c o l u m b i n a

"by her keen and active wit, she [ is ] able to hold her own in every situation and emerge with ease and dignity from the most involved intrigues." ~ Duchartre

Thursday, February 23, 2006

what to ... ?

Via and Splendora’s Style Forecast.

What to Wear: Cute spring skirts. Seriously, I went away on vacation for a week, and suddenly, every clothing store has switched over to Spring already. I am not ready for Spring. I don’t think the East Coast is ready for Spring, especially if the weather continues to be funky as its been this year. But hot damn, do I want me some cute spring skirts. I can be the most un-girly girl in some ways, but I do get all a-flutter for a swishy, swirly knee-length that’s not too loud/frayed/tight/bemirrored.

What NOT to Wear: Again, bemirrored clothing. I don’t know why the 80s are making a comeback, and I’m trying not to pay attention, but they’re everywhere (just like formal shorts and excessively long and flimsy tunic shirts, two other things which should die a quick death), they’re not bohemian or gypsy or any “free-spirited” thing of any sort, and they scare me. Make them go away.

What to Shoe: Have never, ever been a shoe-gal. Doesn’t float my boat, so I don’t know what to tell you. (See above about un-girly girl tendencies.) But the stores have switched over to Spring shoes now too, and I’ve already set a date in March to go shopping with the Mom at King of Prussia, where they have a Nordstroms. (Oh, Nordstroms, how I’ve missed you!) Nordstroms always has the wackiest shoe department, and must be the go-to shoe place for wannabe supermodels and/or performance artists because with all of the fine leather and normal looking though expensive shoes, there are always one or three tables of CRAZY set up. (Clear platforms with fish suspended in the heels? Sandals with ribbon straps that go up to your knees and end in three rows of unnecessary beads? Fur, buckles, bows, mirrors, or prints where they shouldn’t be and to excess? Bring it ON, Nordies. I will be gaping, pointing, puzzling, and snorting through my nose in less than a month. Woot!)

What to Bag: Not sure about current purse trends (though I should be, because we sell them through our stores— are the hobo bags from fall still in? ETA: Guess not. Nothing but Spring clutches.) but I do know that a) I desperately need a new oversized one, because my good ole standby, which I’ve had for years and was the perfect size to carry all my purse crap AND one hardcover novel, is now IRREPARABLE. The strap broke for about the fifth time, this time only surviving about one week after the nice Korean man who works at the shoe repair shoppe in the borough sewed it back together again, so I believe it has officially moved on to becoming a Hopeless Cause. (Though my grandfather did offer to STAPLE it together. Horrifying, though it does give new meaning to that Jack Johnson song.) And b) my mother needs/wants a navy purse. And no one sells navy purses anymore so Mama is going to need to pick something else out for Mother’s Day because that is so not happening.

What to Jewelry: I don’t know if they’re in and I don’t care, my new hand-crafted Kalakaua Avenue Art Fair pearl earrings from Hawaii kick ass.

What to Makeup: Sonia Kashuk Shimmer Blush. Target made me do it.

What to Hair: TRESemme Heat Tamer. I know, it’s such a “LaDiDa Fashion Magazine Says This Product Will Change Your Life, REALLY, We Mean It This Time” product, but it WORKS. It works WONDERS. I was contemplating new brands of hot oil treatments because my hair was getting so dried out and frizzy and otherwise cranky and unsalvageable, and then one airport flip-through of Marie Claire and a trip to the store later, it’s nothing but shiny, soft, pretty hair. I’m in desperate need of a cut and a re-highlighting, but I’ve received more compliments on my hair since I’ve started using it then when I first got the cute haircut and color in the first place. (The Queer Eye Guys were right! Hair Product CAN be your friend!)

In other hair news, I am scheduling that cut and color, which always brings with it the questions- what cut and what color? Because Marie Claire, despite being so helpful with the TRESemme, was absolute bullsh*t on “What Hair Color is Right for You?” when it basically told me that I would be a great redhead ... or blonde or brunette. Thanks for narrowing down my options, Marie Claire! Because my hair has spent roughly the past 23 years trying to decide if it was dirty blonde, mousy brown, or slightly auburn! (My hair is slightly schizophrenic like that. My mom used to think that I was sneaking around dying my hair red in junior high because it certain lights it had coppery tints. And I was blonde in kindergarten, back when I was photogenic. And spent most of college with my very brown natural color with very unnatural bright blonde streaks in the front, because dammit, I was an ARTIST and my irrational fear of highlighting was conquered.) My last salon experience (with my wonderful stylist Stephanie, who has now moved far away to have a baby and will never be able to cut my hair again dammit, sniff) ended with me getting both warm blonde and coppery highlights, which was generally well-received by all-and-sundry.

