Thursday, 5 August 2010


OMFG!!! I am so excited about 'Burlesque', the original movie musical that's coming out in America around Thanksgiving. It's going to be Christina Aguilera's big screen debut and it's about a small town girl who moves to the big city to become a star...not the most original storyline but who fucking cares. The movie costars Cher....fucking Cher! Cher won the Oscar for 'Moonstruck'....and don't you forget it!!! I really love that Cher got top billing over Christina,'s all about respect!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Emmy nominations 2010!!!

Sooooo, it has been a while since my last life has been a bit hectic in the past few weeks but I won't bore you with the details. Still, I couldn't let the day end without commenting on the nominations for this year's Emmy awards, which were announced today. How exciting!!! Well, it is for me, anyway. Some of my favorite shows and tv actors have been recognized and that makes me a very happy chappy. On the drama series side, two of my favorites 'Mad Men' and 'The Good Wife' are nominated are best show while several stars from both shows have been individually mentioned. It looks like it will be a hat trick for 'Mad Men', the reigning champ in the best drama series for the past two years. Jon Hamm and January Jones, as troubled married couple Don and Betty Draper, are nominated in respective lead acting categories while their costars John Slattery, Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss feature in the supporting acting categories. These are the first nominations for Jones and Hendricks.
My favorite freshman drama series has got to be 'The Good Wife', which has taken the seemingly exhausted courtroom procedural and given it exquisite new life. Its star Julianna Margulies is the frontrunner in the lead actress category so it looks like Glenn Close will not be winning that third Emmy for her ferocious work on 'Damages'. This past third season has been shakey but Ms Close's performance has never been less than riveting. Back to 'The Good Wife' and I am thrilled to see that the show also landed two nominations in the best supporting actress categories for the elegant Christine Baranski and the exciting Archie Panjabi. How awesome is Panjabi on this show? Her tough, cynical, sexually ambiguous but most definitely sexual investigator Kalinda Sharma has got to be one of the most original characters on network television in the US and how refreshing is it to see a performer of South Asian descent be nominated for such a high-profile award in America....and she's a Brit, no less!!!

The two highest-rated first-year comedy series of the past season have been scored multiple nominations. 'Glee' and 'Modern Family' are arguably the co-frontrunners of the best comedy series award, considering that after three consecutive wins in this category and a fourth season that was still hilarious but no longer as fresh or novel '30 Rock' will probably have to concede the throne to a new victor. 'Glee' scored one nominee in each of the four series regular categories it was eligible for. In addition to the phenomenal Jane Lynch, whose creation of the iconic Sue Sylvester surely makes her the frontrunner in the best supporting actress comedy series race, the other acting nominees from the show are male lead Matthew Morrison, female lead Lea Michele (I can still remember seeing each of them perform back when they were rising stars on Broadway) and male supporting player Chris Colfer, whose portrayal of a gay teenager who strives to express his identity beyond confines of the small-minded mentality of his high school is groundbreaking in its own glorious way. Meanwhile, the cast of 'Modern Family's collective decision to submit themselves all in the supporting categories paid off - well, at least for five of the six adult series stars. Poor Ed O'Neil didn't make the cut (I wonder if he would have been better off had he submitted himself as the show's lone candidate in the lead category) in the supporting male category but Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were all nominated. On the distaff side, the show's leading ladies, Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara, were also recognized in the supporting race.
Other stars that I'm thrilled to see on Emmy's shortlists are 'Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco and 'Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler. It's some consolation to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus getting a nomination for what turned out to be the final see of 'The New Adventures of Old Christine'. Were there some notable snubs? Yes, I think that after mediocre second and third seasons, 'Ugly Betty' truly had a creative resurgence in its fourth and final season, especially in the latter half of the season and it's a shame that America Ferrara and Vanessa L. Williams found themselves off this year's list of nominees. I am also really disappointed that Courtney Cox-Arquette wasn't nominated for 'Cougar Town', after ten years of being snubbed for her work on 'Friends'. Still, when the bulk of the nominees is so fantastic, a true television fan like myself really don't have much to complain about so I will just shut the fuck up now and switch the tv on!!!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Uffie - hot new talent!

