Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Academy Awards Predictions

I’ve been putting off my prediction post because for the first time in years, I’m not so certain about the winners. Shocking! I know right? There are some really great films and actors nominated. I think it could virtually go any way with some of these categories. There are also some blatant snubs that I hope the Academy is kicking themselves over (i.e. Leo & Affleck). With the awards only five days away, I figured I better get my predictions out before it’s too late. Also, I’d like to read D. Beth’s predictions so that we can compare notes. Here you go:

Best Picture
I saw every picture nominated except for LES MIS (I’ve seen the play so I get the idea). With the exception of ZERO DARK THIRTY and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, I really enjoyed the Best Picture Films. I feel like BEASTS OF THE SOUHTERN WILD is the true dark horse of this category. It was the first film of the relatively unknown, Behn Zeitlin, with a cast of locals who were not intended to be actors. This is one of the most unique stories I have ever seen on the big screen. To get so much emotion and dept from the young actress who played Hushpuppy was astounding. However, the Academy rarely recognizes freshman filmmakers or child actors. Having said that, I believe ARGO will take this category. The Academy snubbed Affleck in the Directing category so I hope they recognize their error and give ARGO the Best Picture award it deserves. It is quit clear that this film was a passion project of all the people involved. ARGO is a fantastic film with a wonderful ensemble cast, phenomenal editing, and great directing.

Best Director
With nine Best Picture nominees and only five Best Directing nominees, it’s obvious that a few directors were going to be left out in the cold. I was upset Tarantino wasn’t nominated, but not entirely surprised. QT is a little too brazen for The Academy and they tend to dislike directors who push the envelope. Besides BEASTS, this category could really go to anyone. They are all established and acclaimed directors. David O. Russell was nominated in this category not too long ago for THE FIGHTER so it could be his time to shine. Ang Lee and Spielberg each have Oscars. I would love to see Michael Haneke win, but that won’t happen. My prediction is that Spielberg takes the Award. I don’t necessarily think LINCOLN was remarkably directed, but I think the Academy will throw him a bone since he hasn’t won an Award since 1999 for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

Best Actor
For a while I really thought Bradley Cooper was the front runner of this category, but now I’m predicting Daniel Day-Lewis. This was not my favorite performance by Day-Lewis, but I think it eclipses the other mediocre performances. Let’s face it, Joaquin Phoenix playing a full on crazy person is no stretch of the imagination. Cooper’s performance left a stale taste in my mouth. I never felt a connection to him nor do I think he had any chemistry with J. Law. Did anyone else besides Beth & Jason see FLIGHT? I’m going to go ahead and put my money on Daniel Day-Lewis on this one.

Best Actress
J. Law seems to be the front runner in this category from the beginning. She really proved her talent with the breakout role in WINTER’S BONE (which she was also nominated for an Oscar) and has been on the path to a lasting career since. Unfortunately, I think there could’ve been a better film to win for. Her character in SILVER LINNINGS was incredibly one dimensional. I was cringing in my seat during the dance scenes where she talks bout “this & that being a feeling.” This entire film felt like one big cliché. Jessica Chastain could be the dark horse of this category with her extremely emasculating role in ZERO DARK THIRTY, but I’d go with Jennifer Lawrence as the winner.

Best Supporting Actor
Every single actor nominated in this category already has an Oscar. They each portrayed considerably complex characters. My choice to win came down to Tommy Lee Jones and Robert De Niro. I’m having a hard time deciding on one. Jones was one of the most entertaining aspects of LINCOLN which at times felt a bit slow. De Niro and Chris Tucker were the true talent and saving graces of SILVER LININGS. It’s been a while since either won an award so I will call a tie for this category.

Best Supporting Actress
Initially, there was much buzz surrounding Sally Field’s performance in LINCOLN. Although, now it appears that Bland Hathaway may walk away with this undeserving award. Bland Hathaway is a terrible actress and as we saw the year before, an even worse Oscar host. As we all know, if you ugly yourself up, you usually get an Oscar (i.e. Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank). Let’s face it; Hathaway is a second rate Natalie Portman who is a second rate Jennifer Connelly. I predict she finally gets the Oscar she has been relentlessly campaigning for.

Best Documentary
This is one of my favorite categories. I absolutely love documentaries. There are usually one or two really controversial films included. This year, the front runner seems to be SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN. I really enjoyed this film and felt very inspired by it. Several people indicated that it was really depressing. I think it was just the opposite. This man lived a full and happy life with people he loved, but continued to have a great passion for music. He chose to live a modest life, yet was still fulfilled. This film really showcased the raw & pure talent of Rodriguez. I think SUGAR MAN will definitely win this category.

Best Foreign
This is a no brainer. The only foreign film (AMOUR) to be nominated for Best Picture will most certainly win Best Foreign Film. If you get a chance, check out Haneke’s previous Best Foreign nominated film, THE WHITE RIBBON. It is an equally haunting piece. Unfortunately, Hanake lost in 2009 to THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES (which in my opinion is one of the best films of the last decade). This is his year to finally win this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay
I would immediately choose ARGO for this category because it is such an intelligent script. Nonetheless, I think the Academy will choose LINCOLN. I picture most of the Academy members bearing a striking resemblance to many of the pompous politicians in LINCOLN (minus the wigs).