And then there’s the long/short question, which is always a hassle, because my face looks better with long hair, but the hair itself tends to work better short with layers (which tends to enlarge my cheeks to Chipmunk with a Face Full of Nuts proportions, a look generally unflattering to say the least). And then there is the damn BANGS question, which I haven’t had to grapple with in YEARS but they are officially a comeback now, and Rory Gilmore looks so damn cute with them, and so there it is. Part of me says, “hell yeah! Go for it!” because I so rarely dress my age and go with the current trends, and really, if I don’t do this kind of crap now, when it can be glossed over as “Follies Of My Youth” when will I? And another part of me is listening to my mother who says I have a nice forehead that shouldn’t be covered up (wha?), and that it’ll be a hassle to maintain (and that’s BEFORE the growing out), and it probably would help to have chosen a new stylist before doing something like that. So que sera, sera, I guess.

What to Fragrance: I will never give up my Estee Lauder Pleasures, but Bath & Body Works just made me their bitch with their Cherry Blossom Luxuries line.

What to See: Is there any theater in the Philly area playing The White Countess? NO. The bastards. And I think the boat has sailed on seeing King Kong in theaters. Last thing I saw was The Matador, which while it did not feature my Screen-Boyfriend-of-All-Time Pierce “Cary Grant” Brosnan but Pierce “Playing an Oddball because I’m an ACTOR Dammit” Brosnan, it still rocked. And my continued love of Greg Kinnear grows. (Hilarious. One of the funniest actors out there, truly, and probably the most underused and underappreciated. I’m waiting for the day he turns into the New Tom Hanks. Because you know it’s coming.)

What to TV: House, because of the continued greatness (and hotness) that is Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard (“I hear bowling is more fun than stalking”). The Office, when it returns next week (woot!), because is there anything in this world funnier than Dwight Schrute and his bobblehead? I THINK NOT. Sci-Fi Fridays, because the collective hotness of Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Joe Flanigan, and David Hewlitt (what? They can’t ALL be that pretty. And the McKay Patented Snark gets me EVERY time.) is enough to stomach the wild plotlines.

What to Listen: KT Tunstall’s “Eye on the Telescope.” Just discovering the utter coolness that is Rilo Kiley, so more on that later. I just found the haunting “Kothbiro” from The Constant Gardener on iTunes the other day, and have fallen in love Ayub Ogada’s voice all over again. (I will still stand by Jean-Yves come Oscar Night, though.) Oh, and Julie Andrews’ kick-ass sultry Mancini big finish in Darling Lili, “Whistling Away the Dark,” which is the best thing she’s sung on camera next to that hilltop twirling number.

iPod Rediscovery: “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. Mostly because I had such a crush on him back in the day (wasn’t he dreamy? And he’s aged well too...) and my U2-playing neighbor took a break one night to play a selection of Best of the 80s, that song included, and the nostalgia creeping through the walls was overwhelming.

What to Read: American Vertigo by Bernard-Henri Levy, because The Daily Show made it look so interesting and shouldn’t everyone read a book by a French Rock Star Philosopher? Once Upon Stilettos, because Enchanted, Inc. was one of the best chick-lit books I’ve read in a good, long while. Elizabeth Peters will have her new one out in March that I’m not even pre-ordering, so have the mighty fallen. For a silly, fluffy good time, I recommend The Masque of the Black Tulip and Good Omens.

What to Eat: New obsession, Pims? I’d like you to meet my new heavier ass. Because it’s all your fault.

Looking Extra Foxy: Jesse Spencer, especially when he’s snarking the other Ducklings. John Krasinski, my new TV Boyfriend, because hot DAMN, and he seems like such a sweetheart. The new poster of James Mardsen as tortured Scott “I Lost My Wife in a Freak Dam Accident But That Just Makes Me Look Less Pasty and Much More Hot” Summers.

