This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

After A Movie Wraps

I just arrived home after being on-location for 4 months working on a feature called "Nebraska." 

When they make the final call, "That's a wrap!" everyone involved in the making of the film has mixed feelings.  Usually those feelings are a combination of elation, relief, and sadness.  I know this was true for me.  As a tribute to my fellow cast and crew members and to the collaborative process of it all, I wrote the following...

An idea, a character, a journey
A writer wishes upon a star
A director takes the wand
We all come together now

Hoping to tell a story,
Bring it to life in all its glory
Mold a script into something
Everyone can see—

Beauty and reality,
Emotion and heartbreak,
Moments that matter,
Opportunities that scattered—
In dust along a gravel road

Costumes, Construction, Art
Locations, Casting locked,
Actors become characters,
It’s more than fiction now

Black and white we see—
The shadows and the light
Truth and human failings,
Relationships worth saving

Before we know it,
The journey for us ends
Now it awaits the theater,
Awaits the crowd,
This film to share—
That will make us proud

There’s no recipe to create—
A movie with a blessed fate
Worth the heartache and the pain
We did it all together
To create this story,
Told within the frame.

© 2012 by KLiedle
All rights reserved

Friday, December 21, 2012

End Of Days: As The World Turns

 "What people forget," writes Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, "is that we're not without control over the decline of our society.  Nothing ever gets as bad as the apocalyptic people say it will.  There is a restoring force that brings it back to the middle.  And nothing ever gets as utopian as people suggest.  People are not that visionary.  We're somewhere in the middle, disappointingly so."

According to the Mayan calendar, the world was supposed to end today.  Of course, we thought that was going to happen at the new millennium back in 2000.  That didn't happen either, but I remember people being more panicked about it.  Not because the "world was going to end" but because of the supposed catastrophic effects of Y2K.  God, that was scary, wasn't it?

Humans have been predicting the end of the world since well before scientists came up with the big bang theory.  But today?  I woke up this morning.  You woke up this morning.  We didn't vaporize into oblivion.  And when I looked outside my window, the world was indeed still here.  In fact, the sun was shining.  If the world was going to end today, it was going to end in fire.

Enjoy the extra few billions years, the sun has left for us...

If you want to add a thematic element to movie night tonight, I recommend watching Armageddon or Mel Gibson's 2006 Mayan epic, Apocalypto. You could also hunker down and read, The World Without Us.

And here I leave you with one of my favorite Robert Frost poems:

Some say the world will end in fire, 
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice, 
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
is also great
And would suffice.

~Robert Frost

Copyright 2012 by Kliedle

Quotes Reference:
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of Hayden Planetarium, as quoted in the book, "The Movie That Changed My Life" by Robert Hofler
Robert Frost, "Fire And Ice," originally published in 1920 by Harper's Magazine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

'Half Emirati' Receives Attention At Dubai

In many parts of the world, people believe that mixed marriages pose a threat to their country's cultural heritage, traditions, and culture.  Children of mixed marriages are often treated differently.  Many of them have a hard time adjusting.  Being 'in-between' two cultures, they don't feel like they're a part of either one.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Amal Al-Agoobi, an up-and-coming documentary filmmaker from United Arab Emirates.  She is the director of the documentary short, Half Emirati, which recently screened at the Dubai International Film Festival on December 9, 2012.

Half Emirati  discusses the social implications of mixed marriages for natives of the United Arab Emirates, a nation where the local population only makes up about 10-15%.  This is a personal subject for Amal Al-Agoobi; She is half Emirati and half Syrian.  Although she is from UAE,  she grew up in Belgium which gave her a very European upbringing.  She had a very strong sense of who she was, much due to supportive parents who made sure she got Arabic lessons, religion (Islam), and learned good morals.  Being immersed in European culture gave her both perspective and interest on the subject of mixed marriages in her native country. 'Half Emiratis' are often bullied in UAE and Al-Agoobi wanted those individuals to share their stories. 

When I asked her what statement she'd like to make with her film, Al-Agoobi said her hope is that people will come away from the film believing that "being a part of two cultures, two a positive thing."  It allows one to become more open-minded and more understanding. 

Half Emirati is getting a lot of attention at this year's Dubai International Film Festival.  I was surprised when Al-Agoobi said that she didn't encounter many conflicts making her film.  I felt that being a female filmmaker from a Middle-Eastern country while tackling this subject matter would bring bring many obstacles.  On the contrary, she said that people were amazingly supportive.

"An Emirati male director had loaned us the space and optix digital media supported us with post-production.  My producer was very spot on and because I'm a woman, I actually get more attention and more care.  It's no secret that women in the UAE are beginning to drive the country forward in all sectors of every industry."

Some of the subjects she interviews heard about the film and wanted to take part.  Others she knew personally.  Only a few documentary subjects backed out, saying "they were ashamed of their mothers or fathers... and didn't want people to find out they were 'mixed.' "

 Amal Al-Agroobi is shocked at the amount of press she's been getting. 

"I've been interviewed by national TV channels and international news channels because they all feel it's a big step coming out with a film like this."

I wish her the very best of luck as she moves forward. 

© Copyright 2012 by KLiedle

Dubai International Film Festival

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! 

Today, I am thankful for being able to spend Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in a very long time. I'm also grateful to have a few days off because I really needed the break.  Work's been exhausting and non-stop these past few weeks, but at the end of the day, it's still a job. 

Friends and family and good food and conversation are LIFE...and that is something to be very thankful for.

Copyright 2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Solitude With Nature

Recently, I went to South Dakota to do some preliminary work for our filming there next month.  Although I had quite a bit to do, I welcomed the opportunity to bond with nature.

It's easy to get burned out while working on a film.  The hours are long, there's constant pressure and the work seems never-ending (and often is.)

That's why I appreciate the moments when I can stop what I'm doing and marvel at the beauty of the world around me... trees, fresh air, wildlife, and my own solitude.    Those few days were a nice getaway from production.

With the holidays coming up, I'm thankful that this film has brought me closer to the place where I grew up.  I'll get to spend Thanksgiving with my family which hasn't happened for quite awhile.  I get to hear the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet and witness the changing of the seasons which doesn't happen quite so dramatically for us on the West Coast.

©2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meltdown Karaoke

There are few things in life worth getting worked up about.  In fact, I've gotten pretty good at rising above things like stress.

