Monday 25 February 2013

The 85th Academy Awards

The 2013 Oscars have come and gone apparently. And while I didn't watch the actual ceremony, I followed the media coverage surrounding it with keen interest. It is also worth noting that out of the 10 Best Picture nominees, the only one I'd seen prior to the Oscars was Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, one of my favorite movies of the moment.

But I guess that's what these awards ceremonies are there for, to highlight the cream of the crop and give those of us who'd missed out on their greatness a reason to go back and revisit them.

Let's begin with some raw numbers.

Going into the ceremony, the movie that had the most nominations was Spielberg's Lincoln (12 nominations). It was closely followed by Life of Pi (11 nominations); Les Misérables and Silver Linings Playbook (8 nomination each); Argo (7 nominations); then of course Django Unchained, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty and Armor (5 nominations each).

By the end of the night though, the big winners were Life of Pi (4 awards); Argo and Les Misérables (3 awards apiece); then Django Unchained, Lincoln and Skyfall (2 awards each).

The first award of the evening went to Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor (Django Unchained). Quentin Tarantino also won for Best Original Screenplay (Django Unchained), his second win in that category since he won for Pulp Fiction (1994). On the technical side, Life of Pi won for both Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography, much like Hugo did last year.

Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in Lincoln (surprise, surprise), while Jennifer Lawrence took home the award for Best Actress, for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. Equally predictable was Adele's win for Best Original Song (Skyfall), an award she shares with the very talented Paul Epworth.

Somewhat surprising though was Brave's win for the Best Animated Film award, over the much-better-received Wreck-It Ralph. Maybe it is just the gamer inside of me that's complaining. I am yet to sit through either movie, so I guess whatever opinion I might have is highly irrelevant.

Rounding off the ceremony were the most important categories: Best Director and Best Picture. Ang Lee won his second Best Director award for Life of Pi, while Ben Affleck finally got some much deserved recognition, winning the overall Best Picture award for Argo.

So there you have it. The breakdown. Needless to say, the two movies at the top of my must-see list right now are Argo and Life of Pi. What about you? What Oscar movies did you miss out on and would most likely go back to see?

Monday 11 February 2013

My Thoughts on the 55th Grammy Awards

So I finally managed to crawl out of bed today, having stayed up all night watching The Grammys. I was pretty excited about watching this year's awards for two main reasons. First off, my favorite band of the moment, fun., was up for a total of six nominations (including four big ones). Secondly, there were a string of high-profile performances from the likes of Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and the aforementioned band to look forward to.

But of course, it is usually the low-profile performances that end up stealing the show. Lady Antebellum did it in 2010. The Civil Wars did it last year. This time around it was Miguel's time to shine, who was joined by Wiz Khalifa for a performance of his break-out single, "Adorn." Another standout performance was Carrie Underwood's, wherein her dress was overlayed with digital images to mesmerizing effects. In the same vein, Frank Ocean gave a technically-impressive performance of his highly-controversial song, "Forest Gump."

Unlike last year, where Adele swept all the major categories, there weren't really any clean sweeps this time around (except Skrillex, who won all the electronic categories for a second year in a row). fun. took home the Song of the Year award (in addition to Best New Artist), for the song, "We Are Young" and Gotye (with Kimbra) won the Record of the Year award for "Somebody That I Used To Know."

The Black Keys won most of the Rock categories, but lost out on Album of the Year to the British indie/folk band, Mumford & Sons, who took home the night's top honor for their sophomore album, Babel. This would mark the second year in a row where a British act took home that award (last year it was Adele's 21). And while I wished it had gone to The Black Keys (or dare I say fun.), I really can't say I didn't see it coming.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

IWSG: Lazy Days

It's the first Wednesday of a new month, which means it's time for another round of Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) postings. The IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where members can share their writerly struggles and triumphs with other members. My post today would have to be relatively short, since I don't have anything to say really, other than how lazy I've been lately.

Last month, being the first month in a shiny new year, I announced all my writerly goals for 2013. But since then, I have drawn no closer to attain any of those goals. There's no excuse really, I've just been lazing around, waiting for something to happen. I don't even know what exactly. A spark of inspiration perhaps.

On the bright side, I did manage to dust off my Xbox in all that downtime. It had been relegated to the bottom of the shelf for the past year and a half. Since then, I've plowed through my long-forgotten copy of Fable 2 and presently have my sights set on that equally-forgotten copy of Skyrim. That could be considered as research, right?