Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

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
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!

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.

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. 😉

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 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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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.

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It’s award season: how geeky is it?

December 15, 2016

It’s award season: how geeky is it?

Oh, it’s going to be an interesting award season!

This week, we’ve had three major announcements. Sunday was the 22nd annual

Critics’ Choice Awards

For me, there were very few surprises there. It seems like any reader of Entertainment Weekly (and I’ve been reading it for a very long time) would be very familiar with almost all of the winners

That’s interesting, in part because I think people believe critics tend to like movies that audiences don’t (hypothetically showing their more refined sensibilities), but I wouldn’t say that’s the case this year. Making a lot of money did not rule you out for an award…and in at least a couple of awards, the winner had the highest dogro (domestic gross) as well.

It was also quite geek-friendly.

I haven’t seen La La Land yet, and I’m not sure if there is actual fantasy in it, so I won’t count that as a geek-friendly winner…yet.;)

Best Picture

Interesting to me here that Arrival was nominated. That seems to have a chance for some prestige Oscar noms…

Best Comedy Series

Silicon Valley won.

Best Drama Series

Game of Thrones won, but Westworld and Stranger Things were also nominated, along with Mr. Robot (and Better Call Saul, The Crown, and This Is Us).

Best Actor in a Drama Series

While Bob Odenkirk won for Better Call Saul, Sam Heughan was nominated for Outlander, as was Rami Malek for Mr. Robot.

Best Structured Reality Show

Penn & Teller: Fool Us was nominated, although James Corden won.

Best Animated Series

The winner was BoJack Horseman: other nominees were Archer, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons, South Park, and hybrid Son of Zorn.

Entertainer of the Year Award

Ryan Reynolds, obviously primarily for Deadpool.

Best Actress

Amy Adams was nominated for Arrival; Natalie Portman won for Jackie.

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Evan Rachel Wood brought it home for Westworld…but Caitriona Balfe (Outlander) and Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) were both nominated.

Best Comedy

Deadpool won…and was the highest domestic grossing of the nominees.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve got a nom for Arrival, but the win went to Damien Chazelle for La La Land (who should easily see an Oscar nom as well).

Best Supporting Actress

Fences got Viola Davis the award, and Janelle Monae was nominated for Hidden Figures.

Best Song

City of Stars from La La Land was lauded, but Can’t Stop the Feeling from Trolls was nominated. Interestingly, the nominee for Moana was How Far I’ll Go, not You’re Welcome, which has had a much higher social media presence.

Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series

Jeffrey Dean Morgan hit a home run (so to speak) for The Walking Dead.

See Her Award

This was a special award which went to Viola Davis…although I don’t think they were primarily thinking Suicide Squad.

Best Actor in a Comedy

Ryan Reynolds showed the maximum result from his maximum effort as Deadpool. The future Doc Savage, Dwayne Johnson, was one of the other nominees for Central Intelligence.

Best Actress in a Comedy

Hey, Kate McKinnon, if you are going to be beaten by somebody for your Ghostbusters performance, Meryl Streep is a good choice. 😉

Best Animated Feature

Zootopia won, and has been a great success story (although Finding Dory, also nominated, had a higher dogro). Other nominees included Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, The Red Turtle, and Trolls.

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali won for Moonlight. I don’t think I’ve seen Alphas or The 4400 mentioned in all the coverage he has been getting as a “rising star”.

Best Actor in a Comedy Series was won by Donald Glover for Atlanta, although Will Forte was also nominated for The Last Man on Earth.

Best Score

Johan Johansson was nominated for Arrival; La La Land’s Justin Hurwitz won.

Best Visual Effects

The hybrid The Jungle Book won, with other nominees being Arrival, A Monster Calls, Doctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Best Production Design

Winner is La La Land, but Arrival and Fantastic Beasts also got noms.

Hair and Makeup

Jackie won: Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts, and Star Trek Beyond were also nominated.

Editing

La La Land scores again, but Arrival had yet another nomination.

Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts was nominated; Jackie won.

