Friday, November 22, 2013

It's That Time of Year...For what? Time for the 2013 CHEESY HOLIDAY TV MOVIE EXTRAVAGANZA

It's November! Time for me to clog my dvr up with dozens of super dumb holiday tv movies. I'm convinced that these Holiday movies are almost single-handedly keeping Canadian actors and production companies in business. They're also the only place I still get to see some of my favorite bad actresses - Daphne Zuniga, Kellie Martin, Jennie Garth, Nancy McKeon, Haylie Duff, Shelly Long, Sean's one of my main reasons that I get such a kick out of these things.

My holiday movie watching got an earlier than usual start this year because my two main sources for these cheesetastic goodies, Hallmark Channel and Lifetime, both started their "Countdown to Christmas" and "It's A Wonderful Lifetime" programming before Halloween candy had been consumed.

Lifetime has most of their Xmas movie classics in full rotation on the weekends (with notable exception - where's my "Flirting With Forty"? - easily in my top 5 holiday movies, and apparently not considered a holiday movie anymore, even though it takes place over Xmas/New Years), and Lifetime has been premiering at least one new movie every weekend since November 1; sometimes premiering two new ones in one evening.
First out of the gate was the new entry "A Country Christmas Story" starring no other than Dolly Parton! I wish I could say that it was a good movie, but I was too distracted by the fact that the young star of the movie, Desiree Ross, looks so much like Anna Paquin, if she were young and black, that it pulled my focus from the story of the girl who wishes to make it as a singer and reunite with her father.

I'm really looking forward to this week's new movie, "Kristin's Christmas Past", starring Shiri Appleby. I'm a sucker for anything that involves alums from the old tv show Roswell. Also read this description tell me it doesn't sound awesome:
falls asleep alone on Christmas Eve only to wake up and discover it’s Christmas morning 1996 and she has to relive the worst Christmas of her life! But this time, Kristin decides to do things differently to change not only her imperfect past, but also her less- than-perfect future. ‘80s icon and Golden Globe nominee JUDD NELSON returns to the screen

SOLD! Coming up in the next few weeks include holiday movies featuring Jordin Sparks, Mel B., and David Hasselhoff.
Other classic Lifetime Xmas movies that I never get tired of include: 12 Men of Christmas, Holiday Highschool Reunion, The March Sisters at Christmas, and Under The Mistletoe.

Now we move on to Hallmark Channel - the juggernaut, THE originator of the TV Holiday movie. Except for a few hours of programming in the morning, they are cramming the hundreds of holiday movies that they've produced over the decades on to the airwaves. And they repeat them a lot. Oh no! You missed the 6pm Tuesday showing of (the excellent) "Trading Christmas"? Don't worry, it's playing again on Saturday morning. And probably next week too. 
They're not trying to give up their crown anytime soon because this year, during their "Countdown to Christmas" they are debuting TWENTY-FOUR(!) new Christmas movies. Daunting. I'm going to attempt to watch all of them. Within reason; I'm not watching the one starring Tim Allen about Santa's talking dog. Well, maybe.

So far of the six that I've watched, the two best new Hallmark holiday movies have been "Snow Bride" and "The Christmas Ornament".

"Snow Bride" stars the gorgeous Katrina Law as a gossip mag reporter who drives to Big Bear, CA to try and get the scoop on the hot older son in a Kennedy-esque family who is famously guarded and possibly getting married. Her car breaks down and hijinks ensue!

"The Christmas Ornament" stars Hallmark movie stalwart, Kellie Martin as a widow who is a struggling small business owner who falls in love with a Christmas tree farmer. It is CHARMING, and one that I will definitely rewatch in years to come.

Upcoming new Xmas movies from Hallmark will feature Nicolette Sheridan (always great), Sarah Lancaster (another lady who has made at least 10 of these movies), Chyler Leigh, Alan Thicke, and The Judds.
Hallmark has WAY TOO MANY good Xmas cheese in its vaults to list here. But trust me - go to their web page, look through the archive, almost of their movies can be streamed online or viewed through your cable's On-Demand function.
This holds true for all of the channels playing holiday movies over the next couple of months.

Honorable mention has to go to ABCFamily who has just started getting into the Xmas tv movie game with their "25 Days of Christmas". But they're wasting no time trying to up the "awesome" ante by premiering "Christmas Bounty" starring none other than MTV Real World alum, and current WWE star, Mike "The Miz" Mizanin. I guess pro wrestling is like acting, so this was just the next logical step.

