Oh what an Oscars night!

Yep, stayed up for the yearly Oscar night marathon again! My friend came over, my son also stayed up and we had a great time watching it. The food wasn’t bad either…

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Frankly, my brain is a little too fuzzy today to go into a long analysis of the night. Suffice it to say that I went in hoping the 14 La La Land nominations wouldn’t all be won… I mean, I liked La La Land well enough but I really really don’t get what the fuss is all about for that movie. Heck, I even felt Amy Adams should have been nominated over Emma Stone. Emma Stone was fine but Amy Adams in Arrival was just top-notch for me!

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Jimmy Kimmel was a great host. Loved the Trump and Meryl Streep jibes, especially loved the ‘feud’ with Matt Damon, loved the tourists he brought on…

… and him lifting up kid actor Sunny Pawar from Lion in a The Lion King imitation…

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… and he was even gracious over the Best Picture snafu at the end, taking responsibility, joking that this would end his Oscar hosting career.

The Oscars for acting… I was very pleased with Mahershala Ali winning Supporting Actor for Moonlight! He was also the most dashing looking man on the red carpet, I felt.

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For me it was a tie between him winning and Dev Patel for Lion (he came to the Oscars with his mum).

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Oh, how I loved the movie Lion! I still plan to blog about that. Not only was the movie and the acting great, adoption is a theme close to my heart as well, as I have adopted brothers and sisters myself. I also loved Moonlight, however, and Mahershala Ali winning was a definite highlight!

I was also very pleased for Viola Davis winning Supporting Actress (she looked stunning in her red dress, by the way). I haven’t seen Fences yet but I think she is a phenomenal actor and deserves any win!

Mahershala Ali, Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Casey Affleck

Emma Stone winning the Best Actress award was… OK. With no Amy Adams in the running I was rooting for Meryl Streep or Ruth Negga, but in my heart I knew Emma Stone would win and I am able to reluctantly accept that. Casey Affleck I know is a good actor but I haven’t seen Manchester by the Sea and so far he doesn’t really do it for me. I was really rooting for Viggo Mortensen, who I know was an outsider choice, but still… Viggo was at the Oscars with his son.

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One day I really want to see him win one!

And then there was the whole already infamous Best Picture thing! When Best Director went to La La Land I thought I knew what Best Picture would be and my heart was sinking. There was some hesitation by Warren Beatty before Faye Dunaway then announced La La Land as winner…

89th Annual Academy Awards - Show

… and I was ready to throw leftover popcorn at my TV screen. I just really don’t get the La La Land fuss (and I really do enjoy a Hollywood musical, it’s not that). The La La people were doing their thank you speeches when soon it started getting chaotic on stage and before we knew it the producer was saying that Moonlight had won! We were looking at the TV screen, wondering  what the f-word was going on! Then the proof was held up, Moonlight had won!

The Moonlight people came on stage and the La La Land people graciously handed over their Oscars to the rightful winners…

Barry Jenkins

It was chaos, some sort of speech thing happened and before we knew it, it was all over! My friend, my son and I were left a little stunned, although at 6.15 am my son was admittedly more exhausted than stunned and he high-tailed it to bed instantly while my friend and I still looked at each other in amazement at this turn of events. It’s sad the win happened this way but I have got to say I was elated over the outcome in the end! I was rooting for Lion, Survival or Moonlight to win Best Picture and in the end Moonlight triumphed. Yay!

Yes, this was a memorable Oscars night.

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An Oscar for Viggo please!

The Oscar nominations have been announced today and there is good news! Well, there is for me anyway….

Some years I have no single actor or movie that I root for but this year is different. This year there is Viggo Mortensen!! He was nominated for best actor for his role in Captain Fantastic (a movie I am very curious about but which I have yet to see).

He is being nominated for all the big awards for this role (he didn’t get the Golden Globe, maybe he will get a Bafta in a few weeks?). He was nominated once before, about a decade ago, for Eastern Promises, a cruel but very good movie. He should have been nominated for his breakthrough role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings too. I adored him as Aragorn. I even have a little Aragorn figurine (next to my Thorin Oakenshield one)…

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And I have an Aragorn magnet a friend once sent me many years ago (a little weathered but still there)…

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Here’s a clip of him at the end of The Lord of the Rings, and yes, that really is him singing at around 1:37 minutes into the video…

Even though I don’t follow Viggo as closely as I did for a while there, I still check in with him once in a while and I am thrilled now that he is nominated for this Oscar! He is up against 4 other good actors (Casey Afleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling and Denzel Washington) but I am really rooting for him! He deserves one!

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He is not only a good actor but he also comes across as a softspoken, lovely, intelligent and warm person. He is an artist through and through (actor, photographer, painter, poet). I really hope he wins this. Go Viggo!

