In my other life, I do a Once Upon A Time podcast with my cousin…

In my other life, I do a Once Upon A Time podcast with my cousin…

Check it out!

Ms. Taco’s Take: The Complicated Relationships of ‘The Fosters’

Last Monday, ABC Family’s The Fosters showcased probably its best episode thus far in its second part of season 1. It was an episode about the death of a character who up until this episode had only appeared in 3 of the show’s 15 episodes. It’s always interesting to me when a show uses an event that would only be a minor event for its viewers to examine some of the more prominent aspects of the show. Padre was an examination of the all of the many relationships that inhabit The Fosters and an excellent examination at that.

The relationships on The Fosters have always been so rich and complicated, but things have certainly been amplified in the season 1 ‘B’ season. Since the relationships on the show have always been so intertwined, it’s hard to piece out the different aspects covered in the episode, but a big part of this second half has revolved around Callie’s relationship to the family as a whole as well as her relationships with various members of the family. So, let’s start there. For me, Callie had been pretty unlikable up until this episode, which has been frustrating but I guess on some level necessary. It’s always hard to balance this with characters. You never want them to be so unlikable that people give up on them, but you also don’t want to make them so likable that they are virtually a character with no depth. It took me a little while to realize why exactly I have disliked Callie so much this season and to my surprise it actually goes beyond the fact that I don’t buy her and Brandon as a couple. I think it is the fact that this decision to be with Brandon has taken such a toll on her relationships with Stef and Lena and with the family as a whole. Stef and Lena are pretty much the perfect foster parents. Their understanding nature has no bounds. They are not going to kick you out if you mess up. And they genuinely love all of their kids, biological or otherwise. And yet, even they are stuck between a rock and a hard place with this situation. They have been trying desperately not to give up on Callie, not just because of how important she is to Jude but because of how important she is to them. But even someone as caring as Stef and Lena are has to wonder where to draw the line. And if they’ve created the most comfortable and nurturing environment that they can and if Callie continues to sabotage every good thing that comes her way, then what are they to do? So 15 episodes in, Callie is finally able to let go of what it is that has been holding her back, and having Stef able to connect with her over not only the loss of a parent but the regret people often have over that last conversation was a beautiful scene. It was an opportunity to have the two characters who can be considered the “strongest” on the show to be vulnerable together and acknowledge how scary it is to be vulnerable when you are trying so hard to remain strong. I don’t think we’ve seen Callie in tears since the very first episode of the show and it was refreshing. With that scene, Callie is finally able to fully put her trust in this family and I was reminded of the scene earlier in the season when Mariana acknowledged to Callie that she also had a difficult time being able to trust but she was able to get there eventually.

So, while all this is great and dandy, one has to wonder where the relationship between Callie and Brandon go from here? After everything, how can they now just go from being love interests to being brother and sister? The Fosters always does an excellent job of following up on the trails that they level behind so I’m certain that this is a question that will continue to be explored for the remainder of this season and possibly into the next. As I said earlier, I have never really bought Brandon and Callie as a couple maybe because  I always just enjoyed their friendship. So, I guess the question is does the show intend to get them back to that point somehow or go in a different diretion. Only time will tell and I’m interested to see how they handle it.

Brandon and Callie are not the only couple who are dealing with strife this season. Stef and Lena in spite of being one of the best couples on TV right now have been having their share of complications, and this is not the first time the show has touched in that. Certainly, the fact that immediately after their wedding they had to begin to manage the Callie situation has created a significant amount of stress on them. But through it all, they have managed to support each other as always and try to find a balance in their home, as hard as that might be right now. So, maybe that’s why Stef is thrown for such a loop when she learns (by accident) that Lena is having thoughts about becoming pregnant. It’s mind-boggling to Stef, not only because this is potentially the worst time to be bringing a baby into the household but moreso because Lena has yet to talk to her about it. Since day 1, Stef and Lena have been such an example of what a great relationship can be that I’m thrilled to see them a little less perfect right now as they navigate this hiccup. At the end of the episode, it appeared that Stef was at least willing to consider having a baby. One of the things that The Fosters does so well is make us care about the adults as well as we care about the kids. I remember watching the original 90210 and wondering, ‘why are Jim and Cindy even on this show?’. Not the case with Stef and Lena and I for one look forward to the show examining the triumphs and complications that go along with their relationship.

