Friday, December 30, 2011

A mini-interview with Gene Wojciechowski

Gene Wojciechowski's upcoming book published by Blue Rider Press, The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball, hits bookstores everywhere on January 5, 2012. I conducted a mini-interview with the senior national ESPN.com columnist.



Daniel Solzman: What made you want to write a book on the game? I’m a die-hard Kentucky fan and am planning to read it even if I hate those final seconds that get forced down our throats each and every year.
Gene Wojciechowski: I wrote the book because it's the best game I've ever seen and/or covered in person. I wrote it because I loved the story of the Unforgettables, Pitino, Mashburn and CM Newton. I wrote it because I admired what Krzyzewski did with a dysfunctional Duke team. I wrote it because Laettner intrigued me. I wrote it because I love the passion of UK fans. Most of all, I wrote it because it was the only game I've ever seen where the losing team didn't really lose. That game helped make Kentucky, well, Kentucky again. Even in defeat, it was a defining moment for that program and those players. I know they lost a game, but they won back the Kentucky basketball name.

Daniel Solzman: You said it was the best game that you have ever seen and/or covered in person? Which other games would rank out your top 5?
Gene Wojciechowski: Best game I've ever watched. Best game I've ever covered. The rest of the top 5? I'd have to think about that. I've seen a lot of stuff. Game 6 of this latest World Series was amazing. I covered the Villanova win against Georgetown for the national title—at Rupp. I covered the infamous Chris Webber timeout call against North Carolina in the national championship game at the Superdome. I was there for the Bartman Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. And I've seen a lot of Tiger Woods.

Daniel Solzman: Even though it was the greatest college basketball game of all time, there are some fans out there that hate Duke with a passion and might not want to read it thinking it’s more of a Duke book then a Kentucky book. What do you say to those types of fans?
Gene Wojciechowski: As for Kentucky fans who don't want to read about Duke...

Well, I would tell them there's nothing I can do about the final score. Laettner made a shot for the ages and Kentucky fans, who are among the most knowledgeable hoops fans on the planet, surely have to appreciate what he did from a basketball standpoint. They might not like Duke, Laettner or The Shot, but they know they witnessed something historic.

But the book isn't just about the game. It's about how C.M. Newton and President Roselle put back together the pieces of the UK program. How Pitino came to be the head coach. How a little-known strength and conditioning coach named Rock Oliver helped make those players into a basketball machine. How three Kentucky kids and an Indiana kid became legends for UK. How Mashburn helped save the program. How, even in defeat, Kentucky really won.

I loved writing about the Kentucky players and staff. And Duke's players and coaches, to this day, marvel at the dignity, integrity and talent displayed by that 1992 UK team. Some of the very best stuff in the book is Krzyzewski and Laettner and Grant Hill talking about how great that UK team was.

Stan The Man: Book Review

I'm just over halfway through Stan The Man by Wayne Stewart. Published in 2010 by Triumph Books, this book is one of a few released recently about the Cardinal great.

It's a good read. At times, I feel as if Stewart is giving us too much information about Jackie Robinson or Branch Rickey.

The first chapter deals with his childhood in Donora, PA. Some anecdotes relate to Ken Griffey, Jr. as Musial played with Sr.'s father, Buddy in high school.

The next few chapters, we learn just how he became The Man, why he treats his fans the way that he does, etc.

Stewart not only interviews family and friends but he does his research with quoting former ballplayers that wrote books.

Rick Ankiel was not the first Cardinal to be converted from pitcher to hitter. Stan started out as a pitcher but he was a good hitter at the time. An injury to his throwing shoulder and next thing you know, he's asked to play in the outfield. We know what happens next.

The book covers the great decade of the 1940s for the Cardinals, a decade that took the Cards to 4 World Series, winning 3 of them. Stewart discusses how Stan was robbed of a triple crown.

After finishing the book, I can say that it's definitely more of a linear biography moreso than anything else. Wayne Stewart talks with friends and family of Stan and most of Stan's quotes in the book, I feel as if they came elsewhere from press in the media rather than The Man himself. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But we do find out interesting things though. During the memorabilia craze of the early 90s, Stan the Man, Inc. was formed and even though the goal was to SELL memorabilia, Musial had no problem with giving away autographs for free. I should know...I'm the owner of one of those free autographs.

It's a fast read, too. When one works and has to find time to read, you shouldn't have a problem. It's not like some other books that take forever to read because we're reading about one of the greatest guys of all time to play the game.

Stewart does go into detail on why he's not beloved nationally as say a guy like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, or even Ted Williams.

It's highly recommended.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pujols deal backloaded

Seriously, I don't understand why he did not take a contract with DEFERRED money when his deal with the Angels comes with BACKLOADED money. Jerry Crasnick reports:
Pujols will make a base salary of $12 million in 2012 and $16 million in 2013, said a source. His salary will gradually increase until it surpasses $30 million annually near the end of the deal.[...]

Sources said Pujols' deal could peak at about $265 million if he attains some reachable award bonuses and milestone incentives. A source confirmed a recent Yahoo! Sports report that Pujols will receive $3 million from the Angels for his 3,000th hit and $7 million if he breaks Barry Bonds' career record of 762 home runs.

Pujols, a nine-time All-Star and three-time MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, will enter this season with 2,073 career hits and 445 home runs.
Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal reveals why he voted for who he did for induction into the Hall of Fame. It's too much for me to quote here as it must be read in it's entirety but his vote for Jeff Bagwell was the easiest.

Thoughts on the Hall of Fame...

I wrote my thoughts on who I would vote for if I were a BBWAA voter. You can read them at Redbird Rants.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Skip Bayless takes over your TV!

I'll take Mike and Mike In The Morning over Skip Bayless constantly defending Tim Tebow any day of the week.

Read Richard Deitsch's extended tweet while you are at it.

Cougar Town: Season 3



A special congrats to the cast and crew of Cougar Town for the upcoming third season. They started doing viewing parties last night. At Drake's in Louisville, we had the opportunity to watch the third season premiere and the 5th episode. The 5th episode features a really fun Scrubs reunion. This season looks pretty sweet.

As the show found it's way and what it wanted to be, the audience wanted what happens in the premiere to, umm, actually happen. Yes, they still mess around with the opening title credits but the writing is strong.

Both Josh Hopkins, Ryan Devlin, and writer/story editor Mary Fitzgerald were in attendance.

It was nice talking to Josh after the episodes aired about not just CT but also what's happening with Community. It's a fun fact: If Cheers were to have made it's debut in this age with the type of audience it had when the show started, it would not have lasted past a few weeks. For the show to survive, people have to watch.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Interview with Colin Cosell

Daniel Solzman: Colin, thank you for joining The Kentucky Democrat. How are things treating you in New York?
Colin Cosell: Things are great here in NYC! It's tough to complain when you live in the greatest city in the world.

DS: What was it like growing up as the grandson of the legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell? Are there any favorite memories that you have?
CC: He was an amazing grandfather -- very loving, selfless and caring. It wasn't until I started getting older that I realized the size and depth of his celebrity, which also made me realize how well he managed to shelter his grandchildren from his life away from home. Don't get me wrong; we all knew he was on TV and was recognized everywhere he went. We knew our life and lifestyle were different because of his work. We were simply able to lead very normal lives in spite of these facts.

