Links: But also it’s OSCAR DAY


My life is dark and full of terrors but also pretty good. I’m still getting over my stomach bug/food poisoning, my landlords are creatures from the black lagoon, I have an exam tomorrow and an exam on Friday and I am NOT PREPARED (Constance the Perpetually Unready) but I had a lovely time in Spain and Malta over my break.

What can you do?

I woke up at 3 am for my flight back to France and I’m a mess trying to gain the energy to shower and study, but today is Oscar Day and I have some time-sensitive links that should go up. And also procrastination.



Animated Crushes


Inspired by this video and this list, I decided to own up to the crushes I had on animated characters as a child.
It was only after doing a little thinking that I realized I either a) didn’t have any or b) have selectively forgotten all of them.
But what I do have is potentially even worse- current animated crushes. I’m 22 and there is potentialy something wrong with me.

  • Nick Wilde, Zootopia
    This is definitely the most disturbing one because not only is Nick animated, Nick is also a fox. In my defense, foxes are very cute animals. Add a sardonic sense of humor, sly resourcefulness (i.e. criminal behavior), and a softly mushy heart tender as a steamed dumpling and it all makes sense. Really.
  • Jack Frost, Rise of the Guardians
    He has pretty silver hair and a shepherd’s crook with ice powers.  He also loves fun, died protecting his sister (Whoops spoiler), and has a troubled past and sensitive soul- causing him to be a hero of the brave but reluctant variety.
  • Haku, Spirited Away
    Haku has Dora hair and can also transform into a dragon, which is really what we should all look for in a partner.  Unlike the previous two, he does not have a traumatic backstory because he can’t remember his past and has thus forgotten that he is a ~river spirit~.

Mkay, I will write to you all from therapy.

Links 2/17


A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.

  • Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
  • In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
  • The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
  • The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
    Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
  • Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
  • A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
  • Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
  • A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
  • The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
  • I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
  • And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
  • Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
  • I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.

Thoughts on the Oscar Noms

Thank you, for the easy copy-paste job. I think I wrote these out by hand when I did this post last year and I remember it being kind of exasperating.
Also different from last year: This is only thought son the nominations, no predictions- yet.

Best Picture:
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Overwhelming emotion: excitement at seeing Get Out on this list. It’s really rare for horror/genre films to be recognized, and this film- a social criticism/horror by a black director and starring a black actor- is at once a daring departure from form for the academy but also the most Oscar-baity of horror films they could possibly choose (not a bad thing, just a recognition of the self-consciously politically charged /significant/ nature of the film and the symbolism-charged details).  I’m not one of those people who feels that other genre films (like The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, or Logan) should be on this list. The only film on this list that I haven’t seen at this point is Phantom Thread, but I’m really looking forward to that experience. Because fashion, Daniel Day-Lewis, and tense romance.  I don’t necessarily think Darkest Hour and The Post deserve their spots on here.  Both include some capital A Acting by academy favorites, so their you go.  Courtesy nominations, IMO.  The Post was serviceable. The Darkest Hour was kind of bland, excepting Gary Oldman’s athletic emoting and fat suit wearing channeling of Winston Churchill (did that sound snide? It was supposed to).  I don’t think there are any real snubs, but I’m surprised I, Tonya didn’t make it on. Given that the academy favors biopics, the interesting (and successful) choices re: fourth-wall breaking, and the recognition of the two main actresses in best actress and best supporting actress categories.  The Big Sick I guess could have been on here. I feel a bit take it or leave it though, so I wouldn’t call either of those a snub. Or you could throw in Mudbound.

Lead Actor:
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Same as last paragraph, I continue to have not seen Phantom Thread, but generally nominating DDL is a safe bet in my book (his success rate is higher for me than Meryl Streep’s) but I’ve also not seen Roman J. Israel, Esq. I don’t really plan to either. I’ve heard that it’s a not very good movie elevated by an excellent performance from Denzel Washington.  But given that DW (Haha, Arthur flashback) isn’t really my cup of tea, all the more reason to skip it.  Do I feel like James Franco was snubbed? Nah.

