Some observations on my Oscar experience

Even though I’ve written a book about the Oscars, I’ve never actually attended any of their events, or come much closer than watching the show when it airs.

That changed earlier this week, when I attended the announcement ceremony from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Hollywood. I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to get there for the media breakfast and be in place for the announcements, which took place at 5:38 a.m. (so that they were in time for the East Coast broadcasts of the morning news shows). It was a surprisingly lively event. Here are some of my thoughts at it was happening.

• The lobby is covered in red carpet — I guess that saves a lot of time laying it out every 15 seconds so celebs know where to go.

• The security is tight but the people are friendly. This is L.A. after all — you can never be sure who’s some journo from Dallas and who might be a segment producer for Access Hollywood. Or Harvey Weinstein’s personal assistant.

• An old man at my table at the media breakfast just got his foot wrapped on my bag’s strap, which was pressed next to my chair. “I’m gonna kill myself on that! Putting it under the table is better.” “Picking up your feet when you walk isn’t a bad idea, either,” I mutter. He then sat down and nearly took the table cloth with him when it gets caught on his foot. What’s the common denominator here? My bag or this guy?

• Some folks are wearing swag from previous Oscars. I am not among them. I decide this is a good thing, because then people might want to talk to you about it and I’m just a faker who bought my swag anyway.

• The breakfast looks busy and well-attended to me, but a few veterans of the event note that there are “fewer and fewer every year… They’re all going to Sundance.”

• Small world: I just bumped into Amy, a publicist for ABC. I had met her only the day before, at a friend’s house — she is the girlfriend of his roommate. She does a mean Madonna impersonation, though not here.

• I’m surprised that more people are not talking about the Oscars themselves, or even the movie business — handicapping who they think the nominees will be, what films they expect to get snubbed. I wonder if they are playing it close to the vest or really have become so bored by it this is just an inconvenient assignment. Or maybe they are afraid to look too anxious and fan-boy crazy.

• There is one exception. A guy I’m sitting near apparently has a gig as a handicapper of the visual effects category. He says Hugo isn’t feeling the love and neither is Harry Potter — those will likely be passed over. The surprise nominee, he predicts, may be Real Steel, though he wonders if it and Transformers 3 — two robot movies — will both get nominated. He does predict Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the frontrunner to win “as compensation for not nominating Andy Serkis.” Captain America also seems a lock…

• Only he’s wrong. Yes, Rise and Steel both get nods, but so does Transformers and so do Hugo and Potter. Captain America is overlooked.

• After so much cool, a few minutes before the velvet rope is removed to allow folks into the theater, and without any public announcement, the “first admit” passholders magically start lining up like airplane travelers jockeying for the shortest wait. They care…

• Finally, the ceremony is over and folks are pouring over the press release, looking not just at what movies got nods, but who. They are not all journalists here — some probably are Harvey Weinstein’s assistants, or at least folks from corporate who have bosses in the running. Or personal grudges. “No, he didn’t make the list,” one says into a cell phone. “Ohh, she got nominated — he’ll be pissed!” another observes. Half of show business is business…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Movie Monday: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Potter comes to an end

There’s a tonal shift in the final installment of the Harry Potter series, part 2 of The Deathly Hallows, that’s almost arrestingly apart from what has preceded it. Maybe it’s the sense of finality that the story is truly coming to an end, a sentimental summing up that resolves most of the plot threads, explains just why Harry is so important and how Voldemort will finally be defeated. That coda gives us a sense of closure.

That the film works so well is astonishing, considering that Part 1, which came out eight months ago, was so disastrously heavy and convoluted. This one, dark as pitch, benefits from well-conceived set pieces and a streamlined arc.

Still, this Potter is a good 20 minutes shorter than the average for the series, and includes an epilogue well after the slightly unsatisfying climax. Given how it serves as the grand capstone to a popular series,  you’d think they could have found time to, for instance, remind us what the deathly hallows of the title are. (None of the films has ever recapped important plot points, the way the Lord of the Rings series did — and that was just three films, not eight spread over 10 years.)

So, prepare to go in either expecting to have to relearn some facts: Voldemort divided his soul into several “horcruxes” which Harry, Hermione and Ron are trying to find and destroy; meanwhile, the Death Eaters are ruling Hogwarts under the iron thumb of Snape.

Read the entire review here.