Last but not least, this episode finally made some sort of resolution to Stef’s complicated relationships with her father, the character’s whose funeral was the setting for the episode and who the title Padre referred to (possibly a double meaning, Padre referring to his favorite baseball team but also the Spanish term for father). As mentioned before, Stef was grappling with the fact that her last conversation with him did not end so pleasantly. But we also know that their relationship was complicated by the fact that he was never fully able to accept that Stef is a lesbian resulting in him not attending her wedding to Lena. We learn early on in the episode that the minister who delivered the eulogy was the same minister who Stef referred to earlier in the season who had tried to convince her that being gay was a sin.  The Fosters always manages to use even its most minor of characters in creative ways, so it was a nice touch that the person who perhaps caused Stef the most guilt about herself was able to help her to resolve her regert over her relationship with her father by telling her that despite his religious views, her father had been coming to him regularly to try to make sense of his religious views coupled with his love for her. It wasn’t acceptance but it was the best she could ask for now that he is gone, and in some way it allowed Stef to let go of all of the hurt and anger she had been holding on to for years.

Well, that’s it for today. There was tons more relationship drama going on in this episode, but I think I covered the most important. The Fosters has been on fire this season, so there’s a chance there will be another posted devoted to it before the season is out. See ya next time!

Ms. Taco Wishes She Was Part Of ‘The Fosters’ Family

So, on June 10th, I had just watched the summer premiere of Switched At Birth and I left ABC family on as I wandered in and out of the room. I then looked over at the TV and saw Teri Polo, who I’m only really familiar with as The Chef Who Dated Ben On Felicity. So, I was kinda like, “hmm, interesting, what is this?”. And so began my summer obsession with The Fosters. So, nobody reads this blog. But, those of you who do know that I kinda love foster children. I mean, I devoted not one, but two posts, to Parenthood’s adoption storyline last season. So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that this was about a family with two foster kids. And two adopted kids. And they’re headed by a lesbian couple. And one half of this couple has a biological son from her previous marriage. And yeah, it’s all a little too much but, I was kinda in love ya know? So, ‘summer obsession’ might be too tame of a term. I literally watched many of the episodes multiple times over the course of the summer. And while that might just sound really crazy especially in light of the fact that I had many other shows to catch up, I think this really highlights the fact that there isn’t really anything like The Fosters on TV right now. And I don’t just mean all the things I previously mentioned. There’s something about the way the kids and parents interact that’s really real. I don’t feel like I’m watching the same old stuff where the kids are always smarter than the adults or teenagers are dressing and acting provacatively and everyone acts like it’s completely normal. In a world where the teens of Gossip Girl and 90210 are traipsing around as adults in teenage bodies it’s so refreshing to see a show capturing what feels like real adolescence again. When I watch The Fosters I’m like, “yeah, I used to know these people”. With that being said, I am also really excited about the foster, adoptive, biological, lesbian family that is The Fosters. There’s something about the way the family weaves so seamlessly together. There’s something about the way that all this stuff matters and yet, it doesn’t. So here, in no particular order are my top ten moments from Season 1 of The Fosters (it was so hard to pick just ten!):

  • Mariana apologizes…and gets a mama sandwich.

Just when we were ready to write Mariana off for being super selfish for not dancing with her moms at her Quinceanera, she pulls out a truly heartfelt apology. A scene that could have just been really corny was really all about identity, It’s not easy being an adolescent, let alone an adopted adolescent, let alone an adolescent adopted by two women. The fact that Stef and Lena completely understood where she was coming from made it all the more better.

  • Wyatt tells Callie to ‘go for it’.

Whether you are a fan of Wallie or Ballie (Brallie?) this scene was just so sweet because it showed how much Wyatt really got Callie. While I don’t really love Callie and Brandon as a couple, ‘go for it’ is pretty good advice to live by. Yeah, it kinda didn’t work out in the end, but seeing Callie take this first step toward her leap of faith was pretty satisfying to see from a character who started off being so insecure.

  • Mariana worries that her family won’t want her anymore.

After Mariana reads the poem that was given to her and Jesus by Stef and Lena on their adoption day, she wonders out loud if her parents will even want to keep her after the tragic results of her actions. As viewers we were like, ‘of course they are going to keep you’, but if we keep in  mind the pervious scene where we saw that Stef met Mariana and Jesus when their foster parents dropped them off at her police station, it all becomes very clear.  Connect this with my next pick and it all  makes perfectly sad sense.

