Monday, February 24, 2014

Oscar presenters

Can you believe it? The Gay Super Bowl Oscars are almost here!

In addition to this year's nominees, who can you expect to see? Many people may try to wrangle tickets, but the best way to predict is by looking at this list of scheduled presenters.

Of course, last year's four winners of the acting categories -- Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, and Anne Hathaway -- are all expected to present. Traditionally they present the award for their corresponding opposite-sex award. That is, the Best Actor winner traditionally presents the Best Actress award the following year.

Just Jared has released a list of celebrities scheduled to present:

Amy Adams Samuel L. Jackson
Kristen Bell Angelina Jolie
Jessica Biel Michael B. Jordan
Jim Carrey Anna Kendrick
Glenn Close Jennifer Lawrence
Bradley Cooper Matthew McConaughey
Penélope Cruz Ewan McGregor
Benedict Cumberbatch Bill Murray
Viola Davis Kim Novak
Daniel Day-Lewis Tyler Perry
Robert De Niro Brad Pitt
Zac Efron Sidney Poitier
Sally Field Gabourey Sidibe
Harrison Ford Will Smith
Jamie Foxx Kevin Spacey
Andrew Garfield Jason Sudeikis
Jennifer Garner Channing Tatum
Whoopi Goldberg Charlize Theron
Joseph Gordon-Levitt John Travolta
Anne Hathaway Christoph Waltz
Goldie Hawn Kerry Washington
Chris Hemsworth Emma Watson
Kate Hudson Naomi Watts

Friday, February 21, 2014

Last day to cast your nominations!

Today is the last day to cast your nomination ballots for the Tenth Cosmique Movie Awards. Ballots are due by midnight PST on Friday, February 21, 2014.

Make your voice heard!

The Cosmique Movie Awards -- the only movie awards that blends the gravitas of the Oscars with the irreverence of the MTV Movie Awards, and adds a little gay twist -- is your opportunity to react for or against the Academy Awards. Are you upset that your favorite film of 2013 didn't get nominated? This is your chance to give it some respect!

Vote in one of three ways:

You can also download our Voters Guide for notes about each category and potential nominees as well as our list of eligible 2013 films.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The easiest way to vote

There's only one week left to cast your nominations for the 2013 Cosmique Movie Awards. Nomination ballots are due on Friday, February 21, 2014 by midnight!

That gives us one week to process the ballots before the nominations are announced on Sunday, March 2nd during the Oscars.

I know, I know, the ballot seems so long and intimidating. So here's a little tip for voting.

The easiest way to vote

Use the MS Word Ballot.

That's it. That's the tip. Nothing could be simpler. Use the MS Word Ballot.

The MS Word ballot includes scope notes for every category. Confused about what constitutes cinematography, set design, and art direction? No worries, we explain it for you right in the ballot. Can't think of movies? For every category, we've provided a list of potential nominees based on films and performances that received nominations at other awards, got a lot of industry buzz, or simply inspired ourselves. But don't worry, you aren't limited to those films provided it's an eligible 2013 film.

If you have an older version of Word, we think this will still work for you, but please let us know if it doesn't and we'll try to fix it.

What if I don't have Word?

If you don't have MS Word, there are two other ways to vote:

  1. Download the Plain Text ballot; or
  2. Vote online (scroll to the bottom)
These options don't include the scope notes and suggested nominees, so consider using these other resources below.

Additional Resources

Don't forget to vote by Friday, February 21, 2014 by midnight!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Black (1928 - 2014)

Shirley Temple Black
April 23, 1928 - February 10, 2014
Shirley Temple Black, Depression-era child star turned statesperson, died yesterday at the age of 85 in her Bay Area home of Woodside, according to the New York Times and others.

Her extensive body of films in the 1930s made her an international star, and she remains to this day the most successful child actor of all time. She retired from acting at the age of 22.

In the 1950s, following her marriage to Charles Alden Black, she entered politics and became a prominent fundraiser for Republicans. President Richard Nixon appointed her to be a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly in 1969. She then served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was President Gerald Ford's chief of protocol from 1976 to 1977, and then served as Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1989 during the fall of communism.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Movie Reviews: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

More, more, more, more, more, more is never enough!

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writers: Terence Winter (screenplay), Jordan Belfort (book)

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio; Jonah Hill; Margot Robbie; Matthew McConaughey; Kyle Chandler; Rob Reiner; Jon Bernthal; Jon Favreau; Jean Dujardin; Joanna Lumley

Synopsis: The Wolf of Wall Street revels in its excess, having great fun while attempting (and possibly failing) to present a cautionary tale.

