The Wizard of Oz invented the cellphone

April 7, 2014

The Wizard of Oz invented the cellphone

Who invented the cellphone?

Was it Martin Cooper in the 1970s?

Or, perhaps, was it Oscar Diggs in the 1910s?

Never heard of Oscar Diggs?

Oh, but you have…he is better known as the Wizard of Oz.

In L. Frank Baum’s 1914 eighth book in the Oz series, Tik-Tok of Oz (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), we encounter this remarkable scene (mild spoiler alert).

Ozma, the ruler of Oz, has a magic picture which enables her to see anything happening in the world (although she has to direct the picture to show her something).

Previously, one limitation was that the picture had no sound. Dorothy had to make a hand gesture at a certain time of day (which Ozma could see) in order to communicate.

At this point in the series, Oscar Diggs is essentially part of Ozma’s cabinet. He has learned some real magic, but also dabbles in technology.

The Shaggy Man is a prototypical hippie, with an easy-going philosophy, a disdain for the establishment, and a life built around love…or, a love magnet, at any rate.

Shaggy would be right at home on many tech campuses.

When some magic happens, Shaggy realizes it must be the intervention of Ozma:

“…Shaggy suspected the truth, and believing that Ozma was now taking an interest in the party he drew from his pocket a tiny instrument which he placed against his ear.

Ozma, observing this action in her Magic Picture, at once caught up a similar instrument from a table beside her and held it to her own ear. The two instruments recorded the same delicate vibrations of sound and formed a wireless telephone, an invention of the Wizard. Those separated by any distance were thus enabled to converse together with perfect ease and without any wire connection.

“Do you hear me, Shaggy Man?” asked Ozma.

“Yes, Your Highness,” he replied.”

At the end of the conversation, Ozma puts her phone down, and Shaggy “…replaced the wireless telephone in his pocket”.

So, while you may have heard in the past that the Star Trek communicator inspired the cellphone, here was a clearcut description of one the way we use them now…more than half a century earlier.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Mickey Rooney reported dead

April 7, 2014

Mickey Rooney reported dead

While it has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there is something distinctive about being the cultural shorthand (no pun intended…well, maybe a little…so to speak) for jokes.

In Mickey Rooney’s case, his significant and lasting popular impact allowed references to height, multiple marriages, and a “gee, shucks” kind of youthful enthusiasm. That enthusiasm lasted well into his third quarter century.

It’s important to note that these jokes weren’t because of a lack of respect (and I don’t intend my own introduction that way). Rooney was nominated for four Oscars…with the first nomination coming forty years before the last. He was also given an honorary Oscar in 1983.

He won two Golden Globes, and was nominated for five Emmys, winning one.

He appeared on stage (including the hit Sugar Babies with Ann Miller…starting when he was nearly 80).

His Hollywood Walk of Fame star recognizes his work not only in movies, but in radio and TV.

Throughout his career, Rooney had many geek friendly roles, including:

