A Little Early, But Have a Happy New Year

Hollywood Arsonist Damages Jim Morrison’s Former House

Los Angeles officials are urging continued public vigilance after a series of arson fires overnight. At least $35,000 in rewards is being offered for information leading to the conviction of an arsonist or arsonists who torched more than a dozen locations in the Hollywood area early today. The four-hour fire onslaught started shortly after midnight. (AP)

One of the houses hit was Jim Morrison’s Laurel Canyon home. The fire — at 8021 Rothdell Trail in Hollywood — broke out at 1:20 a.m. in a nearby car, then spread to the house.

Morrison lived in the 1922 Hollywood home with his girlfriend Pamela Courson. It’s where he wrote the Doors album “Waiting for the Sun” and portions of “The Soft Parade.”

The Laurel Canyon street on which it’s located also was the inspiration for the Doors song “Love Street,” which played during the closing credits of a season two episode of “Entourage.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, 56 firefighters responded to the blaze, which took 35 minutes to contain. One of the firefighters was injured in a fall from a ladder on the ground. He is in stable condition at a local hospital. (The Wrap, AP photo)

Kellene’s Globe vs Oscar 2012 Predictions

So below are my guesses that I got correct for this year’s Golden Globe nominations. Doesn’t look like much huh?

Best Motion Picture – Drama

The Descendants

The Help

The Ides of March

Moneyball

Best Animated Feature Film

Cars 2

Puss in Boots

Best Actor

George Clooney – The Descendants (Drama)

Leonardo DiCaprio – J Edgar (Drama)

Jean DuJardin – The Artist (Comedy or Musical)

Best Actress

Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn (Comedy or Musical)

Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs (Drama)

Viola Davis – The Help (Drama)

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady (Drama)

As you can see by the above choices, this is much harder than I originally thought. The above partial list barely scratches the surface along with all the other categories. The Golden Globes also doesn’t help in that they have separated drama-comedy categories – meaning 10 nominees each for best actress, actor, etc.

Drama and comedy nominees are lumped together in one broad category called at the Oscars called the Best – (actor, actress, supporting actor and actress), and that’s it. So it really doesn’t help those (me!) who try to predict nominees/winners. The Globes offer way too many choices.

I also noticed I really messed up on director – and screenplay isn’t offered, so I’m out of that one.

We’ll see what happens. At least from this list I can now predict Globe winners and potential Oscar nominees.

Here are the real nominations:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
‘War Horse’ ‘The Ides of March’
‘The Help’
‘Moneyball’
‘Hugo’

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY
‘The Artist’
’50/50′
‘Bridesmaids’
‘My Week With Marilyn’
‘Midnight in Paris’

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
George Clooney in ‘The Descendants’
Brad Pitt in ‘Moneyball’
Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘J.Edgar’
Ryan Gosling in ‘The Ides of March’
Michael Fassbender in ‘Shame’

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Viola Davis in ‘The Help’
Meryl Streep in ‘The Iron Lady’
Tilda Swinton in ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’
Rooney Mara in ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’
Glenn Close in ‘Albert Nobbs’

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
Jean Dujardin in ‘The Artist’
Brendan Gleeson in ‘The Guard’
Owen Wilson in ‘Midnight in Paris’
Joseph Gorden-Levitt in ’50/50′
Ryan Gosling in ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
Michelle Williams, ‘My Week With Marilyn’
Jodie Foster, ‘Carnage’
Kristen Wiig, ‘Bridesmaids’
Charlize Theron, ‘Young Adult’
Kate Winslet, ‘Carnage’

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks, ‘Drive’
Christopher Plummer, ‘Beginners’
Kenneth Branagh, ‘My Week With Marilyn’
Jonah Hill, ‘Moneyball’
Viggo Mortensen, ‘A Dangerous Method’

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo, ‘The Artist’
Octavia Spencer, ‘The Help’
Jessica Chastain, ‘The Help’
Janet McTeer, ‘Albert Nobbs’
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants’

BEST DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, ‘Hugo’
George Clooney, ‘The Ides of March’
Michel Hazanavicius, ‘The Artist’
Alexander Payne, ‘The Descendants’
Woody Allen, ‘Midnight in Paris’

Oscar Voters: Ballots in the Mail

Academy Awards season is officially on. Nominations ballots for the 84th Oscar show have just gone in the mail.

Oscar organizers mailed ballots Tuesday to 5,783 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ballots are due back Jan. 13, and Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 24.

The Oscar ceremony is set for Feb. 26, with Billy Crystal returning as host for the first time in eight years.

Among this season’s best-picture prospects are the black-and-white silent film “The Artist,” the Deep South drama “The Help,” George Clooney’s family tale “The Descendants” and Steven Spielberg’s World War I epic “War Horse.”   (AP)

Then by chance I found this on The Wrap website. This stuff absolutely fascinates me.