London & the Colin Firth connection

So, I recently was in London for a week and if I had really tried I possibly could have met Colin Firth! Theoretically… I maybe could have caught a glimpse…

Just before I went to London I read that Prince Charles would be hosting a reception for Britain’s Oscar winners at St. James’s Palace in London and that Colin Firth would be there! I would love meet Colin Firth one day, if only for a few brief moments… I’ve met Richard Armitage, I’ve seen Pierce Brosnan up close and personal, and I sat just a few rows away from Michael Palin when he came for a talk to The Netherlands, but I have never once seen Colin Firth in real life. And Emma Thompson was also going to be at this reception. And Judi Dench. And Maggie Smith. And.. and… and…

I was going to be in London and I would actually know where Colin Firth would be on a certain day (May 4th) when I was also there! So, I was thinking of staking out St. James’s Palace to try and catch a glimpse of the man. However, I was in London with the family… and I had no idea when exactly on May 4th this reception would be… and I had no idea what entrance Colin Firth would use… I had no idea if I would even catch a glimpse should I even know these things, maybe his car with darkened windows would just whizz by and that would be it!

In the end, there just was no time! My guess was that the reception would be in the evening (a correct guess as it turned out later) and that evening my brother had, as a surprise, gotten us tickets to see the play The Railway Children! As much as I want to see Colin Firth, doing this with the family came first and what a wonderful time we had. So, I did not do my stake out at St. James’s Palace after all and I could not regret that either… But I did see a few pictures the next day:

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Colin is behind Camilla with Mark Rylance and Michael Caine. Vanessa Redgrave beside Camilla and on the other side next to Prince Charles we have Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. Emma Thompson is cut off this picture, but she was somewhere more to the right.

Of course I really liked this picture below of Colin Firth looking very pleased shaking Prince Charles’s hand:

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And to think that Colin won his Oscar for playing Prince Charles’s grandfather in The King’s Speech!

Apparently Emma Thompson was clowning around with Prince Charles (with Colin Firth in the background):

And I loved this shot of Judi Dench:

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There is also a brief video summary of the event:

Then two days later my brother tells me that Emma Thompson doesn’t live too far away from where he lives! He’s never seen her around ‘in the wild’ but we figure out where her house exactly is. Basically we could just walk past her house if we wanted to! But we never do, that would be creepy… I also haven’t held on to the info about her house because what good would that do me anyhow?

I do leave London feeling like I could have almost met Colin Firth! And that I could have theoretically bumped into Emma Thompson at Waitrose supermarket! Just the idea that I could have seen them around makes me happy! Maybe when I come again next time I will? I’ll keep a lookout…

The Oscars 2015

Every year, for many years now, I stay up all night to watch the Oscars live on TV (ceremony starts at around 2 am here and ends at around 6 am!). For the past 5 or 6 years a close friend of mine comes over to watch it with me. We take the Monday off work and after breakfast/lunch at around 1 pm she heads home again…

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Ever since my early teens in Germany ‘discovering’ Hollywood I always wanted to see the Oscars. It was a celebration of film and I could ogle actors in ‘real life’ – but more glamorously. Yes, there’s always criticism about the choice of nominations and who wins and the awards show itself and the speeches and who wore what and looked stunning/awful and in the grand scheme of things I do realize it is fluff and not so important. But it is fun and I like fun! I could never watch the ceremony then, it didn’t air on any channel we received. In later years in The Netherlands it occasionally aired somewhere on a channel somewhere and then some years I couldn’t find an airing of the ceremony anywhere, to my great chagrin. Only in more recent times have I been able to watch regularly on a paid cable film channel that opens up for free on Oscar night! And so, maybe 10 years ago or so, my all-nighters began and I could finally see for myself on a regular yearly basis what everyone was writing about.

Watching the Oscars also means that I like to see at least some of the movies nominated. I don’t go see them all, just the ones that really interest me and sound good to me beforehand. I had seen The Imitation Game and loved it. Last week on a Wednesday afternoon, while my husband was working from home, I was able to catch the very last screening in our local cinema (on my own, with just 4 other people present in the room!) of The Theory of Everything. Yes, excellent performances by Eddie Redmayne and for me, especially from Felicity Jones! I wanted to blog about that as well, especially about Felicity, but I was too busy and then this past week I have been ill (hence the Oscar post only now and not 3 days ago).

Felicity Jones - Jane HawkingWow, I so would have liked for her to win an Oscar for playing Jane Hawking! So strongly acted and culminating in the heartbreaking  scene near the end at the break up of their marriage. Beautiful, understated, so well done!

David Oyelowo - Martin Luther King

Then on Sunday evening, before my all-night Oscar party, my friend and I went to see Selma. The name “Selma” is special to me and I love that it is now also associated with a good movie! For me, it was not the best movie of the year (somehow The Imitation Game touched me more, but that may be because that story is less known) but, boy, was it solid and good. And especially David Oyelowo was excellent! That man has been robbed for not being nominated for his role in Selma!

