Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

A different kind of year for Jennifer Lawrence

August 14, 2017

A different kind of year for Jennifer Lawrence

Has any actor ever done the movies better than Jennifer Lawrence?

Notice that I didn’t ask if anyone had “done better movies”…that’s entirely a different question.

No, I mean someone who is more successful at the “game of the movies”…or the movie business, if you prefer the more prosaic.

That sort of success is typically measured in one of two ways: box office, and “respect”…for the latter, we can go with award recognition, especially the Oscars.

Jennifer Lawrence has the respect part down, having been nominated for four Oscars since 2011, and winning the Best Actress award.

Now, other people have been nominated (eventually) for more Oscars (although I think four nominations in your first nine years of movie credits is exceptional), but this many this fast and this consistently? That’s at the least rare.

For box office, we’ve been naming our Most Valuable Players since 2011. Basically, they need to be first-billed in a movie which makes at least $100 million dogro (domestic gross) and another movie which dogroes at least $40 million (but they don’t need to be first-billed).

It’s difficult to make it two years in a row. Most movies which make $100 million generally take a lot of time and effort: somebody who is first-billed in a tentpole movie doesn’t have a lot of time to make another movie that year.

Starting in 2015 (but looking backwards from there), we added the “On a roll” designation. For 2016, for example, only four actors made it:

  • Bill Hader
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Simon Pegg

Of those four, only one of them was on more than their second in a row: Jennifer Lawrence, who was on her fifth.

In 2015, the situation was similar: four people who were “On a roll”, and with Jennifer Lawrence the only one who was on more than the second in a row (the others were Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Banks, and Jai Courtney).

Unless something changes, though, this year will be different.

Jennifer Lawrence only has one movie scheduled for release, Mother!

With only one movie, it isn’t possible to make it to our

2017 The Measured Circle’s Box Office MVPs

list. It has nineteen people on it so far, with Hannibal Buress and Jenny Slate being the only two on a roll.

We don’t see this as any sign of a lasting downturn: we expect Jennifer Lawrence will be back at the top of the box office and wouldn’t be surprised to see additional Oscar nominations in her future.

This is just a different sort of year…

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All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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! :) 

Disney’s next “E ticket”? Star Wars Merged Reality

August 5, 2017

Disney’s next “E ticket”? Star Wars Merged Reality

Up until the early 1980s (and starting in 1959), the “E” ticket (or coupon) was the latest and greatest ride: the Submarine Voyage, the Matterhorn…the top of the line.

Even though Disney officially did away with the letter tickets thirty-five years ago, people still use the term. Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones…those would all be considered E tickets.

These are the buzzy rides…the ones people would talk about when they got home, brag about, and say, “You gotta ride…”

While Disney works on its Star Wars lands for 2019, this holiday season will bring a different kind of attraction…merged reality.

While that’s not the term that the company making it uses for it, it’s one of my four “flavors” as I defined in my first VAMM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality…which I’m tending to simplify to VAM) post:

Welcome, vammers! Our Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality coverage starts here

This is what I said:

“Merged Reality: this is new, and is a term used by Intel for its Alloy headset (YouTube videos). This is essentially the opposite of Mixed Reality. The headset maps the actual location (say, the furniture in a room), and then masks it with a story-appropriate appearance: a table might “change into” a control panel on a spaceship, or into a rock in a haunted forest”

What The VOID calls it is “Hyper-Reality”. They’ve been doing some really interesting things. You do wear a VR headset, and you don’t see the actual environment…but you are in a dedicated space for this particular experience.

If you pick up a light saber, the hilt can actually be a physical object…and then you would see and hear the “blade”, which would react appropriately as it fought another player. The hilt could even be made to vibrate with a hit. I don’t know that these are part of this actual experience…just giving you the idea.

It’s also social…you play with your family or your friends. As they move, you see their avatars move in VR. When I’ve been socially with people in VR, seeing their avatars’ heads move when they look at something makes it feel very real.

You could be interacting with actors or CGI…or a mix. You won’t really have a way to tell…until an actor does something physical.

In this

The VOID post

they point out that it could even involve smells!

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will open in Downtown Disney at Disneyland (in California) and Disney Springs at Disneyworld (in Florida).

This will be judged on a number of things:

  • How does it feel?
  • How immersive is it?
  • How Disney is it?
  • How Star Wars is it?

On the last one, ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) is involved, so that’s a good sign.

We also don’t know enough about the logistics yet…is it a separate charge? It certainly could be…you pay for things in Downtown Disney. How long will the wait be (only so many people can be in there at a time)? How long will you get in the experience (again, it can’t be that long, since people are waiting)?

My guess? People will talk about it…it will be an E ticket. 🙂

Oh, one other thing: this is not going to be dependent on the Disney infrastructure, meaning that they could hypothetically open it in other places across the country…and around the globe.

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All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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! :) 

Microsoft’s new free app, Seeing AI, is a life-changing accessibility tool…and a lot of fun!

July 14, 2017

Microsoft’s new free app, Seeing AI, is a life-changing accessibility tool…and a lot of fun!

It’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun with an app!

That may seem odd, since this is ostensibly designed to help those with visual challenges.

It will do that. I know a couple of people it will help.

Let me link to it first (it’s only currently available for iOS…iPhones, iPads, iPod touch):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seeing-ai-talking-camera-for-the-blind/id999062298?mt=8

What it does is recognize things: people, text, dogs, a kitchen, a computer…it’s gotten all of those right for me.

It doesn’t just tell you that it’s a person…it guesses at age and gender, and will tell you hair color, if the person has glasses or a beard, and so on.

It also, and this will be very useful for people with autism, will attempt to interpret the person’s expression (happy, neutral, angry…).

Now, it’s important for me to say that it didn’t ever get the age exactly right, although it was often close. A person I know well wasn’t pleased when it interpreted them as significantly older than was true. 😉

I tried it both with photos on a computer screen, and with real life objects, and it was generally pretty good. We had fun when it interpreted a knit blanket as a close-up of a sandwich, but that was not typical.

It can also read text out loud, and that worked for me, too! There was a computer program which wasn’t accessible to the screen reader on the computer…but Seeing AI could read it. It will take some practice for how I hold it, but even initially, it did read what I needed.

I think you’ll have fun playing around with it!

A few tips:

  • The “scene” interpreter, which it says is in beta, is how it interprets objects (like dogs, toys, computers…)
  • Go to the Settings menu (three lines) to use face recognition…you can teach it to recognize specific people. That will be useful for someone I know who has “face blindness”: they can’t recognize celebrities or even family members in pictures by their faces
  • When I was trying to work with it reading off the computer, it worked much better when I went into settings and had it turn off “Manage lighting”…that meant the flash didn’t come on. When the flash was on, there was too much glare for it to recognize things

Okay,

Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Gauntlet thrown! 😉

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

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! :) 

Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

June 28, 2017

Battle of the Network Stars 2017: The Hulk, Hercules, Captain Jack Harkness, and Cordelia Chase!

