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Monday, February 28, 2011

If they were still alive today...and 2011 was a leap year....

....but it's not...tomorrow would be February 29th and it would be the birthday of the following notables.  I guess that would be both good and bad, being born on "Leap Year" day...does that mean you can divide your age by 4?  You only get a birthday every four years, so it makes sense to me...thus, I've adjusted the ages accordingly:


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Great operatic composer Gioacchino Rossini was born in Pesaro, Italy in 1792. He would be 54 3/4.  Atleast one of his operas, The Barber of Seville, could be called a "comic masterpiece".  His William Tell Overture is known to anyone who remembers The Lone Ranger ("Ba-da-bum, ba-da-bum, ba-da-bum-Bum-BUM...").  It's sort of considered "camp" now, as it's been so overused, but give it a fresh listen--pretend that it's for the first time.  It really is a pretty thrilling piece of music.  Here's the finale:



 
Singer/TV hostess Dinah Shore was born in Winchester, Tenessee in 1916.  She'd be 23 3/4  today.7792fd83.jpg Jimmy Dorsey
Great bandleader/clarinetist/saxophonist/composer Jimmy Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania in 1904, and would be 26 3/4 today. One of the famed "Dorsey Brothers" (with younger brother, Tommy).  Unfortunately, most of the time, they hated each other and their relationship was very volatile.  Here's Jimmy and his orchestra accompanying Ginger Rogers, performing the great Irving Berlin tune, "Let Yourself Go" (no, this song is NOT about Charlie Sheen!):





Legendary Hollywood film director William "Wild Bill" Wellman was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1896, and would be 29. He directed many films now considered classics:  A Star Is Born (the first one), The Public Enemy, Nothing Sacred and Wings, the first "Best Picture" Academy Award winner.  He wasn't exactly beloved by his actors, who (rumor had it) were "bullied" into giving their memorable performances.  Hey....whatever it takes...

Jane Russell: 1921-2011

Jane Russell



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Sad news to report:  Movie bombshell of the 1940's and 50's, Jane Russell, passed away today at her home in Santa Maria, California.  She would have turned 90 in June.
One of the last living major sex symbols of that era, Jane Russell simply radiated sex.  Everything about her was on a grand scale--most notably, her ample bosom (reportedly, in her prime, her measurements were 39D-24-36).  Howard Hughes "discovered" her in 1943, starring her in his torrid big-screen Western, The Outlaw--which was "condemned" by the Legion of Decency for its graphic depiction of lust and sex in the old West. 


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Hughes even took it upon himself to design a cantilevered brassiere just for her.  In truth, the ads and posters for the film were much more lurid than the film actually was (and the film is pretty terrible, too).  Russell was seen everywhere, languidly sprawled across a pile of hay, her poitrine in full display.  Playwright George S. Kaufman uttered one of the greatest puns in Hollywood history, in regard to Hughes's huge press buildup for The Outlaw, quipping, "They ought to call it A Sale of Two Titties!".

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But Russell overcame her "sex bomb" image and actually became an excellent actress, as well as comedienne, singer and dancer.  Her greatest film is undoubtedly Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, where she more than held her own alongside Marilyn Monroe.  They played off each other beautifully (and were close friends off-screen as well).

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And, boy, she was gorgeous!  But she never took herself too seriously, and always came across as a "good time gal"...sort of a really va-va-voom "one-of-the-guys" type of dame.  Perhaps that was her greatest appeal.  It's sad to see her go...caf5ba83.jpg

The 2011 Oscars: WHAT A DRAG!!

