Good Enough Oscar Predictions

These are “good enough” predictions because I haven’t actually seen all the nominated movies but I’ve seen many of them and plus, I live in Hollywood so that gives me credentials. Here goes: 

Best Documentary (feature): My personal favorite was What Happened, Miss Simone? Truth – that was the only one I saw but it was great. Highly recommended. Wanted to see Amy very badly, but where did that movie go? Based on only the preview, my prediction is that Cartel Land will win, because who doesn’t love a movie about drug cartels? (Other than those who neglected to nominate the fabulous Benicio del Toro for Best Supporting Actor for Sicario, #oscarssowhite)

Best Cinematography: I know, what do I know about cinematography? Nothing, but The Revenant was such a gorgeous movie (at least the parts where I didn’t have my eyes covered) that I can’t imagine it won’t win for this category.

Best Writing (original): I think Spotlight will win this one. I heard a Q&A with the writers at the Writer’s Guild theater (yeah, just casually drop that in) and they were getting a lot of love. Plus it was legit a really good movie. Shout out to Ex Machina — normally not my genre but a very interesting movie that stays with you.

Best Writing (adapted): This is a tough one because all the candidates are good. I’m going to guess The Big Short, because really, how do you adapt a non-fiction book about the financial crisis into an entertaining, accessible movie? Although all of Michael Lewis’ non-fiction books seem to end up as entertaining movies. Plus, I’m not calling The Big Short for any of the other categories and I can’t see it walking away with nothing. Yeah, yeah, I know the academy doesn’t work that way, different voters for different categories but that’s my call. Although I will not be surprised if the award goes to Brooklyn. Or The Martin.  Or Room.

Best Supporting Actor: My personal vote goes to Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight. He was so wonderfully intense. I predict that Sylvester Stallone will win though because he’s Sylvester Stallone and he was so brave to play someone past his prime. He’s an actor, people! He was good in Creed but award-worthy good? Especially since everything else about Creed was ignored, #oscarssowhite. Other candidates: Mark Rylance – always great, I wouldn’t cry if he won. Tom Hardy – he was in practically every movie this year – if he wasn’t nominated for playing twins (Legend), why would he win for this role? Christian Bale – was good in The Big Short but so was everyone else in the movie.

Best Supporting Actress: Please, no Kate Winslet! No offense to Kate Winslet but in Steve Jobs, her accent was uneven and what type of accent was it even supposed to be? Plus it’s a made-up composite character so why did she even need an accent? Just no. My prediction is Rachel McAdams for no other reason than I think it’s a Spotlight year and she’s appealing.

Best Actor: Leonardo diCaprio. No doubt about it. (Unless I’m wrong, which is a distinct possibility.) Even though his role consisted of crawling along the ground and grunting, but you get a lot of Oscar points for that.

Best Actress: Brie Larson. Everyone said she was so great and the movie was dramatic. Jennifer Lawrence usually cleans up but is anyone going to vote for a character who sells mops? Saoirse Ronan – if she wins, don’t let John Travolta announce the award. (#adeledazeem)

Best Picture: That truly is a tough one. I’m going to narrow it down to The Big Short (financial crisis made entertaining, great ensemble cast, important issue), The Martian (life-affirming, I actually never saw it but it won a Golden Globe), The Revenant (gorgeous scenery, large in scale, Leonardo diCaprio not playing a rich playboy), and Spotlight (important issue, great ensemble cast, made the drudgery of culling through lists of clergy look exciting). And then I’ll further narrow it to The Revenant and Spotlight. And then I’ll pick…..Spotlight, because I liked it the best and because the Academy often goes for the important issue movie. Honestly, all these movies were good, so I’m making a random guess. And that’s why these are Good Enough predictions.

Note: after I finished this post, I looked at my Bible, FiveThiryEight’s predictions, which are based on lots of data. It predicts Alicia Vikander for Best Supporting Actress – never saw that movie so can’t comment. They have her almost tied with Kate Winslet – why????? They have Rachel McAdams in last place – so much for my predictions. They also have Mark Ruffalo in second-to-last place. Do I suck at Oscar predictions or did I just really like Spotlight?  Also, making predictions when you haven’t seen all the movies is an iffy game.

Enjoy the Oscars and please don’t use this guide in any of your Oscar pools!

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Curly Hair Blues

Can we talk about Sarah Jessica Parker’s hair? Or more specifically, Carrie Bradshaw’s hair?

How do I feel about Sex in the City? It’s about four self-involved career women living in New York who spend all their time looking for guys and wearing fabulous clothes. Isn’t that shallow and materialistic? My sister and I agree that the women are all poor role models for our teenage daughters. 