"That darn stress won't get me," I snarl as I see it taunting me from across the room.  Nope, I'm better than that.  I'm in charge.  I'm focused.  I can handle anything!

Except that I can't.  Not always.  A couple of days ago, when the weekend was still so very far away, I could feel the stress seeping into my pretty, little head in a surprisingly fierce way.

The domino effect of another change in our shooting schedule did it to me.  As a film kicks into gear, filming locations move around all the time based on proximity, budget, conflicts, pairing with other locations, etc.  Eventually, the whole enchilada of things fall into place so I don't let it phase me.

That day however, I felt I'd been on the rollercoaster a tad longer than I'd intended.  When I felt the stress storm coming on, I locked myself in the bathroom on-set and had my mini-meltdown. 
 [I hate crying at work, but occasionally it does happen.

I emerged about five minutes later looking tired and depleted-- sort of like a melted crayon some kindergartner had left in the backseat of a car in the middle of summer.  Only, it wasn't summer.  There had been flurries that morning.  I was freezing.  I don't like winter, that's why I live in California.  And no, my day was not going well.

Mini-meltdown behind me however, I tried to re-focus.  This was followed a series of feverish texts, phone calls, e-mails, and me flipping through my notebook countless times while accomplishing seemingly very little.  It was then a crew member turned to me and said:

"You know who you remind me of?  Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada." 

I looked up at her.  Yes, I'm brunette--  I got the bangs and the straight hair, and a similar body type (minus the boobs.)  Like Hathaway's character in the film, I also had the worrisome look on my face and my phone clutched in my hand at all times.

Yes, that day I felt like the devil wears Prada--  only in my case, I didn't know who the devil was.  Meryl Streep certainly wasn't anywhere to be found.  We didn't cast her in our film, did we?  Not that I'm aware of.

Moments later, they were rigging up karaoke to be used in a scene the following day and they needed someone to test it out.  As another woman was making her way to the stage, I unexpectedly jumped up to join her. 

It should be noted that I am the least likely to volunteer for karaoke ever In fact, I don't think I've ever volunteered for karaoke in my life.  I've always been dragged into it by some overzealous friend.  But I needed karaoke right then and there.  I needed to get the stress out of my system.  Kick that devil to the curb.  So, I sung my heart out with this woman I'd never met.  In fact, we bonded over that short-lived experience. And that's how my stress fled back into the shadows and out of my day.

Copyright © 2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Knowing When To Take A Bow

I was just as bummed out as anyone else when I heard that Louie is going on hiatus until Spring 2014.  Louis C.K. though?  I applaud the guy.  It takes balls to walk away from a critically acclaimed show and say,  You know what?  I wanna do something else for awhile.

He's certainly taking a chance, but I don't think he sees it that way.  Thanks in part to the popularity of the show, he's got a cult following.  Those people will ensure that he won't be forgotten.  They'll follow him on the road, back to his stand-up roots.  Kudos to FX for allowing him to go, for giving him the creative freedom to explore, for taking a leap and putting the show on the air in the first place.

As I see it, Louie C.K. cares enough about his show to walk away from it.  To make sure that it doesn't lose an ounce of integrity, that he doesn't get tired of doing it.  It's hard to keep the creative juices flowing day-in-and-day-out, especially on a TV series.  You can't force creativity.  I have no doubt that when it comes back, it'll be just as quirky and endearing as it's ever been.

According to Top Of The Rock: Inside The Rise And Fall Of Must See TV,  Seinfeld had an initial run of only four episodes-- one of the smallest sitcom orders in television history.  When the network ordered more episodes, Larry David said he didn't want to do it:  He was out of ideas.

Luckily, someone convinced him otherwise.  Seinfeld went on for nine seasons, totaling an astounding 180 episodes.  And you know what?  I still miss it.  And I miss Cheers and The Cosby Show and Mad About You and The Golden Girls.

We should all be reminded that the best shows go out while they're still on top.  The best performers know when to take a bow, when to turn away, and when to do something different.  That's what makes them iconic, what makes them memorable.  It something that happens so rarely these days.

Today, breakout stars burst onto the scene with unbelievable force.  They're overexposed, overdone, and annoyingly in-your-face, all the time.  More often than not, they burn out before they've reached their own potential-- if they had potential at all.  New shows get cancelled before they ever get a shot at finding an audience and other shows seem to go on for years and years beyond their glory days.  Remember how tired Friends felt in its last few seasons?  It was beyond embarrassing.

So, no one should be whining about Louie.  It's not like it's going away.  In fact, its absence will give an up-and-coming show a chance to be seen in a highly sought after time slot.   That alone, is something I'm sure Louis C.K. would be proud of.

Copyright © 2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, September 29, 2012

On Location: Home Away From Home

 [My dresser adorned with postcards from my collection in L.A.]

What’s beautiful about filming in an area outside the norm of New York or Los Angeles is that people are generally excited about the movie-making process.  They’ve never seen it in process.

Watching a movie being made is not as exciting as you might expect.  Basically, it’s just watching a surprisingly large number of people stand around.  Most of them are grumpy by the end of the day because our days are extraordinarily long and by then no amount of caffeine helps anymore. 

Every now and then, of course, the film crew has a hustle and bustle of activity.  Then, it’s like watching an aerial view of an ant colony at mealtime.  It’s a sight to be seen, I suppose.  Even when there’s absolutely nothing going on, I’m always surprised at the number of people who watch and stare at the film crew—as though they’re completely in awe. 

We begin filming in a few short weeks… the days are long and the weeks much too short.  I’ve now become a resident in this small community far away from L.A.  I am starting to feel more at home though even if I’m still essentially living out of the suitcase I brought with me a month ago.  I have spread out a little bit.  My clothes are on hangers now and I’ve put most of my items in dresser drawers.  Things like that go a long way.  (Right:  a photo of my home away from home.)

 I will say, the people here have made a huge difference.  They aren’t jaded.  They say ‘yes’ more often than they say ‘no.’ And they’ve been genuinely friendly and accommodating.   With the long hours and the exhausting and all-consuming nature of filmmaking, that helps a lot.  In fact, the crew has felt welcomed in town and the surrounding areas of this place we’re calling home, at least temporarily.