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Well, here's an overview of last night's Oscars...and if you missed them, the above photo encapsulates all the the cleverness and wit of the evening in one snap.  Overall, it was the most uninspiring, boring and just plain DULL awards proceedings I've ever sat through.  They went for the "more appealing, younger demographics" by hiring James Franco and Anne Hathawy to host the proceedings--and what did they end up with?  Amateur night at the karaoke joint around the corner.  Exactly WHY Franco appeared in drag, trying to emulate Marilyn Monroe, is anyone's guess.  There was no explanation, except for a muttered "Anne got to wear a tuxedo, so I got to wear this" gagline.  If writer Bruce Vilanch was behind this, he needs to turn in his gay credentials STAT, as this sorta shtick went out around 1974.  The writers altogether might want to look into some kind of Witness Protection Program and get outta town.  The saddest part of the evening, ironically, came with the appearance of former Oscar host, Billy Crystal, who clearly SHOULD HAVE been the host still....and why isn't he, is the big question of the night.  Between his genial bonhomie and his introduction of some classic filmed appearances of Bob Hope hosting the Oscars in the 1950's, it held a mirror up to the two jokers the Academy had on hand to host last night's show.  It was a bad call on their part to expose their hapless hosts to such a harsh comparative light. 
James Franco in tights
Anne Hathaway & James Franco:  Really Lame Duck
As for the rest of the night, it went smoothly enough...in fact, too smoothly, if that's possible.  No surprises, nothing "off the cuff" or unusual.  No drunks, no hookers posing on the red carpet...none of that fun stuff.  It's as if the Oscars have been boiled down to a distilled, insipid broth that tries to be palatable to many, but ends up appealing to very few.  Atleast they had the good sense to get rid of the elaborately staged musical numbers of the nominated songs (like the year Savion Glover did a tap dance to the dirge from Saving Private Ryan...now THAT was memorable!  And not in a good way).  This year, they gave us montages, with about a 1-minute sampling of the tunes in question.  And what the hell:  They ended up giving the award to the puerile Randy Newman...AGAIN....so what does it matter (Again:  Academy, you must eliminate this category!)?  He's like their default "vote for" guy, when ALL the competition is lousy.
Winner: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth (Photo: Reuters)  Winners: Christian Bale, Natalie Portman, Melissa Leo and Colin Firth (Photo: Reuters)
No surprises, thankfully, in  the Best Film and Best Actor categories (The King's Speech and Colin Firth).  Deservedly, they went home with the lion's share this year.  The Social Network certainly slid into a very distant "also-ran" position.  And certainly Natalie Portman's and Melissa Leo's performances were shoo-ins from the get-go.

Which brings me to Miss Leo.  For whatever reason, she chose this night to drop the "F-bomb" in the midst of her "thank you" speech.  And then, in some of the worst acting of the year, pretended as if it had just "slipped out" and she was just appalled by her own shocking behavior.  She even went backstage and started her "apology tour".  Give us a break.  If you want to be low-class and make this your forum for showing your crassness, that's your choice.  But don't insult the audience by pretending it was just a little "slip of the tongue".  We're not that stupid, and you're insulting us.
Melissa Leo say F word
A slip of the tongue?  Yeah, RIGHT!  A tacky display of bad manners, perhaps....

And Christian Bale beat out sentimental favorite Geoffrey Rush.  Not a surprise, really, as he's been front-runner all along, for a truly startling performance.  But I hold grudges...and I haven't been able to look at him in the same light since those recordings of him from a few years ago,  absolutely ripping to shreds some poor film crew member over something trivial---a poor guy who was surely in no position to fight back against Mr. Hollywood Star.  It was Hollywood-infantile at its all-time worst. Hence, I'm not particularly happy for this jackass. Care to refresh yourself?  Here it is again.


So, in any case, I'm happy that several of you joined me during the telecast last night, and I look forward to future live blog-casts.  And as I said earlier:  If you missed it, well....you picked a good year to do so!  And the chances that we'll be seeing FrancoWay as the hosts again next year are about as likely as Melissa Leo being allowed on the air again without a 4-second delay.....as the Magic 8-Ball would say, "OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD"!

If they were still alive today...




