Tag Archive: Oscars

Feb 28 2016

Oscars: The 88th Academy Awards

There has been a huuuuuge amount of criticism of Hollywood and the academy of Arts and Sciences for the lack of diversity in its industry. Taking the biggest hit in the media for the “whitewashing” are this years Oscars for its lack of minority nominees. It is two years since the Academy nominated a black …

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Feb 23 2015

“Citizenfour” Wins Documentary Feature Oscar

Tonight the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to “Citizenfour” directed by Laura Poitras.

Congratulations to Ms. Poitras. Thanks to Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian who went to Hong Kong with her. But most of all, thank you to Edward Snowden for his sacrifice that we might know what our government is doing in our name.

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Left to right: Producer Dirk Wilutzky, Director Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills and Editor  Mathilde Bonnefoy.

The Intercept’s Laura Poitras Wins Academy Award for ‘Citizenfour’

By Peter Maas, The Intercept

Laura Poitras, a founding editor of The Intercept, won an Academy Award tonight for her documentary “Citizenfour,” an inside look at Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower.

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers.” Snowden, in a statement released after the award was announced, said, “My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

The film, which has been hailed as a real-life thriller, chronicles Snowden’s effort to securely contact Poitras and Glenn Greenwald in 2013 and meet them in Hong Kong, where Poitras filmed Snowden discussing the thousands of classified NSA documents he was leaking to them, and his motives for doing so. The film takes its title from the pseudonym Snowden used when he contacted Poitras in encrypted emails that were revealed in her documentary.

“Citizenfour” will air on HBO Monday, Feb 23, 9 PM EST. As soon as it’s available, it will be featured here and at our other site, Docudharma

Feb 13 2015

“Citizen Four”: An Interview

The Oscars are February 22. One of the nominations this year in the Documentary Feature category is “Citizen Four,” a film about computer analyst Edward Snowden who leaked NSA files that revealed the extent of government spying on US citizens. The film’s director Laura Poitras, investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald and via satellite from Russia, the film’s subject, Edward Snowden were interviewed by the New York Times media critic, David Carr.

Sadly, this was Mr. Carr’s final interview. He passed away shortly after the interview concluded. Our deepest condolences to Mr. Carr’s family and friends.

Mar 03 2014

Live Blog: The Oscars

2014 Oscars photo imagesqtbnANd9GcS0FzgIQB7weIXEGHE-3_zpsd9d1da12.jpg Welcome to the Live Blog of the 88th Academy Awards from fabulous downtown Hollywood or, in my case, on the couch in the family room with my lap top, a pitcher of martinis and Parmesan popcorn, Oh, and lots of napkins. I will be appropriately dressed for the occasion in light blue sweat pants and tee shirt by LL Bean and wearing my sequined blue suede pumps and diamond earrings

Feel free to critique the couture, I am sure there will be plenty of tastefully “coutured” ladies and gentlemen in designer gowns and tuxedos, as well as, well as the faux pas, unintentional and otherwise.

After last years hosting flop by Seth MacFarlane, this year Ellen Degeneres takes the honor for the second time. I haven’t been to any of the movies that were nominated this year but I did watch Disney’s Best Animated Picture nominee “Frozen” on Netflix. Everyone is talking about the nominated song “Let It Go” which will be sung by actress and singer Idina Menzel who was the voice of the “Elsa” in the movie. If it’s anything like the movie, it will be a show stopper.

I’m also hoping that investigative journalist, author and the producer of the “Dirty Wars which is nominated for the Best Documentary Feature award.

