Tag Archives: Joni Mitchell

The craziest Oscars ending ever, my jaw is on the floor, and what the hell happened? Oh yeah, the rest of the show was great.

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It’s 2:11 a.m. New York time, I’m exhausted and wired and still kind of in shock.

So, you know, typical Sunday.

Look, I had this whole Oscars blog post pretty much written by midnight. As you’ll read, I loved the telecast though I’m sure many didn’t. I loved who won (except for Casey Affleck who robbed Denzel), I thought Jimmy Kimmel was a terrific host, and the whole thing was done.

All I needed was a quick few paragraphs at the top about who won Best Picture, whether I was happy or sad about it, and boom. I’m off to bed.

Instead, I’ve spent the last few hours scouring Twitter and the Internet trying, like a million other people, to find out what in the hell happened at the end there.

“La La Land” won Best Picture. Their producers and director and actors all go up on stage, they make their speeches, oh well, I was hoping for “Hidden Figures” or “Moonlight” to win, but whatever.

Then there are men running around behind the “La La Land” folks, looking all frantic. Then the guys at the microphone are looking around crazily. And then it turns out… well, if you didn’t see it, watch this craziness:

I mean, HOW THE HELL DOES THAT HAPPEN? The wrong winner is called out in front of a billion people for the most important award of them all? Craziness.
So many thoughts: First, what a horrible feeling for both “winners” of Best Picture. The “La La Land” folks spent two or three minutes feeling better than they’ve ever felt, they’ve made it, they’ve won! And then… it’s ripped away.

And the “Moonlight” folks! They were robbed of the incredible moment of hearing their names called for the biggest award they’ll likely ever win. They think they’ve lost, then they find out they won and rush onstage. Craziness. (An aside many pointed out on Twitter: Can you imagine if it happened the other way around? If a film made by African-Americans, starring African-Americans, was announced as the winner and then it was changed? You would’ve heard the screaming from L.A. to New York).

— So how did this happen? Well, turns out there are two people, one on each side of the stage, who hold the envelopes for all 24 awards. There are duplicates of each envelope so depending on whichever side of the stage the presenters walk out on, they can grab the correct envelope.

Emma Stone held on to her envelope that said she won Best Actress, and apparently somehow when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway walked out, Beatty took the OTHER envelope for Best Actress instead of the Best Picture one.
If you watch, you can see Beatty looks confused, like he knows something is wrong, and Dunaway just saw “La La Land” at the end of the Best Actress card and read it.

Just amazing. The documentary about how this happened will win an Oscar one day.
And one more coherent thought before I drift off: Why didn’t the 2 people who hold the envelopes realize that each of them STILL had the Best Picture envelope in their hands when Beatty/Dunaway walked out, and raise hell then? Like tell somebody in charge or something?

Nuts. But I’m so, so glad “Moonlight” won. Fantastic picture. OK, off to bed. Here’s all the stuff I wrote before the biggest screw-up in Hollywood award show history…

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Sunday night was the 2017 Oscars, or as they were known heading in, “Hey, #OscarsnotsoWhite anymore!”

Jimmy Kimmel was hosting for the first time (he did a real nice job, and the dropping Junior Mints and other candy from the ceiling was pretty clever), and we had some fresh winners, excellent speeches, and overall a pretty terrific show (your opinion may vary)

Some thoughts on a pretty entertaining telecast:

— Gotta start with the great and deserving winners: Viola Davis, my goodness, what a tremendous speech. Emotional, poignant, thanking everyone in the cast of the fantastic “Fences” movie, and then closing with an extraordinary tribute to her parents, thanking God that they were her first role models and caretakers.

Also loved that Mahershala Ali won for “Moonlight,” (the first-ever Muslim winner of an Oscar, so take that Steve Bannon), and that the “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McRaney won for Best Screenplay, and I thought the music awards for “La La Land” were well-deserved.

— I thought the opening was pretty novel, getting all the movie stars on their feet and dancing while Justin Timberlake did his thing (I love that song.) Very cool seeing Denzel and Jeff Bridges and the like having a good time.

And I thought Kimmel’s monologue was sharp, especially the hilarious part “mocking” Meryl Streep for being a highly overrated and unqualified actress, obviously a dig at Donald Trump’s ridiculous critique of Streep. She played along, but it looked like her husband still is mad at our President.

— Sara Bareilles, singing Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” over the dead montage. Absolutely perfect. So achingly beautiful. 

— Actual conversation in my house when The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) came out to present:
Me: “Why is Dwayne Johnson at the Oscars, he can’t act.”
Wife: “I think he did one of the songs in the Monet movie.”
Me: “You mean “Moana?”
Wife: “Oh yeah, that.”

See, now I really want to see a musical about the French painter.

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— Awesome-looking celebs, according to the fashion expert in my house (my wife): Mahershala Ali (stunning in his tux); the three “Hidden Figures” women (particularly Taraji P. Henson, wow what a dress), Charlize Theron who will always look beautiful, and Dev Patel, a handsome man.
Badly-dressed celebs: Dakota Johnson (hideous dress),

— I’m sure lots of people hated it, but we loved the little historical montages about past winners of the big categories

— Very legitimate question. What the hell was Jennifer Aniston, who was never once in a good movie, doing in the second row at the Oscars? We saw her in the interminable (but kind of amusing) sketch where Kimmel gave random people on a bus tour a thrill of a lifetime. Seriously though, how does Aniston get such prime placement?

— Of course everyone was wondering if any of the winners would make political statements in their speeches, and there were a few jabs. Actor Mark Rylance’s statement about “being in opposition but not hatred” was pretty good.

But the sharpest critique came from someone who wasn’t there: Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose “The Salesman” won for best foreign film. He boycotted the awards telecast, but had a letter he wrote read, attacking Trump’s “inhuman” travel ban. It was powerful and necessary to remind the billion people watching around the world that millions upon millions of people disagree with this.