Copyright © 2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Regarding Travel For Hollywood


I’ve been too busy to do much of anything, let alone blog.  I’m currently doing pre-production work on a film.  It’s difficult to orchestrate being away from home for 4 months.  It’s not only the packing (for summer/fall/winter) but it’s all the other logistics.  I had to get someone to pet-sit while I’m gone, someone to move my car every 72 hours (since it’s parked on the streets of L.A. somewhere.)  Now I have to keep track of bills in two different states.  All the L.A. bills are for things I’m not even using: Rent, that new couch my roommate and I split the cost of—it’s super comfy (as I remember), Netflix I don’t have the time or capability to use right now.  Oh, and yeah… on top of all that, I’m pretty damn busy with my actual job on the movie.

That brings me to another point:  The entertainment business is not exactly kind to relationships (or families.)  I don’t have kids, but I can’t imagine trying to figure things out if I did.  Relationships?  There was a time for that, but not anymore.  Not for awhile.  And I’ve been on the receiving end of things, too.  When someone else was the one going away.  When the timing was right and then it wasn’t and then the time just ran out.  You have to just remember the beautiful moments.  It’s never easy, but I keep going despite it all.   

Sometimes, the entertainment business seems to take everything I have, but it’s also given back to me.  It’s given me unique experiences, treasured friendships, and enough stories to keep this blog going for a few more years. 

Copyright ©2012 by KLiedle
Photo credit: KLiedle

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cheers to Theme Songs

I haven't been too interested in movies lately.  Not anything that's in theatres right now anyway.  Instead, I've been watching more TV shows.  Odd for me, yes.  I'm not much of a TV person.  In fact, when analog TVs became dinosaurs, I had to get one of those digital converter boxes.  It was the first time I'd set foot in a Radio Shack in ages.  I went home, fiddled with the "bunny ears" antenna on the analog TV I'd had since college and got it all jazzed up with the converter box. 

The result?  I got a bunch of channels to flip through. Unfortunately, most of them were scrambled or in Chinese, Spanish, and Russian.  The only English language channel that came in clearly was Channel 7.  It was  mind-boggling that I couldn't even get the major networks like NBC and CBS.

Most of the "TV" I do watch is through digital streaming.  Besides my recent Breaking Bad Season 4 binge, I've otherwise been watching older TV shows.  I think it's great that entire series are now available for streaming.  I've really enjoyed revisiting shows like Cheers, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, and The Bernie Mac Show.

One thing that's struck me about these shows is how simple most of them are.  Prime example: Cheers.  Many of these shows also existed in an era when shows still had theme songs.  For Cheers and The Golden Girls, and even Friends, the theme song became as much a part of the show as the characters.  Shows had openers during the credits.  In the case of Family Ties, they did a whole "oil painting into family portrait sequence."  Cheers went through the evolution of the bar through old illustrations of bar patrons that gradually evolved into portraits. 

Today we're so impatient to get to the content of the show that theme songs really, if ever, exist.  In fact, most of the time there is no song of any kind and the opening credits occur during the action. Increasingly, even the end credits are shrunken up in some tiny corner and cut out entirely.  (This is one of my all-time pet peeves.) 

Theme songs and opening montages and the like gave TV shows a sense of identity, a sense of place.  I'd love to see shows go back to that.  Just a little bit.

Copyright © 2012 by KLiedle

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Totally Biased: We're all different...

If you've ever seen an episode of Louie or It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you know that FX is not afraid to takes chances.  With the success of some of its original programming, FX Networks is delving into late night this season.  Following the initial six-week run of Brand X With Russell Brand, comes Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell.

Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell premiered on FX, Thursday August 9 for a preliminary six-week run.  In addition to standard late night fare, the show will particularly touch on politics, pop culture, race, religion, and the media.  It's executive produced by Chris Rock, Chuck Sklar, and W. Kamau Bell (who also serves as host--obviously.)  Tune in for Episode #2 this coming Thursday at 11P.  Only On FX.

UPDATE:  Totally Biased has been renewed for seven additional episodes, beginning October 11th.

©2012 by KLiedle
Video content ©2012 by FX Networks; embedded here-- courtesy of Youtube & FX Networks.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cinema Under The Stars

 There's something about the collective nature of the moviegoing experience that transcends advancements in technology.  

Despite the ease and convenience of Netflix, Redbox, Video-On-Demand, Internet TV, and premium cable channels, people have a yearning to gather together to enjoy good storytelling.

Cinema is a visual medium that allows each of us enjoy, experience, learn from, and process the human experience.  It's easy to lean back in an easy chair, a bowl of popcorn by our side, and hit the remote.  What's far more enriching is to experience cinema in the company of others-- in the company of strangers even.  It's through cinema that we discover that as humans, our similarities outweigh our differences.  

Now that drive-ins are nearly extinct and movie tickets keep rising, many communities host sponsored summer movie events in outdoor venues.  Many of these are FREE, some request donations, and nearly all the rest are reasonably priced.   Most outdoor summer movie events feature popular audience choices, family favorites, and classic film fare.

Recently, I went to "Screen On The Green" at the National Mall in Washington D.C.  The final offering for the season was Psycho.  It was a picturesque setting to watch a classic Hitchcock film-- one of my favorites indeed.  (Plus, I got to see the sunset at The Washington Monument.)  An amazing amount of people showed up at the event.  They scoped out their territories early, as is usually the case at these events.  Overwhelmingly, this was a young audience.  Some of them may have been seeing Psycho for the very first time.  My friend and I had a blast!

The Academy also introduced Oscar Outdoors at their new open-air theater in Hollywood this year.  Screenings take place on Fri and Sat nights.  The last one I'm aware of is Friday, September 7 (Julie and Julia.)  Be forewarned, many of those screenings have SOLD OUT.  

If you're afraid of the dark and spooked by dead people, you may want to skip this next one.  Cinespia Cemetery Screenings are a popular and a fun option for people who live in and around the L.A. area. There, you can watch films under the stars and amid the headstones-- in case you've ever had a hankering to combine those two things.  

In New York City, The NYC Parks hosts a wide variety of outdoor film festivals and screenings during the summertime.  Other sponsored outdoor movie screenings take place in and around NYC during the summer, too.  Most I saw were FREE.  Recent findings:  Upcoming screenings in Bryant Park, Astoria Park, Staten Island, etc through September 6, 2012.

