The Oscars are tomorrow night. If the Independent Spirit Awards from tonight are any indication, this Oscar race is going to be one to watch. Given the fact that the competition for Supporting Actor is pretty much a given (Congratulations to Jared Leto ahead of time. He just won an Independent Spirit Award. If he doesn’t win, I’ll be really surprised.) Also, congrats to Lupita Nyong’o, unless they give Jennifer Lawrence two Oscars in a row. She’s 23. She’s got time. Cate Blanchett will probably take home the Best Actress Oscar, unless Sandra Bullock comes up from behind. But who knows? This year seems to be a little up in the air for Best Actor and Actress. If the results from the Golden Globes sway voters at all, Amy Adams and Leonardo DiCaprio could take home Oscars instead. Matthew McConaughey is pretty much battling it out with Leo. Chiwetel deserves Best Actor in my humble opinion. Frozen will win Best Original Song (duh.) And Gravity director, Alfonso Cuaron has been sweeping the awards for Director. Then again, since Steve McQueen just won for 12 Years tonight at the Independent Spirit Awards, he could win as well. Best Picture is anyone’s game, but my money is on 12 Years a Slave. But who can tell? American Hustle might be a stealthy one and take the top prize. 

MOS_Facebook_1sheetFirst things first. Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. Life tends to get a little hectic sometimes. Anyways, I saw Man of Steel the day it opened with my boyfriend and we both LOVED it. Superheroes have always fascinated me.  From a psychological standpoint, to a spiritual one, to just plain enjoying them because they are entertaining, the myth of superheroes has always been one of my favorite things. I was so into Wonder Woman as a kid, that I dressed up as her when I was 5 years old for Halloween. Somewhere, there is a picture and video of it too. The Man of Steel himself, Clark Kent, is other-worldly. Literally. Although, because he was raised on Earth, he has a human side too. I think this is what adds to his appeal as a character. We can aspire, admire and relate to Superman/Clark Kent. I have personal reasons for loving my fair share of super heroes which I won’t divulge quite yet, but in general, they seem to be the epitome of strength and (unless they are evil) have good moral characters. Superman has a moral compass. That’s what makes him human too (though not literally.) In the film, one character even states that “evolution always trumps morality.” It was proven in the end to be false, but it’s quite a question to ponder. Does evolution over-ride morality?

The new film adaptation is fantastic. The acting can be cheesy sometimes, but honestly, I expected that. It’s not like we’re dealing with reality here. Personally, I thought the casting was great with Henry Cavill donning the cape to play Superman. And let me tell you, his acting is great too. I’ll be honest though, the ladies in the audience will be more than happy with him just looking smoldering hot onscreen. Amy Adams playing Lois Lane isn’t really a surprise either, but apparently, this is the third time she’s had to audition to play Lois in a movie version. The first was a un-made movie with Matt Bomer (from TV’s White Collar) and the second was the 2006 movie Superman Returns with Brandon Routh at the helm. I’m glad she was given the opportunity to play Lois Lane and I can’t wait for the sequel. Given the success of opening day and opening weekend, there is going to be sequel.

Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams in “The Fighter” (2010)

I’m a Boston gal at heart. When I moved to the Big Apple nearly 6 years ago, I retained something that could be considered a setback: my accent. I remember the first day of class at Circle in the Square Theatre School and the late K.C. Ligon telling me, “We need to work on that” upon hearing me speak. K.C. was a well-respected speech coach within the industry and I credit her and Ken Schatz with helping me ease up on my native dialect.  Fun Fact: K.C.’s mother was stage actress, Nora Dunfee, famous for her performance alongside Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump as the Elderly Southern Woman on the bench towards the end of the movie.

Being a Boston girl, I am always aware when actors can and cannot do a good “Boston Accent.” Most commonly, people think of the Boston accent as it is when done by Mark Wahlberg, Ben Affleck, or Matt Damon. But, like any accent, there are certain subtleties that set different sections of Massachusetts apart from another in terms of dialects. Katharine Hepburn, for example, had what is known as a Boston Brahmin accent which is more refined and often considered more “upper-class” than my standard, Boston accent. All I need to do to retain my accent is talk to my parents and I automatically revert back to my natural tongue.

