Academy Awards Hangover: The boringest Oscars show ever?


Aside from Jon Stewart’s monologue and the Jonah Hill/Seth Rogan-Halle Berry/Judi Dench bit, it was kind of like watching “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”—I really wanted to enjoy it, to believe it was worth the hype, but it just seemed to drag and drag. And, of course, it was utterly predictable.

OK, so maybe Marion Cotillard was a surprise, but were any of the others? Maybe I’m a little bitter that Hal Holbrook and Ruby Dee ended up empty-handed (even though I did pick Tilda Swinton), or maybe it’s just that the supposedly “shortened” clip-reels from past ceremonies padded the show with what felt like a half-hour of filler (loved the Jon Stewart tributes to “binoculars and telescopes” and “bad dreams,” though). Bottom line: I’m kinda wishing I’d spent the night watching the latest installment of “The Wire” instead.

A few more random thoughts on the evening:

cynthia-wade.jpg• Go Cynthia Wade! The one true silver-lining moment of the evening for me was when the Croton native (pictured here, on the left) won the award for Best Documentary Short Subject. In case you haven’t seen our RNN Oscar Special yet, Karen DePodwin has an outstanding interview and profile of Wade — in full Oscar-preparation mode. Skip about 1/4 of the way through the full video to watch it.


• Was it just me, or did Denzel Washington look royally pissed off to be presenting Best Picture? And really, can you blame him? The Mount Vernon native got snubbed for not one, but two films (“American Gangster” and “The Great Debaters”). I can’t speak to the latter, but for my money, the former was easily as good as any of the actual Best Pic nominees.

ruby-dee.jpg• Boy, did New Rochelle’s Ruby Dee look shocked after they played the clip of her slapping Denzel in “American Gangster”? As she watched from her seat, the expression on her face seemed to say: “That was me in that movie? Damn, I’m good!”

• Nobody was more uncomfortable in their attire than Diablo Cody. As she walked away from the podium after accepting Best Original Screenplay, with the slit in her dress riding up waaay too high, the only thought running through her head: I knew I shoulda worn underwear.

(All photos: AP)

EXCLUSIVE: There will be Oscar Specials

You may heard: There’s a little reality-TV program scheduled this weekend where beautiful people will preen for the camera and get voted on by the masses. And no, I’m not talking about the all-new episode of Big Brother 9. It’s that other show, the one where they give out big gold men (weighing eight pounds) and then little gold men (made of chocolate). I’d like to say we’re above picking the winners and losers — like every other print/blog/television entity on the planet — but, well, we’re not. And, fortunately, our friends at RNN, bless their souls, were good enough to let us opine on air tonight for a special Oscar Special.

Sure, Small Bites and Varsity Insider may have been the first blogs to the half-hour TV party, but our show had far more gold.

I should also point out, despite giving ourselves billing in the ad on our sidebar, the truth is the program is all RNN. Or to be more specific, Karen DePodwin. She did yeoman’s work pulling this all together. The ad really should have said, “The DePodwin Oscar Special, with guest stars Suburbarazzi and Liz Johnson.”

One other caveat: Please ignore the painfully awkward segments when I start rambling about Michael Moore (Wha? Castro? Huh?) and “Juno” (what I meant to say — “Blood” and “No Country” will split the high-brow voters, leaving “Juno” a chance at winning). Instead, focus on my esteemed colleague, Chris Serico — whose Ruby Dee logic (anytime you slap a former Oscar winner, you automatically get to win one, too) was downright brilliant. Or, for that matter, Liz Johnson and Peter Pratt, who can spray me with truffle juice any day of the week. And, of course, the indomitable Karen DePodwin, who looks lovely enough to be Suffern HS homecoming queen.

Tuesday Twofer — ‘American Gangster’ and ‘Lust Caution’ out on DVD

Two of the best movies of 2007 (starring local celebs) are out on DVD today.

70060009.jpgFor my money, I still say “American Gangster” was as good (and enjoyable) as just about any other Best Picture nominee that isn’t named “Juno.” It’s bizarre that New Rochelle resident Rube Dee is the only person to get nominated from the film, especially considering that Mount Vernon native son Denzel Washington was at the top of his game. Anyway, if you didn’t see it in the video, be sure to add it to your Netflix queue.

70059999.jpgAnd the other movie is “Lust Caution,” directed by Larchmont’s Ang Lee. This too was snubbed by the Academy in the best foreign language category. Bunch of prudes, I say.

Thanks to F.O.S. Amy Vernon for the tip.

Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: Ruby’s win, Trump’s Scottish links, and the B-52’s return

Flash Video:

This week’s Quiz:

On one recent episode of an NYC-based TV dramedy, the characters debate heading up to Westchester to dine at the famous “Blue Hill at Stone Barns,� only to conclude it’s “too far.� Which show featured this storyline?

