#oscars aftermath

SO last night was the beloved Academy Awards! Truthfully, I think it was a pretty mediocre show in my opinion. I feel like each year is always filled with so much spark and this element of mystery as the night goes on. This year it was kind of like the presenters were rushing through each category and we were just waiting for the show to end. Not to mention the most monotone presenters.
This year my predictions were pretty dead on if I do say so myself -- I was off by 3-4 upsets. Some of which I am actually really happy I was wrong about and others... well not so happy.. ( I gotchu, Leo).
Lets keep it real simple and go through the night the best way I see fit: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good:
  • Jared Leto's win: I think jump starting the show with a main award was the best thing to do to set the tone for the night. Right away they jumped into Best Supporting Actor which was perfect in my opinion. Jared Leto winning was pretty much a given, but wow his speech man. I was blown away. Not only is he an amazing public speaker (super engaging) but the story about his mom and the dedication to her and to his brother was wonderful.
  • "Her" winning Best Original Screenplay: Like I said in my last post, this category is one of my favorites. Her was the one I was rooting for most, and honestly I was not expecting it to win. But lo and behold, it got the win. I was so happy for Spike Jonze and I think he definitely deserves it. This was such a unique and forward-thinking concept for a film and the way he brought it to life was near perfect.
  • Charlize Theron being a goddess. I mean need I say more?


  • The celebrity selfie. Not because it crashed Twitter/ went viral/ or because everyone is photoshopping themselves into it to look cool. But because in that instant, it was like they were just like us. Seeing them one by one trying to fit into the shot and not miss out on it was one of the cutest things I've seen and actually reminded me exactly of me and my friends. Sweet moment :)
  • Ellen getting pizza for the audience and the audience actually eating it.
  • Like I said in my last post, 12 Years a Slave was going to win Best Picture. I'm not really torn one way or the other on what I think about that. I think Ellen summed it up best in her opening monologue. Had it not won, the Academy looks like a bunch of racists, lets be real. But aside from that, while it isn't the most intriguing or mind-blowing film, it gave us a sense of reality that we don't often think back on or expose ourselves to. And on that note, I couldn't have been happier for Lupita winning Best Supporting Actress.
  • "The Moon Song" performance. Chilling.
  • Seeing Brad Pitt get teary eyed after Angelina Jolie was presented with the humanitarian award.
The Bad:
  • Ellen calling Liza Minelli a man. On top of that, a number of her jokes that just went way too far and were borderline awkward.
  • No opening performance of any sort from Ellen? Come on. No entertainment value to this year's show, sadly.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio loses. Again. The sad thing is, I knew going into it he wasn't going to win. It's just a given at this point that the Academy has something against him. I just didn't want Matthew McConaughey to win over him. And that's exactly what happened. I said it before on Facebook in my public rant, but I'll say it again here. Matthew McConaughey has a resume of playing in chick flick after chick flick for the majority of his career. I don't agree that one versatile performance should equate to an Oscar win. Especially when looking at the others he was competing against. The perfect word I can use to describe Leo's career choices as an actor is chameleon. This guy blows me away film after film with the characters he chooses to take on and the depth he goes to in bringing them to life. The Departed, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Titanic, Blood Diamond, the list goes on. This guy has been in 9 films that have been nominated for Best Picture (and played the main role in them), yet has not even been nominated for the majority of them. A lot of people think he's just another Meryl Streep who's always nominated yet never wins. The truth in fact is that he rarely even has gotten nominated for the epic films he's played in. THAT'S where the conspiracy lies (I'm not trying to be one of those insane conspiracy theorists, I'm just using it for lack of a better word -- yet at this point I'm really starting to believe it is a conspiracy, lol). The great thing is, Leo seems like such a humble and genuine actor who truly cares to solely entertain and tell a story through his films, that this is what he'll continue to do. And I know he'll get his win soon. * This is not to say that Matthew was completely undeserving for this award, no, in fact I totally agree that he rose up and put on a show for all of us. Do I think it was a better performance than Leo? Absolutely not.
The ugly:
  • Matthew McConaughey's speech. I was SO intrigued to hear who this guy's role model was after he kept going on and on about looking up to this mystery person his whole life. Then the ball drops -- "me in 10 years." Really, bro? We're all still trying to recover from you stealing Leo's win and then you top it all off with the most egotistical speech known to man. All I kept remembering was his Golden Globe speech too when he was talking about his wife referring to him as, "the king you know I am." Give me a break.
  • Zac Efron butchering his lines while presenting.
  • Zac Efron presenting an Oscar.
  • John Travolta presenting Idina Menzel before she performed for Best Song.. and completely massacring her name.
  • Lady Gaga being present.
There you have it. Thanks for reading. Feel free to sound off with your thoughts below! Congrats to all the winners and I can truly say one thing for sure -- this was such a powerful year for film all around. Sadly, this marks the end of awards season. You'll know I'll be back for the next one! :)


