Amanda Gates
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A Musings

Here we are again! Some things I’ve loved this week.

50/50: Have you seen this movie? It’s (loosely) based on screenwriter Will Reiser’s experience with cancer at a young age. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the lead; Seth Rogen (Reiser’s friend in real life) plays the best buddy. For a cancer movie, this film is excellent. You see the stages of grief, the relationship struggles, the fear, the denial – all from a 20-something perspective. No feel-good anything. No schmaltz. Tons of humor. A fair share of sadness. All the actors were awesome. Anna Kendrick (who plays a therapist) continues to impress me in everything she does. We watched it on Vudu, but perhaps it’s available elsewhere too?

Mad Men: The season has been really good so far, but this last episode was the best yet. Juliette Binoche was a lovely and perfect surprise as Megan’s mom. I loved everything about her. Sometimes I get tired of seeing Don’s kids in the show, but Sally was in top form in this episode. (I think Megan does a very good job as a stepmom.) Roger continues to be one of my favorite characters. And Peggy’s fight with her mom was spot-on. She’s settling, and like her mom, I don’t like it.

Friends Oral History: When you’ve read every single piece written about your favorite show over nearly 20 years, it’s really hard to find anything you haven’t heard before. And that held true with this article. I’d heard these stories all before—Kauffman’s told the story about her rabbi asking about Ross & Rachel so many times—but I didn’t care. I love this show and I’ll read about it until they stop writing about it.

West Wing on Funny or Die: Great week for my old favorite shows! Loved this short West Wing reunion. Man, I miss C.J. and Charlie and the walking and the fast-paced dialogue and the way the President puts on his coat and the swelling music. It was a nice (if brief) return to my favorite White House.

Brandi Carlile’s That Wasn’t Me: I’m not one who’s up on the new music. But, I’ve loved Brandi Carlile since The Story started giving me chills 5 years ago. This is her new single off her upcoming album and I just love it. I love the cracks in her voice, the twang, the loud parts, the soft parts. She’s great.

What are you loving this week?

Posted: Fri, 05/04/2012 - 13:59 | Comments: 2

I’m going to start a new recurring post where I can list some of the things I’m loving right now. I hope to post once a week, but you know how it is.

All Work & No Pay: The Great Speed Up. This is an older article in Mother Jones, but I only discovered it this week. It highlights the frustrations of your average employee in today’s workplace and tries to offer some solutions to the problems. (The fact that we’re one of only like six countries without a mandatory, paid maternity leave will always rile me up.) Talking about multitasking, which apparently no one can actually do well: “We need to believe there's a personal workaround for what we're conditioned to see as a personal shortcoming. When, in fact, the problem is the absurd premise that our economy can produce ever more with ever less.”

Jennifer Weiner’s post on how to be a novelist. While No. 1 & 2 don’t apply, I liked the parts about getting a liberal arts degree (done!), a job in journalism (done!) and having kids (done!). I think it’s always nice when big-time authors remember where they came from (nowhere) and share the secrets with the little guys.

Teachers on Hulu. Did you ever watch the show Teachers on NBC? It had Justin Bartha (I love him in everything) and Sarah Shahi. It was short-lived, but cute. Well, it was based on a British comedy (of course it was!) starring Andrew Lincoln, who I love from Love Actually and Walking Dead. The British version is on Hulu right now. I’ve watched a few episodes and it’s pretty hilarious and highly inappropriate.

Sidenote: Speaking of Sarah Shahi, I just finished re-watching Life (on Hulu & Netflix streaming right now), starring Shahi and Damien Lewis (love him in everything too). That show was excellent and NBC cancelled it too soon. Story of my life.

Chicken Apple Sausage Daybreaker at Caribou. I’m addicted to this sandwich and it takes all my strength not to buy it every damn day (because, um, it's not that good for you). The croissant roll is buttery and the sausage is the perfect amount of sweet. It’s just delicious. Beats an Egg McMuffin and any breakfast sandwich from Starbucks by a landslide.