A. Lipstick Jungle
B. Cashmere Mafia
C. Dirty, Sexy, Money
D. 30 Rock

The answer is at the end of the clip and after the break.

Continue reading

Oscars say Ang Lee’s new Taiwanese film isn’t foreign enough

The Academy Awards just ruled that Ang Lee’s new film ‘Lust, Caution’ can’t enter the race for best foreign language film. And judging by recent reviews, that was probably its best shot at winning a statue.

As good as it’s supposed to be — and winning the Golden Lion award in Venice suggests it’s pretty damn solid — the NC-17 rating pretty much assures that it won’t have a shot at the regular best picture category. At least, not any more than “Tell Me You Love Me” — equally provactive, medium-core fare — has at winning a best drama Emmy (even though I’m totally rooting for it).

The Academy decided that not enough of the key crew members in Lee’s film were from Taiwan. I never realized there was such a cutoff. Sure, Lee himself may live in Larchmont now, and surely he used a lot of his usual Hollywood gang to shoot the film, but isn’t the fact that it was shot in the county, filmed in Mandarin, and used Taiwanese actors enough to qualify it as “foreign”?

According to the BBC, the acting director of the country’s government film department said, “We and Ang Lee are disappointed… this movie was also popular in Taiwan.” Taiwan’s Motion Picture and Drama Association has appealed the decision, but hasn’t heard back yet.

Where to watch the Academy Awards

Since none of our local celebs made the Oscar cut this year, who knows, you might end up seeing them at one of the Academy Awards parties going on around the region. Here are just a couple:

tjndc5-5dmgybvcnnl17iyov9s1_layout.jpg• Jacob Burns Film Center: The “Hollywood East” party in Pleasantville will have light snacks, beer, wine, champagne, a dessert buffet, and a best dressed concert (pictured here is last year’s winner, Chappaqua resident Osi Herstik). There’ll also be a silent auction, with items including a poster of “The Girl with a Pearl Earing” signed by Scarlett Johansson. The winner of that lot will also get a complimentary fondling by Isaac Mizrahi ($60, 7:30 p.m.,

• Reality Bites: At this Nyack restauratheater they’ll be passing out official ballots. You can pick your favorites — or just take our advice and vote for the nominees with local connections (e.g. Babel, co-produced by New City native Steve Golin). The winner will get a $50 gift certificate, 2nd place gets $25, 3rd place is you’re fired. Actually no, you get a bottle of wine. But I’m still hopeful that Stevie Baldwin will show up and deliver that line like his big bro, Alec (9 p.m.;

(Photo: Burns Film Center)

A completely LoHud-centric guide to the Oscars

tjndc5-5dmf8sdtm4gx1k3277v_layout.jpgWe all know that 2006 was a down year for Lower Hudson Valley filmmakers at the Academy Awards. Few of the nominees have local roots, much less a connection to the region. Put simply, there’s no Ang Lee (Larchmont resident) or Matt Dillon (Mamaroneck native) to root for.

But hey, what fun are the awards if you can’t impose a little solipsistic order onto them? To wit, I present you with the nominees that have the best (read: most tenuous, but still kind of legit) connections to Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam. With the exception of Sasha Baron Cohen, who must win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, these are the guys to root for.

BEST PICTURE<br />Babel: The movie was co-produced by New City native Steve Golin.

BEST ACTOR<br />Leonardo DiCaprio (“Blood Diamond”): Played Bronxville native Frank W. Abagnale onscreen and filmed parts of “Catch Me If You Can” in Yonkers.

BEST ACTRESS<br />Meryl Streep (“The Devil Wears Prada”): Has appeared at functions at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR<br />Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed”): Cast Mamaroneck native Kevin Dillion in “Entourage,” the HBO comedy series based loosely on his life.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS<br />Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”): Psych! I really got nothin for this category.

BEST DIRECTOR<br />Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”): Filmed some scenes from “The Departed” in White Plains. Not sure exactly which ones, but I never question IMDB.

BEST ART DIRECTION, CINEMATOGRAPHY, ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL SCORE, MAKEUP, and FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM<br />Pan’s Labyrinth: The movie is being put out by Picturehouse, the new mini-major studio helmed by Bronxville’s Bob Berney

SOUND MIXING and SOUND EDITING<br />Flags of Our Fathers: Stars Pelham native Joseph Cross

VISUAL EFFECTS<br />Poseidon: Stars the aforementioned Kevin Dillon

(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

No Oscar nods … but plenty of Razzies!

By now you know that our Lower Hudson Valley celebrities struck out in the Academy Awards nomination sweepstakes. Despite our last ditch appeals for people like Stanley Tucci (I still say he would’ve been a good pick for supporting actor in “Prada”), the only nominations with any connection to the area are: “The Departed,” which shot some scenes in White Plains (anyone know which ones?), and “Babel,” co-produced by New City native Steve Golin.

