I asked Arthur about Facebook quizzes. Here’s one he did: What Is Your 2014 Anthem. He got Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. I got John Legend’s All of Me: “Wowzers, what a year right? 2014 may have held some special things in it, but this isn’t your first nor your last rodeo. People like you who give their full efforts here on this planet are rare, so anytime you need a reminder of how important you are let this legend from John ride and just reminisce. Thank you for putting so much love, positivity, and good vibes into the atmosphere… it may not seem like too much out of the ordinary for you, but Picasso didn’t know he would grow to be Picasso while he was painting either. We appreciate it, so just stay committed to giving all of yourself (into the right situations of course) in all your endeavors!” Positivity?
I’m hoping to see all the Best Animated Short and/or Best Live Action Short nominees at The Spectrum in Albany before Oscar night.
“Everyone knows” that the only reasons that the Oscars matter is so 1) audiences can go to some obscure movie and complain, “THAT was Oscar-nominated?” or “THAT was an Oscar winner?” and 2) writers can put it in someone’s obituaries: “Oscar winner John Wayne…” The Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will take place on February 22.
As I’m still in movie season mode, which runs, approximately, from November to March when it’s colder, and the better movies tend to come out, I may still see a few more films before Oscar night, or shortly afterward.
I’m pleased that I managed to see the two Best Picture nominees that were released early in the year, Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel. (I’m going to link to my reviews of the films I saw, on the first mention.)
Wow, there are a number of Oscar-nominated films this season based on real events: American Sniper, Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Mr. Turner, Selma, The Theory of Everything, Unbroken, Wild.
Best Costume Design
#Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice #Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner
I’m rooting for Budapest, because these costumes defined the characters so well, though Into the Woods was worthy.
Best Documentary — Feature
Citizenfour Finding Vivien Maier Last Days of Vietnam The Salt of the Earth Virunga
Citizenfour, which is about Edward Snowden, played at Proctors in Schenectady for three days, but I didn’t catch it. Finding Vivian Meier is about this woman who took thousands of photos, discovered only after her death. I’ve seen a woman involved in The Last Days of Vietnam, a harrowing period, on The Daily Show. Wish I had seen these.
Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist Guardians of the Galaxy, Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould #Interstellar, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher X-Men: Days of Future Past, Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
Interstellar was impressive, though the film itself was sometimes tedious. Sometimes they give this to the big box office champ, which would be Guardians of the Galaxy. AND it reviewed well overall.
Best Sound Editing
American Sniper, Alan Robert Murray, and Bub Asman #Birdman, Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Brent Burge and Jason Canovas #Interstellar, Richard King Unbroken, Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro
Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Walt Martin #Birdman, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga #Interstellar, Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten Unbroken, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee #Whiplash, Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Four movies in common in these categories. For mixing, I’m rooting for the fifth, Whiplash, which had a sound in the music competitions that had a visceral impact. But Birdman was good too, and based on just the previews of American Sniper, I figure the competition will go to one of those two.
Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture The Dam Keeper Feast Me and My Moulton A Single Life
Best Live Action Short Aya Boogaloo and Graham Butter Lamp Parvaneh The Phone Call
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 Joanna Our Curse The Reaper White Earth
I’m hoping to see all the Best Animated Short and/or Best Live Action Short nominees at The Spectrum in Albany before Oscar night, but I almost never see the documentaries anywhere, except, occasionally, online. The best supporting players, in alpha order.
Best Production Design
#The Grand Budapest Hotel, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock *The Imitation Game, Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald #Interstellar, Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis #Into the Woods, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock Mr. Turner, Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
I really thought Budapest was quite remarkable visually.
Best Film Editing
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, American Sniper #Sandra Adair, Boyhood #Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel *William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game #Tom Cross, Whiplash
Putting together a coherent story that was filmed over twelve years will almost surely mean a win for Sandra Adair for Boyhood.
Best Animated Feature
#Big Hero 6 The Boxtrolls How to Train Your Dragon 2 Song of the Sea The Tale of Princess Kaguya
I liked Big Hero 6, but have no real info on the others.
Best Original Song
#“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie; Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson *“Glory” from Selma; Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me; Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond #“Lost Stars” from Begin Again; Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
“Everything Is Awesome” is such a cheeky song. I thought the music from Begin Again was fine, and functional for the movie. Will the Academy voters throw a crumb to the fine song from Selma here? Or does it go to the dying Glen Campbell?