Tilt World. I just discovered this cute little game for the iPhone. It’s ridiculously simple, and even a little slow-moving at first, but it’s also cute and addicting. It’s 99 cents, but when I found it they were offering it for free – so keep an eye out!

What are you loving this week?

Posted: Fri, 04/27/2012 - 14:15 | Comments: 1

See Part I here.

Winners on Cable

Southland: Another excellent season. Lucy Liu was a great addition for this season’s run. Ben had some major issues, but hopefully he can turn them around. When my husband, who’s a cop, can say it’s a pretty true account of the job (as opposed to Blue Bloods, Law & Order et al), that means something. I hope it gets on Netflix soon so everyone can get onboard.

Walking Dead: When I was writing about TV last fall, I never expected to watch this show. But my husband convinced me (it was a days-long discussion) and so, because I love him, I did. After digesting the first season on Netflix in one weekend (I do not recommend this), I’ve discovered I can handle the zombie apocalypse better on a one-episode-per-week basis, and even then it still gives me nightmares sometimes. (My irrational train of thought: "How would I take care of a two-year-old while running from zombies?!" It’s too much.) The dialogue can be way cheesy, the editing can be poor, there are certain characters who need to die or reinvent (Lori) and the storyline for the first half of the season was way too slow, but it got much better and ended with a bang. It's like a trashy romance or young adult series. You're like, "OK, why am I watching this? Ohhh yeah, because it's pretty awesome."

Mad Men: I was excited that right after Walking Dead ended, I was able to start watching Mad Men. I had caught up in the fall, so it was fun to join the rest of the world and watch it in present day. I’m really enjoying the season so far. It’s a slow-burning show, but that’s OK in this case. Still love Joan, still hate Pete, still think Don is destined to become Roger if he isn’t careful. Good stuff.

On the Fence

Community: The show keeps getting weirder and weirder, and this season hasn’t even been about school. They’re a study group for a class they never go to. It happens with lots of shows (see Friends/ Joey, The Big Bang/Sheldon), but here again the characters are becoming caricatures of their former selves from season one: Troy is dumber, Abed is weirder, Jeff is more of a douche, Shirley is more annoying, if that’s possible—it’s getting old. The part that make me laugh are so few lately and it's really too bad. I was a champion for this show when it first started.

The Office: Wow, this season went downhill for me. And I’m bummed. But, I think they should’ve just ended it last year with Steve Carell leaving. There are still some funny moments, but they’re few and far between. They're recycling old story lines (Oh, Andy has rage? I didn't know that! Oh, Ryan wants Kelly when he can't have her? That's new!). I don’t even really like Pam’s character anymore and that makes me sad. And with Dwight’s new spin-off (which, what? How will that even be good?), another reboot of The Office just doesn’t seem worth it.

Stopped Watching

Suburgatory: I actually enjoyed this show. I think the main characters are fun and many of the storylines were funny, but it kept stacking up on the DVR without us really wanting to put in the time. So, we canned it.

30 Rock: Here’s another show that just kept getting weirder on us. And while it was still pretty funny, like Suburgatory it kept stacking up on the DVR because we never felt in the mood to watch such a weirdo show. In the end, I only really liked Liz and Jack, but even Alec Baldwin was starting to get on my nerves.

Two Broke Girls: We gave this a couple of tries because we really watch nothing else on Monday nights but HIMYM. But the laugh track, the stupid dirty jokes and the blonde girl’s annoying voice made me turn the channel for good.

Maybe Next Year

Happy Endings:
We did catch several episodes of Happy Endings, just by watching it after Modern Family and it was pretty hilarious. I could see myself making this a regular watch next fall.

Posted: Mon, 04/23/2012 - 13:48 | Comments: 4

Last summer I made some predictions about the new fall shows. I think I was 3 for 5, with The Playboy Club, Charlie’s Angels and Pan Am all getting the boot. Once Upon a Time and Last Man Standing stuck around. And I can’t believe Whitney did too.

