Sunday, October 03, 2010

Review and Commentary: ‘The Social Network’

I experienced college with Facebook. Toward the end of my senior year in high school, I heard about a website for social networking. Sure, we had MySpace in high school, but there was an air of mystery to it that was unappealing. Who was I really talking to? And, no one can forget those obnoxious and hideous profile pages. Who could find anything in that barrage of flashing images, clashing colors and obtrusive music that started with every new profile seen. I could not handle it.

And then there was the promise of “The Facebook.” At the time, you needed an e-mail account ending with .edu or you would not be able to join. The profiles clearly stated the member’s name at the top of the page. The design was clean and made finding information easy. And, most of all, no music randomly starting. This was the place for me.

As soon as I received my university e-mail address, I registered for an account. Since that day in the summer of 2005, my life has been cataloged via Facebook (and since 2008, Twitter).

This is my backstory as I began to watch “The Social Network.” Suffice it to say I was already invested to this film even before taking my seat in the theater because my college career was influenced so heavily by Facebook. But my attachment to the website didn’t mean I was going to
love the film.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My official 2010 Emmys Predictions (Updated)

Normally, I don't play the predictions game with the Emmys, but I was asked what shows I thought would win so here we are... There are 19 categories to be determined, split between series, specials and acting.

Typically, the Academy Awards has many predictors for whom will win. With the Emmys, it's a little more up in the air. With that said, here are my official predictions for the 62nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (winners marked ***):

SERIES, DRAMA – 60% Confidence
  • Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • The Good Wife (CBS) – Ultimate dark horse, but unlikely
  • Lost (ABC) – Winner; last season to be nominated, spectacular show
  • ***Mad Men (AMC) – Cast won Emmy; won last two years; I'm not a fan
  • True Blood (HBO)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oscar® (Way Early!) Update: A January Telecast? And producers named.

Four months ahead of last year's announcement, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards now has telecast producers. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced late Tuesday.

Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen and television producer/director Don Mischer will produce the ceremony. Mischer will pull double duty as telecast director as well. While being involved with the telecast is a first for the gentlemen, they worked together on the Academy’s first Governors Awards last November.

I fell in love with the Oscars as an eight-year-old kid, the night my grandmothers let me stay up to watch for the first time,” Cohen was quoted in the press release. "We hope to create a show that celebrates what people around the world love about the Academy Awards year after year – the excitement, glamour and tradition of Oscar Night itself.”

Sunday, March 07, 2010

mtvU correspondent team announced

And the spot on the Red Carpet goes to… Terry Stackhouse and Zach Cusson. The team from Emerson College are the Grand Prize winners for the 2010 Oscar Correspondent Contest, sponsored by the Academy and mtvU.

The coveted prize among college journalists gives students a spot on the Red Carpet for the 82nd Academy Awards and access to the backstage press rooms and the Governors Ball.

“Terry and Zach made a strong impression among the online voters and with the Academy and mtvU selection panel. We are certain they will represent college journalists well,” said Academy President Tom Sherak, quoted in the press release. “They are in for an experience like no other — the energy and excitement on Oscar’s® red carpet is truly unique.”

Stackhouse and Cusson battled for votes on mtvU's Web site after winning a spot to compete against 10 semifinalists, which was whittled down to three mid-February.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Video update: Meeting Oscar

Spending the weekend in Chicago, I enjoyed visiting the "Meet the Oscars" exhibition at the Shops At Northbridge downtown, Michigan Avenue. Thanks to Kodak, you can take a picture with an Oscar statuette and have a copy printed in about a minute and go online later to download a digital copy.

If you are visiting Chicago, the exhibition closes Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. If you are in New York City, there is another "Meet the Oscars" location at The Shops at Columbus Circle, Time Warner Center, running until Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

This was my second time holding an Oscar statuette and was just as enjoyable as the first. The 8.5-pound statuette never ceases to amaze. It's shiny, smooth and solid. And the most coveted and well-known trophy in the world.