DS: You started a facebook fan page for Howard Cosell and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Right now, 291 people like the page. What other efforts are going on to spread awareness with regards to your grandfather one day receiving the Pete Rozelle Award?
CC: It's an interesting process, because I honestly believed the Facebook page would serve as a sure-fire, foolproof vehicle for spreading the word while acting as an electronic petition. Instead, it fell into the hands of a ton of industry people ranging from Donna DeVerona to Dave Sims. This has allowed me direct access to numerous journalists, radio shows and television personalities who have either granted me interviews or have sent in their own personal nomination. The Facebook page has since become secondary, although I'd love to have thousands of people on there rather than just a few hundred.

With regards to the Rozelle Award, I have received countless endorsements, including those of Frank Gifford and Joe Horrigan. Frank is important because of his ties to the NFL, as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Joe Horrigan, on the other hand, oversees the balloting and induction process. That said, the Pete Rozelle Award seems to be within reach. The focus has since become more honed on actual induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, despite Howard's being a member of the media.

DS: Have any big names in the sports media industry gotten behind your efforts?
CC: There has been a great outpouring of support from some of the people I've already mentioned, plus great writers and broadcasters whose careers span generations ie: Jim Nantz and Frank DeFord.

DS: Thirteen years on Monday Night Football is a long time, even for broadcasting standards. But still, your grandfather was one of the first people in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth, correct? You would think that they would have honored him by now. I think it is a damn shame that he hasn’t posthumously received the award.
CC: My grandfather was in the booth for the inaugural MNF broadcast. It is a shame that, over 40 years later, his presence is absent from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

DS: Do you think some of his criticism about sports in general is true today?
CC: Absolutely. The behavior of professional athletes, and even amateurs, has only deteriorated. Between drugs, infidelity, domestic disputes, guns and PED's, it has become almost commonplace for us fans to hear of an athlete doing something wrong on an almost weekly basis. My grandfather saw this starting to take shape over 30 years ago.

DS: What about Tebow? Can you imagine him being in the booth today during one of the Tebow games?
CC: I think my grandfather would appreciate Tebow's work ethic and personal ethics. As for Tebow's game on the field, I'm sure it would provide my grandfather some endless banter and enjoyment (with a dash of frustration).

DS: Have you had a chance to read Mark Ribowsky’s book, Howard Cosell: The Man, The Myth, And The Transformation of American Sports? Any thoughts?
CC: I have not, but I've mostly heard good things.

DS: I see that you’ve gone into the family business. How is your broadcasting career coming along?
CC: So far, so good. I'm currently covering a number of sports for a network in the NY/NJ/CT tri-state area called MSG Varsity. We're a purely high school-centric network, which is definitely exciting. However, I'm looking to start making a move to my true passion: the NHL.

DS: Thanks again and have a Happy Chanukah! Anything else you wish to add?
CC: All set! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I did not see that coming....

Best wishes to Matthew Leach as he moves on from the St. Louis Cardinals beat to a national columnist/writer for MLB.com. As a longtime Cardinals blogger, I've gotten to know him very well through facebook, twitter, and the like. I wish him well as he moves on to bigger and better things.

In the meantime, congrats to Jenifer Langosch as she is moving to take over the beat in St. Louis.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Celtics roundup

Bob Ryan writes how the Boston Celtics are in year 5 of a three year plan. It's a very good read if you are a Cs fan.

The sad news that came out this weekend is that Jeff Green is out for the season as he is to go under the knife soon. An aortic aneurysm after he underwent a physical last week.
The club said Green should be able to resume his career next season, and that if his contract is voided, as expected, the Celtics would have first rights to re-sign him as a restricted free agent.[...]

Green was acquired by the Celtics Feb. 23 in a controversial trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder. Green’s play was uneven last season, as he averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games.[...]

The Celtics are losing a versatile player who could score from the perimeter or the paint and would have provided relief to Paul Pierce during a 66-game season compacted because of the lockout. Rivers said Friday night that Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic would become the primary options at small forward if Green were unable to play.

The Celtics also may try to sign another swingman. One intriguing name is ex-Celtic James Posey, most recently with Indiana, who was waived via the league’s amnesty clause. But he would have to accept the veteran’s minimum to come to Boston, which could be a stumbling block.
Gary Washburn looks at how the Celtics will replace Green's offense from within the organization.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Young Adult

Young Adult marks the fourth film that Jason Reitman has directed and the second collaboration between him and screenwriter Diablo Cody. Reitman has released his fourth successful film. In my book, he can do no wrong.

The official synopsis:
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary, a writer of teen literature who returns to her small hometown to relive her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson). When returning home proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate (Patton Oswalt) who hasn't quite gotten over high school, either.
Reitman directed the film on a $12 million budget in a 30 day span. That said, the the 93 minute film does not feel as if it were forced.

The overall critical consensus from Rotten Tomatoes is Certified Fresh with 81% positive reviews (83% top): "Despite its somewhat dour approach, Young Adult is a funny and ultimately powerful no-holds-barred examination of prolonged adolescence, thanks largely to a convincing performance by Charlize Theron."

Her performance is one of the best acting jobs that I've seen this year. You don't have to be a big fan of hers to enjoy it. I laughed several times during the comedy. Theron's character, Mavis, is trying to win back her ex-boyfriend, who is married and has a child, but it's clear that she's unhappy being back in her hometown of Mercury. She catches up with Matt, a classmate that was beaten up and walks with a crutch. He tells her it's a bad idea.

Here are some comments from Frank Lovece:
An amazing little movie with a Streep-wise performance by Theron—who impossibly, impeccably, gives her character humanity—Young Adult cost a modest $12 million to make and was shot in 30 days. Like The Wrestler or Crazy Heart or even Reitman's own Up in the Air, it's one of those small end-of-year films that, rightfully, charms audiences and Academy voters alike. OK, maybe we're kvelling—but how many movies with such a distinctly Midwestern milieu make you kvell?
Frank also interviews the Reitman, Cody, and Theron in the article but this gets to the gist of why the film was written:
FJI: Let's talk about how the film came together. Diablo, you've said Mavis is partly based on you. She lives in Minneapolis, as you did for a time, so what part of you is she based on besides the living-in-Minneapolis part?

Cody:
This common question I would get at Q & As or press junkets or what-have-you was: "Why are you so fixated on [movies about] adolescents?" [I began wondering:] Am I stunted somehow? And so as I thought about my own life, I thought, "Gosh, that would be a great character—a woman in her 30s who writes young-adult fiction and does in fact cling to deluded teenage fantasies in her real life, and is obsessed with recreating her teenage years come hell or high water."
I cannot recommend this film enough. You can make no mistake right now that I will be buying the bluray at some point next year.

RIP Chris Hitchens

Within the last half hour, we learned that Christopher Hitchens passed away after a lengthy bout with cancer. Hitchens, whose prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, was 62. May he rest in peace.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Trey Grayson releases statement

In thanking retiring Congressman Geoff Davis (KY-4) for his service to the 4th congressional district former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson has made known what his plans are.
Although many people have reached out to me tonight to inquire about my future plans, I am extremely fulfilled in my current position as the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, and more importantly, spending time with my family. At some point, I will return to my Kentucky home, but for now, I plan to remain in Boston and continue to serve in my position as Director.

