Oscar Say What?
So… that happened.
In Hollywood they often say that hosting the Academy Awards is the most thankless job. I think producing it has to be up there as well.
The producers are charged with giving us a show that entertains everyone in the world — every demographic, every age group. We want a glimpse into who these industry stars really are — but please: don’t take too long. Make it funny! But make it snappy. We want glamour, but no big production numbers, please. We can’t wait to hear what the winners have to say — as long as they agree with us and our political opinions. We really do want to know what it takes to be the best at the things we don’t understand; educate us, but don’t you dare school us. Cliff notes, please.
We want you to honor every single person who passed away last year, but again: we don’t have all night.
So, yeah: they failed.
They fail every year, because we all have a platform (so speaketh the person typing this for her own benefit), and we aren’t afraid to use it.
So I will be kind, because I know it is an impossible job.
The setting was stunning. Really: I want to have a party there. And Regina King’s walk into the show set us up for drama and glamour. Which we got — but not always how we’d liked to have had it.
I got a few texts during the show about how long it was taking. Keep in mind that they saved time in a ton of ways: having each presenter do two awards was smart. A more intimate venue meant walks were shorter (although I do miss the audience reaction shots). They didn’t show the songs or lots of movie clips or have any production numbers. Those last three things were negatives, IMO, even if they saved time.
The producers said they wanted to make the show more approachable to a younger generation. Ok. But if you want Gens Y and Z to pay attention, do it on the screen in their hands. Those cool personal tidbits about all the nominees, like about first jobs and favorite movies growing up? Release those as Insta stories or Tik Toks during the days leading up. Appeal to the college students studying to be cinematographers or actors or costume designers. And while I think it’s awesome to get the next generation involved, you can’t do it at the expense of the mainstays (like 50 something me).
A big complaint every year? The speeches. Every year I know my favorite speeches will not be form the big stars, but from the new people, who are so damn happy to be there. This year, two of the best speeches went to best supporting winners , Yuh-Jung Youn and Daniel Kaluuya. They were funny and sweet and gracious and grateful. Yuh-Jung Youn won hearts by both flirting with Brad Pitt and shaking her fingers at the many, many people who have butchered her name over the years. Kaluuya was joyful and his speech bounced around from exclamations of celebration to thankfulness for his parents for having sex. Watching his mom’s face when he said that? Priceless. That must’ve been a fun phone call later!
I wept when best international feature, Thomas Vinterberg, talked about Ida, his 19 year old daughter killed in a car accident days before shooting of the film began. It made me even more determined to see this movie, . Not seeing it was my one pre-Oscar regret I had.
Tyler Perry pulled no punches, saying what many have said, and what I firmly believe: “I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate.”
He dedicated the award “to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls. Stand in the middle, because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens.”
The “In Memoriam” part is always controversial, as someone is always left out (this year Naya Rivera and Jessica Walter were the big omissions to most people). They tried to do a lot of people — but sadly, they went so fast many people, including my husband, complained they couldn’t read the names fast enough. This portion should be stately, not speedy. And coming on the heels of a year steeped in loss around the world, it made me uncomfortable. Were we skimming through this moment to replicate the many missed memorials and funerals last year? Is that a feeling we really want to replicate?
Looking away from what was, and looking towards what can be, Frances McDormand made a lovely speech when accepting the Best Picture award as a producer of Nomadland: “Please, watch our movie on the largest screen possible,” she said. “And one day, very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theater, shoulder to shoulder, in that dark space, and watch every film that is represented here tonight.”
I, for one, am very much looking forward to watching a movie in the theater again — even if it means I have to put on a bra.
Ok: enough chit chat. Let’s look at some pictures!
We might as well start with the biggest controversy — Best Actor. If you recall, I, like the rest of the world, thought Chadwick Bozeman was a lock — but I said Anthony Hopkins was brilliant (he was — and The Father was better than Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, IMO). Oscar was so sure that they changed the lineup and put Best Actor last. I actually had to rewind the show, sure I had somehow missed something when they announced Best Picture (they won’t make that mistake again). Anyway. Hopkins won best actor, but he wasn’t there so pics of his outfit (but google his acceptance speech released the next morning. Class). Here are our Best Actors in their finery:
Gary Oldman had fun with his ruffled blue shirt, Steven Yeun looked dapper (as expected), and Riz Ahmed looks yummy. The black turtleneck with the navy suit is fantastic.
