Kimberly C's blog

A Comparative Look at Awards Season

OscarsThis morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards. Honoring achievements in film, the Oscars are highly anticipated by Hollywood and movie goers alike. These nominations come several weeks after announcements of nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) and the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA Awards).

Every year, I find it interesting to compare the lists of nominees in the major categories at these three awards shows. Sometimes the nominations are strikingly similar (as with this year’s nominees for best director and lead actress), and sometimes they are completely different (as with this year’s nominees for best supporting actor). Below, I have listed all the nominees for film, director and the four major acting awards.

Although the Bafta Awards and the SAG Awards are always handy indicators of what is likely to win at the Academy Awards, there are always surpries at each show. It will be interesting to see how the wins compare at the end of awards season.

For a look at the entire list of nominations for each awards show, visit the Academy Awards website, the BAFTA Awards website, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards website.

Best Film or Performance by a Cast:

A Modern Christmas

Christmas at DisneyworldChristmas is here again,
Stand up and cheer again.
Let’s leave our heartaches and sorrows behind.
- "Christmas is Here Again", Roger Whittaker

I know I say this every year, but it bears repeating: Christmas is my most favorite time of year! I love everything associated with the Christmas season and have since I was a little girl. I love decorating the Christmas tree with White Christmas playing in the background, baking cookies while singing along to my favorite Christmas tunes, and wrapping piles of presents late into the night. There are so many traditions associated with the Christmas season, but perhaps my favorite of these involves gathering around the TV with my family and watching beloved Christmas movies.

Last year, I wrote about the classic movies that had shaped my childhood Christmases. I still love those movies today and cherish the memories they bring (e.g., like the year I first discovered White Christmas and watched it every day for two weeks straight!), but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for some of the more recent Christmas movies Hollywood has brought us. Some of the movies are funny and some are bittersweet. Some of the movies focus on the holidays, while others only happen around Christmas. But no matter the story, the joy of Christmas can be felt running through each movie. 

If you’re in the mood for a more modern take on the holidays this year, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

Turkey Day

thanksgiving cookiesWith its tradition of big meals and family gatherings, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is also the most overlooked of the fall holidays, stuck in between the fun of Halloween and the cheer of Christmas. No sooner has the Halloween candy been eaten, than we are skipping ahead and preparing for Christmas, with only a meal and shopping to celebrate Thanksgiving. Even Hollywood seems to have bypassed Thanksgiving for the more obvious Christmas plots. Thanksgiving movies may be few and far between, but there are still enough to remind us what the holiday is really about: food, family, thankfulness, and pie. Always pie.

If you are in the mood for a Thanksgiving movie this season, browse the HCPL catalog and request one today!

The Art of The TV Marathon

tv remoteIt’s no secret that I love TV. I eagerly anticipate new episodes of my favorite TV shows each week and despair when they go on hiatus. Season premieres are cause for celebration, while season finales are crushing. But I have noticed that there are some shows that are simply better when watched all at once. I confess to collecting all the episodes in one season of some shows (Game of Thrones & Downton Abbey) on my DVR to watch one after another over a long weekend. This does, unfortunately, leave room for potential spoilers, but at least I don’t spend the days in between episodes in a state of cliffhanger-induced anxiety.

But there is something to be said about waiting until the series finale airs before tackling a whole TV show from start to finish. About building a pillow fortress on the couch, putting on comfy clothes, collecting tasty snacks and settling in for a no holds barred TV marathon. It’s sometimes my favorite way to experience a new TV show. With the last season of Breaking Bad in the bag and the DVDs set to release in a few weeks, I am looking forward to an epic marathon of what, I’ve been promised, is a spectacular show. No spoilers, please!

If you’re in the mood to take a break from family (or gather family together!) and marathon a TV show this holiday season, check out the list of great shows to watch from beginning to end!

The Hills are Alive...

music  notesIn 2004, the American Film Institute released a new list in their 100 Years series, this one celebrating iconic songs in movies. I have confessed my love for movie musicals many times on this blog, but there is something to be said for that one song that can define an entire movie. What would Dirty Dancing be without that final performance to (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life? How many of us still passionately sing along with Celine Dion and think of Jack and Rose when My Heart Will Go On plays on the radio? And is a Bond movie really complete without a new, killer theme song?

When AFI first released the 100 Years...100 Songs list, my college roommate and I were obsessed. It was our goal to collect all 100 songs and put them in one playlist and, by the end of the year, we had almost succeeded! Below, I have listed some of my favorite movie songs. Browse the entire list and let me know if your favorite song was included!