Cinematography

Hopefully, Arrival hadn’t worn out the “I’m glad you won…you really deserve it” smile by the time they got to this category. 😉

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

John Lithgow took it for The Crown. Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington were nominated for Game of Thrones, along with Christian Slater for Mr. Robot.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Thandie Newton made it a double for Westworld in acting. Emilia Clarke and Lena Headey were nominated for Game of Thrones.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Here’s a win for Arrival! Hidden Figures was also nominated.

Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series

American Crime Story’s Courtney B. Vance won, with Benedict Cumberbatch nominated for The Abominable Bride.

Best Original Screenplay

Congrats to Chazelle for La La Land; Yorgos Lanthimos was also nominated for The Lobster.

Best Actress in an Action Movie

No question that all of these geeky movies were also action movies…but it’s worth noting that no non-geeky movie had a best actress nominated. Are powerful women still more acceptable in a fantasy world…just as they were in the days of the pulps? Margot Robbie won for Suicide Squad (and will again play Harley Quinn in another movie), with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War, and Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange also nominated.

Best Actor in an Action Movie

Andrew Garfield wins for a non-geeky role (Hacksaw Ridge). Also nominated were Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Matt Damon for Jason Bourne, Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: Civil War, and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (meaning he could have won two Critics Choice Awards in the same year for the same role).

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Arrival, which may be the most Oscar-nommed of this bunch, won. Other nominees were 10 Cloverfield Lane, Doctor Strange, Don’t Breathe, Star Trek Beyond, and The Witch.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson won for Baskets, and T.J. Miller was nominated for Silicon Valley.

Best Young Actor/Actress

Manchester by the Sea is picking up awards for Amazon. Lewis MacDougall got a nomination for A Monster Calls.

Best Acting Ensemble

Moonlight shines as the winner, and Hidden Figures was in the running.

Best Action Movie

Yep, the non-geeky Hacksaw Ridge wins, over Civil War, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Jason Bourne.


The Golden Globes nominations were announced Monday (the ceremony is January 8th). Often more geek-friendly than the Oscars, it is still seen by some as a predictor (even though the categories don’t really line up).

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Deadpool gets a nom, along with La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Amy Adams is nominated.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Colin Farrell was nominated for The Lobster, as was Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool and Ryan Gosling for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone is up for La La Land.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Octavia Spencer gets a nomination for Hidden Figures…a different way than the Critics Choice went.

Best Director – Motion Picture

Damien Chazelle will likely get an Oscar nom, and got a Globe nom as well.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

La La Land lands another nomination.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

City of Stars from La La Land, How Far I’ll Go from Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda), Faith from Sing (Stevie Wonder co-write with Ryan Tedder and Francis Farewell Starlite), and Can’t Stop the Feeling (Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback).

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Arrival, Hidden Figures, and La La Land are competing.

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana, Sing, Zootopia…and in one of those left field Golden Globe noms, My Life as a Zucchini.

Best Television Series – Drama

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld means that more than half of this category is geeky.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Rami Malek in Mr. Robot is up.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

60% geeky, with Caitriona Balfe for Outlander, Winona Ryder for Stranger Things, and Evan Rachel Wood for Westworld.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Mr. Robot strikes again with Christian Slater.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television

Lena Heady in Game of Thrones versus Thandie Newton in Westworld.


The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be given out on January 29th, and nominations were announced Wednesday.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The NASA true story inspired Hidden Figures is on the Launchpad.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Ryan Gosling is in contention for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Will Amy Adams, nominated here, get that rarity and be nominated for an Oscar for a geeky role? Emma Stone was also nominated for La La Land.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

SAG agrees with the Globes, nominating Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures.

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

The Big Bang Theory gets a nomination here…as does the non-geeky Black-ish, which has a number of acting noms this year. Why is that worth noting? They are both from the former big three networks (as is Modern Family, one more nominated in this category).

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld will battle again.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Peter Dinklage continues to get recognition in Game of Thrones; Rami Malek is again nommed for Mr. Robot.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Nice to see Millie Bobby Brown nominated for Stranger Things, along with here co-star, Wynona Ryder. Thandie Newton is also competing, representing Westworld.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a television Movie or Miniseries

Glory is reflected on Bryce Dallas Howard through a Black Mirror.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

All geeky, with Daredevil, Game of Thrones, Luke Cage, The Walking Dead, and Westworld.