ABC is reviving the 1970s and 1980s celebrity “sports” competition, Battle of the Network Stars!

It was a popular show: it wasn’t about seeing incredible physical feats, it was more about seeing the non-athletes being their authentic selves, doing the best they can.

The original series included some geek favorites: Lynda Carter, Richard Hatch, Lee Meriwether, William Shatner, Lou Ferrigno…

That last one is important, because he is one of a number of celebrities returning for the new series! Looking at the list of who is participating, my guess is that they invited many of the people back…quite a few are repeating, in addition to newbies.

The different format (twenty teams of five each) means that we get roughly four times the number of participants participants as the old show…and the geek is strong in this one. 😉

Each show has themed teams: obviously, we’ll be interested in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy team, but John Barrowman isn’t there…he’s on Troublemakers.

Here are the teams, with some geeky (and other) context. First, we define “geek-friendly” works as those presented as fiction which include elements that are presented to the audience as being outside of consensus reality (even if it is later revealed in the story that the “impossible” element is a mistake or a hoax). That can be fuzzy, but it’s rule of thumb.

We also are going to give you a geek factor score, which is also, of course, somewhat subjective:

Geek Factor

  • Non-geek (NG): no geek-friendly credits
  • Geek Factor 1 (GF1): perhaps a few scattered minor roles
  • Geek Factor 2 (GF2): at least one featured geek-friendly role
  • Geek Factor 3 (GF3): at least one starring geek-friendly role, or a featured geek-friendly role based on an existing gf character, or multiple featured geek-friendly roles
  • Geek Factor 4 (GF4): more than one starring gf role, or a starring GF role based on an existing GF character, or an established career as a geek-friendly supporting player…thought of by the public as a geek-friendly actor
  • Geek Factor 5 (GF5): icon

Additionally, we’ll indicate previous years of participation for the returners.

The teams (we expect to continue to update the individual listings throughout the season until we have done them all):

TV Sitcoms

  • Bronson Pinchot (Perfect Strangers) GF3: he does have some geek-friendly roles, especially voicework. He played The Prankster on Lois and Clark
  • Tom Arnold (Roseanne) GF2: his geek-friendly roles have been mostly voicework, cameos, and small parts
  • Dave Coulier (Full House) GF2: geek-friendly voicework includes Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghostbusters, and Animal in Muppet Babies
  • AJ Michalka (The Goldbergs) GF3: she played the young Dinah Lance in Birds of Prey, and appeared in The Lovely Bones and Super 8
  • Tracey Gold (Growing Pains) GF1: a few scattered geek-friendly roles

versus

TV Kids

  • Joey Lawrence (Blossom) (GF3): quite a bit of voicework, including as Zeus (The Dog Who Saved…) and on screen in Isle of the Dead
  • Corbin Bleu (High School Musical)  GF3: played Young Tommy in Galaxy Quest and Butch in Mystery Men
  • Nolan Gould (Modern Family) GF3: Young Jimmy on Out of Jimmy’s Head, John Warner in Eleventh Hour, Sam in Space Buddies, Young Jonas Stein in Monster Heroes, Timmy Graco in Ghoul, Adam in Abominable Christmas, two roles on R.L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour
  • Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: 1984) : she was a Mousketeer and appeared in Shadow of Fear
  • Kim Fields (The Facts of Life) GF1 (Returner: May 1984; December 1984): guested on Mork & Mindy and Cupid, and was in The Kid with the Broken Halo and Monster Mutt

Primetime Soaps

  • Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills, 90210) GF4: Fin Shepard in the Sharknado TV movies (and Lavantula), Vinnie in Biker Mice from Mars, Wildwing on Mighty Ducks, and Harry Osborn in the 2003 Spider-Man series
  • Josh Henderson (Dallas ((2012)))  (GF1): appeared n Leaches and in Betwixt
  • Gabrielle Carteris (Beverly Hills, 90210) (GF3) : Nan in Raising Cain, voices in Batman Beyond, Men in Black: The Series, Johnny Bravo, Gargoyles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Elektra and Enchantress on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Laethwen/Vicki Vale in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Donna Mills (Knots Landing)  (GF1) (Returner: 1977; 1980; 1981; 1983): Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby, Fantasy Island, Alice in Wonderland (1985), The Stepford Husbands, Cursed Part 3, A Very Cool Christmas, Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens
  • Mischa Barton (The O.C.) : Betty Ann Blongo on Kablam!, Kyra Collins in The Sixth Sense, Jessie Parker in A Resurrection, Ms. Monica in Gutsy Frog

versus

ABC Stars

  • Olivia d’Abo (The Wonder Years) (GF4) (Returner: 1988): Princess Jehna in Conan the Destroyer, Amanda Rogers on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Sonya Blade in Mortal Combat: Defenders of the Realm, Ten in Batman Beyond: The Movie, Star Sapphire on Justice League, Shannon in the 2002 The Twilight Zone, Jane Porter in The Legend of Tarzan TV series, Black Widow in Ultimate Avengers, Luminara Unduli in Star Wars: Clone Wars, many more
  • Shari Belafonte (Hotel) (GF3) (Returner: 1983; May 1984; co-host December 1984; co-host 1988) : Blanche on Gravedale High, Laura Wingate on Beyond Reality, Lupe in Sonic the Hedgehog, Diana Cruz on The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Doc Halliday in Mars, Mrs. Johanssen on Hey Arnold!, Elizabeth Trent on Babylon 5: Thirdspace
  • Michael Fishman (Roseanne) (GF2): Joey on Hey Arnold!, Mike Holliday in Little Bigfoot 2, Teen in Van in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets
  • Jason Hervey (The Wonder Years) (GF3) : Frank Dale in Frankenweenie, Milton Baines in Back to the Future, Kevin Morton in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, E.J. in The Monster Squad, Troll King in Return to Zork, Eddie McDowd in 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, Dove in Justice League Unlimited
  • Anson Williams (Happy Days) (GF1) : Fantasy Island, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour

Variety

  • Joanna Krupa (model) (GF1): Friend at Leo’s Party in the 2001 Planet of the Apes
  • Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) (GF2) : Leslie St. Claire on Charmed, Vietnam Soldier in the Nicole Kidman Bewitched, Dwayne in Rise: Blood Hunter, Justin Towers in Star vs. The Forces of Evil
  • Vanessa Lachey (The Bold and the Beautiful)  (GF1): Johnny’s Wedding Date in Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Amy in Disaster Movie
  • Gilles Marini (Sex and the City) (GF2) : Henri in Screech of the Decapitated, Captain of the Guard/Paolo the Squire in Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, Sebastien Valet in Teen Wolf TV series, Jacques Duchamp in Daredevil
  • Jack Osbourne (The Osbournes) (GF1): himself in Austin Powers in Goldmember

versus

TV Sex Symbols

  • Keegan Allen (Pretty Little Liars) (NG)
  • Traci Bingham (Baywatch) (GF2) : Party Babe in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Featured Reporter on Battlebots (2000), Vapor in the Life’s a Gas episode of Roger Corman’s Black Scorpion
  • Rosa Blasi (The Thundermans) (GF3): Dawn in Lost on Earth, Carolina Marquez in Avalon: Beyond the Abyss, Maria in The Grudge, Jeanine Winthrop on American Dad!, Barb Thunderman in The Thundermans
  • Brant Daugherty (Pretty Little Liars) (GF2): Ballistico in Super Sportlets, Dale in The Starving Games,
  • Galen Gering (Days of Our Lives) (GF1): Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald on Passions

