of my third-grade math book would lead to this." – Pete Docter, best animated feature film award for "Up."

Spread the DREAM … not the icing!
Janice

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What was your favorite moment from last night’s Oscars?

More than 30 million people in the United States and around the world tuned in to watch last night’s 81st Academy Awards. In a continuation of my personal tradition, I was one of them, parked on my friend’s couch, jeering and cheering throughout the evening.

Were you drawn into the Hollywood glamour last night? What were your favorite moments? The show’s host Hugh Jackman dancing and singing in tails? Ben Stiller’s bearded and bushy Joaquim Phoenix impersonation? Frida Pinto’s inspiring graciousness? A.R. Rahman’s musical spectauclar or Dustin Lance Black’s poignant acceptance speech and plea for marriage equality?

If you haven’t done so already, you can check out the intents from many of the movies’ character here

Some of the Movies I’ve Loved and Not for 2008-On Oscar Track …Who Cares?

As posted on Books and Films Corner

I’ve meant to do a lot of movie reviews on here over the last six months and never got about to doing them! So on Oscar night whether they are on the Oscar track or not here are some of the movies I’ve loved recently and the ones I’ve not and even a mention of the ones I refused to go see and the ones that I did see and was pleasantly surprised!:)

So in alphabetical order here are some of them I can remember!

AUSTRALIA
Loved it! And no it wasn’t just cause Hugh Grant of my We Three Kings! fun and fame was in it! I loved it and unexpectedly so…because I just decided to go see it to meet up with some people and we figured it was the most passable thing on in cinema. I thought I was going to see before me a sweeping love saga unfold. And yes it was indeed a love story…but it was about Australia! I couldn’t get the idea of ‘dreaming’ out of my head after I saw the film. It made me think about aboriginal peoples all around the world and how they really could have such a feel for the land…so much so that they become intuitive…it made me think of myself…I searched within…it made me realise that although I had never visited India I knew it because that was what Hinduism was…it was a tapestry of India…an ode to its rivers and valleys…its plants and flowers….and I feel the South Indians the Saivites were the ones who really were the aboriginal peoples of their they really knew the lady…it is why I celebrate that Hippy Master Shiv today! :)And it made me wonder of the land I now live in Trinidad. What do I know of it? Well it’s aboriginal peoples…we have practically wiped them out and their voice here…well the Europeans did and we were the peoples they brought from another time when people still thought they could own each other…but what about now? It is almost impossible to gather much of the original peoples of Trinidad information…it is pretty much lost…but I could at least try to adapt the approach I know from Hinduism here in this land…and it was what I had been doing anyway…but Australia inspired me to keep on Dreaming….

TThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Well they say it was just made from an idea in a book by F. Scott Fitzgerald but whoever wrote this script made me want to read the book…or wonder how the book would read…the writing was just so rich…the story so wondrous and sweepingly epic. It also rang through that life is really only what we choose to make it…and that each one of us come here for a very unique point and purpose and we should just do it! Made me kinda recall this one of my posts.

The Tale of Despereaux
I kept meaning to write this review and say Gotta See Despereaux! or Gotta Love Despereaux! 🙂 He was so cute…such a pretty, pretty, cute mouse as my mummy put it!:) Cute enough just to watch the film for! 🙂 But again a film about living your purpose and not just going with the masses…where one mouse dared to go! It was also interesting the whole inherently deep spirituality in it like all good children tales! About the light and the dark and the sea faring rat and the ones from the sewer and the mouse who was suppose to be afraid but was not. And the kindness in that sea faring rat’s eyes and his voice…aaawwww…what a sweetly made film!:) It still remains with me! 🙂 I have to buy this film you know! And then there was soup! And I just love soup! Mmmmmm….who can not love soup! Well the sea faring rat for sure would agree!:) Everyone should see Despereaux! Gotta see Despereaux!

