Muted Oscars

As is our yearly tradition, our family friend came over last night to watch the Oscars with me, despite us having seen none of the movies. Well, I saw one, the Borat movie, but it hardly qualified me to pick favorites.

We had a nice dinner, then played Yahtzee with the family and then watched the red carpet arrivals. There’s a nice overview of red carpet looks here at Vogue, in case you’re interested. Lots of plunging necklines and bare skin for the ladies (I was sometimes worrying about possible wardrobe malfunctions) and glitter. My favourite was what the singer H.E.R. wore (never heard of her before), she looked gorgeous; I loved the colour of her outfit and that it was a pantsuit and the scarf on her head, also the long hair cascading down and even the glasses.

Most handsomely dressed man on the red carpet was Riz Ahmed to me (simple, sleek, elegant) and his wife looked quite gorgeous too.

I liked that there was less frenzy on the red carpet…

By the time the awards show started at 2 am our time, Mr Esther and the kids had already gone off to bed and it was just my friend and I who were still up. To keep ourselves awake and invested, I had a printout of the nominees at the ready where I could mark the winners and keep a tally of what movie won how many awards…

… and of course my friend and I gossiped throughout, which is always fun. We stayed awake with coffee (for her) and coca cola and M&Ms and some other snacks and it worked, we didn’t fall asleep.

I’ve heard several news outlets call the ceremony ‘muted’ and I’d have to agree with that. I liked the smaller venue and the tables making it all look a little more intimate…

… but even so, somehow there was a detachment, like no one knew quite how to act or react. It felt like everyone was making sure there was no jumping up and hugging and maybe they weren’t allowed to be too vocal for fear of spreading respiratory droplets as no one was wearing masks? In any case, there was this sense of detachment. There were very few clips, the nominees were just read out without any fanfare, apart maybe from the acting categories, where each actor received a short, cringy speech which only Joaquin Phoenix refused to participate in when he announced Best Actor.

I wasn’t really invested in any of the wins this year as I hadn’t seen the movies but I was quite happy when Emerald Fennell won for Best Original Screenplay, just because I like her and really liked her on Call the Midwife a few years back. I was pleased for Daniel Kaluuya as well for Best Supporting Actor.

His speech, however, did ramble on and I kinda wished he would just stop. He even thanked his parents for having sex at one point which prompted this reaction from his mother…

You can clearly see her mouthing “What’s he going on about?” and I was wondering the same thing.

There was a weirdish music quiz moment which ended with Glenn Close doing a “da butt” move…

I really liked her outfit too, by the way. Speaking of music, I’ve got to say that I didn’t really like any of the nominated songs. It was nice to see H.E.R. win but only because that meant I could admire her in her lovely outfit.

Nomadland ended up winning 3 Oscars, it’s already been on my “I want to watch” list as I quite like Frances McDormand and the director Chloé Zhao (in the middle below) made a good impression on me as well.

My favourite speech of the evening was given by the Best Supporting Actress Winner, the Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn. She had already disarmed me at the Bafta’s two weeks ago and I really enjoyed her at the Oscars too. She was fangirling over Brad Pitt and Glenn Close, she spoke about how weird it is to be competing for Best Actress when the films are all so different and the jokes about her sons made me laugh. She really makes me want to watch Minari as well.

The evening had a weird last hour. First off, the In Memoriam section was completely rushed, maybe because it was set to the upbeat tempo of Stevie Wonder’s I’ll Be Loving You Always. Some images lingered, while others just flew by. In honesty, I, with my limited skills, could probably make a better fan video than that… What was also weird was that the Best Picture Oscar came not at the end but before the Best Actress and Actor Oscars, that felt strange.

Last, but not least, the ending of the show was really abrupt. Apparently everyone had expected Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor posthumously but in the end Anthony Hopkins won (again, I had no preference and was pleased for Hopkins, as I would have been for any of the others). Hopkins wasn’t there and there was no one to accept the award for him and so after the announcement of his win the show abruptly just ended. Totally weird. My friend and I just looked at each other in a “what was that?” kind of way. So, we switched off the TV at around 5.20 am and 10 minutes later we were snoozing in our beds.

There was a reaction from Anthony Hopkins this morning, which was quite endearing…

Overall, I was left feeling that I liked that this show had been more intimate, diverse and a little less flashy but it also missed some enthusiasm and it all felt a little strange. Quite fitting, maybe, as we do live in very strange times now.

