The Best and Worst Oscar Looks by Sydnie P.

My adorable and fashionable colleague Sydnie Payne, expert celebrity fashion blogger over at Sydnie P., has picked her best and worst looks of last night’s Oscars. Get ready to simultaneously clap and gouge your eyes out.

Best – Giuliana Rancic in Tony Ward

Giuliana Rancic looked amazing in this embellished Tony Ward Couture gown. The beautiful beading, and shoulder detail makes this the best look from Oscars 2012.

Worst – Sandra Bullock in Marchesa

Sandra Bullock is beautiful, and her Marchesa gown is gorgeous. However, the gown is unflattering on the actress, and is the biggest red carpet disappointment.

To read Sydnie P.’s full Oscar fashion breakdown, click here.

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84th Annual Academy Awards Recap

The 84th annual Academy Awards just went down and while there were a few shockers, it was mostly an unsurprising sweep for Hugo and The ArtistThat’s right, everyone’s favourite black and white, silent film that took Best Picture, Best Actor for Jean Dujardin, and Best Director for Michel Hazavicius. I am only sad that Uggie could not take home some sort of award for best trick by a canine, or best Jack Russell Terrier. Eat your heart out, Cosmo.

Hugo tied The Artist for the most wins: 5. This was largely thanks to the film’s sweep of the technical awards. The 3D epic won Best Original Cinematography, Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing (really good sound in Hugo, apparently), and Best Visual Effects.

As for the not so shocking moments: Octavia Spencer picked up Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Help. Christopher Plummer took home Best Supporting Actor for BeginnersRango took home Best Animated Feature. Woody Allen’s win for Best Original Screenplay for Midnight In ParisAnd finally, FINALLY, Meryl won her third Oscar for The Iron LadySandra Bullock can clear her conscience now.

Some of this year’s more shocking wins include Undefeated edging out Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, and as previously mentioned, Michel Hazanavicius win of Best Director over favourited Martin Scorsese.

As for the hosting, it was as stiff as Billy Crystal’s prosthetic hip and out of touch recession jokes. (What? The Oscars are excessive and culturally irrelevant in this current global recession? You don’t say! Hilarious and original, Mr. Crystal.) His opening song felt forced, unoriginal, and plain not fucking funny. My favourite portion of it was when they cut o Jean Dujardin and he smiled. Seriously, that was the high point.

Thank goodness the Oscars are over. I am just the worst during this season and therefore, I am needing my own thank you speech for this season; “Thank you to Samantha Hill for seeing every movie with me; many call you my closeted lesbian lover, I call you my celibate life partner. Thank you to my father for bankrolling all of my movie tickets and for nodding when I talked at nauseum about The Tree Of Life. Thank you to wonderful movies: you make my heart happy and continue to excite me year to year. And thank you to my readers, all 6 of you. Snark aside, if that is actually possible, I am grateful to each and every one of you. In the meantime, I’ll see you in line for popcorn.

For a complete list of the 84th Academy Award winners, click here.

Oscar Predictions By Katherine

It’s time for my old stand-by who should win/who will win predictions: Oscar edition. Get your pens poised, cause I’ll be showing you how to destroy you Oscar pool, thereby allowing you to verbally abuse all of those who pail in comparison to your Oscar greatness. Enjoy!

Best Motion Picture Of The Year

Who Should Win: The Tree Of Life – If you have read this blog even once, you will most likely know that I have a complete obsession with this bizarre, jurassic, and confusing film. Terence Mallick is a genius. Brad Pitt looked sexy in readers. Dinosaurs were there. What more do you want?

Who Will Win: The Artist – This charming throw-back to the black and white, silent era of film had every critic cheering. Literally. Every freaking critic would not shut up about this. It would be a huuuuuuge shocker if this film didn’t bring home not only this award, but plenty more.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role

Who Should Win: Damian Bachir in A Better Life – First of all, this film was one of the most affecting of the year. Second of all, Bachir is an incredibly underrated talent who deserves this, not only for his killer performance, but also for dat ass. Seriously. Google him.

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin in The Artist – As George Vallentin, Dujardin was Clark Gable, Gene Kelly, and a French George Clooney all in one. It’s particularly awkward that in winning this award, he will be beating the real George Clooney.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role

Who Should Win: Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady – She’s a fucking goddess. End of discussion.

Who Will Win: Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady – Fucking right. (Sorry for so much profanity. Meryl just does something to me, okay?)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer in Beginners – What can I say? This was Captain Von Trapp’s year. As Hal, the newly gay and newly proud senior citizen, Plummer proved that hot Canadian men just get better with age.

