The Golden Globe Speeches

While I was all eager to watch the 68th Annual Golden Globes last night, I was feeling bored from the beginning, after the first award of Best Supporting Actor was handed out. With Geoffrey Rush (The King’s speech therapist) losing the award, I will always miss the acceptance speech from him. I’m sure he had prepared something brilliant and witty to say. That would be the speech I had hoped for, but now, will never get to hear.

Most of the speeches last night were banal and uninspiring, exceptions were few. Even Robert De Niro’s for winning the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award was lacklustre.  What sounded like self-deprecating humor could well have de-mythicized the acting profession and brought it down to the level of just another job to feed the kids.

Annette Bening had a sweet ending to her acceptance speech for Best Actress, comedy or musical, for The Kids Are All Right. After thanking the cast, she acknowledged “the 1962 winner of the Golden Globes for Most Promising Actor, my husband Warren Beatty.” They looked wonderful together, after all these years.

Canadian viewers must be delighted to hear Paul Giamatti, Best Actor, comedy or musical for Barney’s Version, as he acknowledged Canadian author Mordecai Richler and his family, and the film’s shooting location “up in an incredible, beautiful city, Montreal, which I dream about, an incredible place in a great nation, Canada. I salute the great nation of Canada.”

The audience stood and cheered as Michael Douglas came on stage at the end, making his first public appearance in Hollywood after receiving treatments for throat cancer: “That’s got to be an easier way to get a standing ovation,”  he quipped.  He presented the Best Movie Award to The Social Network, which won four Golden Globes last night.



The best speech of the night came from Colin Firth. Just like his role in The King’s Speech, reflecting his persona and style, his speech was an exemplar of finesse and character.

Here is Colin Firth’s acceptance speech for Best Actor, Drama, for The King’s Speech:

“Getting through the mid stage of your life with your dignity and judgement in tact can be somewhat precarious and sometimes all you need is a bit of gentle reassurance to keep on track. I don’t know if this qualifies as gentle reassurance, but right now this is all that stands between me and a Harley Davidson. I owe a very great debt to my supernaturally talented fellow cast members, my exquisite no-nonsense Queen, Helena and my wayward Royal older brother Guy [Pierce]. Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper, my two other sides of a surprisingly robust triangle of man love, somehow moved forward in perfect formation for the last year and a half or so… Tom with his scorching intelligence and Geoffrey who has now become my true friend and geisha girl. David Seidler, I know something of what you went through to create this…. at a time in my life when I truly appreciate the value of longevity in my relationships, Harvey Weinstein has made an improbably number of good films. We have had 20 years together, which is not bad going for a showbiz marriage. Thank you, Harvey. But the very best thing of all has been Livia [his wife] and all the beautiful things she’s given me and I think I can cope with just about any age as long as I can still see her.”

Who can be more deserving to win?


For a full list of Golden Globes nominees and winners, CLICK HERE to the official Golden Globe Site of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

To read my review of The King’s Speech, CLICK HERE.

Colin Firth’s Speech quoted from The Telegraph.

Photo source: The Telegraph


Top 2 Over 90


Turning 93 this October, my Dad is one of two recipients of the ‘Lifelong Learning Award’ presented to him by Dr. Scott McLean, Director of Continuing Education, University of Calgary.

In the past two years, he has taken courses from the Calgary Seniors College, co-organized by the U of C Continuing Education and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Courses my Dad has taken include Computer, Chinese History, and Chinese Medicine.  Here’s a glimpse of yesterday’s Graduation and Award Ceremony.

No published work, no writing aspiration either.   Just a learner… for life.  Maybe that’s achievement enough.


Popularity versus Art

This year’s Oscars marks a new battleground for the dichotomy of art-house vs. blockbuster movies.  By increasing the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 selections, it looks like the Academy is aiming at allowing the blockbusters a shot at the coveted statuette, and not the other way round.

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Why do I say that?  A look at the past winners in recent years would give a hint or two:  Slumdog Millionaire (2008), a production of just $15 million and a cast of unknown, foreign actors; No Country for Old Men (2007), a $25 million production and not a big hit domestically in terms of box office sales.

Several of the Best Picture contenders in recent years are represented by low-budget indie films, such as Juno (2007) and Little Miss Sunshine (2006).  Mind you, they might have reaped millions from their Oscar nods after the fact.

