It’s Movie Christmas!

Anyone who has read here for a while knows that when it comes to awards shows… I KEEP UP.

This morning, Oscar noms came out, and frankly, I’m pretty irritated by the machine of the Academy. Here are some initial thoughts and my picks.

(Disclaimer: I have not seen The Imitation Game, American Sniper, Foxcatcher, Two Days One Night, or Nightcrawler)

BEST PICTURE
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
Birdman
The Theory of Everything
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash
Selma
American Sniper

For my money, Boyhood is easily the best film of the year, and possibly the best film of the last five years. It is simply groundbreaking, subtle, intensely powerful work, and an exploration of the amazing power film has at its disposal. I’m okay with this list, although I think that Gone Girl should be on it.

BEST ACTRESS
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Okay, this was a shitty year for actresses. Objectively. Of these, only Moore and Witherspoon were truly leading actresses (in other words, not shared focus with a man). I have no idea what Marion Cotillard is even doing there. I didn’t see Still Alice, but my vote goes to Julianne Moore because I like her a lot. I’m glad Pike got the nom, and Jones did deserve a nom, but really. Just the worst year. My god.

Julianne Moore in Still Alice

BEST ACTOR
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
WTF no Oyelowo? I saw Selma last night and he KILLED. I can’t imagine being a not-particularly-well-known British actor and have the balls to play an American hero. And he just kills it. He was King. Also, this is like the whitest boys band of nominations I’ve ever seen. Seriously! Redmayne was great, and the nom and his GG win was well-deserved. And Michael Keaton WILL and SHOULD win. But Oyelowo, Oyelowo, Oyelowo.

David Oyelowo in Selma

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Edward Norton, Birdman
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Robert Duvall, The Judge
I haven’t seen Foxcatcher or The Judge, so I can’t really say here. I WILL say that it’s a stacked category (funny– no female category is stacked) and of the three performances I have seen, all are deserving. My vote goes with Simmons, because it’s such a major role. However, both Norton and Hawke gave career performances.

JK Simmons in Whiplash

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild
Okay, color me CONFUSED. Where is Carrie Coon from Gone Girl? Where is Emily Blunt (who was better than Meryl) in Into the Woods? And suddenly I realize that there were NO GOOD SUPPORTING WOMEN except for Patricia Arquette. I did not think Stone was awards-worthy, Meryl is just doing goddamn Meryl (which is amazing, but I think we can take a breather maybe), and I didn’t see either Dern or Knightley so what can I say. Ladies, this can’t happen again. This industry can’t keep doing this. GSDLGAFSKJLAS

Carrie Coon in Gone Girl

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Yay to the top three (and tough choice between Boyhood and Birdman— though it should be Boyhood simply because of how ballsy Linklater was). But WHERE is Ava DuVernay for Selma? Seriously? How does a movie nominated for Best Picture NOT have noms for Best Actor or Best Director? HOW? Also, nominating DuVernay would be groundbreaking– the first woman of color to even get a nomination for director. Nope, this year is all about the white men. Also I think Gone Girl is some of Fincher’s best work but apparently no one listens to me.

David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay on the set of Selma

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
Anthony McCarten, The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Jason Hall, American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
I have only one basket in this cart and SHE’S NOT EVEN NOMINATED. I walked out of Gone Girl and was like, “wow, I have never seen a better book to film adaptation than this.” It was fucking brilliant. Adaptations are kind of a precious point for me– I have a lot of opinions about them– and this one was brilliant. Utterly genius. But no, it’s more important to add more white men writing about white men. Did you notice all the writers are white men and all the movies are about white men? Yeah.

L to R: Kim Dickens (Det. Boney), Rosamund Pike (Amy), Gillian Flynn, and Carrie Coon (Go)

Here are some final thoughts:

  • How did The Lego Movie not get a nomination?
  • Why does the Academy hate Gone Girl so much?
  • I’m about to get political, but I kind of can’t bear to see all the accolades for a movie (American Sniper) whose hero is a guy who took enormous pleasure (yes, pleasure) in killing people. I’m sure the movie is fine, but it makes me feel icky. When you put it side to side with something like Selma, I think we should feel icky about which got more noms.

Who are our American heroes?

A Few Things (including pasta)

A few thoughts this late night in Washington Heights, in a queen bed, alone, while my cat drinks cold water from the glass by my bed.

1. This happened: http://goo.gl/HP0u35

2. Had tech tonight for the next show I’m doing (which doesn’t open till the 16th, but, hey, festivals.) It went fairly smoothly as far as tech goes, but because it’s a festival, we get only FOUR hours (3-7pm) to tech our 90 minute show, including staging the fifteen minute load in and fifteen minute load out. That is the ONLY time we have in the space till we open. Just to compare, most techs for full-lengths involve two 10/12 hour days, plus a dress onstage, before previews or performances begin. I cannot yet tell if this show will be any good. Frankly, I don’t care. I just want to open, and do the show (which is fun, since, ya know, acting is fun), and stop having 5 hour nightly rehearsals. Because that shit is EXHAUSTING. The disorganization is rampant and I’m over it. I’ve officially become the bitch of the cast because I JUST CAN’T WITH INEFFICIENCY. So.