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Film

People have been talking about this for the Oscars for years, but SAG has it. Captain America: Civil War, Jason Bourne, and Doctor Strange are up against Hacksaw Ridge and Nocturnal Animals.

SAG Life Achievement Award goes to Lily Tomlin.


Update: The National Film Registry (from The Library of Congress) inductees for this year were announced Wednesday morning. Geek-friendly titles included

  • The Birds
  • The Lion King
  • Lost Horizon (1937)
  • The Princess Bride
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Overall, this is an unusually geek-friendly awards season so far. We can thank, in part, Arrival, Hidden Figures, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Westworld.

Clearly, geek-friendly works are becoming more respectable…

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!

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 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.

2016 Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees: recognizing geek-friendly acting

November 15, 2016

2016 Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominees: recognizing geek-friendly acting

Acting in geek-friendly roles has generally not been recognized for awards because, you know, it’s so much easy acting in something which isn’t only outside of your actual experience, but anybody’s actual experience. 😉

It’s not that it never happens: Leonard Nimoy was nominated three times for a Primetime Emmy for playing Spock on the original Star Trek, Peter Dinklage has twice that (with two wins) for Game of Thrones, and Tatiana Maslany has been nominated twice and won once for a Primetime Emmy for Orphan Black (batting 500).

The latter two have also been nominated for The Critics’ Choice Television Awards (which weren’t around when ST:TOS was on). Those nominations are out for this year, and there are quite a few geek-friendly acting noms:

http://www.criticschoice.com/critics-choice-awards

It feels like a real move in the direction of the continued mainstreaming of geekery. Not only are geek-friendly actors being nominated in the drama category (often seen as the most prestigious, although that’s a debatable impression), but this time, there is actually more than one nominee in some categories…making a non-win not only probable, but virtually inevitable (outside of ties). 😉

Before we look at those nominees, it’s worth noting a couple of factors which may be influencing the choices.

First, there is the rise of non-broadcast television in nominations…HBO leads this year, Netflix tied with ABC for second, and FX was fourth. Subscription television is regulated differently, and isn’t dependent on mainstream advertisers in the same way.

Second, this year there has been a split in the critics in the pool, because it has aligned with Entertainment Weekly. That reminded me a bit of special effects artists bowing out of the Academy Awards when the 1976 was nominated.

That might not have directly impacted these nominations, but it shows an evolution that might have changed the direction a bit.

Okay, geek-friendly noms!

  • Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Will Forte in The Last Man on Earth
  • Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Christine Baranski in The Big Bang Theory
  • Best Animated Series: Archer | BoJack Horseman | Son of Zorn | South Park | The Simpsons
  • Best Structured Reality Series:  Penn & Teller: Fool Us
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington in Game of Thrones | Christian Slater in Mr. Robot
  • Best Actress in a Drama Series: Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey in Game of Thrones | Thandie Newton in Westworld
  • Best Actor in a Drama Series: Sam Heughan in Outlander | Rami Malek in Mr. Robot
  • Best Actress in a Drama Series: Caitriona Balfe in Outlander | Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black | Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
  • Best Drama Series: Game of Thrones | Mr. Robot | Stranger Things | Westworld
  • Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead
  • Best Actor in a Movie made for Television or a Limited Series: Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Congratulations to first-timers Westworld (which did quite well in noms), and Stranger Things (where some might have expected more noms)!

I would say that many of these acting nominees have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, although, of course, many actors featured in EW weren’t nominated.

Winners will be announced on Sunday, December 11th with T.J. Miller (Deadpool) hosting.

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* 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.

 

Alan Tudyk: the unknown movie star

October 22, 2016

Alan Tudyk: the unknown movie star

Is 2016 the year that

Alan Tudyk

becomes a household name?

It’s a bit of a surprise that he isn’t already.

After all, he has appeared on our Most Valuable Players list multiple times:

He is on 815 (!) reader created lists at IMDb.

Still, despite having significant roles in some of the most popular movies of the year, I think most people couldn’t name him.

Oh, it’s different for geeks…we know him from Serenity and Dollhouse, just to name two.