Not that blockbusters are necessarily artistically deficient, or that indie films must be artistically worthy, but it’s safe to say that blockbuster movies are crowd pleasers and more readily received. Art-house films are offered only in limited release, and appreciated by a much smaller audience.  Their low budget usually means no A-list stars.  It also restricts the profuse use of innovative technology as in big budget productions such as Avatar (2009).  So their general appeal is the essence of the screenplay, the acting, the storytelling within very limited means.

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The two front-runners of this year’s nominations best illustrate this point. The battle of the ex-es aside, Avatar and The Hurt Locker are neck and neck with 9 nods, competing in many of the same categories. But The Hurt Locker appears in two that are crucial in defining its artistic value as a motion picture:  Best Actor (Jeremy Renner) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Mark Boal), while Avatar falls short in these categories.

From the popularity angle, some refer their contention as David and Goliath.  The Hurt Locker, with a production cost of just $11 million and box office sales of $12.6 million, is miniscule when compared to that of Avatar’s $635 million, so far, and a reported budget of $237 million, one of the most expensive movies ever made.

Another way of seeing the two is the number of theatres screening the movies.  Avatar has over 3,000 theatres domestically, while The Hurt Locker, well, you’re lucky to catch it before it disappears from its limited release.  The DVD is out, so that really helps if you want to see it before the Awards night.

The other contenders pose a similar scenario.  Other than Avatar, four Best Pictures nominees have passed, way passed, the $100 million box office sales:The Blind Side ($242 million)Up ($293 million)Inglorious Basterds ($120 million), and District 9 ($115 million). Slightly trailing behind are Up In The Air ($77 million) and Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire ($46 million).

So what stand out are two little films, meager in comparison in terms of box office sales:  An Education ($9.6 million) and A Serious Man ($9.2 million).Their high acclaim from critics do not materialize in popular reception from movie goers, which is not surprising, for generally, these two groups don’t always see eye-to-eye.

Box office sales are the mark of popularity.  They measure how many have flocked to the theatres and are willing to pay to see a movie. Low ticket sales of course is related to how widely released the movie is, but it also gauges popular taste. There’s the rub, would the Academy members vote for a movie that has been seen by just a fraction of the viewing public?  Would they judge a movie only on its artistic and technical merits rather than the sales it generates?

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Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune calls the inclusion of The Blind Side in this year’s Best Picture pool “a triumph of the till”.  Many critics are surprised to see it on the list.  And I suppose for Hollywood insiders and members of the Academy, they know very well what the bottom line is.  I’ve heard the argument before: If you want to see indie films and artsy productions, go to Sundance and Cannes.  I can hear them grumble … be realistic, the Oscars is a celebration of the movie business in all its glory and glamour.

I’ve appreciated what one entertainment writer has noted:

… popularity is the spiritual currency of Hollywood’s art. That’s why we call it ‘pop culture.’

It seems that nowadays, spurred on by reality talent shows which generate winners through popular votes, the contention of popularity versus skills or artistic merits is tipped way out of balance.  The critics are now made up of the populace; the panel of judges can only voice their opinion, however biting, but they do not get to vote.

And for the lesser known gems like An Education and A Serious Man, I’m glad they are included in the Best Picture pool, thanks to those who have nominated them despite their meager showing at the box office. After all, besides the money-generating function, film is in essence an art form.  Art for art’s sake or for profit remains the on-going debate.  Of course, the two need not be mutually exclusive… reality is, the financial component often is the main sustenance of a production.  It’ll be interesting to see though how the battle of David and Goliath turns out at the Oscars this year.  The implications could be more far-reaching than just churning out another winner.

The Proximidade: Celebrating Closeness

Arti of Ripple Effects is honored to receive The Proximidade Blogging Award from ds of  third-storey window.  A wonderful view she has over there.  Thanks again ds!

“The Proximidade Award believes in the Proximity – nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award.”


This is a while back now.  Although ds is very generous as to spare us the obligation to pass it on, I feel I should share this award by naming  some worthy recipients whose blog has closed the gap among us, in one way or another, narrowing our physical distances through common interests and other higher ideals.

It’s my pleasure to pass the Proximidade Award to the following Blogs, in alphabetical order:

Book Club Girl — for closing the gap between authors and readers by her own radio show ‘Authors on Air’.

Classy Music — for drawing us closer with news and views of classy musicians and their performance.  Take note, ye fans of Susan Boyle and Paul Potts.

FilmChat — Movie reviewer Peter Chattaway (no kidding) engages us with insightful and interesting dialogues between faith and film.

Jane Austen Today —  Great job Laurel Ann and Vic,  in connecting Janeites the world over by their excessively diverting blog.   (LA and V:  I’m still working at finding ‘classics’ blogs for the ED Award.)

