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Entries in Oscars (9)


Reese’s Outlook on the Oscars 

Vinyl hijackers known as the Popcorn Snobs are catching up on their theme, ‘The Taking of April A-Z,’ as they run this blog for the next 12 (or so) days.

It’s Reese here and I’m back to discuss the Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. These coveted honors, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, come with prestige but prestige doesn't pay the bills. The golden trophies would look (and probably feel) much better if they were accompanied by some type of useful bonus such as a monetary prize or guaranteed job on an upcoming movie.

Financial rewards obviously may not be a big deal for certain Oscar winners who happen to also be top industry players; able to negotiate million-dollar contracts for their work. Still, cash can come in handy and make a significant difference in the lives of the men and women who win Academy Awards for their contributions to craft departments such as grips, makeup artists, gaffers, sound technicians, musicians, editors and set designers. There are times when even some A-list talent, including two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank, can benefit greatly from monetary prizes.

Swank’s first Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role came from her performance in the romantic drama Boys Don’t Cry (1999). She later found herself in a tough spot when her health insurance card was declined while trying to fill a prescription. The insurance company informed Swank that she didn’t meet a $5,000 minimum in annual earnings to qualify for health coverage.

At a day rate of $75 for her role in Boys Don’t Cry, the actress had made just $3,000 total, from working on this movie. “I had an Academy Award, and no health insurance…the life of an actor,” laughs Hilary Swank in a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace.

This is a prime example of how great the Oscars would be if they came with cash prizes. While this may seem expensive, there are ways the Academy could share the wealth among all the many difference awards given out each year. Film studios could designate a percentage of profits to a general pot that gets divided up among all categories at the Oscars. It would also be neat if philanthropists and estate planners gave funds to be designated as prize money for select Academy Awards. The bottom line is this…. Oscars should pony up the dough! 

Why do YOU agree or disagree with Reese's outlook regarding adding financial bonuses to Oscar winnings? 


Hey Academy, how about an Oscar for 'Earned It' by The Weeknd?

Dear voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

Knowing the 88th annual Academy Awards are a few days away, I'm writing to encourage your recognition of one of the most acclaimed musical compositions on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack -- "Earned It," performed by Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) -- as Best Original Song.

The tune excels at seducing listeners into believing our needs and desires will be met in ways that can only be fully understood through the experience of surrendering to an outside force. It is spellbinding in the same way that Fifty Shades of Grey portrays it's protagonist Anastasia Steele as innocent and unsuspecting prey that gets wrapped up in Christian Grey's web of mind games, control and eroticism. "Earned It" is a force that pulls at us like the ropes that bind actress Dakota Johnson's body in the music video, also helmed by Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Tom Mackay, Executive Vice President of A&R at Republic Records describes working with The Weeknd as an unbelievable experience; in a collaboration with Universal Pictures that resulted in the singer's first Top 5 single of his career, on the Billboard music charts. Written by Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Quenneville and Stephan Moccio, "Earned It" is also the only song that appears in the Fifty Shades of Grey twice. In addition to the singer winning his first Grammy award for this tune, in the category of Best R&B Performance, The Weekend also scored a Best Song Written for Visual Media nomination for "Earned It."

Universial Pictures, music buyers that crowned Fifty Shades of Grey with the highest selling multi-act compilation soundtrack since Get Rich or Die Tryin (2005) and the largest debut for a soundtrack since Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009), and The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognize that this is more than a hot tune.

It just works....on all levels, and for the right reasons. Period.

The track's arrangement, led by Abel Tesfaye's performance, lends itself to the hynotizing nature of the film it was made for and is as magical as any Best Original Song can get.

Wouldn't YOU agree that 'Earned It' by The Weeknd deserves an Oscar?


Dale’s Movie Theater Nightmare and Silly Oscars Stuff

From the British movie rating system to grilling bacon and playing electronic guitars, Dale Smurthwaite at Smurfin’ the Web enjoys life’s simplest pleasures by not wasting time and space.

I welcomed this asset of my Mighty Minion Bureau to let us in on some tidbits that we may not know about him. So today, here he is, giving it to us straight – including ways to shorten the Oscars, an unexpected effect of male menopause and how he rocks out to Symphony X.

Madlab Post: What’s the deal with you and Smurfs?

Dale at Smurfin’ the Web: Haha. Well Basically I've had that (nickname) since I was a kid. My surname is "Smurthwaite" and people always mispronounce it as "Smurfwaite," hence the nickname Smurf. It’s stuck since I was knee high and so it will continue =)

If you were in charge of the Oscars, what would you do to shorten the event and keeping television viewers from turning the channel or falling asleep?

Well, with an average time of 3½ hours, there isn’t much difference between this and the Super Bowl. Viewing figures have been up for the last 4 years. I don’t actually get to watch the awards themselves due to the time differences, but I suppose if I were to try and cut the time, I would miss out some of the silly stuff like selfies and pizza deliveries. How much time did that actually waste? I think an opening number and then just get on with it. The BAFTAS are much shorter, with not too many less categories.

What happened to your CD and DVD collection?

I only have a handful of CDs and DVDs nowadays. I now have everything digital, apart from the few CDs and DVDs that I just could not sell, such as the entire “Farscape” collection on DVD and the “Lord of the Rings” extended DVDs. I had to face the reality that physical copies were just so space consuming and eventually had to go.

What is the worst movie theater experience you ever had?

Probably when I went to see “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” The reels were played out of order. That -- on top of the fact that the film itself was absolute garbage, it wasn't a good day.

Photo by John Lennard aka yakmooseCan you share any tips on how to make the perfect Bacon butty?

Lovely, I do like a good one. Right, grill your bacon until it is just turning crispy; not too crispy though -- I don't want it breaking off in shards. Butter your bread and insert the bacon. Spread some ketchup on there -- a nice even spread, not too much and top off with some thin slices of cheddar cheese and simply enjoy.

How many guitars do you own?

I only own 1 guitar; a lovely Ibanez EDR which is made of Lucite rather than wood. I would guess that this is my favourite one as it’s the only one I own ;-)

What artists/songs are on your playlist right now?

I have an 8GB iPod Nano. I use it for the car only and my current playlist consists of around 400 songs, including everything from Michael Jackson - Bryan Adams, Escala - Symphony X and 80s cheese - Dio. Theres also some Eurovision stuff on there as well. The contest is in 2 months; look out for my blog series.

What are your thoughts about the British movie rating system?

If we are talking about film age certificates -- I think the whole system is wrong, or maybe I just got old and out of touch. I don’t agree that copious amounts of swearing are allowed in PG13 movies. When I was a kid, you had "U", "PG" "15" and "18".

How has fatherhood impacted your life, views and/or experiences?

Fatherhood is the best thing that has happened to me. As someone who never really wanted kids, to now have 2 is great. Yes, there are bad times with naughtiness, etc., but on the whole, my eldest Xander is a great boy with a very vivid imagination and like his parents, a love for movies and not just the kids Disney stuff -- he appreciates great work like “The Lord of the Rings”, “Labyrinth” and “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.”


Personally, I think I cry at more films and television now more than ever now that I have children. Maybe it’s the male menopause, but I watched “Saving Mr. Banks” and was blubbing. Bring on April! 

If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out Dale's cinematic Theme for April and while you're at it, go visit wife Lady Kell who is doing the A-to-Z Challenge with a super specialized theme about one of the best Sci-Fi television shows ever made, at Kincavel Korner!