If I Were on the Academy

Here's how I would have awarded if I was in charge.... I won't bore you with all my nominations, but instead just get to the good stuff! (Keep in mind; I only nominate films that I have seen.)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Thank You for Smoking: this script was witty, entertaining and insightful. It was full of hilarious supporting characters and spin that almost convinced me smoking wasn't so bad.
Honorable mention to Notes on a Scandal. Such an interesting portrait of two flawed women that I just loved to hate or maybe more accurately, hated to love.

Best Original Screenplay
Stranger than Fiction: "Original" is the key word for this category. The whole concept of the film was completely out there but it captured me and took me along for a very entertaining ride.

Best Cinematography
The Illusionist: this film just looked cool! He achieved period detail with a magical feel in a completely original way.

Best Supporting Actor
Jaden Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness: “Wow” is about all that I can say. Not only is he the most adorable kid I’ve seen onscreen in awhile, the kid has chops!
Honorable mention to Matt Damon in The Departed. How did he not even get a nod this year? His performance in the departed was powerful and such a 180 from his amazingly controlled performance in The Good Shepherd. I forgot how really talented he is. What did he do to tick off the academy?

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls the woman gave me goose bumps! The audience in the theatre actually applauded her song in the middle of the movie. Brava!

Best Actor
Aaron Eckhart - Thank You for Smoking: he could have so easily let this character be slimy and unlikable. He played it with charisma and an inner turmoil that drew me in. Amazing performance.
Honorable mention to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed. He was really incredible and for goodness sakes held his own brilliantly on screen with Jack Nicholson.

Best Actress
Helen Mirren - The Queen: boy did I love this film. And Mirren was truly its center. She embodied an iconic character with depth and humanity. She's in a league of her own.
Honorable mention to Shareeka Epps in Half Nelson. Understated yet powerful, I can't wait to watch her career grow.

Best Director
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris - Little Miss Sunshine: I’m glad the Academy finally rewarded Scorsese for his amazing body of work, I’m just sad that it had to come this year. Dayton and Faris gave us such a relatable and human, bitter-sweet masterpiece it is unfortunate they couldn't have been recognized for their work.

Best Picture
Little Miss Sunshine: I fell in love with each and every character. This, to me, is what film should be. It was hysterical and touching without resorting to cliché. Absolutely brilliant.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Super Sunday has come and gone. And I’m not talking about that silly, over-hyped football game - I’m talking about the academy awards. For me, awards season truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Theatres are packed with amazing films, television is packed with award shows, web sites are packed with analysis and predictions and the fashion mags are packed with red carpet photos. It's a little taste of heaven. I just can't get enough of it. And while I understand that the festivities are truly about "the work" the fashion isn't so bad either!!!

While it is definitely my plan to address the films of 2006 in a coming post - I’m gonna tell you what the academy got right and how I might have chosen differently. First and foremost, I want to share my opinions on the insanely superficial stuff - how everybody looked last night!!!

First, Reese Witherspoon was absolutely breathtaking. Can you believe how gorgeous?!?!?! The layers at the bottom of that gown were exquisite. I'm telling you, between this and her picture perfect Golden Globes Ensemble. She is my pick for this award season's best dressed.

Next, Helen Mirren... Wow! It seems a photo doesn't do her justice, she was absolutely radiant. This woman is the graphic illustration of "elegance". I was so excited to see her win and jack black wasn't kidding - she is smoking hot!

Nicole Kidman (minus her ugly shoes), Penélope Cruz, Cate Blanchett and (as much as I hate to say it) Cameron Diaz were some of my other favorites. Kudos to the brave ladies (and stylists) who tried something different!! Here's a link to InStyle Magazine's top 12. Comparing their picks and mine - it's clear why it is my fashion bible!


Eye Opening

Someone used the term "porch monkey" to me yesterday.

When I sat there in stunned silence, unable to respond, I guess she assumed I didn't understand what she had just said. So, she then graciously defined the term for me.

Thanks for the clarification.

Since our move this isn't my first experience with this kind of ignorance. I’m appalled by what I hear in casual conversation. And don't worry; I’ve experienced equal opportunity filth. No minority group is safe.

Now, I am in no way arguing that racism only exists in the South. I’m not that naive. And this move particularly is helping me realize some of my own prejudice. But such bold, seemingly socially accepted and unapologetic racism appears to run rampant around here. And I continually witness it spew from the mouths of "educated" people. It's crazy, nobody even flinches.

Where I’m from, most racists understand the need to censor their hate speech in public. Many even have the decency to appear embarrassed when it "slips" out. Is that better? I’m not arguing that it is... But it at least demonstrates the understanding that in the 21st century it is no longer socially acceptable to be a bigot.



The last few days have been kind of crappy.

What I'm trying really hard to figure out is - am I missing home that badly or just feeling really lonely? Have I idealized what we've left behind because in comparison this is so not what i would consider an ideal living environment?