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer in Beginners – Everyone loves a gay old guy. Except maybe Evangelists and Anne Coulter.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Who Should Win: Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids – Okay, hear me out. Her character was based on Guy Fieri. That alone is worthy of an Oscar. Also, she grounded an otherwise ridiculous character with heart, wit, and some much-needed restraint.

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer in The Help – It’s Minny Jackson’s year. No one can stop her and her shit pies.

Best Achievement In Directing

Who Should Win: Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris – Maybe my odd attraction to this incestuous little director has skewed my choice, but I believe this film is one of Allen’s best in years.

Who Will Win: Martin Scorsese for Hugo – Scorsese took a big risk with his first foray into 3D and boy did it pay off.

Best Screenplay

Who Should Win: Kristen Wiig and Amy Mumolo for Bridesmaids – To all the nay sayers out there: this script was charming, original, hilarious and yeah, a little raunchy. Unfortunately, the raunch stigma stinks. (Literally. Did you see her poop in the street?) Anyway, the snooty, old Oscar voters will likely not be rewarding that sort of potty humour and women being all independent and hilarious. Quelle domage.

Who Will Win: Woody Allen for Midnight In Paris – I’m into it. It is deserved. Ca c’est tout. (Get it? Cause it was set in Paris. So topical and hilarious).

Best Adapted Screenplay

Who Should Win: Steve Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, and Stan Chervin for Moneyball – This trio is an Oscar voter’s wet dream. However, the film doesn’t have the cache to hold down a win. Sorry, Sorkin. You’ll have to cry into your Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Social Network. So 2011.

Who Will Win: Alexander Payne , Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash for The Descendants – They had to throw something Clooney’s way to make it worth his bronzer and carting that shiny mannequin around the red carpet all night.

Best Animated Feature Film 

Who Should Win: Puss In Boots – I chose this mostly because I enjoy Latin stereotypes.

Who Will Win: Rango – Johnny Depp as a lizard of some sort? American Western themes? Other talking animals? Oscar voters are clearly sold.

Best Foreign Language Film

Who Should Win: Monsieur Lazhar – Okay, I’m biased because it’s French Canadian. But honestly, this film was one of the most joyful, poignant, and enjoyable movies of the year. Bien sur! Poutine for all!

Who Will Win: A Separation – This Iranian import seems to have struck every right note with Oscar voters. I would be shocked if this classic Oscar bait didn’t bring home the gold.

Best Documentary

Who Should Win: Pina – This stunning 3D dance documentary may not have struck enough of an activist tone to make a ripple in the category, but it was by far the most visually impressive film I saw all year.

Who Will Win: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory – Let’s face it: HBO is like the cool kid at every award show. And the triple-homicide murder trial it is based upon is just too exciting, too provocative, and too engaging to be denied.

For a complete list of this year’s nominations, click here.

O Day!!!

It is here! Finally, Oscar day has arrived. Praise Laurence Olivier and both Weinsteins.

I will be live tweeting during this tremendously overblown event that I would give up my first born to attend. Please follow my hilarious repartee on Twitter @katherinedow . I will also be recapping the whole show right here. Get excited.

For those of you who may have missed my awards show coverage, I’ve conveniently linked all of my fabulous Oscar movie reviews below.  Enjoy and try and keep up.

The Artist

The Descendants

Hugo

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Beginners

Midnight In Paris

Moneyball

My Week With Marilyn

The Help

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Iron Lady

The Tree Of Life

War Horse

J. Edgar

Pina

Albert Nobbs

Dude Looks Like A Lady

Like Monsier d’Eon or Mrs. Doubtfire before him, the title character in Rodrigo Garcia’s Albert Nobbs takes shelter in the costume of an opposing gender. Played by the powerful and altogether quiet Glenn Close, Albert finds ways of moving us with few words, a lot of makeup, and a surplus of talent.

Adapted from George Moore’s novel titled The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, the film incarnation tells the story of Albert, a quiet, odd-looking, and timid man who works as a waiter at a posh Dublin hotel. As previously mentioned, Albert holds a secret: he is a woman, hiding behind a suit, a haircut, and an aptly-placed tensor bandage. After encountering Hubert Page (Janet McTeer), a handyman who Albert must bunk with for the night, Albert discovers a fellow cross-dresser who might share in his experiences.

Page reveals to Albert that he is in fact married to a woman, and leads a seemingly normal heterosexual life of domesticity. Inspired by Page’s aspirational lifestyle, Albert pursues a maid at the hotel, Helen (Mia Wasikowska). But Helen is involved with the hotel’s furnace repair man Joe, played to charmingly volatility by Aaron Johnson. The young lovers plot to milk Albert for all of his hard earned money, in order to move to America, leaving the tiny, sad man to solitude. In this comedy of errors, gender, and poverty, Albert must struggle to hide his true biology, while attempting to become a man in his own right.