Bizarre But Brilliant: CraigNotBond.com and its gallery of Daniel Craig look-a-likes. I’ve said for months that he was the wrong choice (oh, Clive, Ioan, and Hugh. My poor, passed-over lovelies. Ioan, I still think you’re the best option they’ve got, but Clive, you sneaky devil, that Pink Panther cameo was the only thing that kept me from walking out of that bit of rubbish). Basically my beef is that if you’re going to drop Brosnan, widely held to be the only one to come close to Connery in the Bond department, because you want to do a Younger Bond in an Origin story, then dammit, cast a younger Bond. And an OLDER woman, because you so know that some experienced femme fatale saw this tall dark drink of water trying to be suave and took him aside and molded him into something dangerous, sexy, and cultured, before ultimately betraying him thus turning him into a bit of a cold bastard but oh-so-urbane. (Er. Is that just my fantasy then?) But you made your decision, and I was stuck with it, and I was following your slow, stupid progress with casting and probably would have seen the new film (just not in theaters), and now suddenly, out of the blue, the Fandom is Mobilizing. I don’t know if I agree with the boycott, especially this late in the game, but I will say, for shits and giggles, the juxtaposition of Craig and the undead is too funny (and uncanny) for mere words.

Laughternoon Break: The best of the Brokeback parodies, BrokeBack To the Future.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

name games


Dollar Bill

People Iced:Forty One
Car Bombs Planted:Fourteen
Favorite WeaponThe Wrench
Arms Broken:Twenty
Eyes Gouged:Nineteen
Tongues Cut Off:Three
Biggest Enemy:The Icer

Get Your HITMAN Name

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

You scored as FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files). You are part of a super secret section of the FBI. You also have the very cool status of â??Special Agentâ??. You believe in many conspiracies and know the government is covering up way too much. Now if only you could the Cigarette Smoking Man to stop providing you with the second-hand smoke.

FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Moya (Farscape)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Serenity (Firefly)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

f i v e things meme


What were you doing 10 years ago?

February 1996: Freshman in high school, so probably, studying. And studying some more. The following month I’d get my first perfect score on the NLE. (And yeah, I said first because I did it twice. Never question my geekdom, ladies and gentlemen.) Oh yeah, and I was still taking the AP level Art Class that I’d weaseled my way in with my sweet, sweet wiles, so I was either working on an children’s book, a restaurant layout and/or possibly the dreaded Chair project.* And I believe I was taking my first set of enameling classes on Saturdays at CIA, sweating the winter out with the kilns.

* The Dreaded Chair Project, also known as the “Hey, RISD Does This! That Makes It High-Minded and Challenging and Perfectly Okay to Assign to Artsy High Schoolers!” Project, was to construct from scratch a “whimsical” chair which would support our instructor’s weight. Emphasis on the whimsical part. I’m not telling what I did, but it was sure... whimsical, all right. And since I was one of the only ones who finished the damn project, and because it made my teacher laugh until he cried, I did well on it. But it was silly and sucked the life out of me for two months and it’s probably the reason I never did end up going to RISD because I never ever wanted to do that ever again. Ever.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Getting hired for my current job (my first day was Valentine’s Day). Ah, the memories!

Five snacks you enjoy:

A. Popcorn
B. Mozzarella Sticks
C. Double Fudge Brownie ice cream
D. Saltless pretzels. It's a childhood thing.
E. Triscuits

Five songs you know all the words to:

A. "The soldier came knocking upon the Queen’s door/ He said ‘I am not fighting for you anymore’/ And the Queen knew she’d seen his face someplace before/ And slowly she let him inside.”

Because for some reason I’ve memorized a lot of “epic” songs. In fact, I think the only reason I know my Noyes is because of Loreena McKennitt.

B. “Now once upon a time, I had plenty of nothin’/ Which was fine with me/ Because I had rhythm, music, love/ The sun, the stars and the moon above/ Had the clear blue sky, and the deep blue sea/ That was when the best things in life were free.”