Who am I kidding? I love Sex in the City.  I missed it in its heyday because I’ve never had cable but I catch reruns when I go to the gym on the weekends. I can spend a long time on the elliptical when Sex in the City is on.  I recently saw an episode from Season 5 (I think) when Carrie had short hair and I fell in love. With Carrie’s hair that is.  It just so happens that I have short curly hair myself, not dissimilar from Season 5 Carrie but not as fabulous.  I went online to save some pictures to my Pinterest and to see if I could pick up any fabulous hair pointers and what I found was devastating. 

First of all, Sarah Jessica Parker hated her hair that way.  She only cut it that short because her hair was damaged.   So sad! I felt like Sarah Jessica Parker was saying she didn’t like MY hair. I was crushed. Furthermore, my sister told my that my niece won’t even watch episodes from Season 5 because she hated Carrie’s hair short. I suppose that long curly hair is Sarah Jessica’s thing – part sophisicated fashion icon, part boho imp.  The short hair made her look too grown up.

Second, here’s how Sarah Jessica’s hair stylist gets her hair to look so fabulous: she straightens it, then uses five different curling irons of different sizes to curl it.  Can you imagine? Naturally curly hair straightened and recurled? It just reaffirms to me that curly hair is unmanageable.

I should have known.  Actually I did know.  Years back, I told my hairdresser that I wanted my hair cut like Andie MacDowell’s in Four Weddings and a Funeral.  Another instance of a curly-haired actress going short for one gig, getting crap for it, and going back to long forevermore. My hairdresser, who also did hair for movies and television (I do live in Los Angeles, after all), said, “you know that Andie MacDowell has her hair stylist standing two feet away from her on the set, ready to do touch ups thoughout the day, right?’ 

Uh yeah, I guess that makes sense.  And therefore, it is unrealistic to think that our hair will ever look like actresses’.  But somehow, the curly haired girls make you think that you can get your hair to look like that if your hair is naturally curly. Just takes the proper cut and product right? Apparently not.

Jury Duty

When I received my jury duty summons in the mail, I responded like every good citizen — with dread. Timing was bad so I postponed and then postponed again, and finally could postpone no longer. Unfortunately, my new reporting week was the first week of work for our new CEO at my job and I was going to miss a big strategic meeting. But nothing to be done — jury duty beckoned.

I don’t know why I dread jury duty. I always end up either calling in and not having to report, or serving for one or two days and then being dismissed. The one time I got on a case, I loved it. It was a breach of contract case and being a nerd, I really got into it. The jury was made up of people from all different backgrounds and we did a great job of reaching consensus during deliberations despite our different opinions going in. It gave me faith in the “jury of your peers” concept.

And yet I still dread jury duty. You never know how long you’ll be out of commission so it’s hard to plan your calendar. Will I be out of the office for two days or two weeks?  Can I plan that trip for the end of the month? Plus, I get performance anxiety.  What if I get on a case and convict an innocent person? Or let a guilty one go free to commit more crimes?

So I show up for jury duty and everyone is asked whether we could serve on a 20-day case beginning April 1. I couldn’t say no. There were very specific criteria for saying no and I didn’t fit any of them. So I was dismissed for the day and told to call in the night before April 1. Yay, free for the day and the rest of the week. April 1 seemed like ages away. I went back to work and arrived just as the strategic meeting that I really wanted to attend was ending. Oh well.

The evening of March 31 I called the jury phone line, hoping that they had reached a plea deal and that I didn’t have to report. No such luck. A 20-day case! Now I needed to find a way to get kicked off during jury selection. Hopefully this would happen in one or two days. My co-worker suggested that I wear my dark lipstick, which is much more intimidating than my lighter colors. So I arrive at the courthouse in my professional dress and dark lipstick and I will myself not to smile. But when I’m outside of the courtroom where the jurors are assembled, I’m standing in the front near the court officer who’s taking attendance and I’m making jokes. What’s wrong with me?! I’m blowing my cover! Why must I be such a teacher-pleaser?

Fortunately, after attendance was taken the court officer said that a jury was no longer needed for the case and our jury service had been satisfied. Relief!

Lipstick

I love lipstick. No matter how grungy you look, swipe on some lipstick and you instantly look put together. A little mascara, some lipstick, and you’re good to go.

I get bored and always want to try something new, but then I don’t really want to try anything that different so I usually end up with the same shade of plum, just in a different brand.

Buying lipstick is a challenge. If you know what you want, it’s easy enough to go to the department store counter and shop. But if you don’t, you have to wander through all the counters and you can’t really compare brands and if a salesperson nabs you then you’re stuck at that counter unless you’re aggressive. The other alternative is Sephora, where all the counters are in one place and one salesperson can help you with several brands. But Sephora can be overwhelming and they don’t have the full range of colors that the department store counters do.

