Saturday, February 28, 2015

OSCAR WATCH: The Fashion

Yes, the post is overdue and also completely vacuous.

But I do love great art and fashion can be great art.

To be honest all these white or cream or blush dresses are boring, I love a bit of colour and flair or something that stands out from the rest.

So these were the best of the boring.


Julianne and Reese in similar styles, though the later was actually pale blue.


Silver blue for Felicity and metallic silver for Laura.

Marion in Dior, loved the front, unsure about the back.


Lupito looked amazing as always, and Patricia divine.

And then there are the best dressed:

Emma Stone rarely gets it wrong, a true movie star. The perfect colour against her translucent skin tones and glorious red hair. 

Thank goodness for Scarlett Johansson, love the colour, the dress is perfect, and that necklace is absolutely awesome. Very modern and chic.

And this is why Cate Blanchett is a style icon, simple black, perfectly fitted dress and turquoise statement piece necklace, luminescent and a star.

And then there's Meryl

I love her style, it's in a class of her own, a go fuck off attitude that says I will wear what I like and feel comfortable in. She always looks great.

And this is my wild card pick:

The lovely lady on the left, wearing the pom pom wrap! 
Oh I love her roaring twenties style.
They won for best documentary short.
And she spoke about suicide.
Stunning all round.

And the men don't get enough attention:


Both Matthew and Ethan look cool, and their wives also should make the best dressed lists for some classic fashion.

Is it just me or does Steve Carell get better and better with age?
 I think the beard and glasses help. I'm a fan so I guess I'm biased. But really it's that smile and face loving the hell out of his wife, Nancy, that wins me over.


Jared and JK, both Oscar winners, having the time of their lives and looking sharp, each in their own way.


The 'couple' having the most fun of the night go to Jeff and Adrian.
Also the most swoon-worthy, hmm-mmm.
Never really been a fan of the white tux, but they are working it!


And no Oscars would be complete with out Benedict!!!

And so my annual Oscar Watch wraps up for 2015.
Enjoy the movies and see you next year!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

OSCAR WATCH 2015: the show

Well, it's over for another year.

It seemed to get off to a flying start and move swiftly, until that last third where it dragged.

The opening number

As predicted Neil Patrick Harris gave a showstopping opening, with a lovely turn from Anna Kendrick, and an awe inspiring scene-stealer from Jack Fucking Black! I was immediately impressed, he razzle dazzled, and gave a heartfelt tribute to the movies, lots of meta references and great tunes, including storm-trooper backing dancers! I mean, what's not to love.

However, that was the best of it, he was reduced to snippy, unfunny 'bits' that fell short at almost every turn. He also seemed unnecessarily including black people - I guess as a make up for it being a very white year. It was obvious, tacky, not at all funny, and wore thing with the targets. Especially Oprah...she did not look amused!!

The Speeches - moments to remember

For me, the moments came from the speeches, and how glorious some of them were.

The young man who won Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, talking about his attempted suicide at 16 because he thought he was weird and alone.

The songwriters for Glory from Selma, empowering fellow African-Americans.

Julianne Moore, eloquent and deserved, Eddie Redmayne, joyously geeky.

J.K. Simmons pleading with children to call their parents.

And Patricia Arquette, wow, she had Meryl Streep jumping up and whooping and pointing her finger in the air. This was THE moment of the Oscars, anyone who knows Patty or indeed any of the Arquettes, know they are a passionate family, and her speech on women's rights was spot on, and sadly necessary.

The creepy and the weird

Then there was the creepy and weird.

Everything is not fucking awesome, I loathe that stupid 'song', so that was definitely not a highlight for me...urgh!

John Travolta, just when you think he couldn't be more weird than last year, he manhandles Idina's face in the most creepiest way...double urgh.

And having someone as classy as Marion Cottilard present the Everything is, no, that is NOT awesome, eleventy billion urghs!!

The classy

Some classy moments were Shirley MacLaine, always great to see. Meryl introducing the In Memoriam section with the most heartfelt speech, which included a quote from one of my favourite authors, Joan Didion. And you just know Meryl wrote that herself!

The predictions

So how did I go with my predictions?

Early on when I was 10 for 10, I knew it wouldn't last.

I fell over in both animation categories - no surprises there, so not my area of expertise! When Film Editing went to Whiplash (quite deserved) and not my prediction of Boyhood, I knew sentimentality had gotten the better of me and I would not do so well.