Oscars 2019

My friend came over yesterday evening to stay up all night with me to watch the Oscars, as we do together every year (and we always take the Monday off work afterwards). We watched and I needed to blog about it, which also incidentally ties in perfectly to Herba’s and Pö’s next ‘Mach Was’ challenge that was announced yesterday: do something with awards! So, here goes: with my own fake Oscar that I have owned for many years and something to nibble and drinks, we were ready to watch the Oscars show…

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First the red carpet, of course, which we were able to see through Eonline on my TV. The kids have the week off school this week and were going to watch with us but gave up during the red carpet before the awards show even started (for us it starts at 2 am). There were some nice and not so nice outfits on the red carpet, my friend and I tended to not like the overfluffed dresses. There’s a whole overview HERE if you want to take a gander. My friend’s heart stopped dead for a moment when she spotted Jason Momoa on the red carpet. She has always liked him, I think now she’s in love. He did look wonderful with wife Lisa Bonet by his side…

The show itself was alright but a bit boring for most of it. Queen opening the Oscars was pretty cool, though:

… and the 3 ladies (Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) opening the show were quite fun. Maybe they should headline the Oscars show next year!

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Regina King quickly won Best Supporting Actress and then a load of other awards, more technical and costume and such, followed. The speeches and most of the show were a little dull, though. Lots of tears too. Anyway, my friend took a few pictures off the TV screen of some of the presenters during the evening…

We both like James McAvoy and Paul Rudd; Melissa McCarthy very much amused us in that over the top outfit she wore to present costume awards. A big highlight for us was seeing Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga perform “Shallow” together. When this moment happened (another picture taken off my TV screen), our hearts completely melted:

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Here is that performance in full on YouTube, we found it mesmerizing. I know Lady Gaga has a good voice, but boy, does Bradley sound good too!

Also, I highly anticipated seeing Richard E. Grant reacting to seeing Barbra Streisand live in the flesh on stage (she was introducing Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman).

Richard E. Grant has been gleefully joyful about his Oscar nomination. Watching his Twitter feed in recent weeks has been an absolute delight. He has been gushing about being a Streisand fan since the age of 14 and when he finally saw her live on stage, the camera showed his ‘Wow’ and it was just endearing!

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In the past two hours, as I type this, he has also chronicled meeting Streisand after the show for real:

There’s even a selfie, albeit a little blurry:

The true highlight for me came at the end, when Olivia Colman won Best Actress. I was rooting for her or Melissa McCarthy, I would also have liked to see Glenn Close win, but when Olivia won in the end, I was extremely happy!

Also, I just knew the speech would be fun…

… and how cool was it that she blew that raspberry!

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I have also just watched her press room appearance after the show, and there too she is just as adorable:

It’s cute that even my fave, Richard Armitage, loved to see Olivia Colman win!

So, what do I think of the winners? I like that there was not one movie sweeping up all the Oscars. Also, I’m fine with most of the acting awards. I would have preferred a Richard E. Grant win for Supporting Actor but I also really like Mahershala Ali, so was fine with him winning. I was happy with Regina King also, only Rami Malek was a bit of a disappointment to me. I would have preferred to see Bradley Cooper win, I thought he gave a phenomenal performance in A Star is Born.

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Also, one day I truly want to see Amy Adams win that Oscar! After 6 nominations, it’s time. I didn’t think Vice was the one she should win it for, but it’s time. I would have given her the Oscar for Arrival. She wasn’t nominated for it that year but she should have been and would have been a much more worthy winner than Emma Stone for La La Land (such an overrated film!), in my humble opinion.

As for Green Book winning Best Picture? I quite liked the movie, but to me it wasn’t Best Picture worthy. From the list of nominees I only haven’t seen Roma and BlacKKKlansman yet, and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of those two (especially BlacKKKlansman) would have been a better choice. That or Can You Ever Forgive Me, if it had been nominated, would have been a better win for me.