But that doesn’t mean we’re going home empty handed this awards season. Our region is up for more than its fair share of Razzies (the awards honoring the worst of the worst in motion pictures), including many of the performances I plugged earlier this week:

Worst Picture:

“Lady In The Water” (starring Bryce Dallas Howard, who graduated from Byram Hills High School in Armonk)

“Wicker Man” (starring Nyack resident Ellen Burstyn)

Worst Remake or Rip-Off:

“Poseidon” (starring Mamaroneck’s Kevin Dillon)

“Wicker Man” (Burstyn, again)

Worst Prequel or Sequel:

“Garfield 2: A Tail Of Two Kitties” (Why oh why would Sneden’s Landing’s Bill Murray get suckered into voicing the cat — again?)

Worst Director:

Ron Howard, “The Da Vinci Code” (lives in Greenwich)

The Full List of Razzie Nominations [Little Bits of News]

Oscars 2007: The nominations


The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen


Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Miren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Childrentjndc5-5d7ev3amhyr68z8s9vn_layout.jpg

Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O’Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

tjndc5-5d7fcq9s9xlrwwj89vn_layout.jpgSupporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshinetjndc5-5d7f8gwvxn61cg6ub9vn_layout.jpg
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Alejandro Gonzalez, Babel
tjndc5-5d7f28vqf5ushpw9vn_layout.jpg Martin Scorsese, The Departed
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima
The Queen, Stephen Frears
United 93, Paul Greengrass

Original Screenplay
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel
Iris Yamashita, Letters From Iwo Jima
Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine
Guillermo del Toro, Pan’s Labyrinth
Peter Morgan, The Qeen

Adapted Screenplay
Sacha Baron Cohen, et al, Borat
Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, Children of Men
William Monahan, The Departed
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Patrick Marber, Notes on a Scandal

Foreign Language
After the Wedding
Days of Glory
Lives of Others
Pan’s Labyrinth

Happy Feet
Monster House

And the Nominees Should Be …

OK, I stole that line from the NY Times, which did their round-up of Oscar nominee prognostication a couple weeks ago. The main differences between their list and my list are that (1) you will see no limeys here and (2) I’m going to take a completely self-centered — or rather, LoHud-centered — view of the awards nomination process. Which means I’m focusing solely on those performances (or films) with connections to Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam, all of which, in my mind, merit some serious Academy lovin’.

Best Picture

• “The Departed” — shot partially in White Plains

• “The Good Shepherd” — scenes filmed in Tarrytown

• “Little Children” — a dead ringer for just about any Westchester town, even though it wasn’t shot there

Best Director

• Ron Howard, “The Da Vinci Code” (lives in Greenwich)

• Mel Gibson, “Apocalypto” (born in Peekskill, grew up in Verplanck)

• Stephen Baldwin, the “Livin’ It” series of evangelical, extreme sports DVDs (lives in Upper Grandview)

Best Actor

• Tim Robbins, “Catch a Fire” (lives in Bedford)

• Tim Robbins, “The Secret Life of Words” (hey, if Leo and Clint can get double-nominated, why not Tim?)

• Joseph Cross, “Running With Scissors” (grew up in Pelham)

Best Actress

• Bryce Dallas Howard, “Lady in the Water” (graduated from Byram Hills High School in Armonk)

• Ellen Burstyn, “The Wicker Man” (lives in Nyack)

• Felicity Huffman, “Filliam H. Muffman” (born in Bedford)

Supporting Actor

• Stanley Tucci, “The Devil Wears Prada” (raised in Katonah and lives in North Salem)

• Alec Baldwin, “The Departed” (ok, technically he lives in the city, but with brothers Billy and Stephen out in Bedford and Upper Grandview, respectively, so I say he still counts)

• Alec Baldwin, “Running with Scissors” (what can I say, the man has been a rock star this year)

• Chazz Palminteri, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints” (lives in Bedford)

• Joseph Cross, “Flags of Our Fathers” (Pelham native)

Supporting Actress

• Angelina Jolie, “The Good Shepherd” (grew up in Sneden’s Landing)

• Hayden Panettiere, “The Architect” (raised in Palisades)

• Ellen Burstyn, “The Fountain” (lives in Nyack)

OK, I know a few of those are a stretch — especially Ellen Burstyn in “The Wicker Man,” and truthfully “Filliam H. Muffman” isn’t so much a performance as a Stephen Colbert catch-phrase — but it was a weak year for our Lower Hudson Valley filmmakers.

Last year we had Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” Matt Dillon in “Crash,” Futterman and Miller behind “Capote.” Let’s just hope that, for the sake of our own local filmmakers, the Brits decide to take next year off.