Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

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The 2011 Academy Awards Unlive Blog: THIS IS IT PEOPLE (Never Say Never)

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7:30 Ari: Every person who says they haven’t seen any of the movies nominated has always seen Inception.

James Franco is already winning the Anne vs. James fight of who will be more funny.
Ambien in a Capri Sun?!
James Franco: I loved you in Tron. Maybe it’s not Anne’s fault she gets the worst lines.
Morgan Freeman: And so the naked girl from Love and Other Drugs and the guy from General Hospital… don’t even finish this sentence.
Alec Baldwin: You just got Inceptioned!

Delorean?! Was that J.C. Penney placement? (Note: The rest of this broadcast will be J.C. Penney placement).
Christopher: That was the first funny one in twenty years. He reminds us that Rob Lowe hosted?! Let that be expunged from his record.

7:38 Anne: It used to be, you get naked, you get nominated. Not anymore. Not anymore.
Jessie: This is indulgent (with the saying hi to their Moms in the audience). Christopher: And Anne’s mom is miced.

Lesbian jokes. James: Toy Story 3. Anne: Where’s the daddd? I wonder this all the time!

7:42 Tom Hanks and Gone with the Wind. Interesting. One of these things is not like the other. We could reference that this film included the first black person nominated but let’s not notice that.
Look at Tom Hanks against Titanic.
Art Direction, so we’re starting off with the little guys. Alice and Wonderland, which is fifth in highest grossing movies of all time. Seriously. These dudes are so nervous in their speech that they put a hat on  their Oscar.
Chris says Cinematography is contentious, because True Grit should win, but Inception wins.
Ari: Put your glasses on or off sir. “None of this would be possible without my master Christopher Nolan.” Gotta Union shout-out.

7:51 Kirk Douglas is here. Show other old people. James Franco looks much better “out of the cave.” Says to Anne Hathaway, “where were you when I was making pictures?”
Mom: Kirk Douglas has had too much plastic surgery. It’s true that he can’t really move his face. Remember when he was in Spartacus and Cher from Clueless didn’t realize that Christian liked him because he was a gay?

Best Supporting Actress. Ari: I have not seen the movie but Hailee Steinfeld should win.
Kirk: Hugh Jackman is laughing. I don’t know why everyone in Australia thinks I’m funny. Colin Firth is not laughing.
Julia: He’s a serious man.
Melissa Leo wins, which means I was wrong and her campaign to win actually worked, or at least didn’t work against her.  She gives us almost a crotch shot. Amy Adams wishes she had won too, just in case Melissa forgets that she said that Amy should win. Her shock feels so pretend to me. Kirk: You’re much more beautiful than you were in The Fighter. Are you saying white trash isn’t pretty Kirk? Thanks Amy “my sweet sister” Adams.
Mom: This is painful. We almost got a fuck! She’s so passive aggressively angry her beautiful son is not here but is instead jetting around the world like the youthful, unappreciative world-traveler that he is.
Ari: I like that her dress is reflecting on her face. Thank you to the academy because it is about SELLING MOTION PICTURES, AND REFLECTING THE WORK!
Christopher: She is out to lunch.

8:00 Sara: Stop touching your stomach, Anne.
Mom: James Franco looks underwhelmed, or over.
Kate: He’s the right kind of whelmed.
JT says, “I’m Banksy.” We laugh, a lot. Best Animated Short goes to The Lost Thing, but is upstaged by JT pretending to pull a Kirk Douglas and go into a diatribe before reading the award. Only old people get away with stunts like that.

Christopher is wearing a wifebeater. That is all. It is getting HOT IN HERRRE.
And Best Animated Picture goes to duh, Toy Story 3.  I like it when they look up and thank dead people. It’d be funnier if they looked down.

8:12 Hey remember when Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin were in that super depressed movie No Country For Old Men? Forget about it, because they look like cater-waiters right now:

Aaron Sorkin wins Best Adapted Screenplay for The Social Network. He’s such a dork and talks that way. “Roxie Sorkin, your father just won the Academy Award, I’m going to have to insist on some respect from your guinea pig.”
The King’s Speech and David Seidler win for Best Original Screenplay.
Aaron: How can you write a movie, and then win an Oscar?
Seidler says, “The writer’s speech, this is difficult. My father always said I would be a late bloomer.”
Jessie: Hahaha you’re old.

8:23 Costume change number 1, but this tuxedo is Anne’s best outfit yet.
James has good arms.
Helen Mirren looks like a DAMN. Get it, cause she’s a dame?