Lead Actress:
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
This is all pretty good with me, although yes, I do stand by Meryl Streep’s being either a courtesy nomination or further evidence for her deal with the devil. (No, I’m not a Trumpian who thinks she’s over-rated. She’s amazing. But The Post is over-serious. And I feel like the tide may be turning away from the self-aggrandizing film, the aggressively act-y actor, etc.

Supporting Actor:
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
I didn’t very much like The Florida Project, finding its naturalistic depiction of poverty and essential child neglect a little too close to home and also too boring. But Willem Dafoe did do good work in it, so there’s that. But I wouldn’t necessarily have him in here.  I would also take out Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World (cup of salt, it’s a film I haven’t seen), but I guess it is a fair remuneration for his jumping in for a heavy shooting schedule to replace Kevin Spacey’s scenes in a very limited space of time. So go you CP (sorry for all the abbreviations, I’m guiltily taking a break from studying and feel like I should hurry). I don’t feel like Armie Hammer was snubbed for Call Me By Your Name. He was good but I also found his character to be an annoying, condescending, egotistical pedant who could have been remarkably well-played by any number of guys I knew at Yale.  It’s a shame Michael Stuhlbarg couldn’t have been nominated for any of the three impressive supporting roles he had this year (in The Shape of Water, The Post, and Call Me By Your Name).  None of them was a HUGE standout, but I feel like he deserves kind of recognition for all-around hard work in a Hufflepuff kind of way. Go you, MS! I would maybe have put in Michael Shannon for his work in The Shape of Water as the the villainous, sinister, and really creepy Richard Strickland. Free the Michaels.

Supporting Actress:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
YESSS, MJB, I see you! Mudbound was pretty good and her work in it was excellent. In a largely overlooked film, I’m glad she was one of the few aspects recognized. I didn’t manage to see Phantom Thread since I started writing this post, so let’s keep that in mind as we continue. We’ve got three mom figures of varying degrees of good mom-ness (None as good as my Mom, obviously), and I’d like to put into the running a third mom-figure, which I think may be the most significant snub of this year’s Oscar race. Holly Hunter in The Big Sick. Watch this scene and then if you disagree you can fight me. I’ve heard some say that Tiffany Haddish shook have been nominated for her role in Girls Trip. Can’t weigh in because I very much do not enjoy raunchy comedies.

“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
I find it kind of hard to believe that this is Christopher Nolan’s first nomination for Best Director (because honestly he should have gotten one for The Dark Knight but it’s a genre film so…). Excited to see Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig on here, both for their directorial debuts. And The Shape of Water may have had some troubling underlying issues, but I’m happy to see GdT on this list, as he continues to be a favorite of mine. Spielberg wasn’t nominated for The Post which is a (in my book welcome) surprise.

Animated Feature:
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman
I’ll say the obvious, which is that this is Coco’s to lose.  I haven’t seen any of the others with the exception of Loving Vincent, which was gorgeous but also annoying, poorly thought out, and kind of induced some motion sickness. I’m debating whether I should watch Boss Baby. 1) It looks like it might be good in a terrible kind of way. 2) I feel like I should maybe see it high. 3) The title reminds me of Donald Trump.
I remember reading the Breadwinner/Parvana’s Journey in fifth grade, so that’s going on my ‘to watch’ list. I’m pissed that they took another of my favorite simple children’s books and turned it into an overloaded film (throwback to The Lorax), but can we also recognize that Kate McKinnon’s (unnecessary and additional) goat character actually… looks a whole lot like Kate McKinnon? This sin’t meant to offend. We all have a little goat in us and Kate McKinnon is all around a gorgeous and hysterical woman/person.
I wish Your Name was on here. Such a beautiful anime film, but it’s not included because, though it was released in the US in 2017, it’s actual release date was in 2016. Do check it out. It’s lovely and I cried and I don’t cry often. At films.

