Mike and I have been watching movies nominated for Academy Awards this year, and we think some great performances and movies were snubbed this year. When we saw “The Butler” last year, we thought that Oprah and Forest Whitaker would definitely be nominated, but they weren’t. We also thought that Tom Hanks would be nominated for “Captain Phillips” because he makes you care for his character quite a bit. Emma Thompson’s performance in “Saving Mr. Banks” is still one of my favorite performances from last year! Her difficult fussiness challenged some of the sexism of the Disney production teams, and, yet, makes us aware that Disney made people more sensitive to women with some of his films, like Mary Poppins, which talked about the “suffragette” movement! I wish the Academy voters would have nominated “Saving Mr. Banks” instead of “The Wolf of Wall Street!” I have no interest to watch “Wolf” after reading the reviews that said it is a great, sardonic look at American frivolity, and yet, seems like a movie with too much testosterone or masculinity, like some violent action hero movie, where women are just sex objects. That’s also one reason Mike and I didn’t like “American Hustle” too much, because the women are seen as sex objects by some of the characters, especially the Bradley Cooper character. The writing was witty, and the set design for “American Hustle” is stunning, and the costumes, and hair, especially the hair, made me want to get a haircut after viewing the film! I hate when my hair looks bushy like the seventies! I really like “Silver Linings Playbook” much better, because of Jennifer Lawrence’s sweet character, that wouldn’t give up on Bradley Cooper’s character, because she deeply cared for him, despite his obsession for his ex-wife!
Mike and I did enjoy watching “Philomena,” because of the liberal journalist played by Steve Coogan, who was also nominated for his excellent screenplay! Steve Coogan character is just after a juicy story at the beginning of the film, by wanting to expose the cruelty of the Irish Catholic Church, who sold thousands of babies on the “black market,” sometimes without the consent of the mothers. “Philomena” moved us so much because the impact of the era were millions died of AIDS is still so heart-rending, and painfully honest! I couldn’t help and cry for these characters, despite Philomena’s humble choice to continue being a Catholic after all she’s been through, and the conservatism of some of the characters! AIDS still hurts until this day! And because I am living with HIV, and not dying of AIDS because of life-saving medication, makes it all the more poignant! If only some of those very talented people, only lived a little longer, they would have been woken up from the dead like Lazarus with this medication! Philomena was shown at the Vatican, and the real Philomena Lee got to meet the Pope, who personally apologized for the cruelty she lived through because of these cold hearted nuns! I feel better that there is a kinder, gentler Pope in Rome, who cares about the very poor, and the sick(he once kissed the feet of people living with HIV/AIDS!)
“12 Years a Slave” is also an excellent film, and deserved the nine Academy Awards that is was nominated for. Though it might have a difficult time sweeping the Oscars because of the Academy voters might vote for other films. Lupita N’yongo is my choice to win the best supporting actress Oscar this year, because she portrayed the tormented slave very powerfully, and her performance is the most noble, and “serious” of all the other Actors nominated! It’s no wonder that not many movies have been made about the slavery era, but the torture that they lived through is not easy to depict, and watch, and, yet, is so important to remember history. It’s hard to believe that these kinds of atrocities happened, but they did, which makes them even deeper, and more important. I hope one day to come across Solomon Northup’s book titled by the same name, and see what he saw, when he was captured, and forced into slavery! Like Anne Frank, the torturers did not know they are torturing someone smart enough to write his personal history and experience of the times in torment!
British actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, definitely deserves a chance at winning this Oscar for Best Actor! I think they might give it to Matthew McCaughney, for his portrayal, of AIDS stricken straight man in “Dallas Buyers Club.” McCaughney has been winning at other Awards shows, and so has, Jared Leto, who brilliantly plays a transgender person stricken with AIDS in the same film. Mike is not a big fan of McCaughney, but we might see that movie anyway, because we like Jared Leto’s sensitive speech at the Screen Actors Guild Award, where he sensitively acknowledges that AIDS is a terrible disease that nobody deserves to die from( I don’t care how wicked people think of your life!) Leto also thanked all transgender people in the world for their “inspiration!” Michael Fassbender also has a chance for winning an Oscar, because of the chilling way he portrayed the slave driver as a real life “monster.” Academy voters sometimes rewards these “monster” performances, like Christoph Waltz, or Charlize Theron in the movie “Monster,” and Kathy Bates in “Misery!” Rewarding the “monsters” does give me a chill of discomfort though!
Speaking of monster performance, Meryl Streep was so convincing as the verbally abusive Violet Weston in the movie “August: Osage County” that I think that she definitely transformed herself to become this character, which is just plain remarkable! I had to watch her being interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel one night, just to make sure that she is not like Violet Weston at all, no not at all. She is, in fact, very sweet, and loved the Beatles when she was 15, and got to see them at Shea stadium where she held up a sign that said, “I Love You Paul!” Hahahaha! I like Meryl! I hope the Pulitzer Prize winning play and movie doesn’t make us believe that the U.S. is becoming more isolated, less educated and verbally abusive to each other as portrayed in “August!” It is almost frightening, watching Julia Roberts character swear so viciously at her mother! I don’t think I’ve ever seen Julia be vicious in any film! It’s almost campy, but too serious to laugh without a little discomfort.