I picked Viola Davis to win this one, but she lost to Frances McDormand — but not in the fashion wars. Some of the best and worst looks of the night were in this category. Frances McDormand didn’t walk the red carpet, so there are no great pics of her — but that hair. For the love of God. That’s Pandemmy hair all right. Couldn’t someone hand her a comb? Viola Davis looks stunning, as always. But Id didn’t love the hair with it. Vanessa Kirby looks dreadful. The dress washes her out, and the goth makeup looks like something she might have worn to piss off her mom in high school. Andra Day was close to greatness (and not just with the nomination). The dress needed to be tailored. Wanna see how to glow in gold? Carey Mulligan was one of my favorites. Gorgeous.
Best Supporting Actor:
All originals here, and they all looked great in their own ways. I picked DanieI Kaluuya to win this category, and he did, but in this style context he was probably the most underwhelming, but he looks classy and his personality shines through. Lakeith Stanfield is just hot in a crazy 70s throwback kinda way. Leslie Odom Jr embraced the gold trend with aplomb. Impeccable. Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite. Paul Raci is exactly what I would want from a “seasoned” rocker. Sacha Baron Cohen looks amazing — so opposite of what his roles usually are!
Best Supporting Actress:
Many said Amanda Seyfried was on the best dressed list. I disagree. The dress is a wowser, and the styling works great, but I feel like the dress could’ve been tailored to be more flattering. Yes: I know she just had a baby, and she looks amazing. So play up the curves: bring that waist in one more inch if you can. If you can’t then structure the hips one inch wider and curvier to balance and accentuate her voluptuousness. Glenn Close: the color is great, but why the gloves? And either lose the pants and make it a dress, or shorten the “dress” hem. I was worried Maria Bakalova would be a mess, but I was wrong. She looks lovely — nothing to put her at the tip top of the list, but awfully close. Olivia Coleman’s amazeball shoes saved her — and the color of the ensemble sings as well. But there is just something off about the tailoring of the dress, and I’m not digging the hair. Winner Yuh-Jung Youn looks wonderful. Frances McDormand: this is how you embrace your grey, and wear a dark frock that doesn’t try too hard. This woman tried — and still looks comfortable. And: I picked her, and she won!
Red and white were big color themes this year!
And don’t forget all the other colors (because I never will)!
Halle Berry’s dress was bright and fun, but was overshadowed by too-short bangs and dark circles under her eyes. Is she ok?
Zendaya wowed and was at the top of many lists. Rightfully (and expectedly) so. I loved the dress, until I saw it from the front. Then the midriff opening looked way too big, like a yawning mouth. Bit in these shots she’s a stunner:
One of my absolute favorites of the night had to be H.E.R., who just may be a Prince reincarnation in more ways than one:
Other color moments:
I wanted to do a special shout out to Emerald Fennell. I was sure we’d see a lot of florals, and I was wrong. I also said I wanted her in green, and she delivered — with floral AND green. And being pregnant to boot (gotta love these pandemic babies that people get to hide in quarantine!). She was charming!
But let’s not overlook the neutrals, if we can call them that:
This group ran the gamut. Chloe Zhou…I mean, I get it. She’s not fussy. She wants to keep it simple. I’m not asking her to change who she is, but this dress in another color would have been better. Or a different dress with tennis shoes (if this dress had been white, and a different length, the shoes would’ve been great with it. No makeup? Fine, but know that you will be super washed out on TV. And her hair loose would have been better. Doesn’t have to be super styled: put those braids in the night before, and let ’em loose for the show. A whole different look. Wear the braids with a black jumpsuit and the tennis shoes. That would’ve been cute, comfy and easy.
Nicolette Robinson is the best of the bunch here. She, like Amanda Seyfried, recently had a baby. THIS is how you do it. The rest of the ladies like good. Not great, not awful, but good.
Speaking of Robinson, she is one half of a stunning couple. I love the trend of couples dressing together!
But the best dressed couple of the night? These guys, right here:
I’d never heard of Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free before they won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short for Two Distant Strangers. But I really wanna know them — and I want them to win more!
I also want to point out to “A”s that scored points with me: accessories, and architectural accents (is that three As?) Details can make or break an outfit. These two ladies had super cool purses:
A heart? And popcorn? I love it!
The following ladies stood out for design reasons — the construction of their garments felt almost architectural to me.