  Greetings friends. Tomorrow marks Oscar Sunday, AKA my version of Superbowl Sunday. One of my favorite things about winter (sadly that list is pretty small), is the slew of awards shows. I love kicking back with friends and catching each show and making it an event -- the Bafta's, the Golden Globes, the SAGS, the Critic's Choice Awards -- all leading up to the grand slam of it all, the Academy Awards.

Each year I've made it my mission to watch every film nominated for Best Picture. Of course life gets in the way and half the time the movies are out of theaters by the time the nominees are released. This year, I made it happen (I may or may not have binge watched four of them in the past 12 hours). And I'm pleased to give you a run down of my predictions of the winners (and why). I'll be devoting my next blog post to my thoughts on each of the films nominated for Best Picture but figured that would be way too long of a post to include here. I kind of wanted to post it after the awards themselves so my opinion isn't swayed by who I want to win, but we'll see, I might do it right before the show tomorrow ;) I didn't take minor awards into account in this post (frankly because I doubt any of you care which foreign film or documentary short I think willl win), so I've left it at the hefty top-of-the-top nominees.  Without further ado, here are my bets for tomorrow's big night!

*The nominees*

Best Picture

I'm almost positive this will be the big winner tomorrow night, with American Hustle as a back-up. Dating back to the films that the Academy loves to award for Best Picture, we see clearly that a sci-fi film as never won, nor a truly "under the radar film" that hasn't gotten mass hype and general all-around positive reviews (sorry Nebraska and Her.. I wouldn't even consider these two for a second). For me personally, I actually am not a fan at ALL of the increased nominees in this category that they started doing. It was so much better when it was just the top 5/ the cream of the crop, vying for this title.

12 Years a Slave is a true story and it's about slavery, so, lets be real -- that's already engaged anyone who's going to watch it. Steve McQueen was able to challenge an audience with not a "feel good film" but one that makes you squirm and think long after you've left the theater. Which is what a Best Picture winner should be doing (i.e. Traffic, Crash, and the Hurt Locker to name a few). While I think Philomena was one of my favorites of awards season altogether, I think 12 Years a Slave takes the cake this year.

Random thought: I will say this... entertainment-wise Captain Phillips shined for me. Looking back at Argo winning last year, I could see this taking the win by surprise too. Both were true stories, action flicks, and end with the hero prevailing.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Yup. I'm not going along with what any blog or critic out there has to say. This needs to be Leo's year. I've been rooting for him since day 1. So far, he's won the Golden Globe for Best Actor but even that felt weird because they counted the film in the comedy category. After YEARS of being snubbed by the Academy (don't get me started on my conspiracy theory of how much they're anti Leo), this needs to be his year.

Close second: I agree that Chiwetel did an outstanding job as well and very happy for his Bafta win in the same category. But come on, this was truly Leo's most challenging role of his career and I think he NAILED it. I wasn't even a die-hard fan of the film itself, but his acting was spot on (note: this impressed me, but didn't blow me out of the water, because Leo has been blowing me out of the water with his performance in EVERY film of his that I watch). Ok, end of my soap box. #leoforlyfe ;)

*For those rooting for Matthew McConaughey... Sorry, not a fan. Yes, I totally agree, his performance in Dallas Buyer's Club was showing a WAY more versatile side than he's ever shown, but this is one role out of 15 other chick flicks where he's played the exact same character. I wouldn't be so quick to give that an Oscar. Whereas with Leo every single role he's chosen to play over the span of his career has resulted in a metamorphosis as an actor. However, knowing the Academy -- watch them give it to Matthew :/

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Why? She's consecutively won every award in this category and deserves it. Such a flawless performance.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Why? This phoenix is rising from the ashes. I personally was so excited about his performance in this film, esp after being such a big fan of his roles in Requiem for a Dream and Fight Club, I feel like a proud mom or something watching how stunning his acting was in this film. No joke, he was the reason why I liked this movie. Without him, I don't think it would have been as good. Appropriately enough, he's picked up almost all the awards in this category as well.