Link to video: Oscar Update: Meet Oscar - March 7, 2010


Sunday night we will learn the lucky few who are given their very own golden statuette.

Friday, March 05, 2010

My official 2010 Oscar Predictions


Are you in need of some help for your office Oscar pool? Well have no fear because here are
my official predicitions for the 82nd Academy Awards. My average rate of success is 75% and above. And I will note each category with a percentage of confidence to give you the best shot at winning your pool.

This year, let me say, could be very predictable or very unpredictable. I'm going with both.

Best motion picture of the year — 50%

  • “Avatar” (20th Century Fox) — MY MONEY'S ON "AVATAR," BUT I'M JADED; I DID NOT LIKE "HURT LOCKER" AS MUCH
  • “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros.)
  • “District 9” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
  • “An Education” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment) — ALL THE PREDICTORS ARE THERE, BUT I CANNOT PUT THIS DOWN FOR THE WIN
  • “Inglourious Basterds” (The Weinstein Company)
  • “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • “A Serious Man” (Focus Features)
  • “Up” (Walt Disney)
  • “Up in the Air” (Paramount in association with Cold Spring Pictures and DW Studios) — THE DARK HORSE; COULD STEAL THE NIGHT

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rolling out the Red Carpet

We are now three days out from the 82nd Academy Awards. Rethink. has been waiting for this day all year and counting down.

In Hollywood, preparations are being made outside the Kodak Theatre along the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, between N. Orange Drive and N. Highland Avenue. In the photo above, you can see a team of workers rolling out the Red Carpet Wednesday.

You'll notice the tents are back this year after a one-year hiatus. If it's going to rain, awards show organizers know tents are a MUST, especially organizers for this year's Golden Globes. After deciding not to pitch the tents earlier that day, celebrities found themselves hovering under umbrellas and "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe was among the many sporting dresses with splotches of rain. Suffice it to say it was not pretty.

When I was a bleacher fan in 2008, my friends and I were bummed by the tents and inclement weather; however, we enjoyed not getting wet.

Right now, Weather.com is forecasting party cloudy skies with highs in the low 60s; the chance of rain at 20 percent. Expect a decision to be made by early Sunday morning about keeping the tents up .

Monday, February 22, 2010

Video update: Nominees luncheon, set preview and buzz

In the week's video update, James discusses the latest news and buzz, including the Nominees Luncheon, the mtvU correspondent contest, this year's Oscar set by David Rockwell, the latest rumors and what the WGA Awards means for "Avatar." You do not want to miss this update.

Link to video: Oscar Update, Feb. 21, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Details: AMC Best Picture Showcase

Last week, Rethink. reported AMC is continuing its Best Picture Showcase, even with twice as many nominated films. I've attended the event two times now and it's pretty fun, if you don't mind sitting in a theatre all day.

Whether you'd like to take a full dose of Oscar nominees all at once or two doses a week apart, AMC Theatres is the place to be. This year fans went to AMC's Web site and more than 86,000 votes were cast for the schedule of the ten Best Picture nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards, according to AMC.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

'SNL' adds its own take on nominations

To put a smile on your face, we thought we'd share this clip from last week's "Saturday Night Live," where Academy President Tom Sherak got his own impersonator — not bad either. I enjoy the faux "Access Hollywood" coverage.

Enjoy.


Video link: NBC.com

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Video update: Nominees and the Academy calendar

In the week's video update, James discusses the latest news and buzz, including the nominees, AMC continuing its Best Picture Showcase and the latest on the Academy agenda. The first round is ending for mtvU's Red Carpet Correspondent Contest. Final ballots are being mailed out soon and the Nominees Luncheon is coming up.

Link to video: Oscar Update, Feb. 9, 2010

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Keeping the Oscar® Nominations secret

To start your weekend off right, I found an interesting read from USA Today's Anthony Breznican. The lucky reporter got permission from the Academy to chronicle the events leading up to Tuesday's announcement of the 82nd Academy Awards nominations. (Thus, he knew some of the nominees before the rest of world found out. Awesome!)