I know people hated Laura Dern’s feathery dress, but I didn’t. It wasn’t perfect (the top too austere for the fluffy bottom), but it was fun and classy to me. My two faves in the above group had to be costume designer Mia Neal’s amazing blue gown, and, of course, MISS Regina King. Or should we say Queen? Because she wore the crown. Hands down the best look of the night!
The men have turned it up big time in the past few years, and I almost look forward to seeing them more than the women. It is amazing how they have decided that the girls don’t get to have all the fun!
I thought I’d throw in a fun section: how it looked on the runway, vs how the stars wore it. Which ones were better?
Last but not least: the after parties. There weren’t as many this year, but let me leave you with some of the most memorable looks I found from those events. I hope you enjoyed my round up — I probably won’t have much to talk about regarding fashion for awhile. Looks like it’s back to doggies and date nights, lol!
Lookin’ Good (most of ya, anyway)
Starting with the nominated actors, let’s put them in order of least favorite to favorite dressed in each category!
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
I was amazed at all the black and white this year!
Speaking of black and white, a few of the men tried to break out of your standard penguin suit:
As for the dynamic duos…
As you probably know by now, I am a huge fan of color and not a fan of the lack of it…usually. There wasn’t much color last night, except for a strong showing of reds and oranges. Here are a few of the colorful standouts, with a few paler hues that stood out for me.
Before we do my favorites and least faves, perhaps my favorite category: the, “I can’t make up my minds” — or the ALMOST Faves
And now, for my least favorite looks…
The best looks of the night, IMO:
Some faces I missed seeing on the red carpet, and would like to see next year: Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and Emma Stone! See ya then!
And That’s a Wrap
I LOVE THAT PARASITE WON BEST PICTURE!
That was such a highlight for me at last night’s Academy Awards. I feel like the movie’s dominance last night was the only surprise all night. And Boon Jung Ho deserved his oft-mentioned drink last night, lol! I have a feeling he and the cast had a lot of fun at the after-parties!
What else did I like from the event?
I loved Chrissy Metz (from This is Us TV fame) singing “I’m Standing with You.”
She was amazing.
I laughed out loud at Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig and their bit. Why aren’t they hosting the Oscars? The show keeps wanting to be pro-women, but would rather go hostless — a huge mistake — than hire smart, talented women like these?
Utkarsh Ambukar’s rap about midway through was on fire! I mean, he probably planned some of it but had to have composed it pretty much as the show rolled. He was great, and slightly but not obsessively political, and I bet a lot of people are googling him today.
I was wrong on my Billie Eilish prediction — but loved the way they used her talent. Great call having one of the hippest young music stars today sing during the In Memorium tribute. It was a way of drawing in the young viewers, showing her paying homage to those who came before her. The Awards has been struggling with declining viewership over the years, and I think they are trying to make the show more relevant to a younger audience. They are bringing in more music, which resonates. But Eminem? Why? What did his performance have to do with today’s movies? Don’t get me wrong: I love him, but he is 47 — he could be Eilish’s grandfather.
They also brought in some younger stars to do some face time. They were often relegated to introducing bigger stars, who were, in turn, introducing bits. That’s kind of a weird thing, IMO. And I don’t think the names were big enough to really draw young viewers if that’s what they were trying to do.
Another fave moment was watching Rebel Wilson and James Cordon making fun of themselves and their turn in probably the biggest catastrophic flop of the year, CATS. Their 4 minutes or so on screen were probably better than the whole movie.
I also wasn’t too keen on Elton John’s performance, but I really think it was because the sound quality wasn’t great. He’s awesome (and I can’t wait to see him live this summer!).
On the other hand, there were quite a few things I didn’t love. As I said before, I hate the no-host thing. After Janelle Monae’s very cool intro performance, they humiliated two former hosts, Steve Martin and Chris Rock, by making them poke fun at being non-hosts. The jokes fell pretty flat to me — I mean, poking fun at Jeff Bezos was amusing at first, but they took it too far (why was he there, anyway?). And frankly, I felt that Martin was there to be a foil for Rock — cue the white male privilege jokes.
HWSNBN and I had a huge issue with the Idina Menzel Frozen 2 song performance. Not with her — she’s a phenomenal singer, of course. But they had singers who had performed the Frozen songs in other languages on stage with her. Great idea, but where was the diversity there? No one from China? Or Africa? And basically, two singing in the same language (Spanish and Castilian are awfully close). We both were pretty irritated by that. If the Academy is striving to promote diversity, that would’ve been an easy way to show some.