Visual Dialogues — Blogging from Hong Kong, Molly Mavis closes the gap between East and West with her perceptive photography.

I trust you’ll find the above blogs informative and entertaining, well deserving the Proximidade Award.

Time’s 25 Best Blogs 2009

Just when Arti is wondering how to spend the next 48 hours before Sunday’s Academy Awards, an incoming link pops up on her dashboard.  It is a blog talking about Time’s recent selection of  25 Best Blogs for 2009.   A stroke of glamour no less than the golden Oscar flashes across Arti’s muddled mind… huh, Ripple Effects got linked to what?  The researcher in Arti quickly heeds the call to check it out.   No, Ripple Effects is not on the list.  Slap, slap, wake up, this is the real world now… it’s just that one of Ripple Effects’ posts got linked by WordPress’ auto-generated linking mechanism.  In the huge blogosphere out there, being chosen as one of the top 25 blogs is just got to be harder than winning the Oscars.  What am I thinking.

For those interested in the curious case of  Time’s 25 Best Blogs of 2009, here is the list and the subject matter of the blogs:

  1. Talk Points Memo — Political
  2. The Huffington Post — Political
  3. Lifehacker — “Tips and downloads”
  4. Metafilter — Wikiweblog
  5. The Daily Dish — Atlantic Andrew Sullivan’s Political blog
  6. Freakonomics — NY Times Stephen Dubner and Levitt, Economics
  7. BoingBoing — Technology and fringe culture
  8. Got2BeGreen — Environment
  9. Zen Habits — Self-help and motivational
  10. The Conscience of a Liberal:  NY Times Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate, Economics
  11. Crooks and Liars — Political
  12. Generación Y — Political
  13. Mashable — Social Networking
  14. Slashfood — Food
  15. The Official Google Blog — Business
  16. synthesis — opinions & ideas
  17. bleat — life in retro
  18. /Film — Films and Video Games
  19. Seth Godin’s Blog — Marketing
  20. Deadspin — Sports
  21. Dooce — Heather Armstrong on a female life
  22. The Pioneer Woman — Ree Drummond on a female pioneer life
  23. Said the Gramophone — Music
  24. Detention Slip — cheat sheet for education news
  25. Bad Astronomy — in praise of real science

So, here they are, your celebrities, the blockbusters of the blogosphere, some attracting millions of page views per month, the Hollywood Oscar scene of blogging.  But I must say I regret to see there are no blogs on the list that are dedicated to the arts or books.  Further, hats off to all those who write in obscurity, like many of my favorites.  They are the solitary bloggers who quietly express their views towards life’s issues, or share their love of a book, response to a film, or simply capture a moving moment, blogs that deserve to be read just the same as the blockbusters.

Maybe there needs to be an indie blogging recognition, like in the film industry, an Independent Spirit Award for bloggers who write and toil just for the simple pleasure of observing, expressing, sharing, and celebrating the essence of being human.  No glamour, no red carpet.


P.S.  Ok, they have the red carpet too at the Spirit Awards and glamour automatically comes with that I suppose… Anyway, I’m sure you get my point.


2009 Golden Globe Winners

If you’re looking for the 2010 Golden Globes, CLICK HERE.

slumdog-golden-globe Photo Source:  Irish Times

Click here for the list of the 2009 Golden Globe winners

Slumdog Millionaire is the big winner of the night, garnering the golden globe in four categories:  Best Original Score (A. R. Rahman),  Best Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy),  Best Director (Danny Boyle), and Best Motion Picture – Drama.  Good to see the underdog win.  Hopefully the bright road leads all the way to the Oscars.

Another big winner is Kate Winslet, surprising even herself by winning both Best Supporting Actress (The Reader) and Best Actress (Drama, Revolutionary Road).  Her emotion was spontaneous… She even said sorry to her fellow nominees Meryl  (Doubt),  Kristin (I’ve Loved You So Long), and who’s the other one?  Yes,  Angelina (Changeling).  But ooh, she forgot Anne (Rachel Getting Married), who got all the hype from being recognized as the winner due to an earlier glitch on the GG website.

kate-winslet-golden-globe-2009 Photo Source:

Sally Hawkins nabbed the Best Actress trophy  (Comedy, Happy-Go-Lucky), beating fellow Brit  Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey).