69th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominees

Below are the nominees. My Week With Marilyn was somehow nominated as a comedy/musical. I have not seen the film yet. The Muppets were completely shutout by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. That will definitely change at the Oscars. Also, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association can suck it for not properly formatting a press release.

HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION 2012
GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011


BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
THE DESCENDANTS - Ad Hominem Enterprises; Fox Searchlight Pictures
THE HELP – DreamWorks Pictures, Participant Media; Touchstone Pictures
HUGO – Paramount Pictures presents a GK Films Production; Paramount Pictures
THE IDES OF MARCH – Columbia Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group, Crystal City Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing
MONEYBALL – Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing International
WAR HORSE – DreamWorks Pictures; Touchstone Pictures

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
GLENN CLOSE – ALBERT NOBBS
VIOLA DAVIS – THE HELP
ROONEY MARA – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
MERYL STREEP – THE IRON LADY
TILDA SWINTON – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
GEORGE CLOONEY – THE DESCENDANTS
LEONARDO DICAPRIO – J. EDGAR
MICHAEL FASSBENDER – SHAME
RYAN GOSLING – THE IDES OF MARCH
BRAD PITT – MONEYBALL

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
50/50 – Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures; Summit Entertainment
THE ARTIST – La Petite Reine, Studio 37, La Classe Americaine, JD Prod, France3 Cinema, Jouror Production, uFilms; The Weinstein Company
BRIDESMAIDS – Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Apatow Productions; Universal Pictures
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – A Mediapro, Versatil Cinema & Gravier Production; Sony Pictures Classics
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN – The Weinstein Company

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JODIE FOSTER – CARNAGE
CHARLIZE THERON – YOUNG ADULT
KRISTEN WIIG – BRIDESMAIDS
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
KATE WINSLET – CARNAGE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
JEAN DUJARDIN – THE ARTIST
BRENDAN GLEESON – THE GUARD
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT – 50/50
RYAN GOSLING – CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
OWEN WILSON – MIDNIGHT IN PARIS

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN – Paramount/Columbia/Hemisphere Capital/Amblin/Wingnut Films/Kennedy/Marshall Production
ARTHUR CHRISTMAS – Columbia Pictures & Sony Pictures Animation; Sony Pictures Releasing International
CARS 2 – Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures
PUSS IN BOOTS – DreamWorks Animation; Paramount Pictures
RANGO – Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, A Blind Wink/GK Films Production; Paramount Pictures

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
THE FLOWERS OF WAR (CHINA) (Jing Ling Shi San Chai) – New Pictures Film Company; New Pictures Film Company
IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY (USA) – GK Films; FilmDistrict
THE KID WITH A BIKE (BELGIUM) (Le Gamin au Velo) – Les Films du Fleuve; Sundance Selects
A SEPARATION (IRAN) (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) – Asghar Farhadi; Sony Pictures Classics
THE SKIN I LIVE IN (SPAIN) (La piel que habito) – El Deseo D.A., S.L.U.; Sony Pictures Classics

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
BERENICE BEJO – THE ARTIST
JESSICA CHASTAIN – THE HELP
JANET MCTEER – ALBERT NOBBS
OCTAVIA SPENCER – THE HELP
SHAILENE WOODLEY – THE DESCENDANTS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
KENNETH BRANAGH – MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
ALBERT BROOKS – DRIVE
JONAH HILL – MONEYBALL
VIGGO MORTENSEN – A DANGEROUS METHOD
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – BEGINNERS

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
WOODY ALLEN – MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
GEORGE CLOONEY – THE IDES OF MARCH
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS – THE ARTIST
ALEXANDER PAYNE – THE DESCENDANTS
MARTIN SCORSESE – HUGO

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
WOODY ALLEN – MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
GEORGE CLOONEY, GRANT HESLOV, BEAU WILLIMON – THE IDES OF MARCH
MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS – THE ARTIST
ALEXANDER PAYNE, NAT FAXON, JIM RASH - THE DESCENDANTS
STEVEN ZAILLIAN, AARON SORKIN – MONEYBALL

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
LUDOVIC BOURCE – THE ARTIST
ABEL KORZENIOWSKI - W.E.
TRENT REZNOR, ATTICUS ROSS - THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
HOWARD SHORE – HUGO
JOHN WILLIAMS – WAR HORSE

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“HELLO HELLO” — GNOMEO & JULIET
Music by: Elton John, Lyrics by: Bernie Taupin
“THE KEEPER” — MACHINE GUN PREACHER
Music & Lyrics by: Chris Cornell
“LAY YOUR HEAD DOWN” — ALBERT NOBBS
Music by: Brian Byrne, Lyrics by: Glenn Close
“THE LIVING PROOF” — THE HELP
Music by: Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman, Harvey Mason, Jr., Lyrics by: Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason, Jr., Damon Thomas
“MASTERPIECE” — W.E.
Music & Lyrics by: Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
AMERICAN HORROR STORY FX
Twentieth Century Fox Television
BOARDWALK EMPIRE HBO
Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
BOSS STARZ
Lionsgate Television in association with Grammnet NH Productions, Roya Productions and Old Friends Productions
GAME OF THRONES HBO
Bighead, Littlehead, 360 Television, Grok and Generator Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
HOMELAND SHOWTIME
SHOWTIME Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
CLAIRE DANES – HOMELAND
MIREILLE ENOS – THE KILLING
JULIANNA MARGULIES – THE GOOD WIFE
MADELEINE STOWE – REVENGE
CALLIE THORNE – NECESSARY ROUGHNESS

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
STEVE BUSCEMI – BOARDWALK EMPIRE
BRYAN CRANSTON – BREAKING BAD
KELSEY GRAMMER – BOSS
JEREMY IRONS – THE BORGIAS
DAMIAN LEWIS – HOMELAND

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
ENLIGHTENED – HBO - Ripcord Productions in association with HBO Entertainment
EPISODES – SHOWTIME – SHOWTIME Presents, Hat Trick Productions, Crane Klarik Productions
GLEE - FOX – Ryan Murphy Television in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
MODERN FAMILY – ABC – Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
NEW GIRL - FOX – Chernin Entertainment in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
LAURA DERN – ENLIGHTENED
ZOOEY DESCHANEL – NEW GIRL
TINA FEY – 30 ROCK
LAURA LINNEY – THE BIG C
AMY POEHLER – PARKS AND RECREATION

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
ALEC BALDWIN – 30 ROCK
DAVID DUCHOVNY – CALIFORNICATION
JOHNNY GALECKI – THE BIG BANG THEORY
THOMAS JANE – HUNG
MATT LEBLANC – EPISODES

BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
CINEMA VERITE – HBO - A Pariah Production in association with HBO Films
DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE) – PBS - A Carnival/Masterpiece Co-production
THE HOUR – BBC AMERICA – Kudos Film and Television/BBC America co-production.
MILDRED PIERCE – HBO - A Killer Films/John Wells Production in association with MGM and HBO Miniseries
TOO BIG TO FAIL – HBO – A Spring Creek and A Deuce Three Production in association with HBO Films