Can't wait. I'm going to have to take a few vacation days just to fit them all in!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pop Culture Bits and Pieces

A round-up of different blogs and online essays regarding "entertainment" that I've read over the past week.

A discussion on the sexiness of the latest Superman’s chest hair:

Favorite part? From writer Kyle Buchanan – “With that beard and that flannel and that Crossfit-jacked hairy chest, I expected Superman to eschew his usual secret identity at the Daily Planet and start a new life as Portland’s hottest artisanal-beer brewer.”  Hee hee hee

Oh, and BTdubs – don’t believe any negative reviews you read about Man of Steel. It was great! Very serious sure, but so well done. And it goes without saying – Henry Cavill is F*CKING HOT. Holy crap is he good looking in this movie!

Essay by NPR’s awesome Linda Holmes on the absence of women in films
I feel lucky to be rounding out my week by balancing the testosterone of "Man of Steel" with some estrogen from Frances, Ha.

And finally, a whole crapload of News about Musical Theater! -
NPH is bringing “Hedwig” to Broadway:
Everyone, including most importantly, creators John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, seems to be ecstatic about Neil Patrick Harris bringing the iconic role of Hedwig to Broadway finally in 2014.

I…I just…um…FOLKS, I don’t get it. I LOVE NPH! He’s basically perfect at everything but…HEDWIG? No. Obviously I’m keeping an open mind and I wish him and the rest of the cast all the best, but I just cannot see Harris doing Hedwig justice. No offense. Again, I flove him! Don’t tell NPH I said anything mean about him!

Soul Doctor continues its course for a summer Broadway opening:
Along with “Matilda”, “Soul Doctor” is something that intrigues me enough to want to buy a plane ticket to NYC in August. August! I must be crazy.
Frozen cast keeps getting better:
You guys? I haven’t been THIS excited about an animated movie in years. Why can’t this be a live action show on Broadway?

Holy crap! They’re actually trying to do an “Air Supply” musical you guys. Ugh, with Constantine.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Have A Dream...

NPR is doing a series commemerating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
NPR's "Tell Me More" staff have asked readers/listeners to share their personal versions of the "dream" speech.

Here's mine -

I have a dream,

That when people meet me in person for the first time, after previously only hearing my voice, they won’t look so shocked that my skin color is so dark. And won’t immediately try to hide their shock by saying something ingenuous like “You’re older than I expected.” Really? That’s what's surprising to you? That I sound younger on the phone?

I have a dream,

That people will stop assuming that because of the color of my skin I have rhythm and can dance. While I am musical, and a very good singer, my sense of rhythm and movement is quite tragic.

I have a dream,

That when I speak fondly of my maternal grandfather, whose mother was a blue-eyed German immigrant who taught him all of the old German cooking secrets, and who inherited his height and stoicism from his Choctaw Indian father, people won't treat my memories like "stories"; fictional and fanciful tales that I've made up because there's no way in hell this dark-skinned woman before you could possibly have had a "white" grandfather who grew up next to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. 
Or when I show people photos of my mother’s parents, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins, that for once I won’t see disbelief on these people’s faces or hear it in their voice as they say “THAT’S your great grandmother?”

I have a dream,

That even though I have learned to embrace an identity of a “black woman” because the color of my skin brands me so, I have not forgotten, nor do I deny the Native American, and European roots that represent actually the largest percentage of my DNA make-up.

I have a dream, a dream that I hope will come true in the future where the children I won’t have given birth to will know a world where a woman is just a woman. Or just an American. Or can be truly defined as what they are; someone like me – An African-American, Micosookee, Choctaw, Cherokee, German, Scottish hodgepodge.

Monday, June 10, 2013

SIFF 2013 - The Final Round Up

The 2013 Seattle International Film Festival finished up yesterday, June 9, 2013. I saw over 20 films which is my typical amount, but for some reason felt like more of an accomplishment this year than in the past. The theme for me this year was definitely "Documentaries". I saw eight in total and they were all amazing in their own unique ways.

As in years past, my picks for what was great at SIFF do not jibe with my fellow audience members. Did we see the same movies? That Nixon thing for best documentary? The hell? Totally don't get it.
Anyway, here are my reviews of the films I saw in the last week of the festival.

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth -
Wow. Was there a lot I didn't know about one of my favorite authors. Walker's life has been fascinating. And who knew about her weird daughter totally cutting Walker out of her life recently. Bonus: Alice Walker was there and I got to shake her hand. I had this weird moment when she was holding my hand that my mother was watching; I started to tear up. I hope she didn't notice, or that if she did she just thought that I was some weird super fan and just dismissed me. I'd rather that than have to explain that Alice Walker was weirdly giving off "mom vibes" to me?

