Monday, February 10, 2020
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 Time..in Hollywood and Ford v Ferrari ended with 3 Oscars each.
Saturday, February 08, 2020
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.
- “Ford v Ferrari”
- “The Irishman”
- “Jojo Rabbit”
- “Little Women”
- “Marriage Story”
- “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
Monday, December 23, 2019
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
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.
Author: Margaret Atwood.
Paperback: 419 pages.
Publisher: Chatto & Windus.
Date Published: September 10, 2019.
Date Read: December 13, 2019.
GOODREADS RATING: ★★★★½☆ (4.5/5.0).
OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.92/4.0).