Then last fall I wrote my two-part thoughts on both the new and old shows I watched during premiere week. As the shows wind down (or since some already have), here are some season-ending thoughts.


HIMYM: This show has remained awesome this season. The finding-the-mother storyline has never bothered me; I just enjoy the show one episode at a time. I love how these characters continue to change, yet I still love them all. That doesn’t always happen with a show (i.e. The Office). And this week’s episode threw us a bone! As long as it’s not some trick, we know the mother will be found sometime before 2015. I can deal with that.

New Girl: Best new show of the year, by far. I thought it was funny at the beginning, but it only got funnier. It’s an ensemble show now (Nick is my favorite) and the subtle jokes and quirky personalities just make the show. The last couple episodes have been so funny, they’re knocking some of my all-time favorite Office and Friends eps off the list.

Raising Hope: We still love this show, too. It’s not quite as off-the-wall as My Name is Earl, but the recurring characters and references to the former show are fun to pick up on. While they’re quite kooky, they still have Hope’s best interest at heart. Martha Plimpton is excellent, and after seeing him in both Life and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (as a dramatic actor), I think Garret Dillahunt is most definitely underrated.

Parenthood: I love the Bravermans. They make me cry every week. I know there’s rumors the show might not come back next year, but I refuse to believe such nonsense. The fact that I can see Peter Kruase and Lauren Graham on TV (on the same show!) just makes me happy. (Even if Graham is getting way too skinny.)

The Middle: This show is still great for all the reasons I said so last fall: It feels more real than say Modern Family, because it’s about a middle-class family in suburban nowhere just trying to make ends meet. The kids aren’t gorgeous, the parents work three jobs between them, their house is a mess… That’s life. And they get by.

Modern Family: We’re still loving this show, too. Though, Julie Bowen’s thinness is worrisome and I wish Sophia Vergara's character didn’t have to wear belly shirts all the time. It doesn't feel nearly as real as The Middle, but the writing is still pretty darn funny.

Parks & Rec: I have to say that even though I was sad when they pulled Community for several months, I kind of forgot about it because this show is just so good. I prefer this and Up All Night on Thursday nights, hands down. I love nearly every character on P&R, and the campaign for city council has been pretty hilarious. Walking across the ice to “Get On Your Feet”? I died.

Up All Night: After the first two episodes last fall, I was a fan of Chris and Reagan, but not of Ava. Well, I’ve changed my tune. Maya Rudolph’s Ava has really grown on me and I love the whole cast. This show is hilarious, it has heart, it feels true to life (relationships-wise, not income-wise) and Applegate and Arnett have really good chemistry.

The Big Bang Theory: My husband loves this show and it still makes me laugh a lot. Though I’m worried the gross-out, homophobic, sex humor is leaning more and more toward Two and a Half Men, and well, there was a reason I stopped watching that show. But, those are only bits so far and entire episodes don’t feel out of control yet, so I’m still watching and laughing; but it’s always better when Penny, Amy and Bernadette are around.

Bones: I was one who was very pleased with the way Bones ended last season, and watching Brennan and Booth through pregnancy and a relationship, all the while still solving the crimes—it’s been a great season. I would like to see a little more PDA between the two, though. They’re supposed to love each other, yet they stay very hands off, even in the home.

Since this is already getting too wordy, I'll post my Winners on Cable, plus the shows I'm On the Fence about and the Losers next week.

What shows fall on your winners list?

Posted: Fri, 04/13/2012 - 19:16 | Comments: 5

Last week I caught up on some of my book reviews. Here are four more I've read in the last several months.

The Zygote Chronicles: This was cute. It’s been hailed “best” by some and I know friends who loved it. I liked it, but love is a strong word. She’s hilarious at points and definitely spoke some usually unwritten truths about pregnancy that had me nodding my head. It also makes me wish I did even more writing about my pregnancy, talking to the baby like she does. In the end, 'cute' and 'good' would be my words. A quick, fun read for any mother or mother-to-be.