Perhaps the first American-born opera star, Geraldine Farrar would be 129.  She was noted not only for her beautiful voice, but for her great physical beauty as well.  She had something of a "cult" of followers, young women who followed her around as she toured, called "The Gerry-Flappers" (below).  Farrar was also a major silent film star as well.
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Here she is , singing the "love duet" from Puccini's La Boheme with Enrico Caruso, 99 years ago.  For some reason, this recording was never publicly released:



Husband of Judy Garland, father of Liza, and director of some of the greatest Hollywood musicals in history (Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, Gigi)Vincente Minnelli would be 108.
Once called "The Shakespeare of Hollywood," Academy Award-winning screenwriter/playwright Ben Hecht would be 118.
Benjamin Bugsy Siegel
Benjamin Bugsy Siegel3
Jewish gangster, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel would be 105.  He was pivotal in the development of Las Vegas, Nevada and was a major player in the Genovese crime family.  He was portrayed by Warren Beatty in the 1991 film, Bugsy.  And he was one snazzy dresser!









cbc90b71.jpg Stanley Baker
Welsh film actor Stanley Baker would be 83.  He's most noted for having turned down the role of "James Bond" in the original Bond picture, Dr. No (which of course went to Sean Connery).  He said he didn't want to commit to a three-picture contract.  Oops.












Stage and screen comic actor Zero Mostel would be 96.  He was yet another performer who was "banned" from the screen in the 1950's, due to the McCarthy blacklist in Hollywood.









One of the original founding members of The Rolling Stones, Brian Jones would be 68, had he not drowned in his own swimming pool while under the influence of drugs at the age of 27.  Not to be unkind, but that is one hell of a face he had there!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

LIVE-BLOGGING THE 2011 OSCARS!!



6:30PM EST:  Well, the big day has arrived....Hollywood is all a-shiver...not only with anticipation, but because they're freezing their sequins off.  It's an uncharacteristic "cold wave" (by Southern California standards) and is only in the mid-50's today.  Time to pull out the furs, ladies! (it always cracked me up when I lived there, seeing women in fur coats...I mean HOW many days out of the year do you really need fur?).  If you'd like to follow along with me as the Oscars progress, just keep going to "View" and then "Refresh" which will update the page.  I also welcome your comments in the "Comments" section below.  Now, let's get ready for some of the early arrivals on the red carpet!

Good God...the first arrival they've interviewed:  RUSSELL BRAND.  It does not bode well to be a very glamourous night.  He seriously scares me....profoundly.

6:35:  Adorable Hailee Steinfeld of True Grit has arrived.  She's up for Best Supporting Actress.  Wearing a pink, age-appropriate princess gown and looks very sweet.  Would be nice to see her win, but Melissa Leo's got a lock on this category.  By the way, the only "scandal" so far tonight is the fact that last year's winner in this category, M'OniQue (or however her name is spelled) refused to return to give the Best Supporting Actor award, as is customary of the previous year's Best Supporting Actress.  Diva antics?  Too big for her very big britches?  Let's see if we can find out..

6:44:  Mila Kunis of The Black Swan.  She's pretty, but somehow looks like she needs a bath or something...

The front-runner, with 12 nominations, is The King's Speech...a film I'm very partial to.  I thought it just hit the nail on the head all-around.  True Grit is second with 10 nominations and The Social Network with 8.

One of the "surprises" of the night is an expected appearance by former Oscar host, Billy Crystal...that should be entertaining.

7:00PM:  Okay...now is the "official" red carpet arrivals show.  Hosted by Robin Roberts of Good Morning America and Tim Gunn of Project Runway.

7:07:  Jesse Eisenberg, all dressed up.  He was good in The Social Network...but when I found out his sister is HAILIE Eisenberg---that horrifying child actress of the 90's, he somehow slipped down a few pegs in my book....unfair?  Perhaps...

Why are they showing that embarassingly over-the-top Cuba Gooding Jr. acceptance speech?  I just wanted someone to get the hook and get him OUT of there!  "I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!"  Alright, already...

7:12:  Amy Adams of The Fighter arrived in a va-va-voom blue sequined number, looking gorgeous.  Me like.

7:16:  GAACKK!  Russell Brand is back!  Uh, Mr. Brand, could you kindly take your seat now??

7:18:  Melissa Leo, smartly avoiding the sleeveless look...and looking pretty in a long, spangly dress.  She's a shoo-in to win...bet she's nervous...