3. Read WINTERGIRLS for the first time. It finally was available for download on my iPad, so I just did the damn thing. I read about it a lot when I first started reading ED blogs, but just never got around to it. (I tend to prefer memoir to fiction, anyway, and most of what I read didn’t necessarily hit that close to home as far as my ED goes). It’s a well-written book, if overwrought. SPEAK was definitely stronger, but who am I to judge. What probably hit me the most about it was the memory of feeling hungry. I obvioously still feel hungry now, but the pervasive hunger of not eating enough on a regular basis… that feels different. And it’s been a long while, and was only a brief portion of my disorder, but… Here’s what I found.

Starving made (and makes) me angry. Being hungry sharpens things, sure, and I’m more productive, but I’m also touchy. I’m isolated. Everybody and everything annoys me. It’s manic, but it’s also pissy. I’m never more outwardly angry than when I’m hungry.

Binging makes me sad. I turn inward here, too, but for different reasons. I want to be invisible. People don’t piss me off– I just feel as though I don’t deserve to be near anyone, like I’m worthless and I want to be alone. It’s almost more painful because of the shame. Not eating isn’t shameful. I don’t care what anyone says. For women, and anyone who has ever experienced an ED, eating is shameful. Not eating means self-control. This is not the objective truth, but it is the truth we live every day in this society. I would get more auditions if I was starving than if I was binging. If I’m sick from not eating, that’s almost understandable. If I’m sick because I tear into myself with food, punish every body part, my stomach and my brain in particular, I lack self-control.

That was another aspect that I appreciated about the book. Binging is no good either.

4. Was down on Suffolk St. at the theatre, and realized I was very close to where J and R just moved in on Orchard. I texted them and asked what they were up to for the evening. They told me they were free, and that I should come over after tech. I did. We chatted a bit, then went out, split a bottle of wine, ate STUPID good and STUPID expensive food because we can, and then saw FRUITVALE STATION. Also stupid good. And stupid sad. It was genuine and fun and I felt like I had friends and it just all in all was a really, really, really excellent night.

5. I ate pasta for dinner.

Now, I haven’t restricted, really, in years. Certainly not to the point where I’m actively refusing things and avoiding eating when I’m hungry etc etc. But there’s still this part of me that knows what’s “good” to eat and what’s “bad.” Which certainly doesn’t stop me from having French Fries and dessert whenever I feel like it (which I do, and only slightly feel guilty about). But pasta. I haven’t ordered pasta in… I don’t even know. A long ass time. Even when I’m home and mom makes pasta, I tend to take a small serving and have a lot of salad or protein. What is my beef with pasta if I can eat ANYTHING else I want?!

But I had it. It was SO good. Black pasta with grilled calamari, garlic breadcrumbs, and some sort of buttery garlic sauce. This was following a yummy grilled shimp and quinoa appetizer we split, and along with a couple of glasses of merlot. This is the life, y’all. And I feel A-OK about it. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t need to. This, my friends, is rare. I’m a finisher now. If it’s there, I feel obligated to finish it. That’s, kinda, how the behavior started.

6. So anyway, I should head to bed since I should do laundry tomorrow. 😦

Love to everyone.

Love to my boy who is asleep in a bunk on a base in Vermont.

Love to my ice-water-loving cat.

Whoo-pee!

Yesterday, after therapy, I went to audition for a Syfy show. It went well, even though I forgot my headshots because I’m the worst. It involved the casting director telling me, “Okay, you’re on the swim team, it’s five am, you’re going to walk, then you get a feeling like there’s something wrong. When I snap, you see something in the bushes over there. When I snap again, you see the ghost. If you feel it, give me a horror-movie scream?” In other words… this is my life.

Then last night, after work, as I was lingering over the free wine at my alma mater’s design show, I got a phone call. “Hey, this is the CD for Black Dog, Red Dog– you submitted a while ago? Look, we had someone pull out last minute, and if you’re available we’d love to have you come and do a scene for the film. It’s with Whoopi Goldberg.” I knew it was going to be an extra/non-paid situation, but all you have to say is “Whoopi” and I hear “EGOT” and I’m in.

So this morning I woke up at 4:45am, powdered my scalp so I wouldn’t look quite so greasy, and hopped on the train to Bushwick. I have very little experience on camera (one TV thing, an industrial, and a number of filmed auditions, but that’s it), so I was understandably nervous.