The Imperfectionists: I liked this book because it focused on so many of the different roles at a dying newspaper. I work in media and these issues are at the forefront of our industry. Reading about the stringer, the editors, the publishers and all the headaches they experience was very interesting and hit home quite a bit, even if this paper is housed abroad. However, some of the chapters – which each follow a different person at this paper – were a bit boring. I only felt a real connection to two or three and the rest I couldn’t care less about. I think this might be my problem with books of this structure (see Goon Squad). I need more for me to care. I love short stories, but writers of good short stories (Jhumpa Lahari) flesh out their characters and make them go places in a short amount of time. These chapters didn’t quite do that for me.

The Heretic’s Daughter: This was a book club pick. It’s about a family living during the Salem Witch Trials. That part of the story was quite interesting, especially when it threw out names from The Crucible, like John Proctor. The things we did to people, all based on the lies of stupid teenage girls! It was so frustrating to read about. And the conditions these people were detained in until their hanging was horrifying. However, the story moved slowly, and was a lot of “we’re starving, it’s cold, the plague, people are dying…etc., etc.” So, it was just OK for me.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: This was another book that got raves everywhere. It’s about an older gentleman who is a widow who finds a new love in the shop owner in his town. Because my dad is a widow, too, it brought me some sadness to read about. Also, I wasn’t too into reading about elderly romance. The Major was a touch annoying to me, as were several other characters in the book. But, I loved his new friend, Mrs. Ali, and all she stood for. I kind of wish she was the main character instead.

Thoughts? Have you read any of these?

Posted: Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:17 | Comments: 1

I went and saw the Hunger Games on Friday. Pre-kid, I used to see movies on their opening weekends all the time. Now I’m lucky if I see two or three movies a year. So, it was a treat to take a day off from work and see it on opening day. I planned to go all by myself, but after a work thing fell through, my husband was happy to join me. He’s seen all the Harry Potter movies with me (but hasn’t read the books). And while I would never subject him to awful-deliciousness that is Twilight, I did think he’d like the Hunger Games. He’s a huge Running Man-Terminator-movie-type-of fan, so while for the younger set, this movies was up his alley.

And we liked it a lot. I always go into movies based on books without too high of expectations because you can’t possibly fit it all in a two-hour-twenty-minute movie. And that’s the truth in this case. While completely entertaining and fun, I wished a few of the characters (Haymitch, Cinna) were more fleshed out, like in the book. I found myself watching through the eyes of someone who hadn’t read the book and thinking, “He might not understand why Haymitch acts that way; they should expand that a bit” or “Does the movie really portray how much Katniss loves Cinna? And why?” (Kravitz’s part was too small for my liking). In the car on the way home, I ended up (over)explaining some things then, like “You realize, Haymitch had to mentor kids for years just to watch them die? That’s why he’s drunk and prickly.” The movie doesn’t go into Haymitch’s situation, but then the books are running together for me, so maybe that actually comes in the next one anyway?

Besides some of the parts where I felt the movie missed some character development—but again, I already knew this stuff—I really enjoyed it. The first half dragged just a bit, but then it did in the book too. I wish the actual Games part was a bit longer and more gritty. My husband thought the same thing. He thought they could’ve amped that part up just a bit. Though the first scene after they jump off their pedestals was pretty intense. And even though I knew what was coming—Rue will die here, those crazy dogs are coming—I still jumped at those moments.

I also really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes scenes with Seneka Crane and his helpers managing the game. (Help me out: does the book go into that as well as the movie, or not at all?) I never pictured what that room would look like, so seeing the technology, the maps and the thought-process of Crane was super cool. I actually liked him and President Snow better in the movie than in the book, maybe because I got more of a connection. (Obviously, “like” isn’t the right word, but you know what I mean.)