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
ROMOLA GARAI – THE HOUR
DIANE LANE – CINEMA VERITE
ELIZABETH MCGOVERN – DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE)
EMILY WATSON – APPROPRIATE ADULT
KATE WINSLET – MILDRED PIERCE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
HUGH BONNEVILLE – DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE)
IDRIS ELBA – LUTHER
WILLIAM HURT – TOO BIG TO FAIL
BILL NIGHY – PAGE EIGHT (MASTERPIECE)
DOMINIC WEST – THE HOUR

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TV
JESSICA LANGE – AMERICAN HORROR STORY
KELLY MACDONALD – BOARDWALK EMPIRE
MAGGIE SMITH – DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE)
SOFIA VERGARA – MODERN FAMILY
EVAN RACHEL WOOD – MILDRED PIERCE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TV
PETER DINKLAGE – GAME OF THRONES
PAUL GIAMATTI – TOO BIG TO FAIL
GUY PEARCE – MILDRED PIERCE
TIM ROBBINS – CINEMA VERITE
ERIC STONESTREET – MODERN FAMILY

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

18th Annual SAG Awards Nominations

18th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® NOMINATIONS
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DEMIÁN BICHIR / Carlos Galindo - A BETTER LIFE (Summit Entertainment)
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King - THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. Edgar Hoover - J. EDGAR (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - THE ARTIST (The Weinstein Company)
BRAD PITT / Billy Beane - MONEYBALL (Columbia Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE / Albert Nobbs - ALBERT NOBBS (Roadside Attractions)
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / Margaret Thatcher - THE IRON LADY (The Weinstein Company)
TILDA SWINTON / Eva - WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Marilyn Monroe - MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
KENNETH BRANAGH / Sir Laurence Olivier - MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (The Weinstein Company)
ARMIE HAMMER / Clyde Tolson - J. EDGAR (Warner Bros. Pictures)
JONAH HILL / Peter Brand - MONEYBALL (Columbia Pictures)
NICK NOLTE / Paddy Conlon - WARRIOR (Lionsgate)
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Hal - BEGINNERS (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy - THE ARTIST (The Weinstein Company)
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote - THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan - BRIDESMAIDS (Universal Pictures)
JANET McTEER / Hubert Page - ALBERT NOBBS (Roadside Attractions)
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
THE ARTIST (The Weinstein Company)
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy
JAMES CROMWELL / Clifton
JEAN DUJARDIN / George
JOHN GOODMAN / Al Zimmer
PENELOPE ANN MILLER / Doris

BRIDESMAIDS (Universal Pictures)
ROSE BYRNE / Helen
JILL CLAYBURGH / Annie’s Mom
ELLIE KEMPER / Becca
MATT LUCAS / Gil
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan
WENDI McLENDON-COVEY / Rita
CHRIS O’DOWD / Rhodes
MAYA RUDOLPH / Lillian
KRISTEN WIIG / Annie

THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
BEAU BRIDGES / Cousin Hugh
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King
ROBERT FORSTER / Scott Thorson
JUDY GREER / Julie Speer
MATTHEW LILLARD / Brian Speer
SHAILENE WOODLEY / Alexandra King

THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD / Hilly Holbrook
ALLISON JANNEY / Charlotte Phelan
CHRIS LOWELL / Stuart Whitworth
AHNA O’REILLY / Elizabeth Leefolt
SISSY SPACEK / Missus Walters
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson
MARY STEENBURGEN / Elaine Stein
EMMA STONE / Skeeter Phelan
CICELY TYSON / Constantine Jefferson
MIKE VOGEL / Johnny Foote

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Sony Pictures Classics)
KATHY BATES / Gertrude Stein
ADRIEN BRODY / Salvador Dali
CARLA BRUNI / Museum Guide
MARION COTILLARD / Adriana
RACHEL McADAMS / Inez
MICHAEL SHEEN / Paul
OWEN WILSON / Gil

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
LAURENCE FISHBURNE / Thurgood Marshall - THURGOOD (HBO)
PAUL GIAMATTI / Ben Bernanke - TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO)
GREG KINNEAR / Jack Kennedy - THE KENNEDYS (REELZ CHANNEL)
GUY PEARCE / Monty Beragon - MILDRED PIERCE (HBO)
JAMES WOODS / Richard Fuld - TOO BIG TO FAIL (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
DIANE LANE / Pat Loud - CINEMA VERITE (HBO)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham - DOWNTON ABBEY (PBS)
EMILY WATSON / Janet Leach - APPROPRIATE ADULT (Sundance Channel)
BETTY WHITE / Caroline Thomas - HALLMARK HALL OF FAME: THE LOST VALENTINE (CBS)
KATE WINSLET / Mildred Pierce - MILDRED PIERCE (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
PATRICK J. ADAMS / Mike Ross - SUITS (USA)
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thomson - BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
KYLE CHANDLER / Eric Taylor - FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (DirecTV)
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White - BREAKING BAD (AMC)
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan - DEXTER (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
KATHY BATES / Harriet Korn - HARRY’S LAW (NBC)
GLENN CLOSE / Patty Hewes - DAMAGES (DirecTV)
JESSICA LANGE / Constance - AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX)
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick - THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
KYRA SEDGWICK / Dept. Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson - THE CLOSER (TNT)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy - 30 ROCK (NBC)
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy - MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott - THE OFFICE (NBC)
JON CRYER / Alan Harper - TWO AND A HALF MEN (CBS)
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron Tucker - MODERN FAMILY (ABC)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy - MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton - NURSE JACKIE (Showtime)
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon - 30 ROCK (NBC)
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett - MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
BETTY WHITE / Elka Ostrovsky - HOT IN CLEVELAND (TV Land)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
STEVE BUSCEMI / Enoch “Nucky” Thompson
DOMINIC CHIANESE / Leander Cephas Whitlock
ROBERT CLOHESSY / Ward Boss Jim Neary
DABNEY COLEMAN / Commodore Louis Kaestner
CHARLIE COX / Owen Sleater
JOSIE & LUCY GALLINA / Emily Schroeder
STEPHEN GRAHAM / Al Capone
JACK HUSTON / Richard Harrow
ANTHONY LACIURA / Eddie Kessler
HEATHER LIND / Katy
KELLY MACDONALD / Margaret Schroeder
RORY & DECLAN McTIGUE / Teddy Schroeder
GRETCHEN MOL / Gillian Darmody
BRADY & CONNOR NOON/ Tommy Darmody
KEVIN O’ROURKE / Mayor Edward Bader
ALEKSA PALLADINO / Angela Darmody
JACQUELINE PENNEWILL / Lilian
VINCENT PIAZZA / Lucky Luciano
MICHAEL PITT / Jimmy Darmody
MICHAEL SHANNON / Agent Nelson Van Alden
PAUL SPARKS / Mickey Doyle
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Arnold Rothstein
PETER VAN WAGNER / Isaac “Icky” Ginsburg
SHEA WHIGHAM / Sheriff Elias Thompson
MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS / Chalky White
ANATOL YUSEF / Meyer Lansky

