PGA, DGA, & SAG winners are King

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PGA winner: The King's Speech
DGA winner: Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
SAG winners:
Ensemble: The King's Speech
Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter

TIFF's audience winner struck again! The King's Speech steamrolled ahead, sweeping the "picture" category for all the guilds leading up to the Oscars (February 27th, mark thy calendar!). And guess who's backing the film? Harvey Weinstein. Make no mistake, the company has done horribly over the years. But when it comes to pushing for Oscars gold, it would seem that Weinstein is still a force to be reckoned with. Of course, it helps that The King's Speech is very much a feel-good, populist film that should do well with a general audience - if they find it. The table is set for the King comes Oscars night.

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"Technology enabling trust between strangers" - social currency & reputation capital

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"The internet is forever" is a warning for foolish behaviour. In the near future, this stubborn internet character is going to be a tool for a new currency: social currency, built on "reputation capital." Rachel Botsman explains how it can be used for the new age of collaborative consumption (a TED talk):

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VIFF 2010 Mini Reviews: Poetry for The Sleeping Beauty

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La Belle Endormie (The Sleeping Beauty; Catherine Breillat) France. Princess Anastasia was cursed by a wicked fairy when she was born; as a result of her guardians' attempt to "protect" her, she was bound by a spell that would make her fall asleep for a hundred years when she reached age six. She would then spend that dreaming time traveling in her dream before coming to her 16 year old body a hundred years later. From the moment one of the guardian fairies claimed that "childhood takes too long," the film began to build a case against it. For certain, Anastasia - without a proper childhood experience - came to her teenage time as a child, even less self-possessed than ever before. Her tenacious, vivacious personality at age six gave way to a moody, uncertain teenager. Having aged in her dream while not really having actual growing up experience, she was a woman child who was not quite of any time. Childhood seemingly consists of frivolous things, and it may have led to the belief that it is "too long" ("for what it consists of," was what they really meant - 10 or 12 years of your entire life would not be nowhere near the time spent in adulthood). It was rather uncharacteristically unwise of god fairies to believe that - it would seem to reflect a precocious, impatient child's view of childhood rather than an immortal's. Childhood seemed, from the film, to be an important self-esteem learning period. It would've been a really good time to learn the ways of the world so Anastasia could come to the adulthood transitioning time (teenagehood) a bit more ready. By trying to shorten it in reality, they may have inadvertently cursed her with an unfinished childhood that may prevent her from growing up - and growing old - like she should. Anastasia did get some kind of deal for her hundred years of lost childhood (and so did we): her dream scape was hypnotic and magnificently beautiful, brimming with adventures and intense adolescent heartache. It was an interesting film, but, like Anastasia's childhood, remained a road meandering and unresolved.

Poetry (Lee Chang-Dong) Korea. (Cannes 2010 Screenplay winner). Mija lived with Jongwook, the grandson that her daughter had left in her care. While he worked out his angst in isolation and detachment, she sought meaning in the remain of the days by joining various classes and groups offered in her community. She stumbled her way into the beauty of poetry and found her creativity flowing unexpectedly in the tail end of her life. When a girl from Jongwook's school committed suicide and he was implicated in the process, Mija was torn between the sense of duty to protect him from the law and her sympathy for the young life lost. The hopelessness that led to the senseless death contrasted her own struggle for meaning in a beautiful scene in which Mija visited the suicide site, her familiar hat flown off in the rain. Jeong-hie Yun was an irrepressible spirit as Mija, her femininity enforced by her inner strength. Lee Chang-Dong deftly tackled the delicate subjects of meaning and mortality with much more humour and poignancy than you would expect. It would be worth your time to take a closer look at the script that won at Cannes last year.

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Tiger mother rebuttals, fun is good, yada yada

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Not much else is new - "they don't have fun for themselves, oh noes!" - but I rather like how pretty sounding this is (via BigThink; this is the best part so feel free to ignore the rest):

Self-celebration is bad because it corrupts an important part of public life: It says people's shared sense of reality should be distorted in the name of good feeling. But self-acceptance is different. It says you exist apart from the evaluations and opinions of others. If you don't have this feeling then you're only as good as the next test.
It's true - if you measure happiness by public success, then you'd need continued public success to maintain that happiness. If you measure happiness by pleasure, then you'd need continued pleasure to maintain that happiness. If you measure happiness with a mixture of both ... you get the idea. Rocket science, it is not. Problem is, public success depends on "doing" rather than "being," and on other people accepting our goods as, well, good. It also comes to most people in smaller intermittent doses. It takes time and effort to get people to agree with us on our 'goods,' and we love for our happiness to be imminent and easy. So what a culture that emphasizes the individual's happiness advises its members to do to achieve and sustain this ideal? Self-pleasure and entertainment! To wit:
All misfortune, said Pascal, comes from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
That's the secret to keeping a democratic, "godless" society relatively riots-free. If you can't self pleasure, you'd be a lot less happy than you are now. We sell fun because it keeps the mass in check. At least, that was the plan. But fun without a social component stagnates the group's progress, which decreases collective public successes. And then the Amy Chius complain because there's less public success to measure happiness according to her. It's a rather knee-jerk reaction, but what else do you expect in the age of Snooki?

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The meaning of Burlesque

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As explained by:
Dr. Lucky
Burlesque Performer, NYU Professor
Fascinating and all that, but I'm even more curious about the speaker's background. I had no idea that a. a university professor can officially be a burlesque performer b. you can officially get credits for taking your clothes off c. you can get a PhD in burlesque d. you can name yourself Dr. Lucky and be hired by the academics and e. performative was a word. I must be in the wrong profession.

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Oscars 2011 Nominations!

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Surprises: Nolan was overlooked for Directing, Boyle missed a directing nod, Jacki Weaver got a nomination, Mila Kunis missed her nomination, no Waiting for Superman, Inception was passed for editing, Black Swan was snubbed for Another Year in screenplay, Tron got snubbed for visual effects, Alice failed to get a Make-up nod, and what the frak is with the 4-nominees Song category?