On film, it always helps when there are actual Boston natives involved on the screen or behind-the-scenes within the production if set within the Boston area. Amy Ryan is said to have refined her speech from Jill Quigg, a local whom Ben Affleck ended up casting alongside Ryan in Gone Baby Gone (2007.) Quigg went on to appear alongside Christian Bale and fellow Boston native Mark Wahlberg in The Fighter (2010.)

As a person with a native Boston accent, I can tell you right now, that the actors I have found to be the most convincing with the accent (in recent years) are as follows: Christian Bale (The Fighter) Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)  Blake Lively (The Town) Amy Adams & Melissa Leo  (The Fighter.) But, there are those who tend to go overboard with their dialect and it sort of  sounds like they are making fun of us.  Not cool. To illustrate how good these actors do their accents, here are some clips. None of them are natives. Although, in all of these movies, at least one or two native speakers are in the films with them. Also, my acting coach, Ken Schatz, has always said that I need to get rid of my “moshpit” in regards to how I speak. You’ll notice that oftentimes, for as much as we elongate our “A”s and drop our “R”s, we also tend to mumble sometimes. These actors seem to pull of that characteristic well.
Blake Lively (The Town):

Amy Adams & Christian Bale (The Fighter):

Melissa Leo (The Fighter) She is probably the most stereotypical in terms of how people perceive the accent :


Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone):

And for the record, we don’t all swear that much. Well…maybe we do.

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 Playbook and 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 Miserables which 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.

Argo won 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.

It’s Oscar weekend! YAY!! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially if you’re in the business or just an avid movie buff. For the sake of time, and so this article doesn’t go on forever, I am only going to focus on the major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay & Best Adapted Screenplay. And for fun…Best Cinematography.

Best Cinematography has always been a bit confusing to those who don’t really understand what it is. Basically, the cinematographer is responsible for the general visual look of the film. According to Wikipedia, they “could also be referred to as the film director’s main visual collaborator.” On a set, the cinematographer is generally known as the “DP” or “Director of Photography.” Essentially, they are the ones that the actor is going to have the most contact with (aside from the director) on the crew side. The DP can make you look amazing or make you look horrid (So don’t piss them off. Hehe.) The nominees this year run the gambit:
Nominees:

Anna Karenina (2012/I): Seamus McGarvey

Django Unchained (2012): Robert Richardson

Life of Pi (2012): Claudio Miranda

Lincoln (2012): Janusz Kaminski

Skyfall (2012): Roger Deakins

My pick for best cinematography this year is Life of Pi. I think in terms of a visual look, Pi has this one locked. It’s a visually stunning piece. However, Skyfall could also be one to watch.

For Best Adapted Screenplay, this year especially, it’s difficult. There was so much great source material that helped make great films.
Nominees:

Argo (2012): Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi (2012): David Magee

Lincoln (2012): Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): David O. Russell

Argo might win this one because the source material is from a 2007 article in Wired magazine. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (my roommate’s favorite book,) Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick and Lincoln were all adapted from books.

Lincoln, adapted by Kushner from the book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, poses a issue with me, especially when it comes to the title. I know a lot of people who went into viewing the film thinking it was going to be a genuine bio-pic of Lincoln himself. However, a lot of people I’ve talked to were a tad disappointed because they thought the title was misleading. If one is going to have a film about a specific moment in history such as the passing of the thirteenth amendment, then why not call it “Team of Rivals?” The answer is simple. Daniel Day-Lewis is the star.

Beasts of the Southern Wild was adapted from a one-act play that Lucy Alibar had previously written, so difficulty of adapting it to the screen was rather slim. And Oscar voters seem to go for complexity.

My pick (simply due to difficulty of adaptation and a fantastic script): ARGO.

Best ORIGINAL Screenplay is another story all together.
Nominees:

Amour (2012): Michael Haneke

Django Unchained (2012): Quentin Tarantino

Flight (2012/I): John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom (2012): Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal

Zero Dark Thirty seems to be receiving a really bad reputation at the moment which I think is going to hurt the chances of it winning in both the writing and acting categories. I think it’s a toss up between Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom. Both are so unique and different from your normal cinema fare. But I think Quentin will take home the gold. If he doesn’t, I think the shocker would be if Michael Haneke took it.