BREAKING BAD (AMC)
JONATHAN BANKS / Mike
BETSY BRANDT / Marie Schrader
RAY CAMPBELL / Tyrus Kitt
BRYAN CRANSTON / Walter White
GIANCARLO ESPOSITO / Gus Fring
ANNA GUNN / Skyler White
RJ MITTE / Walter White, Jr.
DEAN NORRIS / Hank Schrader
BOB ODENKIRK / Saul Goodman
AARON PAUL / Jesse Pinkman

DEXTER (Showtime)
BILLY BROWN / Chicago Mike
JENNIFER CARPENTER / Debra Morgan
JOSH COOKE / Louis
AIMEE GARCIA / Jamie Batista
MICHAEL C. HALL / Dexter Morgan
COLIN HANKS / Travis Marshall
DESMOND HARRINGTON / Joey Quinn
MARIA DOYLE KENNEDY / Sonya
RYA KIHLSTEDT / Michelle
C.S. LEE / Vince Masuka
EDWARD JAMES OLMOS / Professor Gellar
JAMES REMAR / Harry Morgan
LAUREN VELEZ / Lt. Maria LaGuerta
PETER WELLER / Liddy
DAVID ZAYAS / Sgt. Angel Batista

GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
AMRITA ACHARIA / Irri
MARK ADDY / King Robert Baratheon
ALFIE ALLEN / Theon Greyjoy
JOSEF ALTIN / Pypar
SEAN BEAN / Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark
SUSAN BROWN / Septa Mordane
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU / Ser Jaime Lannister
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
RON DONACHIE / Ser Rodrik Cassel
MICHELLE FAIRLEY / Lady Catelyn Stark
JEROME FLYNN / Bronn
ELYES GABEL / Rakharo
AIDEN GILLEN / “Littlefinger” Petyr Baelish
JACK GLEESON / Joffrey Baratheon
IAIN GLEN / Ser Jorah Mormont
JULIAN GLOVER / Grand Maester Pycelle
KIT HARINGTON / Jon Snow
LENA HEADEY / Queen Cersei Lannister
ISAAC HEMPSTEAD WRIGHT / Bran Stark
CONLETH HILL / Lord Varys
RICHARD MADDEN / Robb Stark
JASON MAMOA / Kahl Drogo
RORY McCANN / Sandor Clegane
IAN McELHINNEY / Barristan Selmy
LUKE McEWAN / Rast
ROXANNE McKEE / Doreah
DAR SALIM / Qotho
MARK STANLEY / Grenn
DONALD SUMPTER / Maester Luwin
SOPHIE TURNER / Sansa Stark
MAISIE WILLIAMS / Arya Stark

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
CHRISTINE BARANSKI / Diane Lockhart
JOSH CHARLES / Will Gardner
ALAN CUMMING / Eli Gold
MATT CZUCHRY / Cary Agos
JULIANNA MARGULIES / Alicia Florrick
CHRIS NOTH / Peter Florrick
ARCHIE PANJABI / Kalinda Sharma
GRAHAM PHILLIPS / Zach Florrick
MAKENZIE VEGA / Grace Florrick

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

30 ROCK (NBC)
SCOTT ADSIT / Pete Hornberger
ALEC BALDWIN / Jack Donaghy
KATRINA BOWDEN / Cerie
KEVIN BROWN / Dotcom
GRIZZ CHAPMAN / Grizz
TINA FEY / Liz Lemon
JUDAH FRIEDLANDER / Frank Rossitano
JANE KRAKOWSKI / Jenna Maroney
JOHN LUTZ / Lutz
JACK MCBRAYER / Kenneth Parcell
TRACY MORGAN / Tracy Jordan
MAULIK PANCHOLY / Jonathan
KEITH POWELL / Toofer

THE BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler
KALEY CUOCO / Penny
JOHNNY GALECKI / Leonard Hofstadter
SIMON HELBERG / Howard Wolowitz
KUNAL NAYYAR / Rajesh Koothrappali
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper
MELISSA RAUCH / Bernadette Rostenkowski

GLEE (FOX)
DIANNA AGRON / Quinn Fabray
CHRIS COLFER / Kurt Hummel
DARREN CRISS / Blaine Anderson
ASHLEY FINK / Lauren Zizes
DOT MARIE JONES / Coach Beiste
JANE LYNCH / Sue Sylvester
JAYMA MAYS / Emma Pillsbury
KEVIN McHALE / Artie Abrams
LEA MICHELE / Rachel Berry
CORY MONTEITH / Finn Hudson
HEATHER MORRIS / Brittany Pierce
MATTHEW MORRISON / Will Schuester
MIKE O’MALLEY / Burt Hummel
CHORD OVERSTREET / Sam Evans
LAUREN POTTER / Becky Johnson
AMBER RILEY / Mercedes Jones
NAYA RIVERA / Santana Lopez
MARK SALLING / Noah ‘Puck’ Puckerman
HARRY SHUM, JR. / Mike Chang
IQBAL THEBA / Principal Figgins
JENNA USHKOWITZ / Tina Cohen-Chang

MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
AUBREY ANDERSON-EMMONS / Lily
JULIE BOWEN / Claire
TY BURRELL / Phil
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell
NOLAN GOULD / Luke
SARAH HYLAND / Haley
ED O’NEILL / Jay
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny
ERIC STONESTREET / Cameron
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria
ARIEL WINTER / Alex

THE OFFICE (NBC)
LESLIE DAVID BAKER / Stanley Hudson
BRIAN BAUMGARTNER / Kevin Malone
CREED BRATTON / Creed Bratton
STEVE CARELL / Michael Scott
JENNA FISCHER / Pam Beesly Halpert
KATE FLANNERY / Meredith Palmer
ED HELMS / Andy Bernard
MINDY KALING / Kelly Kapoor
ELLIE KEMPER / Erin Hannon
ANGELA KINSEY / Angela Martin
JOHN KRASINSKI / Jim Halpert
PAUL LIEBERSTEIN / Toby Flenderson
B.J. NOVAK / Ryan Howard
OSCAR NUÑEZ / Oscar Martinez
CRAIG ROBINSON / Daryll Philbin
JAMES SPADER / Robert California
PHYLLIS SMITH / Phyllis Lapin-Vance
RAINN WILSON / Dwight Schrute
ZACH WOODS / Gabe Lewis

SAG HONORS FOR STUNT ENSEMBLES

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
COWBOYS & ALIENS (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 (WARNER BROS. PICTURES)
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON (PARAMOUNT PICTURES)
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (20TH CENTURY FOX)

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
DEXTER (SHOWTIME)
GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
SOUTHLAND (TNT)
SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA (STARZ)
TRUE BLOOD (HBO)

Screen Actors Guild Awards 48th Annual Life Achievement Award
MARY TYLER MOORE

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Presidential dollar coin program to end

It's a sad day for the presidential dollar program. Here it is, I had just ordered volume 2 of the Presidential Dollar folder, which starts up with the 2012 coins on to the end of the program.
And perhaps for that very reason, Vice President Joseph Biden announced Tuesday that the U.S. Mint would halt the production of those pesky $1 coins for circulation, because they’re not exactly in demand.

In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department said there are 1.4 billion surplus $1 presidential coins just sitting in the vaults of the Federal Reserve, and that the government would save taxpayers at least $50 million per year in production and storage costs by suspending their production.

