Blog Archives

Giving Picture-Taking Advice to Steven Spielberg

This Sunday night, Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards from Hollywood with approximately (give or take a few people) a billion people (with a “b”) watching from all around the world. With this being her second time hosting this prestigious event, Ellen is well-versed in what the tone should be, as well as the critical opportunities to grab and (hopefully) maintain the attention of nearly a billion people throughout the exhausting, time-consuming ceremony.

Speaking of exhausting and time-consuming…

A speech is a speech is a speech.

If viewers are lucky, one of their favorite actors, actresses, writers and/or directors will win the life-altering award and provide a refreshingly clever, entertaining and memorable acceptance speech (think Sandra Bullock and Adrien Brody, as just two examples).

Plus, perhaps Ellen will provide the viewers with a random minute or two of something refreshingly clever, entertaining and surprisingly memorable…

Ellen to Steven Spielberg taking a picture: “Make sure we’re both in Steven” & “Make it more even on both sides.”

Only at The Oscars!

Oscar’s Favorite Number This Year? 10

The Oscar nominations were announced early this morning. As is true every year, there are obvious selections in popular categories, as well as obvious snubs (Tom Hanks anyone?).

Two points today:

1. Back in 2006, my family and I saw a Broadway show called “Three Days of Rain” starring Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd. I know what you’re thinking: who was in charge of casting? If only there could have been some quality “name” actors, right?

The story took place in an intimate apartment setting, but featured larger than life personalities. This dynamic pushed the limits of storytelling to a place that left us and the audience in an awe. We were able to escape into this world of, well, rain and a will for the father of Roberts and Rudd’s characters.

The play was great and one I will never forget, especially when Julia Roberts waved to me from her black Escalade passing us by on the street outside the theater!

2. American Hustle and Gravity dominated this morning’s party with an astonishing 10 nominations…each.

Wow.

Having seen Gravity, it’s not surprising this Space thriller and drama with the beautiful and talented Sandra Bullock has garnered a tremendous amount of respect and potential for glory come next month’s golden ceremony. In terms of cinematography, it’s virtually incomparable this year. Admittedly, I have not seen American Hustle yet, but will definitely venture to a theater near me as soon as possible. The latter film features a couple of my favorite actors (plus today’s Lois Lane) and it looks like a fun and wild ride with a top-notch cast.

There are other good movies in Best Picture category, but these two seem to rise above the rest.

Regarding Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, it’s a bit surreal to see Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts listed…and in the same year no less. Not surprising, but just surreal that brings a smile to my face and those of my family’s who were in attendance that wonderful night in New York City (it could be argued that Paul Rudd should have received a Best Supporting Actor nod for 2013s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, but…).

Regardless, talk about “Three Stars of the Future.”

American Hustle is an exciting, elaborate portrayal of political corruption, with some ties to real life events. It features an outstanding cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. Even though I have not seen it (coupled with the fact I predict I will likely really enjoy it when I do), it does seem to strike the right tone for what has transpired in 2013 (and the past few years before) in politics with our trusted “leaders.”

Conversely, Gravity has more weight to it by the fact that it ties to what most Americans (and people around the world) are facing each day: uncertainty, financial and personal struggles and feelings of isolation for how to continue with heartbreak and such frustrating prospects for improvements in the job market. The plot/story, characters, symbolism and visual imagery is absolutely stunning and provides a powerful narrative that connects with so many viewers all around the world in 2013.

Memorable movies tend to speak to a generation. Or, in Gravity’s case, more than one generation. Both movies represent us in starkly different ways, but which one do we ultimately want to celebrate and remember at this point in history?

If the choice for Best Picture comes down to celebrating an American hustle or a story of personal enlightenment and new-found strength in an environment of the seemingly impossible, the American people and those around the world may want something with a little more gravity to it.