So on with the show. The nominees are:

Best Picture

   American Hustle

   Captain Phillips

   Dallas Buyers Club

   Gravity

   Her

   Nebraska

   Philomena

   12 Years a Slave

   The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor in a Leading Role

   Christian Bale (American Hustle)

   Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

   Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

   Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

   Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Leading Role

   Amy Adams (American Hustle)

   Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

   Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

   Judi Dench (Philomena)

   Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

   Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)

   Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

   Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)

   Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)

   Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

   Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

   Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

   Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

   Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)

   June Squibb (Nebraska)

Best Animated Feature

   The Croods (Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson)

   Despicable Me 2 (Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri)

   Ernest & Celestine (Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner)

   Frozen (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)

   The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki)

Best Cinematography

   The Grandmaster (Philippe Le Sourd)

   Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki)

   Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel)

   Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael)

   Prisoners (Roger A. Deakins)

Best Costume Design

   American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)

   The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)

   The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)

   The Invisible Woman (Michael O’Connor)

   12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)

Best Directing

   American Hustle (David O. Russell)

   Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

   Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

   12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

   The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)

Best Documentary Feature

   The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen)

   Cutie and the Boxer (Zachary Heinzerling, Lydia Dean Pilcher)

   Dirty Wars (Richard Rowley, Jeremy Scahill)

   The Square (Jehane Noujaim, Karim Amer)

   20 Feet from Stardom (Nominees to be determined)

Best Documentary Short

   CaveDigger (Jeffrey Karoff)

   Facing Fear (Jason Cohen)

   Karama Has No Walls (Sara Ishaq)

   The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcolm Clarke, Nicholas Reed)

   Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall (Edgar Barens)

Best Film Editing

   American Hustle (Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten)

   Captain Phillips (Christopher Rouse)

   Dallas Buyers Club (John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa)

   Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger)

   12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker)

Best Foreign Language Film

   The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

   The Great Beauty (Italy)

   The Hunt (Denmark)

   The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

   Omar (Palestine)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

   Dallas Buyers Club (Adruitha Lee, Robin Mathews)

   Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Stephen Prouty)

   The Lone Ranger (Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny)

Best Original Score

   The Book Thief (John Williams)

   Gravity (Steven Price)

   Her (William Butler, Owen Pallett)

   Philomena (Alexandre Desplat)

   Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

Best Original Song

   Happy – Despicable Me 2

   Let It Go – Frozen

   The Moon Song – Her

   Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Best Production Design

   American Hustle (Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler)

   Gravity (Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin, Joanne Woollard)

   The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin, Beverley Dunn)

   Her (K.K. Barrett, Gene Serdena)

   12 Years a Slave (Adam Stockhausen, Alice Baker)

Best Animated Short Film

   Feral (Daniel Sousa, Dan Golden)

   Get a Horse! (Lauren MacMullan, Dorothy McKim)

   Mr. Hublot (Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares)

   Possessions (Shuhei Morita)

   Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer)

Best Live Action Short Film

   Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) (Esteban Crespo)

   Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) (Xavier Legrand, Alexandre Gavras)

   Helium (Anders Walter, Kim Magnusson)

   Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) (Selma Vilhunen, Kirsikka Saari)

   The Voorman Problem (Mark Gill, Baldwin Li)

Best Sound Editing

   All Is Lost (Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns)

   Captain Phillips (Oliver Tarney)

   Gravity (Glenn Freemantle)

   The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Brent Burge, Chris Ward)

   Lone Survivor (Wylie Stateman)

Best Sound Mixing

   Captain Phillips (Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith, Chris Munro)

   Gravity (Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead, Chris Munro)

   The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick, Tony Johnson)

   Inside Llewyn Davis (Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland)

   Lone Survivor (Andy Koyama, Beau Borders, David Brownlow)

Best Visual Effects

   Gravity (Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould)

   The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds)

   Iron Man 3 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick)

   The Lone Ranger (Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier)

   Star Trek Into Darkness (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton)

Best Adapted Screenplay

   Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke)

   Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)

   Philomena (Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope)

   12 Years a Slave (John Ridley)

   The Wolf of Wall Street (Terence Winter)

Best Original Screenplay

   American Hustle (Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell)

   Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)

   Dallas Buyers Club (Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack)

   Her (Spike Jonze)

   Nebraska (Bob Nelson)

Feb 26 2013

The Oscars and the Ladies in Red, White, Blue, Gold . . .