Mike and I spent the last week watching the trilogy, "Before Sunrise," "Before Sunset," and "Before Midnight," and really enjoyed them. The first of the films(which all star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Celine) is probably my favorite, because the conservations that this couple has seems so real, and terribly romantic, yet realistic as well! The first is set in 1994, and the others were filmed nine years apart each, up to 2013, where the actors are older, wiser, and little more cynical with age! We see the actors age, not always gracefully, but love how their connection is so deep! Mike likes the second one the most, because it filmed in Paris! The scenes in Paris are so lovely, and fluid, and the romance is not on the screen, but in-between the words of their dialogue. The last two were nominated for Oscars for writing, which made me interested in them. Critics praised them, calling them classics in realism and film! The last one, Before Midnight, we rented at the redbox, and it's the hardest to watch, because the couple are going through emotional difficulties, but it still leaves you hopeful that time transcends all the difficulties of age, and people in love still choose to stay together!
Mike and I also got to see “Nebraska,” which is a brilliant, quiet little indie movie that packs a punch! Will Forte’s character, makes you care somewhat for this “senile” old man who is determined that he holds a winning lottery ticket! It’s a great father/son road movie, that makes you laugh, and annoyed with these people at the same time, and feeling that they are somehow terribly real in some parts of the world! I don’t like the fact that the old man uses the word “co—ksucker” because that’s very homophobic! That moment in the film made me slightly uncomfortable! I still cared enough about the son characters to like this film. Speaking of homophobic rants, Alec Baldwin, an actor I detest, made the news once again for calling a photo-journalist a “f—g” and other homophobic names! That is so irresponsible and stupid in my book. Someone on facebook said that being homophobic has nothing with being “phobic” or afraid. Being homophobic means you're being a Gay hating jerk, throwing prejudiced words around mean-spiritedly and hatefully!
I’m happy Bruce Dern and June Squibb were nominated for “Nebraska” a film that reminds me of “Paper Moon” and “Last Picture Show!”
I had trouble watching Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” because Alec Baldwin is in it, who plays a womaniers were filmed nine years apart each, up to 2013, where the actors are older, wiser, and little more cynical with age! We see the actors age, not always gracefully, but love how their connection is so deep! Mike likes the second one the most, because it filmed in Paris! The scenes in Paris are so lovely, and fluid, and the romance is not on the screen, but inbetween the words of their dialogue. The last two were nominated for Oscars for writing, which made me interested in them. Critics praised them, calling them classics in realism and film! The last one, Before Midnight, we rented at the redbox, and it's the hardest to watch, because the couple are going through emotional difficulties, but it still leaves you hopeful that time transcends all the difficulties of age, and people in love still choose to stay together!zing pig in it too! Woody Allen has been in the news lately because Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow continues to confront the public with allegations that Woody molested her as a child! Very disgraceful, and disgusting to think about, and I’m afraid there is a element of truth in it! Yet, we know that Allen is not a serial sex offender, otherwise he would be in jail right now! Dylan just wants to tell her story, and Allen deeply denies the allegations, despite the fact that he married one of Mia Farrow’s adopted daughters, which lends credibility to Dylan Farrow’s story. It’s been so long ago that it’s past the “statute of limitations” so it won’t go to trial, even though both Allen and Farrow deserve a fair trial!
Woody Allen’s films about complicated relationships, are still so interesting to watch, that I’m thinking this scandal has left him and the Farrow family with a deep sense of disgust!
Cate Blanchett has a good chance of winning an Oscar for “Blue Jasmine,” which is still a powerful performance, about a woman whose life unravels into homelessness and mental illness, because of her husband’s scandal. How true this sounds to Woody’s life, and his terribly interesting homage to “A Streetcar Named Desire” is still very interesting to watch. One critic says, you don’t know if you want to cry for Cate Blanchett’s character or tell her to snap out of it!
Mike and I are still yet to watch “Her” and “Gravity.” We definitely want to see "her," because critics praised Phoenix’s performance, an actor I like because he was born on Puerto Rico! We also want to see “Invisible Woman” because I am a big fan of the Charles Dickens novels and stories! I also want to see Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. I think U2 might win an Oscar for their song "Ordinary Love," a song I like and have been listening too, while shaving! They won a Golden Globe for it too! What happened to Coldplay's song "Atlas" which was snubbed! The Academy actually revoked a song for the film "Alone Yet Not Alone" because the songwriter, who was once a member of the Academy, wrote to Academy members telling them to support the song, which is favoritism!
Some great films only got minor nominations, like Saving Mr. Banks and The Book Thief, which have both been nominated for Best Original Score! John Williams has been nominated so many times, 49 I’m pretty sure, that only Walt Disney has more nominations in history than him! Mike and I were lucky enough to hear and see John Williams conduct music he wrote for the movies at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! And I was deeply moved by all the beautiful music he wrote, and excited too! E.T. is still my favorite John Williams score, and he conducted some of that score at the CSO to my delight. Mike loved it too!
Thanks for reading my blog, and see you at the movies, like Roger Ebert once inscribed in a signed book for me!