Instead, U.S. Mint will produce a limited number of the coins, which “will be sold at a premium to collectors, so it will ensure that the coins will not be produced at a cost to taxpayers,” said Treasury spokesman Matt Anderson.

Until Tuesday's announcement, the U.S. Mint had been on track to produce 1.6 billion more of the $1 presidential coins through the year 2016, even though the 1.4 billion in surplus is enough to meet demand for more than a decade, Anderson said.
Shame on you, my fellow Americans. Shame on you!

Critics's Choice Nominations

BEST PICTURE
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ACTOR
George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Leonardo DiCaprio – “J. Edgar”
Jean Dujardin – “The Artist”
Michael Fassbender – “Shame”
Ryan Gosling – “Drive”
Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”

BEST ACTRESS
Viola Davis – “The Help”
Elizabeth Olsen – “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady”
Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Charlize Theron – “Young Adult”
Michelle Williams – “My Week With Marilyn”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh – “My Week With Marilyn”
Albert Brooks – “Drive”
Nick Nolte – “Warrior”
Patton Oswalt – “Young Adult”
Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Andy Serkis – “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Bérénice Bejo – “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain – “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy – “Bridesmaids”
Carey Mulligan – “Shame”
Octavia Spencer – “The Help”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Asa Butterfield – “Hugo”
Elle Fanning – “Super 8”
Thomas Horn – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Ezra Miller – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Saoirse Ronan – “Hanna”
Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
The Artist
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March

BEST DIRECTOR
Stephen Daldry – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
Michel Hazanavicius – “The Artist”
Alexander Payne – “The Descendants”
Nicolas Winding Refn – “Drive”
Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”
Steven Spielberg – “War Horse”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius
“50/50” – Will Reiser
“Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen
“Win Win” – Screenplay by Tom McCarthy, Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni
“Young Adult” – Diablo Cody

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“The Descendants” – Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” – Eric Roth
“The Help” – Tate Taylor
“Hugo” – John Logan
“Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Artist” – Guillaume Schiffman
“Drive” – Newton Thomas Sigel
“Hugo” – Robert Richardson
“The Tree of Life” – Emmanuel Lubezki
“War Horse” – Janusz Kaminski

BEST ART DIRECTION
“The Artist” – Production Designer: Laurence Bennett, Art Director: Gregory S. Hooper
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” – Production Designer: Stuart Craig, Set Decorator: Stephenie McMillan
“Hugo” – Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Lo Schiavo
“The Tree of Life” – Production Designer: Jack Fisk, Art Director: David Crank
“War Horse” – Production Designer: Rick Carter, Set Decorator: Lee Sandales

BEST EDITING
“The Artist” – Michel Hazanavicius and Anne-Sophie Bion
“Drive” – Matthew Newman
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
“Hugo” – Thelma Schoonmaker
“War Horse” – Michael Kahn

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
“The Artist” – Mark Bridges
“The Help” – Sharen Davis
“Hugo” – Sandy Powell
“Jane Eyre” – Michael O’Connor
“My Week With Marilyn” – Jill Taylor

BEST MAKEUP
Albert Nobbs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Iron Lady
J. Edgar
My Week With Marilyn

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST SOUND
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Super 8
The Tree of Life
War Horse

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

BEST ACTION MOVIE
Drive
Fast Five
Hanna
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8

BEST COMEDY
Bridesmaids
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Horrible Bosses
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In Darkness
Le Havre
A Separation
The Skin I Live In
Where Do We Go Now?

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Buck
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Page One: Inside the New York Times
Project Nim
Undefeated

BEST SONG
“Hello Hello” – performed by Elton John and Lady Gaga/written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin – Gnomeo & Juliet
“Life’s a Happy Song” – performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“The Living Proof” – performed by Mary J. Blige/written by Mary J. Blige, Thomas Newman and Harvey Mason, Jr. – The Help
“Man or Muppet” – performed by Jason Segel and Walter/written by Bret McKenzie – The Muppets
“Pictures in My Head” – performed by Kermit and the Muppets/written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman – The Muppets

BEST SCORE
“The Artist” – Ludovic Bource
“Drive” – Cliff Martinez
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Hugo” – Howard Shore
“War Horse” – John Williams

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rhodes

Mark Story catches up with ex-Wildcat Rodrick Rhodes.

AFI 2011 Top Ten

I can't find it online at AFI but EW is reporting the following.

AFI Movies of the Year
Bridesmaids
The Descendants
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Help
J. Edgar
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse


AFI Special Awards
The Artist
The Harry Potter Series


AFI TV PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR
Breaking Bad
Boardwalk Empire
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Game Of Thrones
The Good Wife
Homeland
Justified
Louie
Modern Family
Parks And Recreation


Not eligible were The Artist or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Not making the list are: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Ides of March, Young Adult, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 , although the latter received a special award as well as The Artist.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Celtics news

Adrian Wojnarowski reports the following on twitter:
Boston-NO deal for David West still on hold, sources say. Waiting on NBA. C's rookies, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twan Moore discussed in deal.
It's hard to speculate at just moment just how much of this relates to the fallout of the Chris Paul trade. The two-time All Star, a graduate of Xavier University, has played all 8 seasons with the New Orleans Hornets.

Celtics Life
has reports updated to Friday night. It's probably going to happen but it's a matter of who all is involved. Reports have mentioned Jermaine O'Neal as a possible candidate.

Chauncey Billups has a warning for those wanting his services.
“I’ m tired of being the good guy,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports by phone on Saturday afternoon. “I’m tired of being viewed as the guy. After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations. I’ve been known as a leader, and I am a leader, but a leader can be as disruptive as he can be productive, especially when you carry a strong voice and people rally around you. This is about me now. This is about me, and teams should know that right now.”[...]

“I just don’t deserve the treatment that I’ve continually gotten,” Billups said. “Historically, these things never happen to the supposed great players and good guys. They continually happen to me, and it gets old. Listen, I feel I’ve been blessed in the game, and I’ve been given back, but these things start to wear on you. But there’s not another guy in history who keeps dealing with this, getting thrown into these things to make the money right. I really believe it’s because people take my kindness and professionalism for weakness. They think I’ll be OK with this. I won’t be OK with this. I’ve saved my money. I may just retire if I don’t get my freedom here.

“I want my freedom. My goal is to control my own destiny. And as you’ve seen in my career, I’ve never been in a position to do that. I know some teams out there are saying, ‘Oh, Chauncey will be great in mentoring’ and I’m tired of that. I’ve got a few good years left to play, and I’m not trying to come in and sit on the bench, or be a mentor. I’m not going to be that guy. I want to go somewhere and win. I want to choose.”

Clooney to produce Smothers Brothers biopic

This smells Oscar all over if you ask me.
Sony Pictures and Smokehouse partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov will turn the story of 60s comedians Tom and Dicky Smothers into a feature film. They’ve optioned the David Bianculli book Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story Of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and they’ve set Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman to write the script. Clooney and Heslov will produce. It’s too early to determine whether or not Clooney will star or direct.

Kentucky blows foul, Ryan Braun tests positive

While everyone is disgusted with the fact that Kentucky blew an opportunity to foul in the final seconds against Indiana, let's turn our attention to Ryan Braun.