My husband thought it could’ve been even stronger in the propaganda department and he thought the studio should’ve created a more male-friendly trailer; guys will like this movie, but might not know it from the trailers that are out there.

Enough has been written about Peeta in the movie, and it’s true, he’s lost the depth of Peeta in the book. And Gale gets no love, but hopefully that amps up in the next two movies. But in the end, it’s Katniss’ journey and this was a great start.

For more: My thoughts on Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay. While the story went downhill for me, I still plan to see all the movies.


Posted: Tue, 03/27/2012 - 18:11 | Comments: 2

I’ve been lacking in the book blogging a bit. I’ve read several books that I haven’t mentioned here yet. Maybe because some weren’t too fantastic, or because I review them on Goodreads and then feel that’s enough. Either way, I want them on the record here, too. So, in the next two posts, I’ll quickly highlight some of my latest reads.

Blue Nights: This one didn’t grab and hold on to me like The Year of Magical Thinking did (and still does). I don’t know, maybe it was the timing. Maybe Magical Thinking felt more about the journey of loss than this one? And that’s what I needed at the time? All the reviews say Blue Nights is about Didion discovering her own mortality. She’s getting older, she’s forgetting and feeling scared, she’s feeling alone, she realizes the end is coming. However, the true message I left with was something different. [Perhaps a spoiler.] While she’s studying her own mortality, she’s realizing that all these bits of knowledge and all these stories she holds about her late daughter Quintana, well, she’s the only one who has them. They will die with her and she doesn’t want that. Because if Quintana is already gone, then her mother is the only one to pass on her legacy, to pass on her unique stories. And once she dies, no one will know. I hope that she feels more at peace now that she’s shared Quintana with the rest of us.

Sisterhood Everlasting: I started the Traveling Pants series on a whim. I believe I picked up the mass-market paperback from Target before a trip. And I fell in love with these girls. The books are simple and somewhat silly, but as a girl who really appreciates her best friendships, I could relate to the four of them. Their differences, their relationships with each other singularly and as a whole group, their journeys.

[Spoiler.] I don’t know if it’s a spoiler, because I found out before I read the book pretty easily, but in Everlasting, four friends become three. And this is the only book in the series where all of the friends’ stories happen away from each other. They barely even talk to each other for most of the book. It’s them grieving for their fourth friend on their own. They each have their own ways to grieve, and they each hold true to their personalities while doing it. But, I have to say, sometimes I just wanted to shake them and say, “Call your friends! You need each other right now!”

The book wrapped up in kind of a (unrealistic) pretty bow, but I was OK with it. Because I love these girls and I just want to leave them knowing they’re happy together somewhere.

Bird by Bird: I will never take a writing class from Anne Lamott (that would be amazing!), but this book felt like I was. She’s humorous and wry and she gives great tips about being a real-life writer. I love that she ignores her students when all they want to learn about is how to get published, because that’s Not What It’s About. I also love that she’s so honest with how hard writing is, but how wonderful too. I love the peek into her childhood and grown-up life we get as she teaches us. This is a fairly quick read. I only wish I read it when I was in the throws of writing more for myself. I would’ve absorbed and taken in so much more then. I’ll have to read it again.

Did you read any of these? Thoughts?

I'll post about four more books next week.

Posted: Thu, 03/22/2012 - 16:35 | Comments: 1

My mom passed away last April 21, after a nearly six-year battle with Multiple Myeloma and kidney failure. She endured dialysis, chemo, a stem cell transplant, weight loss, hair loss and a heart attack in those six years, and those were just the physical strains. Watching her go through all of that was it’s own special pain. Watching her choose to let go, another. The fight within myself of wanting her to be at peace and not wanting to let her go was nearly unmanageable.

Nothing, not one single thing, prepared me for this loss. A year earlier, I thought birthing a baby and taking care of a newborn was the hardest thing in the world. In retrospect, for me, that was easy as pie compared to losing my mom. Grieving for her, and managing that grief, has been a continuous dance for the last 11 months. It ebbs and flows; there are good days and bad days. But have I ever felt mentally unwell? No.

