Monday, 3 March 2014


“A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.” - Samuel Goldwyn

Well, the 86th Academy Awards winners have been announced with:
Best Picture – “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”)
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”)
Best Animated Feature – “Frozen” (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho)
Best Cinematography – “Gravity” (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Best Costume Design – “The Great Gatsby” (Catherine Martin)
Best Directing – “Gravity” (Alfonso Cuarón)
Best Foreign Language Film – “The Great Beauty” (Italy)

I was rather glad to see that “The Wolf of Wall St” was shunned by the Academy, as was “American Hustle”. It was not unexpected that the Academy’s sympathies would lean towards “12 Years a Slave”, a non-fiction story, based on a memoir written in 1853, which was also the source for the 1984 made-for-TV movie, American Playhouse: “Solomon Northup’s Odyssey” (1984). I look forward to watching this movie, and in particular Lupita Nyong’o’s performance, which was Oscar material.

It seems that there were many things in common with the Golden Globe awards, which were handed out in mid-January earlier this year.

Our own Cate Blanchett won an Oscar under the direction of Woody Allen in “Blue Jasmine” and this another movie we would like to put on list of films to watch. It’s interesting that in an online interview, Woody Allen said that Cate Blanchett was his first choice for the actress he was considering to play Jasmine. He stated he’d first seen her in the movie “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and asked ‘who is this woman?’ He later said he’d heard her performances were like the hydrogen bomb. When the interviewer asked who he would have chosen if Cate Blanchett was not available, Allen said he had a couple of other actresses in mind but did not name them.

It’s interesting that “Philomena” did not pick up any awards, even though it was nominated for four: Aside from Best Picture, Dench was nominated for Best Actress, Alexandre Desplat was nominated for Best Original Score, while Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope earned a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. This sounds like an interesting film and with wins in the Toronto and Venice film festivals, it is another movie that is on “to watch” list.

Ellen DeGeneres hosting the Oscars this year provided many opportunities for mayhem and lots of mildly amusing moments, taking the edge of many a disappointment, I think. Her wisecracks like: “Jonah Hill is nominated for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Jonah, you showed us something in that film that I have not seen for a very, very long time… get it?”, were on the edge of good taste and the pizza ordering left something to be desired taste-wise too.

Every time an actor is interviewed about the Oscars, they always say that: “It’s an honour just to be nominated…” Surely it must be, but the $50,000 worth of goodies they get in a luxury swag bag is quite a consolation prize. The most prolific nominees (i.e. the actors and directors - writers, producers and technicians are ruled out) each receive a bag of treats for showing up to the awards ceremony. The appropriately titled “Distinctive Assets Everybody Wins” goodie bag’s contents change evey year, but the theme is usually around luxury pampering gifts and charitable items. What was in the 2014 Oscars goodie bag? Here are some of the items in the packages that 25 nominees received:

Polar Loop Activity Tracker ($109.95)
Narrative Clip Camera ($279)
Jitseu Handbags ($279)
Jan Lewis Designs Bracelet ($400)
Max Martin Shoes ($750)
Huntley Drive Fitness Training Sessions ($850)
Gizara Arts Print ($1,000)
Epic Pet Health Therapy ($1,571.98)
Koala Landing Resort Stay in Kauai ($2,000)
Steamist Home Spa System ($2,560)
Imanta Mexico Resort Stay ($3,300)
Rocky Mountaineer Train Trip ($4,078)
Halo Natural Pet Food ($6,142.89)
Best of Vegas Tour Package ($9,000)
Walk Japan Tour of Japan ($15,000)…


  1. I was disappointed that Gravity didn’t win best picture award, but 12 years of slavery is a great film too

  2. That's not a bad little cache of gifts the nominees get!