7:28:  Cate Blanchett, lovely as always...in an elegant Givenchy gown...I dunno about those colors though...didn't do much for her (periwinkle and sorta chartreuse-y?)

7:32:  Marisa Tomei in a great "old-Hollywood," vintage black dress.  I love that dame...she's great in everything I've ever seen her in.

What's all this talk about Melissa Leo's Oscar campaign backfiring on her?  I don't think she did anything out of the ordinary.  At Oscar time, everyone promotes themselves to the nth degree.  But all the wags are saying that she somehow went too far and voters are going to go against her....we'll see shortly...Best Supporting Actress is the third award of the night.

7:38:  Gawd...Scarlett Johansen forgot to comb her hair...WTF?  Nice dress, though...

7:42:  Whoa....Warren Beatty.  Seems he turned elderly almost overnight.  Time does march on, don't it?  Annette Bening looks lovely.  Amazing he's stayed with her this long...and vice-versa!

7:44:  Anne Hathaway with Valentino, in a gorgeous red, "archival"(? guess that means "vintage") gown.  One of five costume changes she'll apparently be executing tonight.

7:39:  Mark Wahlberg, handsome in a great-looking tux. But it'll be tough to top him in the "worst facial hair" category...he's got some sort of very patchy 7-day growth going on...not good.

7:51:  And here's Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush....boy, they were fantastic in The King's Speech.  Colin will win...and Geoffrey, in any other year would win as well.  But I'm thinking Christian Bale has got the Best Supporting Actor category sewn up.  We'll see...

7:53:  Reese Witherspoon looks fabulous, with a glamourous, Sharon Tate-ish hairdo and Armani gown.


7:55:  Robert Downey Jr.--the Hollywood Lazarus---looks terrific, healthy and very handsome.  Liking the long white tie with the black tux... 

8:01:  Jennifer Hudson...wow....80-pounds lighter and looking truly Hollywood-glamourous..what a transformation!!  She'll likely be on the "best-dressed" lists tomorrow.

8:02:  The lovely Natalie Portman, in a glam, aubergine maternity dress.  She's a great beauty.  And she's going to win tonight, no doubt...(as for The Black Swan.....DIDN'T GET IT!!)

8:04:  James Franco, with his traditional, bad-boy twinkle.  I think he might be an entertaining host tonight.

8:06:  Justin Timberlake....now that's a fine-looking tuxedo!  Why don't they ever ask the men "Who are you wearing?"  Don't they realize the utter importance of that question??

8:08:  Sandra Bullock....hmmm....looks like something's missing from her dress...and no jewels?  And I think the purse clashes with her red dress....FIRE YOUR STYLIST!

8:12:  The glacial Nicole Kidman looks lovely.  Keith Urban's hair..WHAZZUPWIDDAT??  His do is really unsettling. 

8:14:  Gwynnie Paltrow, looking like an Oscar statuette, all in gold.  Looks glamourous in Calvin Klein.  She's going to sing again tonight...oh dear...I wish she'd stop doing that.

And here comes Christian Bale.  He'll win tonight...but I still can't get past his tape-recorded rant a couple years ago, when he attacked some poor film crew member who couldn't fight back.  An all-time low in Hollywood petulance.  I vote for Geoffrey Rush.

8:23:  Mark Wahlberg, study Hugh Jackman's stubble...that's how it should be done!

NO!  DON'T make us watch that ridiculous Roberto Benigni clip again, where he stomped all over the seats to accept his TOTALLY mis-given Oscar!!

8:27:  Well, the show's about to begin....as Charlie Sheen would say, "BRING IT!"

And they're off...a very elaborate, 7-minute opening montage with our hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, peppered with guest appearances by Alec Baldwin, Leonardo DeCaprio, Morgan Freeman and Jesse Eisenberg, in which Hathaway and Franco are "transported" into Alec Baldwin's dreams (via scenes from several of the year's nominated films).  Well-done...but funny?  Not really...

8:38:  Hathaway says to Franco, "You look very appealing to a younger demographic".  Exactly....that's what they're both doing there. 

