Tag Archives: Viola Davis

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.

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“Fences” was fabulous, and hey, the Oscars aren’t so white this year! Aziz Ansari really brought it on “SNL.” And Roger Federer turning back the clock at Aussie Open

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I love, love, love movies that are beautifully written, with monologues that go on for minutes, acted out by thespians who are at the top of their craft, with a cast that is as good as they are.

Sitting in a movie theater while a screen legend brings the fire, the pain, the heart, and the love, using words that were written by master craftsmen, just inspires me so much.

I felt that way when I sat mesmerized in a theater last week by “Fences,” the new movie Denzel Washington and Viola Davis burned through the screen in. Based on a Pulitzer-Prize winning play by August Wilson, “Fences” tells us a simple story of a married couple in 1950s Pittsburgh, with Denzel’s Troy character the hero of his own world as a garbageman still bitter about not getting the chance to play baseball in the major leagues. He’s a flawed man raging at slights, real and imagined, but he’s trying to do his best by his family and his son.

Denzel is phenomenal in this role, especially in the scenes where he’s just riffing to his buddies and his wife. Oh yeah, that wife is played by the fantastic Viola Davis, who more than holds her own as Rose, Troy’s long-suffering wife who indulges his crazy talk because she knows he’s, deep down, a good man.

Until we learn, maybe he isn’t. Davis lights up when she finally gets a chance at a few good monologues of her own, tearing into Troy as she asserts herself for the strong, independent woman she is.

The supporting cast is great, too, especially Mykelti Williamson as Troy’s brother, who suffered a serious head injury in World War II and has been radically altered in more ways than one.

“Fences” is terrific filmmaking, which is why I’m thrilled it got nominated for Best Picture on Tuesday, with Davis and Washington deservedly getting acting nods as well.

Oh yeah, the Oscars nominations came out Tuesday! And some non-white people got picked in the big categories, whoo-hoo! After two years of the Oscar picks being paler than a Trump rally, we got some welcome change.

All kinds of people of color are up this year, including Washington, Davis, Dev Patel for “Lion” and director Barry Jenkins for “Moonlight.”

We’ll see if any of these people actually win, but hey, at least you gotta give the Academy credit for finally realizing that non-white people occasionally do good stuff.

**Next up, I wrote here last year about my newfound appreciation for Aziz Ansari, who created and starred in the Netflix show “Masters of None,” which ought to be coming back for Season 2 soon.

Ansari is also a fabulous stand-up comic, and over the weekend he did a really strong opening monologue (apparently that’s the word of the day here at Wide World of Stuff) on “Saturday Night Live.”

Stay through to the end, that’s the best part.

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**And finally today, it’s feeling an awful lot like 2006 at the Australian Open, and it’s so great.

Venus Williams, age 36, making one hell of a resurgent run and reaching the semifinals, where she’s one win away from probably playing her sister Serena in the finals (wouldn’t that be something?)

And my man Roger Federer, given up for dead in terms of him ever winning another major, just two wins away from Slam title No. 18 in his first major tournament since missing six months with a knee injury last year.

Federer is playing out-of-his-mind right now, hitting winners and moving about the court like a guy who’s 25, not 35. He has to play Stan Wawrinka in the semis, which will be no cakewalk, and then maybe, could it be… Rafa Nadal in the finals?

The tennis Gods have been so good to us the last 10 years or so. Is it too much to ask for one final Williams-Williams championship match, followed a day later by one more Federer-Nadal match? I mean, come ON tennis Gods, we’re stuck with President Trump, can’t we at least get this?

Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal has a fabulous article up on the Federer resurgence, and what so many of us tennis fans are feeling right now.

The Golden Globes were more blah than usual, but saved by the amazing Meryl Streep. And a dull NFL wild-card weekend hopefully leads to better games next week

 

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

This image released by NBC shows Viola Davis presenting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC via AP)

The Golden Globes are usually the best awards show of the season, because they’re unpredictable and fun and have winners who never win the other big awards.

But Sunday night, I don’t know if it was just that the host was bad (sorry Jimmy Fallon, but this isn’t your best role, can’t Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host this show every year? They’re beyond awesome), or that the crop of movies was blah, or I just wasn’t in the mood, but for the first two hours the Golden Globes were boring as all get out.

Then, it was time for Meryl Streep’s lifetime achievement award, and man, did business pick up. Nobody in Hollywood is more admired than the amazing Ms. Streep, for her grace, for her unparalleled talent, and for her kindness toward others.

Viola Davis gave Meryl a wonderful tribute, some clips from her many phenomenal performances were shown, and then the greatest actress of our lifetime spoke.

And she spoke about the man who in less than two weeks will actually be our President.

Surgically, beautifully, she called him out for what he is: A mean, thoughtless, ignorant jerk who conned millions through his use of insults and fear-mongering.

This short speech was phenomenal, and needs to be watched. “When the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose,” she said. Here is a woman speaking from the heart, about what so many have felt. By far the best thing at Sunday night’s ceremony. (If the speech isn’t embedded below, click here to watch it)

Some other highlights and lowlights from the show (as always, most of the fashion comments come from my beautiful and talented wife):

— The best thing on the show besides Streep, I thought, was Kristin Wiig and Steve Carell’s hilarious bit about the first animated movie they’d seen. Such great deadpan and timing!

— Viola Davis was stunningly beautiful in her dress; Emma Stone looked “airbrushed,” and Mandy Moore looked amazing. Nicole Kidman, I believe, will still look gorgeous at age 113.