I have been seeing posters for her debut album, 'Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans', for a while now so I decided to check out her new single 'ADD SUV', which features Pharrell. Uffie's sound is raw and playful - it's synthpop electronic hawtness! 'ADD SUV' is produced by Mirwais, who produced Madonna's 'Music' a decade ago. I like the backstory of this girl - she was born in Miami but grew up in Hong Kong and is now based in Paris. I'm intrigued to see how such a cosmopolitan upbringing will inform her music and I will definitely be checking out her 'Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans'.

Monday, 7 June 2010

A 'Splash' of Aphrodite

No, that's not a drag queen - it's the one and only Kylie Minogue. This past Saturday night, Kylie made an appearance at New York nightclub Splash, which is a bit of a gay institution located in the heart of Chelsea, and performed her new single 'All the Lovers' and some other tracks from her new album 'Aphrodite'. Man, I wish that I could have been there....and not just coz of Kylie.....check out the go go boys on stage with her!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Starstruck by her Disco Stick

I went to The Monster GaGa, hosted by the one and only Lady GaGa, with my sister in Manchester last night. It was my second GaGa concert experience. The first time that I saw her perform was almost a year ago, back in London. The first time was a barebones affair with sets that looked like a bunch of GaGa's friends got together and used their DIY tools to produce them. It was also a much shorter set; one that lasted just under an hour. A lot has changed since last July - she's won a truckload of awards (including two Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards), been the subject of an episode of Glee (which puts her on par in terms of cultural impact as Madonna!), been namechecked by President Barack Obama (at the Human Rights Campaign's 13th Annual Dinner back in October 2009) and released the successful companion piece to her debut album 'The Fame'. With 'The Fame Monster', Lady GaGa's expanded repertoire of songs allowed her to put together a much longer show, one that lasted almost two years and it's rather incredible how many hits she has accumulated in such a short time. Above is a clip of 'Paparazzi' that someone kindly recorded and uploaded from the concert in Manchester the night before I went.

The show began, appropriately enough, with 'Dancing in the Dark' and it was a rather intriguing beginning to the show - as the curtains lifted, we set GaGa already standing at the top of a staircase on the stage, where she remained motionless for most of the song. Not only were the sets bigger and better, employing lots of hydrolics, there were more dancers and much more costume changes. My favorite song from 'The Fame Monster' is 'So Happy I Could Die' and GaGa performed this number in an ensemble that resembled a wedding dress made from folded film that opened and closed like a lizard. That number has so much beauty in its simplicity and serenity and this was literally heightened when she was lifted up high to create the impression of her ascending into heaven. Another striking moment came during 'Monster' when GaGa and her bevy of bodaciously-built male and female dancers acted out the line 'He ate my heart and then, he ate my brain', resulting in GaGa being smeared with red body paint on her chest.

As a live performer, this Lady is pure class and charisma. I am just so awestruck by how someone so young can have such a commanding presence. GaGa's obvious pleasure, comfort and confidence at being onstage and adored by thousands of fans puts the likes of Britney Spears to shame. That she manages to create intimacy that belies the size of the venues that she's performing in nowadays is incredible. That she's a gifted vocalist and musician (she plays GaGa also engages her audience in spontaneous, effortless banter through out the show. I couldn't help but be reminded of Madonna watching GaGa, not because I see GaGa copying Madonna (although we all know that every female pop icon that came after Madonna is indebted to her in one way or another), because both of them embrace the power of image and self-expression and the necessity of projecting all of your dreams and fantasies. My sister and I were on the standing floor and we were literally two meters from the stage. We were on our feet for two hours before she came out and another two hours for the show itself. My feet and my back were aching like mad but I just danced away all the mundane frustrations of daily life and for one night, we were all her little monsters.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Sex and the City: Sinking in Quicksand?