All communities should have access to cinema because cinema is the history of where we've come from, where we are, and where we're going. 

Check your local listings to see if your area hosts summer movie screenings before the summer's out!

© 2012 by KLiedle

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Warner Bros: Sensitive Business In Aftermath Of Aurora Tragedy

Last week, Warner Brothers was looking forward to a monumental weekend with the release of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, his highly anticipated follow-up to The Dark Knight.  Big, blockbuster summer releases with pre-buzz (like The Dark Knight Rises) tend to do very, very well at midnight screenings.  Most tickets were pre-sold via websites and multiplex theater outlets.  Like the Harry Potter franchise, many hardcore Batman fans planned to go to the theater dressed in costume.  They were looking forward to a good time and a fun, popcorn movie. 

This was what summer was all about.

As we all know, the events that unfolded in Aurora, Colorado last Friday morning merged the line between fantasy and reality... and in the end, it all became much too real.  And devastating.  As reports came streaming in, it was said that many in the Century 16 Theater first thought the gunman's appearance was a publicity stunt.  I can only imagine the terror in that theater when, moments later, bullets went flying.

Is this really happening?  How could this happen? Why?????

Warner Brothers got its monumental weekend (albeit in a far different way than anyone at the studio could have predicted.)  In public relations speak, they call it "crisis management."  This is when a major event immediately threatens an organization, its reputation, its shareholders, or the general public.  The Crisis being that the event has already occurred, it poses a very real threat, and it forces a company or organization to make strategic decisions in a very short amount of time.

As news poured in from Colorado, the studio and companies associated with The Dark Knight Rises had some very real decisions to make FAST.   According to The Los Angeles Times, Christopher Nolan, the cast and crew, were in "lockdown mode" in Paris where the studio cancelled a scheduled premiere.


*Warner Bros.  immediately combed through advertisements and pre-existing promotional material for The Dark Knight Rises in order to remove and/or alter any catch phrases or taglines with negative or violent connotations.

* Warner Bros. also quickly pulled trailers of their upcoming release, Gangster Squad which was originally scheduled for release in September.  That film chillingly includes a theater shooting sequence.  (According to Variety, the studio has now made the decision to do away with the whole sequence,  reportedly a climax of the film.) 

*Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have made substantial donations to The Aurora Victims Relief Fund, a 501(c) nonprofit established to help victims' families and survivors of the tragedy.

*AMC Theatres released photos via Facebook of Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic visiting with survivors of the tragedy and a victims' memorial in Aurora.

In light of what happened, it's natural to want to point fingers.  We want to point fingers.  We want to blame.  We want to find the one true answer as to why?  Why did this happen?  How could this happen?  It's Guns.  It's Hollywood.  It's Societal Pressure.  It's Youth Alienation.  It's the glorification of Violence.

Sure, one can say that Warner Bros. acted purely for publicity's sake.  That's fair.  It could very well be true.  My point, however, is that they could very easily have buried their head in the sand.  Other companies faced with similar crises certainly have dealt with things that way. It's as if to say:  "If we do nothing, the problem will eventually go away..."

Instead, I applaud Warner Bros. for all they have done.  Yes, it's about publicity and a studio (and film's) reputation.  More importantly, however, it's about acting sensitively from a business and human standpoint. It's about acting responsibly.  It's understanding that, while a company can face tragedy and crises like an adult (as Warner Bros. has), that company's actions do not mean they are fully accepting responsibility.

The shooting is not Christian Bale's fault.  It's not Christopher Nolan's fault.  Or Warner Bros. fault.  Or Batman's fault.  As much as we'd like it to be.  That would be too easy. 

Be sensitive to the victims, thankful for the heroes, and to the people who survived.

Focus on the things that went right when everything else was going so horribly wrong...

For more information:

Crisis Management

Studio Handling Crisis With Care And Compassion

Gangster Squad

Warner Bros. Donation To Shooting Victims

Donate To Victims Of The Aurora Shooting

©2012 by KLiedle

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ice Cream: It's What's For Dinner

It's National Ice Cream Day here in the United States.  This is a fact I should know... Ice Cream.  Well, let's just say I'm a fan.  I also enjoy ice cream's many counterparts: frozen yogurt, gelato, and sorbet.  The beauty of being an adult is that I can have ice cream anytime I want.  Not that I do... (or that I'd admit to it here.)  I'll try any flavor there is, but I'm partial to Cookies And Cream.  And just plain vanilla with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. 

Ice cream has appeared in many films over the years.  Who can forget Audrey Hepburn gleefully enjoying her gelato in Roman Holiday?   Charlie was amazed to discover that Willy Wonka himself invented a chocolate ice cream that never melts in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.  The iconic duo of the silent era, Laurel and Hardy used ice cream in several sketches and short films, including the 'Moustachio Ice Cream' sketch in their 1931 film, Come Clean.  And back in 1993, Louis C.K.  did a short film, entitled simply, Ice Cream. For anyone familiar with his current show, Louie, he routinely professes his love for ice cream.  And not wanting to share it with his kids.  I don't blame him.

Ah, Ice Cream.  It's what's for dinner.

Here in Los Angeles, I recommend  Humphrey's Yogart, Studio Yogurt, and Yogurtland (which, sadly, is quickly becoming the Starbucks of the frozen yogurt world.)

©2012 by KLiedle

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July 4th: Good Intent

One post in June... that's what happens when you're caught working 75 hours in 5 days.  With an average 15-hour workday, I don't have time for much of anything else.   Busy working on the Steve Jobs movie while simultaneously in pre-production to direct an episode of "Bad Audition," a new series created by Kate Orlando Siebrasse.  Oh, and did I mention-- writing a book?  Yeah, that's happening, too.  As a result, June vanished into thin air, I'm seriously sleep-deprived and I really just wish summer was over.   Busy is good, however.  I tell myself that.

Here's to the 4th of July... and a much-needed DAY OFF for most Americans.  I know that not everyone gets a free day.  (I personally haven't had the 4th of July off-- or any holiday off-- for the better part of 3 years... thanks to a deadbeat weekend job that I {ahem} no longer have.)

When I'm home by myself, I've been known to lip-synch and dance myself silly.  I love flowing gowns and fedoras, gentlemen dressed in suits and essentially anything from the 1940s. That's why I especially enjoyed Kimbra's video of "Good Intent."