  • Voicing Oswald the Rabbit in the 1920s and 1930s (this came following his success in the Mickey Maguire series of live action shorts…which continued, meaning Rooney was doing two series at the same time)
  • The Lost Jungle
  • Puck in Max Reinhardt’s all-star version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)
  • Young Tom Edison (as the Wizard of Menlo Park)
  • The Atomic Kid: a 1954 wacky comedy in which Rooney becomes radioactive
  • The Mickey Rooney Show, a TV series with some geeky elements (including an episode with a robot)
  • Francis in the Haunted House, taking over co-starring duties from Donald O’Connor with the talking mule
  • Pinocchio, a 1957 live action TV version, with Rooney in the title role, and featuring Jerry Colonna, Stubby Kaye, and Fran Allison
  • As the Devil in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (with Mamie Van Doren as Eve
  • In a memorable episode of the original The Twilight Zone, Rooney played on the perception of his  diminutive  stature, as a jockey who wanted to be big
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (it made sense that one of Hollywood’s most popular stars would be part of this celebrity-studded comedy)
  • How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (one of the beach party movies, with Buster Keaton, Annette Funicello, and Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper)
  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (which still shows every holiday season, with Rooney voicing Kris Kringle/Santa Claus)
  • Night Gallery
  • Journey Back to Oz (voicing the Scarecrow)
  • The Year without a Santa Claus
  • Pete’s Dragon, which was perceived at the time as an ambitious mix of animation and live action at Disney
  • Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July (back as Santa Claus)
  • Arabian Adventure (with Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing…and John Ratzenberger)
  • Creole (narrator: later edited into Misunderstood Monsters)
  • The Fox and the Hound (back at Disney, voicing Tod)
  • The Love Boat (“The Christmas Presence”)
  • The Care Bears Movie (as Mr. Cherrywood)
  • Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
  • Erik the Viking
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (as Joe Petto)
  • The Magic Voice (English narrator of this German cartoon…other voices include Corey Feldman and Dom DeLuise)
  • Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
  • Kleo, the Misfit Unicorn (as Talbut…a regular voice on this late 1990s series)
  • Conan (TV series with the Robert E. Howard character)
  • Stories from My Childhood (The Snow Queen episode)
  • Sinbad: The Battle of the Dark Knights
  • Babe: Pig in the City
  • Phantom of the Megaplex
  • Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure
  • To Kill a Mockumentary
  • The Happy Elf
  • Night at the Museum
  • The Thirsting
  • The Yesterday Pool
  • Wreck the Halls
  • A Miser Brothers’ Christmas
  • The Muppets (the 2011 movie)
  • The Voices from Beyond
  • The Woods
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (not yet released)
  • Fragments from Olympus: The Vision of Nikola Tesla (not yet released)

Good-bye, Mickey Rooney…the world never stood taller than when you brought your attitude to it.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Kate O’Mara reported dead

March 30, 2014

Kate O’Mara reported dead

American mainstream audiences likely came to know Kate O’Mara in her role as “Caress” Morrell on Dynasty, but geeks know her better as The Rani from Doctor Who.

Imperious, vicious, intelligent, and a renegade Time Lord (who may have a history with The Doctor), The Rani appeared in two arcs (even forcing a regeneration from Six (Colin Baker) to Seven (Sylvester McCoy).

That would be enough to place O’Mara firmly in the geek world, but there were quite a few more geek-friendly roles, including a number “outside the system” crime fighters, and Hammer horror. A partial list:

  • Secret Agent (arguably the forerunner of The Prisoner)
  • Adam Adamant Lives! (which we believe may have impacted Austin Powers)
  • Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond (a 007 promotional effort)
  • The Champions…enforcement agents given super-powers by a lost Himalayan civilization
  • Carnage (a Peter Cushing mad scientist movie)
  • The Saint TV series
  • The Avengers
  • Department S
  • The Vampire Lovers (Hammer movie with Ingrid Pitt: O’Mara played the Governess)
  • The Horror of Frankenstein (Hammer)
  • The Persuaders (TV series with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis)
  • The Protectors
  • Cluedo: British game show based on Clue, with O’Mara playing Mrs. Peacock. The roles weren’t always played by the same actors: both David McCallum and Tom Baker played Professor Plum, for example
  • Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney version…with Christopher Lee)
  • Aladdin (again, not the Disney version…with Derek Jacobi)
  • The New Adventures of Robin Hood

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. Last weekend to recommend one of the current nominees to get the Kindle.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Our #1 Box Office MVP for 2013 is…Eva Bella

March 22, 2014

Our #1 Box Office MVP for 2013 is…Eva Bella

Which actor’s movies made the most money in 2013?

Sandra Bullock? Nope…she’s #23 on our list.

Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson? Nope…despite having two movies over $100m in dogro (domestic gross) last year, and two more movies over $40m (the minimum to be counted by us), Johnson “rocked” a $453.7m total.