Tonight, I went to see 'Sex and the City 2' and I had a blast. The reviews for the sequel to 2008's smash hit silver screen adaptation of the long-running HBO series have been mostly negative. Criticism ranges from charges of racism (a large chunk of the movie is set in the United Arab Emirates and the way these American women view the traditional Muslim culture of their host country is surprisingly condescending considering that they are supposedly cosmopolitan New Yorkers), misogyny (due to references to Samantha's desperation to maintain her youthful vitality) and being cultural irrelevant (for a film that was conceived, written and produced during one of the worst global economic downturn in recent history, the film's blatant materialism could be viewed as either much needed escapism or a film about four white women with the kind of problems that the rest of us could only dream of having). Worst of all is the charge that the movie is completely lacking any genuine drama. Considering that the movie has already earned $14.2 million at the North American box office on Thursday alone (presumably from midnight screenings since the movie officially opened on Friday), it looks like what critics have to say won't affect the film's commercial success too much.

As someone who loves the legacy of the groundbreaking original series and was genuinely moved by the dark places the first film dared to go, I must confess that I found it slightly disappointing that this movie does not have the same emotional impact as its predecessors. Furthermore, it was not the smartest decision for Michael Patrick King, the writer and director of both films and the main creative force behind the latter, and arguably best, seasons of the show, to lose the so-called fifth lady of this group - Lady New York herself. When I saw the preview for the film for the first time, I thought that the trip to the desert would be a brief retreat from the Big Apple but I was wrong. Still, there is so much to enjoy. The movie is a visual feast with lush cinematography and production values truly worthy of an old Hollywood musical. What the movie has to say about the challenges of sustaining romance and 'sparkle' in a marriage when domesticity starts to take over is interesting and there are some very enjoyable moments that shine in their high camp appeal, like the four stars singing karaoke to 'I Am Woman', Liza Minnelli performing 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)' at a gay wedding (the film's not so subtle wink to its gay audience) and a fun flashback sequence when we see what the women looked like in the 80s.

However, the film's biggest assets continue to be the four actresses who have brought these characters to life for almost 14 years. After all this time, these ladies can work miracles with even the most limiting of material. Sarah Jessica Parker is never less than engaging as the iconic Carrie Bradshaw (now Carrie Preston, as Stanford reminds her) while Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis are endearing in a scene where they discuss the pressures of modern motherhood. Best of all is Kim Cattrall as the insatiable Samantha Jones who refuses to give into both menopause and the conformities of a conservative society. Seeing these four women continue to be fabulous as they grow older is a testament to the lingering theme of female empowerment of the original tv series and honors what fans have always loved about this enduring cultural phenomenon.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Thai Palme d'Or

A Thai film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for the very first time on Sunday. As well as having the most original title amongst the competition at this year's festival, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives' also won the top prize from the jury, which was headed by US director Tim Burton. The timing of this crowning achievement for Thai cinema comes as the country is reeling from months of civil unrest and bloodshed so it is particularly poignant that the people of Thailand have this source of pride to briefly distract them from the political turmoil that they have been enduring at home. The movie has been getting positive reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety but it was still considered a longshot for the top prize, especially when there were more popular contenders like the UK's 'Another Year', directed by Cannes favorite Mike Leigh. Mr Weerasethakul is not exactly a newcomer to Cannes himself, having won a Jury Prize at the 2004 Festival for 'Tropical Malady'. This win is significant not just to Thai cinema but to Asian cinema as a whole as it is the first time that a film from Asia won the top prize in Cannes since 1997, when Japan's 'The Eel' tied with Iran's 'The Taste of Cherry'. Accepting the award, Mr Weerasethakul said: ' I would like to thank all the spirits and all the ghosts in Thailand who made it possible for me to be here. '

The actor and actress prizes went to European stars who are best known to international audiences for their respective Oscar-winning turns. France's Juliette Binoche was recognized for her performance in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's film 'Certified Copy' while Spain's Javier Bardem shared his Best Actor award (for his work in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Biutiful') with Italy's Elio Germano for 'Our Life'.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Golden Girl meets Golden Boy?