 I have good intentions to enjoy the holiday to its fullest and do absolutely nothing.

 Here's to hoping you all do the same.

** For Lyrics to Kimbra's "Good Intent"**

© 2012 by KLiedle

Saturday, June 2, 2012

HORSE - Animated Sequence Trailer

Independent filmmaker Chad Ferrin is getting ready for his latest feature film, Horse.  Chad has mostly worked in the horror genre, but Horse will be his first Western.  (It is currently in the process of securing funding.)

A mutual friend of ours, Scott Vogel, did storyboards for the opening sequence of the film.  Chad then produced an animated short using those boards.  The feature version of the film will be live-action.

However, I thought this animated short was so uniquely well-executed I've posted it here.    


© 2012 by KLiedle
Animated Sequence Trailer for Horse by Crappy World Films
Original Storyboards for Horse by Scott Vogel

Monday, May 21, 2012

"By Referral Only" The Insane Irritation

As always, I try to remain positive and pleasant as I pitch my writing to agents and managers and production companies.  All the while, I'm told "by referral only..., "no unsolicited material", "submissions through representation only."

The business side of it is exhausting.  It feels like a time suck.  It always feels like I'm not getting anywhere.  I have decent phone etiquette.  I remember names.  I keep good records.  I even have good handwriting.  Apart from all of that, I'm a solid writer--if that counts for anything.  

Sometimes I ask myself: "Why am I no further then where I started?"  There are times I grumble and bellyache and I wonder if all of this was one big colossal mistake. 

It's not.

I've traveled further than I think I have.  And I'm getting closer to my destination than I've ever been, I should enjoy the journey, even though there's no estimated time of arrival.

That said, sometimes I do feel like quitting.  Sometimes I feel like the gatekeepers are against me.  Sometimes I want to flounce onto my bed and cry or scream or punch a pillow or do all three things at once.  When I'm angry, I'll write... anything, everything.  I throw rocks at my characters-- the way it should be.  I take walks.  I consider all my options and then I eat too much chocolate or too much ice cream.  Sometimes both.  Most importantly, I cling to my sanity and hold onto my soul.

And my faith:  There's no shame in quitting or finding an alternate route.  There are pathways that have yet to be discovered and maybe, just maybe,  they lead to your destination.  I tell myself that anyway.

To my fellow writers, always remember:  There are people out there whose sole job is to say, "NO." Always.  Saying "NO" protects them from colossal mistakes.  Saying "NO" means they might actually get to leave the office on-time.

A YES means someone has to do something.  And no one really wants to do anything.  Especially in Hollywood.

Including me... so I'll end here and leave you with this:

Better Off Dead: Or Why Quitting the Movie Industry Was My Path to Salvation

Angry Writer

Apparel And Gifts For Angry Writers

 ©2012 by KLiedle

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When The Moon Rises at Cannes 2012

Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom will open the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival Wednesday. Remarkably, this will be Wes Anderson's Cannes debut.  For more about the making of the film, see Anderson's recent Q&A with The Hollywood Reporter.

Moonrise Kingdom... Every kid fantasizes about running away from home at least once in a childhood.  I know I did.  I'd pack a suitcase and take off.  Find a treehouse and live there forever.  Or until my parents discovered me.  (I still might retire in a treehouse.  We'll see.)

Although Wes Anderson's films are generally highly stylized and sometimes hit-and-miss for me, (The Life Aquatic anyone?)  I'm looking forward to seeing this film.  I also dig the song selections in the film trailer... a beautifully romanticized touch to what I think should be a fun film to experience.

The Palm D'Or will be chosen by those on the Cannes Jury.  Who's on the Jury?  Well, it's an eclectic bunch:  5 men, 4 women-- a nearly even split.  Directors, actors, a fashion designer...  International by design: French, German, British, American, Scottish, Italian, Haitian, Palestinian.

©2012 by KLiedle
Film Trailer:  Focus Features/ Moonrise Kingdom

Monday, May 14, 2012

Historic Greystone Mansion

The other day, I decided to make the trip to Beverly Hills and visit Greystone Mansion.  It had been on my list of places to visit, but for some reason, I'd never made the attempt.  

Like most people, I'm lazy about making plans sometimes.  A field trip there proved to be a delightful way to spend an afternoon.  I walked around the grounds and took in the scenery and views of Beverly Hills below.  Later, I found a nice bench,  plunked myself down with my notebook and wrote for about an hour.  I was probably more productive in that hour than I would've been cooped up at home.  
Sometimes creativity demands a change of scenery.  This was one of those days... 
Greystone Mansion is a perfect getaway to enjoy a bit of Beverly Hills lore and Hollywood history in a serene setting.  Tucked away at the end of Loma Vista Drive (just before Doheny,)  it's relatively easy to find.  Access to the grounds is free and parking is plentiful at the top of the hill-- within the mansion's gates.

The land upon which the mansion was built was acquired by oil magnate, Edward Lawrence Doheny, in 1914.  Twelve years later, he gifted the land to his son and by 1928, construction of the mansion was well underway at the astounding cost of $3.1 million.  It became the largest house in Beverly Hills.  In 1976, it was granted the privilege of becoming an official landmark on the National Register Of Historic Places.  Today, it's a park owned and maintained by the city of Beverly Hills. While the mansion's interior is not generally accessible, the grounds are open to the public from 10A-5P.
It's also very well-recognized from many commercials and movies.  On-location shooting provides much-needed income for maintaining the grounds at Greystone.   

Here's a short list of well-known movies shot there:  

Witches of Eastwick, The Big Lebowski, Heat, All of Me, Death Becomes Her, Eraserhead, Flowers In The Attic, and The Social Network, among many others.  Here's a longer list.
For listings of other on-location movie locations around the world, I recommend The Worldwide Guide To Movie Locations.  It's a good reference for professional location scouts as well as anyone interested in knowing where some of their favorite films were shot.

Content and photos ©2012 by KLiedle

Friday, May 4, 2012

Forever A Golden Girl

 With Mother's Day coming up next weekend, I made a point to go to the post office today and mail off my mother's package.  Sure it's another icky commercialized holiday, but celebrating mothers and grandmothers and ALL women who have contributed to our lives in maternal ways is important.  

