Eric Hynes has a good article in Slate celebrating the quiet performances that make loud, Oscar-winning ones possible. Meanwhile, Bullz-Eye covers Academy Award upsets they’d like to see along with 10 movies the Oscar nominees don’t want you to see.
Okay, so we have finally arrived. “American Idol” last night reached the Top 24, meaning it’s now in America’s hands to vote and out of the hands, mostly, of judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. That, of course, is good news for J-Lo, who had an extremely difficult time, and started crying as the episode ended Wednesday night, saying, “I don’t know if I can do this….” Well, that was a short cry that the producers made a bigger deal out of. She got it together in the first 30 seconds of last night’s episode, and the judges had those contestants march down a mile-long hallway one by one to learn their fate.
First up, the bubbly J-Lo wannabe, Karen Rodriguez, and she was the first one through, due in large part to her “connection” with J-Lo. Next was 17 year old Robbie Rosen, who would learn his fate from Tyler, who is horrible at delivering good news! Anyway, Robbie was in, and that’s good for America, because this kid is really awesome. Next was Tatanyisha Wilson, who was a yes. Then two people I never remember seeing sing were eliminated. Okay.
Tags: American Idol, American Idol 2011, American Idol 2011 blog, American Idol 2011 recap, American Idol blog, American Idol recap, American Idol Season 10, American Idol Season 10 blog, American Idol Season 10 recap, American Idol Top 24, Brett Lowenstern, Casey Abrams, Colton, Erin Kelly, J-Lo, Jacee Badeaux, Jackie Wilson, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Jennifer Lopez, John Wayne Schulz, Jordan Dorsey, Julie Zorrilla, Karen Rodriguez, Kendra Chantelle, Lauren Alaina, Lauren Turner, Pia Toscano, Rachel Zevita, Randy Jackson, Robbie Rosen, Scotty McCreery, singing competition, Stefano Langone, Steven Tyler, Thia Meghia, Tim Halperin
It should be stated for the record that while the editorial ‘we’ was used for the title of this column, the truth is that these are my picks and solely my picks. Let the first person speak begin.
The Academy Awards have become a bit of a bore in the last few years. There have been next to no surprises in the major categories, except for perhaps Marion Cotillard winning Best Actress in 2008 for “La Vie en Rose” or Alan Arkin winning Best Supporting actor in 2007 for “Little Miss Sunshine.” For the most part, it’s decided pretty early who’s going to win, which totally sucks, if you ask me. Of course, there are categories where there is a performance that clearly stands out above the others, but in many instances, people win their Oscars not because they’ve delivered something otherworldly, but because it’s their time, and they’re due, or other such nonsense. These aren’t lifetime achievement awards, and this isn’t a welfare system. If you give the award to the worthy party the first time around, there will be no need to “pay them back” later (cough, Al Pacino and Denzel Washington).
Take Tilda Swinton, for example. Do you know why she won the Academy Award for Supporting Actress? It’s because the voters knew that “Michael Clayton” was going to be shut out in every other category, so they threw Swinton a bone just so the movie walked away with at least one award. What the hell kind of logic is that? Did she really give the best performance or not? She was perfectly fine in the movie, but there was nothing extraordinary about it, certainly not compared to her hilariously stone-hearted harpy in “Burn After Reading.” Needless to say, the Academy’s predictability of late has led me to rebel, which is why on Sunday, I’d love nothing more than to hear the following five names be read instead of what we will probably hear.
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, “Inception“
Current Frontrunner: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”
“The King’s Speech” is a wonderful little film. It was #7 on my list of top movies of 2010. But that story has been done many, many times before, while “Inception” was so layered that it took 10 years for Christopher Nolan to finish it. Small stories are good stories, but when someone dares to, pardon the pun, dream like Nolan did here – and better yet, pull it off, which he does in spades – that should be rewarded. It would also serve as a warning shot across the bows of every action movie director that story matters, damn it, and to get rid of the jive-talking robots.
Tags: 127 Hours, Christian Bale, Christopher Nolan, Five 2011 Oscar upsets we'd like to see, Geoffrey Rush, Hailee Steinfeld, Inception, James Franco, Melissa Leo, Movies, Oscar upsets, The Fighter, The King's Speech, The Social Network, True Grit
Last night “Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo merged its own brand with Food Network, as Paula Deen was introduced by host Padma Lakshmi as the guest judge for the quick fire challenge. But first they showed the remaining six chefs hanging around with Richard showing Mike his “secret black book” of ideas. Hmmm. So what do you think the challenge was? Yep, making a dish using a deep fryer.
Paula said that her true favorite was Antonia’s fried shrimp and avocado, but she was disqualified for only plating one dish in time and not two. The least favorites were Dale (oyster and beef) and Carla (catfish). The two favorites not named Antonia were Richard (fried mayo balls!) and Mike (fried chicken in oyster shells–an idea he stole from Richard’s book!). Mike won and he took home $5K as well as angry glares from Richard. Wow. Carla, Tiffany and Antonia talked about this being a violation of “chef law.”
Tags: Antonia, Carla, Dale, Gulf, Gulf oil spill, John Besh, Mike, New Orleans, Padma Lakshmi, Paula Deen, Richard, Tiffany, Tom Colicchio, Top Chef, Top Chef 2011, Top Chef 2011 blog, Top Chef 2011 recap, Top Chef All Stars, Top Chef All Stars blog, Top Chef All Stars recap, Top Chef blog, Top Chef recap, Top Chef Season 8, Top Chef Season 8 blog, Top Chef Season 8 recap
This is when it must really be hard to be Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez or Steven Tyler. The talent pool for this season’s “American Idol” is one of the best ever, thanks in part (sorry, I’m going to say it) to Simon Cowell not being there to choose good looks over vocal talent. So now, when you get 61 very talented singers and have to pare that down to 24, it’s a difficult task.
Anyway, last night’s episode began with the contestants being bused to Las Vegas to the Mirage, where a running of a Beatles show is behind shown. They were given 24 hours to learn a song and working with AI vocal coaches before performing in front of the judges. But first, they had to sing in front of industry veteran and AI exec this season, Jimmy Iovine. Iovine and his producer friends were brutally honest with the singers, which is something some of them really needed. They also were “encouraged” by “vocal coach from hell” Peggy. Ha!
Tags: American Idol, American Idol 2011, American Idol 2011 blog, American Idol 2011 recap, American Idol blog, American Idol recap, American Idol Season 10, American Idol Season 10 blog, Ashley Sullivan, J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, Las Vegas, Mirage, Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, Steven Tyler, the Beatles, vocal competition