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Oprah gives her seal of approval at the Academy Awards

12 Mar

Once you’ve been touched by Oprah, all is right with the world.  Gabourey Sidibe was the lucky recipient of such a touch Sunday at the Academy Awards when Oprah gave her a ringing endorsement heard round the world…

Oprah gives her seal of approval at the Academy Awards

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Carrie’s Oscar Wrap Up

8 Mar

Last night’s 82nd Academy Awards was one for the record books.  When anyone looks back on this year’s Oscars, the one thing that will stand out is the fact that it was the year a woman finally took home the Best Director prize.  I was 14/24 (53%) on my picks.  I bombed on the short film categories and was unexpectedly wrong in the screenplay categories as well.  If you haven’t seen the winners yet, check out my winner list.

Kathryn Bigelow has now created a brand new era for the potential of female directors.  It doesn’t surprise me that Avatar didn’t walk away with any of the top prizes.  Although the film showcases excellence in technology, it doesn’t achieve that same feat in storytelling and character development. 

Here is a breakdown of my pros and cons for the night.

Pros:

*I think there were a lot of great parts to the show.  The John Hughes tribute was beautiful.  Molly Ringwald epitomizes what Hughes’ movies were all about and for her to be there made the tribute all the more special.  After the highlight reel, it was wonderful to see a handful of the people Hughes helped make famous.  However, half of them looked like time hasn’t been so nice to them.  Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Macauly Culkin all were looking a little on the rough side.  In addition to Ringwald, no proper Hughes tribute would be complete without the face of Jon Cryer’s “Duckie,” Matthew Broderick’s “Ferris” and Anthony Michael Hall’sBrian/Farmer Ted.”

*Oscar producer, Adam Shankman,  made good on his promise of making the show more current and entertaining.  His collection of dancers were phenomenal during their performances, especially the big number during the Original Score category.  There is a tiny part of me though that isn’t sure the Oscars are the right medium for Shankman to show off his So You Think You Can Dance favorites.

*I really liked how the seating arrangement was different than the standard straight rows.  The stage was really nice, but I was waiting for someone to trip.  At the beginning of the show, the stage reminded me of what old bandstands used to look like.

*Ben Stiller took a risk as he came to present the Best Makeup category dressed as a Na’vi character from Avatar.  His personal commentary made it work.  Tina Fey and Robert Downey, Jr. definitely win the best presenter prize in my book.  They were sarcastic, funny and had great chemistry.

 *My favorite dressed celebs included Kristen Stewart, Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz, Rachel McAdams, Meryl Streep and Elizabeth Banks.

Cons:

*Hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin definitely had some humorous moments, but I can’t say they were a total win for the show.  The opening played it kind of safe.  They announced a variety of actors, said something witty and then clapped.  And clapped some more.  The opening by Neil Patrick Harris was alright, but I wasn’t entirely surprised.  There had been rumors of his participation for a days now.  As much as I love NPH, I’m not sure why he did the opening.  That should be reserved for the hosts and if they can’t handle an opening number, maybe they shouldn’t have the job.

*All of the acting categories were as expected and that can make things kind of boring.  Deep down I was hoping for an upset or two in an acting category, but that didn’t happen.

*ABC‘s pre-show red carpet needs A LOT of work.  There are so many on-air journalists that could have done a better job.  Kathy Ireland was terrible, just terrible.  It was excrutiating to watch her talk to the actors.

*My pics for worst dressed celebs are Sarah Jessica Parker, Miley Cyrus, Charlize Theron, Vera Farmiga and Jennifer Lopez.

Academy Award Winners!

7 Mar

The big show has just ended and it’s time to reveal who got to take the shiny Oscars home.  There were some surprises, some expected winners and history was made.  Make sure to check back tomorrow for my Oscar wrap-up, filled with opinions on the best/worst dressed, opinions on the show and how I did with my picks.

Picture: The Hurt Locker
Director: Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
Actor: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart
Actress Sandra Bullock
Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique – Precious
Documentary Feature: The Cove
Documentary Short: Music by Prudence
Animated Feature: Up
Foreign Language Film: El Secreto de Sus Ojos
Original Screenplay: Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker
Adapted Screenplay: Geoffrey Fletcher – Precious
Cinematography: Avatar
Art Direction: Avatar
Animated Short Film: Logorama
Live Action Short Film: Miracle Fish
Visual Effects: Avatar
Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker
Original Score: Up
Original Song: “The Weary Kind” (Theme from Crazy Heart) –
                                                             Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
Makeup: Star Trek

Oscar Presenters – Updated

6 Mar

In addition to my last post regarding Oscar presenters, here are even more people scheduled to present on Sunday evening. (Courtesy of oscars.org)