Yay for: Michelle Williams! The Illusionist!

Word: Looks like Black Swan just got dropped out of the race, and True Grit got back on.

How we did: I did most horrible in Director, Sound Mixing, Documentary, and Foreign Film. But I got five perfect 5s, including score! Grizzly got all 10 picture nominations. And The Tempest! And The Coen Brothers! Without alternates: Me: 84/105 nominations guessed (that actually materialized - 4 songs category threw me off!) = 80%. Grizzly: 86/105 = 81.9%. With alternates: Me: 94/105 nominations guessed = 89.5%. Grizzly: (without Dark Horse!) 92/105 nominations guessed = 87.6% and (with Dark Horse, a.k.a. cheating!) 99/105 = 94.3%!!

PICTURE
The Social Network
The King Speech
Black Swan
Inception
The Fighter
Toy Story 3
The kids are alright
True grit
127 Hours
The Town / Winter's bone

Alt. Winter's Bone

Dammit Winter's bone!

DIRECTOR
David Fincher
Christopher Nolan / Coen Brothers
Darren Aronofsky
Danny Boyle / David O. Russell
Tom Hooper

Alt. David O. Russell

Whoa that's weird leaving Nolan out. Inception is like, REALLY directed. That has to be the biggest surprise - that Tom Hooper for KING'S SPEECH is the favoured director over Nolan. Not to mention Boyle!

ACTOR
Colin Firth
Jesse Eisenberg
James Franco
Jeff Bridges
Robert Duvall / Javier Bardem

Alt. Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem! I should've gone with my hunch! Gosh darn SAG!

ACTRESS
Natalie Portman
Annette Benning
Jennifer Lawrence
Nicole Kidman
Michelle Williams

Alt. Hilary Swank

BOO YA! *hifives*

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
John Hawkes
Andrew Garfield / Jeremy Renner

Alt. Jeremy Renner

Doh! We underestimated Jeremy Renner!

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo
Mila Kunis / Jacki Weaver
Amy Adams
Hailee Steinfeld
Helena Bonham Carter

Alt. Jacki Weaver

Jacki Weaver!! Haven't seen that performance but Mila Kunis wasn't all that great in Black Swan so ... Jacki Weaver!

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Black Swan / Another year
The Fighter
Inception
The kids are alright
The King's speech

Alt. Another year

Uh oh, Black Swan's in trouble!

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Social Network
True Grit
127 Hours
Winter's bone
Toy Story 3

Alt. The Ghost Writer

Another perfect *hifives*!

EDITING
The Social Network
Inception / The Fighter
The King's speech
Black Swan
127 hours

Alt. The fighter

We didn't get this category perfectly, but I'm really surprised Inception didn't get editing. That movie is all edited! Wow I'm surprised at the number of nominations Inception got left out of.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
True Grit
The Social Network
Inception
Black Swan
The King's speech

Alt. 127 Hours

Raise another hifives!

ART DIRECTION
Inception
Black Swan / Harry Potter
The King's speech
True Grit
Alice in wonderland

Alt. Tron: Legacy

Didn't see that Harry!

COSTUMES
Alice in wonderland
Black Swan / I am Love
The King's speech
True Grit
Burlesque / The Tempest

Alt. Made in Dagenham

FAIL. Oh man, why didn't I know of The Tempest? Griz, one.

SOUND MIXING
Inception
The Social Network
Black Swan / Salt
True Grit
127 Hours / The King's Speech

Alt. Tron: Legacy

You disappointed me Oscars. Salt? Over 127 Hours?

SOUND EDITING
Inception
True Grit
Toy Story 3
Black Swan / Tron Legacy
The Social Network / Unstoppable

Alt. Tron: Legacy

Un-friggin-stoppable. :/

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Biutiful
Incendies
Life, above all / Dogtooth
In a better world
Outside the law

Alt. Dogtooth

Gosh darn Dogtooth! And gosh darn that 'inside tip' I stole from someone about Life, above all!

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Waiting for Superman / Gasland
Inside job
The Tillman story / Restrepo
Exit through the gift shop
Waste land

Alt. Client 9: The rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer

Whoa, Waiting for Superman got shafted!

ANIMATED FEATURE
Toy Story 3
How to train your dragon
The illusionist

Alt. Tangled

Yay Illusionist! Well done!

VISUAL EFFECTS
Inception
Alice in wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Tron: Legacy / Hereafter
Iron man 2

Alt. Scott Pilgrim vs the world

Haha Tron.

MAKE UP
Alice in wonderland / The Way Back
Barney's Version
The wolfman

Alt. The Fighter

Aging came through again, but Alice got left in a hole.

SCORE
Inception
The Social Network
The King's speech
127 Hours
How to train your dragon

Alt. Tron: Legacy

Perfect 5 again! In your face!

SONG
You haven't seen the last of me, Burlesque*
Coming home, Country strong
We belong together, Toy Story 3
Shine, Waiting for Superman / If I rise , 127 Hours
I see the light, Tangled

Alt. If I rise, 127 Hours

*Uh, what happened to the 5th song?

Full nomination list here.

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Tender Speech : a must-read accompaniment to Blue Valentine

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After having seen the frustrating Blue Valentine, I've been meaning to write a review on it. Seeing that I don't have the time at the moment, I'll point to a beautiful, eloquent piece of writing by Tasha Cotter posted on The Rumpus instead (via The Daily Dish). Read the whole deal (it's a quick read, promise), but here's a sample:

At this point I say nothing, which I know is wrong and unthinkable, but I keep imagining myself a shore, and he is a shore and an ocean is crashing against both of us. Nothing is sticking; everything is in flux. Language is somewhere in that water I want to stop and the only way to find words is for the water to leave me with the right shells and the shells are language. I think, Let there be an I missed you on the sand, a love, or at least an it’s been way too long. Let me find something here. But everything is blank. The beach and my mouth are failures. My husband is a beige coast. The water in my brain rushes in and out. I see myself see myself. I wait and try, but the water leaves me with nothing.