Cops

  • Erik Estrada (CHiPs) (GF3) : Pepe in the Legacy of Terror episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Prince Sakari on The Six Million Dollar Man, Dr. Stone in Alien Seed, Duke in Earth Angel, Mr. Dork in Homeboys in Outer Space, Detective Francisco in Visions, Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez on Sealab 2021, Ambulance Driver Hero on Higglytown Heroes, voice on Phineas and Ferb, King Worm and Court Giant on Adventure Time, Carlos Sequin in Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, Nick ‘Loop’n Lopez in Planes: Fire & Rescue, Erik in Cool Cat Saves the Kids
  • Larry Wilcox (CHiPs) (GF2): Executive Producer, The Ray Bradbury Theatre
  • Kelly Hu  (Nash Bridges) (GF4): Eva Watanabe in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, L.A.X. 2194, Ensign Yukiko Fujisaki in Star Command (AKA In the Fold), Christine Hung in the Cypher episode of The Sentinel, The Sorceress in the Scorpion King, Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike in X-Men 2, Lana in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, Visas Marr in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lord (videogame), Dr. Julia Hoffman in the 2005 version of Dark Shadows, Caitlin in Devil’s Den, Okiku in Afro Samurai, Detective Pei in Succubus: H*ll-Bent, various voices on Robot Chicken including Olive Oyl and Rainbow Brite, Dr. Annabelle Fermi in Area 57, Shen in Dead Space: Downfall (videogame), Suki Toyoma in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (videogame), Ryoko Kurokama in Ninja Blade (videogame), Sha Shan Nguyen/Titania in The Spectacular Spider-Man (TV series), Miyumi/Miss Mirimoto in Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword, Wells in Terminator Salvation (videogame), Ms. Li in Batman: Under the Red Hood, Laira in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Stacy Hirano in Phineas and Ferb, Pearl Zhu on The Vampire Diaries, Jade Nguyen/Cheshire on Young Justice, Maizy in Scooby-Doo! Spooky Scarecrow, Abigail Chow on Warehouse 13, Dr. Gordon in Age of Tomorrow, Denise Brady in High School Possession, Katana in Infinite Crisis (videogame), D’Vorah/Sindel/Frost in Mortal Combat X (videogame), China White on Arrow, Karai on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2013 series). For more information, see the Kelly Hu born entry at The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip
  • Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (GF3) (Nash Bridges): Sarah in Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Lauren Randall in The Crow: Salvation, Cancace Aimes in Tru Calling, Layla Simmons in Out for Blood, Spider Demon in Charmed, Kelly Weaver in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 – Uprising (videogame), Mikayla in The Big Bang Theory, Lilith Reborn in Soul Fire Rising, Ava in Lost, Lisa in the A Cinderella Story episode of The Finder, Ronnie in the The Would-Be Prince of Darkness episode of Lucifer, Dr. Jo Laughlin on The Vampire Diaries 
  • Lorenzo Lamas (GF) (Renegade): Father Diaz in Real Blood: The True Beginning, Tom Astor in the Trust Me episode of The Hitchhiker, Sergeant Bobby Chase in Terminal Justice, Cale Oosha on Invasion America, Raphael “Rafe” Cain on The Immortal (2000 TV series), Dane Quatrell in Dark Waters, Trainor in Deep Evil, Hacket in Raptor Island, Andrew Dean in Sci-Fighter, Biggs in Unseen Evil 2, Mr. Jones in Thralls, Flight Instructor in Succubus: Hell-Bent, Lieutenant Michael Arronax in 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Allan Baxter in Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Lorenzo Lamas in Pee-wee goes to Sturgis, Special Agent Logan in Raptor Ranch, Meap on Phineas and Ferb, John on Ghost Girls, guest on American Dad!, Sargent Rock in Sharknado 3: Oh H*ll No!, Steve in Exorcist Academy, Julio Garcia in Scorpion Girl