And really those were the three films I really had fun with in 2008. I saw Seven Pounds and was so so disappointed! Oprah your review and having Will on the show just didn’t ring through! It wasn’t the acting… that was fine even good at times…it was just the whole concept of the film and the whole idea in the end…geez…a man killing himself to give his organs….come on now! I wrote my rant on that film in response to my blogging friend Matt Welsh’s post on spiritual media blog…here.

Also there is Slumdog Millionaire…it never released on the island and I’m not a bootleg copy watching kinda girl plus Matt Welsh has posted here said it was very gory and I just not worth watching if you can’t take that even though it is to show reality perhaps…I know it is true but I go to the cinema to be inspired not come out blue! So…it is why I didn’t go to the darkness that was Dark  Knight (Batman) even though everyone said it was so good and it wasn’t just cause Joker was being played by a now dead man! And no it is not just going to be a cult classic for his fans? I don’t know…I just didn’t go!

But on the night of the Oscars as I pray to Shiv I say I hope AR Rahman fears well as I’ve always loved his music. I’ve heard Jai Ho! and I know it’s not his best for sure. But the ‘white people’ are now being exposed and that’s great for sure! I wish him all the best and I say although I love his music he could not ever with Ismail Darbar contest! 🙂

Top Ten Most Fascinating Movie Characters in 2008 (and their intents!)

We all love movies, but what is it that do you love most about those films? What about them draws you to the movie theater time after time? The actors? the filmmakers? the stories? the photography?

For me, it is all about the characters – fictional, non-fictional, human, animal or object. The ones that stay with you long after the movie is over. The ones that make you think, feel, cry and laugh. And especially the ones that you wish you actually knew.

So in honor of the 81st Annual Academy Awards this weekend, I bring you my Top 10 Most Fascinating and Memorable Film Characters of 2008 (and their Intents!). 2008 was a great year at the movies. There were some great films and some phenomenal characters that will stay with us for a long time. Who are they? What do they want? And what can we learn from them?

10. MARIA ELENA (Penélope Cruz in VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA)


“My intent is to work, love and live with pure passion”

María Elena is the fiery ex-wife of painter Juan Antonio in Woody Allen’s delightful and quirky Vicky Christina Barcelona. She is any man (or woman’s) ultimate fantasy and ultimate nightmare.  Not only is she a talented painter with a keen eye for art and heartbreakingly gorgeous, she is honest and will tell you how it is. She has strange ways of showing her love, including attempting to kill you if you cross her, but underneath all that fire is pure heart. She is passionate to the brim and lives completely from her heart, which is the way to live.

9. WALL-E (Benn Burt in WALL-E)


“My intent is to find companionship and love in this world”

His full name is Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth and he is a mobile trash compactor, the last of his kind, with the daunting job of cleaning up Planet Earth after it has been absolutely wrecked by humans. He isn’t just any ordinary robot though, his lonely existence and mundane life has sparked emotion and curiosity. Wall-E collects artifacts, enjoys music and falls in love with Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator or EVE, a robotic probe who comes to Earth in search for vegetation and its capacity for inhabitation. Wall-E joins the likes of R2D2 and E.T, as one of the most adorable robots to grace the big screen. He might not say a lot but he manages to capture your heart with his pure intentions. Oh that and he also saves Planet Earth!

8. DAVID FROST (Michael Sheen in FROST/NIXON)


“My intent is uncover the truth, no matter how difficult it might be”

When we first meet David Frost, he is a flamboyant and fun loving host of a variety TV show, leagues away from the recently shamed President Richard Nixon. But as history shows, the two come together in one of the most famous televised interviews, where the former President confesses his guilt to Frost. Frost/Nixon took me by surprise, it wasn’t just a film about a TV interview it was one of those great underdog stories. It starts with an unattainable dream, true dedication, almost defeat and climaxes with glorious victory. David Frost was the perfect example of our 2008 mantra, “Yes We Can!”. He had a dream, a vision and he stopped to no end to get it. He was constantly criticized and undermined but he did not let any of that bring him down. He wanted something and got it, and that was inspiring!