  • Mariana connects with Callie the way only a former foster kid can.

We did wonder if Mariana had in fact read Callie’s journal until this scene when we realize that despite all the animosity, Mariana really connected with what Callie was going through (“I rememember what that was like, being passed around all the time. I don’t think I ever felt safe until I came here.”). This was our first indication that there’s way more to Mariana than her selfish exterior and a great example of how layered these characters are.

  • Stef confronts her dad.

Probably the most tear-jerking scene of the season. We assumed Stef was just being Stef when she didn’t want to do all of the traditional wedding customs only to find out that she wasn’t able to drown out the inner voice of her father telling her a lesbian marriage was wrong. I’m glad Stef’s dad didn’t miraculously show up at the wedding. The Fosters reminded us in this scene that emotional scars do run deep and they don’t just get resolved by the end of an episode.

  • Stef and Lena get married.

Knowing that this was being filmed the very day that DOMA was overturned makes it all the more special. Simply said, it was simply beautiful. And, hey, now that they are official, they are up against Eric and Tami Taylor for my favorite TV married couple of all time!

  • Lena tells Jude how unfair the world can be.

If I was ordering these, this scene would be very close to, if not at the top. This is just another example of how this show is unlike most others on TV. What other show has a 12 year old boy painting his nails not as a joke but as a silent exploration of his sexual identity? Lena’s story about how she and Stef, though comfortable in who they are as a couple, are not always comfortable sharing this with the world reminds us that although we’ve come far, we have many miles to go. Sherri Saum and Hayden Byerly were pitch perfect in this scene.

  • Mariana and Lexi make up.

All the other scenes on this list seem like they are of a different caliber, but this is here because I was genuinely sad when these two were on the outs. I think what I liked about this scene was how understated it was. There was no dramatic dialogue. The forgiveness was understood. And the support that life long friends have for each other was front and center.

  • Lena struggles with forgiveness.

So raw and honest that I didn’t expect it. For a character like Lena, who is so warm and loves her kids so much, to admit that she was struggling with forgiving them was truly shocking. Another great example of these layered characters. You can be a good person and still struggle with forgiveness. Sheri Saum played anger and hurt so well, that I was actually starting to wonder if she was going to forgive Mariana before the end of the episode. But of course she did!

  • Stef and Lena decide to adopt Callie and Jude.

Yeah, it happened kinda quick, but we were waiting for this moment all season. Of course we knew something had to go wrong in the end but seeing the looks on Callie’s and Jude’s faces was heartwarming. We’ve waited five and a half months to see how this is all going to play out in light of Callie and Brandon’s relationship…

But the wait is over! So there ya have it, folks, my ten favorite moments of The Fosters season 1, part 1. I hope you are all going to be tuning in to The Fosters winter premiere. I know I will be, so I I can start compiling my next top ten!

Ms. Taco’s Take: Mad Men’s Don and Megan

By now everyone is talking about the Mad Men season 6 premiere, so leave it to me to blog about the premiere of season 5 . Until a couple of weeks ago, I had only managed to watch the first two seasons of Mad Men. When I realized that season 6 was premiering on April 7th, I decided to make a go for catching up before the new season started. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen (though I did sneak and watch the season 6 premiere episode last Sunday), and right now I’ve only made it through the season 5 two-part premiere episode, “A Little Kiss”. Season 4 was an interesting one where we watched Don spiral out of control to the point that he was becoming a shell of his former self, only to watch him propelled forward so that in a matter of episodes, Megan went from being a random girl in the office to being the future Mrs. Draper, a clear attempt by Don regain some semblance of who he is.

If I hadn’t read a while ago that Don would indeed marry someone named ‘Megan’, I would have sworn that he wouldn’t go through with it. But sure enough season 5, picking up in what appears to be several months later, shows Don and Megan as newlyweds in what may be the allusion of a happy marriage. We are quickly shown them living  in a new place with Don’s kids (Kiernan Shipka continuing her great work as ‘Sally’ and yet another throw away actor playing ‘Bobby’) happily visiting for the weekend. But the question, ‘can Don ever truly be happy’, continues to loom in our minds. By the end of part 1 of the episode we learn two things: (1) Don has bared his soul to Megan (“Nobody loves Dick Whitman”) in a way that he never did to 10 plus years wife Betty (until having been caught) and (2) Megan is not quite knowledgeable about what she’s gotten herself into. Don, and all of his major flaws, are a mystery to her and, like most people, she’s fallen in love with the idea of Don Draper. We have known since season 1 that Don Draper is a fabrication of Dick Whitman, a character he’s created and honed over the years, and now Megan is quickly learning that Dick Don is finding it harder and harder to keep up the act.