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Oscars 2011 Predictions!

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The nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and I feel the need to make predictions. I will also do live nominations tomorrow morning, bright and early. It's a tradition I haven't missed in a number of years. It also helps to scratch my itchy wings. My special guest, Grizzly, helpfully contributes (in purple?).

PICTURE
The Social Network
The King Speech
Black Swan
Inception
The Fighter
Toy Story 3
The kids are alright
True grit
127 Hours
The Town

Alt. Winter's Bone

• 127 Hours
• Black Swan
• The Fighter
• Inception
• The Kids Are All Right
• The King's Speech
• The Social Network
• Toy Story 3
• True Grit
• Winter's Bone
Alternate: The Town
Dark Horse: Shutter Island
This category is ridiculously long, but so are winter days, and there's no way for me to avoid that short of being transported to the equator. I left out Winter's Bone because it's carried by a woman, and we know how sexist AMPAS is, if they have to choose (yes, they're choosing between The Town and Winter's Bone). A much stronger list this year compared to last, when that TV feel-good movie starring Sandra Bullock made the cut, no doubt causing her subsequent split with the wonderful Jesse James.

DIRECTOR
David Fincher
Christopher Nolan
Darren Aronofsky
Danny Boyle
Tom Hooper

Alt. David O. Russell
• Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
• Joel & Ethan Coen - True Grit
• Tom Hooper - The King's Speech
• David Fincher - The Social Network
• Christopher Nolan - Inception
Alternate: David O. Russell - The Fighter
Dark Horse: Danny Boyle - 127 Hours
Tom Hooper's only there because for some reason, people in the Guilds really like The King's Speech. The movie basically leaves your head as soon as it enters it. It won the PGA though. Since when did Americans care about some stuttering British King? Coen brothers were ignored by the DGA?

ACTOR
Colin Firth
Jesse Eisenberg
James Franco
Jeff Bridges
Robert Duvall

Alt. Javier Bardem
• Jeff Bridges - True Grit
• Robert Duvall - Get Low
• Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
• Colin Firth - The King's Speech
• James Franco - 127 Hours
Alternate: Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine
Dark Horse: Javier Bardem - Biutiful
The category is quite strong this year. If it was up to populist-me, I would replace James Franco with Javier Bardem. I'd be pleasantly surprised if Ryan Gosling got a nod for Blue Valentine, but I don't think that's his best work so, no dice.

ACTRESS
Natalie Portman
Annette Benning
Jennifer Lawrence
Nicole Kidman
Michelle Williams

Alt. Hilary Swank
• Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
• Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
• Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
• Natalie Portman - Black Swan
• Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine
Alternate: Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Dark Horse: Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
The only reason I stuck Hilary Swank in the Alt. prediction was because she was nominated by the SAG. Why did they do that? I have no idea. She probably threatened to bite them. Hailee for both actress and supporting actress? Someone's in looove.

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale
Geoffrey Rush
Mark Ruffalo
John Hawkes
Andrew Garfield

Alt. Jeremy Renner
• Christian Bale - The Fighter
• Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
• John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
• Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
• Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Alternate: Jeremy Renner - The Town
Dark Horse Matt Damon - True Grit
This field is weak, because Andrew Garfield is in it. Nothing against Andrew, but man was he ever boring in the movie.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Melissa Leo
Mila Kunis
Amy Adams
Hailee Steinfeld
Helena Bonham Carter

Alt. Jacki Weaver
• Amy Adams - The Fighter
• Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
• Mila Kunis - Black Swan
• Melissa Leo - The Fighter
• Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
Alternate: Lesley Manville - Another Year
Dark Horse: Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom
I want Jacki Weaver to be nominated, because rumours have it that her character is the Aussie version of Melissa Leo's bad mother in the Fighter. What would even be better, but is never going to happen, is that Barbara Hershey got the nod also. Then we can have a trifecta of mommy dearest. But then, the category would suck. Let's kick Helena Bonham Carter out and replace her with Lesley Manville. That may make it all better.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The kids are alright
The King's speech

Alt. Another year
• Black Swan
• The Fighter
• Inception
• The Kids Are All Right
• The King's Speech
Alternate: Another Year
Dark Horse: Blue Valentine
I would be surprised if anything else sneaks in.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Social Network
True Grit
127 Hours
Winter's bone
Toy Story 3

Alt. The Ghost Writer
• 127 Hours
• The Social Network
• Toy Story 3
• True Grit
• Winter's Bone
Alternate: The Town
Dark Horse: The Ghost Writer
Toy Story 3 should be there because it's the last of Toy Story and it makes older people sad and stuff. Go Ghost Writer? The Town is also a viable alternate, but picking two alternates is cheating, cheating, I tell you.

EDITING
The Social Network
Inception
The King's speech
Black Swan
127 hours

Alt. The fighter
• Black Swan
• The Fighter
• Inception
• The King's Speech
• The Social Network
Alternate: True Grit
Dark Horse: 127 Hours
The Fighter and 127 Hours are neck in neck for the fifth spot. I went with 127 Hours because it's more showy. Also, James Franco is hosting the Oscars.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
True Grit
The Social Network
Inception
Black Swan
The King's speech

Alt. 127 Hours
• Black Swan
• Inception
• The King's Speech
• Shutter Island
• True Grit
Alternate: The Social Network
Dark Horse: 127 Hours
I'm not sure why The King's Speech is there. Probably because of Geoffrey Rush's apartment in the film. It had really pretty wallpapers.

ART DIRECTION
Inception
Black Swan
The King's speech
True Grit
Alice in wonderland

Alt. Tron: Legacy
• Alice in Wonderland
• Inception
• The King's Speech
• Shutter Island
• True Grit
Alternate: Black Swan
Dark Horse: Tron Legacy
I'm not sure what the Art Direction is in True Grit, but I didn't want to list Tron: Legacy way too many times. It's depressing. What's with the Shutter Island love?