And the winners are . . . No, not the awards recipients, I’ll get to those, it’s the dresses. There wasn’t quite as many fashion faux pas as in year’s past, although there were some, well how shall else can I say, losers. Most of the ladies were quite elegantly gowned, well coiffed and bejeweled.

Of course there are the ladies in red, who always stand out. The red carpet chuckle was Olivia Munn discussing the hazards of wearing red lipstick, telling the interviewer that she had opted for lip stain.

There were not as many wearing my favorite color as in years past but these ladies’ choices were outstanding:

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Best Supporting Actress Nominee Sally Field, Lincoln

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Best Supporting Actress Nominee Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

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Actress Jennifer Aniston

Kerry Washington Oscars 2013 photo elle-01-2013-oscars-red-carpet-kerr_zpsf64a0083.jpg

Actress Kerry Washington

Olivia Munn Oscars 2013 photo slide_282789_2144067_free_zps5918a9f5.jpg

Actress Olivia Munn

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Actress Marcia Gay Harden

As I noted previously, I always look for actress Helena Bonham Carter whose intentional “fashion statements” in the past have been show stoppers on the red carpet. Although a toned down this year, she had her fun, along with director Tim Burton, with her hairstyle:

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Songstress Dame Shirley Bassey strode down the red carpet in an understated black sheath.

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Later, she arrived on stage in a stunning gold to sing the song that launched her international career, Goldfinger, in a tribute to the 50th anniversary of James Bond films. Needles to say she had the audience on their feet.

Shirley Bassey Oscars 2013 photo imagesqtbnANd9GcQyh3e812M6JITOl32ZN_zps693d73d5.jpg

The oldest nominee Emmanuelle Riva, Actress in a Supporting role is 85, looking very elegant in Lanvin.

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While the youngest nominee for Best Actress, nine year old Quvenzhane Wallis, charmed everyone in her bright blue Armani Junior gown that looked like it was sprinkled with fairy dust and carrying her puppy dog purse.

Quvenzhané Wallis Oscars 2013 photo wallis_1_zps25cb772e.jpg

The surprise of the night was actor Jack Nicholson introducing his co-presenter for the Best Picture award, First Lady Michelle Obama wearing a glittering, custom smoke gray Naeem Khan gown and Sutra Silver at Fragments jewelry.

First Lady Michelle Obama Oscars 2013 photo michelle-obama-oscars-2013-surprise_zpsdb00f3c3.jpg

Feb 25 2013

Live Blog: The Oscars

The 2013 Oscars photo imagesqtbnANd9GcTaFOQ4v_nqGY2eBZVqU_zps30683ba3.jpgWelcome to the Live Blog of the 85th Academy Awards from fabulous downtown Hollywood or, in my case, on the couch in the family room with my lap top, a pitcher of martinis and Parmesan popcorn, Oh, and lots of napkins. Feel free to critique the couture, I am sure there will be plenty of tastefully “coutured” ladies and gentlemen in designer gowns and tuxedos,  as well as, well as the faux pas, unintentional and otherwise. I always look for Helena Bonham Carter, who although not nominated this year, gave a memorable performance as Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables, along with Sacha Baron Cohen as her swindling innkeeper husband. She is the epitome of bizarre fashion. I’m looking forward to seeing her in this Summer’s Lone Ranger along with Johnny Depp as Tonto, The Lone Ranger‘s “faithful companion.”

My picks for the top four awards are:

Best Picture:Les Misérables because I’m French;

Best Director: Ang Lee for Life of Pi becuase he’s been nominated 11 times and never won;

Best Actor: Hugh JackmanLes Misérables. He won this year’s Golden Globe Best Actor for his role as Jean Valjean and this is his first Oscar nomination.

Best Actress: Jessica ChastainZero Dark Thirty because I think the Academy voters are just dumb enough to believe she “nailed” Osama bin Laden.

My other favorites to win awards are Brave for Best Animated Feature; Mirror Mirror for Best Costume Design (disclaimer: I know someone who has a friend with a family member in the cast); and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for Best Visual Effects.

