Live-Blogging the Oscars: Red Carpet

I would like to start by stating that I REALLY need to upgrade my 13-year old ghetto 27″  TV. We are at a friend’s house, watching the Oscars on a 57″ plasma, and it is spectacular.

Let’s start with the red carpet commentary from this party (10 people; 4 gay, 6 straight and 1 baby). Hey, it’s Oscar Sunday and it’s fabulous excuse to get together and be catty.

Why is Miley Cyrus at the Oscars? Hello, this is a day for movie stars. She’s a teeny bopper television star, a Nickelodeon creation.

Here are some quotes from the peanut gallery:

“I don’t understand the show-one-bony-shoulder dress thing.”

“I think I just saw a bone poke out. And I don’t mean from the front.”

“Helen Mirren is a GILF.”

“Woah. Gary Busey looks like Joan Rivers.”

“Her boobs look like two empty wallets.”

“What has Cameron Diaz done lately? Why is she there?”

“Tilda Swinton is Ziggy Stardust.”

“Christmas threw up on Daniel Day-Lewis’ wife.”

“Is Viggo in a Civil War movie or something?”

[Side note: We're drinking every time the cameras show Cameron Diaz or Miley Cyrus...which is far too often.]

We have deemed this the Year of the Bony Shoulder and Red Dress.

And now, on to the show…

Read More

In Defense of Juno, Diablo Cody & Ellen Page

I have written and deleted this post several times over the past month. But I have reached the tipping point and can no longer contain the simmering disgust.

The movie, the screenwriter and the star of Juno do not need defending, especially from a small time blogger like me. But I’ve read almost every article and interview about all three, and the growing backlash has been surprisingly vicious.

Some people just can’t be happy for this film and those involved, primarily because of the script. Many describe the dialogue as unrealistic or phony, but that is the way that young people talk; I have teenage nieces, and they definitely have their own lingo. Besides, everyone enjoys a new catchphrase or two.  I’m 35 years old, and I found the screenplay to be a breath of fresh air among the smoggy, stale others we are subjected to year in and year out.

Did people have a similarly strong reaction to critical indie darling Little Miss Sunshine last year? No, because their screenwriter didn’t have a previous stint as a stripper. Whoopteedoo, boys. Cody wrote Candy Girl, an autobiographical look back at the year she worked in various strip clubs, and then she moved on and wrote the script for Juno. They are not related, but that is all that some seem to focus in on (primarily male commentators and bloggers). Cody is not shying away from that aspect of her life in interviews; it is simply irrelevant to her current project and acclaim.

The anger toward both Cody and Ellen Page comes across as sheer jealousy and immaturity. Page is young, talented and unconventional. She is not tabloid fodder, nor does she aspire to be. Page has done nothing to draw negative or unwanted attention to herself, and has gone about promoting her film like most other stars do. I love that she lives a quiet little life up in Nova Scotia, and I look forward to her future roles and choices. She is smart and refreshing, not unlike Juno herself. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to dislike Ellen Page or cast unwarranted aspersions in her direction, at least until she does something that deserves such criticism.

To be honest, I will no longer peruse a select few entertainment websites that used to be daily reads, because the comments about Cody and Juno have become increasingly sexist and outrageously insulting.

And frankly, I hope that Ellen Page does win Best Actress tonight. I have been rooting for Diablo Cody from day one for Best Original Screenplay. Last night, Page, Cody and Juno won the major categories at the Independent Spirit Awards. Hell, if Juno sweeps in with a stealthy Best Picture win at the Oscars, I will stand up and cheer. Out of all 5 nominees for the main prize, Juno has earned far more at the box office and is a pop culture phenomenon. Atonement, No Country for Old and There Will Be Blood are fantastic films, but dark and depressing; Juno is a walk in the park on a sunny afternoon with your new puppy.

If Juno does win, the vitriol will be far worse than it is now. Inevitable comparisons to Crash over Brokeback will begin, but I will contend that Juno is far more deserving than Crash ever was.

Grrrr.  I’m ready for my customary champagne and red carpet commentary now.

Let the shenanigans begin.

Read More

Oscar Predictions 2008

This might be the first time that I have ever really enjoyed every single nominee for Best Picture, and I believe that we will look back at 2007 as one of the strongest years in film from this decade.

I absolutely loved Juno, I really liked both Atonement and Michael Clayton, and I thought that No Country For Old Men was good but overrated. So my choice to take the gold statue is There Will Be Blood because it is a phenomenal movie, an instant classic and an epic masterpiece.

I always struggle with predicting who WILL win vs. who I want to win, so I decided to denote both below for the major categories.

George Clooney (Michael Clayton)
Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) * WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd)
Tommy Lee Jones (In the Valley of Elah)
Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises)

Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James…)
Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) * WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Hal Holbrook (Into The Wild)
Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton)

Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth: The Golden Age)
Julie Christie (Away From Her) * WILL WIN
Marion Cotillard (La Ve En Rose) * SHOULD WIN
Laura Linney (The Savages)
Ellen Page (Juno)

Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There)
Ruby Dee (American Gangster)
Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) * WILL WIN
Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) * SHOULD WIN

Persepolis * SHOULD WIN
Ratatouille * WILL WIN
Surf’s Up

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Atonement *WILL WIN
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood *SHOULD WIN

Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly)
Jason Reitman (Juno)
Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)
Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men) * WILL WIN
Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) * SHOULD WIN

The Kite Runner
Michael Clayton
3:10 to Yuma

“Falling Slowly” (Once) * WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
“Happy Working Song” (Enchanted)
“Raise It Up” (August Rush)
“So Close” (Enchanted)
“That’s How You Know” (Enchanted)

Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men *WILL WIN
There Will Be Blood * SHOULD WIN

Atonement (Christopher Hampton) *SHOULD WIN
Away From Her (Sarah Polley)
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (Ronald Harwood)
No Country For Old Men (Joel & Ethan Coen) * WILL WIN
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Juno (Diablo Cody) * WILL WIN/SHOULD WIN
Lars and the Real Girl (Nancy Oliver)
Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird)
The Savages (Tamara Jenkins)

So what do you think?

Read More

L.A. For a Day: Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice Benefit Show

Next week I am to flying down to L.A. for less than 24 hours, to attend a one-night-only pop culture experience. The casts of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice are putting on a musical comedy show to benefit the television crews who lost work during the Writers Strike.

Not only will almost all of the cast members from both shows be performing in some capacity, we will be treated to music by Loretta Devine (the Chief’s wife on Grey’s; she was in Dreamgirls on Broadway for years), Audra McDonald (Naomi on Private Practice; 4 Best Actress Tony Awards), and Sara Ramirez (Callie on Grey’s; Best Actress Tony for Spamalot). Click here to hear a snippet of Sara’s amazing voice (she appears at about the 1:10 mark), and here to watch Audra at last year’s Tonys.

Kid + candy store = me.

Read More