domingo, 29 de agosto de 2010

What to expect at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards?

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It's that time of the year! It's the last award show of the season until we start again with the Golden Globes in January. The 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards! The "Academy Awards" of television that will award the very best of the small screen.

Neil Patrick Harris hands over his hosting duties to Jimmy Fallon, who is hosting the Emmys for the first time but has quite an experience in hosting award shows - he's been the host of the MTV Movie Awards twice and the MTV Video Music Awards. Next to Fallon, a long list of presenters such as Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, the newlyweds Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer, Jon Hamm, Sofia Vergara, Eva Longoria Parker, Betty White and music performances of the Glee cast and Jewel, who will be in charge of the In Memoriam segment.

This year and for the first time ever, winners will have the chance to express their emotions or thank people they have forgotten during their speeches in "Thank You, Camera", a part of a backstage event, which will also show how presenters, nominees and performers get ready to take the stage, that and will stream live worldwide. As part of the Emmy experience, viewers will also be able to send red carpet questions which will be asked by Access’s popular "Dish Of Salt” correspondent Laura Saltman. If you want to submit some questions, you can either do it via the Emmy website or via Twitter at #emmys10

Now, we have seen how things headed at the Golden Globes (awards voted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (awards voted by all the members of the Screen Actors Guild), so, in some way, we have a hint of whom will be awarded or not. I have the feeling that sometimes the Academy rewards what's trendy/popular rather than what's fair related to quality and effort. There are times I feel some fantastic actors are snubbed at the nominations and others aren't rewarded with the precious Emmy after years and years of flawless performances. And what about full year shows versus summer season shows? Should they be considered in the same way when voting or not? Should the Academy split the nominations between full year and summer shows instead of putting them all together? What's your opinion about these points?

One thing we know is one actor is gonna get his award for sure, so no need to feel nervous about winning or about ab-libbing a nice speech, ok, Mr. Clooney? You can relax, enjoy the show and have your speech ready before hitting the red carpet. George Clooney will receive the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for his efforts in setting up the TV special Hope For Haiti and raising funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina and awareness about genocide in Darfur, This award was established in 2002 and Clooney will be the 4th person to receive it after Oprah Winfrey (2002), Bill Cosby (2003) and Danny Thomas (2004). Congrats, Mr. Clooney! It's definitely very well deserved!

But what about the nominees? As every year, the newbies mingle with the veterans. Superb performances and shows that give us a hard time when making our bets. Will this be the year that the Academy gives an ex-aequo award? Will overdue nominees get their reward? Which dark horse will surprise us?

Joining me in placing the Emmy predictions in the main categories, the two Blogcritics TV editors, Josh Lasser and Barbara Barnett and two talented and great Blogcritics (fellow TV) writers: Mindy Peterman and Gerry Weaver.

My predictions:

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family. I think it is the big revelation of the season. A very interesting peek to the everyday life of three types of family we can find anywhere these days. The dialogue is fresh, smart and hilarious and its documentary format is really attractive for the viewer.

Outstanding Drama Series: Lost. The Academy tends to be very generous with concluded shows. The last season was very intense, nerve-wracking and featured great performances by all the actors. I think it's fair to reward the show that has caused so much debate and theories in the last six months. Still, Mad Men is there looking menacing. Alternative: Mad Men

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series: Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie. Versatile, funny and strong. These are the three adjectives to describe Falco's performance but be careful because Toni Collette could repeat last year's win.

Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series: Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory. He's the frontrunner in this category. Alec Baldwin is his strong opponent but it seems 30 Rock doesn't generate as much attention as it used to.

Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife. Just like the category of outstanding actor in a drama series, this category is full of talented and strong performances. Margulies has some very important awards behind thanks to her solid portrayal of Alicia Florrick and that is reason enough to say that she's the favourite.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series: Hugh Laurie - House. Six seasons, two Golden Globes, two Screen Actor Guild Awards and two Television Critics Awards later, Hugh Laurie, the eternal nominee, has zero Emmys. How is that possible?! I really hope this year justice is done for him. His submission for the award "Broken" shows us Gregory House in all his best. A two-hour episode in which we see a sweet, hurt, broken, tender, funny, playful, suffering House, a flawless performance by Laurie, period!

