Archive for January, 2009
The Oscars are always a bit of a love/hate fest for me. As I get older, the Academy Awards mean less and less. As a child, they represented a wonderful world acknowledging great talent. Now, well… It seems more popularity fest and marketing than anything else. But let’s be realistic here, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want one myself… but at the same time, it would be more about fulfilling a childhood fantasy than actually being an achievement of the film itself. For me. Personally.
As in most years, many of my favorite films and performances are ignored by the Oscars. This year (though it was no surprise given previous picks at the onslaught of other Awards shows), my favorite film from 2008, ELEGY, was completely ignored as if it had never been made. And my next favorite film, HAPPY GO LUCKY, while not shut out, somehow managed to bypass a nomination for Sally Hawkins’ phenomenal performance. Ahhh… C’est la vie… It’s just an awards show, after all…
Here are the noms:
After Chief Justice John Roberts’ little flub during the inauguration, both he and Barack Obama got together again, this time in the White House Map Room, to allow Mr. Obama to say the oath of office just one more time in what White House counsel Greg Craig called, “an abundance of caution.”
Take no chances. I’m all for that.
According to the White House Official site under “Agenda” and “Additional Issues”, it states:
President Obama will keep the broken promises made by President Bush to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. He and Vice President Biden will take steps to ensure that the federal government will never again allow such catastrophic failures in emergency planning and response to occur.
President Obama swiftly responded to Hurricane Katrina. Citing the Bush Administration’s “unconscionable ineptitude” in responding to Hurricane Katrina, then-Senator Obama introduced legislation requiring disaster planners to take into account the specific needs of low-income hurricane victims. Obama visited thousands of Hurricane survivors in the Houston Convention Center and later took three more trips to the region. He worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation to address the immediate income, employment, business, and housing needs of Gulf Coast communities.
President Barack Obama will partner with the people of the Gulf Coast to rebuild now, stronger than ever.
No minced words there.
Only last week, George W. Bush commented about Hurricane Katrina on CNN:
“The truth of the matter is the response was pretty darn quick if you think about the fact that the Coast Guard and a lot of brave kids were pulling 30,000 people off of roofs as soon as the storm passed, as soon as they found people on those roofs.”
Here’s a new video put together by one of my favorite guitar players currently out there. If you live in or around New York City, then you are very lucky indeed because Stephane Wrembel plays regularly in and around the city. For the rest of us, we wait patiently for those rare moments when Stephane ventures out to us or we find ourselves in the Big Apple. He is truly gifted and extraordinary, as this little video clearly demonstrates:
It was reported earlier today that actor Ricardo Montalban has passed away at age 88. A veteran of both film and television, Montalban brought us literally hundreds of memorable characters throughout his vast career. Some of my favorites range from the passionate Khan Noonien Singh on both the original STAR TREK series episode, as well as the later film THE WRATH OF KHAN which, in my opinion, is still the best feature in the series.
Then there was his turn as the caring Armando in CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, the only truly great sequel in that run. As for TV, in addition to ‘TREK, Montalban appeared in just about every TV show you can name going back to the dawn of television itself. Mr. Montalban has left us with many memories, many roles, and many hours of endless entertainment.
Go HERE to see Ricardo Montalban’s Easter Seals’ Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech.
We have also lost Mr. Patrick McGoohan, best known for his role as Number Six on THE PRISONER. McGoohan died yesterday at the age of 80. He was also the star of The Wonderful World Of Disney’s very cool 3-part THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH, which was recently released to DVD after a very long wait. Younger audiences may also remember him as Dr. Paul Ruth in David Cronenberg’s SCANNERS and as King Edward I in BRAVEHEART. And like Mr. Montalban, Mr. McGoohan’s list of TV appearance reads like a who’s who of great shows.
Here’s the intro to McGoohan’s THE PRISONER:
Here’s a new video released by THE DEAD on the eve of ticket sales for their first tour in four years. While most of us who were “on tour” long before Jerry Garcia left this earth will never find The Dead truly satisfying without him, it is still nice to know that the music continues nonetheless, fans continue to flock, discover and rediscover, and that the boys still hear Jerry urging them forward and inspiring them to get weirder. With so much predictability in art these days, it’s nice to know there are still folks out there taking chances and pushing boundaries. Both on stage and off.
Let’s see… At the Emmy’s, Danny Strong’s RECOUNT won most of the night’s big awards. However, Danny Strong lost the writing award to Kirk Ellis for JOHN ADAMS. But let’s take a look at the big picture here. Danny Strong comes up with the idea to write a story about the Florida presidential recount that took place in 2000. An important and, some would say, dark piece of our American history. Strong gets a producer interested, they pitch it to HBO who love the idea. He writes a detailed treatment and the idea is greenlit. Strong spends months traveling, interviewing most of the key players in the story and, finally, puts it all together into what many would consider one of the most engaging screenplays to come along in years.
Danny becomes a producer on the film and is intimately involved with the entire production from shooting through editing.
Then the Emmy’s. RECOUNT is justifiably recognized in the nominations, including a nom for Strong as writer. But by the end of the night, Strong loses to Kirk Ellis for JOHN ADAMS while RECOUNT wins in almost every other category. I personally find it odd that these two writers and screenplays were in competition against each other as RECOUNT is an original work and JOHN ADAMS is an adaptation. Very different animals, indeed. Not to also mention RECOUNT is a film, ADAMS a miniseries.
RECOUNT is again nominated at the Critics Choice Awards. This time for Best Picture Made for Television. It loses to JOHN ADAMS.
Last night’s Golden Globes: Strong’s third chance to stand up and hold an award for his relentless commitment to telling this important story is lost once again to, you guessed it, JOHN ADAMS.
The upcoming Writers Guild Awards: the good news is Strong is not competing against Kirk Ellis and JOHN ADAMS again! Whew! At least the Writers Guild recognizes that these are two different categories! So while the other nominees are all deserving and, I’m sure, worked just as relentlessly and passionately on their projects, I’m personally rooting for Danny Strong. Not only because he lost out previously (and yes, it is a honor just to be nominated), but because RECOUNT truly was one of the best scripts I’ve ever read and I can’t imagine anyone more committed to getting a story out there, or a writer who was more involved in EVERY DETAIL of the making of a film from inception to completion. RECOUNT truly is Danny Strong’s baby.