Following the successful Facebook campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live and her stellar performance on the show last weekend, Betty White is finding herself at the centre of a brand new Facebook campaign – this time, her fans want her to be appointed the host of the next Academy Awards. At last count, the group already has over 13,000 members.

As much as I love Betty and thought that her stint as SNL host was a true class act, I wonder how much sense it would make for her to host the Oscars. Sure, the lady is a pro at performing live, having come in the entertainment industry at the advent of radio and live varieity shows on television but the gig itself is a demanding one for anyone, let alone someone who’s pushing 90. It would be too much to ask of the fabulous Ms White but who knows? The woman is still a ball of energy and charisma that most people a quarter of her age can’t muster so if anyone can defy our expectations of senior citizens, it's Betty.

As for whether or not the Academy would even consider this idea, I say, they would be stupid not to! After all, the ideal host for the Oscars should be someone who’s funny and charming and most of all, so beloved by their peers that they can get away with poking fun of any of them. Furthermore, can you imagine the ratings bonanza that it would create? Betty’s stint as host was the highest-rated episode of SNL in 18 months, since the height of the 2008 US Presidential Election. Finally, never underestimate the power of a grassroots campaign!

Speaking of Betty White on SNL, how awesome was it to see on the same show the return of many former female SNL cast members (such as Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer) from the recent past in this Mother’s Day-themed special. It was like 2006 all over again with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph popping up in support of Betty White. What a treat to see many past favorite characters like Maya’s Whitney Houston and Amy and Tina on Weekend Update doing a ‘Really!?!’ segment with Seth Meyers.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The end of an era...

After 13 years of Labour rule, the United Kingdom has a new Prime Minisiter in Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who, at 43, becomes the youngest British PM in almost 200 years. Gordon Brown resigned today and in his speech, graciously took full responsibility for Labour's defeat in last Thursday's General Election. It is going to be interesting to see Mr. Cameron lead a minority government in coalition with the Liberal Democrats and I sincerely hope that they can bring about some positive changes to the UK. Even if it is for just one day, as we acknowledge the dawn of change, we must put aside our cynicism because now is the time for optimism and action.

Love is your color...

...not mine! Still, as anyone who knows me can attest, 'Sex and the City' is my gospel so songs from the soundtrack are my hymns and I looooove me some hymns! The soundtrack to 'Sex and the City 2' will be released May 25th but already, a new song written just for the soundtrack has been leaked on the internet. It's called 'Love is Your Color' and it's a duet between Leona Lewis and Jennifer Hudson, the latter having acted and sung the closing credits song 'All Dressed Up in Love' in the first film. 'All Dressed Up in Love' holds a special place in my heart because of its association with a certain memory from my recent past. Other surefire highlights from the soundtrack include Liza Minnelli's rendition of Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) (rumored to be performed at the 'secret' wedding between Stanford and Anthony) and the four stars of the movies (Sarah Jessica, Kim, Cynthia and Kristin) performing the female empowerment anthem 'I Am Woman' by Helen Reddy. In the meantime, enjoy 'Love is Your Color'.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Tony, Tony, Tony!!!

Scarlett Johansson became a Tony Award nominee today (in the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play) and, in the process, reaffirmed her claim as an actress of substance. In 2003, at the tender age of 18, Johansson became a critical darling for her leading role in 'Lost in Translation', winning a Bafta and a Golden Globe nomination for her minimal, precocious performance. Although I would definitely call myself a fan, it feels like she has not lived up to her potential in recent years, with her acting career becoming increasingly sidetracked for her full-time career as a celebrity, one who is more visible for her ad campaigns, selling products as diverse as Moet & Chandon champagne, Mango clothing, Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics and Calvin Klein fragrances, than for her acting. I am glad that with her Broadway debut, in the highly-acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge', Ms Johansson can redirect attention to her acting talent.