Twenty Feet from Stardom -
One of the few documentaries that I saw that will definitely be getting a wide release distribution nationally. Meaning that most of y'all will be able to see it at some point this summer and you definitely should. Spanning the past 50 years, this doc profiles the oft-forgotten/ignored back-up singer, and how backing vocals became really important and sort of defined the sound of pop music in the 60s and 70s. You will feel in turns anger, sorrow, amusement, hope, despair, irony, and elation while watching the struggles and success of these, mostly female, singers.

The Otherside -
Another fantastic documentary; I really lucked out in that department this SIFF. This one focused on the emerging and flourishing Seattle hip-hop music scene. With the success of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis a new spotlight is being thrown on a thriving music culture that many of us have been tuned into for years. Macklemore wasn't at the packed, sold-out screening I attended but all of the guys from Blue Scholars, and Physics were, along with other local acts. I'm not going to lie, while I enjoyed the hell out of the film, most of the annoying Seattle 20-somethings that showed up for it were annoying as fuck. Most had clearly never been to a SIFF film before and didn't understand any of the rules about getting there early (it's not like a regular movie venue), standing in two separate lines (pass holders vs. ticket holders), having physical tickets vs Will Call, parking permits - ALL of these details were confusing, or ignored by these kids who were super obnoxious about everything. But even this couldn't ruin my enjoyment of the evening.

Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer story -
Yet ANOTHER great documentary that I never would have got to see anywhere else but SIFF. Did you guys ever read, or have read to you the children's books "Moon Man", "Adelaide", "The Three Robbers", "Flat Stanley" or any of the Mellops books? Or have you recently read to your own children the award winning "Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear"? These were all written and more importantly illustrated by the crazy and brilliant Tomi Ungerer. At 83 years of age he's still vibrant, crazy, and a genius that I want to have coffee with, and take long walks along the green valleys of his West Cork property in Ireland. His life was crazy. Little did I know about all of the controversy that was stirred up in the early 70s from his work in erotica. I guess my parents were even bigger radicals than I thought by sharing his work with me. Heartbreaking to see Maurice Sendak last interviews in this film. He was one of Tomi's closest friends and considered him a mentor. A truly great biography of a genius.

Prince Avalanche -
Every year SIFF seems to offer up a dud of a film. That one movie in my mix that seems promising and then UTTERLY DISAPPOINTS. This year I made it into the final days of the festival before encountering my dud. And surprisingly it starred Paul Rudd!? Paul Rudd! A man that can do no wrong in my eyes. And to be honest, Rudd was the only decent-ish part of this movie. The plot, I don't fucking know. Emile Hirsch was baffling as usual; I want to like this guy - I can see he has talent - and yet he always ends up bugging the crap out of me. But seriously Hirsch and Rudd weren't the problem. The convulted story, the pacing (dear God the pacing!), the direction, the ending? it was all such rubbish. I definitely expected better from director/writer David Gordon Green. Seriously, WTF?!

The Girl with Nine Wigs -
I loved loved loved this movie based on a memoir, about a young girl struggling with a rare form of lung cancer. The movie changed the location and nationality of the heroine to Germany (the real young lady was from Amsterdam) but kept the heart and emotional pull that only true events can give a story. It has a happy ending, but I cried anyway. Once again, because it's a festival we were privileged to have the star of the film Lisa Tomoschewsky and the real-life Sophie, author Sophie Van der stop in attendance for a Q&A. It's films like this that I wish everyone could see, yet I doubt will get distribution in the states.

Love Is In the Air -
Another breezy, romantic French comedy. Nothing more to say than that. Very enjoyable. Strange that I ended up seeing two movies during the festival that featured lead Nicolas Bedos; he's I guess supposed to be handsome? His mouth is too weird for me. Seriously, his mouth is HUGE.

Bitch Hug -
My final film of the festival was a touching and charming coming-of-age drama from Sweden about ambitious, recent high school grad Kristin who has dreams of leaving her small Swedish town behind and making it big in New York City as a writer. It was nice to end the festival on this high note.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

RIP - Beautiful Mermaid

Esther Williams passed away today at the age of 91. Her death marks another piece of my childhood drifting away into the beyond. My mom, and especially her mom my grandma Kay, LOVED Esther Williams movies. My grandmother Kay had met her sometime during the 50s at some event in Pittsburgh (she also met Jimmy Stewart at that same time). I think my grandma Kay admired Williams for being an athletic, tall, big-boned, lady with a gorgeous smile (just like her!) who capitalized on a talent that was pretty silly if you think about it, and made a whole career out of it.

