91st Academy Awards

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It’s Oscar time, with the 91st Academy Awards.

In spite of hiccups leading up to tonight’s award show, I am so excited. There are many firsts that will take place tonight, and I am right here, watching, cheering and blogging as it all unfolds.

91st Academy Awards

Incredible Opening

One of the controversies shadowing the 91st Academy Awards is the lack of a host, for the first time in 30 plus years. Instead of a 20 minute opening monologue, the ceremony began with a  musical bang.

Although I’ve teared up before during moving speeches or when the Memoriam is played, I’ve never cried during the beginning of the Oscars. Tonight, I do. Queen opens the show, with Brian Lambert singing lead. To see Brian May and Roger Taylor on stage, playing their hearts out, moves me deeply. After a couple of songs, Freddie Mercury appears on the big screen behind them. What a start to a great night. Alone, in the intimacy of my bedroom, I stand along with the audience and applaud.

In lieu of a host, presenters are making the most of their time, handing out awards and having a bit of fun while doing so.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry present, with a hilarious nod to The Favourite.

Oscar Highlights

Lots of firsts tonight, among presenters, and among the winners.

Black Panther, the first superhero film ever nominated for Best Picture, garners early Oscars in Costume Design and Production Design. It also wins for Original Score.

Roma, to no one’s surprise, picks up Best Foreign Film, along with a well deserved Achievement in Cinematography.

Bohemian Rhapsody, dear to my heart, picks up 3 Oscars so far, for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Film Editing. “Good thoughts, good words, good deeds,” as Freddie’s father says.

Best Animated Feature Oscar goes to Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.

“Shallow”, from A Star is Born, picks up the Oscar for Best Original Song. Bradley Cooper, who feels nervous about singing at the Oscars, gives a magnificent performance with Lady Gaga

Best Original Screenplay award goes to Nick Vallelonga, for Green Book. For Best Adapted Screenplay, the Oscar goes to Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman.

91st Academy Awards

91st Academy Awards

The Biggies

As the 91st Academy Awards finishes up, and a delightful show it has been, the top Oscars are handed out.

Best Supporting Actress – Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. This movie goes on my “must watch” list, so I can check out Regina’s winning performance.

91st Academy Awards

Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali for Green Book. He’s won every award he’s been nominated for this season, and deservedly so.

91st Academy Awards

Best Actress – Olivia Colman for The Favourite. She edges out Glenn Close, which for many will be a surprise. Olivia herself seems shocked. However, a more gifted woman one could not find. Her emotional acceptance speech brings more tears to my eyes. What’s up with me tonight?

91st Academy Awards

Best Actor – Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody. More tears, dang it. This man is one of the most kind and most gracious actors I’ve ever seen. I am beyond thrilled for his much deserved honor.

91st Academy Awards

Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron for Roma. Predicted to win for his touching and beautifully done film, Alfonso has picked up several awards tonight. Will he get Best Picture? I’m about to find out….

91st Academy Awards

Best Picture – Green Book. Of course, I hoped Bohemian Rhapsody would win the Oscar. I predicted Roma or Green Book. Still, as the announcement comes, I feel happy surprise. Of all the nominees, Green Book is my second favorite film, right behind Bohemian Rhapsody. I’m glad it receives recognition.

91st Academy Awards

That’s a Wrap

I thoroughly enjoyed the 91st Academy Awards. I didn’t miss a host. The presenters moved smoothly from award to award and the show finished in a little over three hours. Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, with four total.

I jotted down a list of films to check out, including Can You Ever Forgive Me? and First Man. During the Oscars an announcement was made about an Academy Awards Museum that’s being built. That just went on my “must visit” list. Who knows? Perhaps someday I’ll attend a Red Carpet event, as a tribute to a lifetime of appreciating movies.

I’m already looking forward to the 92nd Academy Awards.

91st Academy Awards

For a full list of Oscar Winners, click HERE

Download or rent Green Book at Amazon Prime Video or pre-order HERE

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Movie Review: Vice

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Seeing Vice, the biopic featuring former Vice President Dick Cheney, completed Best Picture nominated films this week. I didn’t purposefully place this movie last. That’s the way it worked out with Regal’s viewing schedule. However, I admit this film appealed to me the least.

I’m not a political person. I say this with apologies to my grandson Dayan, who is a political science major at University of Missouri. There’s nothing wrong with political movies. They just aren’t anywhere near my favorite genre. Nonetheless, when I commit to watching all of the Best Picture films, I keep that intention even though it only matters to me.

As usual, I find that I learn from the movies I would not watch otherwise.

Movie Review Vice

Vice Cast

Vice stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Alison Pill, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry and Jesse Plemons. Written and directed by Adam McKay, this historical drama carries an R rating, for moderate language and adult situations, and has a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes.