After waited for a whole year, Steven Spielberg finally received the Cecil B. DeMille Award which he won in 2008  but was not presented due to the cancellation of the GG Awards ceremony. Or was it 50 years that he waited?  It was in 1959 that Spielberg made his first film, an 8 min. short.  He was 13.

Heath Ledger won posthumously Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight.  Chris Nolan accepted it on his behalf: “He will be eternally missed, but he will never be forgotten.”

Wall-E took the Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, deservedly.

As for the TV division, John Adams garnered four Awards, seeing Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti receiving their honors.

Overall, a big night for the Brits.

Click here to read CBC reporting.

Click here to see a clip of the highlights from BBC News.


2009 Golden Globe Nominations

Update January 12:  CLICK HERE for the Golden Globe Winners.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association has just announced the 2009 Golden Globe Awards nominations.  Click here for the full list.

If, as they say, the Golden Globes usually is a good prediction of the Oscars, then I am hopeful that some of those who truly deserve the recognition might just get a nod for next year’s Academy Awards.

I’m thinking in particular of Kristin Scott Thomas for her role in I’ve Loved You So Long (France), nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress Award (Drama), and the film getting a nod in the Best Foreign Film category.

Anne Hathaway is also a contender in the same category as Scott Thomas, for Rachel Getting Married.  Her performance is a good sign of her versatility.  But my choice is Kristin Scott Thomas, hands down.  She has delivered a superb performance in I’ve Loved You So Long as the deep and tormented Juliette Fontaine.   I wish her all the best all the way to the Oscars.

As to the two nominations Mamma Mia! receives for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), and Meryl Streep for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical), I admit I am a bit surprised.  But then again, as a musical goes, especially one made up of amateur singers, maybe it does deserve a nomination for its entertainment value.

To read my reviews of the movies mentioned here, just click on their names.  My reviews are also linked by IMDB’s ‘external reviews’.



Rewards and Awards of Blogging

Why do we blog? WordPress seems to have grasped the psyche of bloggers in five words: “Express yourself. Start a blog.” If being free to self-expression is the intrinsic reward of blogging, then being heard and read is the extrinsic reward. And, to top it all off, getting unexpected awards for what one already enjoyed doing is the icing on the cake.  A few months ago Arti had the first taste when she received the Excellent Blog Award.  This past week Arti has tasted more icing from fellow bloggers in the form of two awards.  In chronological order, they are:

The Premio Dardos from Ms. Place (Vic) of Jane Austen’s World. Thank you Vic for naming Arti as one of your 15 recipients of this award “that is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing”. Thanks Vic for the honor and for the translation from Portuguese:“O conceito deste prémio passa por reconhecer valores culturais, éticos, literários e pessoais, transmitidos de forma criativa e original nos pedacinhos rabiscados por cada blogueiro que o receba.”

To meet the requirement, in turn, I am naming the following blogs to receive the same award.   To avoid duplication and to make it more meaningful, I have selected 10 instead of the 15 suggested.  Here are their excellent sites in alphabetical order:

  1. Austen Quotes is the blog of Lori Smith, writer of the book A Walk with Jane Austen, her personal experience of treading the paths of Jane’s in England.  She has inspired me with quotes from the works and letters of JA, some witty, some wise, some poignant, and all of them delightful.  Lori may have taken a hiatus due to physical ailment, but what she already has chronicled in her site is worth reading time and time again.
  2. Austenprose is a wealth of JA information and forum. Laurel Ann offers Janeites with a wealth of Regency knowledge, book discussion, interviews… a delight to visit every time.  This is one of the first blogs that got me hooked on JA…, no I wasn’t born a Janeite.  I only discovered this wonderful world a few years back.  And it’s blogs like this that feed me to my fill.
  3. Blogging for a Good Book is created by the staff of Williamsburg Regional Library.  In there you’ll find in-depth and insightful book reviews.  With several contributors, the blog offers a new post almost every day, keeping us up-to-date with newer titles. The quality writing and informative entries are enjoyable to read.
  4. Film Think is a site where films, theology, and criticism meet.  Writer M. Leary offers a wealth of resources and knowledgeable discussions and critique for those interested in the intellectual pursuit of the art of film, and its interaction with Christianity, criticism theory, other art forms, and their relevance in society today.
  5. Itinerant Idealist is Sarah’s journal  “in search of a soul awake”.  I’ve enjoyed her excellent writing.  In her casual way, Sarah embeds her prose and poems with style and spiritual insights.  Hers is one of the long time blogs I’ve been reading since the beginning of my own blog.  I’ve learned and gained much from reading her posts.
  6. Looking for Life’s Humor looks at life and brings out the joyous perspective.  As a mom with an autistic child, the writer of this blog depicts the humor and love that we often miss in many of life’s circumstances.  A heart-warming and delightful read in every post.  A truly enjoyable break in the midst of daily chores and chaos.
  7. Of Books and Bicycles As a book lover and an avid cyclist, Dorothy has successfully created a concoction of writings involving both…well maybe more about books.  Informative reviews and personal book experiences can be found here, while she has another site dedicated more to bikes and her training as a cyclist.
  8. So Many Books Stefanie chronicles “the agony and ecstasy of a reading life” with detailed research and insightful commentaries.  This is a literature lover’s blog.  Just the Blogroll is impressive enough, for there are probably hundreds of lit blogs on her list to provide almost unlimited avenues for blogging and reading pleasure.
  9. The Happy Wonderer It’s a joy every time I visit Ellen’s blog.  As a happy wonderer, Ellen wanders in the fields of photography, food, life, family, and the Bible, offering us musings, pictures, and inspiration, a celebration of life every day. This is one of the earliest blogs I found when I first started blogging, and I’ve been reading her since.  “To honor and encourage”, that is exactly so.
  10. The Task At Hand What Linda Leinen has created here in her relatively new blog is nothing short of a compilation of model writing.  Every single post is an example of style and inspiration.  At this point of her life she is a boat varnisher along the Texas Gulf Coast (how cool is that!), and she writes what she lives.  In her blog, she has woven artfully a tapestry of penetrative observations and skillful, affective writing.  I have gained and learned much from reading her every single post.