ESPN is reporting tonight that 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. The report from ESPN states as follows:
National League MVP Ryan Braun, who last season led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and faces a 50-game suspension if the initial finding is upheld, two sources familiar with the case told "Outside the Lines."

Major League Baseball has not announced the positive test because Braun is disputing the result through arbitration.

A spokesman for Braun issued a statement Saturday: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."[...]

To affirm the results and strengthen its case, MLB asked the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal, which conducts its testing, to perform a secondary test to determine whether the testosterone spike resulted from natural variations within Braun's body or from an artificial source. The test indicated the testosterone was exogenous, meaning it came from outside his body.
There's more in the article but this is a huge blow to the Milwaukee Brewers as they possibly lose star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Grimes names transition team

Secretary of State-elect Alison Lundergan Grimes has announced her transition team. The following was sent in an email blast.
Hon. Tim Firkins - Chairman

1. OFFICE ADMINISTRATION
Hon. David Boswell
Sharon Kaye Charles
Dr. Charles Derrickson

2. COMMUNICATIONS
Leah Adkins
Craig Blanton
Tim Wireman

3. LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
Rep. Darryl T. Owens
Senator Robert Leeper
Rep. Alecia Webb-Edington

4. BUDGET
Kyna Koch
Gov. Julian Carroll
Hon. Teresa Isaac

5. ELECTIONS & ELECTION FINANCE
Dr. Don Butler
Michael Kem
Willie Payton
Scott White, Esq.

6. BUSINESS & CIVICS EDUCATION
Tom Rutledge, Esq.
Dr. Jack Rose
Col. Mike Weaver

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tayshaun Prince extends NBA career

Former Kentucky Wildcat star Tayshaun Prince has signed a new deal with the Detroit Pistons.
Tayshaun Prince will be returning to the Detroit Pistons after reaching agreement on a $27 million, four-year contract, a league source told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher.

Prince, an unrestricted free agent, has spent his entire career with the Pistons since coming into the league in 2002. The veteran swingman averaged 14.1 points in 78 games last season.

Pujols leaves Cards, goes Hollywood

Albert Pujols has decided to leave the greatest baseball city in the world to head west to Los Angeles, where he will play for the Angels.

Reports are that it is a 10 year deal for $250 million. I'm also hearing reports that there is no opt-out contained in the contract.

It cements the fact that Stan Musial remains the greatest Cardinal of all time. If there is one thing that fans appreciate the most, it's the guys that put their heart and soul into the organization and don't care about how high their salary is.

Mark McGwire fell in love with the city and the fans--he gave the club a hometown discount.

Ten years at a quarter-billion dollars, honestly, is too much to pay especially when you look at the age factor and injury factor.

Could St. Louis still be a contender for the playoffs next season? It's hard to say. We're losing a lot of offensive production in Albert Pujols' departure for Hollywood.

Albert Pujols is one of the once-in-a-generation players and will surely be a lock for the Hall of Fame but I don't place him in the same category as Lebron James but this is one of those that will take some time to really digest.

Curt Schilling says Pujols would do better in St. Louis than Hollywood.

The legacy factor is where one must really think about things. Pujols could have been the greatest Cardinal of all time but as of now, he is in second place to many of Stan's numbers.

2012 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot

The candidates on the ballot this winter for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame next summer include:
Jeff Bagwell
Jeromy Burnitz
Vinny Castilla
Juan Gonzalez
Brian Jordan
Barry Larkin
Javy Lopez
Edgar Martinez
Don Mattingly
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jack Morris
Bill Mueller
Terry Mulholland
Dale Murphy
Phil Nevin
Rafael Palmeiro
Brad Radke
Tim Raines
Tim Salmon
Ruben Sierra
Lee Smith
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker
Bernie Williams
Tony Womack
Eric Young

Of that list, those appearing on the first time are Williams, Mueller, Sierra, Castilla, Salmon, Lopez, Womack, Mulholland, Radke, Burnitz, Jordan, Young and Nevin.

Returning candidates: Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Edgar Martinez, and Lee Smith.

At some point over the next few days or weeks, I'll look at their stats and tell you who I would vote for.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Shaking my head: Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez

The Miami Marlins have Hanley Ramirez signed through 2014. He plays short stop. The problem? The Marlins just signed Jose Reyes for a 6 year deal to play short stop. Ramirez has no interest in moving positions--something that the Marlins probably did not even stop to consider.

This past season was a very down year for Ramirez but I feel that he will be back to form next season. There are mixed reports surfacing regarding Hanley Ramirez and a trade demand.

Fincher on advanced screenings

David Fincher has some really harsh things to say about advanced screenings.
"Embargoes … look, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t show movies to anybody before they were released," Fincher told Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez. "I wouldn’t give clips to talk shows. I would do one trailer and three television spots and let the chips fall where they may....If I had my way, the New York Film Critics Circle would not have seen this movie and then we would not be in this situation. I would be opening this movie on Wednesday Dec. 21, and I would have three screenings on Tuesday Dec. 20 and that would be it."
As a film buff, I've seen a huge amount of promotional screenings, the most recent being War Horse last week. They might take away from the box office but in the long run, they add to the box office as the word of mouth spreads around.

I'm not a professional critic. G-d knows how many we have of those...I always find it interesting when the local paper publishes the worst review for a highly praised film. Maybe that's just me though.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Yarmuth changes

Trey Pollard will be leaving Congressman John Yarmuth's office to work as a deputy Press Secretary for the national Sierra Club. He will be replaced by Stephen George as the new communications director. George previously wrote for LEO Weekly, where he also served as editor.

Ron Santo inducted to HOF

Ron Santo has finally got his due. Too late in my opinion as he is not alive to see it. I may be a die-hard St. Louis fan but I know HOF-caliber ballplayers when I see them.
Santo was the lone candidate among a ballot of 10 men, whose greatest contributions were realized between 1947 and 1972, to receive the 12 votes necessary to earn 75 percent and election to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee. Santo received 15 votes from the 16-member electorate and will be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 22nd in Cooperstown.

"The numbers of are there," said Committee member and Hall of Famer Billy Williams. "Everybody saw the numbers, the home runs, the Gold Gloves. And I think everyone looked at it with a different view saying, 'This guy should be in the Hall of Fame.'"

Santo died on December 3, 2010, but his wife believes he is celebrating today.

"I am sure he is smiling down on this day," she said. "I am a believer in what's meant to be. I believe he was meant to be in the Hall, unfortunately it couldn't be during his lifetime. But I think the message is to never give up. This was always his dream."

Santo becomes the 12th major league third baseman to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the first elected at the position since Wade Boggs in 2005. Including three selections from the Negro leagues, there are now 15 third basemen in the Hall of Fame. In 15 major league seasons, Santo compiled a .277 lifetime batting average, with 2,254 hits in 2,243 games, while totaling 1,331 runs batted in and 365 doubles.[...]

Santo played for 14 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and one with the Chicago White Sox and was a nine-time All-Star. He hit 342 career home runs and won five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for his defense at third base. He was honored by the Cubs Walk of Fame, becoming a member of the inaugural Class of 1992 and was selected to the club's all-century team in 1999. He was also a Cubs broadcaster for 21 years.[...]

