Monday, February 10, 2020

2020 OSCARS: The Winners

The winners of the 92nd Annual Academy Awards were announced last night, and I correctly predicted 6 of 8 of the Top 8 categories, missing the big wins for "Parasite" in the Best Picture and Best Director categories, which I am quite happy about. Elsewhere I picked 17 of 24 categories correctly. Parasite ended with the most with 4 while both 1917, Once Upon a Hollywood and Ford v Ferrari ended with 3 Oscars each.

Best Picture
Best Director
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho
Best International Feature
Parasite – South Korea
Best Actress
Renee Zellweger – Judy
Best Actor
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Best Supporting Actor
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Best Cinematography
1917 – Roger Deakins
Best Film Editing
Ford v Ferrari – Michael McCusker & Andrew Buckland
Best Original Screenplay
Parasite – Bong Joon Ho & Han Jin Won
Best Adapted Screenplay
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
Best Original Score
Joker – Hildur Guðnadóttir
Best Animated Feature
Toy Story 4
Best Documentary Feature
American Factory
Best Production Design
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Barbara Ling & Nancy Haigh
Best Costume Design
Little Women – Jacqueline Durran
Best Sound Editing
Ford v Ferrari – Donald Sylvester
Best Sound Mixing
1917 – Mark Taylor & Stuart Wilson
Best Visual Effects
1917 – Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler & Dominic Tuohy
Best Make-up and Hairstyling
Bombshell – Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan & Vivian Baker
Best Original Song
(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again – Rocketman (Elton John & Bernie Taupin)
Best Documentary Short
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)
Best Animated Short
Hair Love
Best Live Action Short
The Neighbors’ Window

Saturday, February 08, 2020

2020 OSCARS: My Predictions in the Top 8 Categories

Here is my annual prediction post for the 2020 Oscars, i.e. the 92nd Academy Awards. I really just consider the Top 8 categories on the blog but I play the Oscar prediction game like lots of other people (on other websites) where I think about all 24 categories. Last year I predicted 4 of 8 categories correctly and 12 of 24 overall. This year I have only seen a few of the nominated pictures.

Best Picture:
  • “Ford v Ferrari” 
  • “The Irishman” 
  • “Jojo Rabbit” 
  • “Joker” 
  • “Little Women” 
  • “Marriage Story” 
  • 1917” 
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” 
  • Parasite” 
SHOULD WIN: Parasite.
WILL WIN: 1917.

  • Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
  • Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
  • Sam Mendes (“1917”)
  • Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
  • Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)
SHOULD WIN: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite.
WILL WIN: Sam Mendes, 1917.

Lead Actor:
  • Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
  • Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
  • Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)
SHOULD WIN: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria).
WILL WIN: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.

Lead Actress:
  • Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
  • Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
  • Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
  • Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
  • Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)
SHOULD WIN: Renee Zellwegger, Judy.
WILL WIN: Renee Zellwegger, Judy.

Supporting Actor:
  • Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
  • Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
  • Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
  • Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
  • Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
SHOULD WIN: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
WILL WIN: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Supporting Actress:
  • Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
  • Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
  • Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
  • Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
  • Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)
SHOULD WIN: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
WILL WIN: Laura Dern, Marriage Story.

Adapted Screenplay:
  • Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”)
  • Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”)
  • Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
  • Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”)
  • Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker”)
SHOULD WIN: Little Women
WILL WIN: Jojo Rabbit.

Original Screenplay:
  • Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”)
  • Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
  • Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”)
  • Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
  • Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”)
SHOULD WIN: Parasite.
WILL WIN: Parasite.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

EYE CANDY: Robert Oliveira (4th Time!)

Longtime readers of this blog know I have  a "thing" for Brazilian boys (of any color!) Many  have appeared here over the years (several from MundoMais and other websites) such as Maxs Souza, Jones Tamar, Alan Taurus, Guilherme Rofino, Erasmo Vianaand Diego Barros (to name a few)!

Robert Oliveira has been one of my favorite Eye Candy models, having appeared 3 times already (July 16, 2018; September 3, 2018; November 5, 2018). He has 286,000 followers on Instagram (@robert.officiall).

As this blog comes to an end (or a pause?) I want to leave you with these beautiful images of beautiful men. Enjoy!

Monday, December 30, 2019

EYE CANDY: Mike Thurston (6th time!)