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Lynch - Glee. She definitely steals the scene every time she appears on screen and in her submitting episode, her revival of Madonna's Vogue is precious and memorable.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family. His portrayal of friendly and devoted dad Cameron is fresh, hilarious and full of emotions. His Meryl Streep reference in one of the episodes is reason enough to reward this wonderful actor.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men. This one is going to be a mano-a-mano between Moss and Christina Hendricks but I bet on Moss because her character has grown up and along with her performance.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Terry O'Quinn - Lost. This category is about two Losties: O'Quinn and Michael Emerson. I won't mind that Emerson wins instead because Ben Linus has always been one of my favourite characters of the show but I think O'Quinn is going to get this one because John Locke has been crucial this final season and his intense performance has been really enjoyable to watch.

Josh Lasser's predictions:

Comedy Series: Modern Family. I should be going with Glee here and will go with Glee a lot on the Emmys this year but Modern Family is just excellent.

Drama Series: Mad Men. It's just so good. Lost could be a sentimental favorite due to it finishing its final season, but I think there were too many missteps in that season – really, did we need all those episodes in the temple?

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series: Lea Michele - Glee. It's a tough category with a lot of deserving people, but people love their Glee.

Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series: Matthew Morrison - Glee. Because, hey, Glee could win just about everything, right?

Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife. Margulies in her return to television after ER in another show which both critics and fans like seems like a good choice.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series: Jon Hamm - Mad Men. I may like Kyle Chandler better right now, but I think that Mad Men has more momentum.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Neil Patrick Harris - How I Met Your Mother. He is so deserving in his role as Barney Stinson and has earned this award for several years even if he hasn't gotten it. Modern Family may be a favorite but with three nominees I think they'll split the vote.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Lynch - Glee. Say it with me now in that high-pitched, stick your finger and your thumb up way – Glee! Lynch as Sue Sylvester is such a great villain and completely deserving of the award.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Christina Hendricks - Mad Men. I think Mad Men is going to do very well tonight and I'm not sure whether this award should go to Hendricks or Moss, but Hendricks just strikes me more as the potential winner.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Terry O'Quinn - Lost. O'Quinn was forced to do a lot of heavy-lifting in the final season of Lost and did a great job. Someone else may get the award, but I think it should go to O'Quinn.

Mindy Peterman's predictions:

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family. A show that succeeds in covering all the bases: showing a gay, bi-racial, and "normal" family living in "harmony" under the same matriarch, and doing it with masterful ease. The show is often hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking. The documentary style has never been used to been put to better use.
Outstanding Drama Series: Lost. The last chance the show has to take the award and it certainly is deserving. The scope and magnitude of this project is in itself worthy of accolades. Its heartbreaking yet uplifting conclusion will be discussed and argued about for years to come.

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series: Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie. No actress up for the award this year exhibits Falco's range. Getting us to sympathize with the drug addicted, philandering Jackie Peyton is a challenge but Falco wins us over every time.

Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series: Jim Parsons - The Big Bang Theory. The only show I've watched more than once in this batch is "Monk". And I wouldn't vote for Shaloub. He's won every year and enough is enough. The little I've seen of Parsons tells me he does a bang-up job with what could be an unlikable character (such a geek!). Not a truly educated pick but it is one from the gut and the heart.

Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series: Not familiar enough with the nominees to cast a vote.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series: Hugh Laurie - House. An award that is long overdue for this actor who has proven himself time and time again. Submitting the magnificent two-hour episode "Broken" was a smart move, giving him an excellent chance to finally win. Hopefully this will be Laurie's year to take Emmy home.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Kristin Wiig - Saturday Night Live. I would love to see Wiig take this. Not since the early days of Saturday Night Live has a cast member created so many memorable and hilarious characters.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family. Stonestreet's portrayal of Cameron on Modern Family is frequently hilarious, sometimes poignant and always masterful.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Elisabeth Moss - Mad Men. As Mad Men's Peggy Olsen, Moss gives a stellar performance as the first woman to be respected for her smarts in a male dominated 1960's advertising agency.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Terry O'Quinn - Lost O'Quinn's bowled us over with his extraordinary portrayal of John Locke, the crippled hero who eventually becomes the embodiment of evil on the island.

Gerry Weaver's predictions:

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family. Last year, Glee had all the buzz, but I think there's some perception this year it was over-hyped. I think new comedy Modern Family will win this year.

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men. My personal favourite out of the nominees is True Blood, but I don't think it will take home the prize. Despite being hip, popular and run by Alan Ball, the genre works against it and it's had some uneven storylines. But look for Denis O'Hare for best guest actor in a drama next year! This year, Mad Men still seems to have the buzz, so I think it will be a repeat winner. Alternate: Lost

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series: Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie. She's the favourite and I think she's going to win.

Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series: Steve Carell - The Office. Though Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons are strong contenders, I'm going with Steve Carell, as he's never won for The Office and this is his last year.

Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife. The series is a critical darling and Margulies already has a Golden Globe, a SAG and a TCA award this season.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series: Hugh Laurie - House. I hope Hugh Laurie finally gets his Emmy; it's long past due and with his powerhouse submission, "Broken," he has an excellent chance. However, he will have to fight it out with Michael C. Hall, who is on a roll with a Golden Globe and the SAG award. The actor is not only excellent on his series, he's just a won a battle with cancer—the combination has made him a favourite this year among a lot of voters. And really, in this category, every nominee deserves to win. But I'm sticking with my favourite, Hugh Laurie.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Lynch - Glee. Here's where I think Glee will be recognized. Jane Lynch steals all her scenes as Sue Sylvester and is the front runner in this race.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Eric Stonestreet - Modern Family. Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother is an audience favourite who is also well-liked by his peers. However, Stonestreet on Modern Family has the advantage of being on the new buzzed about comedy.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Christina Hendricks - Mad Men. Just going on the fact that I like her, I’m picking Hendricks. It never hurts to generate sparks with Jon Hamm.
Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Michael Emerson - Lost. I think Lost is going to get some love as it goes out with style.

Barbara Barnett's predictions:

Outstanding Comedy Series: Glee. It's sharp, sassy, and has captured the imagination of many television viewers.

Outstanding Drama Series: Mad Men. Ah, to relive the '60s of my parents. Excellent acting and writing will make this the favorite.

Outstanding Actress In A Comedy Series: Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie. Just a feeling.
Outstanding Actor In A Comedy Series: Steve Carell - The Office.

Outstanding Actress In A Drama Series: Julianna Margulies - The Good Wife. Margulies should add another major award to her collection for this season.

Outstanding Actor In A Drama Series: Hugh Laurie - House. It's so long overdue, and he is amazing in the submitted episode "Broken"

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Lynch - Glee. She is just great and everyone loves Glee.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series: Neil Patrick Harris - How I Met Your Mother

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series: Sharon Gless - Burn Notice.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series: Andre Braugher - Man Of A Certain Age. Braugher is always great. I think the Academy will celebrate his return to series TV.

What do you think of our predictions? Are yours the same?

Red Carpet Arrivals to be streamed live on, Access, and at 4 pm PT, 7 pm ET.

The Primetime Emmy Awards airs coast-to-coast on NBC (5-8 pm PT, 8-11pm ET)

jueves, 19 de agosto de 2010

Music Review: Eli "Paperboy" Reed - Come and Get It

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Perseverance, thrill and talent are the three words I'd use to describe Eli "Paperboy" Reed. His name is becoming more and more popular with each passing day, but it must be said that Reed is definitely not a newcomer.