versus

TV Sitcoms

  • Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes) (GF2) : Petie in Twice Dead, Baron in The Darkling, Power Plant Guard in Ghost Dog: A Detective Tail, Ruben Herardo in Evil Grave: Curse of the Maya, Peter in Alien Express, Rick in The Damned, Larry Goleman in Monsters on Main Street, Mantus in Tesla Effect (videogame), College Fright Night, Hayden Webber in 2064: Read Only Memories (videogame)
  • Leigh-Allyn Baker (Good Luck Charlie) (GF4) : Mitzi in Shrunken Heads; Waitress in Leprechaun 3; Taylor/Maureen in The Incredible Hulk (guest voice, 1996 animated series); Alisa Silvermane on the 1995 Spider-Man animated series (voice); Hannah Webster on Charmed; Kate O’Rourke in the Luck o’ the Irish episode of Early Edition; Crewman Juliet Jurot in the Star Trek Voyage: Elite Force videogame and Star Trek: Elite Force II; Dr. Sidney Mobius in the Command & Conquer: Renegade videogame; Miyako Sudo in the Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly videogame; Jean Grey in the X-Men Legends videogame and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse videogame; Merchant/Mender/Weaponsmith in the Everquest II videogame; Margie in the It’s Good to be the Queen episode of American Dad!; voice in Ninety-Nine Nights videogame; Flushed Away (videogame); Lakhesis in Gods of War II videogame; Major Elena Flores/Rebekah Petrovsky in Mass Effect (videogame); voice in Endwar videogame; various voices in Gears of War 2; Alice 1-30 in Halo Wars; Scarlett in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (videogame); Bella Bon Bueno in The Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Abby the Cow on the Back at the Barnyard TV series; additional voices in Star Wars: The Old Republic (videogame); Bong Cha / Erin Mahler / Madame Rogêt / Shani / Sophie in The Secret World (videogame); Bong Cha/Scenario Operator 2 in The Secret World: Issue 8 – The Venetian Agenda (videogame); Bong Cha in additional voices in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII; Cherri Pickford in Dog with a Blog; Queen Coralie/Mermaids in Jake and the Never Land Pirates; Queen Delightful/Snazzy Shazam on 7D (TV animated series)
  • Dave Foley (NewsRadio) (GF3): Alan Bean in From the Earth to the Moon (1998 miniseries); Flik in A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2; Troy in Blast from the Past; The Baldwin Brothers in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; Hank the Technician in Cyberworld; Herb in Monkeybone; Francis in the Arthur, Interrupted episode of the 2002 live action version of The Tick; Laslow Oswald in What’s New, Scooby-Doo?; Priest in Lilo & Stitch: The Series; Mr. Boy in Sky High; Randall in Goose on the Loose; Francis Grey in the Seconds episode of The Batman; Henry Welby in Netherbeast Incorporated; Cult Cat in Slacker Cats; Malcolm Tunney in the Brain Storm episode of Project Atlantis; Principal Smith in Vampires Suck; Wayne in Prep & Landing; Yes Man in Fallout: Las Vegas (videogame); Buzz Chambers in Monster Brawl; Agent Rick in the Homeward Pound episode of Pound Puppies; Dr. Plotkin in the ONe Giant Leap episode of Eureka; Terry in Monsters University; Scientist in The Lair episode of Mr. Pickles; Dave Foley in International Ghost Investigators; Moff on Harvey Beaks
  • Willie Garson (Sex and the City) (GF3) : Board Member in Brain Dead (1990); Nerd Student in Repossessed; Heavy Metal Roadie in the original Twin Peaks; Alik Idell/Lee Harvey Oswald and Seymour in Quantum Leap (TV guest spots); Phil’s Assistant Kenny in Groundhog Day; The Barefoot Executive (1995 TV movie); Eddie Brenner on Touched by an Angel; Corporate Guy in Mars Attacks!; Strange Guy in VR. 5 (TV guest spot); Security Guard in the Killed by Death episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (TV guest spot); Riga in Star Trek: Voyager; Guy in Restaurant in Being John Malkovich; Willie Dretler in Early Edition; Henry Weems and Quinton “Roach” Freely in The X-Files; Stanley Nussbaum in Fortress 2; Brett in What Planet Are You From?; Bones on Level 9 TV series; Ross Bowman/Amphorian/Cupid/Little Brother in Special Unit 2 (two episodes); Dr. Kreutz in Taken (Steven Spielberg alien abduction TV miniseries); Evan in the Lindsay Lohan version of Freaky Friday; Martin Lloyd on Stargate SG-1; Meyer Dickstein on John from Cincinnati; Mr. Frenchy on Wizards of Waverly Place; Dick Dicker in Pushing Daisies; Alan Hitchens in Medium; Tom Trudell in Monster Heroes
  • Jenna von Oÿ (Blossom) (GF2) : Mary Ann on The Kingdom Chums: Little David’s; Stefa in the Seasons of Belief episode of Tales from the Darkside; Amy in the Glim-Glim episode of Monsters (1989 TV series); Stacey in A Goofy Movie; Pandora in Hercules and the Green-Eyed Monster episode of (Disney’s) Hercules TV series; Sioned in Lands of Lore III (videogame); Co-Ed in An Extremely Goofy Movie; Rory in Family Guy; Gracie in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice)

White House

  • Cornelius Smith Jr. (Scandal) (GF1) : Fabian North in the The Pugilist Break episode of Forever (TV guest spot); Case in the One Door Closes episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Marlee Matlin (The West Wing) (GF3): April Hare in the The Sound and the Furry episode of Adventures in Wonderland; Jennifer Winter in the The Message episode of the 1995 Outer Limits; Mayor Laurie Bey on Picket Fences; Marlee the Librarian on Blue’s Clues; Lead in What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?; Baby Einstein: Baby Wordsworth; Stella on Family Guy; Annie Jump Cannon on Cosmos: a SpaceTime Odyssey; Harriett on The Magicians
  • Joshua Malina (West Wing/Scandal) : Calculator Kid #3 in Infinity; Egghead Announcer in the Rules of the Game episode of Sliders; Tim Messick in the We Have Cleared the Tower episode of From the Earth to the Moon; Cicero in the Bad Guy episode of Stargate SG-1 (TV guest spot); Tim Carmer in the Car Trouble episode of Medium; Agent Auldridge in the Born to Run episode of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Duncan in the Hound Dog episode of Valentine; Dr. David Curan in the Spooky Little Girl episode of American Horror Story; President Siebert on The Big Bang Theory; Travis in Knights of Badassdom; Dr. Gavin Beck in What on Earth is Wrong episode of Extant (TV guest spot); Barkeep in Thrilling Adventure Hour Live
  • LaMonica Garrett (Designated Survivor) (GF2) : Fireman in the Bonfire and Betrayal episode of Eastwick (TV guest spot); Morshower’s Aide in Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Lt. TAO Cameron Burke on The Last Ship
  • Mary McCormack (The West Wing) (GF2) : Myrna Foy in Miracle on 34th Street (1994); Forest Ranger in Chaos (videogame); Andrea Baker in Deep Impact; Lily in 1408; Sarah Sandalls in Operation Nefarion: Mystery of the Horriversity – A Natasha Fighterblade Adventure; Ms. Richards in Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery; Mary McCormack in International Ghost Investigators

versus

Lawyers

  • Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order) (GF4) : Beautiful Cindy in the We’re Not Worthy episode of the 1998 Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); The Invisible Man (TV movie with Kyle MacClachlan as Jack Griffin); Detective Kate Lockley on Angel; Dr. Laurie Graves in Briar & Graves; Jennifer Zellan in Ghost Image; Lt. granger in The Awakening episode of Masters of Science Fiction; Lauren Gilmore on Heroes; Sheriff Glove in Lake Place: The Final Chapter; Rosie on Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark; FBI Special Agent Dana Landon on Beauty and the Beast (2014 TV series); Allison Shaw on The Last Ship; Johanna Shannon in Wish Upon; Tiffany in Scales: Mermaids Are Real; Zelda in Starbright
  • Corbin Bernsen (LA Law) (GF4): Reporter in 1976 King Kong; Jason Chadman in Hello Again; Mickey’s 60th Birthday; Q2 in the Deja Q episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation; Chad in the Evie Nightingale episode of Out of This World; Host of The Extraordinary; General Morgan Breslaw in Final Mission; Duke Metger in Tales from the Hood; Foster Carver in Inhumanoid; Felix Medina in Menno’s Mind; Eric Weiss in the Angel of Death episode of Touched by an Angel; John Wahl in Tidal Wave: No Escape; USAF Colonel Henry “Bull” Eckert; Barnes in Spacejacked; Rob Preston in The Fairy King of Ar; Roger Stovall/Bill Water in the Death and Taxes episode of Twice in a Lifetime; Virgil Nygard in the Abaddon episode of the 2000 version of The Outer Limits; Dr. Hyde in Raptor; Carl Hart in Fangs; Larry in The Tomorrow Man; Sheriff C.B. Bishop in Atomic Twister; Mark Mallory in Dead Above Ground; Chief Spivak in The Santa Trap; Norbert in They Are Among Us; Captain Riley in Raging Sharks; Ira in the Right to Die episode of Masters of Horror; Rowland in House of Fallen; Burton in Vipers; Dr. F in Dead Air (also directed); Barry Polk in Suing the Devil; Bob Connelly in the Shorthanded episode of Scorpion; Mr. Friedrich in Sensory Perception; Buck in Dead Man Rising; Vanderveer Wayne Sr. in Powerless; Vulcan in the A Murder of Gods episode of American Gods; Alfred (Grandpa) in Jessica Frost
  • Matt McGorry (How to Get Away with Murder) (GF2) : Gorm in Gizor and Gorm; Spider-Man on One Life to Live; EMT#1 in the Foe episode of Person of Interest; Jacob in the Twilight Explains the European Debt Crisis episode of Jest Originals; 
  • Romi Dias
  • Catherine Bell