COSTUMES
Alice in wonderland
Black Swan
The King's speech
True Grit
Burlesque

Alt. Made in Dagenham
• Alice in Wonderland
• Black Swan
• The King's Speech
• The Tempest
• True Grit
Alternate: Burlesque
Dark Horse: Tron Legacy
They need to make more period pictures because "Oscar nominated Burlesque" is just wrong. What is The Tempest?

SOUND MIXING
Inception
The Social Network
Black Swan
True Grit
127 Hours

Alt. Tron: Legacy
• Black Swan
• Inception
• Toy Story 3
• Tron Legacy
• True Grit
Alternate: The Social Network
Dark Horse: Iron Man 2
I'm confident about my nominations. Don't disappoint me, Oscars.

SOUND EDITING
Inception
True Grit
Toy Story 3
Black Swan
The Social Network

Alt. Tron: Legacy
• Inception
• Iron Man 2
• Toy Story 3
• Tron Legacy
• True Grit
Alternate: Black Swan
Dark Horse: 127 Hours
I'm banking on The Social Network steamroll. And in case you're wondering why there are two sound categories, I only have this to say: :/

FOREIGN FILM FEATURE
Biutiful
Incendies
Life, above all
In a better world
Outside the law

Alt. Dogtooth
• Biutiful (Mexico)
• In a Better World (Denmark)
• Incendies (Canada)
• Life, Above All (South Africa)
• Outside the Law (Algeria)
Alternate: Even the Rain (Spain)
Dark Horse: Dogtooth (Greece)
Other than Biutiful, which I've seen and am quite certain of its Oscar baitibility, I don't know why the other ones are there. Probably because I have to pick 4 other names amongst the short listed. Griz probably did the same. Go internet groupthink!

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Waiting for Superman
Inside job
The Tillman story
Exit through the gift shop
Waste land

Alt. Client 9: The rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer
• Exit Through the Gift Shop
• Inside Job
• Restrepo
• Waiting for Superman
• Waste Land
Alternate: Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Dark Horse: Gasland
I'm guessing Gift Shop based on the enthusiastic praise for it from those who have seen it. Eh, Griz?

ANIMATED FEATURE
Toy Story 3
How to train your dragon
The illusionist

Alt. Tangled
• How To Train Your Dragon
• The Illusionist
• Toy Story 3
Alternate: Tangled
Dark Horse: Despicable Me
It's the only category I'm nervous about, because it's the only category with a picture I care enough about that not many people have seen. It's not How to train your dragon (I keep wanting to write "how to drain your dragon" and I'm not sure that it would've been a children's film). Maybe if everyone agreed on this, it will come true. Psychic energy!

VISUAL EFFECTS
Inception
Alice in wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Tron: Legacy
Iron man 2

Alt. Scott Pilgrim vs the world
• Alice in Wonderland
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
• Inception
• Iron Man 2
• Tron Legacy
Alternate: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Dark Horse: Hereafter
This year's effects kinda sucked, except for Inception. Also, Tron: Legacy is a likely nomination, which may potentially give it an edge over pictures like The Ghost Writer. I'm not hating on a film I haven't seen. I'm just basing my opinion on other people's opinion. I'm a people's person.

MAKE UP
Alice in wonderland
Barney's Version
The wolfman

Alt. The Fighter
• Alice in Wonderland
• Barney's Version
• The Wolfman
Alternate: The Way Back
Dark Horse: Jonah Hex
We have to have aging make up! I don't even remember The Wolfman. I'm putting it down because presumably they needed to put a lot of make up on a wolf to turn it into a man for the movie.

SCORE
Inception
The Social Network
The King's speech
127 Hours
How to train your dragon

Alt. Tron: Legacy
• Alice in Wonderland
• How To Train Your Dragon
• Inception
• The King's Speech
• The Social Network
Alternate: Never Let Me Go
Dark Horse: The Ghost Writer
All prognosticators base their predictions of this category on the famous names involved. There's so much recycling of names here that it makes for the greenest category ever. That was funny, right?

SONG
You haven't seen the last of me, Burlesque
Coming home, Country strong
We belong together, Toy Story 3
Shine, Waiting for Superman
I see the light, Tangled

Alt. If I rise, 127 Hours
• "If I Rise" - 127 Hours
• "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" - Burlesque
• "I See The Light" - Tangled
• "We Belong Together" - Toy Story 3
• "Shine" - Waiting for Superman
Alternate: "Me and Tennessee" - Country Strong
Dark Horse: "Coming Home" - Country Strong
Did you hear about the US government poisoning the birds?

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Everyday people's quote: A true scientific spirit

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Caught Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Daily Show recently, promoting a new season of NOVA Science on PBS, and he had this to say:

When you are on the frontier of knowledge, between what is known and what is unknown, reaching out into that abyss, sometimes you actually have to make stuff up that might be true, so that you can organize a research plan to find out whether or not it is. This is the creativity of discovery.
Beautifully put.

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Earning her stripes: Tiger "mommy dearest" Mother may have some important points

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"There are so many ways to end up in a good spot."
A parenting book - Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - exploded on the internet and came to my attention with an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal and several reaction pieces, of which NPR's interview with the author is most telling. As someone who taught a parenting course and is currently advising parents of at-risk children, naturally my curiosity was piqued. It took me a total of three tries to get through the excerpt, not because she was a poor writer, but because she was rousing the teenager out of me: I recognized her, and her words were like poison to my senses. I did not want more parents getting the idea that somehow, authoritarian parenting was the ideal for their child. But I'm glad I finished the article and read other reviews that actually bothered to digest what she had to say, because the tiger illustrated some very important parenting techniques hidden beneath the simplified pitching of Western versus Chinese style.