His involvement in the music world started as a member of his Boston high school band, then he moved to Mississippi where he was mentored by music veterans such as Terry "Big T" Williams, Sam Carr and Wesley "Junebug" Jefferson. Reed took part in the Sunday morning gigs at a tiny South Side Chicago church and played in the coolest clubs in Brooklyn with his band True Loves.

Now, at 26, Reed has the nickname "Paperboy" attached to his name - the singer used to wear his grandfather's paperboy hat and took the name after it - just like all the other musicians in Clarksdale.

With Reed's two independently released albums (Sings Walkin' and Talkin' and Other Smash Hits and Roll With You) having been very well received in Boston, along with Rolling Stone magazine naming him a "Breaking Artist" and a nomination to the 2009 MOJO Awards for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Reed presents his major label debut, Come and Get It for Capitol Records. The album was produced by Mike Elizondo - whose credits include Eminem, Gwen Stefani and Fiona Apple.

With the purpose of singing phrases that people would respond to, Reed presents us twelve songs that he wrote at home when he was messing around on the acoustic guitar. The singer exposes all the music influences (early rock & roll, country, blues) that he's absorbed since his early childhood and brings them to our present time.

Reed does not want to imitate soul artists like Sam Cooke or Otis Redding, although he's clearly influenced by them. He's a young 21st Century singer who shows great respect and fascination for soul and adds his own unique style to that sound. Very elegant background singers and the True Loves band match up well with Reed's passion, fervor and energy.

The rhythm doesn't decline in any of the songs. Highlights from the album include "Come and Get It", a vibrant dance song, followed by "Young Girl" which offers a tribute to Bostonian soul singer Frank Lynch. Reed's spectacular falsettos are on display with the tracks "Tell Me What I Wanna Hear" and the beautiful ballad "Pick Your Battles." The album ends on a high note with "Explosion," bringing a great close to an album that makes me look forward to hearing more from Reed really soon.

miércoles, 18 de agosto de 2010

Book Review: Blind Landing by Tony Blackman

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Blind Landing, written by Tony Blackman, is an aviation mystery thriller that focuses on the investigation of an Al-Qaeda hijacked super jumbo aircraft that crashes at Heathrow Airport after a non-stop flight from Sydney to London.

Peter Talbert, a freelance airline safety expert working for insurance and airline companies, is in charge of investigating this intriguing accident where hijacking, pilot error, bad weather, or anomalies in the aircraft system could be the main cause of the fatal outcome.

The book gives us the chance to be the perfect travel companion for Talbert during his constant trips around the world, during his questionings of experts, pilots, and crash survivors, and allows us to participate in Talbert’s inner thoughts in order to discover the right pieces of the puzzle. The tension of the whole investigation is in a way relieved with more domestic episodes related to Talbert's personal life - his relationship with his girlfriend Mandy, the fear of taking a step further in his love story with Mandy because there is a person from the past who keeps haunting him, the influence of a girl, Liz, that he meets in one of his trips to Sydney...

This is fiction, of course, but at the end of the book, Blackman adds a brief epilogue entitled "Analysis: Could It Ever Happen?" where the author discusses if a crash like the one in the novel can actually take place in real life and what could be done to avoid it. Once again, Blackman shows his expertise on aviation electronics.

At first, it could seem that the book is for aviation connoisseurs only, due to the enormous amount of technical and aviation terminology, but Blackman is able not to scare his readers away with a nice and fluent storytelling pace. Although the investigation's goal is finding out what caused the aircraft crash, the reader does not need a complete understanding of the terms for enjoying the story.

If you enjoy this book, the first of the series featuring Peter Talbert, you can check out the rest of the titles of the franchise: The Final Flight, The Right Choice, Flight to St. Antony, and Now You See it.

jueves, 12 de agosto de 2010

More Movies Like Inception ASAP!