A year or so ago, I decided to try Tom Ford lipstick. I had read about them and some of the colors looked gorgeous. What the articles failed to mention was that a tube of lipstick cost $50! That is ridiculous and I almost refused to try it on principle. But I was curious (and had a gift card) so I bought not one but two tubes. I’m a yin and yang kind of gal and I need a light color for casual and a darker color for work. The salesperson was a transgender person named Tasha who had definite opinions about makeup. The color that I most wanted (very much in my comfort zone, I thought it looked perfect on me), Tasha rejected out of hand saying it did nothing for me. Months later I went back and tried it on again – Tasha was right. I ended up with a red and a nude, both of which were slightly out of my comfort zone but they looked good. Not worth $50 a tube – I wouldn’t make that splurge again, but nice pigment, creamy, and long-lasting.

Today I went to Sephora because I didn’t know what I wanted. A guy offered to help me, which – showing my age – seems a little strange – there were a lot of guy salesmen in Sephora – but his eyeliner and mascara were impeccable so I let him help me. I described what type of lipstick I liked and he took me straight to the Marc Jacobs display. I had been thinking Chanel or Dior or YSL or maybe even Lancôme, but I guess they’re too old school. I tried on some colors and thought, meh, but eyeliner salesguy seemed to like them. Then I was in the awkward situation of questioning “cool salesperson with perfect eye makeup’s” judgement and making it seem that I just wanted to stay in my comfort zone, but then we got to the color that he liked best and said was best for my look. Now let me explain that my “look” that day was hair pulled back in a ponytail, no makeup, a cotton shirt and jean shorts, and hot pink Converse. That is not a “look” and it certainly was not a look that I’d associate with the lipstick color that I tried on. Yet maybe he had a 6th sense because it was a color that went well with my work look and was similar to other colors I’ve had in the past (MAC Del Rio, Bobbi Brown Raisin). For the light color, I made him work a little harder and ended up with an Urban Decay color which I would have never found myself but which I like very much. While I was trying on the lipsticks, I was explaining how I have this lip gloss that bleeds so I can only dab it on my bottom lip. I was attributing this to age but then he said that he has it and it happens to him too. Which made me feel better and it wasn’t until hours later that I wondered why he had that lip gloss because he’s A GUY! But ok.

When I went to check out, I looked at the name of the lipstick. You know how lipstick and nail polish colors have cool names? This color is called Blow. I’m not kidding. I’m laughing now but I wasn’t laughing at the time. My first two associations had nothing to do with puckering your lips and exhaling. I almost put the lipstick back. I have girly-girl friends and you know they’ll ask me the name of my lipstick color. I do that all the time when I see a color I like. Imagine telling your friends that your lipstick is called Blow!  And Blow is the Marc Jacobs’ lipstick, not the Urban Decay (that one’s called Liar – so much better!). Classy.

Embarrassing names aside, I’m excited to wear my new lipsticks. It’s like having a new outfit but one that you can wear everyday. 

Book Withdrawal

I love to read. I have loved to read since I was little. I am always in the middle of a book. Maybe (probably) it’s avoidance behavior. After I get home from work and make and eat dinner, all I want to do is crash and read my book. I don’t want to do any more chores or housework – I’m done.

But yesterday I couldn’t find anything I felt like reading. I went to two libraries, picked books up, put them down — I just wasn’t feeling it. So I thought that maybe I’d go book-free for a while. Think of everything I could accomplish if I weren’t distracted by reading. I could clean my house, go to the gym, write blog entries, catch up on the New Yorker (I know that’s reading, but doesn’t count — I have to read them so we can get rid of them).

So what did I accomplish on my reading hiatus?

Housecleaning: a little bit, but slowly and sluggishly
Gym: 0
Exercise of any sort: 1 walk with husband, where he commented that I don’t walk often because I was walking so slowly
Blog entries: 0
New Yorker articles read: 1/2 of 1 article
Calls to mother: 1
Naps: 1
TV watched: 1 movie with daughter

By 10:30 p.m., I couldn’t stand it anymore. I picked up a book from our coffee table and read blissfully until bedtime. Clearly, my reading hiatus (albeit short) did not cure my avoidance behavior, and there are far worse habits than reading too much. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to my book now.

My Fitbit is Dumb (But I Still Love It)

I’ve had my Fitbit for a week now and I think it’s kind of dumb. First of all, I feel like I’m on house arrest, wearing this thick black bracelet that’s flashing green lights 24/7, broadcasting data about my every move. And I’m doing this voluntarily???