Other screen favorites, from both film and television, proved their mettle as 'legit' actors today by scoring their first Tony nominations. Amongst the nominees are Emmy-winners Kelsey Grammar (La Cage aux Folles) and Sean Hayes (Promises, Promises), as well as Oscar-winners Denzel Washington (Fences), Christopher Walken (A Behanding in Spokane) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (A Little Night Music). Zeta-Jones' 'Night Music' costar, the legendary Angela Lansbury, is poised to win a record-breaking sixth competitive Tony, this time, for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.

Speaking of acting greats, I must pay tribute to the magnificent Oscar and Tony-nominated Lynn Redgrave, who passed away after a long battle with breast cancer on Monday. The Great White Way will dim its lights in her honor tonight.

For the full list of nominees for this year's Tony Awards, click here.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Mighty Aphrodite

It won't be released until July 5th but Kylie Minogue has a new album coming out and I can't wait! As a Kylie fan since 1988, any new music by the lovely lady is always worth my attention. 2007's X was considered a commercial underperformer but I still really liked and I am excited about what Kylie has instore for this coming set. Above is the official cover art.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Safety vs. Convenience?

Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano's second eruption in a month last Wednesday has caused most of Northern Europe's airspace to shutdown due to safety concerns. Experts fear that the the volcanic ash in the sky could fly into the engines of airplanes. The grounding of flights departing from and arriving at the affected airspace has extended from Thursday til Sunday evening and it is likely that the ban will continue well into the week ahead. Airlines are calling for the flights ban to be reviewed and are even conducting their own flying tests.

The economic impact of this unprecedented ban can only be estimated but beyond the losses that must be absorbed by the air travel industry, I feel a great deal of sympathy for many travelers who have been hit by this, especially the ones who are unable to return home. As much as it would suck to have to postpone or cancel your holiday plans because you can't fly out, I would say that it would suck a great deal more to be at the other end of your holiday and not being able to return home. Imagine having to spend night after night at the airport as you restlessly await the announcement that flights are resuming, which many people are having to do since they either can't get a hotel room or can't afford the extra nights of accommodation added to their trips.
Are the aviation safety authorities being overly cautious or are we are all being too cavalier and too impatient in demanding that flights resume immediately. After all, would I really want to get on a plane if I was more clear about the risk and implications of flying at this time. Take a look at the picture above - would you want to fly through that? Perhaps what this all boils down to is the failure of the safety authorities to fully communicate to the general public the severity of the hazards of air travel in the event of volcanic ash dispersion. Spread the word, not the ash.

The Ghost of Tony Blair

This weekend, I went to see Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost' and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Roman Polanski's very public legal troubles have almost overshadowed this fascinating thriller but I believe that it will stand as one of the most enthralling movies of 2010. Adapted for the screen by Polanski and Robert Harris, from the latter's own novel, the movie is about a ghost writer working on the autobiography of a once-popular former British Prime Minister named Adam Lang who now faces calls for indictment for his involvement in a very unpopular war. Sounds familiar? All similarities to Tony Blair are entirely intentional.
Pierce Brosnan is a formidable presence as our beleaguered former Head of State while Ewan McGregor is fantastically droll (there were certain moments when he reminded me of a younger, more handsome Ricky Gervais - no offense, Ricky) as the unknown ghost writer. I must also mention what a joy it was to see Kim Catttrall so engaging in a role other than Samantha Jones and to see Olivia Williams run away with the entire film for her portrayal of the fiercely intelligent and questionable wife of the former PM (a wonderful contrast to her lovely performance as a kind-hearted schoolteacher in the recent Best Picture Oscar nominee 'An Education').