Does he look stoned?  Or is it that he always looks stoned...?

8:42:  First award, presented by Tom Hanks is "Art Direction".  I'm guessing it'll be The King's Speech.

8:44:  Nope...Alice in Wonderland won.  Didn't see that one, but it figures. 

8:46:  Best Cinematography,  Black Swan, I bet?

Okay, no more predictions....Inception won. I'll leave the guesses up to everyone else.   

Up next:  Best Supporting Actress...this is the one everyone has their eye on tonight.  And I wonder who will present it?

8:51:  First "standing O" of the night, for Kirk Douglas.  What the hell?  He deserves it...

8:56:  Oh Kirk...no joking, please...yikes...and the winner:  Melissa Leo.  Guess the Oscar campaign didn't backfire after all!

8:58:  You're losing 'em, Melissa....she's babbling and saying nothing...just say thanks and sit down...oh wait...she just said "FUCK"....isn't that classy?  Yeesh...get her off..
Melissa Leo say F word
Melissa Leo:  The most disingenuous "OOPS" of the night....tacky, tacky, tacky....

Puh-leeeze...don't say "fuck" and then slap your hand over your mouth like it just "slipped out"....tacky...

9:02:  Best Animated Short... The Lost Thing won.  How many people do you really think saw it?  Just axing...

9:05:  Best Animated Feature...gotta be Toy Story 3, right?

9:06:  Yup...oh wait...I wasn't going to make any more predictions...well, this was an easy one...

Next up, the screenplay awards.  I vote for The Social Network (adapted) and The King's Speech (original).  King's Speech deserves all the awards, if you ask me... 

9:13:  Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem...LOVE the white tuxes...very classy.  Bring that look back!

9:14:  Yup.  Aaron  Sorkin won Best Adapted. 

9:16:  And the orchestra kicked him off the stage...

9:18:  Really glad that David Seidler won "Best Original Screenplay".  He had to wait until the Queen Mother dropped dead before he could make a film of his script.  And she lived to 102!  Which makes him the oldest recipient of this award, ever.  Good on him, as they say in England!

9:25:  Oh gawd....here comes Franco in drag as Marilyn Monroe...this show is seriously BAD!!  They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel....

9:27:  Best Foreign Language film....haven't seen any of them.  In a Better World (Denmark) won. 

But back to this show:  What in the hell is going on?  Who wrote/directed this dreck?

9:29:  Okay...Best Supporting Actor...this is a tight race this year...but again, it'll be the obnoxious Christian Bale.  Sure wish Geoffrey Rush would get it...

How do I make my apartment walls look like Geoffrey Rush's office's?

Yup....here comes Bale.  I guess he deserves it...and he's off to another classy start, beginning his thank you with "bloody hell".  Classy, classy, classy...just like his co-star, Melissa Leo.  I guess all we have left to look forward to is maybe someone using the "C" word in their speech? 

9:40:  Uh oh....here comes the long, dull portion, where you get to see "Best Sound Editing" and stuff  like that...swell.  Now's the time to go make popcorn, check your email, etc.   But I'll still be here...

9:43:  Best Original Score...I'm thinking Inception will get it...

9:44:  And again...I'm wrong...The Social Network got it.  I didn't think the music was all that special.  I hope they're giving all the "little" awards to The Social Network to assuage their guilt over voting for the Brits and The King's Speech for Best Picture.

9:45:  Scarlett Johansen STILL hasn't combed her damned hair...AWWFUL!  And her "Best Sound Mixing" presentation with Matthew McConnaughy is seriously dumb....

And what's the dif between this and "Sound Editing"...and shouldn't these awards be in that "un-televised" section?  Do we care?  Anyway, both awards went to Inception. 

9:55:  My sister Lori just texted me that she wants to cut off her own arm every time James Franco appears on screen!

9:56:  Best Makeup....The Wolfman won it.  That nancyboy has a wife?  I'm sorry..that wasn't called for...I'm just BORED!