A few thoughts on Baltimore, and how this cycle will keep repeating. Praying for the great Joni Mitchell, clinging to life. And the invention of the ballgame taco-cannon!

As another American city saw anger, protest and violence erupt this week, I started thinking about the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, more than two decades ago.

Remember how crazy and unfathomable that was? A major U.S. city erupting in violence, the police powerless to stop it, all over the mistreatment of an African-American man by police, who got away with it. Looting, fires starting, violence against ordinary citizens and their businesses.

To my fellow Gen X members, it was like something out of the 1960s, and surely would be remembered as a seminal, one-time kind of event.

Now, a U.S. city gets set aflame and it’s almost commonplace. Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Md., and who knows, if that officer in Charleston, S.C. gets acquitted, they’ll bet next.

This is going to keep happening, folks. Whether it’s Baltimore or anywhere else, you can only keep an oppressed class down for so long. You can only enact policies that significantly economically hurt poor people, and people of color, for so long. You can only continue to neglect the inner cities when it comes to affordable housing for so long.

And most importantly, you can only have members of a police force completely and thoroughly abuse and take advantage of their position to injure, or let die, African-Americans who are either under arrest or about to be.

I have absolutely no sympathy for the morons setting fires in Baltimore, and throwing rocks at police (for a bit of dark humor, check out this clip of a Mom who saw her son throwing rocks at cops smack him around on TV). Those are not the people who deserve support and understanding.

It’s the law-abiding citizens trying to live their lives, and simply protest what continues to be, for decades now, the neglect and mistreatment of the underprivileged who live among us, in our towns and cities.

This is going to keep happening, unless there are wholesale changes in our economic and more importantly, criminal justice systems. Our political leaders have the power to stop this, to keep American cities from burning up.

Listen to that clip (above) of a Baltimore city councilman; he’s speaking 100 percent truth. “This can erupt anywhere in socially economically deprived America,” he says.

I’m normally an extremely optimistic guy, but I’m not feeling too confident that Baltimore is the last American city we’ll see in flames.

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**Next up today, a story on a much lighter note. The University of Nebraska-Omaha isn’t a national power in athletics, but they are certainly contributing to the history of fun stuff that happens at sporting events.

How? Well, at their brand-new ice hockey rink set to open this fall, the school has teamed up with a local business to create the world’s first Taco Cannon.

That’s right, we don’t need your stinking T-shirt cannon anymore, we’ve got meat and cheese flying through the air at 50 miles per hour!

Good God. Can you imagine getting hit in the face with one of these things? And the tacos will be wrapped, right? And who would want to eat food that’s shot 100 feet through the air out of a cannon, wouldn’t it lose its flavor as it travels through the mezzanine section?

A taco cannon is a wonderful lawsuit waiting to happen, isn’t it?

**Finally today, news came Tuesday night that the iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was fighting for her life, unresponsive and in a coma.

The 71-year-old collapsed in her home last month, but was reportedly doing better.
Man, Joni Mitchell was the soundtrack to so many lives. I was very late to the party, only “discovering” her music a few years ago, but I’ve played “The Circle Game” and “Both Sides Now” for my baby son plenty of times already.

She has a passion for music, and a beautiful way of expressing those emotions, as few others could do.

The world still needs her.

 

Learning to love Joni Mitchell, a few decades late. And Extreme Couponing? Really? And Kevin and Winnie.

My semi-regular plea for  you to follow me on Twitter here.

I think for just about all of us, there’s at least one gap in our musical knowledge.
We all think the music we like is awesome, and refined, and sophisticated, and if you don’t like it, well, you’re just wrong.
I’ll never forget a raging argument I had with my childhood friend Marc Feigelson one day while we were in college; we were arguing about some music group I said I liked, and he said they were crap. And we went back and forth for a while and then finally he just said “But Michael, here’s the thing:  the music I like is good music.”
And that was that in his mind; end of discussion.
Anyway, what I’m saying is, we all have at least one or two singers or groups who we know is legendary, and we respect them from afar, but never really took the time to listen to them.
For me, one of my gaps was Joni Mitchell. Go ahead and scoff and shake your head; I see you doing it. “Lewis, you idiot, you n ever listened to Joni Mitchell??”

Of course I’ve always known who she was, and always she knew she was an amazing songwriter with a fantastic voice. But really, I never took the time to listen to her music.  Until recently, when I heard a song of hers on a “Wonder Years” re-run I was watching, and it sent me scouring to YouTube for more.
Truly, she is/was an astonishing talent, and one I’d never truly appreciated. Here, check this out, Joni Mitchell singing the beautiful “Both Sides Now” from a concert in 1970 (Lyrics are here).

So perfect:

**I know it’s crazy that I still get surprised at some of the idiotic ideas that get made into TV shows these days. But what can I say, I still can’t believe people watch some of the bizarre stuff that’s on.
Heard about this show the other day, on TLC, which apparently is the home of mostly bizarre shows. It’s called Extreme Couponing, and it basically showcases people whose major skill in life is hoarding coupons, and then getting a $75 pair of jeans at Macy’s for like 38 cents.
Apparently it debuted last winter and is coming back on April 6. Might be train-wreck TV viewing for me.
Tell you what, my buddy Clay would be a perfect star on this show.  As cheap as they come (and I say that with affection), he loves coupons like pyromaniacs love fire.  He’d put all these people to shame.

**Finally, since I’m in one of my “The Wonder Years” re-run phases that I love getting into from time to time,  I just wanted to share this. Kevin and Winnie’s first kiss, the last scene from “The Wonder Years” pilot, with an incredible closing monologue from Daniel Stern.
Just one of the greatest shows ever.