Our #1 MVP has a total of $762.0m…and it’s likely to still go up.

That actor is Eva Bella.

We can understand if you don’t recognize the name. After all, Eva isn’t in the tabloids…she’s a kid.

You also haven’t seen her in any movies last year…because she did voice work.

However, there’s a good chance that you saw the movies, even if you didn’t see her.

She was Young Elsa in Frozen, which was still in the US top ten last weekend (after 17 weeks in release).

She was also an “additional voice” in Despicable Me 2. While The Hunger Games was our most profitable movie for last year (Frozen would need another $48m to catch it), Eva Bella was in the number two and number three movies.

To recap: Sandra Bullock had two movies on our list, with an average of $216.5m dogro; Eva Bella had two movies on our list, with an average of $381m.

Just for good measure, Eva was also credited as Young Kayo in The Wind Rises. While that movie won’t get close to our $40m minimum (it’s under $5m right now), it’s certainly considered an artistic success.

That also means that this one actor was in three out of five of the movies nominated in an Oscar category (Animated Feature) in the same year…a rare feat.

Is Eva likely to repeat on our list this year?

That’s not likely. She did do additional voices for Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but is not first credited. Our rules require that you be first credited in a movie that dogroes at least $100m, and her other 2014 title, Almost Heroes 3D, is not likely to make that mark.

Repeating is very difficult, though, for anybody.

Of the 103 MVPs on our 2013 list, only eight had also been on it for 2012:

  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Josh Hutcherson
  • Alan Tudyk
  • Chris Hemsworth
  • John Goodman
  • Channing Tatum
  • Jonah Hill
  • Hugh Jackman

Out of these eight, our “On a Roll” award goes to…Alan Tudyk, who also appeared on our list in 2011 (and was the only one of these eight to do so).

One issue, and this is a place where voice work may have an advantage, is a blockbuster movie can take a long time to make. That can reduce your chances to be in two or more $40m movies that year…although both Jennifer and Josh were in the biggest dogroing movies and at least one more. Josh did a voice in Epic ($107m), and Jennifer was in American Hustle ($149m so far).

Looking at our top ten for this year, though, it isn’t overwhelmingly voice roles that get you to that status:

  1. Eva Bella: Despicable Me 2 ($366.0m) (not first billed); Frozen ($396.0m) | Tentative total: $762.0m
  2. Bill Hader: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 ($120.0m); Escape from Planet Earth ($57.0m); Star Trek Into Darkness ($229.0m) (not first billed); Monsters University ($268.0m) (not first billed); Turbo ($83.0m) | Tentative total: $757.0m
  3. James Badge Dale: Iron Man 3 ($409.0m); World War Z ($202.0m); The Lone Ranger ($89.3m) | Tentative total: $700.3m
  4. Jon Favreau:  Identity Thief ($134.0m); Iron Man 3 ($409.0m); The Wolf of Wall Street ($116.0M) | Tentative total: $659.0m
  5. Bridget Hoffman: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 ($120.0m); Epic ($107.0m) (not first billed); Frozen ($396.0m) | Tentative total: $623.0m
  6. Woody Harrelson: Now You See Me ($117.0m); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($424.0m); Free Birds ($55.7m) | Tentative total: $596.7m
  7. Jennifer Lawrence: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($424.0m); American Hustle ($149.0m) | Tentative total: $573.0m
  8. Stanley Tucci: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters ($68.6m); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($424.0m); Jack the Giant Slayer ($65.2m) | Tentative total: $557.8m
  9. Kristen Wiig: Despicable Me 2 ($366.0m); Anchorman: The Legend Continues ($127.0m); The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ($58.1m) | Tentative total: $551.1m
  10. Lenny Kravitz: Lee Daniels’ The Butler ($116.0m); The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($424.0m) | Tentative total: $540.0m

When you look at our full list of

2013 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

certainly, one of the stand-out factors is the number of children. In addition to Eva Bella, there are

  • Ty Simpkins, #16
  • Joey King, #24
  • Moises Arias, #29
  • Sterling Jerins, #44

The totals in the list are not final: last week, nine movies on our list released in 2013 reported additional dogro.