9:59:  Best Costume Design....gotta be Alice?  Of course it was.  The costumes are pretty spectacular, aren't they?  The dame who won read her speech, verbatim, with absolutely not one bit of inflection...ouch....

10:02:  Here comes "Best Song"...get RID of this category!  Showing the past winning songs from years gone by only points up how lousy the choices are this year.  And, inevitably, here comes RANDY NEWMAN....YUCKKKK!!!

Every single song he has ever written sounds EXACTLY THE SAME!  I. Can't. Stand. Him!!!

But, mercifully, they're not performing the entire songs...looks to be sorta 1-minute versions, which is just fine...short is good.

10:13:  Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams presenting "Best Documentary Short Subject" to Strangers No More.  It's about refugee children.  How could it lose?  And they also gave the award for "Best Live Action Short"  The shaggy-haired winner gave an unnervingly antic acceptance speech to everyone including "the Great State of Delaware".   

10:21:  Oprah's here, to present "Best Documentary"....well, that's a surprise...Inside Job won.  Banksy had been getting all the buzz.  Wonder what happened?  And furthermore, Joan Rivers should have been nominated!
And we have a preachy acceptance speech from the winner. 

10:27:  2nd standing "O"--this one for a welcomed return of Billy Crystal....BOY do we need him tonight!  But it only points up the utter INCAPABILITY of FrancoWay....BRING HIM BACK!!

10:31:  Nice salute to Bob Hope...THAT is how you host the Oscars, kiddies...don't think he ever did drag on the show...not even once...(though, in truth, he did a drag scene in just about every one of his films...and he was not a pretty girl!).

10:33:  Javier Bardem and Robert Downey Jr. here to present the "Best Visual Effects".  Inception wins.  That's turning out to be a real dark horse this year.  Didn't know it was so well-thought-of...

They're also giving "Best Film Editing" to The Social Network. Self-involved nerdy guys.  Thank you, and sit down now....

Well, it's sort of heading into the homestretch...not a good sign, when the only big surprise of the night is "Best Documentary Feature"....

10:41:  EXTRA-lame patter by hosts, mocking the titles of some of the nominated films.  Poor FrancoWay...the writers did them NO favors tonight (wasn't Bruce Vilanch the head writer?  Not good....).

And the final nominated "songs".  "If I Rise" and "Take Me Home".  Gwynnie Paltrow doing her singer impression.  And the crowd went...silent.

And the Oscar goes to:  RANDY NEWMAN.....NO NO NO NO NO!  I give up.

He's babbling...he's not funny...he's boring.  Play him off!


Well, atleast the "recently deceased stars" segment is coming up.  That's something they can't screw up, right?  Except for when, as in recent years, the photos of the dead ones are so small, you can't see who it is we're supposed to be missing.  We'll see...

Now Celine Dion is singing Charlie Chaplin’s song “Smile”…that’s nice...that dame can sing!  Tony Curtis, Gloria Stuart, Leslie Nielsen, Patricia Neal, Robert Culp, Lynn Redgrave, Arthur Penn,  Susanah York (hey…I didn’t know she’d died!), Jill Clayburgh, Dennis Hopper, Blake Edwards,  Lena Horne and others. Every year, there are notable omissions.  I’ll have to study the lists and see who they left out this time.  Halle Barry came out and did a special salute to Lena Horne.  That’s nice.  I’m sure it doesn’t appeal to their “more youthful demographic”…..but so what? 

11:02:  Hillary Swank introduced Catherine Bigelow, who presents the Best Director award to....Tom Hooper of The King's Speech.  Well, YES!  This bodes well for Best Picture, too, I hope...he delivered a gracious, pithy speech, too,which is refreshing.  Thanked his mum, who's in the audience.  He looked genuinely shocked.

11:07:  Annette Bening presented all the "special award" winners (Eli Wallach, Francis Ford Coppola, Kevin Brownlow) in one fell swoop, by showing a drastically edited montage of their previous acceptances.  These used to be actually "SPECIAL" awards...they didn't even get to say a word tonight!  But we did get that captivating 1-minute thank you from "Best Sound Editing" winners...what is wrong with this picture??

