Tag Archive: oscars 2017


 

jedisteps

So last night around this time I was in Texas with Aaron and my old professor Dr. Rodriguez talking about ‘Trojan War’ and the Business and life.  I’m familiar with Southern hospitality because of my roots but it was still a fun night for myself and Aaron and judging by the immediate feedback it seems the feeling was mutual.  I talked on a live microphone about a lot of the things many of you are used to hearing me say here: I’ve had an incredibly blessed life I wouldn’t trade with anyone else, I have more I plan to do, but the state of the world and my age has reignited my desire to be very active in helping the next generation do things I probably won’t see.

So short version I was on full Kenobi mode last night, thus today’s song choice.

Enjoy!

 

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hell-or-high-water

KIMMEL: And here to present tonight’s final award, from ‘Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later’ Malik Aziz, and the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

(Malik and Obama walk on to the stage.  There’s a fifteen minute standing ovation, shattering Chaplin’s record.)

OBAMA: Thank you.  West Texas outlaws.  An African-American homosexual in Miami.  A female linguist who discovers how to take to aliens.  The films nominated for Best Picture this year are as diverse as the American experience itself, and by recognizing these films, we acknowledge that no matter who you are, or where you come from, your voice is a valuable part of why, this country has always been great.

(polite applause).

MALIK: I couldn’t agree more.  Three of the nominees are driven by female protagonists (possibly four, depending on your point of view); as you noted, one is a window into the homosexual experience, and three of the films take place within different eras of the African-American experience. If we’ve learned nothing else over the past ten years, it’s this: when we acknowledge or even agree that the most qualified option might look different than us, than racism is over.  So is sexism.  So is xenophobia.  And so is homophobia. And anyone who complains that any of that stuff still exists is a sad loser who needs to get over it. Right, Mr. President?

(Malik and Obama both try to hold in their smirks as the audience laughs…)

OBAMA: Come on man…

MALIK: Here are the nominees for Best Picture:

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Who Should Win: In another decade, I’d easily say ‘Hell or High Water’ or ‘Moonlight’ (best picture that feels nothing like a studio picture).  ‘Hell’ is this year’s best ‘right of center’ pic, ‘Moonlight’ the best ‘left of center’.  You already know what’s in the ultimate center (everyone likes something about it): La La Land.

Who I’m Cheering For: I’m not the crying type, but the only one of the above films that had me suffering from allergies in the third act was Moonlight.  And I was truly impressed by most of the field this year.

Who Will Win: As I said before, its ‘passionate’ fan base may be smaller, but across the board nearly everyone ‘likes’ something about La La Land.  Will be surprised if it doesn’t win the big one.

 

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Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Ruth Negga – Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Who Should Win: Oh boy.  Well, let’s see.  We’re talking ‘best use of 2017 Emma Stone’ or ‘best use of 2017 Natalie Portman’ in most film geek minds.  They have two different career types, but within each of their ‘types’, my feeling is Portman’s performance is more Oscar worthy.

Who I’m Cheering For: Portman is my generation so there’s a lot of obvious bias there, but as a comedy fan I dig Emma Stone too.  The worst thing I have to say about her is in relation to her peers, she’s been very quiet as far as ‘the state of the world’ is concerned.  That doesn’t automatically mean she’s Tom Brady, just one of those things I notice.

Who Will Win: Emma Stone.

Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

Who Should Win: Very much a personal preference category.  Funny because on actor terms I like Gosling a lot, but I consider him the ‘weakest’ of these five.

Who I’m Cheering For: You look at that list and guess. Your first four guesses don’t count.

Who Will Win: Casey Affleck.

 

octavia

Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel – Lion

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Who Should Win: It’s been a good year for movies, which means the supporting categories could easily go 6 or 7 deep with worthy candidates.  None of the five nominated feel out of place in my opinion.  It’s a genuine personal taste choice.

Who I’m Cheering For: My akhi of course.

Who Will Win: Feels like this is the finishing touch for a career year for Mr. Ali.

Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Viola Davis – Fences

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Who Should Win: Same general feeling as with the guys, I could add a couple other great supporting roles that didn’t make the cut, and there’s one that’s really a lead but, it is what it is.  By the definition of the award, Naomie was heartbreaking in her few scenes.

Who I’m Cheering For: We’re here now so I agree with the consensus that it seems off that Viola Davis doesn’t have an Oscar, so hopefully nothing really wild happens Sunday.

Who Will Win: Viola.