All of the Esther Williams movies like "Neptune's Daughter" and "Dangerous When Wet" will forever remind me of summer days spent at my grandparent's house baking pies and cookies with my grandma, and singing songs in the living room.
I weep for those innocent times long gone.

BTdubs, have you ever seen a creepier photo than the one posted below? What. The. F*%k. is going on there?! MOVE OVER CLOWNS - I think I found my new nightmare object.

Friday, May 31, 2013

SIFF 2013 Weeks 2 and 3

My SIFF has continued over the last week and a half with a nary a dud in the bunch. I don't want to jinx anything, but this is the first time in years that I haven't been truly disappointed in at least one film.
That's not to say that I've loved everything; I haven't. But so far it has been a successful festival filled with some truly delightful film experiences.

Some reviews -

C.O.G. : On paper, this movie checked all of my boxes - Based on a David Sedaris short story, and the first time Sedaris has ever sanctioned and licensed an official adaptation of his work (check); starring the dreamy musical theater heartthrob Jonathan Groff (CHECK), with my boyfriend Corey Stoll, Denis O'Hare, and Casey Wilson in supporting roles (check); filmed on location in a part of Oregon that I'm familiar with (check); I thought that I would unequivocally love this movie. And I did love the acting performances. I just felt like the direction could've been stronger and that it let down the story a little. But given that this was only 29 yr old director Kyle Alvarez's second film, I'll grant him some slack. Also a travesty - neither Jonathan Groff nor Denis O'Hare (Tony award-winning musical theater geniuses)  got to truly sing; a missed opportunity of grave proportions.

The Punk Singer: An eye-opening and honest documentary about the life (or at least the past 25 years of it) of Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, punk Riot Grrrl pioneer, wife of Adam "Ad Rock" Horovitz, and general kick-ass activist/feminist. Who knew about the true nature of her "fight" with Courtney Love all those years ago, or that she's been suffering from a debilitating form of Lyme disease for the past decade. A great archive of music history.
Bonus! - I was inspired to dig out my old Le Tigre cds. So damn good.

Atraco!: Set in Franco's Spain in the mid 1950s, this darkest of comedies from writer/director and Almodavar disciple Eduard Cortes, was just the type of Spanish film that I enjoy. The film is a fictional "what if?" telling of the events leading up to, and following the real-life theft of Eva Peron's jewels from Madrid in 1955. I thought this movie was so clever. I loved the twist on historical events.

Touchy Feely: The latest Lynn Shelton film. I personally liked her previous movie Your Sister's Sister more, but some of the performances in this one, especially from Josh Pais and Scoot McNairy, were great. It was filmed in the Capitol Hill, CD, and Madrona neighborhoods of Seattle where I live, so it was fun spotting the streets and houses that I knew.

Cutie and the Boxer: I'm not sure I can find the words to describe how much I loved this documentary about married Japanese artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara. Director Zachary Heinzerling, who won the Directing award this year at Sundance, explores Ushio and Noriko's complicated, co-dependent relationship that is as complicated as it has been nurturing for their art careers. The doc focuses on Ushio, who at 80 years old is trying for one more successful show to seal his artistic legacy, while the 59-year-old Noriko is finally making a name for herself with her "Cutie" series of R. Crumb-like illustrations depicting her relationship with Ushio and his earlier struggles with alcoholism. Through vérité camerawork, archival footage, and animated sequences of Noriko's drawings, Cutie and the Boxer is an intimate, funny, uncompromising portrait of the Shinoharas's unique, and unconventional love story. GO SEE THIS MOVIE if you can.

Flight of the Storks: French director Jan Kounen has ambitiously brought Jean-Christophe Grangé's famous novel to the big screen. People have tried for years to adapt this mystery thriller from page to film and have never succeeded because it's hard to cut the content down to fit a movie's acceptable length. Kounen had tried to adapt the book a decade ago and could never figure out how to cut it down under 3 hours, and when he was approached by producers 10 years later to try again, he said he'd do it only if he could do it as a mini-series; but secretly dreamed of showing it on the big screen. The mini-series played on TV in France earlier this year, but SIFF got the world premier of it as a feature film. I must say that it didn't feel overly long, per se, but it was super distracting having all of the people sitting around me in the theater constantly getting up and going to the bathroom. I would love for HBO to buy the distribution rights for this so that I could watch it again in the comfort of my living room. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Especially loved Harry Treadway (Helloooooo twin brother of hottie actor Luke Treadaway) in the lead role.

