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Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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SAG Awards #6
yahoo oscars bronze
Commercials. I missed what this commercial with everyone in the world screaming "NOOOOOO!!" at sales and coupons was for, but if they had included the Nonono Cat, I would have bought whatever they were selling.

"Please welcome! Ben Kingsley!" Excuse me, Sir Ben Kingsley, he must always be called by his title. 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE  / Albert Nobbs - "ALBERT NOBBS” (Roadside Attractions)
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP” (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
MERYL STREEP / Margaret Thatcher - “THE IRON LADY” (The Weinstein Company)
TILDA SWINTON / Eva - “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Marilyn Monroe - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN” (The Weinstein Company)

Winner: Viola Davis, and the audience screams. Meryl Streep leads the standing ovation; Jessica Chastain has tears running down her face; I don't know what Dick Van Dyke is mouthing at her. She says that she is amazed to be looking "down on the face of the woman who inspired me, Cicely Tyson," who is in the audience, and also Meryl herself. She urges kids to "dream big, and dream fierce." Shit, I think Angelina Jolie is crying.

Speaking of whom, indirectly! Brad Pitt, rushing along with the final award because we have EXACTLY FIVE MINUTES GOD HELP US ALL. "Here we go. The Actor goes to the cast of The Help."

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

THE ARTIST (The Weinstein Company)

BRIDESMAIDS (Universal Pictures)

THE DESCENDANTS (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
BEAU BRIDGES / Cousin Hugh
ROBERT FORSTER / Scott Thorson
JUDY GREER  / Julie Speer
SHAILENE WOODLEY  / Alexandra King

THE HELP (DreamWorks Pictures / Touchstone Pictures)
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark
ALLISON JANNEY / Charlotte Phelan
CHRIS LOWELL / Stuart Whitworth
AHNA O’REILLY / Elizabeth Leefolt
SISSY SPACEK / Missus Walters
EMMA STONE / Skeeter Phelan
CICELY TYSON / Constantine Jefferson
MIKE VOGEL / Johnny Foote</p>

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (Sony Pictures Classics)
KATHY BATES / Gertrude Stein
ADRIEN BRODY / Salvador Dali
CARLA BRUNI / Museum Guide

Well. That happened. I was about to say, I think that speech sealed Viola Davis's Oscar, but... I don't know that Ensemble will correlate to Best Picture; The Artist has already cleaned up the Producer's Guild and the Director's Guild. Which means, of course, that Best Ensemble is a chance to reward something different, so. Spencer and Davis haul their statuettes up to the mike, and Davis speaks for the cast: "The stain of racism and sexism is not just for people of color or women; it burdens all of us. I don't care how ordinary you feel, we all can inspire change, every one of us."  GROUP HUG FORMATION, LADIES! I give the whole concept of The Help the side-eye, but I love what it means to the actresses and the inspiration they draw from it. I don't know. It's weird. Meanwhile, the group hug shuffles off the stage as Brad Pitt leans in to shout, "Good night!" And the rebroadcast begins promptly at 9:00 pm, and all is right with the UNION!! world.

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Maybe "The Help" isn't really worthy of that side-eye? ;-)

Look, I get why people are wary of "white savior swoops in and rescues all the black people and isn't she wonderful" stories. I do. But "The Help" isn't like that. I'm not saying it's the deepest story ever written, but it is more complex than that.

It would be more fair to let people who have seen the movie to argue that, I guess. Since I don't want to, I'll just stop.

Fair enough. I'm not trying to be obnoxious, honest.

I give the whole concept of The Help the side-eye, but I love what it means to the actresses and the inspiration they draw from it. I don't know. It's weird.

I feel the same way. It's like, I never want to see the movie ever, but if it gives Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer the means to get the roles they deserve, well. At least it's not The Blind Side.

Thanks for recapping! I never watch the SAG awards, but it's nice to know what happens.