— “The Americans” stars were robbed once again, but I was thrilled to see Sarah Paulson win for her Marcia Clark portrayal in “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” and Tracee Ellis Ross gave a heartfelt and winning speech after her win for “Blackish.”

— Really lame, stupid and borderline offensive of the writers to make lame Sofia Vergara accent jokes (come on, her saying “anal” instead of “annual?” That’s Howard Stern-level humor), and portray Goldie Hawn as a ditzy old lady not able to read a TelePrompter. Just bad.

— Do awards shows really need a DJ? Apparently. Qwestlove didn’t get to do much but he’s always fun.

–Didn’t see “La La Land” and don’t plan to, but “Moonlight” sure as heck looks amazing. And I can’t wait to see “Fences” as soon as I can.

— Seriously, bring back Amy and Tina next year. And every year from now on.

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**Finally today, that was one shitty NFL wild-card weekend, eh? Four games, and not really a great game among ’em. Hell, there wasn’t even a good game among them, although Giants-Packers was at least compelling for 2.5 quarters.

This happens fairly frequently on wild-card weekend; sometimes the matchups just aren’t good. Still, we should have at least two good games next weekend. Couple thoughts on the slop that took place Saturday and Sunday…

— The Dallas Cowboys are the happiest team in the world this morning, since the Giants, the only team that’s beaten Jerry Jones’ boys all year when they were playing all their regulars, are not coming to Texas next weekend to try to beat Dallas a third time. The boys from New Jersey played a miserable game Sunday, although part of that was because Aaron Rodgers played superhuman quarterback for the final three quarters.

I still don’t think the Cowboys are making the Super Bowl with a rookie QB and a rookie running back, but their road got a lot easier with the Giants losing.

— I feel really badly for the Raiders, of all teams. They were having a sensational, dream-like season for 14 games, going 11-3 and looking like a real title threat.

Then their star quarterback, Derek Carr gets hurt, and they don’t win again and they’re forced to play a kid making his first-ever NFL start (Connor Cook) in a road playoff game. No way that goes well.

— I think the chances of Donald Trump coming out of the closet as a gay man on Jan. 20 are greater than the chances of the Houston Texans going into New England next week and beating the Patriots. I’m just sayin.’

— The two “good” games I see next week are the NFC contests: I guess the Steelers could upset Kansas City, but I just don’t think Pittsburgh’s D is all that great this year. But I think the road teams are very frisky next week in the NFC. Seattle looked very solid and have all kinds of playoff experience, and the Matt Ryan-led Falcons certainly have a choking history in the playoffs.

And the Packers, winners of seven in a row, with a QB playing out of his mind, absolutely could steal that game in Dallas. Rodgers is on a different plane right now, just totally locked in.

And really, who doesn’t want to see Jerry Jones unhappy?

A terrific Oscars with Billy C back in charge. And Mormons baptizing Anne Frank posthumously? Very weird

Billy Crystal brought the funny.
Jennifer Lopez brought the wow.
And Meryl Streep brought the love from everyone.
One year after a pretty miserable Oscars hosted by two people who had no idea what they were doing, Billy Crystal and Hollywood kicked some serious butt last night at the Academy Awards.
As always, yours truly was taking notes and gathering comments from the peanut gallery.
— Sunday was the first time I ever attended an Oscars party, and it was super fun. Some friends of my girlfriend host a gala every year at their gorgeous NYC apartment, and it was super fun. There was a pool, some theme food (I particularly liked the Eggstremely Loud and Incredibly Toast) and good mocking all around.

— I thought Billy Crystal was terrific, though oddly he laughed at his own jokes a few times. His opener was hilarious, most of his jokes were spot-on (his political joke was funny, as was most of his banter with the stars in the crowd), and he kept the show moving. He sounded a little under the weather, which was unfortunate. Still, I thought he was great.

–Those Cirque de Soleil people were fantastic. Many at our party went “wow” at the contortions they were doing. Gotta see that show live one of these days.
— Jennifer Lopez. Wow. It seems like only at awards shows do I remember how beautiful she is. Thought Clooney’s girlfriend Stacy Kiebler, and Tina Fey looked particularly fetching, too. As did Viola Davis.
— So happy Meryl Streep won her third Oscar (her speech is at this link), and first in 29 years. Yeah, maybe Viola Davis deserved it, too, but Meryl has been so good for so long that I’m glad she got another moment in the sun. She’s the finest actor, male or female, in America. And a genuinely nice person from Jersey, too.
— Line of the night from one of the guys in our party: “Nick Nolte could walk right from the red carpet into the Death Montage.” Man, Nick looked bad.

— Very sweet speech by the guy who won for “A Separation,” from Iran. Thought it was interesting that as he was speaking, the cameras flashed right to Steven Spielberg, one of the most famous Jews in Hollywood.
— I thought Emma Stone was trying way too hard. But the “Bridesmaids” ladies were very funny.
— Chris Rock killed in his two minutes on stage. I wish they’d let him host again.

— Finally, though Streep’s win was one of the only “upsets” of the night, I actually liked the pacing of the show this year. Some of the interludes were interesting and I’m glad they didn’t subject us to 9 Best Picture vignettes. Good stuff all around.

**I don’t quite know what to say about this story, except to just present it and let you try to figure it out. For at least the 10th time, the Mormon Church has decided to posthumously baptize Anne Frank into the church. Yes, that Anne Frank, the famous Holocaust child who hid in the attic, then died in a concentration camp, has been baptized into the Mormon church.

Offensive and bizarre on so many levels. To try to use Anne Frank as a prop to proselytize about your religion is just ridiculous and wrong.
Would love to hear Mitt Romney weigh in on this one.