Which is so weird that I still know all the words to this, because I’ve forgotten all the words to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Baby’s Got Sauce,” also big hits of my childhood. But this one sticks. Was it something about that summer of ‘90, belting out songs in my fist on my aunt’s balcony, dreaming of growing up to be Breathless Mahoney... or is this yet another example of my freakishly selective memory? But seriously, all the words. And the dance moves— because you can’t sing “soon you’ve got the kit as well as the boodle” without dance moves. (What a classy preteen I was.)

C. “What’s the matter, Mary Jane/ Had a hard day?/ So put the don’t disturb sign on the door/ You’re losing weight again/ What a pity/ You ever wonder who you’re losing it for?”

I still want to write a story to this song. Haven’t managed it yet, but will, one day.

D. “It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday/ The regular crowd shuffles in/ There’s an old man sitting next to me/ Making love to his tonic and gin”

Because out of all the Billy Joel/Elton John songs I know and remember and love, it’s the quintessential one.

E. “Wednesday morning at five o’clock, as the day begins/ Silently closing her bedroom door/ Leaving a note that she hoped would say more/ She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief/ Quietly turning the backdoor key/ Stepping outside she is free”

Because everybody knows Beatles songs, and it’d be too big of a giveaway if I led off with “Eleanor Rigby.” Because I started out with Muppet-style ("Letter B") and graduated, and my mom still has the original Sgt. Pepper album inserts in mint condition, so it was kind of inevitable.

Honorable Mentions to:

“Floatin’ in the river with a saturated liver and I wish I could forgive her/ But I do believe she meant it when she told me to forget it and I’ll bet she will regret it when they find me in the morning/ Dead and drowned/ Word gets ‘round/ Goin’ down”

Oh, and sing it fast too. Really fast.

“My eyes are fully open to my awful situation/ I will go at once to Mabel and I’ll make her an oration/ I will tell her I am bound by duty and my moral senses/ And I don’t know what to do about the pending consequences/ And I do not want to perish by the sword or by the dagger/ But a pirate may indulge a little pardonable swagger/ And a word or two of compliment my vanity would flatter/ But I’ve got to go tonight so it really doesn’t matter!”

Wouldn’t be right to not mention G&S.

"I walk the wave of moments and everywhere I turn to/ Begins a new beginning but never finds a finish/ It's either this or that way/ It's one way or the other/ It could be one direction/ It could be a reflection/ The turn I have just taken/ The turn that I was making/ I might be just beginning/ I might be near the/ End."

First song of hers I ever heard, back when she was winning Grammy's and quite the oddity. Beats that "Only Time" crap.

“Well, she crept back in the house at half past three/ Shook her head and saw him snoring in his sleep/ If he really loved me, she said/ I wouldn’t have to be so mean”

Ben Folds should just get some sort of a lyric writing award for all time. I don’t know of anyone else who can write things that are so funny and so heartbreaking all at the same time.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

A. Travel. Extensively and expensively.
B. Buy a house where one room could be a library for all my books. (If billionaire, buy house big enough that said library had one of those really cool ladders on a track around it, because I’m eccentric like that and saw Bedknobs & Broomsticks far too many times as a child and am warped now for life. Damn you, David Tomlinson! Speaking of which, Portobello Road? Favorite Disney song EVER and instigator of my all antiquing fantasies: "Waterford crystal, Napolean's pistols/ Society's heirlooms with genuine gums/ Remrandts, El Grecos, Toulouse "Lautrecos"/ Painted last week on the banks of the Thames")
C. Collect first editions.
D. Have a designer wardrobe (because yes, even I get to be a girly-girl sometimes).
E. Buy my mother a Mercedes (because she’s always wanted one).

Five bad habits:

A. Biting my nails
B. Not speaking my mind enough or asking questions that I know I should ask
C. Worrying about my tires
D. Eating junk food
E. “Forgetting” to go to the gym

Five things you enjoy doing:

A. Reading
B. Going to the movies
C. Writing
D. Making lists (and crossing things off them)
E. Baking

Five things you would never wear again:

A. Turtlenecks. And dickies, because there was that one time my mom made me wear one and I pitched a fit. Because they both are awful, constricting contraptions that need to stay far away from me.
B. Any article of clothing with a mirror on it. Unfortunately this trend is making a comeback. Why? WHY, GOD, WHY? How is the stereotypic elderly Atlantic City glamour puss of the 80s leading modern fashion trends? And don't even get me started on Express and their formal shorts. Because, no. Just no.
C. Thong sandals. Blisters, oh the blisters. So, no, never again.
D. A baggy t-shirt bunched up in a knot with leggings and two pairs of socks. Yes, I lived through the 80s and I never want to go back there again.
E. A baggy sweater that reaches my knees. Because I may not love my body, but I certainly don't hate it that much anymore. Shudder.