Second, Fitbit has a mind of its own as to how it records my movements. Sometimes it credits me for steps I didn’t take, sometimes I’m walking around the house and it gives me nothing. It always credits me for stairs I didn’t take. The best was yesterday when I was hiking and Fitbit said I walked up 55 flights of stairs! To be fair, I was hiking in a canyon with a lot of uphill and downhill and Fitbit works off of an altimeter. I think it’s funny that ordinarily, I’m huffing and puffing after four flights of stairs but Fitbit thinks I can climb 55 flights! I’ll take it though. How else can I get credit for all that uphill climbing?

And whoever decided that 10,000 steps should be the default goal? The only days that I came close to 10,000 steps was when I took a several mile walk or hike in addition to going about my day’s activities. There is no way that in the course of a normal day when I have to work that I can come close to 10,000 steps even if I take the stairs, park far away, walk to lunch, and take strolls around the office. Even when I go to the gym I don’t rack up the steps, especially when I ride the exercise bike. I’d say that 5000 steps is a more realistic goal. Or maybe 5000 steps for weekdays and 10,000 for weekends. As I sit here at the end of the day with only 1200 steps for today.

I do still love my Fitbit though and check it several times an hour, I mean a day. I love seeing what my heart rate is after certain activities (high – I’m such a wimp), how I’m sleeping (even though I’ve never had sleep problems), how long my workouts are and how my heart rate varies, and how far I am from my step goal (far). Basically, I’m a data geek. So despite the fact that I look like a convicted felon, I’m going to continue to wear my Fitbit. And will even keep my aspirational 10,000 step goal….for now.

Fitbit at Fifty

photo

My BFF and I are in synch.  Out of all the eyeglass frames in the world, we chose the same pair in different colors despite the fact that we live in different cities and did not consult each other.  So on our recent visit, when she said she wanted a Fitbit, I wasn’t surprised.  I had been planning to buy one and had my two very athletic friends doing fitness tracker research for me at that very moment.

I actually think fitness trackers are kind of dumb.  We know we’re supposed to exercise, or at the very least move around.  Common sense should tell us that we’ve been sitting around too long and that it’s time to move.  Why do we need to wear something around our wrists 24/7 to tell us what common sense tells us already? And they’re so ugly. Not a good look with a feminine dress.  Plus, do I really want my personal data uploaded on some system to be shared with God knows who? Not to mention the fact that whatever technology they’re using to take our reading is probably going to give us dread diseases in the future.

And yet fitness trackers work.  I just read about a study to that effect – people who wore fitness trackers were more active than those who didn’t.  I don’t know if I’m getting that exactly right since I didn’t actually read the study but it was something to that effect.  And today I heard a news story about how being sedentary can lead to all kinds of poor health outcomes, although diabetes is the only one I remember.  If it takes a fitness tracker to remind me to get up and move around, then I’m all for it.

But the real reason I wanted a fitness tracker has to do with the worksite wellness program that I’ve written about in earlier posts.  I’m much more motivated when I’m working towards a goal.  Ok, in the case of the worksite wellness program I was working towards a cash reward – a much better incentive than a congratulatory buzz of the Fitbit saying I’ve met my goal.  But just seeing my progress towards a 10,000 step per day goal is a motivator.  Plus, there are step goals through my worksite wellness program that my Fitbit will help me track – therefore my Fitbit is helping me get to my cash reward.

When my BFF said that she wanted a fitness tracker too, we decided to get them together. Such a good BFF bonding activity! We went off to the local big box store to pick out our trackers, after having done our internet research. Internet research is essential since there are a gazillion trackers out there, but of course every site you read has a different recommendation about which is the best.  Then you go to the big box store and there they all are in their packaging and you start to second guess your decision.  Of course there are no samples out of the box to try on so you feel like you’re flying blind.

We settled on the Fitbit Charge HR, which measures steps, heart rate, and sleep.  We quickly installed the apps on our phones and went out for a three mile walk around a lake.  By nighttime we had almost reached our 10,000 steps despite the fact that we didn’t put on our Fitbits until 3:00.  My BFF proceeded to jog around the house until she reached her 10,000 steps.  I did not follow suit since I was charging my Fitbit at the time and what’s the point of jogging around the house and getting exercise if the Fitbit’s not there to record it?

Today I travelled back home and as I was sitting in a car for a good part of the day, I logged 915 steps ALL DAY. And here’s the bad part about fitness trackers.  When you’re at 9000 steps, you’re really motivated to make it to the 10,000 goal.  But when you’re at 915, what’s the point? I’m not even getting close so there’s no point to doing anything.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.  Fitbit and I might have to go to the gym, just to make sure.