Congratulations to Eva Bella and our other MVPs!

Who will make it this year? You can see who will join Kevin Hart and Bryan Callen at

2014 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

On the Robot Beat #6: drones with TASERs, robopoets

March 11, 2014

On the Robot Beat #6: drones with TASERs, robopoets

robot is something created by humans (directly or indirectly) that performs tasks (autonomously or not) done by humans (or, more broadly, by other animals…a robot dog, for example, would perform work done by living dogs, including providing companionship). 

The word may conjure up an image of a mechanical man, perhaps clunky and made of metal. The way we use the term at The Measured Circle, it would include software performing human tasks, and non-anthropomorphic devices like an answering machine or a calculator.

On the Robot Beat presents news about our creations that are, even in small ways, replacing us.

And you are worried about drones looking at you?

Having armed robots will tend to reduce violence.

After all, as I’ve written before, you can have a land mine without intelligence, or a land mine with intelligence. The primary reason to have the latter is so it can decide not to explode. Exploding every time requires no evaluation…no thinking. Selectively exploding requires evaluation, and unless the evaluation is to explode every single time (in which case, there is no point to it), there will be fewer explosions.

However, what about a drone…with a TASER?

Will a robot TASER somebody less often than a human would?

That’s harder to say…a TASER requires a visual target and assessment (currently), unlike a land mine. Presumably, a human might hesitate more, based on body language and other cues.

The idea of a drone with a TASER is not a hypothetical. According to this

Time Magazine post by Doug Aamoth

and other sources,

Chaotic Moon

demonstrated one…they “tased”* an intern on video to show how a drone could deliver the debilitating shock.

You can see the video in the Time Magazine article linked above.

Oh, they aren’t planning to sell them at Walmart. :) They did this to get people talking. They’ve suggested that it could be done inexpensively, and with autonomous drones.

Picture that for, say, border patrol. Perhaps flying around a warehouse at night (preventing copper thieves). The drone sees you, determines you are a “bad guy”, zaps you, and calls the police.

Realistically, we have to consider these possibilities going forward. Is the scenario I just described better than an armed security guard? It will probably be cheaper…

Jeopardy champion working in food truck

What? Did you think this would be a rags to riches to rags story?

Not at all.

IBM’s Watson, who played on Jeopardy and beat the human champs, is now doing “Cognitive Cooking”, using Watson’s computing ability to come up with new food combinations…that are good. :) This is one element of “computational creativity”.

This

engadget article by Sarah Silbert

also includes a video of Watson at work at SXSW (South by Southwest).

We recommend the video.

Simspeare

Robot poets are nothing new. I have the book written by Racter,

The Policeman’s Beard Is Half Constructed (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping**)

However, things have changed a lot in the thirty years since it was published.

Now, our phones may use predictive technology to suggest a word to follow something we just typed.

As reported in this

NPR transcript of a Robert Siegel interview

and other places, Nathan Matias at MIT has used the same technology to produce what could be considered a new sonnet by Shakespeare.

Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. The software knows Shakespeare’s works, and uses them to predict words. Matias uses human oversight to select from the results…and I have to say, the new poem does seem pretty good. It doesn’t have those lovely serendipitious nonsequiters of Racter, but it’s enjoyable.

Speaking of robopoets, you think you could easily tell whether a poem was written by a human or a robot?

You can find out. :)

The site

Bot or Not?

gives you a poem, and you guess whether it was created by a robot or a human. It’s interesting to see the results, which they show you afterwards. To show you how hard it is to tell, I clicked one where 56% said it was written by a “bot” and 44% said it wasn’t (I did get it right, but I wouldn’t get them all right)…how about you?