Vice is nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress for Adams, Best Supporting Actor for Rockwell, Best Actor for Bale and Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, both for McKay.

Movie Review Vice

The Cheneys

Spanning four decades, Vice focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney (Bale) and his wife Lynne (Adams). As a young couple, Dick struggles to find his purpose in life. He drinks too much. He works menial jobs. After a second DUI charge, resulting in an overnight stay in jail, Lynne gives Dick “the” speech. “Get your life together…or I walk away.”

Fast forward a few years and Dick becomes a congressional intern for Donald Rumsfeld (Carell). The two become very close, working together on a variety of projects. Now a father to two daughters, Liz (Rabe) and Mary (Pill), Dick pursues a career that makes his wife proud.

Rumsfeld gets sent away, becoming an ambassador, due to conflicts with the Nixon administration. And then Watergate happens and Nixon is out. As one of the Republicans not involved in the scandal, Cheney promotes to Secretary of Defense, in the Gerard Ford White House, and then moves up to Chief of Staff.

Cheney researches the legal theory called the Unitary Executive Theory, which states, simply put, that anything the president does is legal because he or she is the president. Carter wins the next election, and Cheney is out of a job.

Movie Review Vice

Running Mate

Back home in Wyoming, Dick runs for Congress. However, during his campaign, he experiences his first heart attack. Lynne campaigns on his behalf, and ultimately, Dick wins.

After Bush’s presidency, Cheney considers running for president. His numbers are low however. And his younger daughter, Mary, has come out as gay. Rather than risk his supportive relationship with her, Cheney opts out of running. Instead, he becomes the CEO of Halliburton, choosing involvement in the corporate world for many years, until George W. Bush (Rockwell) calls him.

Initially, Dick refuses the role of vice president, to GW Bush’s president. Lynne cautions her husband, calling the vice presidency a “nothing job”. Talking to George later, Dick asks for more than a typical vice president role. He wants to oversee major departments. And he wants his daughter Mary off limits. George agrees.

After a close race in the 2000 election, George Bush and Dick Cheney win the White House.

Movie Review Vice

The White House Years

Once settled in, Dick has total oversight, including receiving intelligence briefings before the President. He gets tax breaks for the wealthy and places key personnel throughout the administration.

Tragedy strikes the United States on 9/11. Cheney makes decisions during that time that no other vice president has ever made. Post 9/11 Cheney and Rumsfeld focus in on Iraq and Sadaam Hussein, even though Colin Powell (Perry) wants to gather information on Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Eventually the American people are convinced Saddam needs to be stopped. The war in Iraq begins.

Throughout these years, Cheney quietly moves forward, with the tenacity of a bull. The war doesn’t go as expected. ISIS comes into existence. War crimes are uncovered. Donald Rumsfeld takes the heat and is removed from office. And Dick Cheney’s heart gives out, literally, over and over again.

Finally, told there is no hope for recovery, Cheney faces death unless a heart donor can be found. In a bizarre twist in the film, one comes available.

The film concludes with an interview with Dick Cheney, in which the character breaks the fourth wall in the movie and looks directly at the audience. After being asked to defend his practices while in office, Cheney replies that he is fine with judgment and incrimination. He did what needed to be done so that our loved ones could sleep at night. We chose him. He did what we asked.

Movie Review Vice

My Thoughts on Vice

The characterizations of these familiar politicians is amazing in this film. Christian Bale is unrecognizable, after gaining 40 pounds for the role, shaving his head and bleaching his eyebrows. He portrays Cheney so well that I forgot, frequently, that the man on the screen was not the former vice president. I’m reminded of Gary Oldham’s turn as Winston Churchill last year in Darkest Hour.

Amy Adams is marvelous as Lynne Cheney, who is a powerful person as well. All of the actors were carefully chosen for the roles they stepped into, and that care is very evident.

In a unique role, Jesse Plemons serves as narrator. The camera cuts to him between scenes as he explains what’s going on. His connection to Cheney is revealed, in a surprising way, near the end of the movie.

Movie Review VicePerry and Carell as Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld, respectively.

My take aways from Vice are these:

It’s not just the one who holds power that influences events. It’s who has control. And sometimes the quietest among us are doing the most to create major shifts.

Vice is another film that is difficult to classify. Is it humor or drama, satire or smear? Perhaps it’s a character study of Dick Cheney. Or perhaps it’s more a commentary on the American people. I wrote at the beginning of this post that I am not a political person. At the end of Vice, I recognized the detriment in holding that belief. If these events in Vice happened, and fact checking shows that some of the scenes are creditable and some are not, then it is on me to be more aware, more involved.

It’s on all of us.