Five favorite toys:

A. Does my iBook count? Because I love it so.
C. iPod, which I still have yet to name. Sybilla, maybe? Because it's small and white and indefatigible, with a bit of a mean streak.
D. Clue
E. Franklin (He’s a stuffed panda named after Big Ben and I’ve had him forever and I refuse to part with him. Ever.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

look like a celebrity... sort of

So I'm a movie person. It's kinda rubbed off on the family. Inevitably, in some long ago family function wherein films and dead people were the only "safe" topics of conversation, the question of "what famous person do I look like?" came up. Now, my dad and my mom I've nailed a long time ago, and I am undisputed in my theory that my dad has a striking resemblance to Gene Kelly (though he's not much of a dancer, he does have quite a singing voice) and that my mother circa '74 is the spitting image of Marsha Hunt, forgotten starlet of cheesy girl detective movies. My great-aunt in certain lights has a definite Garbo quality about her face, though she rather likes to think she's patterned her fashion decisions after the immortal Princess Grace Kelly, whom she's always trying to get me to model myself after. (She suckered me into the Emily Post posture a long time ago. Still refusing to dye my hair blonde, though. Sorry, Andzia.)

Self-assessment is always harder. The family is a bit unreliable in this game, mostly because their internal memory databases for this sort of thing are limited. (Actresses we can name off the top of our head? "Julia Roberts. And uh, Meg Ryan. And that girl in that thing that time...?" They have me for this sort of information.) Now, privately, and now I guess not so secretly, since I'm writing about it here, I've always rather thought I had a resemblance to Jennifer Garner, though definitely not as atheletically fit. But she has a high prominent forehead (check), straight brown hair (check), and a strong chin and high cheekbones (check, check). My nose is definitely not as tiny, my lips are thinner, and like most people, her neck seems much longer than mine. (See aforementioned father and his likeness to Gene "No Neck" Kelly.)

Then last week, and I can't even remember which blog I was reading that had also tried out this amazing (cough cough) bit of technology, but apparently, with this new database service, you can upload your photograph and magically discover your celebrity doppleganger. And since I happened to have just gotten back from Hawaii, and was unsuccessful at thwarting all attempts to have myself captured on film (I'm very unphotogenic), I uploaded one of the shots of me and my delicious end of trip mojito and gave the database a whirl. Anxiously awaiting to see exactly how glamorous my some-what similar celebrity would be, the database returned with...

Jason Biggs.* I shit you not, the first photo it matched me with was a dude. And not even a pretty one. (You see what I mean about unphotogenic? I mean, I know I'm not Jennifer Garner on my best day, but I also don't make mirrors crack when I walk by. Just...damn.)

It was a 71% match. And yes, I consoled myself with knowing that even the technology itself acknowledges that it is 29% wrong. But I also had another 71% match... with Julie Andrews. Yeah, I'm stumped too.

Other matches above 50% correct? Brigitte Bardot (70%). Penelope Cruz (69%). Tom Cruise (68%). (Seriously, what the hell? I wasn't that androgynous-looking in the photo, I swear!) Liv Tyler (68%). Jennifer Aniston (67%). And Monica Lewinsky (65%).

So, um, I don't know what to think, except that maybe the creators of that program were on crack. And that it really uses cheekbones as the ultimate determination of a match, and doesn't even bother considering gender, because that would be silly. I'll stick with my I-Could-Be-Like-Sydney-Bristow daydreams, thank you very much.

ETA: I might just manage Kate Beckinsale in a pinch. The nose is close, close! But dammit, her teeth are so much nicer than mine. Curses.

EATA: I totally forgot until I was done with this post, but I have had one, very misguided individual think that I look like a celebrity-- one of the guys from the warehouse (who doesn't work there anymore, which is a shame, because he was really a cool guy, despite a bit of weirdness) thought I looked like Liza Weil from The Gilmore Girls. Which is the reason I started watching Gilmore Girls in the first place, to see my supposed OtherSelf... who looks nothing like me at all, and acts like me even less. (I am so a Season One Rory.)

