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Intown Rundown: Cocktails, camera, action
February 24, 2011 - April Diodato
At long last, Academy Awards night is upon us! For cinephiles, fashionistas and couch potatoes – especially for those of us who are a delightful combination of all three – there is simply nothing more splendid than sprawling out on the couch in our finest weekend uniforms with a cocktail and a bowl of popcorn for a Sunday night of Hollywood glamour. While I envy the stars who get to wear gowns that cost more than I’ll make in a year, there is something satisfying about the fact that I get to enjoy the Oscars without any hard work or preparation, where the dress code is nothing above an animal print Snuggie.
This year’s Academy Awards will be hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco (a nominee himself, in the Best Actor category for his role in “127 Hours”) and will likely be filled with few surprises, with many montages, pointless musical tributes and awkward silences following each punchline. The party gets started at 6 p.m. on E! for red carpet coverage – and at 7 p.m. on ABC, for those of us who can’t afford cable (it’s still a recession) – with the awards show proper kicking off at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. Now, onto my predictions and grievances, this year’s Oscars drinking game, the drink of the week and, finally, what else is happening this weekend.
PREDICTIONS AND GRIEVANCES
For some of the major categories, the 2011 Oscars seems like a straight shot. Colin Firth will win in the Best Actor category for “The King’s Speech” and Natalie Portman will win in the Best Actress category for “Black Swan” – hopefully giving another acceptance speech that is completely bonkers, similar to her wacky Golden Globes oration which provided the tabloids with fodder for at least a week. I would be shocked if Christian Bale didn’t win Best Supporting Actor for his outstanding work in “The Fighter” and would be similarly surprised if David Fincher failed to take home a golden statue in the Best Director category for “The Social Network.” Though many are predicting the victor will be Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech” after the Directors Guild of America named him best director, I still have a feeling that Fincher will win.
In the acting categories, there is really only one uncertainty: Best Supporting Actress. Melissa Leo was tipped to win until she splashed an embarrassing campaign in the Hollywood trade magazines following the Golden Globes (where she was a winner). The awkward ads, with Leo swathed in furs and looking simultaneously smug and uncomfortable – yes, somehow, that is possible – were mocked mercilessly. If Leo lost this one, I’d say it’s between Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit” and Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech.” Though it might be fun for Helena to accept her Oscar in whatever batty ballgown she decides to don for the occasion, I’m hoping for Hailee. Anyone who has seen “True Grit” has to admit that she was spectacular in her role, even giving Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon a run for their money.
For Best Picture, it appears to be a close race between “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech,” with the latter as the frontrunner. “The King’s Speech” won big at the many of the prior big award shows such as Screen Actors Guild and the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), which often indicate an Oscar win. Both films were great but the fact that “The Social Network” feels like a defining film for our generation makes me think that it still has a shot to take home an Academy Award.
This leads me to my 2011 Oscar grievances. With only a few days to go, I am just shy of my goal of watching all 10 of the Best Picture nominees before the awards. I have yet to see “127 Hours,” the conclusion of which I might be too squeamish for, and “Toy Story 3” was low on my priority list. I did just watch “Winter’s Bone” and while it has merit, it is not best watched in the midst of the most miserable Western New York winter I have witnessed. But I digress. While all of the Best Picture honorees are noteworthy, high-quality films, many of which I highly enjoyed and even loved (“Black Swan” is my personal favorite), could any of them be considered one of the greatest films ever made? Are any of these films in the same league as “The Godfather,” “Gone With the Wind” or “Schindler's List?” Are they truly spectacular works that will stand the test of time – movies that will be marveled at and discussed and studied in film classes and textbooks? I’m not convinced.
And what about next year’s Academy Awards? 2011 will set the record for most sequels, breaking records for the most part fours and part fives. We’re going to be getting completely unnecessary follow-ups to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Scream,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Fast and the Furious” and “Final Destination” (its final destination should have been the conclusion of the first film). Just take a look at the upcoming releases scheduled for this year and you will be hard-pressed to find much to look forward to. It’s grim. A D-Lister in a Nicholas Sparks adaptation might even have a shot at Oscars 2012. Perhaps this is a sign that the Mayans were right about the impending apocalypse after all. And no, that is not overdramatic at all.
OSCARS DRINKING GAME
Since the actual awards show will be anticlimactic, let’s make things interesting. Drink every time…
- “The King’s Speech” wins an award (take small sips or you won’t make it to Best Picture).
- The camera cuts to Helena Bonham Carter looking kooky (yet impossibly glamorous at the same time).
- The crickets chirp after James Franco tries too hard to be charming.
- Anne Hathaway changes her outfit.
- An award-winner is clearly infuriated by the swelling music giving them the proverbial hook during their acceptance speech (take a shot if they use expletives).
- An actress struggles to get onstage to accept her award due to an ill-advised gown choice (extra points for anything that could double as a sausage casing).
- We get a sour grapes close-up by a bitter nominee just after losing in their category.
- Someone in a group who is clearly not authorized to speak monopolizes the mic, to the dismay of everyone else involved (key example: Paz de la Huerta at the Screen Actors Guild Awards)
- When an unnecessary montage passes the three-minute mark – because how else will you get through the Academy Awards broadcast in its entirety?
DRINK OF THE WEEK
Why not have what the rest of the nominees will be having? Here’s the recipe for Sour Grapes. I found two variations on it in cocktail form. The first is a wine cocktail, which simply involves combining 3 oz. Pinot Grigio and 1 oz. sour mix. Shake it up in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with champagne grapes (if you’re feeling fancy – and really, who isn’t). I think many wine cocktails are better fizzy and if you concur, toss some champagne on top. Now you’re Oscar-caliber. In shot form: Mix 3/4 oz. vodka and 1/4 oz. sweet and sour mix, and pour into a shot glass. Voila!
- If you feel the need to crank up the heat and walk around on sand, head down to BJ's tonight for their annual Beach Party. It's just like being at a real beach except there are drink specials and no dead fish or seaweed. The party starts at 10 p.m. and you must be at least 21 to attend.
- 41 West will feature Side Effects with Gina V. from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Fallen Union from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday.
- Rookies will have live music Saturday, with 10 Cent Howl from 10 p.m. to midnight and Junkbutton starting at midnight.
- The Kosciuszko Club will feature live music by Trio at 9:30 p.m., for members and eligible guests.
- EBC West will have live music this weekend starting at 10 p.m. each night – Speak Easy Three is on Friday and On The Sly is on Saturday.
- Roll up the Rim is back at Tim Hortons! With a dollar and a dream, you, too, could score a free coffee, a new car or, more than likely, epic disappointment.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Taylor kicking it old-school at the Oscars. Who wouldn't want to be seated at her table?