Mom: What a bod.
Best Foreign Language Film goes to In A Better World. Fucking Denmark. I like that blue of this ladies dress though.

8:29 Supporting Actor with Reese. I’d support her Actor. Mo’Nique must have passed on this.
Sperm is worth nothing. Discuss.
Christian Bale wins duhh. This is so predictable. He says, “Bloody hell”, so maybe he agrees with us. Ari: Wait, am I crazy, or is he not American?
He plugs Dickey. Wow. They must be besties.
Mark Wahlberg’s wife is the one I thought was Cameron Diaz guys! Stop sounding the alarms, the case is closed.
Aaron: He’s listing what sounds like a good group of friends…Boomer…Carlos.
Re: His wife, Bale says, “She’s my mast, though the storms of life. I hope I’m likewise to you.”

8:38 Oh Anne. Rachel Zoe must have really had a field day with this one.
Kate: Crazy, back in the day things were different. Oh, we’ve hit sound and technical awards.
Cool we get to see the orchestra!
Ari: This must have been a nightmare to tech!
Original Score. Kate: I want to train my dragon; it sounds so dirty or something.
Trent! and The Social Network.
Ari: I wish I could go back to 8th grade and say to Nick Krazny, “The Guy you idolize is going to win an Academy Award.” Aaron: For a movie about…the internet.

8:45 Scarlett, you’re funny. Where are Brad and Angelina up in this biz, I notice with the first mention of Salt. Jessie: Raising their children with x’s in their names.
Lesbians! Win for Inception and Sound Mixing.
Thanks the “…Union, of course.” And also “Of course, the mighty Christopher Nolan.” He must require everyone to say this.
Sound Editing. “Mmhm” says shirtless man Matt who is overly tanned and in that movie about the Lincoln Lawyer, which is not a period film about Lincoln and his legal troubles but about an unconventional lawyer who conducts business from his towncar.
Aaron: I wonder what the percentage is on these awards being nominated in pairs?
“I owe this a thousand percent to Chris Nolan.” Jessie: I think this is their way of being like, F U, for Chris Nolan.

8:53 Christopher: He’s so weird looking.
NERD AWARDS with Marisa Tomei. James: All right, congratulations nerds. He is WINNING this thing. His Twitter feed is too.
I thought Katherine Hepburn and Bob Dylan were magically going to be on the stage at the same time, but it’s just Cate Blanchett presenting.
Nathan: Cate Blanchett looks like she’s magically got Dip ‘n’ Dots on her dress.
Make-up. This is such a weak category this season. “That’s gross,” says Cate to the last shot. The Wolfman wins.
To the bud on the right, Christopher says, “Dye your mustache if you’re not going to dye anything else.”
“It was always my ambition to lose an Oscar one day to Rick Baker. This is better.”
Alice and Wonderland wins for Costume Design. Surprise! Ugh I just wanted to see the woman who dressed Tilda impeccably up there. Helena Bonham Carter look confused on whether she should get up. Sweetie, you shouldn’t.
Stiff read award. But they clap? Very nice gloves. Ari: She’s a costume designer.

Aaron: Barack Obama just destroyed everyone.

9:03 Randy Newman you’re so weird. Aaron: God I love this mutherfucker, look at him.
Tangled! Marchesa dress, Mandy Moore? This is too cute.
Francesca: CHUCK?
Kate: Oh my god guys I’m really emotional right now. Who knew Zach Levi had this good a voice? I mean, I saw the film and all, but this is too much.

Ari: This Stella Artois Adrien Brody commercial sucks.

9:11 “Wow what a great year for docs….” Was it?  Strangers No More wins for Short Doc.
Mom: I also have never seen these people. OMG it’s the usual bleeding heart doc speech. Of course, thank HBO’s Shelia Nevins. Buddy Squires cinematographer. I can’t take it. Too precious. (She’s overwhelmed, in case you can’t tell.)
Kate won this round (Best Live Action Short Doc)! I liked the title: God of Love. Woah, this dude should have got a haircut and knows it! He thanks “NYU’s Graduate Film Program. The rest of the crew which I’ll thank on the thank you cam after. Finally my mother who did craft services for the film. My dad, the great state of Delaware.” Best speech of the night?
So much fringe on Anne! Rachel Zoe is so pleased.

What is this Harry Potter remix? Who cares, because You know what’s cool? A BILLION dollars.

“He Doesn’t Own A Shirt” For Twilight. I seriously have no idea what this is but I’m into it.
Mom: This show is too creative for its own good.