This book is meant to provoke, not to give an accurate or scientific account of ideal parenting, or Chinese parenting. A few details about the book stood out in subsequent reactions to her questionable approach. In the NPR interview, it was pointed out to her that her husband, also a Yale professor, had the kind of up-bringing that she seemingly railed against conceptually (but not in practice). Yet there he was, achieving a similar kind of success she was having. How could you say one style is superior to another if the results match? She conceded the point, adding a further crucial piece to the picture: she was co-parenting with a fun-loving parent, and her family "did have a lot of fun." Another notable detail came with the revelation that her daughters were allowed to read and criticize the menu script of her book. How un-authoritarian of her! You could even say, if we were to simplify it in her terms, "Western." Chinese kids don't criticize Chinese parents! Right? Finally, her book ended as her children reached their teenage years, which would be the most notoriously difficult time to parent. It's also the age at which earlier parenting style would start to become more apparent in their children, the first appearance of the result of earlier parenting years. There are plenty of prodigal children who don't function well beyond the parents' claws, and her children are yet to be tested. I wouldn't claim success - the kind that she would care about - just yet. The good part was about to begin.

It should be stressed that strategies like hers are not new; they're just being repackaged as a remedy to cure a deteriorating society. When results are lacking, people naturally look at imposing structures as a way to counteract what feels like chaos, invoking a sense of control over what seems to be out of control. It's a wishful strategy, and not particularly creative, though not necessarily ineffective. What she was practising, upon closer inspection, was actually towing the line of authoritative parenting rather than authoritarian, the latter of which would be the kind of dictatorship a "tiger mother" may inspire. She waged an easy argument against permissive, indulgent parenting, which exists, well, everywhere. Even China! Needless to say, the whole deal with her argument concerning Chinese vs Western parenting style is more of a marketing ploy than a thoughtful observation based on any kind of fact. Nevertheless, there are some very important pointers to take away from the provocative piece.

Based on the excerpt and her interview, the potentially long lasting success of her children may be attributed not to her military-esque, insanely obsessive and controlling behaviour, but to other known beneficial forces at work:
  1. "Earn your play": Amy's right - hard work is extra hard at the beginning, and nobody likes doing things she feels overwhelmed about. Children master a lot of things that are hard, and they would need to do so in order to grow and survive. Amy enforced discipline in her children, with a never-say-die attitude that's important to success. Practice makes perfect - that's not just an empty motto, it's a living truth (though dependent of where you draw that perfect line). Working hard is really hard to instill, and yet necessary for long term success. It is most likely to lead to at least small successes that could do wonders for the coveted self-confidence. It teaches commitment, faith in success, and sense of internal locus of control. Many depressed folks suffer from external locus of control - they believe their life is not in their hand. I believe in working hard and playing hard, if not equally so. The work ethic and commitment principle could be applied to any aspect of their life. Sadly, Amy was pretty entrenched in a couple of areas of the girls' life, and seemingly forgot all about play. Applying a fitting principle to different but similar situations is part of an important learning process, and what makes for further successes later on.

  2. "A parent is not a friend": Related to the idea of discipline is that of parenting. In an attempt to bond with children and be accepted as "cool" by them, sometimes parents forget that they're not their children's peer. Children have their autonomy, but they need the structure to learn at least the establishment of boundaries. Parents look out for their children's safety and well being because children are just not cognitively and emotionally fully developed yet to make long term, complicated decisions. They provide rules so children know what to expect. Being a parent is also kinda like being a leader, giving parents the chance to model leadership style. It's a source of comfort to know that you can rely on someone to keep an eye on you like they're supposed to. Perhaps it explains why people in time of great confusion would turn to god as the ultimate parent, and why AA would work for some folks. Time and time again, I would see troubled folks searching for that strict, parental figure to "straighten" them out. What they needed was proper parents, and not older friends who couldn't take care of themselves never mind their own children. Amy was a total dictator in many instances, but she definitely tried to be their parent rather than their friend.

  3. "Be where your children are": I'm talking about time and effort spent with the children. Amy was not simply throwing money at her children, or enrolling them in programs that function mostly to babysit like a lot of other well-to-do, ambitious parents. She spent hours going over their work, devising practice tests to help them do better. She was their teacher and their parent, all the while giving them the sort of attention that many children crave. Scarily obsessive, sure, but it's more time spent building a bond with the children. I bet it's why some of her intuitive but stubborn behaviour paid off - she spent enough time working on them to have some understanding of how they worked. And it's probably why she could throw her relationship with the children into the battle of wills and not be afraid that something would break. Parents' relationship with the child is their biggest, and best, leverage.

  4. "Do as you say": Role modeling is so important for kids, and actions speak just as loudly as words. Parents often make the mistake of not following their own rule and expect their children to. Do as I say and not as I do! Children sometimes would adopt the opposite way of being from their parents, if their experience led them to believe that their parents' way was undesirable. But that would only lead to children knowing what to run away from, while learning nothing of what to run towards. They would have to learn that elsewhere, if at all. Whereas if you show them that you are responsible by your actions, they will learn what responsibility look like. Respect yourself, and you'd teach your children to respect themselves. It maybe harsh to reject your children's hand-made birthday card, but in the context that they had forgotten your birthday and made half-hearted attempt at a gesture, rejection could communicate to the children your own self-respect and standards. Amy worked just as hard as her children, and was there with them all the way. Her line was hard but consistent, creating a very reliable role model that her children could count on. This in turn could foster a sense of stability, a sort of security that could be a foundation for inner strength further along in life.

  5. "Love is a doing": It's so important that her hardcore approach was encased in a loving context. Amy showed her children that they were loved, not just silently but with expressive physical bonding, like snuggling or sharing jokes. This is not the case for a lot of kids suffering through "tough love." Their parents are unwilling or unable to show any "soft" side, opting instead to remain in their "bad cop" role. I'm not sure how much of it was shown to her children, but enough that they were able to express anger (in Lulu's case) - a complex and difficult emotion to express by children of strong willed parent to said parent - and open affection for her after fiercely fought battles.

  6. "Greater expectations": Holding your children to a standard that you know (and hope) that your children can achieve is not a shameful thing to do. While we speak of the stress and the weight of expectation, it can actually be quite beneficial to self-esteem. Children internalize parenting style learned earlier on, including expectations, and it's a form of self-respect to expect great things from yourself. From my own experience, having parents who simply assume that I could be great at everything I did helped me to tackle most things like I could master them if I had put in the work. It has its downside, but it gives me a sense of mastery and a "let's do this" attitude that you just can't build fast enough with successful experience. Expectation can also be used like that rabbit being used in dog race to motivate the dogs: expectations motivate, so long as the next point is in place.