Mike Thurston is still one of (if not my very top) favorite male models. He has appeared as Eye Candy the most frequently of any model on my blog (December 31, 2018; June 4, 2018August 31, 2015October 19, 2015December 28, 2015. In addition to having a ridiculously muscular body, he is devilishly handsome and if you have seen any of his YouTube videos (like his 850,000+ followers) you know that he has a delightful British accent and is a successful entrepreneur.

Monday, December 23, 2019

EYE CANDY: Justin St. Paul

Justin St. Paul is a British bodybuilder I discovered on Instagram through Mike Thurston. He is a 27-year-old personal fitness trainer (@justin_stsmall) who is listed at 6-feet and 215-225 pounds. I guess sometimes he shaves his chest, sometimes he doesn't. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Since the televised adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale became a viral sensation it was inevitable that The Testaments, which is a sequel to the book the show is based on would also have a significant cultural impact. Margaret Atwood, the author of both books and consultant on the show, is the creative source of the terrifying alternative history in which the United States becomes a theocratic, patriarchal, authoritarian state named the Republic of Gilead.

I haven’t read the original The Handmaid’s Tale book but like many other people I have been mesmerized by the television adaptation and fascinated/horrified by the subtle (and not so subtle) connections between its depiction of the fictional Gilead and the current United States. It actually works out fine to read The Testaments without having read its predecessor, since the first season of the show essentially covers most of the main plot points of the original book. The Testaments is timed exquisitely well as it covers events that happen roughly 15 years after the end of the third season of the show, which aired on Hulu earlier this year. Important characters from the show play central roles in the book, especially Aunt Lydia (who in the show was played with alarming gusto and chilling commitment by Ann Dowd, who won a Best Supporting Actress Emmy award after Season 1 in the process). The lead character in the show, June/Offred, played by Elizabeth Moss (who also won an Emmy for her Season 1 portrayal) is barely a presence in The Testaments (while it's my understanding that Offred was the main character in the first book).

The structure of The Testaments is that it is presented as three first-person accounts of three women whose lives are dominated by experiencing life in Gilead. It’s supposed to be a secret to new readers who these authors are, and the experience will be different for people depending on whether they are simply readers of the first book, consumers of the television show or both.

Regardless of your prior experience with the previously produced materials, The Testaments is powerful stuff. The central horror of what Atwood has created is how fundamentally plausible the existence of Gilead is. As she herself says (in the author’s note at the end), all events depicted in the book or the show have been documented to have happened in human history, at some point. So one major strength of this alternative history novel is its verisimilitude. Another strong point is the characterization of Aunt Lydia, Agnes and Daisy. The book allows the author to provide the internal monologues of the characters, which is where it has an advantage on the show. (The show has the advantage of visual depictions of the people and events that occur in the books.) This is especially effective in the case of Aunt Lydia, a woman whose role in Gilead is to encourage/coerce/cajole other women into not rebelling against Gilead's murderously violent patriarchal society. Lydia in the show is an unmitigated villain, while in the book her status is far more nuanced. (For people who have only watched the show this will come as an incredible and somewhat unbelievably radical change, but in the end I was convinced that it was possible Aunt Lydia could secretly be working against Gilead. I hope that the show gets to depict the events of The Testaments. I am convinced it would win Dowd another Emmy.)

Overall, The Testaments is an effective, cautionary tale to read. Its depiction of theocracy, autocracy and patriarchy are chilling, and chillingly familiar. These descriptions are of situations/ideologies that are dependent on the perspective/politics of the viewer/reader. However, for most, I believe that the central question of “(How) could it happen here?” will stick with you long after you have finished reading the last page. It well deserves all the accolades and awards it has won (including the 2019 Booker prize) and will win.

Title: The Testaments.
Margaret Atwood.
Paperback: 419  pages.
 Chatto & Windus.
Date Published: September 10, 2019.
Date Read: December 13, 2019.

★★½☆  (4.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.92/4.0).


Monday, December 16, 2019

EYE CANDY: Adrian Conrad (5th time!)

Adrian Conrad makes his 5th appearance at this blog in a short time (January 14, 2019; January 11, 2018; December 11, 2017; November 27, 2017). He is the most recent addition to my list of all-time favorite male models (which includes Simeon Panda, Mike Thurston, Raciel Castro, Robert Oliveira). He has several hundred thousand followers on Instagram (@adrianconrad_)--you owe it to yourself to do so!


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