While subtlety is the key to the success of the thriller element of the movie, it is the transparent allusions to Halliburton, Condoleeza Rice, Robin Cook and the Blairs themselves that make this film such a timely and entertaining political satire. Polanski has already won the Best Director award at this year's Berlin Film Festival. I sincerely hope that this film will be remembered come next year's movie awards season.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The battle for Wisteria Lane heats up

Last week, former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan filed a lawsuit against ABC and the show's creator Marc Cherry. She claims in her suit that she was physically abused by Cherry after she complained about him to the network. I found it all rather suspicious since Nicollette was written out of the show over a year ago....if this really happened, why would she wait so long before going public with it. No doubt, there's bad blood between her and the show. This whole mess just got a bit juicier since the four remaining original stars of the show, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria Parker and Marcia Cross, just issued a statement to People magazine in support of Cherry and praising their set environment as an 'amazingly positive experience', in contrast to Sheridan's claim that it was a hostile working environment. Who's telling the truth and who's lying? Maybe everyone is doing a bit of both but perhaps this kind of unpleasant attention is exactly what this six year old program needs in order to regenerate public interest in it. I, for one, am looking forward to watching how this real-life primetime soap opera plotline unfolds...


Today is Wan Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year's Day. Thai people mark this occasion by turning April 13th into a water festival. People throw water at one another to symbolize the cleansing of the past in preparation for a new beginning. I feel moved to acknowledge the start of a new year because Thailand has been through a great deal of turmoil in the past year, especially in the past few days. I have, too, and there is nothing more appealing to me than the prospect of washing away the troubles of my past and being open and ready to receive and experience the riches and wonders of my future.

Tina Fey rocked SNL!

Did anyone else catch Tina Fey hosting Saturday Night Live last weekend? I've watched it a few times and I am still thinking about some of the skits. I liked Tina's impersonation of Dina Lohan (especially telling considering that Tina worked with Lindsay on 2004's 'Mean Girls' so one can only imagine what of Dina's insane stagemom persona Tina must have witnessed firsthand) and her piercing rebuke of the whore that is Bombshell McGee. Tina brought a great deal of heart and sincerity to the show and her maternal influence could be felt in the sweet, if not altogether that funny, skit set at the high-school dance. I must also give props to Nasim Pedrad who is proving herself to be quite an invaluable addition to the SNL cast. The only thing that I thought was unnecessary was the rehash of Tina's iconic Sarah Palin impression during the 2008 US Presidential Election. It doesn't matter that the skit poked fun at the former governor of Alaska's idiocy; it's just a waste of time to keep bringing up her name and prolonging that lame-brained quitter's 15 minutes of fame. Oh, by the way, how cute did musical guest Justin Bieber look, even if he does look like a lost extra from 'The L Word'. Are we sure that he isn't pulling a Brandon Teena on the world of pop music?

Tina Fey's new movie 'Date Night' just opened at No.2 at the US box office and opens in the UK on April 21st...I am so there.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Less than two months to go!!!

The final version of the trailer for Sex and the City 2 was released today and boy, does it deliver!!! I love how just a month ago, John Corbett was telling the press that the return of Aidan Shaw in the sequel to 2008's smash hit big-screen adaption of the iconic HBO series was a false rumor and here he is, featured prominently in the trailer. Just when you thought, how are they going to make another movie when Carrie got married at the end of the last film...
Also, I gotta say that I'm lovin' the ladies being taken out of New York City and transplanted in Abu Dhabi rather than the obvious choices of going to London or Paris (mind you, they already did that, haven't they), that's being truly cosmopolitan!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Oscar history was made last night...

Yes, Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock prevailed in their frontrunner status leading up to last night's ceremony. Up until three months ago, who would have thought that Sandra Bullock would be an Oscar nominee, let alone an Oscar winner, but there she is, clutching that Oscar, which will soon have her name engraved on it.
As much as I wanted Meryl Streep to finally win her third Oscar, I can't begrudge the lovely Ms Bullock her triumph, especially after her incredibly humble, touching and charming acceptance speech. The big story is that 'Avatar' was defeated by 'The Hurt Locker' in the Best Picture and Best Director categories and the fact that the director of 'The Hurt Locker' Kathryn Bigelow used to be married to James Cameron, who directed 'Avatar', hasn't been lost by anyone who has been following this awards season. Ms Bigelow made Oscar history by becoming the first woman to win Best Director in the Academy Awards' 82-year history. History was also made when the screenwriter of 'Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire' Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, becoming the first African-American to win a writing award! I applaud these trailblazers!!!
Click here for the full list of winners at the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Sandra Bullock - Oscar Winner?