For one thing, without mothers-- we cease to exist.  All of us.  That's sort of important, now isn't it?

Three years ago, I put together a photo montage video to celebrate my grandmother on the occasion of her 90th birthday.  It's important to remember:
In our family histories, we are connected to all the mothers who came before us.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom AND Grandma!  Love you both a hundred million billion... !!!

Did you know that several films admitted into the National Film Registry are essentially home movies?  [This fact surprised me.]  

Have you heard of Home Movie Day?  The next one's October 20, 2012.

Home Movie Day is a celebration of amateur films and filmmaking held annually at many local venues worldwide.  Home Movie Day events provide the opportunity for individuals and families to see and share their own home movies with an audience of their community, and to see their neighbors' in turn. 

© 2012 by KLiedle
(with the exception of content from above)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Latest Celebrity Tizzy: Rosie Vs. Lindsay

I've always found Rosie O'Donnell to be annoying.  She was barely tolerable in A League Of Their Own and she nearly ruined Beautiful Girls, one of my favorite movies.  Her talk show gave me yet another reason to switch the channel.  Yet, this week she got a tiny thread of respect from me for her rant about the oddly unfortunate miscasting of Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor.  I hate to admit it, but this time around, I couldn't agree with Rosie more.

At first I thought it was a joke.  Then, I read it in The Hollywood Reporter, and I thought "Uh-oh, this is for real."  Lindsay Lohan, according to multiple sources, is set to star as Taylor in Lifetime's biopic, "Liz And Dick."  Now, true, Lindsay Lohan and Elizabeth Taylor both have had tumultuous careers filled with tabloid fodder and personal turmoil.  However, Elizabeth Taylor was an iconic actress of a classic era.  Her unbelievable beauty,  those violet eyes and that rash of dark hair, mesmerized audiences worldwide.

[My own father, along with troves of men, had the hots for her.  Not long after National Velvet, when she was still a child actress, he wrote her a fan letter.  Still very much a boy himself at the time, he was elated when he received an autographed photo of her in the mail.]

Lindsay, however, is the antithesis of all that is Taylor.  I believe in second chances-- I do.  I believe that Lindsay could turn things around.  In fact, I'd love to see that happen.  Making an appearance on Glee is a good start.  Taking a flying leap into a major, iconic role like playing Elizabeth Taylor is not.  It's a risk that, in my opinion, she can't afford.  Lifetime, the network in charge of production on "Liz And Dick," probably don't care:

Controversy + Interest  =  RATINGS.

With the pool of young, talented actresses-- even unknowns (!) I believe there's a woman out there that could depict Elizabeth Taylor, both realistically and respectfully.  In fact, a talented unknown with acting chops and an ability to immerse herself in the role could very well be the best option. 

Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor makes Katie Holmes' casting as Jackie Onassis  in The Kennedys seem like a good idea.  

RE: Lindsay Lohan Cast As Elizabeth Taylor
[Two of my favorite rants & responses from other web users on The Hollywood Reporter's website]

"I just threw up in my mouth at the notion of Lohan playing a woman of such tremendous dedication..."

"Are you KIDDING ME?????!!!!!  This is a disgraceful insult to Elizabeth Taylor to the fullest extent!!!!!..."

©2012 by KLiedle

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Mysteries Of A Cult Film

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a documentary entitled, Best Worst Movie. I was intrigued. Just how bad was this film? Was it truly the best of the worst? The documentary had four stars so I thought, "What the hell?" Besides, much can be learned from a really bad film.

Best Worst Movie was a very entertaining look at a 1989 film I'd never heard of: Troll 2. The cast of characters interviewed in the documentary [many of whom were directly involved in the making of the film] appear to be equally astounded by the underground cult status the film has reportedly acquired. Some of them have gone on to pursue acting-- conveniently leaving the Troll 2 credit off their resume. Others laugh at the long ago experience they had on the film, as if it's become folklore in their own histories.

Apparently, people rave about how truly awful Troll 2 is. They have parties to celebrate its awfulness. A few people even say they watch Troll 2 weekly. After seeing the documentary, a few friends and I determined one thing: we had to see it for ourselves.

Over the weekend, I finally saw Troll 2. At its core, the film is about a little kid named Joshua and his family in the small town of Nilbog. The townspeople, all goblins (nilbog spelled backwards) are trying to turn the family into plants so they can eat them. The Nilbog goblins, of course, are all vegetarians. Why there isn't enough vegetation for them to survive in a rather green area surrounded by a pristine lake somewhere in small-town America is never explained.

There is no original Troll, by the way. Just a sequel without a prequel. Additionally, the acting is predictably atrocious and the film itself is way too brightly lit to be successful in even the lowest-budgeted of horror films. The film meanders wildly. There are hardly any night scenes. There aren't even any trolls. There should be a drinking game for every time the little kid says, "Grandpa." Then there's that strange make-out scene involving a woman in black garters, a corncob and an eventual passionate explosion of popcorn all around them.

[Note: In re-reading this description, I almost make it sound like Troll 2 is actually entertaining. It's not. Just bad...really, really BAD.]

There is no clear-cut definition of a cult film. However, it's generally accepted that a cult film is a film that wasn't embraced when it was originally released, but given time, has caught on and/or generated a following with niche audiences. Usually, there is a very active communal following for cult films-- as with films such as The Big Lebowski and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Some people may disagree, but Troll 2 is far from being the best worst movie. I wouldn't even necessarily consider it a cult film. It's just a bad movie-- plain and simple. I don't think I could even sit through it again, let alone celebrate its badness in a cult fashion. Even the worst cult films have some entertaining qualities that make you want to come back for more. Not me.

NPR: What's On Your Cult List?

Definitions Of Cult Cinema

Lebowski Fest: All Things Lebowski

©2012 by KLiedle

Sunday, March 25, 2012

These Amazing Shadows Are Worthy Of Attention

It's only in recent history that we've understood the culture importance of film preservation. In the early years of cinema, studios churned out film after film like factories. Once a film had finished its theatrical run and made its money, however, it was considered a has-been-- just another film collecting dust in a long forgotten studio vault. Films weren't particularly respected or admired as an art form, they were products. And products are disposable.

It's estimated that 50% of films before 1950 and 80-90% of all silent films are gone forever.