 

melgibson

Here are the nominees for Best Director:

Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Who Should Win: Might as well start the ‘La La Land’ vs ‘Moonlight’ debate out the blocks.  Like MVPs in sports, is this a reward for ‘putting the most moving parts together into a solid film’ or ‘the director of the most compelling film’?  For the first but not the last time this week, there’s not really a ‘wrong’ answer and you can make a strong case for more than one person (so it’s been a good year for the overall quality of the ‘prestige pic’).  Based on what’s happened so far this season, this category has been won by the director of the film that had two movie stars (one giving a career best performance), gorgeous cinematography of the city a lot of voters work in and a story that pays tribute to old Hollywood.  That would be Chazelle.

Who I Would Have Mixed Feelings About Winning: [REDACTED]

Who I’m Cheering For: It feels like he might get his in writing but I’ll still cheer for Barry Jenkins anyway.

Who Will Win: More and more I feel like the smaller ‘Whiplash’ was a superior film, but timing and politics, so the boy wonder. Chazelle.

 

otis

Made it to another weekend.

I’m enjoying a three day weekend, so we’ll start our Oscar Predictions Monday night.

For now, may I interest you in some live Otis?

Enjoy!

 

‘Extremis’

 

extremis

While not graphic, ‘Extremis’ is by design, hard to watch.  This Oscar nominated short documentary covers a subject everyone needs to prepare for but no one wants to: what’s the protocol if you (or a member of your family) due to health or accident, needs to be hooked up to a machine to continue living?  How long do you let them live (usually in some level of pain)? Practically for the vast majority of us, how long can you financially afford to let them live like this?  Do they even want to, if they haven’t explicitly set up this situation in their will (which this film made me revisit)?  How big of a role do the doctors play in laying out the practical facts versus advising you what to do in what is ultimately the family’s decision?

It’s only a 24 minute film, but the filmmakers do a great job of presenting the various stages of grief/denial you would expect in this situation, as well as the toll it takes on the doctors themselves (who after all, are only human).

Now streaming on Netflix.

 

whitehelmets

Nominated for Best Documentary Short this year at the Academy Awards, ‘The White Helmets’ takes the audience (especially in America) a front row seat to a place we hear about daily on the news but don’t actually experience.

The White Helmets are a voluntary rescue group in Syria who go into the heart of the war zones and attempt to save as many lives as possible, without asking which side they were fighting on.  The film follows the group as they save lives, while also following them to Turkey where they train (both physically and psychologically) for what they’re destined to see.

If you’re reading this, you most likely are aware that the filmmakers and the White Helmets themselves are not allowed into this country (and thus will not be at the Oscars, win or lose.  However you feel about that, you should take 40 minutes out of your day or night and appreciate what these guys are doing.

Now streaming on Netflix.

‘Captain Fantastic’

 

capfantastic

To you, he will probably always be Aragorn from ‘Lord of the Rings’.  To me, he’s always Lalin, the pretty boy pimp snitch from ‘Carlito’s Way’.  Either way, Viggo Mortensen has built a hell of a career, and ‘Captain Fantastic’ is a worthy Oscar nomination for a solid character actor who’s good looking enough to jump to leading man status in the right films.

A ‘Wes Anderson film’ in a year where we didn’t actually get a Wes Anderson film, Viggo plays the hippie patriarch of a free spirited family, raising six kids outside the standards and norms of society.  But when his wife dies, Ben (Viggo) treks his family out of the forest and back to civilization to attend their mother’s funeral.  Against the explicit wishes of his father in law (a great Frank Langella).  Missi Pyle, Kathryn Hahn, and Steve Zahn round out a murderer’s row of an indie film class.

Funny, quirky, sad and thoughtful; this was more than I thought it would be and a fun watch.  Recommend.

 

aziz-ansari-c-ruvan-wijesooriya

This has been a weekend.

Saturday: how can you not be impressed? I know men and women who marched in DC, I know men and women who marched in L.A.  I don’t think it’s remotely coincidental these are the same people who have my back when I drop the comedy and speak with passion about my racial or religious identities.  The best compliment I can give is the truest; I was going to privately message everyone I saw on the streets, but I would literally still be sending my praise and support out 24 hours later.  You guys all did well.  Now on to the next phase…

Sunday: I was writing something completely political this morning when I got the news Yordano Ventura died in a car accident.  Forget sports for a minute, 25 is just an extremely young age to die.  Prayers to his family, the Royals organization and the Dominican Republic (as Ventura wasn’t the only native ballplayer who died today).

So the wind was taken out of my ‘Sunday post’ sails pretty early.  We’ll start this week with some comedy.  My Hollywood twin Aziz Ansari hosted SNL this weekend and no surprise he did well.  Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday morning; this one definitely got some chuckles out of me.

Enjoy!