* Which is kinda interesting, because though I've never been pressed to name a celebrity look-a-like for my brother, I've always thought there were similarities there, between him and Mr. Biggs. And despite all logic that suggests that one of us is really an alien from a galaxy far far away, my brother and I do really look like siblings and share the same kind of features. So, you know, weird.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

there goes my diet...

Some enterprising individual is getting back at me for all the cookies and candy I freeloaded into the office kitchen after the holidays. Must be one of the British ladies, because according to my research, it is from whence the chocolate/orange/cake confection comes... Behold, the Jaffa Cake. (Shortly to follow, my pants will no longer fit properly ever ever again.)

oscars 2006

So the nominations came out at 5:30 yesterday morning, and I’ve done nothing but Oscar related stuff at work ever since, because apparently we take Oscar Night as a serious selling holiday. Like St. Patrick’s Day, or Administrative Assistant’s Day, or Nurse’s Day, ONLY COOLER and with more interesting and specific merchandise. What I’m saying is, though movie trivia has been a ...erm, hobby (read: obsession) of mine and I would have been waiting regardless with baited breath for the nominees to be named, yesterday and today it was my JOB to know the nominees and how, exactly, one spells Gyllenhaal. (Yes, with two a’s and one l. Yes, it’s weird. But yes, he is one very attractive guy, so exceptions can be made. Even for that laugh-inducing plantitive-n’-twangy “I wish I knew how to quit you!”) So, cool.

For a full rundown of the nominees, go here. My opinions on specific races to follow:

Best Picture/Director
Grouped because the nice Academy people nominated the same five films for both, none of which I’ve seen, so I really ought to keep my big mouth shut about both of them, but I’m going to bitch about them anyway. I only kinda-sorta wanted to see three of them (Good Night and Good Luck, Munich and Capote), and wanted the hype surrounding one (do I really have to type it? Brokeback Mountain) to DIE, because really, the film can’t be THAT good and you know most of the critic population (who unfortunately happen to be male) are overcompensating in the “Omigod, it’s so TASTEFUL for a Gay Cowboy Movie!” department... But whateva. It’s going to win, and we all know it, so let’s just move on to the more interesting of the two smushed categories: Best Director.

Now, speaking as a girl who erected a shrine to Spielberg before she reached her teens (what? Like you didn’t know all the lines to Raiders of the Lost Ark at 9 years of age) I have to say, Late Spielberg, Spielberg of the I-Wield-A-Mighty-Message-And-You-Will-EAT-IT-DAMMIT, is not something I enjoy. I don’t think I’ve really had a great time at a Spielberg movie since... Jurassic Park? (Just so we’re clear, yeah, I get it, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, moving films about Absolutely Horrible Yet Important Things In History. But after that first viewing, I never ever ever want to go through either of them again. Ever.) But as I’ve heard that Munich delightfully falls into the same patterns of all the other Late Spielberg outings, I must begrudge him my blessing.

Capote, Crash and Clooney have all about the same dark horse chance in hell to take the statuette from Ang Lee’s hands. And I have to say, I don’t mind it going to him. Every time I watch Sense and Sensibility I am blown away by that man’s power behind a camera. The movie is like a Vermeer painting come to life; it's amazing. (He didn’t win, by the way. Wasn’t even freaking nominated, which kills me. Mel "Watch-Me-Make-Bloody-the-New-Artsy" Gibson won for the piece of crap Braveheart. Yeah, I said it. Don’t get me started on that movie, or on Gibson, because it happens to be one of my best acid rants. Apocalypto? Bite me.) But to get back to Ang Lee, he rocks, and he was denied in ‘96, and he’s swept all the other awards this year, so what’s one more?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Actor in a Lead Role
Oh, Academy. Filling in this year’s requirement for the “Oh, Shit, We Haven’t Given ______ An Award YET?” is Paul Giamatti’s nomination for Cinderella Man. Can’t you just see the conversation that led to that?

