Monkey-brained Musings

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Going Fourth

A meme snagged from Pramas

1. Cowboy
2. Canvasser
3. Phone bank manager
4. Attorney

1. Casablanca
2. Big Trouble in Little China
3. Gone with the Wind
4. Star Wars

1. Lord of the Rings (Tolkien)
2. Collected Conan Stories (Howard)
3. Timetables of History (Grun)
4. Texas Civil Trials (O'Conner)

1. Settlers of Catan
2. Mare Nostrum
3. Beyond the Haunted House on the Hill
4. D&D

1. Liberty County, TX
2. Portland, OR
3. White Plains, NY
4. Austin, TX

1. Law & Order (all varieties)
2. Torchwood
3. The Daily Show
4. Project Runway

1. England
2. Japan
3. Croatia
4. Spain

1. Sushi
2. Grilled tuna
3. Fried shrimp
4. Sarma

2. New York City
3. Croatia
4. Paris

1. Going to somewhere overseas (gotta get that passport renewed)
2. Writing more
3. Summer
4. 17th wedding anniversary

1. Barton Springs
2. Capitol
3. Town Lake Trail
4. There is always something new and intriguing.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Library of Congress Photo Archive

The Library of Congress has opened a Flikr account that includes thousands of amazing period photographs. The collection includes both documentary and news photos, including the one above of survivors from the Titanic. Note the empty seats in the lifeboat.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Birthday and New Year Smatterings

It just wouldn't be right to submit a long post about the Oscars without providing some personal update in this all but forgotten blog. I had a great birthday weekend. My wife surprised me with a night at the Hilton Downtown and a fabulous dinner at Chez Nous. My plans for golf Monday got rained out, so I got a long Warcraft session in instead.

One thing that did not progress much this weekend was my writing. But, I am committed to getting some material done and into circulation. My goals are for a short story this spring and a novel before the end of the year. I've got enough ideas, outlines, and character sketches. It is time to turn these into manuscripts. The biggest challenge is just getting into the habit of writting something every day. Challenge Number 2 is actually organizing the random bits into a coherent draft.

All of which lines up nicely with this horoscope that a friend of my wife prepared for us Capricorns and published in Austin Woman:

This is your year (finally) so I think you should celebrate by reading something that just may serve as a handbook for the next 12 months: The Power of Personal Accountability: Achieve What Matters to You by Mark Samuel and Sophie Chiche. This book is so good Amazon gave it five stars, and you will too. It's a blueprint for the most powerful, successful you and your mission for 2008 if you choose to accept it. Expect the world to notice you. Develop a strong personal philosophy, travel the world or go back to school, to teach or study.

So, why not put some effort in and guide the universe into alignment?


Oscar Nominations

The Academy Award nominations are out:

Overall, this looks like a showdown between No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood, interestingly both Westerns, of a sort. Atonement is also in the running.

Number of nominations
- There Will Be Blood, 8
- Atonement, 7
- Michael Clayton, 7
- No Country for Old Men, 7
- Ratatouille, 5
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 4
- Juno, 4
- La Vie en Rose, 3
- Sweeney Todd, 3
- Transformers, 3

Comment: Blood has a narrow edge, and there are surprisingly strong showings by Clayton, Ratatouille, and - most surprisingly - Transformers.

Best motion picture
- Atonement
- Juno
- Michael Clayton
- No Country for Old Men
- There Will Be Blood

Comment: As I've only seen two of these, it is time for some catch-up viewing.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
- Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- Julie Christie in Away from Her
- Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose
- Laura Linney in The Savages
- Ellen Page in Juno

Comment: This looks pretty competitive. Blanchett is in a stronger position for the Supporting award. No one saw Away from Her. Cotillard won the Globe. Linney turned in a great performance in a classic Oscar worthy role, and this is her fourth nomination. Page did an amazing job carrying Juno, but this is her first nomination. I would say that Linney has the advantage unless there is a generational split in the voting that works to Page's advantage.