Season 4 saw Don broken and bruised, and perhaps his quick marriage and revelation to Megan was a way for him to re-focus and regain the control that he so desperately needs. But Megan is the extraneous variable, isn’t she? She’s not Betty 2.0. She’s unpredictable and uninhibited. So, is this the answer that Don’s been searching for or is she just another stop along the way to self-destruction? She pulls Don out of his comfort zone by throwing him a party and doing a sexy rendition of ‘Zou Bisou Bisou’. In true Don fashion, he puts on the act only to shut down later and reveal his immense discomfort. Megan is hurt and confused and starts to wonder, like the rest of us, who is Don Draper? Who is this man who she married? And, if she truly loves him, who does that make her? Considering that the show’s other central characters appear to be going through identity crises, it looks like this will be the season’s central theme.

Getting back to Don and Megan, is he the type of person who can sustain a marriage to someone like her and vice versa? Can Don let go enough to let her in and does he want to? Or does Don prefer to stay on the road he’s been on for years, the road that, let’s be honest hasn’t quite been working? And for Megan, can she be Mrs. Draper and stay true to who she is or is she doomed to become Betty 2.0, cold and hardened due to giving up so much? The experience of women and the way society views them has always been central to this show, so what will Megan’s character and relationship with Don bring to the mix? Obviously, I have a lot of questions, so I’m truly interested in seeing where season 5 is headed. So onward with season 5. Par for the course for Mad Men, it will be an interesting journey.

Ms. Taco’s Take: The Sophomore Slumps of ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Revenge’

When ABC moved Revenge to Sundays this season following Once Upon A Time, I thought the move was a little odd. Aside from the fact that I enjoyed both of them, I saw nothing linking the two to make either a perfect lead in for the other. As I’ve kept up with both this season, I found another link: both have seemed to decline in quality from their season 1 days, and I can’t say that I’m surprised. Even less surprising are the reasons for their declines. For Revenge it has been the lack ability to find a storyline as equally compelling as its season 1 storyline. For Once Upon A Time, it has been adding on additional characters while neglecting the already established ones and not having as clear of a focus as season 1.

When Revenge came on the scene in September 2011, I had no intentions of watching it. I saw the preview and thought, “meh”. I kind of fell into it accidentally by turning on ABC when it happened to be on and thinking, “hmm, this actually seems pretty interesting”, which I was fine with considering how big a fan I am of Emily Van Camp. And Revenge did not disappoint. From start to finish, it was the answer to the night time soap void. It kept you on the edge of your seat. It created complex and interesting characters. Essentially, it gave you a reason to tune in every week. But with Emily coming face to face with the’ white haired man’ in the season 1 finale, the question became, where does the show go from here?

With Once Upon A Time, the appeal was that it was a fresh take on fairy tale characters that we have all fallen in love with. The show presented an interesting take on the Snow White tale, while adding in elements, mainly Snow White and Prince Charming’s daughter Emma Swan. With that, the show had a definite story arc in, will Emma break the curse and restore the memories of the fairy tale land characters? I admit to being a little shocked when the show went through with Emma breaking the curse right in the first season finale, especially coming from the people who refused to answer the question, ‘What is the island?’ for six seasons. So, just like Revenge, the question became, where does the show go from here?

Both shows definitely had the potential for compelling season 2 storylines, and until recently both shows have squandered that potential. Revenge set the stage nicely for a season 2 storyline involving Emily’s mother, a storyline that was exhausted in a mere 7 episodes to make room for the show’s ridiculous ‘Initiative’ storyline. Once Upon A Time had so much potential to explore the new relationships that breaking the curse opened up, instead choosing to focus on battles and introducing new characters. With that being said, recently both shows have made some moves that could get them back on track, and I have some suggestions for both shows to keep things going in the right direction starting with:

Revenge:

1. PLAY TO EMILY’S STRENGTHS: The show smartly (and sadly) killed off Amanda. It now needs to use that to its advantage. Emily is at her best when she is fighting for a cause that hits her straight in the heart. And Emily Van Camp is at her best when she is playing out the inner turmoil between exacting the revenge Emily seeks and leading a life her father would be proud of. When Emily forgets the roots that she’s come from, we forget she’s a character worth rooting for. Keep Emily’s heart on her sleeve just visible enough for viewers to see. We like it there.