Leonardo DiCaprio brilliantly portrays the villainy and excesses of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who turned to penny stocks and later Independent Public Offerings as a way of making millions by defrauding other investors.

The Wolf of Wall Street revels in its excesses. Hours are spent documenting Belfort’s descent from a family man into drunken, drugged, sex-fueled debauchery. And yet it’s a fun ride, one that I enjoyed though clearly not for everyone.

Early this year when The Great Gatsby came out, many awards pundits were predicting that this could be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year to finally win an Oscar – not for Gatsby but for The Wolf of Wall Street. But that was before 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and other films took him from frontrunner status to he-might-also-get-nominated (he did, beating out Tom Hanks who was widely predicted to be nominated for Captain Phillips). I would love for Leo to finally win an Oscar. But I suspect this won’t be the year. 

Jonah Hill also earned a well-deserved Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. And Matthew McConaghey was on some critics’ short list of predicted nominees (though had he received a Supporting Actor nod, it should have be for Mud). But man, what a competitive year!

Some critics have complained that The Wolf of Wall Street glorifies Belfort’s debauchery. Others, including DiCaprio and Scorsese, have argued that the film is a cautionary tale, showing how Belfort’s greed and excess led to his downfall. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle. Many will likely be turned off by DiCaprio’s portrayal, hardly enticed to lead a similar life themselves. But one could argue that in the end, did Belfort really fall as far as he should have? And did he learn any lessons?

The real Belfort’s own recent comments suggest otherwise. He’s defending his actions, arguing that they only targeted wealthy people for the penny stock investments (most penny stock investors are decidedly not wealthy) and didn’t lose anyone’s entire life savings. But can he be sure? Does he really know that only wealthy people used his firm? I doubt it. Can he be sure that no one lost their entire life savings on his fraud? Unlikely. But more importantly, does it matter? Is it somehow okay to steal from people as long as you only target wealthy people and still leave them something? It’s still a crime, it’s still immoral, and decades later, the real Belfort doesn’t seem to understand that.

The Wolf of Wall Street will definitely make my Cosmo list in many categories. But I never thought I’d see the day when an Oscar powerhouse film was a clear frontrunner for Best Use of (Gratuitous?) Nudity. So gratuitous that some had to be cut from the film. Let’s hope they make the special features section of the DVD.

Rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Movie Reviews: Now You See Me (2013)

Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see

Directed by: Louis Leterrier

Written by: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (screenplay); Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt (story)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco

Synopsis: Now You See Me is a fun, flashy mystery/suspense film, a summer popcorn flick that, like popcorn, leaves you full and satisfied in the moment but feeling a little empty a few hours later.

Now You See Me is a fun, flashy mystery/suspense film, a summer popcorn flick that, like popcorn, leaves you full and satisfied in the moment but feeling a little empty a few hours later.

Best Actor Cosmo nominee Jesse Eisenberg, Worst Performance Cosmo nominee Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, and Dave Franco play street con artists and stage magicians who team together to create a spectacular magic show and, in the process, pull off a spectacular bank heist while pursued by an FBI agent played by Cosmo nominee Mark Ruffalo.

The action is engaging in the moment and I often found myself smiling. But in the end, it may not hold up well to other Best Mystery/Suspense/Horror/Thriller films, especially on the mystery side like Mulholland Drive, Gosford Park, or Shutter Island. Critics have compared it (generally unfavorably) to Ocean’s 11. Like that film, it’s a bit more of a how-dunnit than  who-dunnit, with flashbacks used to fill in missing pieces. But the plotting is thin and the character development is almost nonexistent for most, but it still makes for a fun adventure.

It will probably make my top five Best Mystery/Suspense/Horror/Thriller Films of 2013 list, though I have to revisit potential nominees to see for sure if it made the cut. And Dave Franco, James’ scrumptious little brother, will certainly make my list for Actor’s Character You Would Most Like to be Intimate With.

Ultimately, Now You See Me is worth a look. Like its starring characters, it's escapist fare, but pleasant and enjoyable.

Rating: 3 ½ stars

Movie Reviews: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Beyond darkness... beyond desolation... lies the greatest danger of all.