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* TASER isn’t actually what the device does (it doesn’t “tase” someone). It’s an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”. You can read the 1911 book which inspired the inventor here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3777

** I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) results

March 3, 2014

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) results

This post will be updated with our individual winners, but we wanted to get you our group results right away (and include the Oscar winners).

  • Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave (predicted)
  • Lead Actor: Matthew McConaughey (half predicted…we had a tie with Chiwetel Ejiofor)
  • Lead Actress: Cate Blanchett (predicted)
  • Supporting Actor: Jared Leto (predicted)
  • Supporting Actress: Lupito Nyong’o (predicted)
  • Directing: Alfonso Cuaron (miss…we went with Steve McQueen)
  • Original Screenplay: Her (predicted)
  • Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave (miss: we predicted Philomena)
  • Animated Feature: Frozen (predicted)
  • Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (predicted)
  • Cinematography: Gravity (predicted)
  • Film Editing: Gravity (predicted)
  • Production Design: The Great Gatsby (predicted)
  • Costume Design: The Great Gatsby (miss…we did the American Hustle)
  • Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club (predicted)
  • Music Score: Gravity (miss: we predicted Philomena)
  • Song: Let It Go from Gravity (predicted)
  • Sound Mixing: Gravity (predicted)
  • Sound Editing: Gravity (predicted)
  • Visual Effects: Gravity (predicted)
  • Documentary Feature: Twenty Feet from Stardom (miss…we said The Act of Killing)
  • Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6 (predicted)
  • Animated Short: Mr. Hublot (miss…we had a Mickey Mouse answer, Get a Horse!)
  • Live Action Short: Helium (half-predicted: we had a tie with The Voorman Problem)

Overall, we did well! We got four and a half (the half is due to a tie) of the Big Six, and twelve and a half out of eighteen of the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section. This seemed like a difficult year, with a lot of close calls.

More analysis to come, including our percentage scores, and our individual winners.

Thanks again to everyone who played! See you in the movies!

Update: here is the individual analysis!

Team:

  • Big Six: 79.41%
  • Incredibly Difficult Maven Section: 68.07%
  • Overall: 77.38

Congratulations to Mike Weston, who won in all three categories!

  • Big Six: 100%
  • Incredibly Difficult Maven Section: 87.63%
  • Overall: 98.35%

Mike also won the Maven and Overall last year…he’s on a roll. ;)

Marianne Adoor and Neil Lapinsky (two new players) tied Mike in the Big Six: all three of these great  predictors picked all of the Big Six categories! Congratulations to you all!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

2014 BOPmadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

March 2, 2014

2014 BOPmadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions

Thank you to everyone who made predictions!

This is being published prior to the Oscar ceremony.

Based on our respondents, this seems like it was a particularly difficult year: I don’t recall scores being this close (including two ties).

Let’s start out with the probability we collectively assigned each nominee:

Category Nominee Percent Projected Winner
Makeup & Hair Styling Dallas Buyers Club 87.50% Projected Winner
Cinematography Gravity 85.00% Projected Winner
Best Picture 12 Years a Slave 84.72% Projected Winner
Music: Song Let It Go from Frozen 84.38% Projected Winner
Lead Actress Cate Blanchett 82.50% Projected Winner
Supporting Actress Lupito Nyong’o 82.50% Projected Winner
Sound Mixing Gravity 82.50% Projected Winner
Animated Feature Frozen 82.50% Projected Winner
Best Picture American Hustle 81.94%
Lead Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor 80.00% Projected Winner
Lead Actor Matthew McConaughey 80.00% Projected Winner
Costume Design American Hustle 80.00% Projected Winner
Visual Effects Gravity 80.00% Projected Winner
Supporting Actor Jared Leto 77.50% Projected Winner
Director 12 Years a Slave 77.50% Projected Winner
Sound Editing Gravity 77.50% Projected Winner
Documentary Short The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life 77.50% Projected Winner
Cinematography Nebraska 75.00%
Film Editing Gravity 75.00% Projected Winner
Documentary Feature The Act of Killing 75.00% Projected Winner
Animated Short Get a Horse! 75.00% Projected Winner
Costume Design The Great Gatsby 72.50%
Costume Design 12 Years a Slave 72.50%
Production Design The Great Gatsby 72.50% Projected Winner
Sound Mixing Captain Phillips 72.50%
Documentary Feature 20 Feet from Stardom 72.50%
Foreign Language Film The Great Beauty 72.50% Projected Winner
Music Score Philomena 72.50% Projected Winner
Live Action Short Helium 72.50% Projected Winner
Live Action Short The Voorman Problem 72.50% Projected Winner
Supporting Actor Barkhad Abdi 70.00%
Director American Hustle 70.00%
Visual Effects The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 67.50%
Makeup & Hair Styling The Lone Ranger 66.67%
Supporting Actress Jennifer Lawrence 65.00%
Production Design American Hustle 65.00%
Production Design Gravity 65.00%
Sound Editing Captain Phillips 65.00%
Documentary Feature The Square 65.00%
Music Score Gravity 65.00%
Best Picture Dallas Buyers Club 62.50%
Director Gravity 62.50%
Cinematography Prisoners 62.50%
Production Design 12 Years a Slave 62.50%
Animated Feature Despicable Me 2 62.50%
Animated Feature The Wind Rises 62.50%
Documentary Short Facing Fear 62.50%
Foreign Language Film The Broken Circle Breakdown 62.50%
Music Score Saving Mr. Banks 62.50%
Music: Song Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 62.50%
Animated Short Mr. Hublot 62.50%
Best Picture Gravity 61.11%
Lead Actress Amy Adams 60.00%
Supporting Actor Bradley Cooper 60.00%
Documentary Short Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall 60.00%
Foreign Language Film Omar 60.00%
Music Score Her 60.00%
Supporting Actor Michael Fassbender 57.50%
Supporting Actress Sally Hawkins 57.50%
Sound Editing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 57.50%
Sound Mixing Inside Llewyn Davis 57.50%
Visual Effects Iron Man 3 57.50%
Animated Short Room on the Broom 57.50%
Live Action Short Avant Que De Tout Perdre 57.50%
Music: Song The Moon Song from Her 56.25%
Supporting Actress Julia Roberts 55.00%
Film Editing American Hustle 55.00%
Film Editing 12 Years a Slave 55.00%
Documentary Short CaveDigger 55.00%
Animated Short Possessions 55.00%
Lead Actress Judi Dench 52.50%
Lead Actress Sandra Bullock 52.50%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 52.50%
Sound Editing All Is Lost 52.50%
Animated Feature Ernest & Celstine 52.50%
Foreign Language Film The Hunt 52.50%
Foreign Language Film The Missing Picture 52.50%
Lead Actor Bruce Dern 50.00%
Director The Wolf of Wall Street 50.00%
Visual Effects Star Trek Into Darkness 50.00%
Animated Short Feral 50.00%
Live Action Short Aquel No Era Yo 50.00%
Best Picture The Wolf of Wall Street 48.61%
Lead Actor Leonardo DiCaprio 47.50%
Sound Editing Lone Survivor 47.50%
Documentary Feature Dirty Wars 47.50%
Live Action Short Pitaako Mun Kakki Hoitaa 47.50%
Music: Song Happy from Despicable Me 2 46.88%
Makeup & Hair Styling Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa 45.83%
Sound Mixing Lone Survivor 45.00%
Visual Effects The Lone Ranger 45.00%
Documentary Short Karama Has No Walls 45.00%
Best Picture Captain Phillips 44.44%
Best Picture Nebraska 43.06%
Lead Actor Christian Bale 42.50%
Director Nebraska 42.50%
Cinematography Inside Llewyn Davis 42.50%
Sound Mixing The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug 42.50%
Supporting Actress June Squibb 40.00%
Film Editing Captain Phillips 40.00%
Animated Feature The Croods 40.00%
Documentary Feature Cutie and the Boxer 40.00%
Music Score The Book Thief 40.00%
Best Picture Her 37.50%
Costume Design The Grandmaster 37.50%
Costume Design The Invisible Woman 37.50%
Film Editing Dallas Buyers Club 37.50%
Supporting Actor Jonah Hill 35.00%
Cinematography The Grandmaster 35.00%
Production Design Her 35.00%
Best Picture Philomena 34.72%