Though I’m a music kind of guy, I don’t feel particularly savvy at comparing scores while watching a movie, because it becomes part of the texture of the whole. Maybe this is where Interstellar will win.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher #Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy
From the preview, they managed to make Steve Carrell look REALLY creepy in Foxcatcher. Budapest is great, but, from the ads, so is Guardians, which I’m guessing will win.
Best Original Screenplay
#Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo #Boyhood, Richard Linklater Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman #The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy
It could well be Boyhood, or Birdman, which I did not love, but which won the Golden Globes. But I’m rooting for Budapest, which was wacky fun.
Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper, Jason Hall *The Imitation Game, Graham Moore Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson #The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten #Whiplash, Damien Chazelle
I suspect American Sniper will win, but I’m rooting for Whiplash.
Best Foreign Language Film
Ida, Poland Leviathan, Russia Tangerines, Estonia Timbuktu, Mauritania Wild Tales, Argentina
There were years I’d get to see one or two of these, but not this time out. Does anyone out there have any opinion on these?
#Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman #Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida Dick Pope, Mr. Turner Roger Deakins, Unbroken
I’m guessing Birdman, though Roger Deakins on unbroken is a name I actually recognize, so maybe that. Of course, I’m rooting for Budapest.
Best Supporting Actress
#Patricia Arquette, Boyhood Laura Dern, Wild *Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game #Emma Stone, Birdman #Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Without Patricia Arquette’s steady presence, Boyhood doesn’t work. She won the Golden Globe over three of these four women, and she deserves the Oscar. My only knock is that it’s hardly a “supporting” performance.
Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge #Ethan Hawke, Boyhood #Edward Norton, Birdman Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher #J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
I’ll tell you a selfish truth: I was enjoying Whiplash being this little movie that no one heard of, but that I liked a lot. Then Simmons had to spoil it all by winning the Golden Globe against all four of these guys. He deserves to win the Oscar. Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night #Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything Julianne Moore, Still Alice Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Gone Girl played for a week at the nearby Madison Theatre, but I missed it. Jones was fine but didn’t feel like “best actress” material. I never heard of Two Days One Night. Still Alice, for which Julianne Moore won the Golden Globe, hasn’t even come to town yet. Hard to judge.
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher Bradley Cooper, American Sniper *Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game #Michael Keaton, Birdman #Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
I suspect it’ll be Keaton, who won a Golden Globe for Comedy or Musical over Redmayne, who won it for Drama.
#Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman #Richard Linklater, Boyhood Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher #Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel *Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
I’m guessing this will be Boyhood’s director Linklater since he won the Golden Globes over the Birdman and Budapest. He’ll get a point for the vision thing.
American Sniper #Birdman #Boyhood #The Grand Budapest Hotel The Imitation Game Selma #The Theory of Everything #Whiplash
If it were not very good, the fact that Boyhood took a dozen years to make wouldn’t have mattered. Had it been more conventionally made, with different actors as the boy, and makeup for the adults, it wouldn’t likely have had the same impact. But ever since I saw Boyhood, I was convinced it would win Best Picture. The way they vote, only in this category, is such that, if the voter thought Birdman or Selma or The Grand Budapest Hotel were the best films, but Boyhood was surely second or third on their ballots, it would win. *** SamuraiFrog reviews Grand Budapest Hotel HERE. He reviews all the other Best Picture nominees, including his brilliant dissection of American Sniper, HERE.
No more reliving my typos and grammatical sins immortalised in filenames!”
Arthur posted an item one day last month on his AmeriNZ blog, which is on Blogspot/Blogger. Unfortunately, there was a typo in the title, a mistake he (and I) know intellectually (too/to), but sometimes the fingers aren’t so smart.
Someone pointed out the error, and while he, like I, appreciated the correction, I think it was very irritating to him. He replied: “Grrrrr. Fixed now, but it will forever remain in the file name and that fact will always annoy me. Of course.”
I don’t know exactly how he stores his files, but I did learn something a while back by trial and error. “Actually, I do believe you can change the file name by reverting the post to draft, then reposting,” I wrote.