Performance by an actor in a leading role
- George Clooney in Michael Clayton
- Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood
- Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah
- Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises

Comment: I have yet to see any of these. I would guess that the real contest is between Clooney, Day-Lewis, and Mortensen unless Jones picks up votes for recognition of his career as a whole.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
- Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
- Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men
- Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War
- Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild
- Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton

Comment: Interesting choices. It looks like the real contest is between Bardem and Seymour Hoffman. Let's hope that The Assassination of Jesse James gets rushed out to DVD before the awards.

Achievement in directing
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Julian Schnabel
- Juno, Jason Reitman
- Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy
- No Country for Old Men, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson

Comment: This is one of the real showdowns between No Country and Blood. Both the Coens and Anderson has respectable bodies of work before these movies that the Academy may choose to recognize. No nomination for Atonement puts it further behind in the race for Best Picture.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
- Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There
- Ruby Dee in American Gangster
- Saoirse Ronan in Atonement
- Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone
- Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton

Comment: And the award for best cross-dressing portrayl of a celebrity goes to . . .

Adapted screenplay
- Atonement, Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
- Away from Her, Written by Sarah Polley
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
- No Country for Old Men, Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- There Will Be Blood, Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Comment: If Atonement wins here, I will switch to drinking heavily or playing Warcraft, probably both. Blood might have an advantage for reaching back to resurrect a book the few have heard of and fewer have read.

Original screenplay
- Juno, Written by Diablo Cody
- Lars and the Real Girl, Written by Nancy Oliver
- Michael Clayton, Written by Tony Gilroy
- Ratatouille, Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
- The Savages, Written by Tamara Jenkins

Comment: Another very competitive category. Cody might have the advantage for best script by a newcomer.

Best animated feature film of the year
- Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
- Ratatouille: Brad Bird
- Surf’s Up: Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Comment: Was there really nothing from Japan or elsewhere in Asia worthy of recognition? This category will get no respect until they stop nominating crap like Surf's Up. It will be interesting to see if Persepolis wins out over the sentimental favorite Ratatouille that more voters will likely have seen.

Best foreign language film
- Beaufort, Israel
- The Counterfeiters, Austria
- Katyn, Poland
- Mongol, Kazakhstan
- 12, Russia

Comment: I don't think that any of these have yet played in Austin, even at film festivals.

Achievement in art direction
- American Gangster
- Atonement
- The Golden Compass
- Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- There Will Be Blood

Comment: Atonement is the sort of period piece traditionally favored, but a win here could signal a big night for Blood.

Achievement in cinematography
- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
- Atonement
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- No Country for Old Men
- There Will Be Blood

Comment: Will this be part of the contest between No Country and Blood or will one of the other films win out?

Achievement in costume design
- Across the Universe
- Atonement
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- La Vie en Rose
- Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Comment: Two movies from the 30s, one from the late 19th Century, one from the late 16th Century, and one from the 60s. It will be interesting to see if the innovative Universe wins over one of the more traditional films.

Best documentary feature
- No End in Sight
- Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
- Sicko
- Taxi to the Dark Side
- War/Dance

Comment: Three movies about Iraq versus Sicko. Though Sicko is about the best thing that Moore has done, it will be interesting to see if he wins again.

Achievement in film editing
- The Bourne Ultimatum
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
- Into the Wild
- No Country for Old Men
- There Will Be Blood

Achievement in makeup
- La Vie en Rose
- Norbit
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
- Atonement
- The Kite Runner
- Michael Clayton
- Ratatouille
- 3:10 to Yuma

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
- “Falling Slowly” from Once
- “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted
- "Raise It Up” from August Rush
- "So Close" from Enchanted
- "That’s How You Know” from Enchanted

Comment: Once versus Enchanted. The presentation of these songs should be fun.

Achievement in sound editing
- The Bourne Ultimatum
- No Country for Old Men
- Ratatouille
- There Will Be Blood
- Transformers

Achievement in sound mixing
- The Bourne Ultimatum
- Ratatouille
- 3:10 to Yuma
- Transformers

Achievement in visual effects
- The Golden Compass
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
- Transformers

Comment: No nomination for The 300? The year's most visually distinctive movie?



The scattered musings of Jeb Boyt, Austin Texas. A collection of the random bits that scamper through my monkey brain. This blog is my personal record. The opinions expressed here are my own and are in no way associated with any employer, board, commission, organization, or other entity that I may be affiliated with. So there.

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