TV Moms & Dads

  • Chad Lowe
  • Greg Evigan
  • Ted McGinley
  • Lesley Fera
  • Jackee Harry

versus

TV Kids

  • Jimmie Walker
  • Mackenzie Phillips
  • Jonathan Lipnicki
  • Krista Marie Yu
  • Jeremy Miller

Famous TV Families

  • Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) (GF3) : Small Boy in the Luke’s First Christmas episode of The Second Hundred Years (TV guest spot); Danny Shoemaker in the Jonathan Tells It Like It Was episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (TV guest spot); two guest spots on Bewitched; Avery Arable in Charlotte’s Web; Danny Partridge on Goober and the Ghost Chasers (voice) and on Partridge Family 2200 AD (voice); Paul in the Speak No Evil episode of Shazam!; voice on Fred Flintstone and Friends; Hot Rod on Fantasy Island (TV guest spot); Smirch in the Street Up episode of Ozzy & Drix; Ranch Steer in Dr. Doolittle 3 (voice); Harley Anderson in Bigfoot (2012 TV movie)
  • Barry Williams
  • Beverley Mitchell
  • Willie Aames
  • Charlene Tilton

versus

Doctors

Troublemakers

  • Vivica A. Fox
  • Paul Johansson
  • John Barrowman (GF5)
  • Julie Benz
  • Catherine Bach

versus

TV Lifeguards

  • David Chokachi
  • Brande Roderick
  • Parker Stevenson
  • Nicole Eggert
  • Gena Lee Nolin

ABC Stars

  • Ted Lange
  • Troy Gentile
  • Jill Whelan
  • Denise Richards
  • Joely Fisher

versus

Variety

  • Lance Bass
  • Joey Fatone
  • Adrienne Houghton
  • Cameron Mathison
  • Kelly Osbourne

Cops

  • Marisol Nichols (Riverdale) (GF3): Sargeant Joanne Yarrow in the Hunted episode of the 2002 The Twilight Zone (TV guest spot); Bianca in the Chris-Crossed episode of Chamed; Detective Devon Williams in The Storm; Sarah Monohan on The Gates; Corinne on Teen Wolf
  • Roma Maffia
  • Adrian Zmed
  • Fred Dryer
  • Ryan Paevey

versus

Sci-Fi/Fantasy

  • Lou Ferrigno (GF5)
  • Vinnie Jones
  • Charisma Carpenter
  • Kevin Sorbo (GF5)
  • Jill Wagner

Should be fun! In looking back at early editions, which you can watch on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=battle+of+the+network+stars

there are some elements we are likely to see…and five things you probably (or definitely) won’t see in the revival.

One thing is that there were a lot of quips, and yet, there was a serious competition. People did get injured, and there was some real passion. Part of what probably made it popular was the disputed running relay in the first episode. Robert Conrad challenged it, saying that one of the teams had cheated (by having a faster runner go back and take the baton early, outside of the designated area). That got referenced many times afterwards.

The commentators were also important…not just the lead, Howard Cossell, but others as well. Cossell was in classic mode, ridiculing performances. He had a tendency to call many people by diminuitives (an actor known as Richard might be called “Dicky”, that kind of thing).

The shows are fun to watch, but there are some dated elements…

5 Things You Probably (or Definitely) Won’t See in the 2017 Revival of Battle of the Network Stars

  1. Blatant sexism: there were so many comments about the female competitors’ appearance! Intros for men might talk about them being “bright” or strong, while women might just be “beautiful”. The women often also had “easier” versions of the obstacles
  2. Ethnic humor: “I’m a this so I’ll behave in this stereotypical manner”. That may not be entirely absent, but I doubt we’ll see it as much
  3. War imagery: after the first several episodes, they toned down the idea of it being an actual war, with cartoons of tanks and the like
  4. Participants smoking, as frequent Captain Robert Conrad would be shown doing…not during the event, but in video clips
  5. The idea of three networks…that’s clearly gone, both on the show and in real life

I do hope we’ll have great moments with the stars, both the newbies and returners! Amazing seeing Robin Williams in his rising Mork days on the old show, for example! While some of the stars have passed on, or won’t be likely to participate in 2017 or future possible seasons for other reasons, there are some I’d still like back. 🙂

Let the battle begin!

Update: having now watched several of the new episodes, and having gone back and watched more than a dozen (in order) of the old, I have a few suggestions in the hope of a second season:

  • We aren’t seeing enough of the actual competitions. In the old shows, you really did care about how the “game” was going. Take the three on three football: they didn’t show us every play, or even every exchange of plays, but we did see maybe ten plays in a row. The show was produced by the sports department, and it showed. They now have ten events being done in a shorter show, so we don’t see much of most of them. Cut down the number of events…I understand that the show probably can’t be lengthened. It’s okay to only show us part of something silly, like they did with the Simon Says segments in the past. Maybe show us the running relay, the kayak race, the dunk tank, the obstacle race, and the tug of war pretty much in full (the dunk tank can be abbreviated…they used to do that)
  • One big issue, interestingly, is that these aren’t teams who know each other or seem to have a team mentality. On the old show, they may not have known each other well, but they had an identity as ABC, CBS, or NBC, and there was a genuine real world competition. These tend to seem more like people who have never met each other before, and don’t have a shared goal. I recommend the book The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What We Can Learn About Ourselves from Our Machines by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen for good insight on how you form teams. On the old show, it seemed like they worked out together for something like a week before the show…presumably, around their respective studios. That’s clearly not happening, and not likely to happen here…so you need clearcut team identities. Update: the best way to do this might be to have them play for charities, as they do on Celebrity Family Feud. That would bond them and give them additional motivation
  • Another thing we aren’t seeing is any real insight into the celebrities as individuals. I actually didn’t show the old one with Robin Williams to my Significant Other…you can see the emotional challenges he has. That was a tough decision, and I wouldn’t have my SO not watch Robin Williams acting…but this is different and insightful. Perhaps the right thing there would be web segments with the background pieces, and a “teaser” for that during the maincast
  • The original took people outside of their comfort zones, and we respected them for braving that. The new one seems to…do less of that. Yes, social media is going to be much tougher on someone who doesn’t look perfect now, than it did then, and I get that. I’m not talking about swimsuits or the body judgment Cosell and others made so often. We just want to get the sense that what they are doing is hard for them, that they are challenging themselves. Some of them definitely are, I want to be clear of that. It’s not that we want to see people fail or look foolish…it’s that we want to see them strive and grow

I am enjoying the revival, just not as much. Having some of the returners is definitely a big plus the original didn’t have, but they need to make it more engaging for new audiences.