2. RESOLVE THE INITIATIVE STORYLINE AND MOVE ON: This storyline is in full force, so we can’t really abandon ship on it (sorry, that’s an absolutely horrible reference considering what recently happened aboard The Amanda), but let’s complete it, move on, and forget it ever happened, k? Half the time, no 80% of the time, I don’t even understand what is going on in this storyline. Revenge works best when it focuses on family, a cause that is important to both Emily and the Graysons and one that fans can get invested in, and while this storyline has allowed the show to dangle the family string, it’s not enough. The Initiative has been like an anchor weighing down Revenge this season, cut it off before it sinks the ship (whoops, sorry again).

3. LESS AIDEN. MORE NOLAN: It’s not that Aiden is a bad character. He’s perfectly fine. It’s that the Emily/Nolan dynamic that we came to love in season 1 has been sorely lacking. Emily and Nolan humanize each other in ways that only they can do for each other. This plays into my number 1 above. For me, Emily and Nolan’s friendship is the heart of the show. Let’s keep it going at a healthy beat.

And now on to:

Once Upon A Time:

1. PUT THE FOCUS BACK ON THE CHARMING FAMILY: With the show resolving the curse and finally allowing the Charming family to be together, imagine my surprise when the show decided to put the family on the backburner for the first half of the season. Yes, we had Emma and Snow fighting together (and getting to know each other?). Yes, we had Charming searching for his family. But it all didn’t feel quite like enough. One of the best things about season 1 was Emma and Mary Margaret’s friendship because we knew that the reason they grew close so quickly was because they know each other in a way that only mother and daughter can. I was excited to see this relationship explored to the fullest extent and while they’ve had a few nice moments, it hasn’t lived up to its potential. There is so much to explore here, and the show should be wiser and take a look.

2. MAKE IT HARD (AND EASY) TO HATE REGINA: Regina, like all antagonists, works best when she is completely complicated and we can’t decide whether to pity her or to hate her. The show hasn’t done nearly a good enough job of making this struggle hard for us, which is a problem that goes back to season 1. Regina is a great character because she has so much turmoil going on inside of her. The writers need to do a better job of making us feel that.

3. SLOW DOWN ON THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW CHARACTERS: A lot of fantasy shows go down this path (umm, hey, Heroes). It’s so tempting to introduce a plethora of characters, especially when there are so many to choose from. Take a lesson from Lost though. As it turns out, even though we knew there were a lot of other survivors on the crash, we didn’t actually care to get to know them. The new characters have been a factor in my number 1 above. Some have been great (Hook) and some have left me wondering why precious screen time that could have been spent on the Charming family was sacrificed (Mulan, Arora). Less is more. Those aren’t terrible words to live by.

Well, that’s all folks. Thoughts Revenge and Once Upon A Time fans? Have the shows left you wanting more or do you think they are hitting the right strides?

Re-Blog: Ms. Taco’s TV Time Travel: Character Deaths

Once Upon A Time and Revenge took some risks recently with each killing off secondary characters who were pretty central to the stories being told. Death of TV characters is usually hard to swallow, no matter who it is. These recent deaths had me thinking about a blog I had written a while back on secondary character deaths that caused major ripples for their series. Here’s a look at the ones that most struck a chord with me.

*Disclaimer: This post will contain spoilers about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Everwood, 24, Lost, and The Wire*

Tara McLay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Seeing Red”
When you are a show about a town overrun by vampires, you are bound to leave a few casualties along the way. With Tara coming on the scene mid-season four in “Hush”, we really didn’t know what to make of her, and I don’t think anyone expected her to make it to season 6. She didn’t fit in well initially, she came between the much loved Willow/Oz pairing, and she was harboring a secret. But somewhere along the way, this socially awkward witch made her way into our (and the Scoobies) hearts. Much like Joyce’s death was non-demon/vampire/monster related so was Tara’s as a stray shot from Warren’s gun hit her right in the heart, and likely hit many fans, myself included, with a punch in the stomach. Watching Tara and Willow make their way back to each other, only to see their reunion cut so short by her death, was truly painful, but that meant that the show had done an amazing job of creating a character and a couple that fans were really invested in. With her death the ultimately controversial final episodes of the season were set-up and the “Big Bad” revealed. Season 6 will forever be the season of BTVS that polarized fans and Tara’s death was a major part of that.