Yes, I have used a similar headline before and yes, I realize that that is a picture of Meryl Streep and not Sandra Bullock...but now that it's looking more and more likely that Sandra Bullock will snatch that Best Actress Oscar away from Meryl Streep, I must put a stop to this madness! Sandra Bullock just won the Screen Actors Guild award for her work in 'The Blind Side' a few minutes ago. No disrespect to Sandra Bullock, whose movies have delighted me for the past decade and a half....I fell for her 'While You Were Sleeping'! As much as I enjoyed 'The Blind Side', I still think that Meryl Streep's performance in 'Julie & Julia' is nothing short of miraculous - it was a case of a phenomenal artist working at the top of her game. Still, I am hopeful that Meryl can regain some momentum. 'The Blind Side' is the highest-grossing film that will likely contend for an acting category Oscar and it came out around Thanksgiving so it has the recency effect on its side, as opposed to 'Julie & Julia', which was also a big hit (crossing the $100 million benchmark since its release this summer). Perhaps SAG voters voted for Sandra over Meryl's performance because they felt that Meryl's victory in the same category last year (for 'Doubt') was too recent to repeat but since Meryl did not win the Oscar last year for her 'Doubt' performance, I'm guessing that the Academy might feel like this is the performance to break her 26 year losing streak (starting from her nomination for 1983's 'Silkwood'). I mean, c'mon....the greatest living actress in America deserves to be celebrated by a whole new generation of her peers, many of whom, no doubt, were inspired to go into acting because of her contribution to cinema. Still, I gotta admit that Sandra is doing such a great job on the awards show circuit and she has followed her charming acceptance speech at last weekend's Golden Globes with an even more lovely and humble one at the SAG Awards. If anyone can rival Meryl Streep for most popular actress in Hollywood right now, it's Sandra.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Three Michelin stars....

This week, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester became only the second venue in London to be awarded three Michelin stars in their latest guide, joining Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road for this prestigious honour. They are my two favorite fine dining restaurants in London and possibly, the whole world, so I am thrilled for everyone involved. Félicitations, mes amis...surtout toi, mon singe!!!

John hits it out of the Park!

John Park is the kind of American Idol contestant that makes you grateful for the show - he's there to try his luck using only his talent, no gimmick, no sob story to guilt the viewer into rooting for him. Besides the fact that he's a handsome Asian-American (an ethnic minority that is sorely underrepresented on American Idol and every other mainstream television show in in point, the hit freshman show 'Glee' has a character called 'Other Asian'....yes I get that the irony is intentional but it's kinda symptomatic of the American media's negligence in wider representation), I am hoping that John can go the distance in this competition because his deep voice is gloriously masculine and effortlessly smooth. Also, it was pretty damn funny the way John brought out the cougar in guest judge Shania Twain! Damn, she was ready to pounce!!!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

It's NOT Complicated!

Alec Baldwin's stunning performance in the hit comedy 'It's Complicated' finally got some awards attention today, with the veteran film and television star scoring a best supporting actor nomination from the British Film Academy. I am glad that the BAFTAs have the good sense to acknowledge his hilarious and touching work as the ex-husband of domestic goddess, Meryl Streep. On paper, the character is the archetypical alpha-male who follows his impulses as if blissfully unaware of the emotional repercussions of his actions, not just to himself but also, to others. It could have been an ordeal witnessing the trials and triumphs of this obnoxious man-child but Mr. Baldwin gives the character his unique charisma and a whole lotta heart. The seemingly spontaneous energy of his dynamite, vanity-free performance, no doubt, contributed to the loosey-goosey feel of Ms. Streep's equally phenomenal performance. After having been snubbed at both the Golden Globes (where 'It's Complicated' was nominated for best comedy/musical, best actress and best screenplay) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, I am thrilled that Alec Baldwin is finally getting recognition for his beautiful work in this poignantly funny movie, which I have taken to my heart. Here's hoping that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will reward this amazing star for his star turn!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Simon's replacement should be...