The season begins Thursday, June 29th at 9:00 PM

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BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

March 5, 2017

BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017 – results

What an interesting Oscar year!

I am going to talk a bit about what happened at the end of the show, but let’s start with how the team did.

The year before we had scored a 90% overall, and that’s not atypical. This year, we were considerably below that at 77%.

While it’s up to other people to determine if something is an excuse or not, I think there was a clear contributing factor to the decline. At least, I can see the impact in my own success rate.

This really was a transition year in how the Academy voted. They had deliberately changed the rules in order to reform the voting process (in part, with the hope of seeing the results be more diverse).

I didn’t take that into account enough. I was still thinking about how the “old Academy” would vote, rather than revising that.

In resulted in some patterns not repeating.

There has typically been a correlation between Best Picture and Film Editing, for example, and that didn’t happen this year.

Best Picture, Directing, and Film Editing went to three different movies (Moonlight, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, respectively).

Like many people, I’m a bit surprised to be describing Suicide Squad as an Oscar-winning movie (even though, unlike many people, I did like it). I think the old Academy would likely have gone for the more mainstream movie (A Man Called Ove), and I’ve been pretty good at predicting those Maven categories in the past.

However, that doesn’t mean we did poorly. We called most of the categories, and the only Big Six category we missed was Best Picture:

Category Team Called it
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76% Yes
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% Yes
Cinematography La La Land 88% Yes
Directing La La Land 90% Yes
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% Yes
Lead Actor Affleck 92% Yes
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% Yes
Live Short Sing 66% Yes
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% Yes
Production Design La La Land 86% Yes
Score La La Land 90% Yes
Song City of Stars: La La Land 87% Yes
Supp Actor Ali 88% Yes
Supp Actress Davis 99% Yes
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 79% Yes
Anim Short Piper 66% No
BP Moonlight 67% No
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56% No
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% No
Doc Short The White Helmets 57% No
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 61% No
Makeup Suicide Squad 70% No
Sound Editing Arrival 62% No
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70% No

The team hit 68% on the Big Six, 81% on the Incredibly Difficult Maven section, and that 77% overall.

Our top Overall scorer did get 90%…way to go! I will let individuals know how they did, and if you’d like your win noted by name in this blog, just let me know.

Thanks to everybody who played! My guess is that we’ll do better next year.

I used Google Forms this year…and that didn’t work well. It was a nice interface for people entering (although it could use more robust validation), but the underlying Google Sheet was set up in an inefficient way. I had to transpose the columns and rows and do quite a bit of work to get results, which is part of why this is a week later. 🙂

Now, let’s talk that Best Picture mix-up.

A quick summary:

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were set to announce the Best Picture. They had starred in Bonnie and Clyde roughly 40 years ago. Warren Beatty had been nominated for Best Picture (as a producer of that movie…he was also nominated for Best Picture other times).

They were handed the envelope containing the winner by the accountants (there are two) from Price Waterhouse Coopers.

They were given the wrong envelope.

They were given a back-up envelope for Best Actress (which had been won by Emma Stone for La La Land). There are two envelopes for each category, since people can come from two sides of the stage, as I understand it.

Warren Beatty opened the envelope. I’ve watched that repeatedly. It seems clear to me what happens.

He opens it, and sees that it says, “Emma Stone, La La Land”. He hesitates.

I think many viewers may not realize that the Producers’ names are on the Best Picture winning card. Remember, Warren Beatty has been nominated as a Producer of a Best Picture nominee.

He probably goes through this process: “Was Emma Stone one of the Producers of La La Land? She can’t have been the only Producer.”

He literally looks into the envelope again, apparently checking to see if there is another winners’ card.

Faye Dunaway appears to think he has been Seacresting it…dragging it out for dramatic effect. She says, “You’re impossible!” He hands her the card (and he has a smile on his face), and she loudly announces La La Land as the winner.

The Producers of La La Land go up…and even start going through their thank you speeches. I haven’t timed it, but I’m reasonably comfortable in saying there was at least thirty seconds from the time the “winner” was announced until a correction was made.

Eventually, a member of the Oscar broadcast team (not one of the accountants) comes on stage and explains what happened.

One of the Producers of La La Land magnanimously explains the error, even taking (snatching would not be inaccurate) the actual winning card and showing it to the audience.

I definitely feel sorry for both Moonlight and La La Land for the way this happened.

So, who is at fault?

I would say that there is no question that PWC deserves a huge piece of the blame (and arguably, really all of it).

Their system failed.

The two accountants are supposed to have all of the winners memorized. As soon as the wrong winner was announced, one of them (and the Stage Manager has backed this up) should have stopped it and explained…before the Producers got to the stage.

Obviously, the wrong envelope shouldn’t have been given…and one question for me on that (and I understand performance improvement) is why Emma Stone’s envelope was even still available. As soon as a category is announced, the duplicate card (I understand that the winner often keeps the card) should be removed from access. If they don’t want to destroy it because of its historical value, put it in a locked dropbox.

There was clearly a failure on the part of one of the accountants and to some extent, on both, but in my opinion, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a system that would have been robust enough to make that risk very small indeed.

Fortunately, they should be able to revamp the system to prevent this same type of error in the future.

I can’t blame Warren Beatty…even for handing Faye Dunaway the envelope. I don’t think he was intentionally setting her up, as Jimmy Kimmel (jokingly?) suggested. I can’t blame Faye Dunaway: there would have been a lot of energy at that point after the delay, and anybody could jump at the movie name they see.

Well, there you go! I thought it was a fascinating year, and while that error will dominate in many people’s memories, the (arguably successful) impact of the Academy’s changes will have a bigger effect in the future.

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BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

February 26, 2017

BOPMadness 2017 Oscar Predictions

This is it!

Submissions are closed for BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) 2017!

We make our (aggregate) predictions public before the ceremony, so you can see how we do.