Once inside the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' headquarters late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, depending on the staff member, there was no leaving and absolutely no communication with the outside world. Cellphones and smartphones were confiscated. No Internet access. Guards at the doors.

From 8:58 p.m. Monday up to the announcement at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, the lucky few prepare to tell the world how the Academy members have voted.

"The accountants have the solemnity of undertakers, but the workers rip open the lids and pull out pages like overeager kids on Christmas morning," Breznican writes.

Find the article here
for your reading pleasure. Below, is a video from inside the Academy during the preparations.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Nominations coverage from Beverly Hills

Thought I would share a video from Megan Telles' coverage of Tuesday's nominations announcement. You might remember her name from last year when she was a finalist for the Academy's mtvU Correspondent contest. Rethink. ranked her No. 2 among the list of 10 talented pairs of undergrads vying for a spot on the red carpet.

Telles' partner in crime, Andrew Huse, is again working the camera (Sony EX1, Canon 7D + 400mm f/2.8L IS USM) as the Palestra.net correspondent covers the announcement and interviews "Entertainment Tonight" film guru Leonard Maltin, Academy President Tom Sherak, Parade Magazine reporter Jeanne Wolf and telecast producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

82nd Oscar Nominations Announced

This morning Anne Hathaway joined Academy President Tom Sherak in announcing the 82nd Annual Academy Awards nominations in 10 of the 24 categories. "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" were the two movies running the show. Both lead the race with nine nominations, but not by a landslide.

"Avatar" was nominated for Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score) Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

"The Hurt Locker" was nominated in the following categories: Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Writing (Original Screenplay).

"Inglourious Basterds" was next in line with eight nominations in these categories: Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Writing (Original Screenplay).

"Up in the Air" and "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" received six nominations. "Up" has five. All were nominated for Best Picture.

Interestingly enough, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" received only one nomination for Cinematography. I found this surprising. No Visual Effects nom. But the bar was set very high in 2009 with "Avatar" and "District 9," along with "Star Trek," which all received nominations for Visual Effects.

The big surprise of the morning came when "The Blind Side" was announced for Best Picture contention. (Not that it does not deserve the nod.) I had predicted "Invictus" would take that spot. The other films filling out the Best Picture category are "A Serious Man" and "An Education."

Monday, February 01, 2010

Oscar® Update: Nominations Preview

What films are going to be nominated for Best Picture? Will "Avatar" live up to director James Cameron's "Titanic" reputation? What films will be nominated in the Foreign Language category?

James answers those questions in his first video update:

Link to video: http://www.vimeo.com/9130079

What do you think of James' prognostications? Comment on this post and begin the debate!

Rethink. will have full coverage of the nominations announcement Tuesday morning. Watch it LIVE here (or below in the embedded video) at 8:35 a.m. ET / 5:35 a.m. PT.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Oscar® nomination ballots due

Today is another mile marker on the road to Oscar Sunday®: nomination ballots are due. The 5,777 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must return their completed Oscar nomination ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) no later than 5 p.m. PT today, January 23. Ballots received after that deadline will not be counted.

Prior to mailing the ballots on Monday, Dec. 28, 2009, the PwC staff made sure no duplicate ballots were sent and that none were missing. Each ballot is numbered to guarantee it is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter. PwC will tabulate the ballots using the preferential voting system (as you can see if the main photo).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My predictions: Golden Globe Awards

Tonight is the Golden Globes. Ricky Gervais is the ringleader for the bacchanalian party that has celebrities eating and, notably, drinking. The evening is an awards show without the required gravitas. It should be a fun evening, especially with host Gervais, the first in 15 years for the show by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

I thought I would take a brief moment to share my predictions (marked in red) for whom I think will be taking home the awards. Enjoy and feel free to leave comments. I've noted in blue possible dark horses and the clears losers — in my mind at least.

UPDATED WITH WINNERS:
As you can see I was 11 for 19 — 5/9 in the TV categories and 6/10 in the film categories.