So, let’s go on with the show and the nominees are:

Best Picture:

Again this year, following the original format, there are nine nominees for the award:

  • Amour – Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, and Michael Katz
  • Argo – Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, and Michael Gottwald
  • Django Unchained – Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone
  • Les Misérables – Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh
  • Life of Pi – Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark
  • Lincoln – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy
  • Silver Linings Playbook – Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, and Jonathan Gordon
  • Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, and Megan Ellison

Best Director:

Best Actor:

Best Actress:

The other nominations are below the fold.

Feb 23 2013

Your Invite to the 85th Academy Awards

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from all the yammering about sequester, austerity, cliff and whatever the topic du jour is, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 85th Academy Awards starting at 6:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities into the Dolby Theatre begins. Unlike past years, I have actually been inside a movie theater and watched four movies that have been nominated for awards, Best Movie nominee Les Miserables; Best Animated Feature nominee Brave; Best Costume Design nominee Mirror Mirror; and Best Visual Effects nominee The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

This year’s show will be hosted by actor, comedian, producer, etc, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame so be prepared for a lot of bleeping.

Once again I will be ensconced on the couch in my comfy sweats and sequined blue suede pumps with a pitcher of my favorite libation (vodka martinis and lots of olives) and plenty of popcorn sprinkled liberally with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you prefer something more exotic to drink or an appetizer a bit more sophisticated than popcorn, you can check out my previous entries here and here (yes, I am being lazy but I’ve been busy).

These are this year’s winner predictions over the The New York Times Carpetbagger:

Best Picture: “Argo”

Best Director: Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actor: Robert De Niro, “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Misérables”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”

Best Original Screenplay: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Animated Feature: “Wreck-it Ralph,” Rich Moore

Best Documentary: “Searching For Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour,” Austria

Get ready for the party and live blog with us tomorrow night.

Oh, and the nominees are below the fold.

Feb 27 2012

The Oscars, Politics and a Few Red Dresses

“If George Valentin could speak, he’d say, “Formidable! Merci beaucoup,” ~ Jean Dujardin, Best Actor, “The Artist

That was Frenchman Dujardin’ reaction to winning the Oscar over favorite American George Clooney. There were the expected winners, “The Artist” taking the top three awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Dujardin’s Best Actor, putting the movies total statue count at six. It was followed closely by “Hugo” with five. The win for Best Actress by Meryl Streep for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” was an upset for favored nominee, Viola Davis for her role in “The Help“. I’m sure Melissa Harris Perry is pleased, she hated “The Help.” You can find all the winners marked with an asterisk in last night’s Live Blog diary.

It was an interesting night that was both old and new. Old in the age of many of the winners, Christopher Plummer, Best Supporting Actor, at 82 is the Academy’s oldest recipient.”You’re only two years older than me, darling!” Plummer said to the Oscar he was clutching. “Where have you been all my life?” In the ninth stint as host, a much older, comedian Billy Crystal along with a receding hairline was a lot of funnier than last year’s co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway. The new was that the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress wasn’t the first award given. As with last year all the life time and humanitarian awards are given the night before at a special ceremony, much like all the technical awards, with the winners announced and introduced en masse. It does shorten the show and the tedium.

There were some politics, inevitable in an election year. On of the proudest moments was when “A Separation“, became the first Iranian movie to win the Best foreign Language Film. In his acceptance speech, director Asghar Farhadi read a statement graciously thanking the Academy:


“At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy,” director Farhadi said while accepting the Oscar.

“At a time of talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their county, Iran, is spoken here through her glorious culture, a rich and ancient culture that has been hidden under the heavy dust of politics.”

“I proudly offer this award to the people of my country, the people who respect all cultures and civilizations and despise hostility and resentment.”

During last night’s broadcast, Center for Consumer Freedom, a corporate front group run by right-wing PR flack Rick Berman that is closely tied to the food industry purchased air time to run an attack ad on the Humane Society of the United States claiming that only a small percentage of their donations went to shelters. Of course they forgot to include the work the Humane Society does fighting animal cruelty in the courts and in legislatures. Sheesh

One of the most obvious politic quotes came from Tom Hanks, introducing Christian Bale, slyly  quipped, “A dark knight, an American psycho, a charismatic crack addict — you’ll get to choose one on Super Tuesday!”  That’s about right.

