Posted by Misha Henckel
1. DO be impeccable, appropriate, and delightful. Colin Firth, always understated, accepting for Best Actor, “I have a feeling my career has just peaked.” You just can’t help rooting for him.
2. DON’T get too excited and lose control of yourself. Spontaneity is important but poise is a winner. Melissa Leo forgetting where she is and becoming the first Oscar winner to drop an F-bomb in her acceptance speech.
3. DO be a true gentleman, so secure in yourself, that you can let your lady shine. James Franco standing calm and strong and allowing his “lady” for the evening, Anne Hathaway, to be the queen of the show.
4. DON’T be too obsequious and give your power away. Own your worth. Wally Pfister accepting for Cinematography for “Inception” calls Christopher Nolan his “master.” I know that he was trying to give Nolan some honor, but he takes it much too far.
5. DO be gracious and thank all the right people, especially your mother or your spouse. Everyone did well here, especially Natalie Portman (Best Actress) thanking her parents for showing her how to be a good person every day, and her fiancé for the role of her life – she is expecting, and Tom Hooper (Best Director) who thanked his mother for finding him “The King’s Speech.”
2.13.12 at 11:37 am | She made our souls dance
1.30.12 at 11:28 pm | With excellent and unpredictable choices...
1.22.12 at 4:27 pm | She's teaching us how to fight every single day
1.16.12 at 1:02 pm | No real surprises
11.24.11 at 1:13 pm | This is still the most amazing country in the. . .
11.10.11 at 10:46 am | Sometimes it's not what you do, but what you fail. . .
6.28.11 at 10:39 pm | She's not at all like so many of our political. . . (14)
3.27.11 at 11:45 pm | She was a great role model for us all (12)
4.18.11 at 4:56 pm | And she can thank her lucky stars for that (12)
February 27, 2011 | 9:44 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
1. Hosts: do Anne Hathaway and James Franco take notes from Ricky Gervais (Golden Globes) or are they trying too hard to please?
2. Does the Academy award the brilliant, the gifted, the unique or do they go with the hype? Hype – Black Swan, The Social Network. Great films – The King’s Speech, True Grit.
3. Are the stars speaking from the heart (think Christian Bale) in their acceptance speeches, or are they contrived or too rehearsed?
4. Any major upsets? Think Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) in the Best Actress category; Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) in the Best Actor category; John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) Best Supporting Actor category; Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) Best Supporting Actress Category.
5. Does Helena Bonham Carter clean up for the evening or does she stick to her crazy dressing ways?
February 26, 2011 | 8:58 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
Watching the movie, I kept thinking that the Academy has gotten it horribly wrong. “True Grit” is nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Actor (Jeff Bridges) and Best Supporting Actress (Hailee Steinfeld). But there is nothing “supporting” about Steinfeld’s role or her performance. She delivers a drop-dead brilliant portrayal of 14 year old Mattie Ross, the story’s leading character who masterminds the search and capture of her father’s murderer. A 13 year old Steinfeld commands every screen with her captivating presence and drives every twist and turn throughout the story. She is a natural talent. The real deal. If nominated for Best Actress she would obliterate Natalie Portman’s hold on that particular Oscar. As superlative as Portman is in “Black Swan,” Steinfeld is simply far more authentic. She is just that good. A relative unknown before this film, Steinfeld does not only hold her own among a group of first-class male actors, she dominates. Jeff Bridges, on the other hand, comes across as a bit too self-assured, and self-indulgent, and Matt Damon can barely keep up.
The film is beautifully scripted. The cinematography is delightful and momentous. The editing and directing, impeccable. The Coen brothers have created a first class western. The rhythm and timing of the movie are definitely a throw back and leave the viewer nostalgic for a different era. It is an interesting combination of the beautiful and the gory. All wrapped around the character of a young girl who is so entirely purposeful that she lets nothing at all get in her way. Kudos to the Coens for making a film based entirely on a 14 year old girl.
This is precisely the kind of movie to watch when you need inspiration and motivation to deal with some big obstacle or challenge. Mattie’s fearlessness will seep into your bones and strengthen your resolve.
What can we learn from “True Grit?”
1. What it means to have purpose, and how powerful that can be. Mattie’s focus and lack of fear is far greater than that of the adult men who are also seeking the killer.
2. Age is irrelevant. Who we are is far more significant. Mattie out-negotiates and out-wits everyone who comes up against her, despite her tender years.
3. Films about strong women can be extremely successful.
This movie is unusually delightful… I hope you get to see it, if you haven’t already.
February 24, 2011 | 8:17 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
16 year old son: I don’t think anyone ever knew how down to earth J-Lo is. American Idol is so good for her.