I didn't get both screenplays, which I am a bit mortified about, when Birdman won Original, I knew the jig was up and Boyhood had no chance of Best Picture. Imitation Game was a pleasant surprise for Adapted.

And of course Birdman swooped Director and Best Film.

So 7 wrong, and 17 correct, not bad, but not great!

The unexpected moment of extreme joy and perfection

This final bit is the reason I simply love The Oscars. Every year I hope for something that surprises me, blows me away, and somehow transcends the way I feel about film. You don't always get it, and that is disappointing. Sometimes it's a small moment, sometimes it's big...

And sometimes it's HUGE, and this year it was!

Lady Gaga and The Sound of Music. I knew Gaga was doing something but not heard what, had I heard this prior I probably would have been excited and possibly let done. Whilst not a fan of Gaga - I can take or leave her - I DO know she can really sing, and I think that is what disappoints me about her. Having such a gift and not using it. 

Her medley of Sound of the Music songs were stunning, operatic, and jaw dropping. It brought me to my knees. I have heard some poo-pooing of it already - there is always someone - and yes she's no Julie Andrews, cause NO-ONE is Julie Andrews, but by god she was good, really, really good! I saw snippets of Streisand in the performance, it was simply my show stopper of the evening.

And then, Julie Andrews herself came out, quite visibly moved and excited, and probably a little bit jealous, not being able to sing anymore. It was a bittersweet moment to watch.

And that is why I love The Oscars, those little transient moments of joy make me smile and make me love the fact we celebrate one of my favourite things, movies.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

OSCAR WATCH 2015: the predictions

Well, Oscars 2015 is just around the corner and another year of amazing movies.
I have managed to see many of the nominated films this year and I loved a whole bunch of them, which makes these predictions a little harder to write.
You can read reviews of them as follows:
So for those new to the party, I do love Oscar time, as a film buff, how can you not?
I also enjoy a spectacle and will blog all about that after the event.
Each year I try and predict who will win and add my own personal thoughts on who I think should win - quite often two very different things.

(Search Oscars on my blog for previous posts thoughts etc.)
So let's get cracking!!
NB/ I won't predict who I think should win if I have not seen enough films, or have enough information. I always try and predict who will win, cause that's fun!!

Best Picture
Never has the race for Best Picture been so difficult to predict. All the usual sources I read are resorting to flipping coins or just not calling it. I've seen 6 of the nominees and loved every single one of them and all deserve to win. I didn't watch American Sniper as it just didn't sing to me and Selma as I ran out of time. I doubt either stand a chance. 

The race is between Birdman and Boyhood, two of my perfect movies this year. (I also thought Grand Budapest Hotel was perfect, but it won't get up) I loved both of them but would place Boyhood ahead of Birdman, but who will actually win? You know what I have NO IDEA! It looks likely to be Birdman if you go by who is winning awards in over ceremonies, but Boyhood could still get up being a sentimental favourite.
Who will win: Boyhood
Who should win: Boyhood - because it's magnificent, genius, a supreme masterpiece, so clever, so beautiful, so heartwarming, and I haven't stopped thinking about since I saw it last June!
Best Director
There has been much talk of a split this year, Boyhood winning Best Picture and Inarritu winning Director or vice versa. I don't know. Both used unusual ways to direct their film and get their message across, both outstandingly so. So again this is a hard one to call, but I just can't see how the academy can go past the dedication and vision that was Boyhood. 12 years in the filming, things could have gone horribly wrong, but they didn't, they went so very right you cannot find fault anywhere. Linklater it is.
Who will win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Who should win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood - because what a vision, what commitment, what supreme storytelling, nuanced and clever and stunnning!
Best Actress
I have seen 4 of the 5 performances. Yet to see Marion Cotillard and to be honest I suspect she is the one who should win. Based on everything I have seen her in, she is just one of those superb actresses who transforms herself with every role. France's Meryl Streep if you will. She won't win because of that reason, she is foreign and has already won. 

The academy usually rewards young, white ladies in this role, which is a bit perverse, unless they were good, which they usually are. I don't rate Pike as she was in a movie I wouldn't call Oscar worthy, a shlockbuster...le horreur! Jones was great in the supportive wife role. 