Then there were the fashions with the usual hits and misses. Most of the men looked dashing in their tuxedos wit a few minor faux pas, like George Clooney’s Armani pants pooling around the top of his shoes and a number of more well endowed ladies in ill fitting stapless gowns. But the talk of the night were the ladies in red, or shades of red.

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Ladies in Red left to right: Livia Firth in Valentino for the Green Carpet Challenge; Natalie Portman in vintage Christian Dior; Jane Seymour.

I guess it’s a matter of taste.

Feb 27 2012

Live Blog: The Oscars

“And the winner is”. With those words there will be at least 5 people holding their collective breath, while a finely coiffed and swathed celebrity tears open a sealed envelop with the closely guarded secret. Welcome to the Live Blog of the 84rd Academy Awards from fabulous downtown Hollywood or, in my case, on the couch in the family room with my lap top, a pitcher of martinis and Parmesan popcorn, Oh, and lots of napkins.

I used to chuckle at the introduction of the tuxedoed men carrying the brief case with those envelops and the silly ritual of reading of the “Rules” on how the votes were cast and who voted on what. Do they even do that any more?

The first Oscars were presented on May 19. 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood at a private brunch for 270 people. My how far they have come. Now it is the “hottest” ticket in town and the parties after for winners and losers are elaborate affairs that would keep food pantries in business for a year. I shouldn’t be too critical many of the industry’s actors, directors and producers do wonderful humanitarian work for causes that would be easily forgotten.

In 2009, the Academy decided to return to its roots. When the award for Best Picture was presented in 1934 and 1935 there were 12 nominees, and from 1935 to 1943 there were 10. This years there are nine nominated movies contending for the golden guy with a sword. Over at the New York Times, Melena Ryzik, a k a The Carpetbagger, gives her predictions for the winners:

Best picture: “The Artist”

Best director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Best actress: Viola Davis, “The Help”

Best supporting actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Best supporting actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best adapted screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”

Best original screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”

Best animated film: “Rango”

Best foreign language film: “A Separation,” Iran

You can cast your ballot for your favorite in this poll let us know how well you do during the course of the show. h/t to our reader seakit.

There was a lot of revealing stories recently about the diversity of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and who votes for the awards. Low and behold, the Academy voting panel is overwhelmingly white, male and over 50. The other revelation was why there were only two song nominated from a list of 39 songs that were given Academy voting members. It’s the rules:

As it turns out, the sheer number of songs in the running split votes to the point that only two songs could be featured on the ballot, per current Academy rules. Basically, voters had to sort through the 39 songs and score each on a scale of 6 to 10 points, and only songs that received an average of 8.25 points could be nominated. Hence, only two songs made the cut.

There are pro’s and con’s for this. The pro, it will mercifully spare us from some really bad productions. The con, a lot of really good artists like Elton John, Lady Gaga, Chris Cornell, Mary J. Blige, and Willie Nelson did not make the cut. Now that’s a rule that needs to be revised.

One of the categories the Academy needs to create is “Best Animal in a Featured Film.” Some of the scene stealers this year are a Jack Russel terrier named, Uggie, “The Artist“, who won an inaugural Golden Collar from Dognewsdaily.com. He beat out his competition for cute, a fellow Jack Russell, Cosmo, “The Beginners”. The Dobermans that appeared in “Hugo” appeared to be quite fierce but, according to the trainers, in reality were quite timid and shy. As the late actor Lee Marvin said when he accepted his 1965 Oscar for Best Actor, “I think I should be sharing this award with a horse somewhere out there in the San Fernando Valley,” a reference to the horse Kid Shelleen rode, who appeared to be as drunk as Shelleen was.