Other thoughts:

  • Big Sick I think should have been recognized more, in general. Even if I wasn’t the biggest fan. Maybe it will win for Best Original Screenplay, which I didn’t include on this list. But that’s also a pretty stacked category featuring other favorites of the year.  Maybe it will be recognized since it wasn’t anywhere else.
  • Phantom thread hasn’t been getting much awards buzz but it landed quite a few nominations regardless. I’ll be interested to see how it does.
  • Most importantly, the field of Oscar contenders is notably much more diverse than last year (Remember #OscarsSoWhite?). And much more diverse than the borderline (if not straight up) offensive Golden Globes nominations this year. (Natalie Portman is still my spirit animal).
  • Martin McDonagh, who directed Three Billboards, was left out as Best Director, despite all the buzz the film is getting and the recognition it’s receiving in the other important categories.
  • Should The Lego Batman Movie have gotten a nomination for Best Animated? Don’t know, haven’t seen.
  • Jordan Peele is the fifth African-American nominated for best director. Greta Gerwig is the fifth woman nominated for best director.
  • Timothee Chalamet, nominated for Best Actor in Call Me By Your Name, also had a fairy significant role in Lady Bird. You know who else was in Lady Bird? Lucas Hedges, who was the irritating teen boy in last year’s Manchester by the Sea.
  • Daniel Kaluuya is British. He has a British accent. He joins my list of stealth Brits.
  • Sufjan Stevens has been nominated for Best Original Song for “Mystery of Love” (he also contributed “Visions of Gideon”). He almost contributed a song to I, Tonya as well.
  • Mud bound’s Rachel Morrison is the first female cinematographer EVER to be nominated for an Oscar.
  • Christopher Plummer is the oldest nominee for acting ever, at 88. At 22, Timothee Chalamet is the youngest in about 80 years. I.e., since Christopher Plummer was 8.
  • Meryl Streep just broke her own record for most Oscar nominations.
  • Hostiles got essentially no nominations. I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard it’s very good, despite the lack of buzz.

Links from the USA

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! I arrived home yesterday afternoon and am super jet lagged and being treated to a very New England ice storm.

It’s excellent.  We’re going to see The Last Jedi tonight and I think my excitement will be such that I will stay awake.  I’ve heard lots of interesting things about it but have so far avoided any spoilers.

I have a healthy (and scented!) collection of links this week!

The year-end photo compendiums are coming in, here are two favorites…

On the fashion front:

And the more miscellaneous:

Links not Words

Look at me doing two posts two days in a row like I don’t currently have 134 raw materials to study and an illness to recover from! 😀

No excuses, I have reaped enough links from the inter webs now to share them and I’m missing sharing my thoughts more often, so I’m going to work on making time for this blog/diary/list compendium more of a priority.
For the children, you know.

  • Pixar’s released a TEASER TRAILER FOR INCREDIBLES 2! I’ve been waiting so long. And I am so ready for destructive apocalyptic Jack Jack and stay-at-home Mr. Incredible. (And Edna Mode. Please, Edna Mode).
  • One of my favorite makeup artists (Violette, check out her youtube channel) has released a trio of lip colors with Estee Lauder. I’m sorely tempted.
  • A scholarly discussion of Rankin & Bass Christmas specials; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Finally convinced me to finally watch Jack Frost, which I had somehow missed during all of my childhood ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. Here are some highlights.
  • A program to help you find the word that’s just on the tip of your tongue.
  • Guys, there’s a new horse movie coming out, Lean on Pete.
  • The American Film Institute has released their list of top 10 films of 2017. It’s a pretty good list. I’ve seen 4/10 so far, time to get cracking.
  • Yale’s released a new admissions video, “That’s Why I Toured Yale”, replacing cult icon “That’s Why I Chose Yale”. The weirdest thing? I recognize people in the video. (I see you at 9:26-9:33, ballroom team!)
  • NPR’s guide to the best books of 2017. Be right back, adding about 20 to my list. have you read any?
  • New York Times film critics on the best movie performances of 2017. So much agreement and so much anticipation for films I haven’t seen yet (like Ladybird, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name).
  • The magic of big cities, an illustration.

Very Late Links

There’s a lot to say right now, the main thing being that, because of a random five-day weekend (!) I was in Milan until a few hours ago. So all blog posts were postponed (haha, let’s just pretend I’ve been keeping up with a regular posting schedule).  Also it looks like a yogurt in my fridge has gone missing.

So there will be future posts about Milan, but for now I have links crowding my bookshelf section, and it is my plan to dump those on you, as is my weekend ritual.