Saturday, February 16, 2013

And the Oscar Goes to... part three

Academy Awards

About 1 week away from the Oscars! Crazy! I actually rented Beasts of the Southern Wild at my local RedBox but have not been able to watch it yet. Since it is snowing tonight, I may just stay home and watch it!

Just fyi, these are some of the less exciting categories that I know very little about and am basically just randomly making educated guesses.

Animated Feature Film
Nominees: Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Wreck-It Ralph

My Pick: Brave

Animated Feature Film

Although I didn't get the chance to see Brave, I have heard great things about it and it is on my list to see, I'm going to go out on a limb and pick it. Dinsey/Pixar has a great record at the Academy Awards (9 nominations and 6 wins) and a great record of making quality, entertaining family movies.

The others seem to be a little bit lower quality of film. However, the one I would say to watch is Frankenweenie directed by Tim Burton. While I am not a Tim Burton fan, he is popular and considered "artsy" or something, but, it is important to note, he has never won.

Nominees: Anna Karenina, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Skyfall

My Pick: Skyfall

James Bond

This category has lots of previous nominees in it which makes it a real toss up. I'll level with you, I'm pulling for Skyfall because this is its cinematography person's 10th Oscar nomination and he has never won before. 10th times a charm, right?

Others to watch: Django and Lincoln. This is Robert Richardson's, of Django, eighth nomination in this category and he has won 3 times before (Hugo in 2011, The Aviator in 2004, and JFK in 1991), and Janusz Kaminski's, of Lincoln, sixth nomination  and he has won twice before (Saving Private Ryan in 1998 and Schindler's List in 1993).

Of these two I really like Lincoln best. Cinematically it was different. It was one of those things I cannot really put my finger on but it was very clear that it was different. Plus, it had some pretty intense war/fighting scenes. It would probably be my pick if I didn't just want Skyfall to win so Roger Deakins could break his losing streak.

Daniel Day-Lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln

Costume Design
Nominees: Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, Lincoln, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman

My Pick: Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mirror Mirror
This is one that I had really narrowed down my pick between Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman (neither of which I have seen) and was really unsure and then just found myself writing Mirror Mirror and decided to go with my gut.

Snow White

I think these two have the best chance of winning because they are more creative films and the costume designers had much more creative liberty than the others, which are more period films and their designers had to stick more to the period than their creative side.

I think I chose Mirror Mirror primarily because of Julia Roberts dress. It is just striking. 
Mirror Mirror
Julia Roberts in Mirror Mirror

Nominees: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook

My Pick: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Second Pick: Lincoln

Again, I have not yet seen Beasts but, just from watch clips and trailers, I think it is a unique film that took a lot of creative interpretation from the director. However, Lincoln is directed by Steven Spielberg who has 14 previous nominations and 3 wins. It is a historic film and a legendary director so I would not be surprised if it won but, again, I would like to see Beasts of the Southern Wild awarded for its uniqueness and the risk everyone involved took in making it.

I will add that I am very disappointed that the Academy left out Tom Hooper of Les Miserables. Like I mentioned in one of my previous Oscar posts, Les Mis is a game changer kind of film. Hooper took film musicals to a whole new level. His innovation in having the actors sing live during the filming rather than having it pre-recorded is, just that, innovative and raising the bar in the film industry and in acting. Because of this, I'm pushing for him to win as a write in!

Documentary Feature
Nominees: 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War, Searching for Sugar Man

My Pick: How to Survive a Plague

How to Survive a Plague is about the AIDS epidemic in the 80's and the politics and public opinion surrounding it. Unfortunately, I think we all know where the Academy is politically, and that typically influences their voting. Which is also why I think The Invisible War may also win. This film is about sexual assaults in the military. This has been a hot topic for a few years now and still has not made much progress. Between the two I think I would like to see The Invisible War win but I have not seen any of the nominated films to say that with any certainty.

Film Editing
Nominees: Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

My Pick: Argo

Film Editing?! Really?! If you someone can name the last three winners in this category without looking it up then I'll give you $100!! (disclaimer: not really)

This is just a random pick. I don't even know what makes a good film editor. But I have picked Argo because I think it's one of Argo's better shots at Winning. It is a good movie, just not quite Oscar quality.

Check back for my final picks and be sure to watch the Oscars February 24 @ 7 pm on ABC!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Justice Conference in Philadelphia!

So many of you may not know this but I am all about some justice. It is one of the things I am most passionate about in life. Even justice on TV shows. I love it. One of my family's favorite shows is NCIS and a huge part of that is because Gibbs is just and typically delivers justice in a one hour episode.


When looking at the darkness and horrors of the world, justice is what gives us hope. Hope that things will not always be dark and horrible. Hope that light is on the way. Hope that all of the wrongs will be righted. 

You don't have to look far to see injustice. It is everywhere and it can be a little overwhelming. So what do we do about it? 

Well that is why I am going to The Justice Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this February, to learn about the best ways to fight injustice, shine light in dark places, and help others do the same. 

They are going to have tons of different speakers from all walks of life who represent all types of people and organizations. For example some of the speakers I'm looking forward to hearing are Chai Ling from All Girls Allowed, who was a student leader at the Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing, China and now fights the injustice of China's One Child Policy and helps the victims of this brutal policy; or Sheryl WuDunn who, with her husband, wrote Half the Sky, and fights injustices against women around the world; and Gary Haugen, the President and CEO of the International Justice Mission, an international human rights organization that fights injustices like slavery, sexual exploitation, and oppression around the world, just to name a few. 

A Heart for Freedom
Chai Ling

To prepare I've been doing some research on the speakers and their organizations and have quite a reading list to complete before I leave. I've put it at the bottom of the page and put an Amazon link to the books on the right panel. So far I have only read A Heart for Freedom and am currently finishing When Helping Hurts, and recommend both, but I have also heard great reviews on the others from people who have read them. Maybe I will post some reviews or something later. Also, if you're not much of a reader, the documentary Half the Sky is on Netflix! Be sure to watch it too! 

Sheryl WuDunn

The conference also include tons of exhibitors like Toms, Hope International, and Food for the Hungry, World Vision, again, just to name a few. 

One for One

In addition to all of this, I'm excited about going to Philadelphia! What better place to have a conference on justice than the home of liberty itself?!  My mom and I have our Philadelphia guidebook and have been googling where to find the best Philly Cheesesteak! If you have ever been and have some "Must Sees" leave a comment or send a message.  
The Liberty Bell

For more info on The Justice Conference, click here
And be sure to check back later for my post about Philly! I can't wait!

My reading list before the conference:
  • A Heart for Freedom by Chai Ling 
  • When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert
  • Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn
  • Global Soccer Mom: Changing the World is Easier Than You Think by Shayne Moore