The Academy Awards 2012 – the BEST and the WORST

Well, that was the most unsurprising Oscars in recent years. Everyone I thought would win, did, with the exception of Meryl Streep taking home Best Actress. As she so correctly said in her speech “all of America are groaning right now”, but we can never hate Meryl. Never. Especially since she topped it off with a breezy “well, whatever”. Also, any sighting of crazy Nick Nolte was a plus.

That being said, the stage looked beautiful and all the celebs were in an excellent mood, so let’s get into it!

BEST – Tom Hanks, still looking like a GQMF

Last year Tom Hanks was one of the first presenters rocking some stylish glasses, this year he was the first again, and rocking a serious beard. Can this be a tradition? Can Tom Hanks always come out first? It can be a new game. “WHAT FACIAL ACCESSORY WILL HE BE SPORTING THIS YEAR?!?!!!”

WORST – Billy Crystal, please join our century

Someone found Billy Crystal and convinced him to takeover hosting duties after Eddie Murphy bailed. I dreaded him doing his same schtick, meaning inserting himself into the best picture nominees and then singing for 3 hours. And that is exactly what happened. He almost had me in the first 5 minutes when he brought out Justin Bieber (coming off surprisingly hilarious) in the “Midnight in Paris” skit, but then went downhill again. He busted out a few stale jokes before jumping into his song. That seemed to go on foreeeevvvvveeeerrrrrr. He loosened up a couple of hours later and actually managed to get out a few one-liners that didn’t seem scripted, but it was still a bust. SOMEONE GET LL COOL J AS A HOST NEXT YEAR ASAP.

BEST – Someone invited Donatella Versace

Best Art Direction winners Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo (for Hugo) took the stage in all their over the top Italian glory, and for a split second I thought Donatella Versace had drunkenly sauntered on stage. No, it was just Francesca who hilariously and adorably lifted her Oscar over her head and declared “FOR ITALY!!!”.

WORST – Random Movie Montage

The Oscars are already pretty bloated, so was it necessary to add a random movie montage? It wasn’t even well edited or well paced. This year the Academy was clearly pushing the theme of movies being a part of our lives by hitting us where it hurts – NOSTALGIA. Which is a great idea. We all have memories of the movies growing up, and we all remember our first times at the movies, or our experiences associated with it. But this montage instilled no feelings or excitement, or even addressed that theme. If you’re gonna go there, fucking go all out. As Ron Swanson says, “never half ass two things, whole ass one thing”.

BEST – Bradley Cooper and his creepster stache

As if rebelling from his People’s Magazine Sexiest Man Alive title, Bradley Cooper sauntered on stage with a full on creepster stache. It was a thing of beauty. Last year Darren Aronofsky’s stache was on the prowl, but I think Coops might have beat him. I stated that Darren’s was ready for hookers and blow, versus Bradley’s looks like it’s going to get drunk on peach schnapps before 11 pm and cry about its ex-girlfriend to some unassuming female at the Vanity Fair after party. Watch out ladies!

WORST – Let us transition, with awkward music interludes

Another attempt at being “hip”, the Oscars planted some live musicians (one being Pharrell Williams drumming) up on the right side balconies to play some sweet melodies when going into commercials. If you want to be hip, just bring back stoned James Franco (best part of last years awards, straight up, bitch was trolling everyone). The musicians weren’t bad, they just all looked uncomfortable and not quite sure what to do. Like if they would play one note too much someone would whip them. Maybe evil Academy board members were in the wings supervising “WHY DID WE LET THAT YOUNG PUNK PHARRELL ON THE DRUMS? WHAT IF HE PLAYS SOMETHING THAT SUGGESTS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE???”. Actually, that’s a legit worry.

BEST – Flight of the Conchords have an Oscar!

Okay, well one half has an Oscar. But still! Amazing! I didn’t grow up with the Muppets (in 1980’s East Germany, our version of the Muppets was a show about the Sandman and his friends in equivalent creepy puppet form), so the movie did not interest me, therefore I had no idea that Bret McKenzie composed the lead song for it. He was completely adorable when he accepted the award for Best Original Song, and I was praying for his partner Jermaine to come up and for them to bust into an impromptu version of “Business Time”. Now I can say I’ve seen an Oscar winner in real life, after enjoying their set back in 2008 at Sasquatch Music Festival. Get it boys!!!