Within Albert Nobbs, we may see a charmingly conventional narrative of oppression told in an electrifyingly original fashion. Using classical stage techniques such as asides and soliliquys, Albert’s often hushed inner-voice is still heard in a authentically clear manner.

As Albert, Glenn Close simply nails the small nuances necessary to make a subtle character readable, relatable, and interesting to an audience. Watch yo’ back Meryl.

As far as its Oscar future goes, this small but powerful film faces stiff competition from some of its louder, more flashy competition. For Best Actress, it could go to either Close for this exciting role, but chances are my beloved Meryl will be finally winning her third. Janet McTreer also faces stiff competition from Octavia Spencer in The Help. It’s very doubtful that McTreer’s exciting yet understated performance can steal Minny Jackson’s thunder. Albert Nobbs’s best chance at taking home that golden statue falls in the Best Makeup Category. Cos’ hey, any makeup artist that can make Close look anything less than stunning deserves an award, am I right?

What did you think of Albert Nobbs? Drop me a little O day commentary, wontya please?

The Second Coming – Altar Boyz at PTE

Last night, I took in the opening performance of PTE’s Altar Boyz and let me tell you, it was a heavenly night full of toe-tapping pop songs, cute twenty-something crooners, and tongue-in-cheek bible thumping.

 This wasn’t my first foray into the sweetly-satired world of Altar Boyz; PTE’s production is a remount of Winnipeg Studio Theatre’s 2009 Fringe reincarnation of the off-Broadway hit. I was one of the lucky few who got to see one of those original performances, as Altar Boyz proved to be the best-selling show of the 2009 Winnipeg Fringe Festival. Score one for the bible and boy bands.

For those unfamiliar with Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker’s off-Broadway hit, Altar Boyz tells the story of a Christian boy band that is traveling the country on its Raise The Praise tour. Fronting the Altar Boyz is Matthew (Jeremy Walmsley), the cute, sensitive heart breaker who leads the group in their pop-infused holy set. Mark (Joseph Sevillo) is the sensitive one, with silky-smooth, Mariah-esque vocal stylings and a love of a good dance solo. Luke (Michael Lyons), the rapping bad boy, has just been released from a rehabilitation centre for “exhaustion”. Juan (Marc Devigne) is the Ricky Martin inspired Latin Lover, who is searching for his long-lost parents in between Meringue steps. And finally there’s Abraham (Simon Miron), the only Jewish member, who masterminds all of the group’s lyrics, while trying to keep his own faith amongst his Christian counterparts.

Together, the Altar Boyz have landed in Winnipeg in what is the last stop in their holy tour. Their mission is to cleanse the souls of the entire PTE audience, all in 90 minutes or less. But secrets, hidden desires, and doo-rags litter their paths to righteousness. The result is a hilarious, fun, smart, and infectious pop-musical of Godly proportions.

Backing the charismatic cast is a fabulous 6-piece band, as well as an epic concert-style set conceptualized by Sean Neville, Janelle Regalbutto, and Shane Stewart. The choreography by Winnipeg veterans Sofia Constantini and Brenda Gorlick is fun, funky, and pleasingly referential. Director Kayla Gordon, whose past credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Hersteria, and Spring Awakening has once again delivered the Winnipeg audience with an exciting taste of Broadway, er off-Broadway. Get your tickets fast, folks. Chances are it’ll be a hit.

Altar Boyz runs at Prairie Theatre Exchange from February 23 – March 11. Tickets are between $25-$45 and can be purchased by phone (204) 925-5269 or at pte.mb.ca . All students with valid ID can take advantage of a $10 ticket for any unsold seat 30 minutes before show time.  

Poetry Monday – Dorothy Parker

Sorry for my tardiness on poetry Monday. Louis Riel day has gotten my week all shook up. Nonetheless, enjoy a little Dorothy Parker on me. She was a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table, a two time Academy Award nominee, and was constantly attempting suicide. Oh, Dorothy! You so crazy.

A Certain Lady

Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
And you believe, so well I know my part,
That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
And all the straining things within my heart
You’ll never know.
Oh, I can laugh and listen, when we meet,
And you bring tales of fresh adventurings, —
Of ladies delicately indiscreet,
Of lingering hands, and gently whispered things.
And you are pleased with me, and strive anew
To sing me sagas of your late delights.
Thus do you want me — marveling, gay, and true,
Nor do you see my staring eyes of nights.
And when, in search of novelty, you stray,
Oh, I can kiss you blithely as you go ….
And what goes on, my love, while you’re away,
You’ll never know.

-Dorothy Parker