So, all in all, this was not the most exciting Oscars in the books. Due to there not being any host for the evening, it all felt a little rushed. That was good (made the show seem less endless) and bad at the same time. Part of the fun of watching the Oscars is enjoying, or taking the mickey out of, the main host. Usually, my friend and I get to bed after the Oscars at around 6 am, this time we went to bed at around 5.15 am. Even if I was a little underwhelmed with the whole show, there were some little gem highlights that I think I will remember very fondly for a while (Olivia, Bradley & Gaga, and Richard & Barbra) So, even though I’m tired now, being up all night for this wasn’t a waste. 🙂

Falling in love with Hugh again…

I have always liked Hugh Jackman, ever since I saw him in Kate and Leopold and in that first X-men movie back in 2000. He’s very much my ‘tall, dark, handsome’ type but while I always really liked him a lot, something held me back a little from absolutely loving him. Maybe it was the Wolverine thing. I really like the X-men movies, I think I’ve seen all of them, including the Wolverine ones, but Jackman was mostly an action star from my perspective and that’s not usually what I go for.

Then I remember seeing him presenting the Oscars in 2009, doing the opening number. I can tell you, I was blown away by that. Up until that point I had no idea he could even do that (silly me, if I had cared to look, I could have found out that he’s won Tonys on Broadway!).

I fell a little bit in love with him that evening. I have rewatched that opening sequence countless times since and I still love it! I started paying a little more attention to Hugh after that but still didn’t watch everything (there were more X-men). Then he did Les Miserables and he blew me away in that too!

He got nominated for an Oscar for the role of Jean Valjean, but alas lost out to Daniel Day Lews in Lincoln. My admiration has been growing for him since then. Then last week, I went to see The Greatest Showman.

Reviews for it have been so-so, I didn’t expect that much. There had been such a hype about La La Land last year and, though alright, I didn’t really like that movie that much. So, with the so-so reviews, I thought this would be in the ‘just OK’ category as well. The movie has Hugh Jackman, however, so my friend and I decided to give it a shot and we were not disappointed! It’s not a true portrayal of P.T. Barnum’s life, it’s rather a fairytale interpretation, but I have to say I loved every second of it! The acting and singing and dancing was great, the music was totally awesome, it was upbeat, happy, had a message of tolerance and inclusion, I left the cinema with a huge smile on my face and Hugh Jackman finally, totally won me over! I am so going to go see this one again… Here’s a video of the final song of Hugh’s in the movie, taped during a private performance to get the filming greenlit…

In a later interview I saw, he said he had popped a few stitches in his nose after doing this performance (he had just had cancerous tissue removed from his nose). Here is another clip from that same session, of the song This Is Me from the movie, which garnered an Oscar nomination yesterday!

Alas, that’s the only nomination this movie got, which I think is a shame (especially compared to La La Land last year!).

After seeing that, I remembered that I hadn’t watched Logan yet, which was released early in 2017 and which is the absolute last movie in which Jackman plays Wolverine. I had heard good things about it, that it was grittier and different from other Wolverine movies, and so I finally watched it last weekend.

OK, so this remains a superhero movie, but my goodness, it really was different! It was more real than any of the other movies ever felt, and yes, gritty. Wolverine is weary and battled and scarred and very touchingly cares for a very old and fragile Professor X (Patrick Stewart being brilliant again) and the young girl that comes into Wolverine’s reluctant care (played by Dafne Keen) is also excellently played! Wow, this really was a great, gritty end to the Wolverine saga, with the message that a life of killing really has it’s price… The screenplay for Logan was nominated for an Oscar yesterday as well, and I think that’s the only Logan nomination, which is really a huge shame! To me, Hugh Jackman should have received his second Oscar nomination for this!

When I think of these two polar opposite roles Hugh plays so extremely well, one right after the other, I have to say that I am blown away by this man’s talent! The man really is being robbed by not being recognized with at least an Oscar nomination for one of these two movies…

While I was catching up on Hugh Jackman movies, I also watched the movie he did in 2016 called Eddie the Eagle where he plays a down on his luck ex-Olympian ski jumper who coaches a hopeful Olympian (based on a true story). In that movie he was excellent as well, in a more supporting role!

In this movie he also reminded me of Richard Armitage more than ever before. Here he is in the movie with sunglasses…

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… and here’s Richard with sunglasses…

I can understand how people mix them up!

Oh, and Hugh Jackman has another huge thing going for him: a very happy marriage for over 20 years to his wife Deb, who is 13 years his senior.  He still seems head over heels in love with her (he mentions her constantly, lovingly, in interviews)…

… and adores the two children they adopted together…

This man is maturing so very nicely and doing such great things with his career right now! I’ll be following his projects more closely now and have just started dreaming about seeing him live on Broadway one day… 🙂

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!

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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…

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… 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…

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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.

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!