Here they are by category:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%  X
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X  X
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Anim Short Piper 66%  X
BP Arrival 41%
BP Fences 57%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
BP La La Land 91% X
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
BP Moonlight 73%  X
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Cinematography La La Land 88% X  X
Cinematography Lion 64%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Costume Allied 34%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%  X
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Costume Jackie 88% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Directing La La Land 90% X  X
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66% X
Doc Short 4.1 Mile 68% X
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%  X
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%  X
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X  X
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X  X
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X  X
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Live Short Sing 66% X  X
Live Short Timecode 64%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%  X
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X  X
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Production Design Arrival 66%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Production Design La La Land 86% X  X
Production Design Passengers 36%
Score Jackie 58%
Score La La Land 90% X  X
Score Lion 60%
Score Moonlight 66%
Score Passengers 30%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X  X
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%  X
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%  X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Supp Actor Ali 88% X  X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Supp Actress Davis 100% X  X
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%  X

and here they are by percent chance of winning, with the surest things on the top and the longest shots on the bottom:

Email Address Team Predicted Winner Winner
Supp Actress Davis 100% X
Anim Feature Zootopia 92% X
Lead Actor Affleck 92% X
Lead Actress Emma Stone 92% X
BP La La Land 91% X
Directing La La Land 90% X
Score La La Land 90% X
Cinematography La La Land 88% X
Costume Jackie 88% X
Song City of Stars: La La Land 88% X
Supp Actor Ali 88% X
Production Design La La Land 86% X
Sound Mixing La La Land 86% X
Foreign Film The Salesman 84% X
Visual Effects Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 84% X
Film Editing La La Land 82% X
Original Screenplay Manchester by the Sea 80% X
Visual Effects The Jungle Book 80%
Adapted Screenplay Hidden Figures 78% X
Supp Actor Dev Patel 78%
Adapted Screenplay Moonlight 76%
Doc Feature I Am Not Your Negro 76% X
Lead Actor Denzel Washington 76%
Original Screenplay La La Land 74%
Sound Editing Hacksaw Ridge 74% X
BP Moonlight 73%
Makeup Star Trek Beyond 73% X
Anim Short Pearl 72% X
Costume La La Land 72%
Sound Editing La La Land 72%
Anim Feature Moana 70%
Directing Moonlight 70%
Makeup Suicide Squad 70%
Sound Mixing Hacksaw Ridge 70%
BP Hidden Figures 69%
Doc Short 4.1 Miles 68% X
Song Can’t Stop the Feeling: Trolls 68%
Anim Short Piper 66%
Directing Manchester by the Sea 66%
Doc Feature O.J.: Made in America 66%
Foreign Film Toni Erdmann 66%
Live Short Sing 66% X
Production Design Arrival 66%
Score Moonlight 66%
Adapted Screenplay Fences 64%
Cinematography Lion 64%
Live Short Timecode 64%
Sound Mixing Arrival 64%
BP Lion 63%
BP Manchester by the Sea 63%
Doc Short The White Helmets 62%
Film Editing Hacksaw Ridge 62%
Lead Actor Ryan Gosling 62%
Lead Actress Natalie Portman 62%
Live Short Silent Nights 62%
Sound Editing Arrival 62%
Supp Actress Michelle Williams 62%
Cinematography Moonlight 60%
Doc Feature Fire at Sea 60%
Doc Short Watani: My Homeland 60%
Lead Actress Huppert 60%
Live Short Ennemis Interieurs 60%
Score Lion 60%
Anim Feature The Red Turtle 58%
Doc Feature 13th 58%
Doc Short Extremis 58%
Doc Short Joe’s Violin 58%
Production Design Fantastic Beasts 58%
Score Jackie 58%
Song How Far I’ll Go: Moana 58%
BP Fences 57%
Makeup A Man Called Ove 57%
Anim Short Pear Cider and Cigarette 56%
Costume Fantastic Beasts 56%
Film Editing Arrival 56%
Film Editing Moonlight 56%
Supp Actor Jeff Bridges 56%
Anim Short Blind Vaysha 54%
Foreign Film A Man Called Ove 54%
Production Design Hail, Caesar! 54%
Supp Actress Naomie Harris 54%
Visual Effects Doctor Strange 54%
Adapted Screenplay Lion 52%
Anim Short Borrowed Time 52%
Cinematography Arrival 52%
Costume Florence Foster Jenkins 52%
Supp Actress Octavia Spencer 52%
Lead Actress Ruth Negga 50%
Song Audition (The Fools Who Dream): La La Land 50%
Sound Mixing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 50%
Anim Feature Kubo 48%
Foreign Film Land of Mine 48%
Live Short La Femme et le TGV 48%
Original Screenplay Hell or High Water 48%
Original Screenplay The Lobster 48%
Sound Editing Deepwater Horizon 48%
Visual Effects Kubo and the Two Strings 48%
Doc Feature Life, Animated 46%
Film Editing Hell or High Water 46%
Foreign Film Tanna 46%
Supp Actor Lucas Hedges 46%
Cinematography Silence 44%
Sound Editing Sully 44%
Supp Actress Nicole Kidman 44%
Directing Villeneuve 42%
BP Arrival 41%
Adapted Screenplay Arrival 40%
Lead Actress Meryl Streep 38%
Supp Actor Michael Shannon 38%
Visual Effects Deepwater Horizon 38%
Anim Feature My Life as a Zucchini 36%
Directing Hacksaw Ridge 36%
Lead Actor Viggo Mortensen 36%
Production Design Passengers 36%
Song The Empty Chair: Jim The James Foley 36%
Costume Allied 34%
Lead Actor Andrew Garfield 34%
Original Screenplay 20th Century Women 34%
BP Hell or High Water 32%
Score Passengers 30%
Sound Mixing 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (disqualified) 30%
BP Hacksaw Ridge 29%

Thanks to everybody who played! I’ll update this with the winners, and get the individual results to the players in the next few days.

We’ll know soon!

See you in the movies!

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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.

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

February 20, 2017

The Oscars are one week away! Surest things and longest shots

We are one week away from the Oscars, and I thought I’d check in with how the BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness) predictions were shaping up so far.

These certainly may change: if you want to make predictions, you still can by using this Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You can also see all of the aggregate predictions there, but I thought I’d tease it by giving you the surest things and the longest shots at this point. We rank every nominee in every category, but here are those standouts.

So far, there are four nominees that we rank at 100% probability of winning…every player so far has given them the top possible score:

  • Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role for La La Land
  • Viola Davis for Actress in a Supporting Role for Fences
  • Cinematography for La La Land (Linus Sandgren)
  • Sound Mixing for La La Land (Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow)

Those are the surest shots. That could change as more players (including you?) send in predictions, but they probably will still be strong contenders.

At the other end are two nominees tied for least likely. To be clear, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good or worthy or even that they won’t win, but just that at this point, we have in the aggregate given them the lowest probability…a 23% chance of taking their categories:

  • Sound Mixing for 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Mac Ruth)
  • Music (Original Score) for Passengers (Thomas Newman)

Think the wisdom of the group is wrong…or agree with it? Have other guesses you want to make? Please feel free to play at that Google form! The more the merrier, and possibly, we’ll beat last year’s 90% overall score! You can also see our current predictions for all of the categories…

See you in the movies!

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BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

February 12, 2017

BOPMadness 2017! Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness: make your own & see what we say

For more than two decades, I’ve been doing an Oscar prediction contest. We only play for that most valuable of all human possessions…braggin’ rights. 😉 I’ve developed a particular way that we do it, and partially as a result of that, we tend to do quite well as a group in predictions…last year, we scored a 90% overall.