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A few weeks ago, I went to see Christopher Nolan's Inception for the first time and I left the cinema marveling at what I had just seen. Thus far this year, I can say that unless a real masterpiece gets released before the year finishes, Inception is the movie of 2010.

We need more movies like Inception. Hollywood should bet on more original and intelligent scripts rather than wanting too many remakes or second, third or whatever the number installments. As a cinema lover, I also enjoy this kind of movie but a story just like the one Nolan has written is really refreshing and attractive to the audience. I really don't know if the studio would had given the okay to Nolan if he hadn't already done The Dark Knight, especially in the current recession we are in, where every single dollar must be spent wisely. Thanks to Nolan's rebirth of the Batman saga, the studio knew this was a high quality project that wouldn't lead to box office failure. Smart choice, indeed!

I'm sure there are lots of original, enigmatic, and brainy stories waiting to be told on the big screen but for some reason, they're kept closed in a drawer of a random studio office awaiting their lucky day. I know it is a bad time to take risks but I think Hollywood should give more opportunity to these kind of scripts, to young (or not), talented, but unknown scriptwriters with bright ideas that could lead to a restructuring of our present day cinema where franchises, comic adaptations, and remakes are our daily diet. This would be good news for people like me who enjoy easy entertainment but would also like to feel intellectually challenged.

sábado, 7 de agosto de 2010

Emma Thompson Joins The Walk of Fame's Galaxy

"Article first published as Emma Thompson Joins The Walk of Fame's Galaxy on

Talented, gracious, funny, witty, friendly, hard-worker, intelligent and the list of adjectives to describe Emma Thompson could go on and on. Two Academy Awards (one for her leading role in Howard's End and another for the screenplay based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility), three BAFTAs, two Golden Globes, an Emmy, and many film critics awards endorse her almost 30-year-old career in the show business.

Thompson is one example of British actor who has been able to have a stable and remarkable career both in her native England and in Hollywood. She has worked with excellent directors such as James Ivory, Ang Lee, Richard Curtis, and marvellous castmates such as Anthony Hopkins, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, and Kate Winslet. She has taken part in the famous iconic Harry Potter saga as Professor Sybil Trelawney alongside the elite of the British star system, and can proudly boast her ability to be convincing in both drama and comedy roles. And, let's not forget that Thompson's acting career started in comedy when she was in her 20s at Cambridge as part of the legendary Cambridge Footlights troupe with pals Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Tony Slattery.

Thompson has also distinguished herself as a writer. In addition to her Sense and Sensibility screenplay, she has also adapted for the big screen Christianna Brand's book Nurse Matilda; she is now preparing a new remake of My Fair Lady.

Some people may think that a successful career full of awards and good reviews could make one complacent, but that is not the case with Ms. Thompson, who keeps challenging herself with every new project. When not working, she devotes herself to her family and her humanitarian work with the Refugee Council, Rebuilding Lives, and chairing the Helen Lamber Foundation.

Last year, she focused her attention on the subject of human trafficking, co-directing an art exhibit called Journey, which was shown all around the globe. In a few weeks, she'll return - this time as a producer - to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where in 1981 she and her Cambridge Footlights partners received the very first Perrier Comedy Award, to present the Fair Trade, a thought-provoking play inspired by the testimony of two survivors of the sex slave trade. As you can see, the British actress likes to go deep into subjects that most of us would not dare explore.

August 6, 2010 will definitely be a date to remember for Emma Thompson. Coinciding with the upcoming release of the second installment of the Nanny McPhee franchise, Nanny McPhee Returns, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honoured the actress with the 2,416th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her motion picture career. It was placed next to a British pub (coincidence?).

Guest speakers at the ceremony included her Nanny McPhee co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal and long-time friend Hugh Laurie. Who better than someone who has known and worked with Emma for so long than Laurie. Close friends and colleagues since their days at Cambridge in Footlights, Laurie started his acting career where she started, possessing the energy, passion, wit and talent that she has.

Very well deserved! Congratulations, Ms. Thompson!