11:11:  Now we're REALLY in the homestretch.  Jeff Bridges is here to give the Best Actress award.  Annette Bening is a dark horse candidate...but it seems like Natalie Portman will win for that nasty mess of a picture, The Black Swan, right?

11:17:  Yep, Natalie wins.  No surprises here.  She was good in the film, but that film was all over the map.  What WAS the message in The Black Swan?? 
11:19:  blah blah blah...play her off already!

11:20:  Sandra Bullock gets clumsily introduced as if she were The Grande Dame of American Cinema by Anne Hathaway.  She's presenting "Best Actor".  And if it ain't Colin Firth, I'm giving up movies and taking up crocheting.
Colin Firth accepts the Oscar for best actor for The King's Speech
Yesss.....!  Colin takes it.  My faith in the future of cinema has been (partially) restored.  Good writing, great acting and just plain quality actually still count for something, it seems. 

11:32:  AT LAST!  Best Picture, presented by Steven Spielberg.  Last year, they implemented the ridiculous new rule of nominating TEN pictures, instead of the previous five.  This was all a money-related decision, so that all these pics could use the "Academy Award Nominated..." label in their ads.  I don't think there WERE ten Oscar-worthy films last year!  The Kids are Alright was...just alright, I guess...though its message that a lesbian's only a lesbian until a hot guy comes along isn't exactly the way it works, folks.

Okay...here it is....and the winner is....."THE KING'S SPEECH"!  Quality triumphs!  But boy, is the applause tepid!  I don't recall seeing an audience look so nonplussed by a Best Picture winner!  Anyway, in my humble opinion, this film deserved this award, by far.   The producer just thanked his boyfriend....and there were no gasps.  Hee hee...they tried to "play them off the stage" but one more producer came forward and had his day.  The music actually stopped, which I don't think I've seen happen before!  So, finally, we have a rendition of "Over the Rainbow" by a Staten Island kiddie choir.  They're moving around WAY too much.  There's one kid who's flailing his limbs in an epileptic fashion, damned if HE ain't going to be seen!  And out come all the winners of the night, ending with the 4th standing "O" of the night.  Thank you, and good night.  I'll have a wrap-up in a minute, once I catch my breath.  Thanks to all of you for joining me and making your comments known as well....!

"And the LOSER IS......": The 2011 RAZZIE AWARDS!


Last night, the 31st annual Golden Raspberry (Razzie) Awards were handed out in Hollywood.  The big "winner" of the night was M. Night Shyamalan's disastrous The Last Airbender.  The rest of the Razzie winners are highlighted in red (below).  Sadly, it wasn't an "epic" year for truly terrible turkies.  I didn't see The Last Airbender, but by all accounts, it's truly execrable.  Sex and the City 2 was also a big recipient...wonder if this marks the end of that franchise?:

Worst Picture
  • The Last Airbender (Paramount/Nickelodeon Movies)
  • The Bounty Hunter (Columbia Pictures/Relativity Media)
  • Sex and the City 2 (Warner Bros/New Line/HBO Pictures)
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Summit Entertainment)
  • Vampires Suck (20th Century-Fox/Regency Enterprises)
Worst Actor
  • Ashton Kutcher (Killers and Valentine’s Day)
  • Jack Black (Gulliver’s Travels)
  • Gerard Butler (The Bounty Hunter)
  • Taylor Lautner (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Valentine’s Day)
  • Robert Pattinson (Remember Me and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse)
Worst Actress
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, & Cynthia Nixon (Sex & the City 2)
  • Jennifer Aniston (The Bounty Hunter and The Switch)
  • Miley Cyrus (The Last Song)
  • Megan Fox (Jonah Hex)
  • Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse)
Worst Supporting Actress
  • Jessica Alba (The Killer Inside MeLittle FockersMachete, and Valentine’s Day)
  • Cher (Burlesque)
  • Liza Minnelli (Sex and the City 2)
  • Nicola Peltz (The Last Airbender)
  • Barbra Streisand (Little Fockers)
Worst Supporting Actor
  • Jackson Rathbone (The Last Airbender and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus (The Spy Next Door)
  • George Lopez (MarmadukeThe Spy Next Door, and Valentine’s Day)
  • Dev Patel (The Last Airbender)
  • Rob Schneider (Grown Ups)
Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D
  • The Last Airbender
  • Cats & Dogs 2: Revenge of Kitty Galor
  • Clash of the Titans
  • The Nutcracker 3D
  • Saw 3D
Worst Screen Couple/Ensemble
  • The Cast of Sex and the City 2
  • Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler (The Bounty Hunter)
  • Josh Brolin & Megan Fox (Jonah Hex)
  • The Entire Cast of The Last Airbender
  • The Entire Cast of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Worst Director
  • M. Night Shyamalan (The Last Airbender)
  • Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer (Vampires Suck)
  • Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City 2)
  • David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse)
  • Sylvester Stallone (The Expendables)
Worst Screenplay
  • The Last Airbender - written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko
  • Little Fockers - written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on Characters Created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke
  • Sex and the City 2 – written by Michael Patrick King, Based on the TV Series Created by Darren Star
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
  • Vampires Suck – written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel
  • Sex and the City 2
  • Clash of the Titans
  • The Last Airbender
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • Vampires Suck

TONIGHT! Live-blogging the OSCARS...RIGHT HERE!



I hope you'll join me here tonight as you're viewing the Oscars.  I'll be adding my observations, comments, critiques, photos, etc. as the show progresses.  Your own comments are welcomed as well.  The show begins at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific.  I'll be blogging the arrivals as well, beginning at 6PM Eastern.  So get your popcorn, get comfortable and let's see what's in store....SCANDALS!  WE DEMAND SCANDALS!!

If they were still alive today...

....the following notables would be celebrating their birthday today.  Three great American writers were born on this day:






Prolific Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck would be 109.  Among his many classic works are The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Of Mice and Men.  Here is Henry Fonda, with the wonderful Jane Darwell, delivering the famous speech from Grapes of Wrath:



Novelist and screenwriter Irwin Shaw would be 98.  His most notable works include The Young Lions and Rich Man, Poor Man.



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow would be 204.  He would likely be considered to be the most famous American poet of the 19th Century, having penned Song of Hiawatha, Paul Revere's Ride and Evangeline.


British actress Ellen Terry would be 163.  The colorized photo above was taken of her in 1863, at age 16, while playing Juliet.  She was considered to be the great Shakespearean actress of her day, roughly during the late 19th-early 20th centuries. 





William Demarest, "Uncle Charlie" of My Three Sons fame, would be 119.




e7b6ac6f.jpg Franchot Tone
Dashing leading man of 1930's-40's films, Franchot Tone would be 106.  He was the second of Joan Crawford's four husbands.

























African-American contralto Marian Anderson would be 114.  She attained legendary status in 1939, when  the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow her to perform in their auditiorium in Washington D.C., due to her race.  First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt immediately resigned from the organization and arranged to have her sing from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  She went on to become the first black person to sing leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in 1955 (unbelievable that it took that long, isn't it?!).


Glamour-girl actress Joan Bennett would have been 101 years old today.  She's perhaps best-remembered today for having played Elizabeth Taylor's mother in Father of the Bride in 1950.  And speaking of which.....

8f0905f1.jpg Elizabeth Taylor Most Beautiful
....a very happy 79th birthday today to Dame Elizabeth Taylor/  She's been critically ill of late and we certainly hope that she can rally once again...as she has done over and over again through the years. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun NYC street signs!

I'm constantly amused by the number of misspellings, malaprops, bad Engrish, and just plain STRANGE signs I see in NYC on a daily basis.  Soooo...I thought I'd start sharing a few of them with you.  Please feel free to contribute any you may come across (they don't have to be in NYC....wherever you find them is okay by me!).


Here's a store where you can get (according to contributor Billy McGoldrick "a shot of whiskey and a shot of penicillin" in one stop!



And contributor Chris Weller sends this one....me thinks English is not their first language...