7. BENJAMIN BUTTON (Brad Pitt in THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON)


“My intent is to live my life the only way I know how to”

How can you not fall in love with a character when you spend 3 hours experiencing his entire life. Benjamin Button comes from the pages of one of my favorite authors, F.Scott Fitzerald. He might be born an old wrinkly man, but he is as eager and curious as any young boy. He is ambitious and falls in love just like any of us. The most charming quality about Benjamin that draws us to him is how he embraces life. Nothing in his life is forever and as he grows younger, everything else he loves grows older and withers. He is an outsider every step of the way but none of that deters him from living the best life he can. He is the most unusual man there ever was but also the most normal one.

6. HARVEY MILK (Sean Penn in MILK)


“My intent is to never give up my freedom to love who I want”

American Politician and gay rights activist Harvey Milk, was the first openly gay man to be elected to office. He is an inspiration for all those who ever wanted to give up on a fight because of constant defeat. Harvey Milk ran for office over and over again until he was elected. Death threats, outcry, hate and rejection did not stop his fight for freedom – the freedom to love whomever he wanted. He is polite, cuddly and the nicest man you can ever imagine but at the same time he is a fierce politician who knows how to create an uproar. He uses his charm and we all fall under the spell of Harvey Milk.

5. ERNESTO “CHE” GUEVARA (Benicio Del Toro in CHE – PART ONE & TWO)


“My intent is to fight for freedom and equal rights for all”

You might love him, hate him or have no idea who he is but you have definitely seen him (his infamous photo has graced many tshirts, mugs and posters). Steven Soderbergh’s epic biopic Che – Part One & Part Two, shows Che how he is. His life is shown without bias; he is neither glorified or bashed. Benicio Del Toro’s performance has to be the most phenomenal unrecognized performance of the year (he did win the Best Actor trophy at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival). Personally I am a big Che-fan. Yes he was a socialist and chose violence to achieve his goals, but above all of that was a man who gave up his career, home and the life he had to fight for every underprivileged man there was. He lived for the people absolutely selflessly. He suffered from asthma, but never let that get in the way of his revolution. I was in awe throughout the movie and left the theater with goosebumps and truly moved.

4. JAMAL MALIK (Dev Patel in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE)


“My intent is to find my true love, any way I can”

Slumdog Millionaire in every way is an inspiration. It is the little movie that could. Did you know it went almost straight to DVD after Warner Bros. shut down Warner Independent. Thankfully Fox Searchlight saw the gem it was and the rest is history. It echoes again our mantra for 2008 “yes we can!” Jamal Malik, played by three different actors in the film, is the ultimate underdog. Throughout his life every horrible thing possible has happened to him. He lost his mother, begged on the streets, almost got his eyes gouged out and was betrayed by the only family he had. But Jamal is like that bobo doll that you punch and punch but always comes back for more. Jamal has a reason to live and fight for — his true love Latika. Jamal’s whole life has been about finding his way back to her and it is one of the most moving love stories of our times.

3. EDWARD CULLEN (Robert Pattinson in TWILIGHT)


“My intent is to find my soulmate and never let her go”

If every generation has one romantic leading man that all the women go crazy for, Edward Cullen will be the one for this coming generation. Stephenie Meyer’s wildy popular Twilight series, created what I would agree is the perfect man (oh by the way he might also kill you and drink your blood!) He is the most dangerously attractive man. Everything about him will draw you in and yes, that is a line straight from the film. He is looking for his true love and when he finds her he does everything in his power to make her safe and happy. But besides all the perfect-ness, he is also fascinating to no end. He is 108 years old (stopped aging at 17) and has lived through the whole century. Can you imagine the stories he would have to share?