And you know a joke is tired when HWSNBN comments that he has seen it before. The Will Farrel Julia Louis-Dreyfus bit where they don’t know what a cinematographer does has been recycled enough. It’s rude and disrespectful to cinematographers.
And why were some things introduced twice (Anthony Ramos introduced Lin-Manuel Miranda, who then introduced a montage about the importance of music in movies.
And why were some performers not introduced at all? Chrissy Metz, Elton John, and Randy Newman all just sort of started performing. Very weird.
Some performers, like Randy Newman and Elton John, weren’t introduced at all.
And sometimes even presenters got presented: Lin-Manuel Miranda, for instance, got a full WWE-style introduction from Anthony Ramos, in order to to…introduce a montage.
All in all, I liked the show. I know that every year they have to work around the movies that are nominated to create the show. That makes sense. And I know that there were lots of things that didn’t happen this year (no women directors nominated, for example, And yes, having women in starring roles, like the first female conductor (even though she was only conducting for a segment and not the whole show), was a good call. But it does still feel like a desperate move in a scared town. There were some amazing movies this year, and I think that’s great. I guess the problem might be that as we raise the bar on movies, there will be more wonderful ones to pick from, so more will not be recognized. I mean, Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated for anything this year.
Clearly, it’s tough to be a woman in Hollywood!
(tomorrow I’ll post about the fashions. Don’t worry: I’m still as trite and superficial as ever!)
Predictions are a Production
The Academy Awards are tonight!
I managed to see all the best picture nominees and most of the acting ones. Here are my predictions for some of the awards — decorated by fashion splashes not yet discussed during this awards season!
Best Supporting Actor
(Haven’t seen Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, or Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes).
Who I liked best: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I’ll be honest: this year has changed my opinion of Pitt. I never really paid attention to him before, although he stood out from the generically handsome slew of men in Hollywood in Inglourious Basterds. But this role seems, well, like who he is in real life. And after watching him in this, and in all the interviews and red carpet and award show appearances, he’s kinda hot. He’s sexy to me now, both as a hunka man and as an actor. Hoping for cool stuff from him in the future!
Who will win: Pitt. Easiest vote of the night. And he should have a cool, aw-shucks, ma’am, speech.
Fashions I liked from the BAFTA awards:
Best Supporting Actress
(haven’t seen Kathy Bates in Ricard Jewell)
Who I liked best: Florence Pugh, Little Women. I have heard some folks say she shouldn’t win because she was so much older than her character in the book, and she was a British woman playing a thoroughly American role. I don’t really care about either of those things — and those were choices made by the casting director, not by her. From the minute we entered the theater, I realized this was a different, thoroughly modern Little Women, and she was perfect. She fleshed out Amy March in a way I’d never seen done before and made her a strong, complex woman, not just a spoiled brat.
Who will win: Laura Dern, Marriage Story. She was good, don’t get me wrong, but Best? Nah.
Fashions I didn’t like from the BAFTAs:
(Haven’t seen Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory or Jonathon Pryce in The Two Popes)
Who I liked best: Joaquin Phoenix in The Joker. He completely embodied the character and made him sympathetic. His performance gave dimension to an almost comical villain, and the film is more of a treatise on the plight of the poor and those with mental illness, and how the haves don’t always get what the have nots need or want. Phoenix was sad, and sweet, and gruesome and powerful and beyond impressive.
Who will win: Phoenix. A given.
Fashions I liked at the SAG awards:
Who I liked best: So many great performances here! But I have to say Renee Zelwegger as Judy Garland was heart wrenching and lovely. My number two choice would be Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story. So nuanced! She was so good you could almost forget how stupid beautiful she is.
Who will win: Zellwegger
Fashions I didn’t like from the SAGs:
Who I liked best: All 5 deftly handled complex films with lots of different challenges. I wouldn’t be bothered by any of them winning, but I might have to say Bong Joon Ho for Parasite was the most impressive to me, followed by Sam Mendes for 1917.
Who will win: Most likely Mendes — although Hollywood does love itself enough to give it to Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Which I liked best: I kind of feel like Parasite should win, with 1917 in second place.
Which will win: 1917 — or Once Upon a Time.
My biggest surprise prediction: Billie Eilish will debut her new James Bond song! And I can’t wait!
Time to go get cozy, and watch the show! See you soon!
And the Nominees Are…
So my dance card is shaping up for the next several weeks!