It’s true! Jennifer may be a huge star but her appearance as a judge on American Idol is doing wonders for her image. Not that she has had a negative image. No, in the last few years, with her marriage and the birth of her kids, Ms. Lopez’s act has been squeaky clean. And for years she has been a bankable talent and real Hollywood icon. Even so, Idol is just the best career move ever. And it’s a big win-win. Jennifer brings an open compassionate heart and real “been-there” input and advice for the contestants. Unlike the Simon Cowell – Paula Abdul drama of past seasons, that had become simply inane, Jennifer’s presence is an uplifting force. She knows what the contestants are going through and she really cares. She is confident, secure in herself - an excellent role model for all the young girls watching the show. This season Idol has become the best kind of television.
Last night after she had to give crowd-favorite, Chris Medina, the news that he was going home, Jennifer broke down in tears. Needless to say we were all crying with her.
February 22, 2011 | 12:14 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
I watched mother/daughter pair, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, on the late night showing of Oprah, last night. I’ve known of these two Hollywood icons all my life, like most people who have even the smallest idea of pop culture. Debbie Reynolds first appeared on the big screen in 1952, opposite Gene Kelly in that evergreen classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Carrie Fisher is, of course, Princess Leah of Star Wars. Debbie was married to singer, Eddie Fisher, who left her with two young children – Carrie and younger brother Todd – and ran off with Debbie’s best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. It was the Hollywood scandal of the century. Seems like Debbie must have simply picked up the pieces and got on with her life. After all it’s decades later, and now 78, she travels 42 weeks a year, is still vibrant, still performing, still a Hollywood star. Meanwhile Carrie has starred in numerous blockbuster movies, is a bestselling author and prolific screenwriter, and is currently performing in her one-woman show.
But their journey was not anything like it might seem to the outsider.
Debbie and Carrie reveal to Oprah the almost inconceivable challenges they have had to face, difficulties that would defeat most of us. My life has not been easy, and like most people I have had to deal with situations that I would much rather escape, but I kept thinking, “My life is so easy compared to theirs.”
Here are the key points:
1. Debbie is raised by an abusive mother
2. Debbie is abandoned by Eddie Fisher who leaves her with two very young kids, and takes up with her best friend, Elizabeth Taylor
3. Debbie’s second husband, Henry Carl, once a multi-millionaire, gambles away all of his money and hers, and then disappears leaving her saddled with millions of dollars in debt.
4. Debbie loses everything, her earnings are garnished and for a while she is homeless, living in her car.
5. Carrie becomes addicted to drugs and is later diagnosed as manic depressive
6. Battling her disorder, Carrie is checked into a psych ward and is placed in lock-down for a week
7. In 1997, Debbie is forced to declare bankruptcy because her third husband’s poor investments
8. Carrie refuses to speak with Debbie for more than 10 years
Oy! How could they ever have gotten past any of this? Yet there they are on Oprah, looking just fine, their relationship healed, Carrie’s mental issues under control, and both of them very successful in their careers. How did they do it? It must have taken so much courage, resilience, an unwillingness to be defeated, a great capacity to forgive, and a consistent and persistent will to create a good life, no matter what happened. I honestly wish I could be like that!
Watching Carrie Fisher, I was marveling at how easily she was erasing the stigma against mental illness, and getting viewers to recognize that it just another disease that needs to be treated. And Debbie Reynolds blew me away, particularly when she talked about Elizabeth Taylor and how she was able to transcend the hurt and find understanding for what had happened. Reynolds and Taylor would go on to renew their friendship. Wow! Don’t know if I could do that.
Amazing women! I was inspired. Till next time…
February 20, 2011 | 10:08 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
“The Fighter” is an inspiration for anyone who may be may struggling with the pain and pitfalls of family drama.
With an overbearing, dominating mother as his manager, a crack-addicted, older brother as his trainer, and a gaggle of 20 and 30-something sisters who all seem to be stuck in high school, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) must give up destructive family attachments if he is ever to make anything of his long-stagnant boxing career. His transformation hinges on his relationship with Charlene (Amy Adams), his new girlfriend, who steps into his life and gives him the moral support, and mental clarity to cut through the web of ties that bind him to a family that is doomed to disaster. Only when Micky stands up for himself, fires his mother and brother, and chooses what is in his best interest, does his family begin to respect him.
Why see this film? See it as much for Christian Bale’s (Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actor) remarkable and heroic transformation into crack addict and former boxer, Dick Eklund, and bravura performances from Melissa Leo and Amy Adams (both Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress), as for the brilliantly realistic fight scenes that will captivate and drag you in. Even if, like me, you’re not a fan of boxing.
See it for the powerful message of redemption and ultimately of brotherly love. Dicky eventually does break his crack addiction and awakens to the need to support his brother in his bid for a world championship title.
And look for the scenes with Charlene and Micky that pulse with true connection and loving support. It is delightful to see Amy Adams break type and impeccably deliver the “sexy bitch.”