Vice opens up my awareness. It makes me want to study who people say they are and what their actions show about them, in the political arena. Vice possesses the potential to sharply divide people. But what if its true intention is to wake us up?

Working for Donald Rumsfeld, young Dick Cheney asks him, sincerely,

“What do we believe in?”

It’s a great question for Vice to leave me with. What do I believe in?

Movie Review Vice

It’s Oscar Time!

I’m minutes away from the 91st Academy Awards. Curried lentils are bubbling in the slow cooker. Vegan snickerdoodle cookies and a hot cup of herbal tea await. I’ll be blogging through the awards show and post a second late post tonight.

Here are all my reviews, for the eight Best Picture Nominated films:

Download or rent Vice on Amazon Prime Video HERE or purchase the DVD

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: The Favourite

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One look at the title of this film, The Favourite, and you know by the spelling of the second word that this story is connected to England. This Best Picture nominated movie is based upon the brief and somewhat obscure reign of Queen Anne, of England.

My mother, an avid history buff, accompanied me to this second to the last movie, during Oscar week.

Movie Review The Favourite

The Favourite Cast

This biographical drama, with comedic overtones, stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicolas Hoult, James Smith and Mark Gatiss. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite carries an R rating, for language and sexuality, and has a run time of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

The Favourite is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Colman, Best Supporting Actress for Stone and Weisz and Best Director for Lanthimos.

Movie Review The Favourite

Queen Anne of England

It’s early in the 18th century, and England nears the end of a war with France. The reigning monarch, Queen Anne (Colman) is frail in body and mind and fraught with anxieties.

The government is divided, with Robert Harley (Hoult) and Sidney Godolphin (Smith) leading the opposing parties. Their grappling for control wearies the Queen, who relies on her companion for support and guidance. Sarah (Weisz) and Anne grew up as childhood friends. As the queen’s health declines, she depends more and more on Sarah to attend crucial meetings and carry out royal duties.

Sarah Churchill is intelligent, in a cunning way, and very much in alignment with Godolphin, who supports continued war with France. Her husband, John, Duke of Marlborough (Gatiss), leads the troops as the war winds down.

Movie Review The Favourite

Abigail Arrives

Sarah’s status with the Queen shifts when Abigail (Stone) arrives. Abigail is Sarah’s cousin. Her life took a downturn years ago, leaving her destitute, fallen in society, and seeking employment. Although she begins as a scullery maid in the castle, Abigail quickly works her way into the Queen’s favour. Anne suffers horribly from gout. When inflammation creates swelling, sores and tremendous pain, Abigail applies a soothing herbal poultice.

Abigail’s new position as the Queen’s personal assistant alarms Sarah, and the competition between the women begins. Sneaking into Queen Anne’s bedchamber one night, Abigail makes a shocking discovery. Sarah and the Queen are clandestine lovers.

Movie Review The Favourite

Who is the Favourite?

As political strife heats up, Queen Anne finds herself caught between opposing parties, and between equally opposing women. Sarah continues to urge the Queen toward war. Abigail, who aligns with Harley and peace with France, appears more sympathetic and helpful toward the Queen.

Both women know that being Queen Anne’s favourite brings power and prestige and wealth. For Abigail, it even brings an arranged marriage that will restore her place in society.

As the Queen’s health continues to deteriorate, and her mood plummets, Abigail and Sarah vie for the coveted title of Favourite. And there can only be one.

Movie Review The Favourite

My Thoughts on The Favourite

I attend the Best Picture nominated films with as little foreknowledge as possible. That way, I experience the movie and the story with a fresh perspective and no expectations. I’ve seen many historical films about England’s queens and kings, however, I knew very little about this particular monarch.

The Favourite is unique, in that it includes rich complex characters, an abundance of humor, and modern elements including clever camera work and music that is often jarring. Perhaps the best classification for this movie is dark comedy with historical overtones!

Queen Anne is the central figure and the movie revolves around her. She alternates between being reasonable and competent, and lost and child-like, wailing with despair. Her despondency and fragility is better understood when it is revealed that the 17 rabbits she keeps as pets in her bedchamber represent the children she lost. Losing one child fractures the soul. Imagine what losing 17 does.

And although he is not mentioned in the movie, the Queen had recently lost her spouse as well. With no surviving children, Anne is the last monarch of the House of Stuart.

Olivia Colman deserves her Oscar nomination. Her portrayal is nuanced and compelling to watch. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are equally captivating in their roles. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see The Favourite, before tomorrow night’s Academy Awards.

Movie Review The Favourite

One More Best Picture Movie to Review

I watched Vice tonight, completing the list of films. Watch for that review tomorrow.

Here are the nominees. Click the links for the reviews.

Rent The Favourite on Amazon Prime Video HERE.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.