2.22.2015

My Oscar Predictions (and WINNERS)

Update (12:11am):  I voted the wrong way when it came down to Birdman vs. Boyhood.  Otherwise, I did pretty well, methinks.  A few quick thoughts:

1.  The show ran WAY too long.  It's after midnight here on the east coast.  Why didn't they start at 8pm instead of 8:30?

2.  NPH should stick to the Tonys.  That's his wheelhouse.  I'd like to see Ellen or Ricky Gervais host again.

3.  That being said, NPH's best joke was about Benedict Cumberbatch being what you hear when John Travolta introduces Ben Affleck.

4.  Apparently I'm in the minority over the Lady Gaga performance.  People on Twitter seemed to have loved it.  She sounded great, but I just didn't get why it happened in the first place.  Also, her gyrations made me uncomfortable, just as they did when she did the duet with Tony Bennett a couple weeks ago.

5.  Yay Common and John Legend - I was moved by how many in the audience were moved to tears by their performance of "Glory."

Alright...time for bed.   Let's do it again next year.
 ~~~
The Oscars are tonight!  I'm looking forward to this year's show, especially with Neil Patrick Harris hosting.  Here are my quick Oscar predictions of who I think should win, and who I think will win.  Let's see how it goes.  For what it's worth, I also italicized the movies that I just didn't have a chance to see.  I wanted to see Still Alice this weekend, but our 3-5 inches of predicted snow turned into 9-10 inches and I'm in the house for the weekend.

Ok, here we go:

BEST PICTURE
  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) WON
  • Boyhood WILL
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash  SHOULD
Whiplash, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch and the movie I enjoyed most.  Maybe it'll win in an upset, but I doubt it.

BEST DIRECTOR
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman) WON
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)  WILL / SHOULD
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

BEST ACTOR
  • Steve Carell  (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper  (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton  (Birdman)  WILL
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)  SHOULD / WON
This is the toughest category.  Every actor here gave a great performance.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
  • Robert Duvall  (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)  WILL / SHOULD / WON

BEST ACTRESS
  • Marion Cotillard  (Two Days, One Night)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)  WILL / SHOULD / WON
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
I'm basing this prediction just on what I've seen from the previews and the fact that Julianne Moore has won so many other awards for her role.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)  WILL / SHOULD / WON
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • American Sniper (Jason Hall) WILL
  • The Imitation Game (Graham Moore) WON
  • Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
  • Whiplash (Damien Chazelle) SHOULD
I haven't read any of the original source material, so this is a total guess.  

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  • Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo) WILL / SHOULD / WON
  • Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
  • Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness)
  • Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)
Another tough category as I didn't love any of these movies.  I'd say Birdman was most original.  I think Boyhood should win the movie-making awards because of the feat of making a movie over twelve years, but I don't think the "screenplay" was the best.  The movie was slow at times and there wasn't much to the plot.  Grand Budapest should win for cinematography (I don't even know if it's nominated), because it was a gorgeous movie to look at with the bold colors and unique scenery.


Okay, so that's it.  Let the festivities begin!

1.22.2015

Oscars 2015 To-Do-List - Updated 2/11/15!

Hi folks!  Here's an update since my original post on Jan. 22.  Here's what I've knocked off from my list of movies to see:
  • American Sniper
  • Selma
  • Whiplash
  • Foxcatcher
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Still Alice
  • Inherent Vice
  • Nightcrawler
So, I've now seen all of the best picture nominees.  Honestly, the movie I liked the best, which literally left me saying "Wow," at the end was Whiplash.  After that, my next pick is The Theory of Everything.  I didn't really care for Birdman much, though the acting was fantastic.  Boyhood was excellent in concept and deserves all the awards for movie-making.  Selma and The Imitation Game were both good, interesting, and educational, but I didn't love them. And I also didn't care much for The Grand Budapest Hotel, although it is a gorgeous movie to look at with all the costumes, makeup, and rich colors.  So, my pick for Best Picture is Whiplash, but I don't think it will win.  I think with all the hype surrounding them, either American Sniper, Birdman, or Boyhood will get it.  I'll make a more definitive prediction closer to Oscar night.

Other thoughts at this time:  

  • The director for Whiplash should have been nominated over the director for Foxcatcher.  
  • All the nominees for Best Actor deserve the award.  I think it'll go to Michael Keaton though.
  • J.K. Simmons should definitely get the award for Best Supporting Actor.


Wow people. It's Oscar time AGAIN! Where does the time go? So, it's time to figure out what movies I need to see in my quest to see the Oscar nominees from the major categories. Here are the nominees, and I've bolded the movies I need to see by the Oscars ceremony on February 22:

BEST PICTURE
  • American Sniper
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)
  • Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
  • Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)
  • Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
  • Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

BEST ACTOR
  • Steve Carell  (Foxcatcher)
  • Bradley Cooper  (American Sniper)
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
  • Michael Keaton  (Birdman)
  • Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
  • Robert Duvall  (The Judge)
  • Ethan Hawke (Boyhood)
  • Edward Norton (Birdman)
  • Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher)
  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)

BEST ACTRESS
  • Marion Cotillard  (Two Days, One Night)
  • Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything)
  • Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
  • Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
  • Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  • Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
  • Laura Dern (Wild)
  • Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game)
  • Emma Stone (Birdman)
  • Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
  • American Sniper (Jason Hall)
  • The Imitation Game (Graham Moore)
  • Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • The Theory of Everything (Anthony McCarten)
  • Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
  • Birdman (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo)
  • Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
  • Foxcatcher (E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman)
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness)
  • Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy)

This year's to-do list isn't too bad.  I need to see:
  • American Sniper
  • Selma
  • Whiplash
  • Foxcatcher
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Still Alice
  • Inherent Vice
  • Nightcrawler
I think all but "Two Days, One Night" and "Nightcrawler" are in the theaters near me.  I got this.  I'll start work on these this weekend. 


1.11.2015

Not-so-deep thoughts by Valerie

I'm watching the Golden Globes and what's on my mind this second is "The Affair"?! Really? Over "The Good Wife?" Over "Downton Abbey"? I don't think so.

Anyway, I'll carry on.

I did a double header today (with lunch in between)...and saw Big Eyes and then Into the Woods. I enjoyed both, but am confused as to why Big Eyes is in the "Comedy or Musical" category for the Golden Globes. (Into the Woods is where it belongs...) I laughed out loud once during that movie and it was in the last 15 minutes.

In other news, I watched the pilot episode of "Empire" and am intrigued. Some of the acting leaves a little to be desired, but I love Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. And the music has been great so far. If you don't know, the show is about a music mogul (Terrence) who's about to go public with his company when his ex-wife gets out of jail and comes back wanting to claim half. On top of that, Terrence has been diagnosed with ALS....no one else knows that, but he is looking for one of his three sons to take over the company. The main thing that bothered me about this show though, is that Terrence & Taraji are MY age and they're playing parents of kids who are well into their twenties. I'm having a hard time with that. I'm sure I'll get over it.

Watching George Clooney's speech now. Swoon. He's a fantastic human being.

1.04.2015

Year in review (bookwise)

Here's what I read in 2014.  Overall, it was a good reading year.