Tag Archives: Oscars

Emil Amok: More on the not quite Asian American Oscars, Rob Bonta’s Challenge, and more. It’s Emil Amok’s Takeout…

See my live takes on Facebook Live @2pPacific M-F, and on FB @emilguillermo.media Or catch the replay here.

Read my columns on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund site.

Don’t miss Emil Amok’s Storytime 2… Wed. April 28 on FBLive@5pPacific.

Also on FB @ emilguillermo.media.

I tell a story from my “Amok Monologues” then am joined by 4 other tellers. Get to know the Asian American story!

Oscars 2014: A turning point for diversity in the industry?

Like Hostess Ellen said, either “12 Years a slave” wins or we’re all racists. 

Good thing it won. But I don’t know if we’ve really turned a corner on diversity.  Under-representation and stereotypes still exist in Hollywood.  Asians are few and far between, and Native Americans?  In these times, Johnny Depp can still play Tonto.

But my goodness, the list of winners in the top categories this year is still  impressive:

Asian American of Filipino descent: Robert Lopez, composer, Best Original Song, “Let it Go,” from “Frozen.”

Mexican American: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity.”

African American: John Ridley, Best Screenplay adaption, “12 Years a Slave.”

Mexican Kenyan: Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress, “12 Years a Slave.”

Brit director Steve McQueen’s brutally honest telling of the Solomon Northup story is so disturbing, it’s hard to take.

But it needed to be told finally. Doesn’t put closure on the race issue by a long-shot. Don’t talk about post-racial America after a “Best Picture” Oscar.

But I think the industry is beginning to change as far as recognizing diverse audiences.

You can’t deny the winner’s list tonight.

I pretty much predicted how it would go.

“Gravity” was such a technical marvel, but didn’t quite get out of the planetarium for me.

I loved Amy Adams but knew she wouldn’t win. “American Hustle” was good but ABSCAM isn’t Watergate.  And for New Jersey folks, it’s not even Bridgegate.

So Cate Blanchett wins as she has most of the pre-shows.

Same with Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in the  male actor categories.

Both of them gave great speeches.

I thought Leto’s mention of Ukraine and Venezuela, and AIDS victims brought things a little closer to reality. And McConaughey’s mention of God, was “all right, all right.”

But given the diversity wins of the night, Oscar folks still like things more  tactful than I would have wanted.

Never mind, Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech struck the right chord. She recognized that her success was based on the pain of the past.(A show of humility there). And then after thanking colleagues, she chose to inspire:

“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.”

This was not a night or the time to beat anyone over the head apparently. Not with Ellen playing silly, ordering pizzas and doing selfies.  It was a fun, guilt free Oscars.

And the winners were among the most I can ever remember.

Leave it to Lupita Nyong’o  to help validate the night.



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Just in time for Martin Luther King Weekend…”12 years a Slave”, Oscar nomination is your nudge

The PR stars are aligned for “12 years a Slave,” with its Oscar nomination for Best Picture and its nationwide run starting just in time for MLK weekend.

As I mentioned on the AALDEF blog, if you didn’t feel compelled to see the movie when it opened late last year, I don’t blame you. It’s much more graphic perhaps than it needed to be. But maybe in this day and age where it takes a shock to be noticed, we all need to see it.

The black film critic Armond White called it “torture porn.” And I tend to agree. There’s a fine line separating art and titillation when it comes to the sadistic violence we see in the film. The director Steve McQueen has made movies that come right up to the edge.  In fact, White has been very vocal about his stand and spoke out loudly while McQueen accepted a recent award from the NY film critics group. White was accused of heckling and was thrown out of the group for his behavior, not his opinion.

As much as I appreciate White’s contrary view, I still believe  “12…”  is worth seeing. Too many of us take slavery for granted as a part of our historical past. But what has been overcome shouldn’t be forgotten.

I called “12 years a Slave”  electroshock for racists in my short review on the AALDEF blog.  But who out there thinks they’re racist? So let me be more general. If you have a spec of racism in your being, from raging KKK to the sublimated, in-denial kind, seeing “12 years a Slave” will exorcise it out of you.

That’s what seeing the racism and hate on the big screen does.

As for the other nominations, I’m a big “American Hustle” fan. But compared to “12 years a Slave,” it just doesn’t get you emotionally. ABSCAM? Slavery? No comparison. The acting is good in “12…” and you definitely feel for the characters. But somewhat it seems one-dimensional compared to the complexity of cons conning cons in “American Hustle.” Amy Adams and Christian Bale are tremendous together. When the story fails to engage, you don’t mind. You just keep wanting to watch Adams and Bale. And not for Bale’s comb over. The overlooked performance in that movie, however, was by Jeremy Renner. It’s a shame his pompadour got edged out by Bradley Cooper’s perm rods.


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Some thoughts on the Golden Globes…(updated)

Ah, the good old days. I remember when the Golden Globes could barely get coverage as an award show  that appeared on over-the-air UHF channels. This is all in the day when three-networks dominated everything and cable was just a wire you could hold in your hands.

Now as a demonstration of how our celebrity culture has risen, the GGs are big, big, big. The pre-Oscar/Emmys, and much ado about pop.

I’m not exactly sure if that’s what I’d call progress.

The programs I like to watch more often than not were rewarded on Sunday. AMC’s  “Breaking Bad,”  a great show.  Moviedom’s “American Hustle,” uneven but great acting. The HBO/Liberace biopic, “Beyond the Candelabra” well, read my review here: http://aaldef.org/blog/liberace-the-queer-for-non-queers.html

But as much as I like watching Michael Douglas and Matt Damon,  and even Bryan Cranston (with or w/o hair)  I like to watch women, and all my favorites won as well. (I don’t mean to be sexist. I appreciate a good acting performance, but is it wrong to say I tend to prefer watching women?)

Robin Wright who has been underrated on Netflix’ “House of Cards,” won a Golden Globe.  So did Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, who  both lifted “American Hustle” from the pedestrian.

But the best acceptance speech of the night  had to be the salty one from  Jacqueline Bisset right at the start.

I’m surprised that some didn’t like her bit and would disagree with me. But here’s the situation. You’ve won. You beat the odds. They sat you about a two miles away from the podium because no one thought you’d win.  But you’ve won. All eyes are on you. And now you get to tell off all your detractors.

Of course, perhaps, such a situation would call for a little grace.

But what the heck, you’re an older actress who some have left for dead. You’ve got a lot of fire left, show it. Why not?  Or not.

Listen, Amy and Tina are affable lap dogs. Cool, but not real. They ran amok within the confines of convention. JBisset was trying to prove she was not just a shadow of her former self. She was a winner. And she still had what she said after a lot of “p-ss and vinegar.”

To that, I say good for her. I liked it a whole lot better than the Woody Allen bit. But then I’m a Mia Farrow fan.



The Oscar nominations come out later this week.

I have yet to see “12 years a Slave,” so I’ve refrained from commenting on its Golden Globe win for Best Picture. But the movie that I saw more than once this year likely won’t get nominated. I was on a 20 hour plane ride to Asia and managed to watch “Frances Ha” at least 4 times on the round trip.

“FH” is all about young people in New York. In Black and White. Starring a captivating Greta Gerwig.  She was nominated for a Globe for best actress but didn’t win. That was always the thing about the Golden Globes.  You could always count on some oddball winners and nominees compared to the other award shows.

Let’s see how traditional Oscar is this year.



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