It is down to Moore and Witherspoon, the later giving the better and more worthy performance, but again, she has recently won. Moore should have won on more than one occasion in the past, probably for Boogie Nights and Far From Heaven, and whilst this is a great performance, she has acted far, far better. She will undoubtedly win and this pleases me, because even in a bad film Moore is almost always brilliant, she deserves an Oscar, but just not for this performance.
Who will win: Julianne Moore
Who should win: Reese Witherspoon - and I cannot believe I am saying it, as I am sooo not a fan, but her performance in Wild was outstanding. I also think Moore should win, because of the unfairness of her missing out so many times before!
Best Actor
Again 4 out of 5, not seen Cooper. I think all four performances are outstanding. Carell's chilling performance and physical transformation was superb, Cumberbatch's heart wrenching turn also great. But it comes down to Redmayne and Keaton, and I loved both performances and films so very much. Redmayne will inch out Keaton I think, but what a buzz if the later does win!
Who will win: Eddie Redmayne - heartbreakingly unrecognisable as Stephen Hawking, you almost forgot it was a movie
Who should win: Michael Keaton - performance of a lifetime, he went out on a limb, and was funny and poignant and amazing
Best Supporting Actress
I've seen all performances and they were all great. Keira Knightley, who I usually detest, was great. Emma Stone, who I've always loved, very good in a gritty role. Streep was Streep in Into the Woods, which means perfect! And Laura Dern shone as usual in a stunning turn. She is also deserving of this award. 

But it will be Patricia Arquette all the way, the glue that held Boyhood together. For that final scene alone, but for her bravery and brilliance the entire way through. This one is a no-brainer...I'm tearing up as I type, that's how affected I was by her performance!
Who will win: Patricia Arquette
Who should win: Patricia Arquette
Best Supporting Actor
I've seen all bar Duvell in The Judge. Norton, Hawke, and Ruffalo were all outstanding which makes it hard to choose. Especially Ruffalo. But along came J.K. Simmons and blew them all out the water. His role in Whiplash is fierce and career defining. Best Supporting Actor has had a few upsets in the past, but I think Simmons is safe.
Who will win: J.K. Simmons
Who should win: J.K. Simmons
The cinematraphy was outstanding in Birdman, those long shots, that claustrophobic feel.
Who will win: Birdman
Who should win:  Birdman
Film Editing
12 years of film to edit together to give a seamless feel, it has to be Boyhood
Who will win: Boyhood
Who should win: Boyhood
Adapted Screenplay
There is a lot of talk about Anderson's Inherent Vice, but hard for me to say without seeing the film. Whiplash was an outstanding, tight story and many of my sources believe it will get up.
Who will win: Whiplash
Who should win: Whiplash
Original Screenplay
It does not get more original than Grand Budapest Hotel, a film I just adore. Wes Anderson is king for originality, oh what a mind, what a vision, surely there is no contender here?
Who will win: Grand Budapest Hotel
Who should win: Grand Budapest Hotel
Animated Feature
I'm not one for animation, with the odd exception. So I have no clue nor have I seen any of the nominated films. I thought Boxtrolls sounded good, but my sources say Dragon!
Who will win: How to train your Dragon 2
Foreign Language Film
As a foreign film lover it hurts me to say I have no clue this year, I've seen none of the films and only heard good things about Ida and Leviathan with it going either way. I'm going with Ida
Who will win: Ida
Documentary Feature
I've only seen one of the films, Finding Vivian Maier and loved it. I've read a lot about the other four, I think CitizenFour will come out trumps.
Who will win: CitizenFour
Who should win: Finding Vivian Maier
Documentary Short
Haven't had a chance to seek out any of the shorts this year, so going on my readings.
Who will win: Crisis hotline: Veterans Press 1
Live Action Short
The one with Sally Hawkins sounds very good.
Who will win: The Phone Call
Animated Short Film
Again, from my readings!
Who will Win: The Dam Keeper
Original Score
Some great scores here but I really loved the music in Grand Budapest Hotel.
Who will win: Grand Budapest Hotel
Who should win: Grand Budapest Hotel
Original Song
Why does it have to be original? Placement of music can make or break a film and most of my favourite musical moments in film include a non-original song. I should be on the Academy!!!! Anyways, it appears the song from Selma has resounded with a lot of people. As long as that fuck-awful song, Everything is Awesome doesn't win I am ok. I haven't heard the Glen Campbell song, but reckon it should win...cause Glen Campbell!!!
Who will win: Glory from Selma
Who should win:  I'm not gonna miss you from Glen Campbell...I'll be me
Visual Effects
Interstellar hands down, stunning! Although those apes riding horses in Dawn of the planet of the apes did look pretty real.
Who will win: Interstellar
Who should win: Interstellar
Sound Editing
Always difficult, usually a war film or a space film. I am thinking American Sniper will edge Interstellar out
Who will win: American Sniper
Sound Mixing
Usually goes with who wins Sound Editing, unless there is a music film, and it almost always goes to that. And with Whiplash having such amazing musical sequences, the stops and starts, it has to go to there.
Who will win: Whiplash
Who should win: Whiplash
Production Design/Costume Design/Makeup and Hairstyling
I believe all of these will go to Grand Budapest Hotel. Wes Anderson's films are always highly stylised but Grand Budapest Hotel made it look like he didn't even try on previous films, that's how good this one was. Superb, such attention to detail. It had to win all three, hands down!
Who will win: Grand Budapest Hotel