Best Original Screenplay
The only Oscar Tarantino has won was in this category for PULP FICTION and I think he has a solid chance this time around. Notwithstanding, the Academy loves war films and ZERO DARK THIRTY has an opportunity to steal this category. I’m still going to bet on QT for DJANGO UNCHAINED. If he doesn’t win, I will be drinking profusely.

Additionally, I think LIFE OF PI will sweep the technical awards like Cinematography, Visual Effects, and Score. That Adele song will win Best Song. ANNA KARENINA will take Costume Design (which I think is a stretch). Spike is betting on FRANKENWEENIE for Best Animated which by the way is the only film nominated he has watched in its entirety. Who do you think will win? Who do you want to win? Let’s just hope Seth MacFarlane is bearable. Let’s also hope they find better presenters in the future. See you at the party!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 Highlights

While I am in the reflective mood, I figured I would talk about some of the highlights of last year. It was a huge year for everyone because it was our final guffaw for “end of the world” jokes. The year brought us many ups and downs, but overall I would say 2012 was a great year. I know personally I experienced some serious life/career changes that were met with great trepidation, but I have since whole-heartedly embraced. Change is fucking scary guys! Ten years ago, I definitely would have never thought I’d be where I am today but I am pretty happy with what I’ve done. Sometimes I think I’m such an adult and I really have it all together, then I find myself at Toys R Us debating over which Hulk Hands I need to buy. I think it’s important not to take ourselves so seriously all the time.

As I get older (I really hate that phrase), it’s harder to get excited about things especially music. I’ve been to enough concerts to last a lifetime, but this year I saw some really special shows. I had some really great opportunities that I am so thankful for. So without further adieu, here are my favorite moments of 2012:

I hate to be the jaded, old asshole who complains about music these days, but it is inevitable. For the most part, current music is bullshit. It lacks honesty, heart, and most of all creativity. If you disagree, by all means show me a band that will blow my mind away. Show me a band that will have me sobbing in my Lone Star tall boy the way Paul Westerberg and company can. Play me a song that will break my fucking heart to pieces the way Jawbreaker does. I dare you!

This last year I got to see some truly amazing bands live. I got to see Devo and Blondie on the same bill in my hometown no less! That show had maybe the best crowd I have ever seem. It was nothing but exuberant 40 somethings in their casual Friday attire just having a good ol’ time listening to awesome music. There were no attitudes, no pre-judgments, no shade, and no hipsters. Both bands sounded great. It was really pleasing to see Devo at a big venue like Stubbs and not some cramped music hall like I had before during SXSW. Blondie was amazing. Debbie Harry is old enough to be my mom, but she can still command a stage better than Taylor Swift or X-Tina any day. Debbie Harry has always been an icon for me and I am so glad she did not disappoint. I can’t tell you how much fun I had.

Getting to see JAMC at House of Blues in Houston was a wonderful experience I will never forget. They have been a long time favorite of mine and it was such a fun and LOUD show. They played all the hits. And we got to see a full set with encore, not some shitty “industry only,” 30 minute set at SXSW. Equally amazing was the dinner Chris P and I indulged in at House of Pies beforehand. I’m kinda glad we don’t have one in Austin; otherwise I’d be in big trouble.

2003 was the last time Blake Schwarzenbach (with JTB) officially recorded a full length album. In 2012, he finally released a long overdue album with his latest project, forgetters. To be perfectly honest, I’d listen to anything Blake put out. He is by far my favorite songwriter of all time. When you’re a teenager, new and exciting music is so accessible. It’s when you get older that you become less enchanted and sometimes I really miss that feeling of being memorized by a new song. I read this really whimsical article about growing up with a band, specifically Jawbreaker. It really hit home. For me, listening to Jawbreaker or even JTB is like looking through old photo albums. I can see myself stumbling around the streets of San Francisco in the middle of the night, late night sing-alongs, gazing out the window of a tour bus watching the stars on a long drive, or throwing on “Jet Black” on the jukebox at Emos. To see one of my old standbys create something new and invigorating is incredibly breathtaking. This album is great and it reminds me why I fell in love with Schwarzenbach’s words all those years ago.

My dog (Spike) and I got to attend our first red carpet movie premiere. We were fortunate enough to win tickets to the world premiere of Tim Burton’s delightful film about a boy and his best friend, Sparky. I know I have talked endlessly about this special event, but I can’t tell you how exciting it was for us. My little gentleman was on his best behavior too. It must have been the bow tie. The whole experience was a dream come true for this little Goth girl.

One of my favorite current actors is Michael Fassbender. I thought he was just brilliant in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and I was blown away by his performance (among other things) in SHAME. He was the only saving grace of PROMETHEUS. I cannot wait for the new Terrence Malick film he was shooting here in Austin. I really think Fassy has a long successful career ahead of him. Not to mention that he’s absolutely gorgeous. Kenny and I often frenquent Big Top Candy Store on South Congress following our usual Sunday Brunch. So there we were, sitting by the window at Big Top when you know who walks by. Kenny said, “Isn’t that…” As I turned to look, I nearly choked on the Jelly Bellies I was in the middle of eating when I realized he was standing right in front of me! We immediately got up and ran out to see where Fassy was headed. He looked so effortlessly casual sipping on a Topo Chico while strolling down the street. I was completely start struck!