On Tuesday, Simon Cowell announced that this would be his final season on American Idol since he plans to launch the US version of his hit Brit show, The X Factor, next season. Ever since the announcement of his imminent departure, there has been endless speculation about who could fill his mighty big loafers. I just read a ridiculous post on Perez Hilton about someone suggesting that perhaps Ryan Seacrest should graduate from hosting duties and take over Simon’s seat at the judges table. Personally, I think that it’s a fool’s errand to try to find a suitable replacement for Simon – Simon Cowell is arguably the most integral part of the success of America Idol. How could anyone ever replace him? Furthermore, anyone who is truly worthy to take over would be ill-advised to do so, especially when American Idol will no doubt lose a large chunk of its core audience to Simon’s The X Factor.

Still, I have a great suggestion for who should take over Simon’s spot. I’ll give you a hint - the very first winner of American Idol!!! Kelly Clarkson would be perfect because there’s something poetic about the winner of American Idol Season 1 going full circle and becoming a judge and mentor to the contestants of American Idol Season 10. To use two of the most overused words by the judges of American Idol, Kelly would be 'relevant' and 'contemporary', which puts her in a position to be able to give contestants the kind of advice and constructive criticism that none of the other judges can because none of them have ever been on the other side of the audition room….I mean, I love Ellen as much as the next gay but c’mon! Kelly has firsthand experience in cultivating a voice and an image that is marketable in a highly competitive industry and in dealing with pressure from your own label and the scrutiny of the media and fans. More importantly, Kelly would make a spunky judge. Although she won Idol with her sweet as apple pie image, Ms Clarkson has proven herself to be an outspoken artist who will call out the very people who work with her, if she feels like they are not looking out for her best interest….just ask Clive Davis or Ryan Tedder.
Of course, the question is, why would Kelly Clarkson want to take up a judge’s seat when her recording career is still going strong? After all, by the time American Idol began in 2002, Paula Abdul’s recording career had already dried up for over a decade (God bless her heart…I’m Forever Your Girl, Paula!). Kelly’s recording career may have peaked a few years ago (when she won her Grammys in 2006) but the girl still has some mileage left in her. Well, to answer this question, all you have to do is look at Cheryl Cole’s career trajectory. The judge of The X Factor in the UK started her judging duties in 2008 and since then, she has launched a very successful solo career, thanks largely to the platform that her television work created for her music career. I think that Kelly would be wise to follow suit and throw her hat into what will surely become an overcrowded ring!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Oh, Mariah, noooooooooo......

Happy new year, y'all! To celebrate a new beginning and leaving your past behind, I have a little treat for you. It's a short clip of Mariah Carey accepting her award for Breakthrough Performance for her work in 'Precious' at the Palm Springs Film Festival. To say that Mimi's speech was a little incoherent would be putting it mildly....the girl was straight up drunk. Oh, dear.

They say that acceptance speeches given at lesser awards prior to the Oscars are a great opportunity for candidates to raise their profile to Academy members and to audition for a shot at the main golden boy! Jennifer Hudson accepted her Golden Globe for 'Dreamgirls' three years ago with an emotional speech that led to her eventual win at the Oscars. Well, if that's the case, I'm afraid Mariah did her campaign no favors by turning up without a prepared speech and talking out of her ass. Oh, Mimi, I had such high hopes for you and your lovely, subtle performance in 'Precious'....why did you go and ruin it!!! Or, could it be, that this was some sort of genius, subversive strategy on her part to draw an even bigger contrast between her no-nonsense character and her on-another-planet diva persona? If so, well played, Mimi....well played!