Letters to Holly

Tuesday, January 23

Not The Rest I Was Hoping For

I spent all day Monday anticipating a relaxing night at home away from the show. As I drove home, Your Sis called me to ask if I would help her grade papers. That lasted from the time I got home to 9 p.m. There are better ways to unwind. For instance, I was hoping to play Guitar Hero again. Or go to the gym for a light workout. I'm a'feared of hurting myself in the middle of a show. I'll get back to running once the play's over. I've started collecting some ideas of mini-comics, and there is still the living-room painting to tackle.

I've got the Wailing Jenny's CD here at work along with 2 recent purchases: The Beatles' Love soundtrack for the Cirque de Soliel show, and the first Franz Ferdinand CD.

The Oscar nominations are out:

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Leonardo DiCaprio in “Blood Diamond” (Warner Bros.)
Ryan Gosling in “Half Nelson” (THINKFilm)
Peter O’Toole in “Venus” (Miramax, Filmfour and UK Council)
Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Forest Whitaker in “The Last King of Scotland” (Fox Searchlight)

The presence of two black nominees will get headlines, but Gosling and O'Toole are nice additions to this list. From what I've heard, it's Whitaker's award.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight)
Jackie Earle Haley in “Little Children” (New Line)
Djimon Hounsou in “Blood Diamond” (Warner Bros.)
Eddie Murphy in “Dreamgirls” (DreamWorks and Paramount)
Mark Wahlberg in “The Departed” (Warner Bros.)

What surprises me in both categories is the absence of Matt Damon, the actor who owned The Departed. I wonder if there was confusion as to whether he was the lead actor. Murphy has the momentum, but Arkin made Sunshine a better film.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Penélope Cruz in “Volver” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Judi Dench in “Notes on a Scandal” (Fox Searchlight)
Helen Mirren in “The Queen” (Miramax, Pathé and Granada)
Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” (20th Century Fox)
Kate Winslet in “Little Children” (New Line)

I'm not sure if Streep can win for what's essentially a teenage girl-marketed comedy. Not that I'd mind. Mirren has been the early favorite for months now.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Adriana Barraza in “Babel” (Paramount and Paramount Vantage)
Cate Blanchett in “Notes on a Scandal” (Fox Searchlight)
Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight)
Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls” (DreamWorks and Paramount)
Rinko Kikuchi in “Babel” (Paramount and Paramount Vantage)

Breslin is the title character from Sunshine, and there's no way in hell she wins. She just didn't do enough to warrant the nod. Hudson is the critic's darling for the award.

Achievement in directing
“Babel” (Paramount and Paramount Vantage) Alejandro González Iñárritu
“The Departed” (Warner Bros.) Martin Scorsese
“Letters from Iwo Jima” (Warner Bros.) Clint Eastwood
“The Queen” (Miramax, Pathé and Granada) Stephen Frears
“United 93” (Universal and StudioCanal) Paul Greengrass

Scorsese is overdue.

Best motion picture of the year
“Babel” (Paramount and Paramount Vantage)
“The Departed” (Warner Bros.)
“Letters from Iwo Jima” (Warner Bros.)
“Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight)
“The Queen” (Miramax, Pathé and Granada)

There will be a lot of talk about Dreamgirls' absence from this list in favor of Sunshine, a thin bomber-crew road comedy with a majority white cast. Sunshine is not the brilliant film everyone claims, and I can't see it winning. The Departed is the best film I saw this year, and Your Sis, who is hardly a film aficionado, agrees.

Picture of the Day
Sunspots through a filter.

In the News
Bush is to deliver his State of the Union tonight. He'll stand amid an opposition Congress and try to convince them to ignore their overwhelming mandate against the Iraq occupation. I also look forward to the catalog of pie-in-the-sky initiatives that pad out the last fifteen minutes of every SOTU.

+ + +

Dig this: Scientists have managed to store and retrieve an image on a photon. This means we can transfer information on light waves. Wowsers.

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