Oscar nominations were announced yesterday — of the 9 films nominated for Best Picture, I have seen 4, which is pretty good. I typed up my new “to-do list,” and was able to cross off at least one in each major category:
My first plan is always to see all the Best Pic noms, then fill out the rest of the major categories. So that’s 11 movies minimum to see before the big show, which is on Feb 9th. This year I really want to attend one of those film fests where they show all the shorts, so gotta start looking for that.
Before I make my plan, I have to see which ones HWSNBN wants to watch with me. I assume he’ll say yes to the Joker, The Two Popes and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. He’d like 1917, but war movies have become very hard for us to watch since Sailor Boy joined the Navy. I’m on the fence as to whether he will want to join me for Marriage Story, Bombshell or Richard Jewell. The rest I know he will say thanks but no thanks, lol!
So if you really want to see one of these, let me know and we’ll get it on the calendar! This week I am focussing on stuff I can see online (new foster puppy, book club weekend, and big Secondhand Hounds event to plan for next week). But starting next week, if you want to find me, you’ll have to look in a darkened theater!
Oh — and as a quick goodbye, here are some looks that caught my eye at the Critics’ Choice Awards last night. Can you guess which ones I liked, and which ones, well, not so much?
My Awards Show Has a First Name, It’s O-S-C-A-R!
So I watched the Academy Awards, as usual. Took notes while it was on — and have edited those thoughts with pics and afterthoughts…(the verb tense is usually present, as I typed while I watched. Sorry if that confuses anyone)
What is up with the ruffles, the pink, the HUGE dresses?
Gaga clearly set the trend when she showed up in that periwinkle ball gown to the Golden Globes and the pink feathered gown at Cannes. Hoping she wears something totally different. A bright, sleek, regal number.
Speaking of sleek…
Clearly, when one wears a slinky dress, the left shoulder look-over is de rigueur. Like all of these dresses — except for the back of the last one. She looks like she has toilet paper stuck to her butt.
Another big trend: gender bending. I noticed the first gal pictured in the slideshow, costume designer Sandy Powell, in the background while someone was interviewing a big star, and just fell in love. I always think it’s fun to see what the costume designers wear. They are often so creative — just like their creations. In this case, Powell’s designs for The Favourite inspired one of the most talked about fashion moments of the night (we’ll chat about that later). Here she looks amazing to me — I would love to wear this look! (BTW: Powell was nominated for both The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns. This is the third time she has been nominated doubly in the same year).
So how did the men look?
Here are a few other standouts, for better and worse:
The red carpet behind them, the celebs sat down for the show. After that opening, I got even more excited to go to see Queen this summer! Watching Glenn Close, Queen Latifah and Javier Bardem sing along was so freaking cool. Best opening monologue ever? Looking at Bradley Cooper’s face, I am guessing he was thinking “I cannot compete with this…”
Non-hosts Amy Pohler, Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph were hilarious. I was wondering how political the show would be, and the second joke of the night was about the border wall. I personally have no problem with folks using their 30 seconds of speech time to speak their mind, but I know it drives tons of people nuts.
The more I look at Tina’s dress the more I love it. And the more I look at Maya’s the more I want to use it to cover a couch.
Best Supporting Actress contenders:
Regina King wins (no surprise there). Her toga dress is masterful, and I think it wins best dressed in this category. My fave actress in this category, Amy Adams, had a terrific look. The other 3? Two were ok, one was awful. You guess which.
Helen Mirren and Jason Momoa? Yes, please. What a great pairing!
Best Documentary: wow! I was sure RBG would win it! Oh dear: that — does she know we can see right through her dress? Maybe that’s next year’s documentary feature: fashion gone wrong.
I’ts interesting seeing who the producers chose to introduce each best picture. Some made sense, like Dana Carvey and Mike Myers for Bohemian Rhapsody. But why did Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine introducing Vice? Is it because the movie is about the political machine?
Makeup: Vice won — and should have! But man the people who won sucked at giving their acceptance speech. Buy them some frickin glasses. Their speech made everyone rethink the decision not to do that award during a commercial.
What the actual F. Melissa McCarthy and Bryan Tyree Henry! I am digging these costume collaborations. Not everyone seemed to get the reference, but the outfits were a mashup of all the nominated movies’ costumes. The bunny cape was from The Favourite (remember I mentioned something about that before?)
J Lo and Chris Evans. Very pretty people. Her dress is her way of saying no one can outshine me! Metallic dresses were a theme this year, too:
Cinematography — Roma‘s first of (I am betting) several wins.
One of my fave lines of the night: Khaleesi (aka Emilia Clarke) loaning her dragons to RBG. Fantastic!
