24 February, 2009

Bed, Bath and Beyonce'

Sunday night's Academy Awards show was really wonderful. And I know I already wrote about it earlier this week but I had neglected to mention how pleased I was to see the musical tribute to...well, movie musicals. Yah.
Beyonce' was an interesting addition for the number. (BTW, I don't know how to make the little grammatical mark correctly above the 'e' in her name.)
For me, I appreciated her pulchritudinous performance.

Tuesday night, was the first address to Congress by President Obama.
I called Don to have him record it for me as I was teaching class at church. The broadcast did not actually start at 6:00 p.m. as scheduled, so when I called Don to be sure he had set up the VCR (yes, Virginia, we still own a VCR ...) he put the phone up to the television so I could hear the announcement, "The President of the United States..." When I got home at 10:00 p.m. we watched it together. And once again, I felt such gratitude and joy to see and hear our President. I appreciated how he deftly handled the difficult 'news' to share bracketed with such confidence and hope. For me, if prior to the election, anyone questioned his leadership skills as Commander in Chief, they would be feeling a sense of relief and greater security.

On Ash Wednesday, spring training began in the baseball world. Ah, it was such a relief to whiz by ESPN and see players in uniforms that quicken my pulse (even if one of them is oddly in a Brewers uniform on the mound..) And very key to this news is that Ken Griffey Jr. could get a total of $5 million this year in his return to Seattle if he stays healthy and fans flock to see him. (I would be happy to flock to Seattle). The Mariners have layered performance bonuses based upon plate appearances and attendance that could net Griffey an additional $3 million - on top of the $2 million in base salary that's in the one-year contract baseball's leading active home run hitter agreed to Saturday. I am happy to know with and for Junior how healthy he is right now and throughout the season!

Don and I are going to see "Slumdog" this week and hope to catch up on a few of the other major contenders-now-winners. And for the DVD rental market, may I recommend the Sundance Film winner, "Bottleshock". A very enjoyable movie based on a true story about a California winery in 1976.

Unconditionally sending you lots of Mardi Gras beads without any effort on your parts.

22 February, 2009

O, Danny Boyle...

'81, I won!
Woohoo. It took until the 81st Annual Academy Awards but finally . . .
The Duchess won!
...for best costumes.
Oh well, it was still sweet to hear my name announced as an Oscar winner.

Tonight, Don and I watched the 81st Annual Academy Awards. With my career having moved so far away from Hollywood, it was also the first time I had not even endeavoured to see all the major nominees. Out of all the films and performances, I guess I saw four-- "Mama Mia!" "Ironman", "The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E". We wanted to see "Benjamin Button" and "Slumdog" before the winners were announced but alas, didn't happen.

The program tonight began incredibly early and oddly, on the half-hour. Guess that was to give it an early start so they could do many of the new presentations for the nominees. As talented and as cute as Hugh Jackman is, I was not wowed by his hosting skills, nor did it really seem necessary with how most of the nominees were announced or presented. What a unique delight (and in some cases, an honor) it must have been to the current nominees to be introduced by previous winning actors from within the same categories.

It was very touching to witness the respectful posthumous honoring of Heath Ledger for his win as Best Supporting Actor. (Although, to be fair, I did not see the other nominated performances, I can say that Mr. Ledger was uncomfortably chilling in his portrayal and I do not think he won solely on a sympathy vote). It takes a lot to move a crowd that is used to playing the emotional gamut. And yes, the director guided the cameramen to choose crowd shots that reflected the touching facial reactions. The point is that the overall reaction from the oft-jaded, or at least, skilled artists was one of true respect and sadness for the circumstances of Mr. Ledger's brief life.

nb: I read that the Oscar itself will be held by his family until his three-year old daughter, Matilda Rose becomes 18 and can claim it for her own or choose to return it to the Academy.

Not having seen "Slumdog" I was able to let myself be absorbed in the joy that was exuded each time "Slumdog " won an award. The lively musical numbers gave such a clear indication of the creative joy this film must express. As much as I loved everything about "Wall-E" I could not help but be caught up in exuberance of the two songs by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar. The winning song of the two, “Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire”, showed it's magnificence and appropriateness. A.R. Rahman accepted the Oscar and said, "All my life I have had a choice between hate and love. I chose love. And I am here."

Don't know about your broadcast, but for us in Chico, the audio was about 1/16th of a second off and out of synch to what the actors were actually saying. Although annoying, we didn't let that stand in the way of enjoying the creative, out-of-the-box segments that show producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon used this year.

It was interesting to hear the political bent that is often addressed during the ceremony. This year, to me, it seemed that the harsh edge was gone. People stated their feelings, made 'their case' and moved on. I didn't feel bludgeoned by their opinions even if I am not sure I agree with using the ceremony as a soapbox.

Oh, and not that I am a fashion maven by any stretch of the imagination, but I have noticed of late the trend for evening gowns that have one swath of fabric or strap over one shoulder. In my humble, non-designer opinion, that design usually looks goofy. Give me strapless or give me sleeves.

Happy to note that Irishman, Danny Boyle did indeed garner his pot' o gold last night for his direction of "Slumdog Millionaire". It was a great joy to see the ensemble that must have flown from Mumbai to Hollywood to share in the celebration of this film.

Hooray for Hollywood.

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...