#SAGAwards TONIGHT at 8:00. How I Voted

Here is the complete list of nominees, followed by who I voted for. 

MOVIES

Performance by a cast in a motion picture

“Birdman”

“Boyhood” — I wasn’t too crazy about the actual story, go figure, but I was impressed that the core group of actors made up of Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater came together for 12 years and kept the dynamic together. However, I probably would have voted for Birdman, but let’s face it, it’s really Michael Keaton’s movie.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

Performance by a male actor in a leading role

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”— This was a difficult one, but I truly believe that this is Michael Keaton’s best performance. It’s his comeback year.
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”

Performance by a female actor in a leading role

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” — I have never been more torn about who to vote for in this category. While I thought the other nominees performances were amazing, the minute I saw Julianne Moore’s portrayal of Alice, I made up my mind I was  astounded, and I have never been more impacted by a film in my life.
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”

Continue reading “#SAGAwards TONIGHT at 8:00. How I Voted”

#StillAlice with @_juliannemoore: Heartbreaking, Emotional, & More Than #Alzheimers

There are moments, as someone in the arts, in a creative field, where something like a movie becomes more than just your everyday movie, it’s an experience. Last night, I was fortunate enough to attend a screening for the SAG Awards of Julianne Moore’s new movie, Still Alice which was followed up by a Q&A with the star herself. At first, I was excited because I got to see a movie before its premiere (actually, on the same night, but I’ll explain that in a minute.) Then, I became really overwhelmed by the fact that one of my favorite actresses of all time was actually going to be there. Finally, after viewing the movie, I became thankful because of its ultimate and permanent existence in our culture.

When I was 14, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My family and I would take care of him during his final year of life, but it was difficult and extremely painful to watch such a vibrant, intelligent man slip away mentally. Granted, unlike Moore character of Alice (who has just turned 50 in the film) my grandfather was 80 years old. I remember having to remind my grandfather where he was, who people were, and so on. He even “ran away” one time because my family had taken his car away from him. Therefore, the only way for him to get anywhere was to walk. My mother found him on a sidewalk not far from our house. He had fallen, and slit his lip open quite badly. When he was asked what he was doing, he said he was going to Sunday Mass–it was a Thursday afternoon. My grandfather, like the millions of people dealing with this disease, had his good days and bad days. It was wonderful when he remembered things, but absolutely heartbreaking when he didn’t even remember my father, his own son. My grandfather would often mistakenly refer to my father as Walter. Walter was my grandfather’s brother. Despite the devastating affect it had on our family, looking back on it, that year really helped shape how I view people suffering from illnesses of the mind.

Dealing with the disease, whether it is Early-Onset, or in old age, challenges everyone connected with it. For the person who has it, life is difficult, but it’s also quite an uphill battle for family and friends as well. The film, based on the 2007 novel by Lisa Genova, rounds out its supporting cast with Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish playing Alice’s devoted and emotionally fragile family.

The film unearthed memories I hadn’t thought about in years, and it broke my heart at points because I remember witnessing conversations that were very similar to those in the movie. What was even more tragic, was that this character was so young and dealing with this horrible disease.After the film ended, everyone was silent. You could hear people crying, and it was amazing to watch it with a group of people who were so deeply effected by the experience of the film, myself included. I don’t really think I can put into words just how important this film is. It’s not just about Julianne Moore’s performance, but reality of the film.

 

On a side note, Julianne Moore had come from the New York premiere of Still Alice and was dressed quite formally. The funny thing was, she acknowledged that fact and laughed it off. She was absolutely wonderful and enjoyed our feedback and support of the film. She’s awesome.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease: http://www.alzfdn.org/

Born to Be #Wild: Reese Witherspoon Delivers Her Most Solid Performance To Date

wildreese
Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed in “Wild”

As a member of SAG-AFTRA, one of its perks, turns out to be one of the most difficult responsibilities–voting for the SAG Awards.  This year offers many stellar performances. It also seems to be the year where some of the female leads go makeup-free with Jennifer Aniston in Cake and Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Yet, it’s more than just the lack of makeup which makes Witherspoon’s performance her best in years. It’s the fact that she was able to truly immerse herself in author/hiker Cheryl Strayed’s life that makes it impressive. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for playing another true character, June Carter Cash. To be honest, I would not be surprised if she takes home another statuette for her work on Wild due to the fact that she gives a much better performance than she did in Walk the Line.

Cheryl Strayed’s life is a complex one. Not only was she dealing with a broken marriage, drug problem, and death of her mother to cancer, but she managed to do  a 1100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 after all of those things happened. So, it seems like one challenge begets another. The movie makes use of present-day (1995) events and various flashbacks throughout Cheryl’s upbringing by a single-mother (played by Laura Dern). The thing that makes Witherspoon so good in this is that she seems to be more vulnerable than she has been in past films. She gives an emotional depth to Cheryl as she portrays her from her early to late twenties. Her vocal quality is also different from her previous work as well. She said in an interview that she has “no funny voices or accents” in Wild. It serves her and the movie well. We truly see what Reese Witherspoon is capable of as a performer. The role was both physically (she carries Cheryl’s 65 pound backpack nicknamed “Monster” throughout) and emotionally demanding and she weaves everything together in this dynamic role.


Here’s a fun fact, Cheryl Strayed’s daughter, Bobbi Strayed Lindstrom plays Young Cheryl in the movie.

Wild is currently in theaters.