  7. "A challenge I can do": Amy did not simply expect her children to be instant genius at everything. She found multiple ways to work with her children to get there. She gave them the tools to handle their challenge either directly or through enrolling them in programs that would help foster their skills. It's important to feel competent, and having few tools with which to wrestle difficult challenges would only create a greater sense of self-helplessness, leading to the bad kind of stress and the anxiety that comes with it.
Amy's daughters may or may not be miserable later in life, but should they be successful, functional folks, I would be more inclined to attribute it to the above factors. Her approach, while not as drastically or distinctly "Chinese" as first appeared, is questionable as a necessity in producing her desired result. As stated in the opening quote of this post, taken from Amy herself in the NPR interview, there are many ways of arriving at the same place (both good and bad). Most children function just fine when they grow into adults with responsibilities, even though no parent is perfect, because we are resilient, creative creatures by nature. My belief is that it's our successes AND mistakes that produce the unique grooves our children take on. There are very special, very successful people out there who came from a very special, but painful place. There are also very special, very successful people who came from loving, affectionate homes. There are of course successful, miserable people and contented people doing work others may not consider "successful." The interaction between parents' personality, parenting style, life circumstances, and the child's temperament/personality (partially genetically determined) combine for interesting results, some of which may be predictable while others not so much. So the most important question a parent faces is this: what kind of a child do you want to raise? What is successful to you?

Perhaps the decline in math and science grade average compared to other countries reflects a shifting attitude of parents in America (or North America): grades are great, but we don't believe that's all there is to success. There are stories of people making it big without academic success - look no further than past president George W. Bush, a proud C student. The land of opportunity promises success to a host of people taking different routes: basketball players, rappers, movie stars, reality TV stars, game show winners, college drop-out entrepreneurs, etc. If you hold a different attitude than this, and you attempt to apply techniques that reflect this more lateral attitude, it shouldn't be too surprising if the child doesn't perform as you would like. In the greater cultural context, depending on the extent to which the child identifies with her heritage, her new American (or North American) attitude may be the end of your academic dream. Should you be inclined to go nuts for success in a specific area of your child's life (like Amy did), you may end up with a genius who finds it difficult to 'have a good time,' something that Amy admitted to be struggling with. In a culture were "fun" is paramount, I could only imagine that not being able to join in would pose tremendous difficulty with relationships later in life. In a recent film, The Black Swan (Aronofsky, 2010), you could see the product of over-mothering on a child's attempt to flesh out the rest of her humanity, as Nina struggled to become a woman in spite of her mother's dream of eternal innocence pushed through her. Overbearing mothering is a bit more complex than that, as shown by Amy in her memoir, but you get the point.

It's very well that all of that drilling could produce another Amy Chua, a successful, functional, contributing member of society. Various versions of similar parenting practice unfortunately also produce the greater percentage of my clientele, so I'd be a bit more hesitant to follow suit, availability bias be damned. If you value your child's enjoyment and success in life, I'd suggest some slight modifications to the Tiger stripes. Success tends to couple with failure, joy with sadness or anger. You can't be expecting kids to learn how to achieve one end of the spectrum without learning how to deal with the other. Amy only prepared her kids to not say "no" to challenges, but they may very well be ill-equipped for life's many inflexible "no" to them. Mistakes are a fact of being human, and at some point, acceptance is the only way through to the other end. I suppose this might be the challenge they may face later on, along with a host of other conflicted feelings and psychological repercussions from such extreme parenting, and it may give shape to very "special" women. Everyone has something to work through though, and it shapes who they are. Is it a psychologically damaging card to deal? That's for the children to find out, through their experience, detached from their mommy dearest.

Brilliant children still have to start somewhere. And that's where parents have their control: shaping the rest of their child's life, starting with who they are.

Here's a brief clip on what's considered bad parenting by Lawrence Steinberg, Professor of Psychology at Temple University, on BigThink:

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Golden Globe Awards Winners, live, kind of

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*Winner
Predicted winner
Dark horse
Pleasant surprise (if applicable)

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King's Speech
The Social Network*

Yup. Oscar gold's up next.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right*
Red
The Tourist

Polite clapping? Uh oh.

Best Director – Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network*
Tom Hooper - The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan - Inception
David O Russell - The Fighter

zzzz

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Johnny Depp - Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp - The Tourist
Paul Giamatti - Barney's Version*
Jake Gyllenhaal - Love And Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey - Casino Jack

That's an awful speech. At least he salutes the Great Nation of Canada?

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Colin Firth - The King's Speech*
James Franco - 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter

The right (and oldest - look at all that youth!) man wins!

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama

Halle Berry - Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan*
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

Mila "Sweet lips" Kunis. Hahaha. Aw.

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right*
Anne Hathaway - Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie - The Tourist
Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone - Easy A

There's really no other competition, is there. Whoa Al Pacino looks slightly crazed? "Mark Ruffalo is an awesome sperm donor."

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
Amy Adams - The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
Mila Kunis - Black Swan
Melissa Leo - The Fighter*
Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

Oh yeahhh. Great speech. Will certainly fare well for her upcoming Oscar.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
Christian Bale - The Fighter*
Michael Douglas - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
Jeremy Renner - The Town
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

Woo hoo it's Christian Bale! I missed it while washing dishes. *fists*

Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me
How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Tangled
Toy Story 3*

I'd like to see Hailee nominated for Oscars for being so cute.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy - 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg - The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan - Inception
David Seidler - The King's Speech
Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network*

He is so. ORANGE.

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (Mexico/Spain)
The Concert (France)
The Edge (Russia)
I Am Love (Io Sono L'amore) (Italy)
In A Better World (Denmark)*

I'm surprised too. Will we care? Time will tell!