This year the Oscar viewing was a bit different – I didn’t have to stay awake after the Oscars to get the kids up and off to school as they have the week off. And they decided they wanted to watch the Oscars as well with my friend and I! So, kids had gone to bed early and we woke them up about an hour before the ceremony began (just after 1 am!). They watched some of the red carpet with us and then the ceremony as well. My husband gave up at around 3.30 am and went to bed but the kids, my friend and I watched till the end. It was so nice having the kids do this with us, although I suspect they were more fascinated by the staying-up-through-the-night aspect of it all than by the actual Oscars thing. 😉

ThiEddie Redmayne Oscars year I didn’t have so much to really root for. I would have slightly preferred Cumberbatch to win over Redmayne but did love that Redmayne had won and his joyous acceptance of the award. I really like Julianne Moore but I was rooting for Felicity Jones. Loved that The Imitation Game received one vital award (adapted screenplay – and the wonderful speech that went with that!) but wished they could have received more. I loved the speech the winner for best foreign film gave (Polish film called “Ida”) and how he went on talking through the music and the disarming honest humor in that speech. I couldn’t join in the Birdman fuss as that film isn’t out here yet I don’t think… and that’s where my gripe starts…

This was mostly about films no one the-hobbit-Thorinhas seen! Granted, I love small films and feel they deserve awards like these, but a little more recognition for a blockbuster like, oh, The Hobbit would not have been amiss! I think people are so used to the wonders of Middle Earth that it isn’t considered special anymore… I really missed The Hobbit in all this…

As for the show itself – Neil Patrick Harris didn’t do it for me as a presenter. I so much preferred last year’s Ellen DeGeneres and some years before that: Hugh Jackman, who had really surprised me at the time! Harris delivered some nice jokes – only to undo each and every one of them after the punchline with a little grin!

I really liked the song “Glory” from “Selma” that won the Oscar – very powerful performance on Oscar night with John Legend, Common and a gospel choir to back them up! And then the most surprising performance of the night and real high point for me – when Lady Gaga did that The Sound of Music medley! I mean, yeah, I knew Lady Gaga could sing – but like that?!? Wow!

Lady Gaga - Julie Andrews 2 Lady Gaga - Julie Andrews

And then Julie Andrews came out and hugged her and said “Dear Lady Gaga… thank you for that wonderful tribute, it warmed my heart”… my goodness, goosebumps and the best 5 or 6 minutes of the whole show for me!

So, yes, thereColin-Firth-Oscar was little for me to get excited over on the awards front this year (unlike 4 or so years ago when Colin Firth won – I was over-the-moon then! Still so happy about that, that I need to share a picture on the right here). And yet, this still was a memorable Oscar night for me: there was the Lady Gaga surprise and Julie Andrews, there was sadness at missing The Hobbit and, most memorable of all, there was the sharing of this Oscar night with my kids for the first time!

Benedict Cumberbatch…

…. is absolutely awesome in The Imitation Game! If he wins an Oscar for this role it is totally deserved!

Went to see this film this afternoon with 2 friends of mine and my 13 year old son who is turning into a bit of a Benedict Cumberbatch fan (he’s taken a liking to Sherlock). I have known Benedict Cumberbatch for years now, first saw him about 7 or 8 years ago in a film with James McAvoy (another great actor!) called ‘Starter for 10’ which I really enjoyed. When I first saw him and McAvoy in that film I knew they were both keepers! Excellent actors to look out for. And I was right. 🙂

Cumberbatch to me has a bit of an odd face but an interesting one and the emotions and expressions that flick across his face are amazing. He is excellent as a nerdy character and has a great voice.

Anyway, back to The Imitation Game – it is the incredible story of Alan Turing who cracked the code of the German Enigma machine in World War II. He was a highly intelligent nerdy socially handicapped mathematician who was also gay and was condemned for that. The film really was excellent, it totally lived up to what I hoped it would be. The build up of the story was excellent, it time jumps between the main portion of the story during WWII, Turing’s boyhood and Turing in the 1950s when he is accused of “gross indecency”. The acting was so good, drawing you in from the first scenes, and Benedict Cumberbatch stood out for me. The man is amazing, his face and his body language are so very expressive, he becomes the character so very completely. The secrets he has to keep and live with are extremely difficult to bear and give his life it’s tragedy. I am not a huge Keira Knightley fan but for some reason I like many of the films she is in (she picks well) and she really is very good yet again. Another stand out for me is Mark Strong who proves yet again that he is under-used in movies! Give the man some more leading roles in big productions!

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I need to watch this again, to catch all the nuances and Cumberbatch, although a bit of an odd bloke, deserves every accolade for his portrayal of Alan Turing! Yes, by all means give the man an Oscar! Although, I have to say, I haven’t seen Eddie Redmayne yet in “The Theory of Everything”, which I suspect may be an acting tour-de-force as well…