Two Weddings and A Funeral: Like a wackier, Korean version of the gay classic "The Wedding Banquet". It was cute, but not that memorable.

 A Band Called Death: You guys. This documentary may have changed my life. I loved it so very much. It tells the story of the Hackney brothers David, Bobby, and Dannis who in the early 1970s started a band in their native Detroit that might have been the birth of punk rock. I can't recommend renting/buying/downloading this movie as soon as you can. Especially if you're a fan of rock music. Or family. Or a human being. Excellent.

Zaytoun:  Um, you guys? I may have voted for Stephen Dorff for Best Actor for the SIFF Audience awards. He was AMAZING in this film. He made me cry. I know, I'm just as surprised as you. The setting is war-torn Beirut in 1982. Dorff plays a downed Israeli fighter pilot who makes a deal with one of his capturers, a 12-yr old Palestinian boy named Fahed, that he will smuggle Fahed across the border and take him to his former Palestinian home if the boy helps him escape Lebanon. This movie! I had a lot of emotions about it! I don't get how Dorff can make such awful dreck for years, and do dumb commercials for electric cigarettes, and then turn around and give a performance like this. Flabbergasting.

Thérèse: Damn, this movie bugged me. Again, on paper this film should've been right up my alley. Famous filmmaker Claude Miller's last film (yes!); starring Audrey Tautou, who I've loved since her breakout turn in Amelie (Yes!); adapted from the François Mauriac's legendary 1927 novel about French provincial life (YES!). Instead, from the very first 5 minutes I was annoyed. The movie's plot takes place between 1922 and 1931, yet there were clothes, and items like bicycles and boats that seemed anachronistically out of place - I said out loud more than once "Is this supposed to be 1928 or 1958?" - that I found so irksome and it was hard for me to enjoy anything. Also, Audrey, sweetie, I love you dearly, but as gorgeous as you are, and you're beautiful, you are too long in the tooth to be playing a young lady of 21. It was almost laughable in scenes when you could see her wrinkles. Again, no hard feelings! I'm old too! I love her, but damn, come ON! Gorgeously shot though. It made me want to fly to southern France and Bordeaux immediately.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Nashville - Season 1 finale

Just got around to watching the first season finale of Nashville, and all I can say is - HOLY. FUCK. I'm so glad ABC had the smarts to bring this show (and Connie Britton's glorious hair) back for another season.
Also, the addition of Chris Carmack as Will was a brilliant move on the part of the writers/producers etc. Please make him a major character next season.
Also also, I know I'm the only person besides Jonathan Jackson's parents that love the character of Avery, but seriously, I really like how they've handled the season story arc of his character. Keep on keepin' on son!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SIFF 2013 - Week 1 (so far...)

This year, the festival got off to a late start for me because I was enjoying the heck out of an impromptu vacation on the Oregon coast. But as soon as I got back into town, in fact within hours of being back in Seattle city limits, I was at the SIFF Uptown theater to see my first film of the festival, a Turkish drama called Jin. Sort of like "Run, Lola, Run", but with a 17yr old Kurdish freedom fighter. This was a sad and beautifully shot movie with "magical realism" qualities blended with some seriously brutish storytelling.
I'm glad I saw it but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

PopulaireNext up was the DELIGHTFUL French romantic comedy Populaire. You guys, I seriously love the French actress Déborah François. She's enchanting. I was first introduced to her last year at SIFF in another great romantic comedy, Les Tribulations d'une Caissière. Why the hell can't America make a good romantic comedy anymore?! Please take note American screenwriters and film studios - it is possible! Anyway, "Populaire" is set in Normandy in 1959, when being a secretary was all the rage! The movie centers around an International Speed Typing contest, and...You know what? It doesn't matter what it's about - I was charmed out of my pants! I haven't heard that much clapping or seen that many smiles on audience members' faces in years.

My third film in three days was the Spanish dark comedy Bypass. I can't have a SIFF where I don't see at least 2 films from Spain, and this seemed fun. It was just ok.

