Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reflections on the Oscar Nominations

While still reeling with mixed feelings about the 80th Academy Award nominations announced yesterday, I feel compelled to document my reactions. After all, what do you expect from a confirmed movie addict like me?

Yes, I’m excited about three of my top ten films of 2007 (“Michael Clayton,” “Juno,” “There Will Be Blood”) earning nominations as Best Picture, and I’m very happy Alan Menken received three – count ‘em three – nods for his delightful “Enchanted” songs. But I can’t believe the Academy voters snubbed Angelina Jolie’s terrific lead performance in “A Mighty Heart.” What were they thinking? Although four of the nominees in that category (Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard), deserve Oscar recognition, I think Jolie should have Laura Linney’s spot. Linney is always reliable and sometimes even brilliant, but her excellent work in “The Savages” can’t compare with Jolie’s superb acting as the widow of a murdered journalist.

Other nominations that both pleased and surprised me include: the legendary Ruby Dee for her supporting role in “American Gangster,” Tommy Lee Jones as Best Actor for “In the Valley of Elah,” “Ratatouille,” an animated movie, for original screenplay.

As the world’s most avid movie musical fan, I’m disappointed, of course, because “Hairspray” received no nominations. However, I wasn’t predicting any. (I still think it’s the best and most entertaining movie of 2007.) And, speaking of predictions, it looks like a close race between “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” in the Best Picture category. These films tied with the most nominations – 8 each. My only predictions right now? Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor for his complete transformation into a ruthless oil tycoon in the latter film and Javier Bardem will walk away with the Best Supporting Actor statuette for portraying the most menacing villain of the year in the former movie.

And now a word about my favorite actor, Johnny Depp. It’s wonderful to see his name in the Best Actor category, but I would prefer it to be for something other than “Sweeney Todd.” Don’t worry, Johnny, I still love you.

We’ll find out who wins in all categories on February 24.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Actress Julie Benz on MAHQ

Julie Benz, the lovely and talented actress who stars alongside Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo,” will be my special guest on BlogTalkRadio’s “Movie Addict Headquarters” next Tuesday, January 22. This 30-minute show airs at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, and an archived segment will be available after the live broadcast. Benz has agreed to talk about her experience working with Stallone as well as her burgeoning acting career.

In “Rambo,” opening on Friday, January 25, Benz plays a missionary taken prisoner by sadistic soldiers while bringing aid to the persecuted Karen people of Burma. The film, in which Benz performs all her own stunts (I can hardly wait to ask her about this!), was written and directed by Stallone to draw attention to the need for aid in the war-torn country of Burma.

Currently, Benz can also be seen starring in Showtime’s killer hit series, “Dexter” as Dexter’s (Michael C. Hall) broken and sexually disinterested girlfriend Rita Bennett, who is oblivious to her boyfriend’s murderous tendencies.

Benz earned critical acclaim when she starred in the cult classic TV series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” portraying Sarah Michelle Gellar’s nemesis, Darla. Benz’s character also made the jump to the spin-off and equally acclaimed series “Angel,” which co-starred David Boreanaz as Darla’s forbidden lover.

Next, Benz will play the vengeful blue-collar wife of a murdered cop in “The Punisher: War Zone” based on the Marvel Comic of the same name costarring Ray Stevenson of “Rome” and Dominic West of “The Wire” and “300,” out in fall of 2008.

Listen to Julie Benz’s interview by clicking on the link below at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on January 22.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

CAPA Award Nomination

My husband and I are very pleased that IT HAD TO BE US, the little romantic memoir we wrote under the pseudonyms of Harry and Elizabeth Lawrence, has received a nomination in The Romance Studio’s fourth annual Cupid and Psyche Awards program.

The CAPA Awards are given for excellence in romantic fiction, and although our E-Book does not quality as “fiction,” it’s been nominated for a Psyche Award, a category for romances that do not meet the nomination criteria but deserve special recognition.

Winners will be announced on Valentine’s Day, 2008.

A free copy of our E-book can be obtained by making a donation of any amount to the IMAGINATION LIBRARY at this link:

Happy New Year!

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