Close second? I'm actually super happy for Barkhad Abdi for winning the Bafta in this category. If you haven't heard the Cinderella story behind his history before the role, definitely read up on it.

Biggest surprise: Jonah Hill. After a slew of stoner comedies/ Judd Apatow flicks I was blown away with his character and acting in WoWS.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Why? She nabbed the Golden Globe and is the "all-American," versatile actress they're all rooting for. Forgive the sarcasm in my tone, I actually did think she was amazing in American Hustle. In fact, she even choked up Christian Bale during her audition. I think I just secretly am rooting for Lupita N. But either way, I'll be happy for her :p

Best Cinematography

I mean... need I say more?

Best Costume Design
Best Directing

Why? This is one exception to the rule I think. What rule am I referring to? General rule of thumb with the Oscar's is that the winner for Best Director almost always has gone on to win Best Picture. For instance, last year's Ang Lee took home Best Director for Life of Pi but Argo won Best Picture. This was the only time in the 2000's it's happened however, but I'm going to go with it and predict this will be the second year in a row that it happens again. Why? Lets be real, directing an entire film based off the vision you have in your head and projecting that all via green-screen is a feat in itself.

Rooting for? Steve McQueen. He won the Bafta and I really hope he takes home the Oscar too.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The screenplay categories are two of my favorites of the show particularly because I love writing and because the story itself is what I value most of all within a film. To think that all five of these movies were true stories is so amazing to me. They were all phenomenally adapted in my opinion. I'm going with Philomena because when you have the actual, real-life Philomena telling journalists that the director depicted this even better than the book -- well, then I think you have a winner. Plus this story was just one that needed to be told and was executed beautifully.

Best Original Screenplay

Why? I think this category is extremely tough. These are all such creative stories. I think that American Hustle is the favorite to win but I'm going to go with a wild card choice here. Did I think Her was weird? Absolutely. Did I think it was a genius futuristic film without being too over-the-top/ sci-fi-esque? Yup. As insane as the concept sounds when you think of it, as you watch the movie you're like.. wow, I could see this happening potentially in the future. For Spike Jonze I think this film was such a great endeavor and truly believe he deserves the award. Won't be surprised if it gets trumped by the rest though.

Best Film Editing
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Original Score

Fingers crossed for Her. One of the things I loved most about this film was the cinematography and the score. Perfection.

Best Original Song

It's a top 40's hit at this point and who doesn't love Pharrell (esp me) but the Moon Song from Her was something else, man.

Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Visual Effects

#disney addict

So, #1 is one thing you should know about me is that I am a Disney fanatic. I pretty much have seen every Disney movie 20 times, memorized every line, still cry at the endings, and sing each song as if I'm Celine Dion. In addition, thanks to Pinterest, I've been really into some of the minimalist movie posters that some of these talented designers have come up with. I especially love the gallery of this designer from France, Aurélien Allétru -- check out his entire portfolio of minimal Disney posters (http://bit.ly/gzdS3u). They are great. It's interesting to think -- what one item from each Disney movie would you choose when having to pick only one? I think some of the ones he chose are SUPER creative. Others I find interesting because I would have chosen something totally different, but I think that's what makes it cool. Each of us have something totally different that stands out to us most.

I can never pick which Disney movie is my #1 favorite because I have such a soft spot for each and every one. But I've realized that my tops are usually more of the underdog movies rather than Cinderella/ Little Mermaid/ Sleeping Beauty which usually are the most popular. A few of the ones that are my absolute favorites include: The Sword in the Stone, Mulan, Pocahantas, Robin Hood, Hercules, and Dumbo. I love them all, but just to name a few, these are the ones I grew up watching time and time again -- and the ones that I can still go back and watch now with so much excitement and joy.