Serena Williams introducing A Star is Born. I am thinking these odd airings are a surprisingly successful way to introduce a modern element more relatable for a younger audience. Good touch.
I SUCKED this year at guessing the winners! Bohemian Rhapsody for sound editing, It did make great sense. But I still think a Quiet Place made better sense. But hey I got Roma right for foreign language film!
Bette Midler singing the song from Mary Poppins Returns. Song was kind of boring. Doesn’t make me excited to see the movie (the only one I planned to see this week and didn’t get to).
Charlize Theron and Daniel Craig — she could be Bond.
Best Supporting Actor contenders:
— Mahershala Ali won. A given, really. But why was he supporting, and Viggo lead? I don’t know. Anyway: Maheshala always seems like such a thoughtful, intelligent person. I dug his outfit, too. Not sure if he was my fave in the category fashion wise — they all looked pretty sharp.
Best line of the night: “I can’t believe a movie about menstruation just won an Oscar!”
First Man won for Visual Effects. I should know better than to bet against a space film. But seriously: Ready Player One had incredible effects!
So now the moment everyone is really waiting for, and it wasn’t an award. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper took the stage. And, I loved how they did the Shallow song. No intro needed. No fanfare. No upstaging anyone else. Evidently that was Bradley’s idea. The whole thing was planned — including the heat. I mean, they are actors. Do they have chemistry? Of course. But are they an item? No.
Spike Lee wins his first ever Oscar. One of the few truly political moments, but that’s who he is (I am sure there will be people bitching tomorrow about people preaching from the podium. Yawn.)
So happy that Lady Gaga won for best song! And she was so touched! Love it.
Interesting that Barbra Streisand introduced BlacKkKlansman, not A Star is Born. A little bit more politicking, but lowkey.
Best Actor contenders:
No shock Rami Malek wins best Actor. Didn’t know he was dating his costar from the movie! Ok so here’s why I don’t think Rami Malek should’ve won: his portrayal of Freddy Mercury doesn’t seem like a huge stretch from who he is as a person. He also needed someone straighten his darn tie on the red carpet. best dressed in this category? Viggo Mortenson.
Best Actress contenders:
Emily Coleman wins! She was wonderful, and I love how shocked she is. She seems like such a wonderful person and hilarious. Blowing a raspberry at the teleprompter: genius! A lot of people didn’t like her dress, but I think it was pretty cool. I think all these nominees looked fantastic. I am torn between Glenn Close and Lady Gaga for best dressed!
Here comes the original pretty woman, looking stun-NING.
Best picture…. Green Book! Green Book? Wow! I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite of all the movies.
The show ends, but the party continues, and so does the fashion! Here are some after-party fashion moments:
That’s a wrap, folks. Now for me to get caught up on all the stuff on my DVR!
A Predilection for Predictions
As you may know, I love a list. I also love movies, so when the Oscar nominations are announced I print out the official ballot and start my must-see to do list!
I try to watch movies throughout the year that are nomination contenders, but I usually fail a bit. The top movies are typically released at the end of the year, so it’s tough to get ahead of the game. But my goal is always to see as many nominated movies as possible. Ultimate goal (never realized!) is to see every movie nominated. At the very least? Every best pic nominee, and it’s a rare year when I don’t meet that requirement.
This year there were 52 movies covering 120 nominations. I ended up seeing only 16 — but they did cover 75 nominations, so I’ll take it! This year I am pretty sure I will get a lot of predictions wrong, as there are so many close races. In anticipation of the Academy Awards show tonight, here are my thoughts and predictions for some of the awards:
Best Actor: Willem Defoe, who played Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate, was good, but the movie was not what it could’ve been. It was hard to watch, as it was pretty much from a “madness” viewpoint. So he’s not a contender, really. Viggo Mortenson in Green Book played a pretty generic character (ignorantly racist Italian New Yorker hired to drive African American concert pianist around the deep south. Basically a flipped version of Driving Miss Daisy). Bradley Cooper was amazing, but he’s not going to win. For some reason Hollywood is NOT embracing A Star Is Born. I think there is something there we mortals just don’t all know. Maybe Cooper needs to do another amazing job as an actor/director so Rami Malek for Boehmian Rhapsody and Christian Bale for Vice. Oscar loves rewarding actors for playing real people (four of the last 6 best actor winners covered this territory). I am torn. I think Bale will win — and should win. Since seeing the movie I have had to google pictures of Dick Cheney to see the difference between the two. Malek was brilliant, but let’s be honest: playing Freddie Mercury is all about over acting, which Malek does superbly. So: Christian Bale.