Why might this year be different?

Star Wars.

Star Wars is the crossover geekshow of all time (although there are others, certainly). I think most people have heard of, well, just about everybody in a Star Wars movie.

Voicing the lead droid character, K-2SO ought to do it. 🙂

He will also easily make the MVP list this year, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story , Moana, and Zootopia. It’s possible his movies will make a combined dogro (domestic gross) of over one billion dollars this year, a rare feat (only achieved by five MVPs in 2015).

For more information on Alan Tudyk, see his birthdate of March 16, 1971 at

The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

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!

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 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.

Is My Favorite Martian’s “Uncle Martin” a Jedi?

September 22, 2016

Is My Favorite Martian’s “Uncle Martin” a Jedi?

My Favorite Martian was a popular “mermaid out of water”* sitcom which aired from 1963 to 1966. I’ve recently been re-watching it on Hulu, and it got me thinking.

“Uncle Martin”, the Martian (whose real name is Exigius) has a number of “unearthly abilities”. They are fairly well established in the first season (although they arguably expand in the third season).

Some of them seemed a bit familiar to me, and then it struck me: they reminded me of the Jedi abilities in Star Wars.

Now, let me be very clear: I’m not suggesting that George Lucas copied My Favorite Martian! Certainly, it seems likely that he saw the series (he was 19 when it debuted), but was undoubtedly familiar with the themes through other science fiction. Nothing here originated with the John L. Greene/Jack Chertok’s sitcom.

It’s more the idea for me that “Uncle Martin” may be a Jedi…even though Star Wars takes place in a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago (perhaps the Martian Jedi philosophy was a survivor from an ancient time).

Let’s take a look at what Uncle Martin can do, and compare it to Jedi.

Telekinesis

This is one of the most obvious parallels. Uncle Martin uses his “levitation finger” to move things with his mind. It may look sillier (this is a comedy, after all) when he wiggles his finger, but it’s actually less effort than when a Jedi makes full arm swings. Darth Vader comes close when he chokes someone. There are certainly limitations…Uncle Martin can’t influence things which are very far away, and neither can Jedi. If they could, they’d be able to take fighter spacecraft out of the sky with a gesture. Martin, who is quite a techie, did create a levitation machine with an extended range…something we don’t see in Star Wars.

Acrobatics

One of the things that defines Jedi for me is the acrobatics. The Martian does do very Jedi moves in one episode, The Disastro-Nauts. He is applying to be an astronaut on an Earth rocket to Mars, and despite appearing to be a meek, older human, shows up all of the young military types. That includes demonstrating extraordinary strength. We don’t usually see this, but he is a quiet type most of the time (not unlike the Jedi).

Telempathy/reading minds

Martin can sense emotions from somewhat far away…a “disturbance in the Force”, so to speak. However, again, Martin would win in a contest…he can read actual thoughts. If Lord Vader could do that, they would have a much simpler time fighting the rebellion. It’s not easy: he needs to be close, and generally, the other person has to concentrate (as does Martin). Martin sometimes tricks people into thinking about a topic (by asking questions) so he can get the details of it as he reads their minds.

Talking to animals

Interestingly, the Martian can speak with non-human animals…perhaps not surprising, since his telepathy already crosses species with humans. The animals appear to be cognitively much more advanced than would generally be accepted, but their motivations and perspectives are generally reasonably appropriate. A cat may be motivated by food, but hides an object to affect future events and understands what that object is and its importance. Can Jedi speak with animals? There are a lot of species involved in Star Wars, in addition to artificially intelligent droids. I can’t say that I’ve seen Jedi have the kind of communication Martin has with dogs and cats…they don’t appear to ask Tauntauns for specific information, for instance.

Jedi mind tricks

As is the case with Jedi, Uncle Martin can’t possess someone and control their actions. He can push them physically around with telekinesis, of course. However, he is also able to confuse them…we see a scene quite a bit like the “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” scene. Martin is speeding (to help Tim), and two police officers chase him. He slows them down, and after they catch up, they can’t figure out why they were after him.

