Everyone once in a while, as an actor, I see a film where I wish with all my heart that I could have been a part of it; Not because of the perceived fame and fortune of the other actors, not because of the flashy special effects, and not because of the pop culture phenomenon that could come along it. Plain and simple, most of the time when something like that happens, it’s because of the script. Destin Cretton, writer and director of the new film Short Term 12, drew from first hand experience to writer and direct a film that tells the story of a group of supervisors and the foster children they watch over at a short-term living-facility. Headlined by Tony-winner, John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening, HBO’s The Newsroom) and Brie Larson (Showtime’s United States of Tara, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,) these fellow twenty-something actors better get ready for awards season early. Not to be overshadowed, are the actors who play the troubled teens they care for. Performances by Keith Stanfield, Kaitlyn Dever, Alex Calloway and Kevin Hernandez, practically steal the movie. At its core, however, it is a true ensemble piece. They work together to solve the problems at hand. It is both heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. But that’s what good stories are. Just like life. When a story comes along that incorporates both humor and torment, verisimilitude is at work. As humans, we need to see this film, we need to hear its message. We need to surround each other with love and understanding. Short Term 12 opens in theaters on August 23rd.
*Screening provided by the SAG Foundation, presented at the NYIT Auditorium on July 17th.
Anne Hathaway showed too much nipple; Jennifer Lawrence didn’t show any; And Oscar host Seth MacFarlane sang a song about it all. Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis won. Surprise! <—We DID see Jennifer Lawrence trip on her way up to accepting the Best Actress award for her work in Silver Linings Playbookand the internet went crazy creating memes, gifs and bad jokes related to the Hunger Games. Granted, if I was dressed like I was a bride-to-be on my wedding day, I’d probably trip too. Nonetheless, Jennifer Lawrence handled it with grace and humor like she always does even at the tender age of 22. She even gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Emmanuelle Riva who was celebrating her 86th birthday on Oscar night (making her as old as the Academy Awards themselves.)
Daniel Day-Lewis became the first actor EVER to win 3 Oscars in the Lead Actor category for his work in Lincoln. Even though no one was surprised, what I found the most heart-warming was the gracious, humorous and utterly breath-taking acceptance speech that DDL gave. Not surprising, given the fact that he’s won every major award for that role this season, he’s probably had a lot of practice and time to think about what he’d say on Oscar night.
Anne Hathaway took home an Oscar for Les Miserableswhich surprised no one as well. The fellow nominees in that category were actually looking directly at Hathaway the entire time the category was being announced. Everybody knew. No one was shocked. Sally Field was really happy for Anne. Awesome. Did anyone notice that it was Captain von Trapp who presented the award to Fantine? Yep.
Christoph Waltz took home Oscar number two in 3 years,becoming one of the most bad-ass Oscar winners ever in my book, for his stellar work in Django Unchained.
What was most surprising of the night was the win for Best Director. The upset over that category was already brewing due to the fact that Argo director Ben Affleck was snubbed and everybody knew it. Ang Lee took home the statue for his CGI-heavy direction of Life of Pi, shocking everyone, even Lee himself. Life of Pi, unbeknownst to me, has been the subject of quite a controversy.Since my own knowledge on the subject is foggy, you may read more about it here.
Argowon Best Picture (again, not really surprising, but really really awesome) and Ben Affleck finally got to get back up on the Oscar stage. What I find most surprising, and I’m going to play devil’s advocate at the moment, is that the First Lady, Michelle Obama, helped announce the winner for Best Picture. Ironic? I think not. Some have even been saying that Argo is a propaganda film and to be quite honest, I can see why. I can also see that had Argo NOT won, the First Lady would have been in quite an awkward position and it might have been a tad uncomfortable.
All in all, the awards were good. Not great. But good. There was a solid opening by Seth MacFarlane who ending up hosting quite a long show. For those of us on the east coast, it got over the next day, but it was still fun to watch. Something tells me he’s going to be getting a lot of calls from Broadway producers in these next few weeks due to his kick-ass singing voice.
Speaking of singing, Shirley Bassey brought down the house and showed us all what a real DIVA can sing like with the tribute to James Bond. Side note: Where were all the Bonds? I mean, they had the perfect opportunity to bring them out onto one stage. Jennifer Hudson showed us just why she got an Oscar for her first film and Catherine Zeta-Jones tried to relive her glory days by re-creating and lip synching to “All That Jazz” from Chicago. Adele is reaching for EGOT status with her win for penning and adding her sweet vocals to the theme from Skyfall.All she needs now are the Tony and Emmy awards. Barbara Streisand matched the backdrop as she sang “The Way We Were” during the In Memorium segment. Like Michael Buckley said in his recap, “The mirror has two face-lifts, and I like them both.” Truth. She can still sing and she looks good while doing it.
The most awkward moment of the night was when those who won awards in the minor categories seemed to come out of the wood-work. Literally. Did they shove them all in the coat room? What was with the booths to the sides? Were they not worthy enough to sit in the main area? Come on.
Kristin Chenoweth should also host the Oscars next year simply due to the fact that I wanted to hear her sing more. They truly save the best for last, and her send-off duet with Seth MacFarlane was the best.