THERE IS NOTHING LIKE SEEING A musical act performing live at a concert. This may sound corny, but the experience produces a natural high in me. Granted I always start out with a little anxiety about the commuting aspect; however, once I am safely in my seat, I am plugged in to experience everything the musical artist(s) brings to the stage. Let me see if I can describe to you the feeling of being at an arena sized concert. Imagine 15-20,000 fans converging into a stadium; every single person is there for one sole purpose, to hear and show their love/adoration for the performer(s). Everyone is in a good mood, smiling and nodding at each other as if they share a special secret. While walking the halls to find your seats, random music can be heard echoing from the arena; a constant thumping bass sound pulsates through the air. There are some fans dressed up to look like part of the band or artist’s entourage; the more flamboyant the act, the wilder are the costumes. As I walk to my seat, my only wish for the moment is that a tall person or one dressed in an elaborate outfit is not sitting in front of me, obstructing my view. As more people are settling into their seats, the feelings of anticipation are being elevated to a point where the space around everyone is buzzing with excitement. That bass sound that has been thumping is resonating in each person’s chest as if synching everyone to a common beat. And then suddenly the music stops, and the place goes dark. Everyone in unison begins to cheer loudly. THE WEEKS AND MONTHS LEADING UP to this moment were worth the wait. I just need to hear the first couple of notes to announce the start of what I am sure will be a familiar song, one of many that I have been singing in the car since I got the tickets to this show. A set of spotlights slowly wake up to reveal a spot on the stage where 4 strangers are standing. I have never seen them before in my life! An announcer introduces them, and they start to play their instruments. They are the warm-up act. Nowhere in the advertisements or my tickets did it say anything about a warm-up act. Where is the group I paid to see? The built-up feelings that were about to burst out of my body suddenly deflated like a flat tire, after slamming into a deep pothole. It almost felt like I could not catch my breath because I was in such shock. Right at this single moment I am flooded with the feeling of disappointment and this feeling is exactly how I felt about the Oscars and the awards show this year. THE TRANSFORMATION OF UNION STATION FOR the show was beautifully handled. I thought the place looked like an old-fashioned supper club. The outside reception area was equally beautiful in my opinion. I do have to say it was odd for me to see a gathering without masks, where people were hugging each other; it almost felt like a time pre-COVID. There was glamour but due to restrictions, the pre-show scenes seemed like individual segments that were more unconnected than usual. For the fact I could not see all the nominated films, I came into this without my usual excitement and joy. The Oscars telecast has always been my Super Bowl and High Holiday wrapped together. When presenters were talking about a film that I had not seen, it felt so foreign to me as if they were talking a different language. Right from the first acceptance speech, I so badly wished they had a live orchestra to drown out the winner who overstayed their welcome. There were some exceptions but for the most part the acceptance speeches rambled on and on; it was painful. The exception for me was Yuh-Jung Youn, best supporting actress, due to a couple of her comments. Though she was long in her speech, I appreciated her saying, “All the nominees, five nominees, we were the winner for different movies. We played different roles—so we cannot compete against each other. Tonight, I’m here, I just have a little bit more luck. I think, maybe. I’m luckier than you…” WHEN TYLER PERRY ACCEPTED HIS HUMANITARIAN award, I especially appreciated the part of his speech when he said to “refuse blanket judgement” and “refuse hate.” I wish I could do that when it came to Questlove as the DJ; I did not care for most of his musical selections. The music did nothing to try and elevate the mood amongst the guests. Now granted I know there are way more important things to focus on than the Oscars. I simply wanted to be taken away for a couple of hours to a world of glamour and stars, checking my predictions against the winning choices, before I had to settle back down into the real world. Sadly, this show did not provide me with any of these things, except for way too many commercial breaks. I was still mad that the Academy had enough money to give swag bags worth, I heard, up to $200,000.00. Why couldn’t the Academy take all that money to pay for a weekend of nominated films to be shown free across all viewing platforms? Not everyone buys every streaming service to view the nominated films. Don’t you think it would be in the best interests for actors and the Academy if they offered something for their dedicated fans?!?! OUT OF THE ENTIRE BROADCAST, I thought the most egregious error was the change in the order of awards for the end. Usually the last 3 awards are for actress, actor and picture as the last. The very end is seeing all the people associated with the winning picture up on stage, happy and excited for their film. But because I believe the Academy was expecting Chadwick Boseman to win best actor, they changed the order so that category would be last. Well it certainly did not work out the way they thought it would because Anthony Hopkins won, and he was not even there. So, the presenter awkwardly accepts the award in his honor and tells everyone to have a good night; that is the end of the show. What an utter mess and shame on the Academy. I read today that the broadcast this year had the fewest viewers ever and I perfectly understand why. I honestly do not know where my comfort level will be to go back to a theater; I am more in a wait and see mode. However, if Sunday’s broadcast represents the future of how the show will be done, I may have to take more of an attitude like Yuh-Jung Youn, it is just luck; so, why pay attention to what gets nominated.