San Antonio Spurs v. Boston Celtics
Last year I was able to attend my first NBA game and more importantly, I was able to take my mother to her first game. My mother is a die hard basketball fan and lifelong Spurs fan. I could care less about the Spurs, but I do love Boston. As a surprise early Christmas present, I got her a ticket and did not tell her until game day. She was so excited and we really had a great time. It's a good thing I got to see Rondo play right before his season was done due to an injury. I look forward to more games and maybe next time Boston can win.

This summer marked another first for me, the first time watching a film in IMAX. Despite your opinion on TDKR, it was truly exhilarating watching a film on a screen that spans six stories. A huge portion of the film was shot in IMAX which made it look all the more tremendous. Also, getting to see this film a few days before the actual release was really exciting. For a brief moment, we could enjoy something special without it being marred by some psycho with a gun.

Steve Niles & Bernie Wrightson
In December my favorite comic book writer came to our local comic book shop to do a signing with a legend in his own right, Bernie Wrightson. Steve Niles has virtually changed the face of horror in comic books; he’s made it refreshing & fun. I saw Wrightson at Comic Con this year which was a blast. If you haven’t checked out his amazing artwork, you are missing out. I highly suggest his current book, Frankenstein Alive Alive which is also written by Niles. It’s funny, when you follow people on various social networking sites; you become very familiar with their personal lives. I know all about Niles’ tortoise Gil, his sick cat he recently had to euthanize, and his lovely partner Monica. However, I still felt a bit nervous meeting him. I spoke briefly with Mr. Niles who was genuinely nice and hospitable. It was a lot of fun!

2012 Presidential Election
How can we talk about 2012 and not mention the presidential race? I often forget that The Peoples Republic of Austin is very different from the rest of the conservative state of Texas. My first time voting was during the 2000 election. I voted (more than once) for a man I whole-heartedly believed in and trust, Ralph Nadar. I still stand by my decision. It was an exciting and eye-opening time for m then. It sounds really clichéd, but I think we really owe a civic duty to vote. I hear so many people complain about the state of the county and do nothing to change it. I have been that same person and I have also been the person in the streets rallying together with other like minds. I know people who can quote bullshit football statistics, but have no clue what our foreign policy is. I’m not saying I’m an expert on politics, but I know enough to choose a side. No matter who you support, you should always vote! And don’t be afraid to discuss your opinions with others in a mature respectful manner. You do a bigger disservice to yourself by being ambivalent.

New Order
Probably the highlight of my year was getting to see one of my Top 5 favorite bands of all time live in person! Finally getting to see New Order play was completely mind blowing. Getting to see them with my dear friend Ruth made it even more special. It meant just as much to her as it did to me. This was truly a good year for me and music. I consider myself a diehard cinephile first and foremost, but this last year really reminded me of how important music is.

The year is yours for the taking and it is truly what you make of it. I hope you all have a great 2013!

Friday, February 1, 2013


It’s really hard to believe that the first month of 2013 is over. I’ve been so busy; I haven’t had time to reflect on anything important.

Last weekend I celebrated another birthday. Let me tell you that getting old is for the barps. Some people think that when you get to be my age, birthdays are not as relevant. I think EVERYONE deserves to celebrate their birthday and feel special even for just one day. This just so happened to be one of the best birthdays I have ever had. Not because of the presents I got or the things I did, but because of the people who shared it with me.

Sometimes I wonder what I did in my past life to have such amazing people in my life who really care about me. For me, friendship is a great priority. You see I moved away from home at a very young age so my friends became a sort of makeshift family. Don’t get me wrong, my immediate family is incredibly supportive & loving, but it’s very hard when they all live in other cities. My friends became the people who helped me move (even in the middle of summer), helped me during a break-up (there were lots of those), helped me when I had car trouble (lots of that too), etc. There are no words for how grateful I am to know such wonderful people. Thank you all for everything.

To be honest, I didn’t even expect any gifts for my birthday since I was lucky enough to round everyone up for dinner and karaoke. That’s a big enough commitment in of itself. However, I managed to get some really lovely gifts. I also got several pug birthday cards which is interesting because who would’ve thought there were so many different birthday cards with pugs on them. You guys really know what I like. Also, this past weekend I went to Guzu Gallery to peruse this H.R. Giger book of artwork based on the Necronomicon, as I have several times before. When I got there on Saturday afternoon it was gone. I kept thinking, “Who the fuck else would want that damn book besides me?” It turns out Kenny was there mere hours before and bought it FOR ME!!! What a surprise! I also got some gift cards to my favorite places (Coffee Bean & the comic book shop), some tea, artwork, comic books, and booze which are all things I love.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with me and to those who sent me lots of love and birthday wishes. You cannot imagine how much I appreciate it!