They've either disintegrated into dust (as seen in the photo at left) or burned to ash. To me, it's heartbreaking to think about. All that history, all the images forever gone...

Recently, I saw the documentary These Amazing Shadows which celebrates the history of film and the establishment of the National Film Registry via the National Film Preservation Act of 1988. It's a very well done documentary that succeeds in reminding us how important film preservation is to our culture. Films on the National Film Registry are guaranteed to be preserved for all time through the Library of Congress film preservation program and collaborative efforts with other organizations.

What I didn't know:
Public nominations play a key role when the Librarian of Congress and Film Board are conside
ring their final selections.

In other words, anyone can nominate films to the National Film Registry. Anyone.

To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Send your nominations to Donna Ross:

(Email preferred)

To submit via regular mail, send nominations to:
National Film Registry
Library of Congress
Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation
19053 Mt. Pony Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Attn: Donna Ross

Here are my nominations:


Pleasantville (1999)

About Schmidt (2002)

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Office Space (1999)

Almost Famous (2000)

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Thelma & Louise (1991)

The Matrix (1999)

Dirty Dancing (1987)

Ghost (1990)

American Beauty (1999)

For the complete list of films currently included in the National Film Registry, click here.

© 2012 by KLiedle

Monday, March 5, 2012

L.A. Oddities Observed

Los Angeles is a city of unusual pairings.

By that, I don't mean ugly rock stars dating tanned, gorgeous supermodels. I mean things like the classic ROSCOE'S Chicken & Waffles. Or the first time I saw a sign in my neighborhood that said, CHINESE FOOD. DONUTS. I could walk there, but I don't.

When I have a craving for donuts (which is almost never) I don't think of the Chinese Place and vice-versa.

Initially, I thought this was a stand-alone Chinese Food Donut Shop. I couldn't imagine there would be demand for more than one, but no-- there are several in the Los Angeles area and no one really knows why. It too shall remain a mystery.

Another oddity that almost-sorta-makes-sense-in-some-strange-way is the All-Nude Strip Club that stood next door to AIDS Project/LA. I'll admit, they are related to each other, but--

I would think if you're going to a strip club, AIDS and STD reminders would be a turn-off.

Maybe that was the point. I walked by there today to discover the strip club went under, so to speak. Now they're renovating it into a banquet hall. So, you can have your wedding and birthday and/or bar/bat mitvah and treat everyone to an AIDS test next door. Sounds like a party!
In the world of movies, many things don't make sense--especially if they're directed by David Lynch or increasingly, Steven Soderbergh.

This time though, I'm talking about Project X. Released this week, it's a comedy about three teenagers that throw a birthday party that spirals out of control. What's ironic is: it's a movie about teenagers yet it's rated R so most teenagers (under 17 years of age) can't see it unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

The tagline is: The party you've only dreamed about.

All those teenagers still dreaming... as they're being turned away. Hollywood must enjoy teasing them like that.

Oh, look-- it's a movie about people like you BUT you can't join the party. Not yet-- unless you bring your Mom and Dad with you. Ha, ha.
~Love, Hollywood.

In fact, most of the underage cast can't legally see their own movie. This all makes about as much sense as Chinese Food Donuts. Who is the audience for Project X, I wonder? My only guess is that it's for high school seniors (over 17) and horny old men who, having been turned away from the (aforementioned) CLOSED strip club, deposit themselves in the back row of a darkened theater. Ewww... That's L.A. for you.

Tip the world and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
~Frank Lloyd Wright

©2012 by KLiedle

Monday, February 27, 2012

And The Academy Award Goes To...

Many people think of awards shows-- especially the Oscars-- as elitist. The Academy. Who are those people anyway? Famous, rich people giving gold statuettes to other famous, rich people. Congratulating each other. Why does anyone care?

I don't feel that way at all; I never have. I've never missed an Oscar telecast, even as a little girl. I've always watched it LIVE, the old-fashioned way. To me, they are inspiring.

When I see someone win an Academy Award, I see that it's possible.

The Academy Awards is a celebration of movies. It's a way to recognize the powerful history and legacy of motion pictures while shining light on the professionals who continue to aspire to excellence in their respective fields.

Movies have touched me and inspired me in so many ways throughout my life. That's why I re-routed my life so I could work on films and experience all the details that have to come together to make those films happen. That's why I write stories that I hope will make it to the big screen someday. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.

On Oscar night, I'm reminded of why I came here. That dream is re-ignited, and that's important because big dreams are hard to follow sometimes. When I see people from my hometown and people I know (and have worked with) as nominees, as winners, I truly believe it can happen for anyone, even me-- a girl who grew up in Nebraska having no connection to Hollywood.

I'd like to thank the Academy and its 5,783 members for continuing the Oscar tradition that began 84 years ago. Thank you for giving film professionals a shining moment they will remember for the rest of their lives.

And thank you for inspiring the rest of us to keep trying...

Congratulations to every single NOMINEE and the WINNER of last night's show.

I hope you all slept in this morning.

©2012 by KLiedle

Friday, February 17, 2012

She May Be Lively, But I Don't Get It

Whenever I see the covers of OK and Star and In Touch, I realize they're all the same magazine. I feel the same about the stars they write about. Maybe I'm just getting older, but I don't recognize any of them anymore.

They're all clumped together: leggy blondes with no distinguishing features. Some have kidlets that look exactly like them. Sometimes there's a dash of a Kardashian thrown in for extra spice, but I wouldn't know. I don't know what a Kardashian is.

Stars They're Just Like Us! screams the caption in every issue of those magazines. I keep flipping the pages-- looking for the stars.

Where are they?
Maybe they're so much like us that I can't recognize them anymore.

On rare occasions, an Emma Stone or an Ellen Page emerges from the crowd with some level of genuine talent and elusive star power, but it doesn't happen very frequently. And even Ellen Page has the capacity to annoy me. (Juno anyone?) And everyone missteps... ( The House Bunny, Ms. Stone?)

I don't watch TV. Maybe that's why I can't pick out a Gossip Girl from a line-up. Maybe that's why I don't have any idea who Blake Lively is. I certainly couldn't name anything she's been in. When I see her face, my mind responds with zero recognition. (In other words, I don't even know I'm seeing her face.)