The other award I received just a couple of days ago is the Arte y Pico given by Linda of The Task at Hand. Directly translated from Spanish means “Art and Peak”, at the peak of its art. Linda has included Arti’s Ripple Effects for its “creativity, design, content and contribution to the blogging community, regardless of language”.  Thank you Linda, I’m greatly humbled by such an honor.

To fulfill the requirement of the Arte y Pico, I’m naming 5 other blogs to be recipients in turn.  Noting that it’s Spanish in origin, and the phrase “regardless of language”, I attempt to highlight some of the ones I visit that have a different geographical or cultural flavour, although I admit they are all in English.

  1. Blogging in Paris As a 64 years-old cancer survivor, Claude’s attempt at blogging is in itself inspiring.  She writes from Paris, and from her many travels in Europe, affecting us with her zest for life and eye for beauty.  It’s a mixed bag in her blog, some photography, some journal writing, some personal musings.  A delight to visit.
  2. Moderato brings a European perspective to the discussions of art, books, music, films, and literature.  The writer offers in-depth and well researched commentaries on the subjects.  A very fine and intellectual lit blog.  Some great You-tube clips to augment the enjoyment.
  3. The Errant AEsthete From New York, “Essentials for the Cocktail Swilling Savant”, ok, it may sound a bit exclusive, but the art, photography and visuals presented in the blog are stunning and often thought-provoking.  And since it’s located in the ever widening blogosphere, anyone can visit and better yet, no dress code.
  4. Hidden Art A blog for the arts and crafters among us. The name says it all… art can be found and creativity unleashed in almost every homely place.  I’ve enjoyed the casual atmosphere and the stimulating ideas for mixed media and paper arts that are achievable by those who, like myself, are not art school graduates.  Accessible art speaks a universal language.
  5. Edible Landscape This is a unique blog on food written by a young guy from Hong Kong, an interesting diversion from the blogs on food and cooking we see from North America.  Wilson concocts an international flavour with his fine, quality writing on food and restaurants.  What more, where do you ever read a 20-something young man writing about cooking and cuisine art with such expertise?

Wow, that’s a mouthful!  Why do we blog?  The above are some of the obvious answers.

Globe Without Glamour

So the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has officially cancelled the 65th annual Golden Globe Award ceremony on January 13.  Instead, there will be a press conference at the same time (6 pm pst) to announce the winners of the 2008 Golden Globes.  Click here for the official announcement from HFPA.

To maintain solidarity with striking Hollywood writers, the Screen Actors Guild indicated earlier that all the 72 nominees would not show up for the 65th Golden Globe Award. Click here for more details.

For a change, good movies and TV shows are announced without all the glitz and glamour, no fashion statements, no red carpet photo ops… just no-nonsense recognition of some no-nonsense movie making and TV production. 

With all due respect to the writers, and the HFPA’s financial loss in the cancellation, and all the nominees who deserve recognition, I say…a nice change.