Space: The Final Frontier

full moonWe all know about fashion trends, but how often do we give thought to movie trends? One of this year’s most popular trends is movies set in space. This summer saw the release of a number of movies that fit this theme (e.g., Star Trek: Into Darkness and Elysium), and the trend continues with some of this fall’s most anticipated movies. Earlier this month, Gravity opened to high critical and popular acclaim and continues to smash box office records. And on November 1, Ender’s Game, based on the Orson Scott Card novel of the same name, hits theaters with a science fiction twist on the space trend. Whether the movie is a more realistic portrayal of space and mankind in space (e.g.,  Apollo 13) or a science fiction adventure that only tangentially reflects reality (e.g., Star Wars and Star Trek), it always manages to capture the imagination of Earthbound movie goers.

If you can’t make it to the theater this month, or want to see more cinematic adventures in space, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie today!

The Post-Apocalyptic World

wastelandThis month, Harris County Public Library, along with other libraries in the Greater Houston area, celebrates Gulf Coast Reads 2013. This year’s novel is The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. The Dog Stars follows the struggles of a man and his dog, taking refuge in a Colorado airport hanger after a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world’s population.

Novels depicting the world after apocalyptic events have always been prevelent, and television and movies are no different. Perhaps it is the conflicting emotions of the story that pull in readers and viewers: a fierce desire to survive and build a new civilization despite loneliness in the face of total devestation. The recent rise in popularity of books and movies about dystopian civilizations (e.g., The Hunger Games) feed this same desire to see a small group of people struggling together to overcome seemingly hopeless situations. Or maybe viewers just want to leave theaters knowing that no matter what happens, humanity will survive.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic thriller this weekend, browse the HCPL catalog and request a movie or television show today!

65th Primetime Emmy Awards

Emmy StatuetteLast night, the recipients of the Primetime Emmys were announced in a live telecast and, like many people, I tuned in to see what surprises were in store. Most awards shows are generally a mix of the expected and the unexpected, and this year’s Emmys were no different. Although the big winners of the night (Modern Family, Breaking Bad and Behind the Candelabra) were no surprise, the acting awards seemed to break every expectation. Even the winning actors often seemed surprised when their names were read! (Case in point: Merritt Wever’s four-word speech after her shocking, but deserved, win for her work in Nurse Jackie.)

Unlike most awards shows, last nights Emmys also had a more solemn tone than usual. In addition to the In Memoriam segment, the Emmys featured extended, more personal tributes to five industry greats who passed away this year. These, along with a somber tribute to Liberace and a segment on the upcoming 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy contributed to the reflective feel of the Emmys. Fortunately, host Neil Patrick Harris was always there to lighten the mood with a witty aside or glitzy song and dance number. Overall, the Emmys may have verged on the depressing, but the excitement of the winners made it fun to watch.

If you missed the Emmys last night, check out a partial list of winners below and a complete list at the official Emmys website.

The Return of Fall TV

tvTo some people, the end of summer means the beginning of a new school year. To others, it means a slow drop in temperatures to something slightly more bearable. For me, the end of summer means the return of my favorite fall television shows. The steady rise in popularity of off-season TV means that, more often now, there are plenty of shows to keep viewers occupied during the summer months. However, my favorite TV shows are still the network dramas and sitcoms that air September to May.

There are always plenty of new TV shows ready to hook viewers and become a vital part of the weekly lineup, and this year is no different. But fall TV is more than trying out new shows. It’s about finally getting answers to last season’s cliffhangers and discovering more about favorite characters. That connection with TV characters and that willingness to set aside time each week to escape into someone else’s imagination is why so many shows come back season after season with familiar faces and fresh ideas.

If you’re out of the TV loop, or just want to catch up on previous seasons of current TV, browse the HCPL catalog and see what we have to offer! And if you’re still trying to prep the DVR for the upcoming seasons, check out this handy guide to all the primetime network shows.

Fall TV Picks:

Back to School

lockersAlong with the continued blistering heat, August brings with it the end of lazy summer days and the beginning of a new school year. But if movies have taught us anything, it’s that locker-lined high school hallways are teeming with drama, comedy and romance worth watching. Whether the story is about teenage love or social status, cut-throat sports or academia, the high school years have provided many popular movie topics. Even when these movies don’t seem anything like our own experiences, there are enough similarities to bring back memories of carefree teenage years and the feeling of being on top of the world.

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