Academy Guy 1: I suppose we ought to throw Ron Howard a bone about that movie of his that was made with love but no one saw? What the hell was that called?
Academy Guy 2: Cinderella Man.
Guy 1: Stupid title. Whatever. Yeah, that one.
Guy 3: Ron always pays his dues on time. We’ll have to nominate it for a real award, not just editing and stuff.
Guy 2: Damn. Right. Okay, well, I love Russell or Rene. What do you think?
Guy 3: Crap. Paul Giamatti’s in it.
Guy 1: Oh hell, that guy. Didn’t we give him like five awards already? Somebody look that up.
Guy 2: No. Shit. We haven’t given him any. Shit, shit, shit, you guys? We haven’t even NOMINATED him yet.
Guy 3: You’re joking. Seriously? Not even for the stupid wine movie?
Guy 1: Hell. I can see it now. We’re going to be in the same kind of trouble when we didn’t nominate Denzel for The Hurricane and we had to somehow convince half the voters that a third-rate cop movie was ART. Special award!
Guy 2: Out. We’re giving it to that old guy who’s been around forever but hasn’t scored one yet. And Giamatti’s not even dying.
Guy 1: O-kay, Lead Actor.
Guy 2: Uh, dude? You’ll piss off Russell. I mean, the dude has a temper and can box, and he kinda was the main character. You’ll have to nominate them both.
Guy 3: Which we can’t do, because Terrence Howard sold us his soul to score a nom. And then there was the flap when Tony won in ‘91 with only 15 minutes of screen time.
Guy 1: Alright, alright, compromise: Best Supporting Actor, Paul Giamatti. But let’s still give the award to Clooney, okay? I want to visit Como.
Guys 2 & 3: Cool.

And then belatedly, many many days later:
Guy 3: We forgot Fiennes again.
Guy 2: Eh, he’ll be in something artsy next year.
Guy 3: You always say that.
Guy 1: And it’s always true. Let him get another BAFTA for his mantle. We nominated the pretty pregnant chick, didn’t we?

All that by way of saying, yeah, Clooney’s probably going to take the Supporting category since he’ll be shut out of the Directing and Writing, though Giamatti probably deserves it, and if he pulls an upset, people will cheer all the same. Oh yes, and that we all know that no matter how much Joaquin looks like Cash or how indefatigable David Strathairn’s good performances or how Ralph Fiennes didn’t even get nominated because the stupid Americans can’t pronounce his name correctly, Hoffman’s going to take the Leading category because he can speak in a falsetto and move his hands in fey gestures.

Best Actress in a Leading Role
This will be an interesting race, mostly because I think the Academy has the most options for upset here. Dame Judi was nominated probably because they needed a 5th and hell, isn’t she always perfect? Keira’s nom is odd, but then, given the Academy’s history of giving awards to pretty, very young ingénues, so she remains a possibility, however distant. Charlize might pull a Hanks, and score two in a row, but also, distant possibility. The real race here is between Huffman and Witherspoon, the man-woman versus June Carter. Given that Walk the Line will probably win nothing else, and that every one loves a Southern Belle, and Huffman can just stay on TV for all the Academy cares, my money’s on Reese giving her teary yet perky acceptance speech come March with hubby Ryan smirking as usual in the audience.

Best Score
I have to say, last year my ire was up at the Academy for the Giachinno shut-out, and the continued support of less-than-great John Williams work. (Yes, the man is amazing. Yes, we should give him an award every year, because he's just that special. But even HE, in all of his glory, phones it in sometimes.) This year, again he's racking them up, not with one but with TWO noms, one for Munich and the other for Memoirs of a Geisha. I've seen/heard neither, but my money is on horns. And trills. And then more horns. So I think he'll split the vote between himself.

Again, haven't seen the cowboy movie so I can't really comment, except to say that Gustavo Santaolalla rocked The Motorcycle Diaries score last year. But The Constant Gardener and Pride & Prejudice were my top two favorite scores of the year and I'm thrilled beyond belief that both got nominated. It's a tough call, but I think the utter coolness of managing to get Jean-Yves Thiebaudet to play piano for your soundtrack is too much to pass over. Dario Marianelli, you are my new Movie Composer Boyfriend. Rock on, and I've got my fingers crossed for you.

And lastly, what the...?

-- "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp," Best Song. Seriously? Seriously?