As you can see, we are most sure about Dallas Buyers Club getting Makeup and Hair Styling. We would be most shocked if Philomena won Best Picture. We split on Lead Actor and Live Action Short.

Here’s how it looks just for projected winners:

Category
Nominee
Percent
Projected Winner
Makeup & Hair Styling Dallas Buyers Club 87.50% Projected Winner
Cinematography Gravity 85.00% Projected Winner
Best Picture 12 Years a Slave 84.72% Projected Winner
Music: Song Let It Go from Frozen 84.38% Projected Winner
Lead Actress Cate Blanchett 82.50% Projected Winner
Supporting Actress Lupito Nyong’o 82.50% Projected Winner
Sound Mixing Gravity 82.50% Projected Winner
Animated Feature Frozen 82.50% Projected Winner
Lead Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor 80.00% Projected Winner
Lead Actor Matthew McConaughey 80.00% Projected Winner
Costume Design American Hustle 80.00% Projected Winner
Visual Effects Gravity 80.00% Projected Winner
Supporting Actor Jared Leto 77.50% Projected Winner
Director 12 Years a Slave 77.50% Projected Winner
Sound Editing Gravity 77.50% Projected Winner
Documentary Short The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life 77.50% Projected Winner
Film Editing Gravity 75.00% Projected Winner
Documentary Feature The Act of Killing 75.00% Projected Winner
Animated Short Get a Horse! 75.00% Projected Winner
Production Design The Great Gatsby 72.50% Projected Winner
Foreign Language Film The Great Beauty 72.50% Projected Winner
Music Score Philomena 72.50% Projected Winner
Live Action Short Helium 72.50% Projected Winner
Live Action Short The Voorman Problem 72.50% Projected Winner

We apologize that formatting precludes putting all of the nominees’ names, or identifying the movies in the acting categories. That information did appear in the surveys, which were available here:

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

See you in the movies!

Update: we inadvertently left off our predictions for screenplay:

Adapted Screenplay Before Midnight 45.00% 18 8 5
Adapted Screenplay Captain Phillips 55.00% 22 8 5
Adapted Screenplay Philomena 97.50% Projected Winner 39 8 5
Adapted Screenplay 12 Years a Slave 90.00% 36 8 5
Adapted Screenplay The Wolf of Wall Street 72.50% 29 8 5
Original Screenplay American Hustle 37.50% 15 8 5
Original Screenplay Blue Jasmine 72.50% 29 8 5
Original Screenplay Dallas Buyers Club 62.50% 25 8 5
Original Screenplay Her 75.00% Projected Winner 30 8 5
Original Screenplay Nebraska 52.50% 21 8 5

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

The Geeky Road to Gold 2014

March 2, 2014

The Geeky Road to Gold 2014

Actors rarely get nominated for Oscars for geek-friendly roles.

That doesn’t mean, though, that we can’t claim this year’s acting nominees as our own.

After all, once you’ve got one geek credit, we’ll go to see you at a convention ten years later. ;)

Maybe it’s because we think of ourselves as the outcasts…we not only want to welcome people into our ranks, but we want to show that great actors work with dragons* and robots** (even if Hollywood doesn’t know they are great at that point).