WORST – How fresh, a Hitler joke

Coming back to the “Midnight in Paris” skit from the beginning of the show with Billy Crystal and Justin Bieber, can we address how awkward it was to have Crystal doing blackface?! What the hell? Everyone was all up in arms about Jlo’s near nip slip – I found this waaaaaaaay more newsworthy. No one should ever be doing blackface, it’s so strange and creepy… AND OFFENSIVE. Goes both ways too, remember the movie White Chicks? REMEMBER HOW CREEPY IT WAS TO SEE THEIR FACES PAINTED IN WHITE??? And then to make it worse, they crack the tired and obligatory Jewish Hollywood Hitler joke. Ugggghhhh can we please get a new villain joke? Damn Hollywood, I know Germans are perfect movie villains, but LAWD can we get some fresh jokes up in here?

BEST – Comedy shows everyone who’s boss

The presenters try their best with the scripted nonsense that get written for them, and those who usually succeed in being memorable are comedy actors who can take said scripted lines and add their own flair without running over time. Usually at the Oscars we get the one obligatory comedy presenter to shake things up, but this year we were treated to many talented actors and actresses to delight us with their charisma. Stand out was Emma Stone who NAILED her skit of being over the top enthusiastic about her first time presenting beside old timer Ben Stiller. The two were natural together, with Emma making everyone realize we got a true talent emerging. The girl is gorgeous, but yet still seems approachable.  Her personality seems real, and her confidence is refreshing. Take note young starlets. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis also scored with a simple but no fail physical comedy bit – by bringing giant cymbals on stage and randomly dropping them. Only Will and Zach can pull this off with their stone faces and awkward body language. Props to Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy as well for bringing back their SAG Awards drinking game (drink when you see Martin Scorcese). Them grabbing mini bottles of Grey Goose out of their cleavage and pounding back while the camera cut to a confused Martin Scorcese was awesome. Even Chris Rock came out and reminded us he’s still hilarious and doesn’t give a fuck what comes out of his mouth.

WORST – Gary get snubbed

First off, shame on the Academy for never having nominated Gary Oldman before, and MORE shame on them for not awarding him this year. The man has paid his dues countless times with amazing roles, he’s a Hollywood treasure. Please don’t start Annette Bening him. I PRAY FOR YOU GARY. I’m charmed by Jean Dujardin just like everyone else, but he ain’t no Oldman, and I don’t think he deserved an Oscar for making silly faces and tap dancing for 2 hours. THAT’S RIGHT – I WASN’T IMPRESSED BY THE ARTIST, COME AT ME. Meanwhile Gary has been in over 70 movies!!!! Like, Leon: The Professional, The Dark Knight, the Harry Potter series, Air Force motherfucking One, The Fifth Element, Immortal Beloved (PLAYING FLAW FREE BAD ASS BEETHOVEN), True Romance, JFK, Sid and Nancy,  and countless more. Not saying these movies were masterpieces, but Gary was memorable in all of them. No matter how tiny or silly the role, he makes it his own and you can never recognize that it’s GARY OLDMAN. Get it Oldman, you are the winner in my heart.

BEST – Let’s remind everyone who does the most work

I love those who complain that the Oscars are mostly boring awards until the acting and best picture awards. Well, guess what, all those “boring” awards go to the hundreds of people who actually MAKE THE MOVIE. So let them have their moment. This year the Academy seemed to recognize this fact for once and decided to give them an extra well deserved moment in the spotlight. With each nomination announced, they got the famous actor or director from said movie to personally say what made them so amazing and worthy of their nomination via interview clips. It was refreshing to see people like Glenn Close admit she would have not signed on to do Albert Nobbs if it weren’t for her make-up artist, or actors admitting that their costumes is what helps them fully immerse themselves into their role. Directors confiding without their editors, there would be no film. It was heart warming sitting at home, as someone who works in the industry, to see the big wigs admit they can’t do it without us.

WORST – Actors, attempting to be real

But we can’t COMPLETELY make it about the little people, lets remind everyone that actors are real people too, just like us! Another transition into commercials was showing ~raw~ and ~personal~ interview clips of the creme de la creme of Hollywood reminiscing about their childhood experiences at the movies (playing into that nostalgia theme) and why movies are so important. Good idea, but you can’t ask actors to play it real. I don’t doubt the memories and thoughts they shared with us were real, but they are ACTORS. They can’t TURN IT OFF. All of them came off as slightly pretentious. Some were self-deprecating, which rarely works with celebs, so stop trying, and some came off with that annoying mentality that movies really ARE more important than anything else. Every actor looked like they were all thinking the same thing “My bit is going to be the best. I’m going to be the most emotional. The most raw. The most real”. Sadly, it all came off fake.