2. THE JOKER (Heath Ledger in THE DARK KNIGHT)


“My intent is to kill your hope and happiness”

The Joker, played to perfection by Heath Ledger, is my #2 most memorable character of 2008 and the absolute reason the Dark Knight was a truly brilliant piece of cinema. Throughout the years we have seen many villains, ones who wanted to create pollution, ones who wants to rule the world, the ones who wanted money and the ones who wanted power but the Joker stands above them all. The Joker doesn’t want anything for himself, he wants to take away the most powerful force within all human beings, hope. He is the ultimate villain. He does not scare from anybody and doesn’t even care if you capture him. He takes the one symbol of a bright future (Harvey Dent) and converts him to evil. If you can just ignore all the moral issues for a second, you will see the pure brilliance.

1. HANNA SCHMITZ (Kate Winslet in THE READER)


“My intent is to learn how to read and write”

And the #1 most fascinating character I found in 2008, was hands down was Kate Winslet’s Hanna Schmitz in The Reader. There was so many layers to her that I found myself constantly thinking about her long after the film ended. Hanna Schmitz’s actions are absolutely despicable. She is a former SS guard at Auschwitz, who once let an entire church fuller of prisoners burn and die. If her actions as a Nazi guard were not bad enough she seduces a teenage boy years younger. But if you ask Hanna what is the one thing she is most ashamed of in her life, she would say being illiterate. Hanna Schmitz did not find anything wrong with being an SS guard or taking advantage of a young boy, but the one aspect of her life that she could not live with (and for which she endures years of life as a prisoner) is the fact that she could not read or write. As you get to know her more, you discover the many decisions in her life that stemmed from that one inability. Hanna Schmitz. Kate Winslet’s portrayal is the cherry on top on a trult memorable character. She is equally ambiguous as she is fascinating.

Hope you all enjoyed my journey through some of the great movies we saw in 2008 and do share what your favorite characters and movies were in 2008.

The 81st Annual Academy Awards

This Sunday, Oscar is back in action. Hollywood’s most talented and beautiful will step out together for an evening of glitz and glamour for the 81st annual Academy Awards. While the event can be a little lavish (an understatement, I know), it promises a night of entertainment to all its viewers. From the limos and the dresses to the speeches and the parties, the awards are guaranteed to cater to our fascination with celebrities and their lifestyles.  All of this may sound slightly shallow, but this extravagant glitz is effective in drawing in plenty of viewers. Last year Nielson estimated a whopping 32 million viewers in the United States tuned in to watch the Awards.

While the show itself may appeal to our shallow side by focusing on outward glamour, it does succeed in bringing attention to the movies it recognizes.  If it takes designer dresses and beautiful people to get over 32 million Americans to focus on the stories Hollywood has been telling this year, then by all means, add some more sparkle.

The movies that are nominated this year tell smart stories, explore historical events, and teach great lessons. Here is a brief synopsis of each movie nominated for Best Picture to keep you (and me!) informed during Sunday’s ceremony.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Benjamin Button is adapted from a 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald story. It follows the journey of a man who ages backward. It tells of the love he finds, the joy and sadness he experiences, and the lessons he learns along the way. 

Milk: Milk tells the story of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist turned politician.  The story explores his personal and public journey as the first openly gay elected official in the United States.

Frost/Nixon: Frost/Nixon tells the story of the interview between President Nixon and Robert Frost three years after Nixon left office. It becomes a battle of wits as Frost attempts to make Nixon take accountability for his actions during his presidency.

The Reader: The Reader tells the story of a love affair between Hanna, a Nazi guard, and Michael, a young unaware boy. The movie flashes forward to years later when the young boy has graduated law school and is a part of the war crimes trial that could convict Hanna. He is torn between his different definitions of justice.

Slumdog Millionaire: This movie tells the story of an 18 year-old orphan who grew up in the slums of Mumbai. He is one question away from winning a large sum of money on India’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” The police accuse him of cheating. To prove his innocence, he tells the story of his past and how he learned to answers to the quiz show’s questions.