Let’s take a look at the nominees for this year’s acting Oscars, and see if “we knew them when”:

Lead Actor

  • Christian  Bale: come on…he’s Batman! GEEK CRED
  • Bruce Dern: Silent Running** would be enough, but you can throw in the original The Outer Limits…and The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant! GEEK CRED
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Inception…and Critters 3! GEEK CRED
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor: Children of Men…and 2012! GEEK CRED
  • Matthew McConaughey: Reign of Fire*…and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation! GEEK CRED

Lead Actress

  • Amy Adams: Man of Steel…and Smallville! GEEK CRED
  • Cate Blanchett: The Lord of the Rings…and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! GEEK CRED
  • Sandra Bullock: Demolition Man…and Love Potion No. 9!  GEEK CRED
  • Judi Dench: one letter is enough…M!  GEEK CRED
  • Meryl Streep: Death Becomes Her…and The Simpsons! GEEK CRED

Supporting Actor

  • Barkhad Abdi: sorry, only 1 credit so far
  • Bradley Cooper: Limitless…and Alias! GEEK CRED
  • Jonah Hill: Strange Wilderness…and How to Train Your Dragon! GEEK CRED
  • Michael Fassbender: X-Men: First Class…and Hex! GEEK CRED
  • Jared Leto: Mr. Nobody…and Urban Legend! GEEK CRED

Supporting Actress

  • Sally Hawkins: HG Wells: War with the World! GEEK CRED
  • Julia Roberts: Hook…and Mary Reilly! GEEK CRED
  • Lupita Nyong’o: a TV series and a short before this
  • Jennifer Lawrence: The Hunger Games…and Mystique! GEEK CRED
  • June Squibb: Ghost Whisperer (hello, Grandma!)! GEEK CRED

So there, Hollywood! Except for two relative newbies, we can claim them all! Next time you are watching somebody act with an alien or a zombie, just remember…you might be reading that name in an envelope some day. ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Harold Ramis reported dead

February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis reported dead

Harold Ramis will be fondly remembered by us as the geekiest of the Ghostbusters, Dr. Egon Spengler. While Venkman may have been the “front man”, it was Spengler who warned about crossing the streams, and who used the Twinkie analogy.

Harold Ramis also co-wrote Ghostbusters…and Groundhog Day, another geek crossover hit, which Ramis also directed. Ramis directed Caddyshack, Multiplicity, and the Brendan Fraser version of Bedazzled.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

 

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

February 21, 2014

2014 BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness)

For more than twenty years, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest.

Important note: there is no fee to play the  game, and we only play for that most valuable of human possessions…bragging rights. 

We do ours a bit differently than most. You rank every nominee, and then you get the number of points you assigned to the winner.

For example, there are five nominees for Actor in a Leading Role. You would assign the one you thought the Academy was most likely to pick (not necessarily the one you thought most deserved it) with a 5. Your second most likely would be a 4, and so on.

For the first time this year, we are using SurveyMonkey, rather than Excel.

That means you can play anonymously, if you prefer…we also think many people may find it easier.

There are three surveys (we are currently limited to no more than ten questions per survey):

Big Six and Screenwriting:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RL8CBQX

Design and Appearance:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X97YSM9

Whole Movies and Music

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X9CPKTZ

If you would like to be recognized as a winner of the Big Six (the acting awards, Best Picture, and Best Director), the Incredibly Difficult Maven Section (everything else), and/or Overall, you’ll have the opportunity at the site to enter your name (that will not be public). If you’d like to receive future communications about BOPMadness, you can also enter your e-mail address there (again, that will not be public).

If you have any questions, you can comment this post. If you’d like your comment to remain private, please let me know in the comment.

We will post the group predictions here before the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, March 2nd.

The more people who play, the more accurate we tend to be…feel free to share this with anyone you think would like to participate.

See you in the movies!

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.


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