Elizabeth Banks                    Tom Ford
Kathy Bates                           Tom Hanks
Jeff Bridges                            Jake Gyllenhaal
Matt Damon                          Kate Winslet
Robert Downey, Jr.           Ryan Reynolds
Chris Pine                              Barbara Streisand
Sarah Jessica Parker       Jennifer Lopez
John Travolta                    Anna Kendrick
Demi Moore                        Carey Mulligan
Gerard Butler                     Robin Williams
Charlize Theron                Quentin Tarantino
Sam Worthington            Keanu Reeves
Queen Latifah                    Sean Penn
Tyler Perry                         Sigourney Weaver
Amanda Seyfried            Zoe Saldana
Rachel McAdams           Samuel L. Jackson
Colin Firth                         Cameron Diaz
Bradley Cooper               Sandra Bullock
Pedro Almodovar
 

Who Deserves To Win Best Picture?

6 Mar

While I was watching Avatar for the first time today, I was conflicted.  As I sat in theater, taking in all the magic that James Cameron created, I couldn’t help but compare the movie to another vying for an Oscar on Sunday: The Hurt Locker.

Here is where I’m torn – I loved Hurt Locker.  I thought it was brave and real and strong.  Avatar was beautiful in a visual aspect, but does making almost two billion dollars equal excellence in filmmaking?

I think Cameron should win every technological award out there for his effects and invention of “performance capture technology.”  Given that, I can’t say that his story equals the emotional hold I felt towards ‘Locker.’  This is a time when I’m glad I’m not an Academy voter.  These are two completely different types of films.

Kathryn Bigelow‘s film allowed every emotion to be felt, while making a war movie not feel like a war movie.  It was about the characters and the words they spoke.  Cameron’s film is less about story and more about special effects.  If you take away the effects, what would Avatar be?  Even an Oscar winner like Lord of the Rings had a fleshed out story to back up the effects.

I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer here.  I just don’t know how to differentiate between the two incredible films.

What do you think??

Oscar Week Feature: Best Picture

6 Mar

It’s the last day of my Oscar Week countdown and we’ve come to the biggest prize of all, Best Picture.  Ten nominees, but it really only comes down to two.  Who will it be: Avatar or The Hurt Locker?

*Avatar
*The Blind Side
*District 9
*An Education
*The Hurt Locker
*Inglourious Basterds
*Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
*A Serious Man
*Up
*Up in the Air

 

Out of the ten nominees, I believe only five have a chance at actually winning.  I think you can eliminate District, Education, Blind Side, Up and Serious Man. 

As for the remaining five, I would rank them from one to five as The Hurt Locker, Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Precious and Up in the Air.  You could easily say that this is a two-horse race exactly like the Best Director category.  The only dark horse would be Basterds.

I don’t care for the increase from five to ten for nominees in this category.  I understand the desire to have a wider arrange of movies; movies that people have actually seen, but it’s too cluttered now.

My Pick: The Hurt Locker

I am looking forward to seeing how my predictions pan out on Sunday’s live telecast of the 82nd Academy Awards.  I really hope to see some upsets as well.  There are so many people who are dead sure their pick is going to win, myself included, but that doesn’t always make for an entertaining show.

If you want to take a look at all my picks from this week, click below.

Best Adapted Screenplay  
Best Original Screenplay              
Best Supporting Actor   
Best Supporting Actress
Best Actor                                                
Best Actress
Best Director                                         

Oscar Week Feature: Best Director

6 Mar

We’re down to the last day of my Oscar feature and it’s time to focus on which of the Best Director nominees will snag the prize.  Will this be the year that a woman wins for the first time?  I think so.

*James Cameron – Avatar
*Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker
*Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds
*Lee Daniels – Precious
*Jason Reitman – Up in the Air

 

This is a two-horse race between Cameron and Bigelow.  Cameron once again made the highest grossing movie, but does he really deserve this award?  Technical awards, sure, but I think Bigelow has the edge here.  I truly think the only thing she has against her in this category is that no other woman has ever won it.  It will be groundbreaking when/if she wins.

Tarantino could vie for this title, but I think he’ll just have to settle for Best Original Screenplay instead.  He is a great filmmaker, but with the momentum Cameron and Bigelow have coming in, he doesn’t stand a chance.  Daniels should be happy that his film has gotten such wonderful reviews and again, can’t compete with the one-two punch in this group.  Similar to Tarantino, Reitman will have to be happy with his Best Adapted Screenplay award.

If anyone other than Cameron or Bigelow won this award, I would be shocked.  I think Bigelow has the lead going in, but you can’t ever count Cameron out.

My Pick: Kathryn Bigelow