Which is why I found the idea that prolonged grief could be categorized as a mental illness a bit worrisome. I firmly believe in mental health and the need to take care of one’s mind just as much as one’s body. And I have no doubt that for some, the loss of a parent or a child or anyone important could bridge to depression. But as Leeat Granek & Meghan O’Rourke* put it in a recent Slate article, grief happens to everyone.

“Unlike most disorders in the [Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders], it is a condition we will all experience. It is not a disease and it has no place in a book dedicated to listing mental disorders. In a culture that has largely turned grief into a private experience rather than a communal one, the decision to include grief in the DSM risks doing more harm than good, making it easier than ever to view those who are simply experiencing a painful rite of passage as abnormal.”

Because, honestly, I feel/felt completely alone in my grief, especially in those first few months. Even if you’ve lost a mother, too, your experience is different than mine. Even my own brother’s experience is different than mine. So, to feel alone in grief, and then God forbid that grief goes on “too long” according to medical standards, I would’ve felt even worse to be labeled mentally ill. I would’ve felt like even more of an outcast.

I already cried in my cube at work on a daily basis (I still sometimes do, if something I read or hear reminds me of her) and worried people would see me and think, “Oh, she’s not over it yet.” I hated how simple conversations could bring tears to my eyes and a hushed tone to the room. Leeat & O’Rourke nailed that, too:

“The problem with [the potential designation] is that more people’s grief will be diagnosed as abnormal or extreme, in a culture that already leads mourners to feel they need to just “get over it” and “heal.””

I worried I was being too sensitive when comments like, “How was your Mother’s Day?” made me want to curl up in a ball. I hated that some people completely ignored what happened to me, never asking me how I was doing; but then also, there were certain people I didn’t want to talk to about it anyway. So, maybe that was for the best? I was insulted (and then felt bad about it), when people mentioned grief counseling to me, some three weeks after her passing. Are you kidding? Give me some time to work through this on my own first; I don’t think I’m handling this any different than anyone else would, I thought. While I think therapy and counseling can help in many situations, I didn’t think in this case I was in any way out of the ordinary with my grieving. (However, if I saw no progress in my grieving, or inability in life, that's another story. Case by case.) Again, Slate article to the rescue:

“To date, the research has consistently shown that grief counseling and medications do not alleviate grief; they seem most helpful in the cases of people who had pre-existing mental health issues.”

The best advice I latched on to came from a variety of sources; so many people said this next idea in one way or another. Grief never goes away. You just learn to fit it into your life and live with it. It changes you and becomes a part of you. While I no longer cry every single day (I would say I had three to four months of that), I still think of her every single day—sometimes with tears, sometimes with a smile. I’ve discovered, too, that more tears come lately as the one-year anniversary creeps up on me. I get sad that she’s missed her grandson learning his ABCs and all his future milestones. I get sad that she doesn’t call me at work anymore. I get sad that I can’t share great books with her, like The Forgotten Garden. She would’ve loved that book.

I will always be sad; I will always miss her. But that’s just one part of me. That doesn’t define me. Because I’m happy, too.

* Meghan O’Rourke has written extensively on grief and the loss of her mother. While they hit very close to home and were hard to read, her essays definitely hit on feelings I was experiencing last spring.

Posted: Tue, 03/13/2012 - 18:20 | Comments: 9

Ever since we got an iPad in the household, we've been perusing YouTube for short videos to watch before bedtime. Our 2-year-old loves watching "vee-dos" and I thought I'd share some of his favorites. His tastes ebb and flow, somedays he wants nothing to do with Elmo and other days Elmo's all he wants. But here are several of his favorites of the last couple months.

Caspar Babypants

We bought one of this band's CDs for Christmas (he's the former lead singer of The Presidents of the United States). I love the songs, so I started looking up videos and they sure have some cute ones, and very creative executions.