 

Whether or not you enjoyed some, all, or none of the movies nominated for best picture this year, you have to admit that the stories and lessons presented are groundbreaking. They teach the world a little more about growth and acceptance through their historical analysis and smart story telling. When fame, talent, and beauty are used to promote good messages and share good stories, I completely support it. What about you? I am curious to hear your thoughts on the Academy Awards and this year’s nominated movies. Please share!

 

Oscar Predictions ’09

I’m excited about the Oscars this year.  I look forward to the show every year, it’s kind of a holiday at my house – starting at about 3:00 with all the red carpet shows.  We eat dinner in front of the TV and I stay up for every minute no matter how long it takes.

You might not know this about me, but I’ve actually been to the Academy Awards  – twice!  It was in the 80’s, when I was a Page at ABC.  I didn’t get to wear any designer gown, I was in my Page uniform, consisting of a polyester long grey skirt and a navy blue blazer with the ABC emblem over the chest.  Regardless of my outfit, I loved the experience – I got to meet Jack Lemmon, Gregory Peck, and Meryl Streep.  And I got to be on TV, standing right in front of the big Oscar at the bottom of the steps, saying “watch your step” to the winners as they ran up to claim their award.  I vowed that one day I would be back, walking the red carpet instead of supervising it. 

I had that chance more than a decade later when I bid on a pair of tickets at a charity auction.  My friend Curt and I got all dressed up, boarded the limo-bus with the other attendees, and drank champagne on the way.  We even walked down the red carpet – until we got to the ticket-taker who declared our tickets to be bogus.  Oh, well, back on the bus – and we watched the show on the bus TVs on the ride home.

I think the ceremony itself is kind of dictated by the movies that are nominated.  Last year we had There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men.  Both heavy, dark, depressing and violent.  This year we have an interesting mix.  The nominated films include Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I’ve seen them all, and I loved them all, each for different reasons. 

Milk is a thoughtful portrait of a remarkable man.  Frost/Nixon is smart and compelling.  The Reader is intense, and thought-provoking.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is magical and expertly executed.  And the film I think will win, and deserves to win, is the one that has the biggest heart, Slumdog Millionaire.  It was by far my favorite film of the year.  The other two films I loved, but which were left out, were Gran Torino and Australia.  I think Australia will win for Catherine Martin’s fabulous costumes.

Here are my other predictions:
Actor: Sean Penn in Milk.  He totally becomes this character, there is no trace of Sean Penn to be seen.  He makes you forget you’re watching a movie.
Actress: Kate Winslet in The Reader.  This has to be the toughest role to come along in a long time – Kate Winslet manages to walk take this very complicated, confused and tough woman and make her vulnerable.
Supporting Actor:  Heath Ledger.  I thought so right after I saw him as the Joke in Batman Returns – and I never wavered.  This is a mesmerizing performance.
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona.  This is another time I had that instinct right after the movie.  She is just on fire in her performance, I don’t think anyone else could have played the part.
Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.  It was his choices that made this such an amazing film.  Gotta give it to him.
Animated Film: Wall-E – by a mile.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new host, Hugh Jackman!  Hugh is such a showman – he’s done a great job hosting the Tony’s.  He is the whole package, charming, talented, handsome – and an A list actor.

The countdown has begun… you know where I’ll be on Sunday!

 

Call for Content: President’s Day and The Oscars

Dear Intenters,

This blog, the Intent Editor (a team effort), will feature weekly calls for content, updates from our end like new site features, modifications and content campaigns, and tips on blogging and social media.

Every Monday, we’ll present a Call for Content for the week. We turn to you, Intent Community, for thoughts and perspectives on upcoming events, hot topics, etc.

  1. President’s Day What are your reflections on Obama’s first 3 weeks in office? Which President do you find most interesting, effective, compelling or distasteful? Please tag all posts President Day.
     
  2. Academy Awards Do you tune into the Academy Awards? Is if for the artistic acknowledgment, fashion, host stand-up routine? Which movies this year (Oscar nominated or not) have struck a note with you? Have any inspired you to take a specific action or make a change? Please tag all posts Oscars.
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