Director: Peter Jackson

Writers: Fran Walssh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), J.R.R. Tolkien (novel)

Starring: Ian McKellen; Martin Freeman; Richard Armitage; Benedict Cumberbatch; Ken Stott; Graham McTavish; William Kircher; James Nesbitt; Stephen Hunter; Dean O'Gorman; Aidan Turner; John Callen; Peter Hambleton; Jed Brophy; Mark Hadlow; Adam Brown; Orlando Bloom; Evangeline Lilly; Lee Pace; Cate Blanchett; Mikael Persbrandt; Sylvester McCoy; Luke Evans; Stephen Fry

Synopsis: Desolation’s greatest fans will probably still be those who loved the books as a child and revel in every excessive, lingering moment of the films. I would be one. But Peter Jackson’s changes, however bloated, overall improve the book’s deficiencies. 

As the hobbit Bilbo and the company of dwarves continue their journey through the perilous Mirkwood Forest to rescue the dwarves’ gold from the dragon Smaug, the wizard Gandalf must leave them to embark on his own secret quest.

Though nearly as long as the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is able to pick up a much faster pace. We’ve met the characters, we understand their quest, we’re ready for more action. And Desolation is filled with action.

Much has been made about how bloated The Hobbit franchise is compared to The Lord of the Rings films. The latter had three films to cover three books, each book averaging around 500 pages. The Hobbit films, in contrast, take another three films to cover a single book that’s only about 285 pages.

I’m okay with that.

First, it must be remembered that The Hobbit is more densely packed with action than any of The Lord of the Rings books (which, much as I love them, were a bit bloated themselves with excessively long descriptions of journeys that took pages and pages, telling us little). And action takes a long longer to show on the screen than to describe on the page. An army marching onto the field might take a single paragraph to describe, but a whole five minutes to show.

Second, Peter Jackson has the opportunity, using the appendices from The Return of the King, to show us things that were happening concurrently. In the book, Gandalf disappears repeatedly, including a long stretch that happens to cover most of Desolation. He hints at his reasons in The Hobbit, and explains a bit more in The Fellowship of the Ring, but it’s really only the appendices that fully explain what he was doing. Peter Jackson instead takes the opportunity to show us, and for that I’m grateful.

Jackson had to be careful with the tone of The Hobbit films. The book was much more lighthearted than the other Lord of the Rings books. Jackson has to capture that while still tying this franchise to the darker, sweeping epic that with thrust Bilbo’s nephew Frodo into danger. I believe he manages to straddle the line well enough, though perhaps he’s lost a bit of the whimsy along the way.

The film has a few significant deviations from the books. The first involves the elves from Mirkwood. In the book, their motivations seem to be primarily about greed. Jackson gives them a clearer intent, and introduces us to Legolas (Orlando Bloom), a central figure of The Lord of the Rings who never appears in The Hobbit, though we do meet his father and so it’s not surprising that he would be present, too. He also creates an entirely new elf, Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), a female Captain of the Guard who helps address one of Tolkien’s greatest faults: the dearth of essentially any female characters in The Hobbit.

Jackson’s second change involves the dwarves themselves. In the book, actions happen to the dwarves. They are swept along by events, constantly rescued by Gandalf, Elrond, Beorn, Bilbo, even the men of Laketown. Jackson’s dwarves are more much active and, frankly, heroic. It’s another change for the better.

It’s a full two hours into the movie before we even meet the dragon, Smaug. But Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance makes the wait worth it. And like Andy Sirkis’ portrayal of Gollum, motion-capture technology was used so that Cumberbatch provides not only the voice but the movements of the dragon.

Desolation’s greatest fans will probably still be those who loved the books as a child and revel in every excessive, lingering moment of the films. I would be one.

Rating: 4 ½ stars

Sunday, February 2, 2014

GLAAD Media Award nominations announced

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced their nominations for the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which could help Cosmo voters with ideas for the Best Queer Film of 2013 category.

Their nominees in theatrical film categories include:

Outstanding Film - Wide Release

  • Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Kill Your Darlings
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
  • Philamena

Outstanding Film - Limited Release

  • Concussion
  • Geography Club
  • Out in the Dark
  • Reaching for the Moon
  • Yossi

Outstanding Documentary

  • Bridegroom
  • Call Me Kuchu
  • God Loves Uganda
  • The New Black
  • Valentine Road

The awards also include categories for television programs as well as for print journalism and blogs.

Philip Seymour Hoffman found dead

Philip Seymour Hoffman
July 23, 1967 - February 2, 2014
The Washington Post broke the news that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his Manhattan apartment.

The actor received a Best Actor Oscar and Cosmo in 2006 for his titular performance in Capote, and shared in the Best Ensemble Cosmo nomination for Cold Mountain

Early reports suggest he may have overdosed on heroin, for which he recently completed a stint in rehab.