Mister Rabbit

Baby's Getting Up

Light it Up (my personal favorite)

Sesame Street

There's obviously 1 million Sesame Street videos, but we like ones with numbers and letters and Elmo and Ernie, particularly.

20 & Y - these are the cleverest, quickest little spots, we wish there were more.

Sing After Me

9 Pigeons

12 - I remember these little ladybugs from when I was watching Sesame Street

Adam Sandler sings About Elmo

Choo Choo Soul

He's always loved these shorts on the Disney Channel.

Animals on the Farm


Bullet Train

Blue Zoo Train (my favorite)

Random shorts

Twinkle Twinkle - seriously the cutest thing

Old MacDonald

ABC Song

How about you? Does your family have favorite videos?

Posted: Fri, 03/09/2012 - 01:31 | Comments: 4

I used to get so excited for the Oscars. I just loved all award shows. But, I don’t know, I got older and celebrities patting themselves on the back during a super long ceremony lost its appeal. Plus, as a parent, now I don’t have time to see all the movies. But, I still tune in for a bit – though I don’t miss my bedtime anymore – and I like to hear who wins.

While the Oscars can be pretty predictable, especially if you read as many entertainment blogs and magazines as I do, I always hope for a little something different to happen. Here are my predictions of the winners…ahem…recipients. I’m also including a Dark Horse, just in case the voters took time to think outside the box a bit.


Will win: The Artist. While it seems silly for a primarily silent film to win in this day and age, you can’t deny the hype. Plus it won the Golden Globe for Comedy/Musical.

Dark horse: But, The Descendants won the Golden Globe for Drama, so.


Will win: Alexander Payne or Michel Hazanavicius. Whatever film above wins the Oscar, I say the other’s director goes home with this prize.

Dark horse: Martin Scorsese. Hugo’s been getting a lot of praise, so if I could have two Dark horses for Best Picture, I’d pick Hugo, thus making Scorsese a possible winner here.


Will win: George Clooney. I thought he did a great job in The Descendants.

Dark horse: Jean Dujardin. Again, the hype, and American voters don’t shy away from giving Oscars to nominees from other countries.


Will win: Viola Davis. I’m totally fine with this; she was amazing in The Help.

Dark horse: Glenn Close. She’s never won, which seems absurd, like it’s time for a “body of work” honor this year. Plus, she plays a man in Albert Nobbs and voters like that sort of thing.

* But this happens nearly every year. The ladies are just too good and it’s impossible to root against any of them.


Will win: Christopher Plummer, if only because he’s awesome (see also “body of work” honor mentioned above).

Dark horse: Plummer will win, so I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say Jonah Hill. They don’t call it “dark horse” for nothing. Plus, if Moneyball is going to get any love, maybe it’s here?


Will win: Octavia Spencer. If anyone was better than Viola Davis in The Help, it was Spencer.

Dark horse: Melissa McCarthy. While I don’t think her acting in Bridesmaids was quite worth the astounding praise it received, I would be lying if I didn’t say it would kick ass if she won for being the fat girl in a gross-out comedy written by women.


Will win: Wow, the pickings are slim, so Rango, if only because it’s the strongest of the American offerings.

Dark horse: Chico & Rita

MUSIC (Original Score)

Will win: Ludovic Bource for The Artist.

Dark horse: Because John Williams is nominated twice and probably cancels himself out, I’ll say Howard Shore for Hugo.


Will win: The Descendants, especially if it doesn’t win Best Picture.

Dark horse: Because they won’t give Clooney two Oscars in one year, I won’t say The Ides of March, but instead Hugo for its praise as of late.


Will win: The Artist. How a movie can win for Best Picture but not for writing doesn’t make sense, so that’s why I predict The Artist.

Dark horse: But I hope its Bridesmaids, just for the Girl Power and hearing Kristen Wiig’s acceptance speech.

Here's hoping I'm wrong about a lot of these and the Oscars shake things up! What are your predictions?

Posted: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 20:03 | Comments: 4