The basics about the Oscar ballots that were mailed on Tuesday: They’re color-coded by category, and cover 15 of the 24 Academy Awards categories. (Nominations in the rest of the categories are decided by special committees or at specific AMPAS events.)

Best Picture ballots are white, with the other categories using generally muted colors.

While Best Picture ballots are tabulated using the new system, the other 14 categories use the straight preferential count, which uses a number of rounds to narrow the field down to the final five nominees.

On every ballot except the acting ballot, voters are asked to list the name of the film, not the name of the person who will actually be nominated. This will make things much easier for directors who want to vote for Michel Hazanavicius but will only need to write “The Artist.”

The reminder list of eligible films that accompanies most of the ballots includes film titles only, not names of potential nominees.

Members of the Actors Branch, though, are required to list the name of the actor and the name of the film – and they’re given complete leeway to decide if a performance belongs in the lead or supporting category (or even to put it in both if they’re undecided).

If a performance actually gets enough votes to be nominated in both lead and supporting categories, it will receive the nomination in whichever category it drew the most support.

And given the way the system works, in only five categories does a film need more than 100 votes to be nominated for an Oscar. That’s because nominations are made by the individual branches, not by the entire membership of the Academy.

The Actors Branch, with more than 1,172 active members, is by far the largest. If every eligible member were to vote, it would take 196 votes to secure a nomination in the four acting categories. (Voters are asked to rank their favorites one-through-five, but each ballot counts as a single vote for a single actor, usually the one ranked first.)

The next largest branches, the Producers Branch and the Executives Branch, with 450 and 442 members, respectively, only vote for Best Picture (as do Public Relations Branch members and Members at Large).

Directing, writing and sound categories require 62, 63 and 67 votes for a nomination, respectively; music requires 39 for an Original Score nomination, with the Original Song category using a different process.

It goes all the way down to cinematography and film editing, which require 35 and 38 votes, respectively and makeup and hairstyling, which requires only 21 votes.

That doesn’t seem like many for an Oscar nomination – but remember, those are 21 top experts voting. It’s the Academy’s unofficial credo, when it comes to membership: quality, not quantity.

Here’s the updated breakdown of Academy membership, branch-by-branch:

Actors:  1,172 Art Directors:  367 Cinematographers: 206 Directors:  369 Documentary:  166 Executives:  442 Film Editors:  224 Makeup Artists and Hairstylists:  121 Music:  232 Producers:  450 Public Relations:  368 Short Films and Feature Animation:  349 Sound:  401 Visual Effects:  294 Writers:  376 Members-at-Large:  246

Total Voting members:  5,783 Associates:  152 Total Active Members: 5, 935

Retired Members:  673 Total Members: 6,608

Of the 15 branches, 11 gained members during 2011. The Documentary Branch had the largest gain, increasing its numbers by nine; Short Films and Feature Animation went up by six, while Visual Effects increased by five.

Only three branches ended the year with fewer members than they had at the beginning of the year. The Actors Branch lost the most members, dropping by 11, while the Sound Branch dropped by six and the Music Branch by four.

Overall, Academy membership remained almost constant, with six more voting members this year than last.

‘Forrest Gump’ to be Preserved in U.S. Film Registry

The Library of Congress has selected “Forrest Gump,” “Bambi” and “Silence of the Lambs” to be included among the nation’s treasures in the world’s largest archive of film, TV and sound recordings.

The films announced Wednesday for the National Film Registry span the years of 1912-1994. They include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, home movies and experimental motion pictures.

The oldest reels included this year are silent films both from 1912. “The Cry of the Children” is about the pre-World War I child labor reform movement and “A Cure for Pokeritis” features the industry’s earliest comic superstar John Bunny.

The most recent is “Forrest Gump,” best known for Tom Hanks’ immortal line, “My momma always said, `Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ ”

Here are the 25 films selected in 2011 to be preserved as part of the National Film Registry:

“Allures” (1961)

“Bambi” (1942)

“The Big Heat” (1953)

“A Computer Animated Hand” (1972)

“Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment” (1963)

“The Cry of the Children” (1912)

“A Cure for Pokeritis” (1912)

“El Mariachi” (1992)

“Faces” (1968)

“Fake Fruit Factory” (1986)

“Forrest Gump” (1994)

“Growing Up Female” (1971)

“Hester Street” (1975)

“I, an Actress” (1977)

“The Iron Horse” (1924)

“The Kid” (1921)

“The Lost Weekend” (1945)

“The Negro Soldier” (1944)

“Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies” (1930s-40s)

“Norma Rae” (1979)

“Porgy and Bess” (1959)

“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991)

“Stand and Deliver” (1988)

“Twentieth Century” (1934)

“War of the Worlds” (1953)

http://www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

December 26 is National Candy Cane Day

I will not lie – I have always loved candy canes. And especially after I found out that peppermint’s good for migraines, I really went all out for them. Best time of year for me – yes, I can buy them online any time of the year, but that’s not the point. It’s part of that Christmas time magic…oh and also peppermint ice cream.