9:19 Oprah, looking bangalanging. “What if Oprah is Banksy?”
Inside Job, the we hate capitalism movie, wins for Best Documentary Feature, which means Kate wins, let’s all be happy.
She looks happy. Documentary dude makes it political. He also says,”Let the record show, I’m not wearing jeans.” I predict that this was a big fight with his wife before he left the house.

9:24 David Carr and A.O. Scott are sharing chips that did not come from a Brooklyn co-op. Props NYTimes liveblog, for further letting me dream that they hang out like this in real life.

9:26 Billy Crystal, finally. Get off the stage Anne. She’s just too eager.
Let’s look back to the good old days! It’s a little sad they have to rest on Bob Hope performing like fifty years ago for this show to be funny.

9:31 Nathan: Jude’s hair is going. Kate: His hair is gone. It’s not going anywhere.
Special Effects goes to Inception, duh. Boring. Jude and RDJr. look bored too. I wonder how much they are actually bros.
Film Editing, my favorite category. The Social Network wins! Their first nomination was for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Good thing that they made that movie slightly better than the horror it would have been.

9:41How to Train Your Dragon, that’s disgusting” says James. We are ONE MIND.
Florence (and the Machine). Christopher: She does look Trans.
GWENETH. She’s an actress not a singer, so she does not know what to do during her performance.
Ari: Pop pop! Randy Newman wins, duh.
Randy Newman: I don’t want to thank these people. I want to be good television, as you can see.

9:52 In Memoriam with Celine Dion.
Nice “Stormy Weather” reference with Lena Horne.

10:01 Hilary, who will never win again, Swank.
Best Director. I really like Katherine Bigelow’s dress. Kate: She just turned down Spiderman. Aaron: Hilary Swank? Jessie: Hilary Swank, cast as Spiderman.
Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech! Upset! Christopher picked it though. He references “The triangle of man-love” that made up this film. Jessie wants to be in that triangle. Sean: I call shoddy.
He notes there have been a lot of mom thanks, but his is different. Hilary’s face says “Aww what a fun story!” in the back.
“And the moral of the story is: Listen to your mother.”

10:05 Annette Bening’s dress is weird.
Hey remember when Eli Wollach won a very similar Lifetime Achievement award in The Holiday? This looks like a fun party.
Ari: Old men at the Oscars is my favorite thing. Jessie: Especially when dumb bitches steal their canes.
Aaron: Look at that tie! Why is Francis Ford Coppola such a swag monster?

10:11 James is so pleased with himself.
Jeff Bridges is here to discuss Best Actress. They always talk to these people on a first name basis here, which I find weirdly personal. Annette Bening just winked and went “Mwah” at the camera. It pans to Nicole Kidman but we’re more interested in Andrew Garfield who looks FIERCE in the back.
Darren “Pedostache” Arronosfky lurking behind Jennifer Lawrence. She’s like “Of all the clips to pick!” when they show this super weird depressing one of her in Winter’s Bone.
Nathan: But Natalie Portman, you’re horrible in Star Wars. And she wins. And kisses Millipede, who helps her on stage.
Aaron: But what if this kid is a fuck-up?
Ari: This kid is the new Maddox Jolie….Every child actor wants to be their Natalie Portman.
She says that her husband “has now given me the most important role of my life”…being a mama.
Alex: Well she had to thank everyone. Thanks camera man, my make-up artist, the guy who held the door for me yesterday, and the barista who gives me extra caramel.

10:19 Sandra’s nostrils look like she does coke. Says to Javier Bardem, “When you won your Oscar for No Country For Old Men, you managed to inspire a whole country with just a haircut.”
Sandra asks “the dude” if he would give this award to someone else because he does not deserve to win two years in a row.
Then we get a shot of JT and Jesse Eisenberg. This is such a great tableau.
Colin Firth, go home, says Sandra. But he wins Best Actor! “I have a feeling my career’s just peaked.”
He’s SO DRY — “When I was a child sensation.” Thanks Tom Ford; Chris and I groove. “Olivia, for putting up with my fleeting delusions of royalty…Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some impulses I’m going to give in to backstage.” This sounds dirty, but he just means dancing.
Jessie is worried that P.S. 22 is going to be sleepy. I’m worried that they’re missing school.

10:31 Anne, tone it down. She’s worn that dress before.

The montage of all the movies nominated for Best Picture was weird, but very well-edited and set to a speech from The King’s Speech. Of course that wins, and the Brit’s take everything.
Helena seems to indicate that Tom Hooper’s on the opposite side of the stage than where the producer’s think he is. Oh producers.
Emily: I like his hair. Kate: Very well tended.
Jessie (re: James): Someone already started drinking.