The annual Razzie nominations were announced last night. The Razzies honor the worst movies and performances of the year. Adam Sandler was nominated for a record 11 awards for everything from worst actor to producer for three movies, “Jack and Jill,” ”Just Go with It” and “Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.” He takes that title from Eddie Murphy who had 5 awards for just one picture, “Norbit,” in 2007.

Along with “Bucky Larson” and “Jack and Jill,” worst-picture contenders are “New Year’s Eve,” ”Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1.

Jack and Jill” led with 12 nominations, with “Transformers” second with nine and “Breaking Dawn” right behind with eight. [..]

For worst actor, Sandler is up against “Bucky Larson” star Nick Swardson, along with Russell Brand for “Arthur“; Nicolas Cage for “Drive Angry,” ”Season of the Witch” and “Trespass“; and Taylor Lautner for “Abduction” and “Breaking Dawn.”

Swardson also was nominated for worst supporting actor for “Jack and Jill” and “Just Go with It.”

For worst actress, Sandler is joined by another cross-dressing actor, Martin Lawrence in “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son.” Also nominated were Sarah Palin for her documentary “The Undefeated”; Sarah Jessica Parker for “I Don’t Know How She Does It” and “New Year’s Eve“; and Kristen Stewart for “Breaking Dawn.”

Appropriately, the winners will be announces on April Fool’s Day.

I will be your fashion and performance critic as we watch the parade down the red carpet and the main event. BTW, I always cry at the memorial tribute. Below the fold is the list for all the nominees. On with the show.

Feb 25 2012

An Invite to the Oscar Party

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I need a break from reality, at least for a few hours. The chance to sit in front of the big tube with a drink and a bowl of popcorn or other finger food and watch the glitz and glamor as the stars walk down the red carpet and make fools of themselves bumbling the lines of acceptance speeches.

Tomorrow night at The Stars Hollow Gazette, I will be hosting a live blog of the 84rd Academy Awards starting at 7:00 PM EST when the march of celebrities into the Kodak Theater begins. Like last year, I haven’t seen any of these movies. If it weren’t for all the hype about a few of them, I couldn’t even tell you the plot. This year’s show will be hosted by Billy Crystal who has been referred to as “the Oscars’ answer to the Texan oil well firefighter, Red Adair.”

Some folks make this show like the Super Bowl with special drinks and food. Some go as far as getting dressed. Some go for simple, while some just go all out for exotic drinks and fancy food. The fanciest I get is putting on my sequin-adorned blue suede pumps with my sweats, an extra olive in my martini and maybe some fresh grated Parmesan cheese on my popcorn. Last year I listed some of the special drinks that were concocted specially for some of the nominees. This year there is only one drink that the “in” crowd will be sipping, the martini, in honor of the movie, The Artist, that is expected to win “Best Picture”. I like mine with vodka.

In perusing the internet for new treats that would be suitable for the event, I found a great piece in the New York Times that has the recipes for 101 appetizers that can be made in 20 minutes or less. Here are just a few that sounded tasty.

On Bread or Crackers

  • Toss high-quality crab meat with minced shallots, a little tarragon or a lot of parsley and/or basil, and enough mayonnaise to bind. Also good on lettuce leaves.
  • Chop shrimp fine, then sauté in a minimum of oil, or poach quickly and drain. Mix premade pesto with mayonnaise so that it is gluey. Combine cooled shrimp with sufficient pesto to bind; chill.
  • Beef tartare: Carefully pulse good beef in food processor. For each pound, add an egg, a teaspoon dry mustard, a tablespoon Dijon mustard, a tablespoon Worcestershire, Tabasco to taste, 1/2 cup chopped scallions and a touch of minced garlic. Salt and pepper, if necessary. Amazing stuff.
  • Bruschetta

  • Bruschetta is the basis for so many good things. Don’t make it too crisp, and start with good country bread. Brush thick slices with olive oil. Broil until toasted on both sides. While it’s still hot, rub with cut clove of garlic on one side (optional). Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and serve, or top with prosciutto or tapenade.
  • Top bruschetta with chopped, well-cooked broccoli rabe or other greens tossed with minced garlic and olive oil while still warm. Health food, practically.
  • On Toothpicks