Candy canes were born out of necessity in Cologne, Germany for Christmas Eve, 1670.

A choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral requested that the local candy master make a batch of sweet sticks for the children in the church. Apparently, the kids were a little bit noisy, but to justify handing out candy during a worship service, the candy maker crooked the top of each stick like that of a shepherd’s.
So, the choirmaster had his quiet church (except for soft munching), and the candy maker began a Christmas tradition that we are still enjoying in a variety of ways today.

A recipe for striped peppermint candy sticks was first published in 1844, and actual candy canes were considered to be Christmas tree decorations as early as 1882. It was too hard to resist hooking them on the tree branches, apparently. (CNN)

Nevada Governor Signs Executive Order for Santa

Santa Claus will get red carpet treatment in Nevada under an executive order signed Friday by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

In a takeoff of the poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” Sandoval calls on the Nevada National Guard to clear the airspace over the state for safe passage of a the jolly old elf, and orders the Departments of Agriculture and Wildlife to ensure “no creatures are stirring,” on Christmas Eve, “not even a mouse.”

Santa will also get a pass on texting while flying; and from securing proper licenses or permits.

Sandoval ordered the Nevada Office of Energy to ensure adequate, energy-efficient lighting “for safe house-top landings,” and put the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on notice to have a “sufficient supply of coal” on hand — just in case. (AP)

Executive Order No. 12: Providing a State Plan for the Visit of Saint Nicholas

WHEREAS, children throughout the Silver State are anxiously awaiting the annual visit of Saint Nicholas, also known as Kris Kringle, also known as Santa Claus, also known as a Right Jolly Old Elf; and

WHEREAS, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care and it is therefore in the interest of Nevada’s children, as well as their parents and guardians, that the State of Nevada ensure an orderly and efficient means of carrying out the annual delivery of toys, candy, and other gifts; and

WHEREAS, numerous state agencies, programs and services may rightfully play a role in guaranteeing that the prancing and pawing of each little hoof shall proceed as generations of children have believed it should; and

WHEREAS, Article 5, Section of the Nevada Constitution provides that, “The Supreme Executive Power of this State shall be vested in a Chief Magistrate who shall be Governor of the State of Nevada”; and

BESIDES, it’s almost the night before Christmas.

NOW, THEREFORE, by the authority vested in me as Governor by the Constitution and laws of the State of Nevada, I hereby instruct the members of my Cabinet as follows:

  • The Nevada National Guard shall clear the airspace over Nevada for the safe passage of one (1) miniature sleigh and eight (8) tiny reindeer, driven by one (1) driver so lively and quick.
  • The Office of Veterans Services shall arrange benefits as appropriate and provide and Honor Guard befitting the stature of a visiting dignitary the caliber of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
  • The Departments of Agriculture and Wildlife shall ensure no creatures are stirring on the night before Christmas, not even a mouse; and these Departments shall further ensure the safe passage of reindeer not indigenous to this state, even if said reindeer are unvaccinated and bear no brand, tag, or other identifying mark.
  • The Department of Administration shall make such appropriations of good will and good cheer as are necessary for the Cabinet to carry out this order, and shall ensure the facilities, personnel, and information technology of this State are ready to ensure that Saint Nicholas soon shall be here.
  • The Department of Public Safety shall ensure safe passage into homes as appropriate for a plump figure dressed in all fur, from his head to his foot; and in the event of any mishap, the Department of Corrections may not detain this particular elf from his work; further, no warning shall be issued to the driver of said sleigh should he be observed talking on hand-held cellular device or sending text messages to his workshop; similarly no citation shall be issued if the driver in question fails to wear his seat belt as required by state law.
  • The Departments of Business and Industry, Motor Vehicles, Taxation, and Transportation shall not hinder or otherwise impair the passage of this important vehicle, or its contents, due to any failure to procure a proper license, permit or other charter.
  • The Department of Education and the Nevada System of Higher Education shall encourage learners of all ages to enjoy visions of sugar plums and other kind of thoughts at this time of year. In addition, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation shall provide workforce training to seasonally-employed elves.
  • The Nevada Office of Energy is charged (pardon the pun) with providing adequate and energy-efficient lighting for safe house-top landings in the event of inclement weather.
  • The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources shall provide a sufficient supply of coal, just in case.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services shall see to the continued good health and welfare of Saint Nicholas during his visit, despite what surely must be a propensity of heart disease.
  • The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, together with the Native American Tribes, will make the delegation from the North Pole welcome in our state, conferring appropriate gifts, to include cookies and milk, and providing other abatements properly related thereto.

BE IT FURTHER ORDERED, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of Nevada to be affixed at the State Capitol in Carson City, the day before the night before Christmas, in the year two thousand eleven.

Brian Sandoval

Governor of the State of Nevada