I arrived at holding at 6am, and my point-person on set, Iris, encouraged me to get some breakfast at craft. The veggie breakfast burrito was exactly what I was craving and didn’t even know it. I also had a styrofoam of coffee. Around 6:30, the hair person, Sarah, walked into the main room of holding, caught my eye, and said, “Hey, are you background?” I answered yes and she ushered me into HMU (hair makeup u…niverse?). “So it’s 1982, huh?” I responded, “Uhh… I guess so!”

I chatted with Sarah as she brushed, curled, and feathered my hair until I looked like Farrah Fawcett. I felt really fucking cool in my professional hair chair. Once I was finished, I was passed off to Steve in makeup. He gave me dark shadow and liner, another layer of liquid foundation, some mascara, and purple gloss. I took a glance in the mirror… I looked pretty cool. I moved next to wardrobe. They handed me a pink polo, which I pulled on over my huge hair. “I really wanted someone in a popped collar,” the wardrobe girl told me. “I can do that for you,” I responded. Next I pulled on a tight, 3/4 sleeve blue sweater. Then, a jean skirt– like… a JEAN. SKIRT. I was a bit nervous about getting it on– they didn’t have my measurements and the skirt looked smallish. Once it was over my butt, though, I was able to zip and button it, and assured the wardrobe girls I could breathe and as long as it looked fine, I was fine. Final touches were pantyhose and nude loafers. “You are my dream extra right now,” they told me.

Afterwards, I meandered back to my stuff in the main holding room, feeling pretty awesome. The light was bad where I was sitting, and I was feeling pretty confident, so I took my book and my phone and took a seat in the couch area, which was well-lighted. I half-read, half-watched as Whoopi sat down across from me with her iPad, going over lines, chatting with the director, then joined by Logan Marshall-Green and Tom Levinson (who are stupidly good-looking, it’s really unreasonable for humans to look like that and congregate together). I was the only non-“talent” person in the little couch area, and I have to tell you… I almost felt like “talent.”

Around 8? I think, Iris gathered myself, Jo Lynn, and Ken, the other extras, and scurried us out the door. Like what I know of film and theatre, it was a whole lot of wait… hurry up!… and wait. We were pointed towards a car, helmed by a PA who drove us to location, a few blocks away from holding. Another PA met us and led us into the bar where we were filming. Inside were hordes of people, some holding really fancy Stead-i-Cams (the nice kind that can actually be handled by one person), booms and reflective lights, labeled water for “talent” and for us, and gear that I didn’t even know what it might be used for.

We met the 1st AD, Jen, who gave us the run-down of the scene and what we’d be doing (“Here are your drinks, some purses… why don’t you sit here– oh no, that’s not in the shot. Scoot down a bit? And Ken, you’ll start at 1 and then when Whoopi walks in you’ll move to 2 and just chat up the girls, order a drink. Girls, you just talk silently together, you just got off work, you know.”) They gave us sides to look over, plus an herbal cigarette to burn in an ashtry, and before I knew it, Whoopi, Logan, and Tom (who was the bartender) were in place and we did a first take.

I was a bit shy, especially because the two other extras were a bit nerd-central (not that I’m not, but… I am gonna be Equity in a hot second so.) But I made it through, kept quiet when I needed, watched the “talent” like a hawk, generally tried to be mature and actor-savvy. As we continued doing takes, I continued to calm down, as did, I think, everyone. I couldn’t really watch or even hear what Logan and Whoopi were doing at the end of the bar. In the last few takes, Tom seemed to open up to the three of us at the end of the bar too, goofing around with our silent conversations, giving silly faces where the camera couldn’t see it… It was fun. And he was very pretty and with my crazy ass hair I felt fine enough to keep it cool. Between takes, we chatted about everything and nothing (just the extras– Tom would migrate back to the “talent”). We got into a relatively easy rapport. I continued to watch Whoopi as she fucked up her lines (she coined the classic “fuck a duck” which was inserted where lines were forgot), Logan and Tom joke with the standbys (“I wanna see you two dance!” “Leave no room for the Holy Ghost!” “I wanna see those earpieces get tangled!”), endless “fog bumps” (the constant use of a fog machine) and packs and packs of random people cycle in and out, who knows what their actual job is. Never have I been more certain of the phrase “it takes a village.”

We wrapped shooting for the day at 12:15pm, SHOCKING for a film shoot. It was a four page scene that only took three/four hours to shoot. A miracle!

My hair is still big, and my heavy eye makeup is all under my eyes, I’m not getting paid and it’s barely a credit, and I’m certain no one but the 1st AD, Iris, and the other extras knew my name, but I hung out in the vicinity of Whoopi Goldberg on a movie that James Franco is producing and it’s not such a bad day after all.

Love,
B.

Acting is my life’s blood. I’d be in an institution if I weren’t in the arts.
–Whoopi Goldberg