  • Cut chorizo into chunks. Cook in a lightly oiled skillet until nicely browned. Kielbasa is equally good (or better), if not as hip.
  • Portable Caprese: Skewer a small ball of mozzarella, a grape tomato and a bit of basil leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with oil.
  • A no-brainer: Cut slab of bacon into 1/2-inch chunks. Cook in a skillet, a broiler or a high-heat oven until nice and crisp. Skewer with a grape tomato.
  • Crab cakes: For each pound crab meat, add an egg, 1/4 cup each minced bell pepper and onion, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons bread or cracker crumbs, salt and pepper. Shape into small cakes and refrigerate, if time allows. Dredge in flour, then brown in oil (or oil mixed with butter). Serve with lemon wedges, aioli or tartar sauce.
  • On Skewers

  • Chicken kebab, Greek style: Cut boneless, skinless chicken thighs into 1-inch chunks. Toss with minced onion, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, crumbled bay leaf and oregano. Skewer. Broil, turning occasionally, until browned.
  • Pork kebabs, West Indian style: Mix 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, a pinch of nutmeg, a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, 1/4 cup chopped onion and the juice of a lime. Toss with 1 pound pork shoulder (you need some fat or these will be tough) cut into 1-inch cubes. Skewer and broil about 5 minutes.
  • Finger Foods

  • Shrimp cocktail: Combine ketchup with chili powder, pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco and horseradish. Make lots, because people will be double-dipping. Serve with cooked shrimp.
  • Soy ginger wings: This time baste with equal parts vinegar and soy sauce, mixed with a couple of tablespoons each minced ginger and sesame oil. You can sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on the wings.
  • Dips and Spreads

  • Hummus: Truly one of the great culinary inventions. Mix four parts well-cooked or canned chickpeas with one part tahini, along with some of its oil, in a food processor. Add garlic, cumin or pimentón and purée, adding as much olive oil as needed. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; garnish with olive oil and pimentón.
  • Boursin: Maybe you have a few Ritz? Mash cream cheese with minced garlic (if you have roasted garlic, so much the better), pepper and small amounts of minced thyme, tarragon and rosemary.
  • Little Sandwich Triangles

  • Layer cooked ham and cheese (Gruyère, Cantal or good Cheddar) on thin bread, then press and grill in a not-too-hot skillet with butter or oil.
  • Cheese quesadillas: Use 4-inch tortillas; on each, put grated cheese, scallions and minced canned green chilies or chopped fresh poblanos. Salsa and beans are optional. Top with another tortilla. Griddle with oil, turning once, about 5 minutes.
  • You Might Need a Fork

  • This is easier than carpaccio: Cut trimmed filet mignon into 1/2-inch or smaller cubes. Toss with arugula, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  • Make parsley pesto (parsley, garlic, oil, lemon juice) in a food processor. Sauté whole shrimp or small pieces of fish in oil. Arrange fish on small beds of the pesto. You can put this on bread and forget the plates.
  • Soups and Wraps

  • Bisque: Heat shrimp, lobster, fish or chicken broth with minced onion and chopped tomato for 5 minutes. Add chopped shrimp or lobster to the simmering stock, and cook another two minutes. Purée, then add heavy cream or half-and-half, along with salt and pepper. Serve in small cups garnished, if you like, with a piece of cooked shrimp or lobster.
  • Gazpacho: Chop 2 pounds of tomatoes and a cucumber; blend with a couple of slices of day-old bread, torn into pieces, olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic (optional) and anchovies (optional). Add a little water (or more oil) to the blender, if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve in small cups. Optional garnishes include minced bell pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, a piece of anchovy, and/or parsley.
  • Broil a good hot dog, roll in a good tortilla spread with brown or Dijon mustard. Slice. You know everyone will eat them.
  • Get ready for the party and live blog with us tomorrow night.

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