The last movie I saw as of this blog posting was a true gem from the Philippines. Bwakaw is a sweet, yet sad film starring the great Eddie Garcia as Rene, a curmudgeonly gay man in his late 70s, living in a suburb of Manila, who has nothing to do in his retirement except meticulously plan his death and rewrite his will on a daily basis. His best friend is his dog, the titular Bwakaw. When she gets sick, Rene's life gets turned upside down. You guys? Everyone was crying in the audience. BUT this is truly not a depressing movie. I wish everyone could see this film; the SIFF guide describes it as "life-affirming" and they got it right. This is the kind of movie that I count on SIFF exposing me to every year.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My new favorite show

Last night was the season finale of "The Americans". I couldn't believe how swiftly the season passed and how much I enjoyed every minute of every episode. I knew I was missing Keri Russell from my tv screen, but I truly didn't realize how much.
F/X has quickly become a channel that I can count on for quality programming, airing two of my top 5 television shows from the last decade (the other being Justified).

Anyway, if you missed The Americans, there's still time to catch up online or on-demand. I recommend Justified as well, but the fourth season just ended, and it's kind of important to start from at least sesaon 2 with that show in order for it to make sense. But it's worth the trouble!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

And this year's Oscar nominations go to...NOT Ben Affleck?!

The 2013 Academy Award nominations came out today. And I'm in a bit of a daze. Not because of the films that got nominations, like the 12 for "Lincoln" and the 11 for "Life of Pi", but for the individuals that didn't get a nomination in categories that they have dominated over these past months in other award nomination fields like the Golden Globes, SAG, DGA, and Critic's Association.

So while there were nominations that were not surprising at all, - I easily predicted 8 out of the 9 Best Picture nominees - like the Academy's continued love over nominating Steven Spielberg and his works, or their aversion to nominate action films (sorry "Skyfall"!), there were far more nominations this morning that knocked me out. Let's analyze those surprises, both good and bad.

Ben Affleck didn't get a Best Director nomination -
Hello? Did Academy members see "Argo"? Well they must have, they did give it well-deserved Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations. But still, Affleck's brilliant direction is what gave this movie its energy and suspense. Anytime I'm on the edge of my seat, biting my knuckles, when I not only know what happened to the real people, but also read the autobiography that was the source material? That's a well directed film that deserves a nomination. Whom among the Direction nominees would I have eliminated instead? Probably David O. Russell. Silver Linings Playbook is great, but not necessarily because of the way it was directed.

Zero Dark Thirty got kind of shafted -
Okay, no it didn't, I'm being dramatic. It got 5 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Jessica Chastain. But still, it feels very strange and very wrong that Kathryn Bigelow didn't get a Best Director nomination. Is it because she already won an Oscar for directing a war film and the Academy voters decided that one was enough? Bigelow should've had the nomination that was given to Ang Lee, or dare I say it, Steven Spielberg.

Silver Linings Playbook locked up ALL 4 acting nominations -
A feat that hadn't happened in over 30 years; the last time being Reds in 1981. Both supporting and both lead acting categories have nominees from this quirky movie. Listen, I loved this film and think that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both earned their Best Acting noms. But DeNiro and Weaver? Not so much. I like both of these actors and thought they were very good in their roles, but they weren't Oscar-worthy performances. I mean damn, compare Jackie Weaver's other supporting actress Oscar nominated performance in "Animal Kingdom" to her character work in "Silver Linings Playbook". It's no contest! She was sooo flat in "Playbook". Her nomination should've gone to Nicole Kidman or Samantha Barks.

The Academy didn't neglect Quvenzhané Wallis or “Beasts of the Southern Wild” -
Because I saw this movie way back in early June 2012 at SIFF, it feels so strange to me to be talking about award nominations for it. I just figured that anyone who cared about this movie had blown their trumpets about it months ago and it was largely forgotten by now. But instead it was rewarded with not only a Best Picture nomination, but also a Best Actress nod for Wallis (will I ever be able to pronounce or spell her first name without looking it up 45 times?), and a surprising and yet worthy Best Direction nomination for Benh Zeitlin. Yay!

Amour wasn't too depressing for the Academy members after all -
I have yet to see this movie (doesn't open in Seattle until January 25), but everything I've read about it seemed to be summed up thusly - an amazing film, but depressing as hell, and not in a "moving" way. I thought for sure Amour would get snubbed by the nominators, except for the inevitable Best Foreign Film nod. But surprisingly, not only did Emmanuelle Riva get nominated for Best Actress, Michael Haneke got a nom for direction, and "Amour" was also nominated for Best Picture. Speaking of...why does it irk me so much when films are nominated in both the "Best Picture" and "Foreign" categories? I don't know, it just does!! It's annoying to hog both film categories - The Artist I'm looking at you. Grrrrr