This seemed to make him happy. “It worked!! OMG, OMG, OMG—no more reliving my typos and grammatical sins immortalised in file names. Where’s the “extra like” button on FB? Thanks! Now, could you fix our weather, too, please?”
Heck, if I could fix his Kiwi weather, I’d fix ours first.
Since I’m in a techno-blogging mood, I want to suggest that when people get a URL they want to link to, either in a blog or especially an e-mail, they should look for ways to shorten it. I get Daily Kos in my Bloglovin feed, and a cartoon I looked at had a URL of http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/16/1352285/-Cartoon-Bush-reflux?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos %2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29.
While The Wife dropped off the Daughter at the sitter’s, I waited for her, and for the massive crowd to see this film. And there was a stream of people coming in the Spectrum Theatre, to see… American Sniper, which, to be fair, had just opened, while Selma had opened the week before. Still, our theater was about 85% full.
You must understand that I recall these events extremely well. Bloody Sunday took place on my 12th birthday. I remember Andrew Young, Bayard Rustin, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, and others. I surely remember Sheriff Clark. When a guy named James Reeb comes on the screen, I say to myself, “He was a Unitarian minister from Boston.”
So here’s my review: it was great. Director Ava DuVernay was visionary in recreating the feel and look of the period. David Oyelowo didn’t so much look or sound like Martin Luther King Jr., as embodied his essence. The same can be said for Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King.
But I was having trouble writing this review, not because I didn’t know how I felt about the movie, but rather because I didn’t know what to make of the “controversy” around it. Specifically, it had to do with the role of President Lyndon B. Johnson, played extremely well by Tom Wilkinson. Even before we saw the film, an in-law had mentioned that “Selma, the film, is not exactly true.” After seeing the movie, all I can say is: claptrap.
It’s not that Selma should be impervious to being critiqued. It’s only that the criticism, which the ‘Selma’ director responded to, seems disproportionate to the total picture. Folks who well know the Alan Turing story found The Imitation Game enjoyable, even while recognizing that it’s far different than the actual events. Walt Disney didn’t actually go to London to pursue the “Mary Poppins” author, as it was portrayed in Saving Mr. Banks.
In the case of the film Selma, I believe not everything was factual – the reference to the Birmingham church bombing was in 1963, not as chronologically close to the 1965 Selma story as it might have appeared. But it showed a greater truth about a people being terrorized by racism.
Bill Moyers, who I admire greatly, thought the film was wrong in suggesting that LBJ was behind J. Edgar Hoover’s sending the “sex tape” to Coretta King. I had a chance to talk with a film critic, and we both thought the movie was far more ambiguous than that.
I didn’t agree with this section of the article from Slate: “The film’s running time is a swift two hours; I wouldn’t have minded an extra 30 minutes to learn more about the rest of the civil rights pioneers (all real historical figures) who march arm-in-arm on the front lines with King.” The film, as it says at the end, is not a documentary. There are plenty of them already about this era.
The over-a-century long relationship between Canajoharie and Beech Nut is captured at the Arkell Museum.
The food manufacturer Beech-Nut has roots going back to 1891, “to the Mohawk Valley town of Canajoharie, New York,” about an hour northwest of Albany. A number of men, including Bartlett Arkell, “founded The Imperial Packing Co. with the production of Beech-Nut ham.”
The company was incorporated as the Beech-Nut Packing Company in 1899. In 1900, the company’s sales were $200,000. Engineers from Beech-Nut patented the first vacuum jar with a design that included a gasket and top that could remain intact in transit and became a standard of the industry.
During the first 25 years of the 20th century, the company expanded its product line into peanut butter, jam, pork and beans, ketchup, chili sauce, mustard, spaghetti, macaroni, marmalade, caramel, fruit drops, mints, chewing gum, and coffee.
While the former Canajoharie plant was sold by Beech Nut in late 2013, the over-a-century long relationship is captured at the Arkell Museum, which my family visited in August 2014. Because we got a pass from the Albany Public Library, the museum stop was free. It is located in the building of the Canajoharie Library.
Other name artists, including Norman Rockwell (graphic above), also contributed to the advertisements. He has captured a real phenomenon of the period, the Beech-Nut gum girls, who would give away sticks in order to entice folks to buy packs of gum.