However, the fashion world loves her. She's seduced them with some invisible power based on pixie dust and empty calories and Gossip Girl- equivalent wardrobe possibilities. What designer wouldn't want to dress a gossip girl? I don't blame Ms. Lively. I just feel like an ingenue should build up solid credits and flex her acting muscles before romping around in haute couture by designers with more name cred than she has.

In IMDB message boards regarding Blake Lively, one contributor posted the question:

Why is she so famous?
Several people posted theories, but no one had the answer. Maybe because there isn't one. What I do know is the question: Why is she so famous? could be directed to any number of faceless actresses these days.

Who crowned this new generation of stars
? I don't get it.

In a recent interview I read part-way, Lively admitted to having 600 pairs of shoes. Perhaps she should make a Goodwill donation and watch the Iranian film, Children Of Heaven, by director Majid Majidi. In that film, a young boy accidentally loses his sister's shoes and must share his own shoes with her for several weeks to avoid telling their parents.
Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film)

© 2012 by K. Liedle

Sunday, February 5, 2012

David Levithan's modern love story

The Lover's Dictionary: Defining The Nature Of Love

A dejected Charlie Brown famously said, "Nothing spoils the taste of peanut butter like unrequited love."

Years later, Woody Allen would believe "Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it." Lady Gaga would be addictively caught in a bad romance. And Lily Tomlin would plead with the world at large: "if love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?"

Do I believe in love? It's like asking I ♥ Huckabees. How am I not myself? Am I myself? Do I believe in love? Or is it a concoction like the word normal-- a theory to make us feel inferior and unsure of ourselves? It's intangible, unproven but proven, fleeting yet everlasting. Love.

It's like God and the Devil and heaven and hell all wrapped into one. It makes us float and giggle and believe in the very best of everything there is to believe in. It's magnetic and unpredictable. It makes us believe in magic, fairytales and happily ever afters. It tempts us and taunts us. Sometimes, it makes us do things, reckless things, we wouldn't normally do. It makes us stay in relationships much too long. It makes us postpone decisions, settle for what's right, what's wrong, what's stable. What's love?

It's hard to capture and hard to hold. It chases happiness and hides from sadness, but sometimes sadness finds it. And like bloodhounds, loneliness and jealousy and hatred can sniff out its trail, too. When it's good, it makes us lace fingers and curl into each other's arms. When it's over, it makes us curl into a ball. Alone. Starting over from scratch. Again.

Love is confusing. And complicated. Defined yet undefinable.

The Lover's Dictionary
, an experimental novel by David Levithan, explores this very thing. The novel originally evolved from a story that Levinthan had given to friends as a Valentine's Day gift. Released in 2011, I recently discovered it, or rather, it discovered me, as I believe books tend to do.

Levithan, a young adult novelist, best known for penning such fare as Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist, approaches the many facets of love through words. The novel is composed of dictionary/journal entries in which nouns and adjectives provide the impetus to exploring and understanding feelings, beliefs, memories, and experiences of love. The nature of love is beautiful. The hypocrisy of love is ugly.

The Lover's Dictionary is organized alphabetically, but the entries describe events and moments that are not necessarily in chronological order. As Levinthan states in one entry: "We do not divulge our histories chronologically. It's not like we can sit each other down and say 'Tell me what happened,' and then rise from that conversation knowing everything."

It's like he's saying that the only known is that we will never know everything: about ourselves, the world, nature, love, or even our most intimate lovers and friends.

Early on, Levinthan's unnamed narrator states: "There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself."

Who wouldn't want to be in love? It's like asking, who wouldn't want to be happy?

However, in another entry, a character thinks: "I am myself, and that is the point. Pairing is a social construction. It is by no means necessary for everyone to do it. Maybe I'm better like this…"

The moments described in Levithan's unconventional novel may be from one couple's relationship or that of many different relationships. It doesn't matter. What matters is that they reveal the intimacy, the truth, the uncertainty, and the undefinable nature of love.

"I've always been deeply terrified to really be someone's wife since I know from life one cannot love another, ever, really," Marilyn Monroe once wrote in her private journal, while married to playwright Arthur Miller.

As another Valentine's Day approaches, remember this:

We all have our own moments. And love is not easy for anyone.

©2012 by KLiedle

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Academy's Gold--THE 2012 NOMINEES

Congratulations to ALL the newly anointed Oscar nominees!

[Especially those I know who worked on The Descendants.]

Many of the other choices were those I'd expect, but I certainly didn't see 11 nominations for Scorsese's Hugo. I haven't gotten around to seeing it. Shameful, I admit, but 3D makes me sick.

I do have love for Clooney, but for Best Actor, Jean Dujardin from The Artist will give him a run for the money. (I'd be willing to run after either one of them, by the way.) But speaking of money...

Congrats to Moneyball for making appearances with Brad Pitt (Best Actor nom) and Jonah Hill (Best Supporting Actor nom) Since so many heavy-hitter Oscar contenders have been released since Moneyball, it could have easily been forgotten. Having just seen Beginners, I'm also happy to see Christopher Plummer on the list for Best Supporting Actor. He belongs there. And the film? Even better than I anticipated.

I was somewhat surprised to see French actress Bérénice Bejo on the list for Best Supporting Actress for The Artist and not in the leading role category. It seemed odd. She carries so much of the weight of The Artist. Despite this (luckily) actresses from The Help and Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy still made the cut.

Art direction looks to be a solid category. Any one of these films could walk away on top here. I really have no idea. Costume design? Sandy Powell (Hugo) could be hard to beat. She's won 3 Oscars already and she's been nominated multiple times. (She won in 2010 for The Young Victoria and she was also nominated last year.) She's really just asking for someone to swipe the statuette from her this year.

No surprises on the writing front either. Although, I had to look up Margin Call (Original Screenplay, J.C. Chandor) Both Adapted and Original Screenplay fields are flooded with tough talent. The girls of Bridesmaids are no doubt tossing champagne corks celebrating their nomination. At midnight, they'll probably find themselves in a Woody Allen screenplay.

Directing is a wide open field. No one's a surprise nominee here and all are especially deserving. It depends on what wins Best Picture. I believe this year will be a year of Academy voters split on their favorites. You can't blame them-- It's been a year relatively rich in well-told stories and excellent cinema. A throwback in many respects.

The Oscars will be broadcast on Sunday February 26

© 2012 by KLiedle