BEST – The worker bees stand out

We had a night of good speeches. Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress) had that great genuine surprised reaction which prompted her to yell “I’M FREAKING OUT” once she got up on stage, Christopher Plummer had a heartwarming and genuine speech, and Meryl kept it classy with not only acknowledging crew members (she’s taken her make-up artist on every movie with her since Sophie’s Choice), but thanking all the actors in the room she’s worked with over the years, and the friendships that have developed. That being said, all the “wait who’s this guy?” winners who took home tech and creative awards, had the best speeches of the night. Usually these people are awkward and mumble through speeches quickly, or stammer on for way too long, but almost everyone had pitch perfect speeches. Some highlights were:

Best Editor winners (Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) who had no idea what was happening but managed to thank “The Roons”, a.k.a Rooney Mara (star of the film), and blanked out as to what they should say next before gleefully looking at each other and saying “let’s get out of here!!!”.

Best Adaptedl Screenplay winners (The Descendants) included Jim Rash (a standout on TV’s Community as Dean Pelton) imitating the ridiculous and over the top leg stance Angelina Jolie kept making all night.

Best Foreign Film (A Separation) winner making a smart and down to the point speech about Iran without sounding overly political, and still thankful that Americans embraced Iran filmmaking.

Best Sound Editing winners (Hugo) starting off their speech with a dad joke of “you go”, “no you go” as a play on words of their film “Hugo”, reminding us everywhere that sound editors are geeks, in the best way.

Best Sound Mixing winners (Hugo) had a large man crying onstage about his win and it was extremely endearing.

Best Animated Short Film winners (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) had a pair of men succumb to a giggle fest of disbelief before stating “look we’re just these two like, swamp rats from Louisiana”. And these two, with their excited surprise, summed up what the Oscars were trying to shove down our throats the whole night (MOVIES! NOSTALGIA! PLEASE STILL BUY TICKETS!):

“We love the movies. We love the movies more than anything, it’s been a part of our lives since we were both kids. It’s been a part of our DNA ever since we were children, and made us storytellers. And there’s guys, there’s thousands of men and women through the generations, since the beginning of cinema, that have inspired us. And movies that moved us more than we ever knew we could ever be moved, and it’s everything we try to do every day is to honour those people and films, and we’re just down there in Louisiana and we keep on trying and going”

This is what it’s about.


At the Golden Globes, Ludovic Bource won for Best Original Score, and charmed me with his crazy French accent. He took it home again, and didn’t disappoint with further crazy French ramblings.

“Can I have 10 secondz more? Sorry… I have a little speech… I’d like to thank ze Academy, with zis Oscere, you have given a man a special honor. And to all of you, please acceptz me, because I got zo much love to give. I got zo much love to give to you!”



Dearest Maximo

You did it. You took your first breath the morning of February 12th, 2012, a few hours after you mom’s birthday ended. Thanks for letting her keep one day to herself. I can tell you will already be a compassionate person. Your name suggests excellence, and I will be disappointed if you don’t turn out to be a world leader. Or a gladiator. So, don’t mess that up. If you end up working in retail after you graduate from Harvard I will personally come collect you and point you in the right direction. Cause your parents will love you too much, and will try to let you do your own thing and let you “figure yourself out”. Not on my watch. You are the heir of the Eschelbachs and Niendorfs, this can only mean great things in your future.

You’re not going to see me much as you grow up and start recognizing the world around you. For a long time you won’t really care about me. I mean you’ll care in the sense that I will bring you presents on my visit, and there’s nothing more exciting than foreign relatives. I know this because when I was a kid, a visit to Germany meant getting spoiled rotten, so you have that to look forward to. Eventually when you hit your pre-teens I’ll become more than “that Aunt from God knows where I will be living at that point” visiting you that your mom will make you wear your good sweater for. The sweater will probably itch. We’ll start to get to know each other, we’ll start laughing at the same jokes, you might ask me questions you don’t know how to ask your mom or dad. I’ll let you take a drink from my wine glass when they aren’t watching. Eventually your parents will ship you off to me, when they need a vacation. That’s okay, they are allowed to. I won’t really know what to do with you, but we’ll make it work. I’ll make you watch weird movies that years later you’ll like. I’ll play you old Rolling Stones records that you will either love or hate. Maybe you’ll make fun of me to your friends. “My aunt is sooooo weird”. Or you’ll love old rock n roll too and ask to have my records. And I’ll give them to you, cause that’s what aunts do. If you like a girl, I can teach you French to impress them. I’ll wait till you hit your twenties to see what you’ve inherited from me. Maybe it will be my sarcasm. Maybe you’ll have a random weird habit that I have too. I look forward to that. Recently I’ve seen traits in myself that I thought were solely mine. Not completely. They come from my family. I belong to someone. I can’t wait for you to realize this as well. One day I’ll be watching you from across the room and see something in you that I know you got from me, and my heart will swell so much from all the love I have for you. I hope you get your mom’s integrity. And your dad’s big heart. In terms of parents, you lucked out big time. The house you will grow up in is filled with love and respect.