Invisibility

Uncle Martin can actually become invisible at will (unless something like a lightning storm messes it up). That’s an ability that Jedi don’t have (they do a lot of sneaking around in the movies which they wouldn’t have to do if they could just go transparent). That appears to be an inherent Martian ability, though…Martin needs his (metallic appearing, but apparently biological) retractable antennae to work for that. They may be implants of some kind, and the invisibility might be technological, but it’s clear that Martians generally have them. Martin is clearly not a Homo sapiens (for one thing, he is about 450 years old…and those are Martian years, not Earth years), but neither is Yoda.

Those are really Uncle Martin’s signature abilities. Now, Martin doesn’t have a light saber and isn’t a warrior (he’s a professor of anthropology), but do you have to have that to be a Jedi? If a Jedi loses their light saber, does that make them not a Jedi any more? It might make it hard for them to be a Jedi knight, but isn’t it possible there are Jedi who aren’t knights? If not, why add the term “knight” at all?

There are other parallels with Uncle Martin and Yoda: they are both relatively long-lived; they both dispense advise (Uncle Martin advised many famous humans over the centuries, on return trips to Earth…as far as we know, he just hasn’t been stranded on Earth before)…although Uncle Martin probably physically resembles Ben Kenobi more.

Could the Jedi philosophy have survived on Mars a long time later? By the way, Martin makes so many references to the actual planet Mars (trying to hideaway on an Earth probe there, for one thing) that it is hard to argue that he really isn’t from Mars…unless he has some form of transportation there that gets him to the actually more life-friendly location he describes.

What do you think? Is Uncle Martin a Jedi? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

 * “Mermaid out of water” is a term I use for a situation that is like the classic “fish out of water”, but the outsider is magical, from another time, from another planet, or something otherwise outside of the human norm

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!

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 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.

Why we love Gene Wilder

August 30, 2016

Why we love Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder has reportedly died.

A brilliant actor, who was also a writer and director, Wilder was a study in contradictions, with eyes that were both twinkling and pools of sadness, optimistic and pessimistic, a believer in magic and doubter of the ordinary.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on stage to two Oscar nominations (for acting in The Producers and screenwriting with long-time collaborator Mel Brooks for Young Frankenstein), there is no question that Gene Wilder was respected.

He was, though, also beloved, especially by geeks like me. We have a special place in our hearts for Gene Wilder.

Why is that?

Three of his best-known roles reveal a theme that helps explain it.

Willy Wonka, the Waco Kid, and Dr. Frederick Frankenstein have some significant similarities (although Wilder’s talent and skill clearly make them distinct characters).

In all three cases, they are superior individuals. Willy Wonka has created an unparalleled business, and appears to have almost magical powers. The Waco Kid may be the greatest gunslinger ever. Dr. Frankenstein literally brings the dead to life again.

They have also all rejected society. If they “played the game”, they could be the toast of the town, the top of their respective fields. Willy Wonka has actually withdrawn from the world. The Waco Kid has crawled into a bottle and  taken a nap there. Dr. Frankenstein has tried to fit in, but once at the castle, casts all that aside to continue his grandfather’s work.

None of that would make them especially endearing.

However, each of them also champions someone rejected by that same society which they have rejected. Willy Wonka does not minimize Charlie, who is poor and not the social equal of the other kids. The Waco Kid recognizes Sheriff Bart for his intrinsic value, unlike many others who at the least discount him out of prejudice. Dr. Frankenstein believes “The Monster” is as much a human being as anyone else.

That’s a clear appeal for geeks and for anyone who has considered themselves the underdog. The powerful person who doesn’t use that power to exclude, but to reach out to those on the fringes.

None of them are perfect. They can all be angry, and cynicism isn’t pretty. That helps, though…we see characters overcoming personality flaws (flaws which they know are there) to help someone who has been denied acceptance.

Again, that’s not to say that Gene Wilde replayed the same character. Those three each have distinct personalities…which wouldn’t have liked each other. In other performances, we don’t always see these three elements…and while the actor could be equally good in those roles, he wasn’t as beloved.

As Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder said, “We are the dreamers of dreams.” “We”…not “I”. There is a kinship offered. “I am like you, and we are not like most people.”

The dreams will live on.

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!

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 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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