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Brewing: Gov. Perry’s camp prepared to address gay rumors if he runs for president

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Gov. Rick Perry’s team is prepared to address longstanding rumors that he’s gay if he jumps into the Republican presidential race, according to Politico. The story doesn’t specifically say how Perry’s team plans to address the rumors, and the fact that they’re still around after seven years — and that Politico is writing about them — would seem to indicate that their efforts haven’t been overly effective to this point. Then again, how do you prove you’re not gay, especially if you are? Perry’s top political strategist, Dave Carney, told Politico that the rumors must be false because the governor has survived several well-funded political challenges in Texas. But needless to say, there’s a monumental difference between running for governor of Texas and running for president. Dallas Voice was contacted by a reporter from the Huffington Post on Monday about the Perry gay rumors, so clearly the national media is starting to pick up on them. And Perry hasn’t even declared his candidacy yet. (Yes, that sound you hear is us licking our chops.)

2. A vote by the New York State Senate on marriage equality legislation could come at any time, as negotiations continue over language related to religious exemptions. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s marriage equality bill has already passed the state Assembly but remains one vote short of the majority needed to pass the Senate.

3. Harry Potter star Emma Watson was spotted at the Round-Up Saloon in Dallas last Thursday, according to the Round-Up’s Facebook page and now TMZ. Oddly, the TMZ report doesn’t mention the fact that the Round-Up is a gay bar. Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, reportedly is the world’s highest-paid actress.

Emma Watson dances at the Round-Up last Thursday. (Via Facebook)

 

—  John Wright

See the new Harry Potter movie early, support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

OK, how many Harry Potter fans do we have out there? And how many of you are chomping at the bit to see the new movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″?

It comes out at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 18, but here in the Metroplex, you have a chance to see the movie four hours early and at the same time contribute to a good cause: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I think it is a fitting fundraiser, considering the commitment that the film’s star, Daniel Radcliffe, has made to The Trevor Project and the many times Radcliffe has spoken out for LGBT rights.

The screening will be held at the Rave Theatre in Northeast Mall in Hurst. Tickets are $16 each and are available online at MugglesForLife.webs.com.

—  admin

Daniel Radcliffe speaks out on teen suicides in PSA for The Trevor Project

Lots of celebrities have been speaking out over the past week or so on the subject of the teens who have killed themselves after being bullied. Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter film series, has added his voice to the discussion in the form of a public service announcement for The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.

Because I am a Harry Potter fan, I am sharing Radcliffe’s video here:

—  admin

Radcliffe: "No, I am not gay"

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe, the British actor famous for portraying everybody’s favorite boy wizard Harry Potter, again denied persistent rumors that he is gay. He doesn’t care if people think he is, but he isn’t.

Radcliffe once again addressed the rumors during a recent interview with Mtv in which he talked mainly about his work with The Trevor Project, a program that works to prevent suicide among LGBT teens.

Radcliffe told Mtv: “If people want to say that, they can. But I’m not. I’m straight. … My favorite thing I saw was a guy on the Internet that said, ‘Of course he’s gay. He’s got a gay face,’ which I thought was kind of an odd thing to say anyway. A ‘gay face’? That’s a very worrying thing, like they have sat at home and have got pictures of me next to other famous, gay [people] — Elton John, I don’t know — just comparing across the years. I’m not sure. It’s very, very odd.”

Radcliffe, who has often talked about growing up around a lot of gay people and about his support on LGBT issues, also told Mtv that he believes that if he were gay, he would not have let his fame as “Harry Potter” keep him from being out.

There is a video of the interview with Radcliffe on the Mtv site that was I going to post here. But it isn’t working right now. You can go here to read the story and see if they have the video working yet.

—  admin

Daniel donates

Daniel-Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe, the handsome young actor who has portrayed teen wizard Harry Potter in 6 movies so far, has reportedly made “a major donation” to The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization that operates a nationwide crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.

A press release issued by The Trevor Project says that “the 20-year-old actor joined The Trevor Project’s Circle of Hope, a community of major donors which plays an essential role in providing the financial leadership that makes the organization’s lifesaving work possible.”

Other celebrities who are currently listed as members of The Trevor Project’s “Circle of Hope” include Jodie Foster, Sasha Baron Cohen and Anne Hathaway.

Included in the press release was this statement by Radcliffe himself: “I am very pleased to begin my support of The Trevor Project, which saves lives every day through its critical work... I deeply hope my support can raise the organization’s visibility so even more despondent youth become aware of The Trevor Helpline’s highly trained counselors and Trevor’s many other resources. It’s vitally important that young people understand they are not alone and, perhaps even more important, that their young lives have real value.”

They didn’t say what the actual amount of Radcliffe’s donation was.

—  admin