P.S. 22 did not get to practice a lot I believe, they are running all over the place.
And then all the winners come out on stage? So weird.
Jessie: Wizard of Oz. We’ve reached Oz.
Francesca: Glad like four women won tonight.
Alex: I’m hoping for District 9 To come through and collect what it deserved last year.

FINAL COUNTDOWN: It was an amazing race to the death, with Blake winning again! With 18 correct answers (does he have an inside man at the academy) Christopher coming in at 16, and Francesca in third place with 15. Emily was next with 12, Jessie/Sean at 10 because obviously they needed to vote together, and Kate sadly came in last at 7 but only because she desperately wanted some upsets, people. We’ll never know how KB did because she bailed and did not fill out her ballot but Blake: It’s time. Take over SGST for a day (maybe two now). Your public awaits.

The Helen Mirren Hypothesis

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In Helen Mirren’s brilliant, moving, inspiring acceptance speech at a recent Women in Hollywood event, she delivered a forceful rebuke of Hollywood’s obsession with “the 18 to 25-year-old male…and his penis (quite small, I always think).” Mirren lamented the “fact that virtually every drama made for film, stage or television has 20 male characters to the one, two, maybe three if you’re lucky, female characters.”

I decided to test Mirren’s supposition against the recently released Golden Globe nominations. This is obviously not a cross-section of all that TV or film has to offer, but The Golden Globes represent an industry standard of perceived quality. Consequently, Mirren would be more likely to find roles of substance in these nominees, than in, for example, The Bachelorette90210 or The Back-Up Plan.

A word on methodology: The statistics below are based on the official cast lists presented on each show’s network website. Rather than using my own judgement (or the judgment of IMDB, Wikipedia, etc) to decide which characters merit inclusion, I wanted to see how each network officially depicted its cast. For example, AMC’s Mad Men site names 27 characters, 12 of whom are female, netting a “score” of 44%.

Best Television Series (Drama):

Boardwalk Empire (27% of listed characters are female)
Dexter (29%)
Walking Dead (33%)
Mad Men (44%)
The Good Wife (50%)
Best Television Series (Drama) AVERAGE: 37%

Best Television Series (Comedy):

The Big Bang Theory (20%)
30 Rock (33%)
Modern Family (40%)
The Big C (43%)
Nurse Jackie (44%)
Glee (64%)
Best Television Series (Comedy) AVERAGE: 41%

Yikes. One drama achieves gender parity in its casting, The Good Wife, a project from husband-wife team Robert and Michelle King. Michelle King is the only female “creator” of the five drama nominees. Even shows created by women (30 Rock, The Big C, Nurse Jackie) favor roles for male actors. Although the comedy category average is not quite as dire as the dramas, this average is hugely helped by Glee, the only nominated show with more female characters than male (without Glee, the category averages 36%).

On to the big screen:

Best Motion Picture (Drama):

Black Swan (80%)
The Fighter (40%)
Inception (22%)
The King’s Speech (22%)
The Social Network (29%)
Best Motion Picture (Drama) AVERAGE: 39%

Best Motion Picture (Comedy):

Alice in Wonderland (75%)
Burlesque (44%)
The Kids Are All Right (60%)
Red (33%)
The Tourist (14%)
Best Motion Picture (Comedy) AVERAGE: 45%

The differences in category averages between big and small screens are only a few percentage points, but the distribution within categories don’t line up. Film, it would seem, allows for one or two female-driven pictures. Black Swan, set in a dance studio, starring 4 women and 1 man, would be this year’s entry.

The point is not for all productions to reserve exactly half of their roles for women (or minorities, the elderly, or any other oft-neglected demographic). Some shows are aimed at women (SATC) and others at men (Entourage) and their casting reflects this fact. The problem is that what we identify as quality, via awards shows like the Golden Globes, distinctly favors male actors. This creates a cycle in which male-dominated productions are considered the “norm,” and gender-neutral casts or female-heavy casts are relegated to niche markets or less popular networks.

One could argue that Hollywood reflects reality…most police departments are male-dominated, as are boxing rings, and tech-start ups. That is both true and problematic. Yet, the question remains; why are the male-dominated arenas the ones in which people prefer to play creatively? Because women (self very much included!) will watch a show or movie set in a “male world,” but men will not reciprocate? Projects set in traditionally female worlds (say a preschool or an ice skating team) either don’t get made, don’t get made well, or get made well and don’t get recognized. Any way you cut it, Helen Mirren has a point.

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