Family ties can be powerful and tricky. We can defeat ourselves with the need to be loyal to family when the family patterns are destructive, or when the family is held hostage by a powerful figure – in this case, the matriarch, Alice. Alice would often guilt Micky into doing what she wanted, instead of what was in his best interest.
The most powerful way to contribute to your family is to be true to yourself. When Micky stood up for himself and refused to continue to let his mother dominate him, he broke the cycle and propelled his older brother to break his addiction. By respecting himself, he created the opening for others in the family to make some changes and to also begin respecting themselves. And of course, his success became their success.
The film is entirely worthy of its Oscar nominations and for the Best Picture nod. I expect it will do very well on Oscar night.
I have two films to go: “127 Hours” - which I’m rather dreading, and “True Grit.” Till next time...
February 18, 2011 | 12:00 am
Posted by Misha Henckel
But not necessarily in that order…
Sometimes celebrities confuse interviews with therapy sessions. Take Miley Cyrus’ dad: Reeling from the breakup of his marriage and desperate to be heard, Billy Ray throws his precious daughter under the bus. In an interview with GQ magazine, Cyrus complains that Hannah Montana destroyed his family and that Miley was going down the path of other famous, troubled stars. “Whoa, Papa Cyrus! Calm down. I know things feel really bad right now, but there is never a time to rag your kid out in public, ever! Miley needs your support now, more than ever. Doesn’t matter that she’s pushing the boundaries and acting out. That’s what teens are supposed to do, even in good times. You know that! So get in with a good therapist. Tell her your troubles and take care of yourself! Miley will not become another Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain or Anna Nicole Smith if you’re there for her, if you believe in her, no matter what.”
“And Charlie Sheen! You’re such a talented actor. We love you in that top rated Two and Half Men. But rehabilitation from years of the most extreme drug abuse does not happen in a couple of weeks. I know you’re bored and it’s driving you out of your mind, but you really need to consider that for now you’re alive. You still have a chance to come to terms with life. You can find ways to face yourself and deal with whatever is driving you to hurt yourself. There is real help out there. Your girls need you to get a grip while you still can. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them.”
“Bernie Madoff, I don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish with your recent interview, but do you seriously think anyone is going to believe you again, ever!? It would be great if we could implicate those massive financial institutions and maybe reclaim some of those billions. Perhaps some of those people whose lives you destroyed would get some little bit of their investments back. But that’s not your intention is it? You’re just trying to find some way to feel a bit better about yourself. Dude, you’ve lied too much for too long, too much damage done… You need to learn to speak the truth! Next time you get the urge to share your deep, dark thoughts, I’m sure the facility has an excellent therapist on call.”
Speaking of truth, Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars, told hers to Piers Morgan. And what a story it is! The glamorous, talented Burke is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, suffered violence at the hands of a boyfriend and speaks of struggling with finding any sense of self-worth. Her new book, Dancing Lessons, describes her remarkable journey. Also speaking up is Janet Jackson, who describes her own battle with self worth in her new book, True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. Jackson shares her life and struggles, and looks like she’s well on her way to a bestseller. It is beautiful to see people bare their soul for all the right reasons.
And I’ve just got to say something about American Idol. Steven Tyler is fantastic and Randy is still Randy, but Jennifer Lopez is undoubtedly the real star, and probably worth every penny of the millions she’s being paid. I am so surprised to find myself trusting her. She just seems to be the most genuine and kindest of persons. And balanced, grounded, normal, healthy. Remember those days when she played her life out for the paparazzi? Well she’s certainly figured out the right order of things: Your personal pain, your struggles, your freaking out, let’s keep that for the therapist.
February 14, 2011 | 6:10 pm
Posted by Misha Henckel
5. Aretha Franklin responding to the tribute she received from Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Florence Welch and Yolanda Adams. She looked good, like she is not going down but is beating the illness. Go Aretha!
4. The Underdogs Triumph. Esperanza Spalding wins Best New Artist, beating out the Bieber, and Drake. Crossover country group Lady Antebellum takes 5 awards including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. And Arcade Fire wins Album of the Year for the Suburbs, beating out Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Katy Perry. Awesome to see talent trump popularity! Now I hear Bieber fans are hating on Esperanza, but they shouldn’t. She may not be famous yet, but she is a remarkable talent and deserves her award. I’m sure Justin would agree with me.
3. Mick Jagger at 67 owning the stage! He rocked “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,” like he was 20 years old. It was totally awesome. I was dancing round my living room trying to keep up. I couldn’t. I mean we have no excuses, now, none of us!
2. Bob Dylan… Need I say more?
And the number one most inspiring moment for me:
1. Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech for Best Female Pop Vocal, “I wanted to thank Whitney Houston because when I wrote “Born This Way,” I imagined she was singing it – because I wasn’t secure enough in myself to imagine I was a superstar.” Now can you imagine Gaga not being secure in herself, or doubting herself? This is inspiration enough for all of us for the rest of the year. Thank you Gaga!