My favorite thing about this long string of Disney movies is how amazing their writers and producers were. To be able to convey a message to an audience that ranges from a child in preschool, all the way up to that child's parent -- and to have them both leaving the movie in tears at how profound the film was is truly talent. I think each and every Disney movie has such a unique moral and message at the end that we can all take away. I can't pick just one that has the "best message" because obviously that's so subjective, but just to share my two cents: I re-watched the Lion King this afternoon after I was super bored, and I honestly think that the message conveyed by this film is truly phenomenal. What other children's film is able to relay the message about the circle of life/ the course of death so beautifully and so simply? It's honestly breathtaking. And I think watching it when you're older means so much more because you've experienced so much more at this point. Sorry to get emotional about it, but I honestly just have so much respect for writers who can translate such a powerful message into film and gear it towards such a wide demographic.

Thanks for changing my life Disney! I love you


So last night I went to see Argo with my parents, my aunt, and 7 of my other friends.. Persian pride anyone? We are all movie lovers and add in a movie about Iran? We're all in. Of course, this movie centers around the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 during the overthrow of the Shah...and I am in full agreement with the despicable behavior that the revolutionaries in Iran had towards the Americans at the embassy. In no way do I condone what happened and I am left feeling ashamed of Iran for that moment in history. However, I do not believe that this defines Iran or its people as a whole. My parents for one, don't even identify with post-revolution Iran because they left right before it began. Their stories about growing up in Iran, its people, and the rich culture are almost exactly opposite of what Iran unfortunately became after the revolution occurred. Anyways, bottom line, no matter if you are Iranian or not -- this story was a true action film, leaving you on the edge of your seat until the end. I don't want to give away spoilers in any of my movie posts, but wow. I think what stuck out most to me was how fast paced the movie was in the most timely way possible. If that makes sense? Ben Affleck did a perfect job in not dragging any scene for too long but also spending enough time focusing on details that were necessary for character development.

I had read some reviews prior to watching the film, saying how some critics thought that incorporating his family life and relationship with his son was a bit corny and unnecessary. I actually didn't think so at all. In fact, I think it humanizes him and makes him more relateable as our protagonist. Instead of being just the CIA agent who is trying to save the hostages, we actually see the side of him that makes him "just another guy" like us. So I definitely enjoyed that plot point.

Other than that, another thing I really enjoyed about the film was the introduction. I'm not really a huge fan of narration because it tends to get cheesy.. but this segway into the film was not only very engaging, but also very needed in a film like this. There are so many of us (myself included!) who didn't have the in depth knowledge of Iran's deep rooted history and how it governs itself. I have some friends who still ask me questions like "why do Iranian women have to cover themselves?" and it leaves me very interested to share more with them about how Iranian went from a true kingdom to an Islamic Republic where the religion is forced upon the people, with no exceptions.

One of the coolest things for me was seeing how creative the CIA really needs to get. Who would have ever thought that the solution to freeing 6 hostages from a third world country would be to have them mascarade as a film crew? The details this movie included were things you wouldn't even think of -- getting approval from locations, writing a fake script, getting fake production rights... the film includes all of this and you can really sense, "wow, this is completely plausible/ they thought of everything." Some scenes were hard to watch, but I'm a firm believer in the necessity to watch scenes like that because not only are they the truth, but also allows one to take a look at life and see how blessed we really are compared to the atrocities that have happened in the past.

I would DEFINITELY watch this movie again, and it's one of those that really have you on edge for the last 15 minutes. I don't remember the last time I watched a film that had me tapping my leg frantically and literally anxiety boiling up in me to see what happened in the end. It was that good. What makes the film even better is that it's based off a true story. Sure some details are obviously exaggerated because it is Hollywood and we have to engage the viewers, but all in all the ending isn't made up. The experiences of the 6 hostages and their emotions throughout their tumultuous journey weren't made up. We get to feel what they feel, fear what they fear, and hope with them.

The final touch to make this movie amazing? The cast. WOW. John Goodman, Kyle Chandler, Bryan Cranston, and Alan Arkin. Hands down, wonderful. I can't get enough of good acting (thanks to my dad's high standards from childhood!) and wow... Not only were there some hilarious moments thrown in, but the intense moments were amplified because of these actors' devotion to their roles.

I really recommend this film.. especially if you're Iranian, but even if you're not, just to get to catch a glimpse of a de-classified CIA story is a treat. It makes me wonder how many others there are out there and how in the dark we are.. but that's getting me worked up into a whole other issue ;)