Tag Archive | Academy Awards 2014

Fun Oscar Facts

Oscars-statue-logo

I love movies, but I’ve never been a huge fan of watching the Oscar’s. This year I happen to see many of the movies, obviously making me more interested in watching the famous Academy Award night.

A friend of mine is also throwing a Mardi Gras / Oscar party on Sunday, so let the celebration begin, and good luck to all!

Fun Facts about the Oscars

1. Liza Minnelli is the only Oscar winner whose parents (Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli) also both won Academy Awards.

2. An Oscar weighs in at just over 3kg and stands 34cm tall.

3. The ”Everybody Wins at the Oscars” gift bag is awarded annually by Distinctive Assets and is chock full of goodies worth over $80,000— Filled with products like Chocolatines, Slow Watches, Acure Organics skincare, and a trip on the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train, the gift bag is sure to please all.

4.The youngest Oscar winner was Tatum O’Neal, only ten when she won Best Supporting Actress for Paper Moon in 1973.

5. The winner of the most Oscars in a lifetime? Walt Disney. He collected 32 from 59 nominations.

6. The first black actress to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel. The Kansan won Best Supporting Actress for Gone With The Wind in 1940.

7. Sidney Poitier became the first black actor to win an Oscar when he collected for Lilies Of The Field in 1963.

8. “Happy,” written by Pharrell Williams from “Despicable Me 2,” is up for original song at the Academy Awards. “Happy” was originally released back in June last year, tucked away as track four on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album. Pharrell had signed to Sony Music and the track was considered a ‘possible’ to appear on his new album.

9. After John Singleton and Lee Daniels, Steve McQueen becomes only the third black filmmaker to receive a Best Director nod — and the first of non-US origin.

10. Three actors of African parentage are nominated this year: Chiwetel Ejiofor (Nigerian), Lupita Nyong’o (Kenyan) and Barkhad Abdi (Somalian).

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Oscar Night 2014 – 12 Years a Slave Review

It’s Oscar night March 2nd!

This year I happened to see quite a few of the movies up for nominations, but I thought I would give a review on the movie with 9 Oscar nominations.

Poster by Ignition Print

Poster by Ignition Print

12 Years A Slave

Directed by British video artist Steve McQueen, it was a must see for me since it was a true story, and historically significant to my ancestry. The movie is about the autobiography of Solomon Northup, published in 1853. Solomon is an accomplished violinist by trade, and a free man living in upstate New York. In the first few scenes McQueen uses silence, scenery, costumes, and a soft filtered look through the lens to capture the eloquent  life of  “freedom” that Solomon and his family live. Through a series of unfortunate events, Solomon is shipped to Louisiana and sold into slavery.

I had the movie “Roots” on my mind when I entered the theater, but the contrasting scenes into slavery (one of them rated R) quickly squashed the elegant mini series theory, and I found myself pondering whether I should stay, or walk out now!

I stayed with some regret, but not because the movie wasn’t directed well. In fact, slavery was depicted all too “real” in this movie, I was squirming in my seat. An overwhelming darkness clouded my soul until the very end. Solomon’s struggle to survive this new life was certainly different from that of a slave that knew no other life. Solomon to some extend has to conceal who he really is. He can’t reveal his literacy, but manages to reveal his level of education in one scene. He upstages the foreman played by Paul Dano, and is punished for his success. He is hanged, but his feet barely touch the ground. He can’t lift them, or he dies. This is the scene that had me squirming! McQueen focuses on this scene at length. The morning turns to evening as the slaves go about their daily routine, continually passing by Solomon as he struggles to keep the noose from tightening. I think what bothered me the most was not that Solomon was inches from dying, but that not even his fellow-man could help (although one woman snuck him a drink of water). This was a very powerful scene.

Chiwetel Ejiofor does an excellent job in the movie as Solomon, as well as Lupita Nyong’o who plays the role of Patsey.

The movie has hope eventually when Solomon befriends and begins to trust a carpenter played by Brad Pitt. The carpenter promises to write a letter to a colleague of Solomon. Solomon is eventually retrieved and brought back to his home and family.

Although the movie earned its many nominations, I found it disturbing in its truth, profoundly silent in Louisiana’s beautiful back country, and a heartwarming reunion in the end.

Did you see this movie? Let me know what you thought.

Enjoy the Oscars!