Sound Editing: A Quiet Place. I mean, it’s a movie that is all about sound. So maybe the sound should get the best actor award?
Documentary: I only saw one, and I think the Academy is as trendy as anything else. So: RBG (see this flick, btw!)
Best Actress: No one knows who Yaitzia Aparicio is, and have never seen her do anything other than Roma, so for all we know she is just being herself. Melissa McCarthy was great in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, but playing such an unsympathetic character, and one who preys on the celebrity of movie stars, will not endear her to the voters. So it’s a three way race. Personally, I would love to see Star’s Lady Gaga win. She was fantastic. But she won’t. Glenn Close is a sentimental favorite — she has never won. She was the best thing about The Wife, and it wasn’t her best role. Olivia Coleman in The Favourite could steal it from her, if Close and Gaga split their vote. Coleman was hilarious and sweet and sad and heart breaking. But Oscar likes to throw old folks (ugh) a bone. So: Glenn Close.
Animated: didn’t see any of them. But I’m voting for Isle of Dogs because: Dogs.
Best Supporting Actor: No freaking idea. This one has good, but not amazing IMO performances. Maybe Richard Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Maybe Star is Born’s Sam Elliott (again the old-timer’s-paid-his-dues reward). Adam Driver was good in BlackKKlansman, but we won’t remember it tomorrow. Sam Rockwell won last year for a better performance than this turn as Vice’s George Bush. Mahershala Ali DOES have some nuanced moments, and all the oddsmakers say it’s his to lose. So: Mahershala Ali.
Costume Design: Only saw two of them (Black Panther and The Favorite). I always root for period pieces here, and I am doing it again. The thing that makes Favourite different from others is that the outfits aren’t exactly accurate; instead, they read like a fashion house collection, with each dress having similar fabrics/colors/etc. A unique, modern twist. So: The Favourite.
Makeup: Vice. Period.
Best Supporting Actress: Favourite’s dueling nominees (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) cross each other put. Marona de Tavira in Roma: nope. Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk is the oddsmakers’ favorite, but I was underwhelmed. My hands downs favorite: Amy Adams in Vice. Her Lynne Cheney was eerie, scary, hateful and sympathetic. So: Amy Adams.
Score: If Beale Street Could Talk. Loved the music, and it really sets the movie’s tone.
Song: Shallow. Let’s face it: this is the consolation prize for A Star is Born.
Foreign Language: I only saw Roma — and I am giving it the nod. Eager to watch Cold War, though.
Directing: Roma which means...
Best Picture: So I don’t have a favorite here – really. I would watch almost all of them again. Black Panther? I don’t get it. It was fine. BlackKKlansman? Cool story, great acting, well done, but I think it’s a one and done. Green Book? Same thing. I adored The Favorite, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody!!! That leaves Roma, which will win. Why? Several reasons: Oscar likes to take itself seriously, even if it doesn’t understand why. It can’t choose between the others (and it’s all about sending a message), and Roma is inscrutable enough that no one can argue about its artistic merit. It’s also a Netflix property, and a win here could send a big ass message to the industry that the times they are a-changing. But let’s be honest: this is gonna be like other winners that no one watched again (Ghandi, Chariots of Fire). So: Roma.
Just for giggles, here’s my personal ranking of the 16 movies I watched:
A Star is Born
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
At Eternity’s Gate
If Beale Street Could Talk
And the menu goes to…
I love the Oscars. In about 30 minutes I will turn on E! and watch the D listers start to arrive, wishing like I do every year that I was on those bleachers watching limos, or better yet strutting down the red carpet to collect my Oscar for best screenplay. I have blue cheese, prosciutto and strawberries waiting in the fridge. And, like very year, I will root for the ones I want to win, yet be resigned that they probably won’t.