Five people are lined up waiting for the starting bell. When it goes off they race as fast as they can to the finish line. It seems as if the race was over just as fast as when it started. Under these circumstances I agree on naming one of the contestants the”winner.” The person was the fastest human on the planet. You see all five people ran their hearts out to get to the finish line first; but they were timed, so one came in first, the next one second and so on. Truthfully I have no issue with this type of contest because it seems more like physics to me. The Oscars on the other hand are different; how does one judge art? It is that time of year that everyone (that is right I am pointing my finger at you) is all abuzz about who will get an Oscar award. I do not know what methods other people use to decide who deserves the award (notice we no longer use the words win or winner, example: …and the Oscar goes to ___), but this is how I choose the acting roles: the actor who is the most convincing and totally becomes the character, where I no longer see them as “so and so” portraying a character, they are the character; they get my vote. My bottom line for how I choose in the other categories is how much did that nominee or aspect contribute to the entire film watching experience and teleport me from my theater seat into the picture and story.
With no further ado I present to you my choices on who I would like to see get the Oscar award and who will probably receive it.
MY PICKS THEIR PICKS
SPOTLIGHT THE BIG SHORT
ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU
LEONARDO DICAPRIO LEONARDO DICAPRIO
BRIE LARSON CHARLOTTE RAMPLING
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
SYLVESTER STALLONE MARK RYLANCE
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
ALICIA VIKANDER KATE WINSLET
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
THE BIG SHORT THE MARTIAN
BEST FOREIGN FILM: (I DID NOT SEE ALL THE NOMINEES)
SON OF SAUL
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: (I DID NOT SEE ALL THE NOMINEES)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
THE HATEFUL EIGHT THE HATEFUL EIGHT
As the past Oscar season is about to come to a close, I want to wish all of you an Oscar day filled with unexpected joy, happy surprises and as always good health. Thank you for joining me on this journey to discover that elusive 4 star movie.
Let the show begin!
For the past year I have spent my time in a variety of movie theaters. Some had floors so sticky that my shoes refused to go with me when I tried to leave my seat. There were numerous occasions I had to ask people around me to shut off their phones; some did so obediently while others had to first glare at me. I did not care for I had a movie to watch and review. And what a year it has been; we learned there was a theory for everything and we had new guardians of the galaxy. The Chicago Bears finally caught a Fox and a man bonded with the avian world. There was another lesson on how to train your dragon while a woman went wild and another was just gone. We saw a boy grow up to be a mature young man and discovered a new hotel in Budapest. Such an eclectic group of films the past year; just the way I like it. As we come to an end this weekend during the high holiday of the Oscar awards, I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey that was filled with discovery, disappointment, joy, amazement, anger and love. Wow, doesn’t that sound just like an intimate relationship? Without further ado, here are my thoughts and predictions for who will take home the Oscar.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
I would be very surprised if the academy awards this to Meryl. Personally my other choice would have been Emma Stone.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
This was my easiest decision; I felt he deserved it from the moment I saw him in this movie.
BEST DIRECTOR: Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman)
I believe the academy will choose Richard Linklater for Boyhood because the film was novel. However, I thought Alejandro with his seamless filming was extraordinary.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: CitizenFour
Though I did not see all the nominees in this category I thought this film played out like an exciting thriller. My other choice would be Finding Vivian Maier.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Once again I did not see all the entries in this category but I felt this picture was the most well-rounded out of the group.
BEST ACTRESS: Julianne Moore
It is not only her time now but out of the group I thought she really stood out.
BEST ACTOR: Eddie Redmayne
This was my toughest decision and I feel there is a good chance the Academy will choose Michael Keaton based on his body of work. I would be okay with that decision. He was excellent but I felt Eddie’s detailed transformation made for a brilliant performance. My other choice would be Benedict Cumberbatch.
BEST MOTION PICTURE: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Here again I feel the Academy might reward Boyhood though if I did not choose Birdman first I would choose The Grand Budapest Hotel.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Glory
If for nothing else this movie deserved more nominations so the Academy will vote to give this the best song Oscar and I agree on the choice; it was the most memorable to me.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The Grand Budapest Hotel
I normally do not include this category in my predictions but because the movie was so different and fun, I wanted to list it as my 1st choice.
There you have it, this year’s predictions. No matter who wins, I had a great time watching all of these films.
As the final days up to the Oscar telecast turn like the last pages of an engaging, voluminous novel; I look back at the past year with a sense of joyful pride. There have been some amazing movies that lingered with me like a comfortable old sweater on a cool day. I have also seen a variety of dreadful films that weighed me down to the point where I felt my seat was swallowing me up alive. No matter which type of film it may have been, what has heightened my movie watching experience has been my ability to share these films with each of you. Thank you for your likes, opinions and sharing your personal stories. Now if I can only get asked to be a seat filler at the Oscar telecast, my life would be complete. So, before the biggest holiday of the year takes place this Sunday; here are my picks for what I feel deserve the Oscar.
Best Picture: Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day Lewis
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Best Director: David O. Russell
Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph
Best Foreign Language Film: Amour
To everyone I wish you an Oscar night filled with fun and excitement, before we all get a good night’s sleep to begin a new year in search of that perfect 4 star movie. Happy Oscar Day!