Monday, February 27, 2012

Of Oscars and Paiche and a new series to watch for

So last night was the night of nights for those in the film industry, time to pass out the beloved Oscars and see whose performance/talent reigned supreme. Well, in theory, anyway. Actually, what it comes down to in essence is what most any contest of its kind does - popularity. Who can garner the most votes. Which doesn't mean the best person will win, by any means. I couldn't watch the Oscars as I was at a convention meeting last night, although I almost would have rather stayed home, but that's another story. I haven't watched the Oscars for at least several years now, the two basic reasons being they are long, and I have lost any faith in them I might ever have had. Perhaps it began the night that Brokeback Mountain lost out as best picture to Crash. I'm not saying Crash wasn't a good film, because it was. A complicated film. But complicated does not equate to better, and I think that BBM had an intensity and a heart that the other didn't have. I own BBM and would watch it again. I can't say that about Crash. I went to the theater to watch BBM with my good friend Gail. Although I'd already read the short story by Annie Proulx, and I knew what to expect, I still cried. That movie has touched me, and many people, deep down. I know of at least one writing career that was inspired because of it.

And yet it lost. Why? There are probably a number of reasons, but I think the big one was that Hollywood wasn't ready to present its top award to a film celebrating the love between two men. Bottom line. Politics played a part and continues to play a part in how these awards are given out. My favorite actor in all the world was finally nominated for one. That would be, of course, Gary Oldman, for his performance in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He lost out to a newcomer, who had been the favorite. Do I think he deserved to win? Of course I do. Am I prejudiced? Undoubtedly. But it's my opinion, and I'm sticking with it. Am I upset that he didn't win? No, not really. Because when it comes down to it, win or lose, he did an amazing job, and that cannot be taken away from him. The fact that he won't have a gold-plated nude statue to put up on his mantel just means the maid won't have to dust it. Nothing else changes. Certainly not my opinion of or admiration for Gary as an actor, or as a person.

There are many awards out there, most not quite so high profile as the Oscars. Many writing awards. We're bombarded with them all the time. Vote for me, I'm up for ...... (fill in the blank). Some are more well known than others. But they all basically come down to popularity contests. See who can round up the most votes, get their mates together to say that they're the best. That has nothing to do with writing ability at all, and doesn't affect the ultimate truth - how well the writer writes. Neither does sales reflect a writer's worth. Some very fine writers went unappreciated and unlauded until after their deaths. Didn't make them bad writers for it. Doesn't make the winners of these contests better writers.

So what do these contests prove? Heck if I know. All I can figure is they're designed to increased one's profile on the Internet, give the author a reason to crow - for five minutes - and then it's on to the next. So Gary has no reason to be upset that he lost. There are many people who know what a fine and wonderful actor he is. The guy who won isn't necessarily better, but something in his performance struck the voters and they voted. Do I think politics of some kind were involved? That's impossible to say, I've not seen the film involved, though I'd like to. But in years past I know they've played a part, being given to actors who were considered to be at the end of their careers and had never won before, even if they were now winning with a performance that was not as good as the one they should have received one for years ago. I think you also have to consider the loony factor  - the mercurial disposition and temperament of many in the Academy - and then just resign yourself that sometimes there just isn't any rhyme or reason for what happens there.

Same with books. There are books out there that are popular and sell well, but when you look at samples of the writing, you have to ask yourself - why? Because taste is subjective, and sometimes shit does float. Enough said about that.

***SPOILERS AHEAD****This morning, I watched Iron Chef America from two battles ago, being a little  behind there. Challenger Chef Justin Boggle took on Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. For the secret ingredient, the nimble Chairman went to South America and brought back a prehistoric fish - paiche. Chef Boggle describled it as an alligator without legs. It was huge and damn ugly, and he seemed a bit thrown at first sight. The fish itself did not have a lot of bones, but what it did have were huge, as were the scales. It was interesting to watch the butchering done on the fish at the commencement of the battle.

One interesting thing that the challenger did was to take a cucumber concoction and make dippin dots with it. Luckily, neither chef chose to make ice cream, not sure how well that would have gone over. I try to watch, as the judges evaluate each chef, to see which I think has earned more points with them. I'm usually right, and this week was no exception. I could tell they liked Iron Chef Morimoto better, and the final score reflected that. In fact, Morimoto received his first perfect score in Kitchen Stadium.

I'm excited that this week the new NBC series Awake begins. Awake stars Jason Isaacs, who is probably best known as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, among other things. He was a damn sexy Captain Hook in Peter Pan, and he played opposite Jason Clarke in Showtime's Brotherhood, as well as a lot of damn fine BBC productions. I adore the man, I think he's wonderful and sexy and lots of fun to watch, so you know I'll be watching Awake.

And last night, if you heard my squeal of delight, which I must admit was rather loud, it is because I learned from Sarah that Sweet Genius is returning March 15th and I will once again be able to get my fill of Chef Ron Ben-Israel. Oh happy day!

A few of the shows are on temporary hiatus for varying lengths of time, not sure why. Next time I'll tell you about a series that I just started watching which has already won me over, and I've only watched three episodes. Sadly, I think there are just three left. But I'll save that for later. Tomorrow is Sarah's birthday, gotta see what I can do around the house. And think about making a cake. Oh, I forgot to mention, the name of the series is Jekyll.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

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