Some of you may remember I am part of a Gourmet Club, and that I recently was looking for suggestions for a “Gourmet Goes to the Movies” menu. Last weekend we had the dinner, and I wanted to share what we made:
Themed Cocktail – James Bond’s Martini
Appetizers – Fresh Figs with Ibérico Ham and Goat Cheese, inspired by “Jamon, Jamon”
Stir-Fried Taiwanese Clams from “Eat, Drink, Man Woman”
Side Dishes – Asparagus and Fava Beans with Toasted Almonds (American Beauty’s “pass the effing asparagus” meets teh Silence of the Lamb’s fave side dish)
Main Course – Vinnie’s Prison Tomato Sauce and Pasta from “Goodfellas”
Dessert – Apple Strudel with Vanilla-scented Whipped Cream – from Inglorious Basterds
We struggled a bit, as neither fresh figs nor fava beans were in season, but we managed. Everything was delish, and people seemed to have a ball as always. I kicked off the night with the classic party game where you put a famous person’s name on someone’s back and they have to guess who they are. All the people were actors who had only won one Academy Award. I also created a playlist on Spotify of music from the movies. I did not include “Let it Go.” (https://open.spotify.com/user/donni14/playlist/5JEADwOUEtnGm8PPAn4foQ)
But that was last week, and tonight is, well, The Big Night. Every year I endeavor to see every movie nominated, but I have of course never done that (some year!). So my next goal is all the movies represented in the big 6 (plus costume design if I can — I love that one!). This year I fell short, but did pretty well. Here are my predictions:
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, in Darkest Hour (didn’t see Denzel in Roman J. Israel, Esq; it’s languishing on my DVR). Oldman was soooo good. Seriously not recognizable, which is why I think this pic will also win for Makeup. My second choice was Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name. Between this and his excellent work in Lady Bird, this kid is going places (and I would totally be crushing on him if I were a teenager)
Best Actress: Frances McDormand in Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Did not see I, Tonya yet, which is crushing me. Went prom dress shopping yesterday instead and celebrated at a surprise party too much last night to get out of pjs today…) McDormand is like a working class Meryl Streep: when she is at the top of her game she is freaking unbeatable. I love that she wants to share the wealth, as she said after winning the SAG award: “This is really great and I thank you, but there’s a lot of young ones comin’ up and they need doorstops too. Let’s think about that.” Who would be my second pick? NOt sure — maybe Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water. For not speaking, she sure said a lot.
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards (didn’t see All The Money in the World). I mean, Rockwell was awesome. His transition from a hateful buffoonery to tortured hero was amazeballs. I think his performance was more nuanced than McDormand’s. Some say Christopher Plummer might get it for All the Money; personally, I don’t think Hollywood wants to give him a chance to thank Kevin Spacey for being a creep and giving up the role. It’s gonna be butt clenching enough with the Weinstein-sized elephant in the room.
Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I Tonya (haven’t seen Mudbound). Yeah, I haven’t watched this film, but the buzz cannot be denied. This is so often won by a pretty young thing — this year’s nominees range from 47 (Mary J Blige) to 62 (Laurie Metcalf). Holla! If the night seems extra hot, blame it on some sexy heat flashes! (I can say that because I turn 50 next month. But that’s another blog). So yeah: Janney, a first time acting nominee at this year’s Oscars, is gonna win.
Director: Jordan Peele, Get Out. I’ve seen all of these. I think the fact that Peele was able to take essentially a thriller and make it a movie worthy of the Academy’s biggest nod is amazing. Second choice? Guillermo de Toro for Shape of Water.
Best Picture: Three Billboards. Hands down. It just works on every level. Go see it.
What do I think of the other best pic noms?
Call Me By Your Name: beautiful, poignant, sad and joyful. My fave moment is near the end, when the dad tells his son to feel all his emotions. I wish I was that great a parent.
Darkest Hour: an acting movie. Totally worth seeing, but not a Best Pic.
Dunkirk: intense. As the mom of a sailor, devastating and horrifying and I swear I aged watching those boys die.
Get Out: my husband’s fave — but my son hated it. Weird. I thought it was great, but not a best pic.
Lady Bird: I will be re-watching this one with my daughter. I sobbed. If yo are the mom of a teenage girl, for the love of God watch this with her and keep a handful of tissues handy. Only thing that bugged me was how she disparaged my alma mater, UC Davis. Go Aggies!
Phantom Thread: beautiful, disturbing. Almost threw mushroom omelets on the Gourmet menu for this movie, but just couldn’t. Kind of like why I said no to peaches in honor of Call Me By Your Name.
The Post: I love history pics, and it was great. But it was not a best pic.
The Shape of Water: gorgeous, sad, lovely, sweet. Great story for now and any time. A contender for Best Pic for sure.
Oh? and Phantom Thread should get the Best Costume nod. I mean, it’s a movie about fashion. Duh.
Gotta go: I hear Ryan interviewing folks on the red carpet. See you at the movies!