We've been in Tennessee for about 5 months now. Besides my husband, I’ve got one friendship brewing. I realize that patience is not one of my strong points, but come on! I'm really trying here! I realize it took 20 something years to cultivate the relationships that I had in St. Louis, and I’m realistic in my expectations of where my relationships would be in 5 months. But being the optimistic, extrovert that I am I didn't think it was going to be this difficult to even start friendships. I mean geez, everywhere else I’ve lived, people liked me...

And I’m certainly not one of those women who has to be around someone 24 hrs a day, but an occasional in-person conversation about something real would be nice. The last thing that I want to do is suck my friend dry and run her off scared. I need to find some other avenues to pursue.

My biggest fear is that I’m not meeting people that I want to develop relationships with!

The problem is I don't feel like I have anything in common with the people that I’m meeting. I'm not exaggerating or being overly dramatic when I say that I feel like I’m on another planet. They eat differently, talk differently, dress differently, worship differently - I feel like a first year French student. I'm still thinking in English (or in my case Yankee) and having to constantly translate what is put in front of me. And quite frankly, that hurts my game - it's difficult to be quick witted when you're conjugating in your head.

Everything and everyone here is just so peculiar. I really wasn't prepared. Geographically, we're not that far from where we left. These drastic differences don't make sense to me. And not only am I not sure how to fit in, I’m beginning to wonder if I even want to.


Why I Love Being Married to My Husband

In honor of the holiday, I’ve compiled a list about my Valentine:

• I always have a really hot date for important occasions
• I don't feel the pressure to be "out on the town" in the "place to be"
• He loves me even when I’m at my very worst
• I have a strong, supportive shoulder to cry on
• He is always there to laugh with me when life throws a curve ball
• He warms the bed
• When I’m having a narcissistic episode, his presence (not his words) reminds me it’s not all about me
• He takes out the trash
• I still get flowers for no reason at all
• He pays attention to details
• He's an amazing listener
• He's still pursuing me


How to Speak "Southern"


The wheeled apparatus that transports items around a grocery store prior to check out.
Also known as a grocery cart

For example ~ "Do you need a buggy, Ma'am?"

Particularly difficult to grasp since your head spins after being called "Ma'am" and therefore can't figure out what the heck a "buggy" is, much less if one is needed.


Did I Watch a Different Movie?

On Christmas day, being far away from family and friends, we decided to go for a movie marathon. My first choice for the day was "Dreamgirls". I had been swept up in all the hype and was more than excited to see the musical on the big screen.

Now, before you worry that I’m about to trash it, I’m not. I thought the movie was fine. Jennifer Hudson was outstanding, Beyonce looked amazing, the costumes were stunning and the musical numbers were fun. But seriously, Eddie Murphy? What did I miss? While I wouldn't go as far as saying he wasn't entertaining, was that performance really worth the accolades it is receiving? With only 5 performances chosen from the 300+ movies eligible, should his really be singled out as Academy Award worthy?

I will not argue that 2006 was a stellar year for film. Quite frankly, it left a bit to be desired. But was it so bad that the Academy has decided to give the best supporting actor award to an extended version of "James Brown's Celebrity Hot Tub Party"? It isn't even like he added depth to the character. Sure he pouts when told "No" and eludes to drug abuse - but not particularly well...

I'm not an Eddie Murphy hater; some of his performances have been good for a laugh. And the recent death of James Brown allows for a little drama in the acceptance speech (though, Murphy doesn't seem the type to willingly share the spotlight with the obvious inspiration for the role). It's just, the thought of movie posters touting "Academy Award Winner, Eddie Murphy as 'Norbit'" is a little more than I can stomach.


Why I'm Not Working in a Bakery

Recently we celebrated my new husband's 33rd birthday. Being the thoughtful and hungry wife that I am, I decided to bake him a birthday cake from scratch. My first hurdle was the realization that we do not own a cake pan. How is this possible considering we had literally 7 pages of kitchen registry items from bed, bath and beyond? I'm not quite sure. Nobody thought to mention this gaping hole in my Martha Stewart training kit?

I did not allow this to ruin my mission. Since I am both a creative and crafty cook-in-training, I remembered that we did receive a very fun red muffin tray. Obviously, cupcakes were the route to take.

After one frustrating experience and a sinful sundae from outback later, I’ve come away with 2 lessons. First, there is a difference between "self-rising" and "all purpose" flour. Second, when the recipe suggests filling the muffin tins half-way, that is probably a good idea.


How to Speak "Southern"

"Bless Her Heart"

This deceptively kind sounding phrase is often tacked on to absolve the speaker of any ill will that the preceding statement may illicit from either the listener or the subject of said comment.

For example ~ "That Shelly has the worst taste in men, bless her heart."
or, "Max is a real dolt, bless his heart."
even, "That make-up makes her look like a street walker, bless her heart."

Offering up a prayer for the person of whom the speaker speaks automatically nullifies the appearance of cruel or heartless intention.