I’m doing it a bit differently this year (just in terms of process), which I think will make it easier for people to do and for them to see the results: I’m using a Google form:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

You don’t need to sign up or anything, just play. 🙂 It does require an e-mail address (that’s the only way I can have it send you your guesses, if you want), and I do require that you make guesses about every nominee in every category…the more answers, I think the better we should do (based on the wisdom of crowds).

Feel free to spread the word! There’s only a week left. 😉

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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.

2017 Oscar noms

January 24, 2017

2017 Oscar noms

This is very preliminary, almost live-blogging. 🙂 I’ll call out the geeky nominees as I catch them, sometimes shortening the names. After the announcements, I’ll formalize it more and add some comments.

Some thoughts:

  • How can you nominate an animated movie for Special Effects (they can do anything)? Kubo was
  • Now Oscar-nominated movies: Suicide Squad, Passengers (multiple), Star Trek Beyond, Trolls
  • Really, really looking for noms for Hidden Figures (our favorite movie probably in the past year), and none so far. There’s the first! Adapted Screenplay. Octavia Spencer was nominated: yay!
  • Moana and Zootopia are nominated for Animated Feature
  • Arrival is cleaning up, but not Best Actress. It is, I think, one of the most nominated movies, with La La Land (which we have decided does not count for as geek-friendly), Moonlight…maybe Manchester by the Sea (this is pretty much live)
  • Hidden Figures nominated for Best Picture…Deadpool was not
  • I thought having former Oscar honorees announce the nominees in pre-recorded segments, and mixing high profile and less high profile categories, worked
  • Lin-Manual Miranda is closer to an EGOT (Emmy Grammy Oscar Tony) with a nomination for a Moana song…although worth noting that “You’re Welcome” wasn’t nominated, leaving Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s road to an EGOT a bit longer… 😉 Seriously, it’s not going to surprise me if The Rock eventually gets an EGOT, just not right away

Best Original Song

  • Justin Timberlake for “Can’t Stop the Feeling” for Trolls
  • Lin-Manual Miranda for “How Far I’ll Go” for Moana

SFX (Special Effects)

  • Doctor Strange
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Doc Short

Documentary Feature

  • Life, Animated

Editing

  • Joe Walker for Arrival

Sound Mixing

Rogue One is Oscar-nominated, thanks to this category (and Visual Effects)

  • Arrival
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Sound Editing

  • Sylvain Bellemare for Arrival

Production Design

I really thought Hidden Figures might be nominated here.

  • Arrival
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Passengers

Live Action Short

Animated Short

Best Animated Feature

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

 Supporting Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Supporting Actress

  • Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Star Trek Beyond
  • Suicide Squad

Costume

  • Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Cinematography

  • Bradford Young for Arrival

Adapted Screenplay

  • Eric Heissener and Ted Chiang for Arrival
  • Allison Schroeder, Theodore Melfi, Margot Lee Shetterly for Hidden Figures

Original Screenplay

  • Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster

Original Score

Not Moana? Well, “score” now often doesn’t mean songs, but La La Land was nominated

  • Thomas Newman for Passengers

Foreign Language

Directing

  • Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

Lead Actress

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Lead Actor

No performances in geek-friendly roles nominated

Best Picture

  • Arrival
  • Hidden Figures

Where can you legally stream any of these Oscar nominees without paying additional money (subscriptions required)?

Amazon Prime:

  • Life, Animated
  • The Lobster

Hulu:

Netflix:

  • The Jungle Book
  • Zootopia

2017 Oscar nominations video:

Complete list of nominees from the Academy website:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard !

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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.

2017…destined to be weird?

January 8, 2017

2017…destined to be weird?

Is there something weird about years which end in 7?

I mean really weird…Bigfoot, flying saucer kind of weird. 😉

Weird things are reported every year, but for crashing into the public consciousness, it’s hard to beat years which end in seven.

1817…the Gloucester Sea Serpent…and a sea serpent necropsy!

Sea serpents had been seen in the area before, but 1817 was a major flap off Massachusetts. The Linnean Society examined a supposed baby specimen and gave it a scientific name: Scoliophis atlanticus. That identification has been disputed

1897…mystery airships from space!

While the mystery airship wave really started in late 1896, it’s in 1897 that we start to see them interpreted as alien spacecraft (before that, “mystery inventor” was one of the popular theories. In April, it’s reported that an occupant dies and is buried in Aurora, Texas. A newspaper also reports a calf being lassoed from a UFO

1947…the dawn of the “Flying Saucer Age”

Unexplained flying lights and vehicles (including foo fighters and ghost rockets) had been reported before, but on June 24th 1947, Kenneth Arnold described the movement of odd-shaped flying objects he’d seen as being like a saucer would make if you skipped it over water…which then became the term “flying saucer”. Many sightings happened in the following weeks…and what now be the most famous case, the Roswell Incident, occurred in July of that year

1957…UFO car stops!

Within a month of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch, a major UFO “flap” happened in Levelland, Texas. The “evidence acceleration” here was “car stops”…vehicles stopping working when a UFO is near, and sometimes spontaneously working afterwards. Investigators of this multiple-independent-witness case, included the Air Force’s Project Blue Book. In this nationally publicized case, everybody seemed to agree that something happened, but the Air Force and others suggested it was natural atmospheric phenomena (such as ball lightning). Car stops were reported in later UFO cases.

1967…Bigfoot filmed!

The term “Bigfoot” was popularized in 1958, but the game clearly changed when a Bigfoot was reportedly filmed on October 20, 1997. That widely-publicized and seen footage of a Bigfoot looking back over its (generally believed to be “her”) shoulder has been parodied many times, and is still the image many people have of Bigfoot. Also, on May 19th, Stefan Michalak has burns which he claims are from a UFO

1977…the Dover Demon!

In Massachusetts in April, a strange, small humanoid is encountered. Famed cryptozoologist Loren Coleman names it the “Dover Demon”

1987: Gulf Breeze!

Unusually clear UFO photographs are in the news, reportedly taken by Ed Walters. There is a lot of investigation in this case (particularly since it was supposedly an ongoing phenomenon), coming to different conclusions

1997…Phoenix Lights!

In March, lights in the sky and structured craft are reportedly seen in several states by thousands of people…and filmed. Even the Governor of Arizona, Fife Symington, is a witness, although initially making fun of the idea of an extraterrestrial origin

2007…Space Shuttle footage!

On August 6th, a space shuttle films what some believe is a UFO

2017…???

This sampling of many weird events from years which end in seven suggest that we may have something that happens this year that is particularly memorable, and perhaps either unprecedented or on a new scale (of impact, or of the quality of evidence).

What do you think? What did I leave off the list? Can as good an argument be made for other year-ending numbers? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

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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.


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