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Bound to you - Burlesque
Coming home - Country Strong
I see the light - Tangled
There's a place for us — Chronicles of Narnia: the voyage of the dawn treader
You haven't seen the last of me — Burlesque*

Aw, where's Cher?

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat - The King's Speech
Danny Elfman - Alice In Wonderland
Ar Rahman - 127 Hours
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross - The Social Network*
Hans Zimmer - Inception

Um. Trent Reznor? Trent Reznor! Of NIN! In ... a suit! Whoa.

FASHION/SHOW COMMENTS
Hits
  • Eva Longoria's dress
  • Sandra Bullock - my goodness she looks terrific with the bang and soft make-up, and the dress makes her look like she's basked in rose petals
  • Lea Michele's (Glee) ruffle dress
  • Natalie Portman - preggie! Gorgeous dress. That red flower really pops!
  • Olivia Wilde - wicked black dress
  • Robert Downey, Jr. - nice gamble with the red tie
Miss
  • Julianne Moore's one wing dress
Memorable
  • Tina Fey & Steve Carrell - They should really host one of these things one day.

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Golden Globe Awards Predictions: In which we crown the Oscars hopefuls

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Hey, Melanie Laurent is in The Concert! Must rent!

Anyway, the Golden Globe airs tomorrow night, and as a tradition, I make predictions for posterity. I must also color code, because, everything must be pretty*:
Predicted winner
Dark horse
Pleasant surprise (If applicable)

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The King's Speech
The Social Network

The Social Network should win this, because any other picture would be just be weird.

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (Mexico/Spain)
The Concert (France)
The Edge (Russia)
I Am Love (Io Sono L'amore) (Italy)
In A Better World (Denmark)

I have seen the trailer for every film except Biutiful, which I have actually seen at VIFF. They look interesting, but I'm basing my judgment on how much of a feel good movie they are. Although Biutiful isn't a feel-good movie, it's the most well known of the bunch. Plus it has Javier Bardem, who's completely overlooked by the Globe, so maybe they want to reward the film here.

Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me
How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Tangled
Toy Story 3

Frankly, if Toy Story 3 doesn't win, I'll give up predicting. My horse is The Illusionist, but. it. ain't. gunna. happen.

Best Director – Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network
Tom Hooper - The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan - Inception
David O Russell - The Fighter

It gets interesting here, because I don't see Fincher taking it. It's the least showy of the nominees? I think the melodrama in Black Swan should be up the Globes' ally.

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama
Halle Berry - Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

The Foreign Press loves Nicole, but unless she's wearing a burqa in the role of a suffering middle eastern woman with epilepsy, I don't see her winning again. Natalie Portman should have this in the bag.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Colin Firth - The King's Speech
James Franco - 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter

This is the strongest Globe group. If The Social Network juggernaut rolls, Jesse Eisenberg may nab the ball. But Colin Firth should win this, if there's any justice. He should've won the Oscars last year, for A Single Man. Pay back time!

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Alice in Wonderland
Burlesque
The Kids Are All Right
Red
The Tourist

I couldn't even bring myself to predict anything else. Any other picture winning this category would render this a complete, utter joke. As much as I think the Globe is already generally a fluffy tail of a bunny award, any other win would shoot them down a ridiculous, beyond campy crap hole that they'll never be able to get up again. But then, they did vote for Madonna, so I don't know.

Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway - Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie - The Tourist
Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone - Easy A

Annette got this. But I would seriously have fits of hilarity should Angelina win.

Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Johnny Depp - Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp - The Tourist
Paul Giamatti - Barney's Version
Jake Gyllenhaal - Love And Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey - Casino Jack

This category sucks and is completely irrelevant to the Oscars. Maybe they'll reward Johnny Depp for showing up, I'm not sure. The saner thing to do would be to reward Paul Giamatti, but Barney's Version is crap. This category sucks.

Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
Amy Adams - The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
Mila Kunis - Black Swan
Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

Melissa Leo was awesome in the Fighter, she should win it. Mila Kunis is more nubile and has a sexy scene with Natalie Portman. Will the Globe vote with their groin? We'll find out tomorrow!

Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Motion Picture
Christian Bale - The Fighter
Michael Douglas - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield - The Social Network
Jeremy Renner - The Town
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

Please let it be Christian Bale. Please let it be Christian Bale.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy - 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg - The Kids Are All Right
Christopher Nolan - Inception
David Seidler - The King's Speech
Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network

If there's one thing The Social Network has, it's clever dialogue. It's almost TOO clever. Were they robots?

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat - The King's Speech
Danny Elfman - Alice In Wonderland
Ar Rahman - 127 Hours
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross - The Social Network
Hans Zimmer - Inception

Everyone knows the Inception score. Plus, as a Best picture nominee, and a blockbuster, it must win something!

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Bound to you - Burlesque
Coming home - Country Strong
I see the light - Tangled
There's a place for us — Chronicles of Narnia: the voyage of the dawn treader
You haven't seen the last of me — Burlesque

Wow, talk about a boring category. Give it to Christina, at least it's ... something. I don't know. Maybe Cher would get it just because she would be hilarious on stage, with or without exposed sixty something body parts. It's a family show!


*from Lady Vengeance (Park, 2005)

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Bill Murray's speech to Sofia Coppola, at the NBR awards, for some reason

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I'm just stealing articles from New York Magazine left and right tonight, but this is the last one I swear. Truth is, I want to be Bill Murray when I grow up. And I want to try what he was having.

"They told me I have two minutes. I'm going to pop this Red Hot [candy, pops in mouth] so I'll be finished in two minutes [mumbling with candy in mouth]. Why do you give this award? Why? Because you have to throw a party. Because you have to compete with the Golden Globes. [Cheers.] We all asked that question. You're able to get out tonight, celebrate — without your relatives — you earned, you deserve it.