Who should win: Grand Budapest Hotel

But really we know the winner will be Neil Patrick Harris, the most anticipated Oscar host in a long, long while. I predict he will be fabulous with a touch fo razzle dazzle, and will host for years to come and be the next Billy Crystal, who was of course the next Bob Hope :)

I look forward to a lovely day sipping champagne, nibbling on goodies and being delighted by spectacles and speeches.

Who do YOU think will or should win???

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


The year started beautifully, waking up at my friend J's place and a fab New Years Breakfast at Darby Street, Zinc. We'd had a great night out with L at the pop-up Hendricks bar at The Landing. So I am hopeful the year will continue as well as it started.

The Library was also closed an extended period over Christmas and New Year which meant a lovely break.
L & I hit The Regal on a hot Friday night to see The Big Lebowski, complete with bowling alley, Creedance, Hotdogs and beer, this was an excellent night out. The Dude Abides.

C & I had a day of art in Newcastle, which began with a delicious brunch at Cazador, the movie Mr Turner (with Timothy Spall as the great but tortured artist, beautifully directed by Mike Leigh with each frame a painting within the movie and outstanding acting). After a splurge at Coco Mondo for afternoon tea we spent time at Newcastle Art Gallery fascinated by the wonderful Patricia Piccinini exhibition.

The family got together for a New Years BBQ prior to me heading back to work fresh and relaxed. Which was a good thing as that first day (and indeed that week) was absolutely insane.

A, L & I caught up with S at Five Sawyers. Was a lovely evening of food, beer, and chatter. A relaxed atmosphere at the bar but no air conditioning on a hot night made for a very hot and icky feeling throughout the evening.

I took myself to see The Imitation Game on a Friday afternoon off work. You can read about it here in one of my many Oscar Watch blogs.

I also saw St Vincent with Bill Murray in the title role. I headed in one Sunday when I was feeling a bit low, Bill will cheer me up I thought to myself. It was a rainy day, but I couldn't find a park anywhere near the cinema, ran in the rain all the way there, and due to the time wasted finding a park, only had a short period of time to shove back something quickly at Soul Food Cafe. Always a delight there, pity I had to rush the meal. The film itself was brilliant and well worth seeing, however it was more a drama than a comedy and a very intense one at that. The cast was sensational, the story amazing, but boy, don't go and see it if you need cheering up, I bawled the whole way through.

J & I saw the mighty Steve Smyth at The Stag and Hunter. This was our second viewing and he was even better than the first time. I was also impressed with The Stag, turning itself into a great little live music venue!! Hurrah!!!

We held our first Movie Night at work mid Jan on a hot Friday night, well attended, it was lovely to hear everyone enjoying The Castle.

I had a volunteer gig at The Regal during the month and even learned some of the tricks behind their famous choc tops! After the session I watched the intense Whiplash.

C & I had an amazing art adventure in Sydney, seeing the brilliant Chuck Close exhibit at the MCA and the Pop to Popism at the NSW Art Gallery. We had brunch at Circular Quay, lunch at the most lovely cafe in Myers of all places and dinner at The Sydney Festival. Add in a bit of shopping, and a visit to Kinokuniya Books, a very excellent day was had. You can read about the art here.

Another family BBQ the following day, and then C & I headed in to see Birdman, followed by an early dinner at The Hood. Yummy hamburgers, chips and shakes enjoyed with a cool jukebox blasting in the background. We cooled off with a swim at The Ocean Baths.

The following weekend J & I went to my local for Chinese, Peacock Palace - always a great meal, and then saw Wild.

The busy and amazing month ended seeing my hero, Neil Gaiman at City Recital Hall in Sydney, and you can read about the experience here.

What an amazing month, January is always full on fun things to do and you feel - despite working very hard - a bit like you are still on holidays.

I feel this was a great start to my year, so hopefully more of the same as the months go on.

As always here are some random photos.