Best Supporting Actress: Weep and Win?
Nominees:

Amy Adams for The Master (2012)

Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)

Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)

Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)

Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Oscar voters and viewers love the “Give me my Oscar” moments. The only one who has been consistently winning throughout awards season in every major category is Anne Hathaway (and maybe DDL, but we’ll get to him in a few.) This brings me to a question that I am asking of all of the acting nominees (whether current or past): Do you need to weep to win? Crying, weeping, sobbing, hyperventilating…they all seem like viable things to do within a role to win an Oscar. Helen Hunt did it in 1998 with As Good As It Gets. And Sally Field won 2 Oscars for playing down on her luck characters. Now, enter Anne Hathaway…playing a down on her luck single mother. AND she does it within the first 30 minutes of the film. She cries, hyperventilates, acts AND LIVE SINGS her way to an Oscar nom…and to be honest, yeah, she’ll win. I didn’t really see any other actress in that category have a “GIVE ME MY OSCAR” moment…other than Sally Field playing well, every character she’s ever played. Ever. Only with a big poofy dress. Oh, and Helen Hunt spends 90% of her movie naked, Jacki Weaver plays a supportive mother, and Amy Adams helps Philip Seymour Hoffman jack off in the bathroom. I love Amy Adams, I’m a huge fan, but an Oscar nom for that role is kind of a joke.

My Pick: Anne Hathaway. Plus, I’m a little biased because I know the back story and actually met her. Whatever. She deserves it.

Best Supporting Actor: They’ve ALL WON BEFORE!
Nominees:

Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)

Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)

Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)

Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)

Alan Arkin does what he always does but his schtick got him an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, so he’s not all bad. However, if anyone in that movie should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, it should have been Bryan Cranston or John Goodman. I doubt the voters will give him an Oscar for doing the same work he’s always done.

Robert DeNiro steps out of his normal tough guy persona and plays a dad who just wants to help his son get back on his feet and delivers one of the best monologues I’ve ever heard. He truly had a “Give my my Oscar” moment. And I hope for his sake, it pays off.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of my favorite actors. We studied at the same school with the same coaches. I love his work. But much like Amy Adams, I don’t really think he’ll win. Not because his acting was terrible, but because I honestly forgot he was nominated.

Tommy Lee Jones…you’ll probably win. If not you, then it’ll be Christoph Waltz.

Again, I’m pulling for Robert De Niro. I really want to see him win.

Now for the toughest categories (in my opinion.)

Best Actress:
Nominees:

Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)

Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)

First off, you have the oldest nominee ever (Emmanuelle Riva) and the youngest nominee ever (Quvenzhane Wallis) in the same category…in the same year… Then, you have nominees who won the Golden Globes in each of the lead actress (Drama & Comedy) categories: Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence. Although it seems like the battle of Jess & Jen, I wouldn’t discount Naomi Watts. She was nominated in 2004 for 21 Grams which is an amazing film. If you haven’t seen it, put it in your Netflix queue. Now. Part of me feels like The Impossible should be subtitled The Impossible: Desperately Seeking Oscar. I felt like the whole film was Naomi Watts screaming for an Oscar. I have to say, this category is anyone’s game.

I voted for Jennifer Lawrence in the SAG awards. I think she might just take home that Oscar.

Best Actor:
Nominees:

Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)

Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)

Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)

Denzel Washington for Flight (2012/I)

Come on, even the nominees know they’re going to lose to Daniel Day-Lewis. But if anyone can beat him, it might be Hugh Jackman or Joaquin Phoenix. But seriously…do I even have to predict it?

Daniel Day -Lewis for the win.

And now for the most snubbed category: Best Director:
Nominees:

Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)

Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)

David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)

Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

I really hope whoever wins this decides to give it away to Ben Affleck. He got robbed. But if anyone were to win over him, I really want it to be David O. Russell. And as a side note, Spielberg…we know, you’re the best. Ben Affleck still deserved your spot.

Finally: Best Picture:
Nominees:

Amour (2012): Margaret Ménégoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Michael Katz

Argo (2012): Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012): Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald

Django Unchained (2012): Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone

Les Misérables (2012): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Life of Pi (2012): Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark

Lincoln (2012): Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy

Silver Linings Playbook (2012): Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon

Zero Dark Thirty (2012): Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

My money is on Argo. It’s an amazing film and if Ben Affleck can’t win an Oscar for directing this fantastic film, he better get one for producing it. Again, this category is filled with amazing films, but honestly…Argo for the win. Maybe Les Misérables if the voters are feeling particularly musical. Who knows?

HAPPY OSCAR WEEKEND!!!!