The Help is definitely overrated, but the performances are solid and I do like the way Viola & Octavia seem committed to the idea that their characters aren't just victims, but real, identifiable people, if that makes sense. And the cast seems adorable and friendly with each other. I am not at all pleased that it's up for Best Picture, but it ain't the worst of the lot.

The commercial is alerting people to the fact that JC Penney is no longer having sales, instead, they are permanently reducing all prices by 40% or more.

It's not a very effective ad, I wouldn't have known what it's for if I hadn't read the news story about an hour before I saw the screaming people on my TV.

Same thing happened to me! I was baffled until my mother explained it to me, because she'd read something somewhere. What a crap ad campaign.

And using Mozart's Requiem. UGH.

It's a total crap ad. And a pretty crappy marketing idea tbh.

I'm willing to bet their "40% off" turns out to mean higher markups more than anything. Good thing I'm not a big fan of shopping there to begin with.

Ditto. It only made sense because I'd read Yahoo News first.

Caveat: I haven't seen the movie yet (I'm on a waiting list at the library). I wasn't going to read the book either because I don't do controversy well, but then I received it as a Christmas present and it would have been rude not to read it, and all I can say is...the book is worth reading. Problematic, yes; controversial, understandably so; but still worth reading.

I respect anything anyone has to say about the movie so long as the commenter has also read the book.

Here's the thing (and movie critics say this as well): you can't say a movie would have been good if only you'd read the book. A movie has to be able to stand on its own. You can't assign extracurricular reading as a condition of having a valid opinion. You can talk about whether the movie is an adequate adaptation of the book, but if it does not work on its own for people who have not read it, that's a problem with the movie unto itself. (I love the Harry Potter movies, but if they make no sense to people who have not read the books, that is a legitimate flaw.) I mean, you don't have to respect anyone's opinions if you don't want to, but that's not how movie critics in general approach the book/movie issue.

That said, I don't have the right to an opinion on either one until I experience it. But I could have a valid opinion of the movie without reading the book.

Okay, fair enough: the movie should be judged on its own merits, independently of the book. But so, then, should the book be judged on its own merits, independently of the movie. And the impression that I am getting from some people who have seen the movie, whether they be professional movie critics or not, is that they are dismissing the book based on the movie. Or, to put it another way, they seem to be saying that if the movie did not do an adequate job of telling the story, then it was not a story worth telling. And that, to me, is very disappointing because books and movies ARE different media with different limitations, different strengths and weaknesses, and if it turns out that a movie was the wrong medium to tell this particular story, that doesn't mean that the "concept" was irredeemably flawed.

Well, exactly: the book should be judged separately. I'm not saying I'm wary of the book's premise; books generally are more complex than a two-hour film. I'm saying, based on the trailers, clips and reviews I've seen of this movie, independently of the book, I'm wary of it following a Hollywood tradition of putting a white character at the forefront of black characters' stories. I never assumed that the book did this.

Maybe I should watch this whether I want to or not.

I love reading your recaps and liveblogs and m15m's and all, so I'm gonna start with that.

In reference to The Help, (and I know you probably didn't intend for this to become a discussion of the movie or book), I feel people are trying to make out of it too much of an encompassing civil rights struggle to focus on what it is. I saw the movie before I read the book, and no, it wasn't the deepest movie, but I liked it. It never really tried to be a triumph of integration or civil liberties. It was a discovery of these women and how they saw the world and each other, and the way they saw their relationships change when they took the chance to look outside their box.

The racism of Jackson was terrible, and no doubt still lingers, but The Help never tried to disguise that. It was more a window into the time period than a superwoman comic. Emma Stone's character didn't overturn the laws of segregation in Mississippi. She did something simpler. She listened to the women around her who were not being heard, and turned their stories in the book, which may have gotten some attention, but in the end, did hurt her and at least one of the maids involved.

Granted, the book was much better at illustrating the fear and oppression they underwent, but I think the movie still stands. I think the flaw in the critiques of it is they judge it not on what it is but on what they wanted it to be, or thought it would be.

Sorry, just my two cents.

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