"[During the voting process], some people brought out more than the numbers of Ron Santo," said Williams. "And talked about what he did for the community."
Here's how the voting went down:

Results of the Golden Era Ballot (12 votes needed for election): Ron Santo (15 votes, 93.75%); Jim Kaat (10 votes, 62.5%); Gil Hodges (9 votes, 56.25%); Minnie Minoso (9 votes, 56.25%); Tony Oliva (8 votes, 50%); Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant each received less than three votes.

The 16-member Golden Era Committee was comprised of Hall of Fame members Hank Aaron, Pat Gillick, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson and Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) and Al Rosen (retired); and veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O'Connell and Dave Van Dyck. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Era Committee.

DC Film Critics

After announcing their nominations the other day, the Washington, DC Film Critics announced their winners this morning.

The interesting thing to note is that they are the second group so far this awards season to name The Descendants for Adapted Screenplay and 50/50 for original screenplay.

Best Film:
The Artist

Best Director:
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Best Actor:
George Clooney (The Descendants)

Best Actress:
Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actor:
Albert Brooks (Drive)

Best Supporting Actress:
Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Best Acting Ensemble:
Bridesmaids

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)

Best Original Screenplay:
Will Reiser (50/50)

Best Animated Feature:
Rango

Best Documentary:
Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Best Foreign Language Film:
The Skin I Live In

Best Art Direction:
Dante Ferretti, Production Designer, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, Set Decorator (Hugo)

Best Cinematography:
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)

Best Score:
Ludovic Bource (The Artist)

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The whole BCS thing...

Why there has not been a playoff set up is beyond me. This year, more than ever, there are many non-SEC fans upset at the likelihood of the BCS Championship game being a rematch from this past season and that's not a non-conference game.

Dan Wetzel is right on the money here (to borrow a line from CJ columnist Eric Crawford) in his recent article on Mike Slive's fight for a BCS playoff system.
There’s a sizeable portion of college football that is lamenting that the BCS championship game could feature a rematch of two teams from the same league – LSU and Alabama of the Southeastern Conference.[...]

If it were up to the SEC, though, it never would’ve happened. At least not without giving teams from two other leagues a chance to prove themselves on the field.

In 2008, commissioner Mike Slive pitched a so-called “plus-one” plan that essentially was a four-team playoff using existing bowl games. Other than the ACC, the other conferences not only summarily rejected the plan, they refused to even discuss its details.

“I remember it being a lonely meeting,” Slive said Saturday. “That’s all I want to say about it.”[...]

Slive is humble guy, a genteel 71-year old, almost allergic to trash talk. Besides, he doesn’t have to say it because in this case, to the rejected go the spoils. Sticking with a simple 1-2 matchup in the BCS title game has proven to be a boon for the SEC and a disaster for just about everyone else.

Under Slive’s plan, LSU and Alabama would’ve had to beat two extremely good teams on a neutral field to assure this season’s title game.[...]

Besides, a one-loss SEC team is almost always going to get the benefit of the doubt with voters over a one-loss anyone else. That’s just how it is in a subjective system.

The BCS built the SEC’s reputation. And now the SEC’s reputation has overwhelmed the BCS.
[...]

Slive went back to Birmingham humbled. Now his league has grown so dominant that in any given season, the SEC is all but assured of one spot in the title game. The other 100-some odd schools compete for the other.

And now they have to compete with the second-best SEC team for it.

“The decision was made a long time ago in the BCS to say you don’t have to be a champion, that there shouldn’t be any constraints, either formal or informal,” Slive said. “If it’s the two best teams in our league or the two best in another league, they are the two best teams.

“This may put this in perspective that people may not have thought about.”

Thursday, December 01, 2011

National Board of Review announces 2011 winners

The National Board of Review announced their awards today. They are usually the first out of the gate just like Iowa is with the presidential campaign but the NY Film Critics jumped ahead this year. Anyway, their announcement includes more awards than the NY critics included.

Best Film: Hugo

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best Animated Feature: Rango

Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Ensemble: The Help

Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)

NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime

NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(in Alphabetical Order)
13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Footnote
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries
(in Alphabetical Order)
Born to be Wild
Buck
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Senna

Top 10 Independent Films
(in Alphabetical Order)
50/50
Another Earth
Beginners
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Shame
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win

NY Film Critics Awards

I didn't post the NY Film Critics awards the other day but I meant to. Here is how they voted:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Foreign-Language Film: A Separation
Best Actor:
Brad Pitt (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
Best Actress:
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Tree Of Life, The Help and Take Shelter)
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks (Drive)
Best Nonfiction Film: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Best First Feature: Margin Call
2011 Special Award: Raoul Ruiz (posthumous)

War Horse Movie Review

The following contains my review of War Horse so I have the trailer shown first so as to avoid any spoilers.



I saw an advanced screening of War Horse this evening. It is, without the shadow of a doubt, the best picture I have seen this year and that includes a lengthy list of Oscar contenders.

Steven Spielberg originally signed on to produce but opted to direct the film when he read the first draft of the screenplay. This film likely would not have happened had it not been for Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy attending the London stage production with their two daughters. At the time in 2009 when they saw it, nobody had bothered to buy the film rights so they did. When DreamWorks optioned the rights sometime thereafter, Spielberg was quoted as saying:
"From the moment I read Michael Morpurgo's novel War Horse, I knew this was a film I wanted DreamWorks to make ... Its heart and its message provide a story that can be felt in every country."
At the heart of this film is the phenomenal story of a friendship between a boy and his horse. They become separated at the start of the war but someway, somehow, their story finds a miraculous way be intertwined as they try to survive the horrors of World War I.

The film featured a nice reunion towards the end of the film when one officer asks that the horse be shot due to the extent of his injuries but then the horse reacts to a noise in the distance coming from Albert, the boy that raised him. It's a reunion that leaves you teary eyed.

There was a nice scene in which the English and Germans come to a truce to free Joey (Albert named him that) from the barbed wire.

Based on the book of the same name published in 1982 by Michael Morpurgo, Spielberg directs from a screenplay by Richard Curtis and Lee Hall. It's a well done script as well so don't be shocked if it somehow takes the lead as front runner for adapted screenplay. The cast includes David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, and Tom Hiddleston.

The play was adapted by Nick Stafford.

The usual suspects are involved as far as music, cinematography, and editing. John Williams composed an amazing score that fit the film. Janusz Kamiński, as he has since 1993, did the cinematography. Michael Kahn edited the film. There was a nice shot where the mother was sewing and they did a quick shot to the plowing of the farm. It could be because this is the first of Spielberg's films to be digitally edited.

You can't ask for a better director than Speilberg to film a war movie. Keep in mind that he's directed six set during or before WW2 (1941, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire of the Sun, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan). He's produced both Clint Eastwood movies set during WW2 (Flags of our Fathers, Letters to Iwo Jima).

Producer Kathleen Kennedy commented about the appeal of the story saying "In cinema we've told very few stories about World War I and I think that's one of the things that attracted us to this ... It's a forgotten war in the United States, and that had a very powerful effect on Steven and I."

The synopsis via RT:
Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, War Horse begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets-British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter-before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse-an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure.
I cannot recommend this film enough. It's definitely going to see a bluray purchase this spring.