I’m almost 26, so I can’t offer you too much life advice since I’m still muddling through it myself. But here are a few things I can offer. You’re going to mess up, a lot. It is impossible to satisfy everyone. You are going to get hurt, but you will hurt others too, and that can sometimes be worse. You’re going to meet people and years later realize they will never leave your life, no matter what. Don’t let them go. Know how to pick your battles. Always order a night-cap. Don’t ever play games with girls (or men if that ends up floating your boat – and if it does don’t be scared of telling your family, cause we’re not going to care). Always remember to treat people the way you want to be treated. That will be one of the earliest pieces of advice someone tells you. A teacher will talk to you about respect. Listen to her, don’t roll your eyes (which you will cause when we’re kids we’re brats). Respect is one of the few things you can control. In high school things are going to be very dramatic, small things will either elate or upset you. For weeks. Embrace it. Even the pain. Because that pain will be so raw. Because all those emotions will be new. When you get older, you’ll feel the same emotions over and over and it won’t even be as exciting. Don’t be afraid of being selfish once awhile. Learn how to be by yourself. Learn how to compromise, but never to the point where you lose a part of yourself. People will only truly love you for yourself, if you pretend to be someone or something else, you will quickly see how exhausting that is. Embrace your flaws and learn how to live with them. You can’t change them, so don’t waste years trying to get rid of them. Learn acceptance. Learn how to say hi to a stranger. Take road trips with your friends. Take time to nap. If you’re going to be late for work, call your boss directly and let him know, don’t make up an excuse. Don’t wear socks with sandals. And for God’s sake take off your socks if you’re getting intimate with someone.

By the time you and I will be friends, I’ll be in my late forties. Then you will start to understand that I’m a human with a past and experiences that might interest you, that you will ask me about. I won’t just be your Aunt, I’ll be a person. But until then here’s what you should know about me:

I’m going to hold you awkwardly when you’re a baby. I’m going to drop you, so sorry. I might lose you in a mall if I’m baby-sitting you, but I promise I will find you. I will always have candy on me, and yes I will give it to you in secret when your parents aren’t watching. I don’t know any nursery rhymes and have a terrible singing voice, so if you ever can’t sleep under my watch you will have to settle on me telling you an inappropriate story. Thankfully you won’t remember. I love to read, and I will try to get you excited about reading so expect lots of hardcover books as presents. And I don’t care if Kindles takeover, you better keep those books because having actual books in your house will make you look smart. I’m a good listener, so you can talk to me about anything, anytime. I won’t ever judge you. If you need to ever get away from your home life for whatever reason, you can stay with me. It will most likely be quiet. Especially if I do end up a writer. Oh yeah, I like writing a lot, and it’s one of the few ways I know how to express myself, so expect a lot of long hand written cards on your birthday cause it will be one of the few times I tell you how much you mean to me. I might seem scary when you’re a kid cause I don’t know how to talk to kids. But I’ll get better, cause of you. So thanks in advance. I love animals and will gladly take you to the zoo however many times you want. My friends are very important to me. Loyalty and honesty are the ways to my heart, so don’t lie to me often. I’m pretty gullible so lying to me is easy, and you will, but try not to. I give second chances even when people don’t deserve it, don’t ever abuse of that. Our family can be a handful, like any family, but we definitely have some quirks that as you grow older will start to piss you off. Too bad, you’re stuck with us. But I’ll always cheers you across the room in silent understanding when you’re old enough to appreciate a drink, and your family.

Welcome to our crazy planet Max, it ain’t gonna be easy, but I’ll try to make it comfortable for you.


Your Aunt Julia