All posts tagged: Academy Awards

What “Lady Bird” Means to Me

When I finally watched Greta Gerwig’s beautiful Lady Bird, I felt so much and still do. Unlike Lady Bird I have a wonderful mom who’s kind and understanding, I was never ashamed of my socio-economic status, and I wouldn’t lie to a peer about the house I live in or who I’m friends with. But like Lady Bird I wanted to go to college in New York City despite never having been there, felt stifled by the mid-sized city I called home, and was sure that there were bigger and better things out there for me – whatever that actually means. Lady Bird somehow brought me back to my undergraduate years, when I felt like the world was this new and exciting place to explore and express myself within. Since then I’ve grown to be more realistic and a bit cynical, but seeing Lady Bird’s struggle to figure herself out reminded me of a part of myself I had forgotten. While I’m much more sure of myself than I was in college, I missed the hopefulness I found within my confusion. I …

My Ranking of the Best Picture Nominees

Here’s my ranking of this year’s Best Picture nominations – from my least favorite to favorite. 8. American Sniper Beyond the fact that I did not like American Sniper from a social and political standpoint, I also thought it was poorly assembled and lacked substantial character development. It basically felt like 134 minutes of Clint Eastwood shoving his personal opinions on contemporary American war culture down my throat, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. The performances were good, but the lackluster script really didn’t provide the actors with the opportunity to do more than just be good. 7. Boyhood I will admit that Boyhood was a spectacular experiment in filmmaking, but in my opinion, it fell short. Read more about my thoughts on Linklater’s film in ‘Boyhood’: In Defense of my Dissenting Opinion. 6. The Theory of Everything The Theory of Everything provides an intimate look at the relationship between Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Wilde Hawking. It’s a very slick film – with crisp visuals and sensational performances. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Hawking is spectacularly convincing and Felicity Jones’ performance is subtle and honest. Despite …

10 Facts About Stanley Kubrick

In honor of Stanley Kubrick’s birthday on July 26th, here are 10 facts about one of the greatest directors of all time. 1. Stanley Kubrick was born on July 26, 1928 in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. 2. After his second failed marriage he permanently moved to England. 3. Kubrick supposedly refused to talk about his movies on set and never watched them once they were completed. 4. Although he had a pilot’s license, he was known to be extremely afraid of flying. 5. Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey) was the only author that Kubrick had a personal relationship with, despite the fact that most of his films were adaptations. 6. He loved cats – at one point owning 16. 7. He believed that The Godfather was the greatest film ever made. 8. In his 48 year career he made 16 films. 9. He loved Woody Woodpecker so much that he wanted to feature the cartoon in every film he ever made, but Woody Woodpecker’s creator, Walter Lantz, refused. 10. Kubrick was nominated for the Academy Award for Best …

Further Proof That Lupita Nyong’o Is The Coolest Person Ever

When I saw 12 Years a Slave last winter I was immediately mesmerized by Lupita Nyong’o. What a performance! I loved Steve McQueen’s film so much that I saw it in theaters twice, which is a lot for a film that’s so unbelievably horrific and dismal. At both viewings I thought to myself: “who is this woman?”  How can an actor already be iconic after less than one year in the public eye? I’m not sure, but there’s no doubt that she already is. Lupita Nyong’o graced this month’s cover of Vogue and in this video produced by the posh fashion magazine she proves once again that she’s the coolest girl ever.

‘Dallas Buyers Club’ – Matthew McConaughey & Jared Leto Deliver Spectacular Performances

Dallas Buyers Club, written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof, a Texan who begins smuggling prescription drugs into the US when he is diagnosed with HIV and finds that the medication he is receiving is not helping. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as Woodroof, Jared Leto as his saucy business partner Rayon, and Jennifer Garner Dr. Eve Saks, his compassionate doctor. It’s 1985. Ron Woodroof is an electrician and bull rider in Dallas, TX. He’s a homophobe, a drug addict, and a man who’s eager to sleep with any woman who’s willing. After living recklessly for quite some time, Woodroof is diagnosed with HIV and told he only has 30 days to live. Soon he becomes aware of his day to day existence – transforming his intense energy into something positive and powerful. When he discovers that AZT, the first HIV medication approved by the FDA, is actually hurting his body rather than helping, Ron establishes the Dallas Buyers Club, selling memberships in …

Endearing & Entertaining Oscar Acceptance Speeches

With Academy Award nomination announcements less than two months away, and Oscar movie season in full swing, I thought it would be timely to revisit some of the most endearing and entertaining acceptance speeches:   1. Cuba Gooding Jr. (Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire)   2. Sandra Bullock (Best Actress, The Blind Side) (Starts at 8:50)   3. Adrien Brody (Best Actor, The Pianist)    4. Matt Damon & Ben Affleck (Best Original Screenplay, Good Will Hunting)   5. Kate Winslet (Best Actress, The Reader) (Starts at 6:35)   6. John Wayne (Best Actor, True Grit) (Starts at 1:00)   7. Jennifer Hudson (Best Supporting Actress, Dreamgirls) (Starts at 1:35)   8. Three 6 Mafia (Best Original Song, Hustle & Flow) (Starts at 1:00)   9. Dustin Lance Black (Best Original Screenplay, Milk)   10. Halle Berry (Best Actress, Monster’s Ball)   11. Michael Caine (Best Supporting Actor, The Cider House Rules) (Starts at 2:40)   12. Steven Soderbergh (Best Director, Traffic) (Starts at 1:00)   13. Charlize Theron (Best Actress, Monster) (Starts at 1:50)   14.  Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting) (Starts at 1:25)   …

Thoughts on Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’

If you spend any time on the internet (and you obviously do) you’ve probably heard all about Alfonso Cuarón’s visual masterpiece, Gravity. At one point over the weekend ‘Gravity’ was the top trending hashtag on Twitter. It premiered on Friday and earned over 55.5 million in theaters, taking the number one spot at the box office. I opted to see it in XD & 3-D, but if there was an IMAX nearby I would have gone in a heartbeat. After a few days to think about the movie separate from the overwhelmingly positive opinions of others, I’ve determined that Gravity is not a typical film but rather an engrossing visceral experience. Co-written, co-produced, co-edited and directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as Ryan Stone and Matt Kowalski, astronauts who are left drifting in space after a massive accident and must work together in order to survive. In a large, dark, and chilly theater, it’s nearly impossible not to find find yourself completely immersed in the story – free from any ounce …

Women in Film: Costume Designer Colleen Atwood

Colleen Atwood has had a long and exciting career as a costume designer for some of Hollywood’s most beloved films (including, the actual film Beloved). With three Oscar wins and ten nominations, Atwood has established herself as one of the most acclaimed designers in the history of the craft. “Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth-it really does establish who they are.” “As a designer, you have to solve a lot of problems. Even though people are wearing clothes that are supposed to look beautiful, they’ll have to do all kinds of things.” Fun Facts: Colleen Atwood was born in Yakima, Washington in 1948. She studied art at Cornish College of Arts and New York University. Her first movie gig was as a production assistant on the film Ragtime. Her career breakthrough occurred when she met  Tim Burton. She has been involved with over 50 films to date. She was the lead costume designer for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey between 2005 & 2006. She has designed …