But why do you give it to Sofia Coppola? Why? Because you want to encourage her, I think. I think that's the real reason. Look at her. Look at her! She comes from a family, mother and father both very successful, creating entertainments, amusements and thought-provoking work. She wrote a spec script for The Virgin Suicides. The ambition of these young people! Can you believe it? The ambition! She got the job as the director. She directed Lost in Translation in another country in another language, and got a prize for it. [Pause.] God, this is a hot, hot Red Hot. But I'm not going to quit on you people, because I've got another half in my pocket. [Pulls out of pocket and puts in mouth.] I got one-and-a-half in my mouth right now. [Mumbling.]

Then she decided to work in France to do Marie Antoinette, a woman who was beheaded. Not a sympathetic creature, you know what I mean? A lot of directors would pass on that. Who do you root for? You know? She did a beautiful, beautiful movie. And now she did this Somewhere, which takes place ... somewhere. I know — it's the West Coast, Southern California based.

So why do you give this person an award? You give them an award because they need to be encouraged. You look around this room and you can look around the world of film, and you can see people that had great success early in their career. Some earned it, some were lucky, some got it, but at a certain point they live life. They get into life, like Sofia has gotten into life. She's married. Now she's got a French lover, [Phoenix front man Thomas Mars]. She has two beautiful children by this French lover. And I, for one, am sick of these directors with the homely kids. I can't stand it anymore. She's got beautiful children, and she lives with a man who is the only Frenchman that could play rock and roll, ever. Fuck Johnny Hallyday! [Audience roaring, gasping.] Pardon my French.

So why do you encourage these people? Because now she's had this success, she's had this work, she has this life, she has this family, she has this thing going, and now is when people like you have chosen well to say, 'Let's give this person another boost, let's give this person another boost to say keep going, because now life will come to you hard, like it's come to everyone that's lived long enough. It comes hard and it gets in the way of your career; it stops your career, it stunts your life — not necessarily your life, but it definitely will make your career go left. You show me an actor doing a shit movie, I'll show you a guy with a bad divorce. [Audience laughs.] Right? Right? [Looking around the room.] You know who I'm talking about.

I want the best for her because she's a lady. She acts like a lady, the women in her movies are ladies, they have strength and power and they're strong. Even the pole dancers in this latest movie have enough of themselves to call the lead actor a moron. As all you women should call your men this evening, I think, pole or not. So we'll give her a boost to say, go on, you've made it this far, push her out into the deep water, push her out into bigger and deeper films, more and more films. She has a beautiful eye. She has great taste in the people she chooses to work with. She's a kind and thoughtful director and editor and producer. She's all the things that we hoped we could be when we were like this. She's been lucky so far, and she's been strong so far. Let's keep her going. I appreciate your asking her to receive this award for filmmaking achievement. Ms. Ms. Ms. Sofia Coppola."

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'Tis the season to kiss some butt

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Right, Armond White? Good thing he's on the other side of the equation, because he might just die from the reprehensible indignant of having to be nice.

From the recent New York Critics Film Circle Award show, of which he chaired and thus hosted:

The final award was Best Picture, which went to The Social Network, another film White didn't like. He said of presenter Tony Kushner (whom he referred to simply as "Kushner"), "Surely, Kushner, whose great play, Angels in America, showed how spiritual and social connections transformed lust and envy to family, friends, and country, has a moral responsibility to explain why The Social Network is good."
The evening ended with a few hisses at his final swipe ... "I thank the circle for not awarding a single award to Greenberg"

Not that I disagree with the guy, mind you. And he is quite entertaining. It's still buttholery though. Excuse my language.

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DGA nominations 2010

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The final piece of the nomination puzzle before the Oscars begins its red carpet roll out. Hold back your tears, here are the predictable, goodish populist films and the boys band nominees:

FEATURE FILMS
Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky
The Fighter, David O. Russell
Inception, Christopher Nolan
The King's Speech, Tom Hooper
The Social Network, David Fincher

DOCUMENTARIES
Last Train Home, Lixin Fan
Inside Job, Charles Ferguson
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Alex Gibney
Waiting for "Superman", Davis Guggenheim
Restrepo, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger

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Producers and Writers Guild Nominations 2010

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Producers Guild Nominations are extremely influential when it comes to predicting Oscars gold for best picture. These are the hopefuls:

FEATURES
127 Hours
Black Swan
Inception
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit

No surprise here, like, at all. And for the first time in years, I've seen them all. My bet is on The Social Network taking the big prize, with the Black Swan being, well, the black swan to steal its thunder. But, nah.

ANIMATED
Despicable Me
How to Train your Dragon
Toy Story 3

I'm very disappointed that The Illusionist did not make the list (though not surprised). It was probably the one picture that would really benefit from the awards season, and it certainly deserves its spotlight.

DOCUMENTARY
Client 9: the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer
Earth Made of Glass
Inside Job
Smash His Camera
The Tillman Story
Waiting for "Superman"

Other than Inside Job and Superman, the category is pretty open sesame.

The Writers Guild ran into a bit of a ridiculousness this award season. Some of the big guns - The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone, The Ghost Writer, The Way Back, Toy Story 3, Another Year and Blue Valentine - were all ineligible for one reason or another.

ORIGINAL
Black Swan, Screenplay by Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin; Story by Andres Heinz
The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception, Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right, Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
Please Give, Written by Nicole Holofcener

I'd bet on The Kids are All Right taking this category, unless they really, really like Black Swan.

ADAPTED
127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy; Based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
I Love You Phillip Morris, Written by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra; Based on the book by Steven McVicker
The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
The Town, Screenplay by Peter Craig and Ben Affleck & Aaron Stockard; Based on the novel Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan
True Grit, Screenplay by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen; Based on the novel by Charles Portis

The Social Network should have this in the bag.

DOCUMENTARY
Enemies of the People, by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath
Freedom Riders, by Stanley Nelson
Gasland, by Josh Fox
Inside Job, by Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
The Two Escobars, Written by Michael Zimbalist, Jeff Zimbalist
Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?, by John Scheinfeld

Isn't it kinda weird that documentary should have a category for the WGA? I guess that's just the kind of invisible job documentaries don't advertise?

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