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!