Colin Hart, Everwood, “The Last of Summer”
I still consider this one of the most shocking deaths ever on television, even though it occurred off screen. I guess with all the factors (beloved town hero, exceptional surgeon, quirky small town) his death just took me off guard. Tricked by the scene in the beginning as we saw what could have been had Colin survived his brain surgery, we were quickly snapped to reality as we were shown the memorial service for him at the high school. As we watched, Colin’s words to Dr. Brown at the end of season 1 echoed in our minds (“When they put me out tomorrow, if I don’t wake up the way I’m supposed to, if I’m not me again, I don’t want to be. Don’t bring me back.”). His death had such a profound effect on the characters, especially Amy who spun out into depression and anger (Emily Van Camp doing some of her best work) and Dr. Brown who held guilt square on his shoulders.

Teri Baur, 24, “Day 1: 11:00 P.M.-12:00 A.M.”
It wasn’t just that on top of everything else that day, Jack had to deal with the death of his wife at the hands of traitor and former mistress Nina Myers, it was that we had actually spent a lot of that day with Teri, becoming invested in her story as well. They spent the entire season apart, so we desperately wanted them to have that happy reunion at the end. But, hey, this is 24. Happy endings for Jack Bauer are hard to come by. Teri’s death spoke volumes to that point. The hole her death left in his life not only by her being gone, but by the estrangement from his daughter that it led to, had a major impact on Jack for the remainder of the series.

Ana Lucia and Libby, Lost, “Two For The Road”
I was so behind on Lost during season 2 that I didn’t watch this episode until about six months after it aired when I knew full well what was coming at the end. Despite this, I sat in shock with my mouth hanging open as I watched Michael shoot first Ana-Lucia and then Libby in his misguided attempt to get Walt back from The Others by freeing Ben (then known as Henry Gale). Not that I was ever the hugest fan of Michael, but I could not look at him the same way after this. Their deaths were all the more controversial because they came not long after Michelle Rodriguez (Ana-Lucia) and Cynthia Watros (Libby) were both charged with DUIs leading to fan speculation that they were killed off of the show because of this.

Wallace, The Wire, “Cleaning Up” and Omar Little, The Wire, “Clarifications”
I couldn’t choose between these two because they were both equally shocking for different reasons. Gunned down in season 1 by his childhood friends, Bodie and Poot, on the orders of Stringer Bell, Wallace, like many of The Wire’s characters, was a complex character who couldn’t see a life for himself beyond the corners. He was our first piece of evidence that the corner boys were just “little bitches on the chessboard”. His death led to the unraveling and eventual death of D’Angelo in season 2. Omar was the stick-up boy we somehow found ourselves rooting for, maybe because he had a code. In some ways, Omar was the center of The Wire popping up when necessary and always being the constant on the street when so many characters came and went either through death or imprisonment. His death was shocking not only because he often seemed like the least vulnerable character but also because he was taken down by the young Kenard. Neither Omar nor any of us could have seen that one coming.

What about it? What character deaths left you in shock?

Ms. Taco Goes To The Movies: It’s Oscar Night!

Okay, so the title of this post is a bit of a lie. I definitely did not go to the movies as much as I should have in preparation for this year’s Oscar ceremony, which airs tonight. With that being said, I’m not sure how much my opinion on who should win the big awards tonight matters, but as in all things TV and movie related, I’ve done a lot of reading up on this year’s nominees. So here are my thoughts on who should win and my predictions on who could win.

BEST WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):

Who should win: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
There’s something kind of sweet and simply stated about this movie that makes it perfection in a way and I think that’s a credit to its writing. This is a better movie than the attention it’s getting, but that’s typical with indies. It’s a very long shot for Best Picture or Best Actress but I wish people would give it the credit it deserves with a win here.

Who could: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
I didn’t like this movie quite as much as others did, maybe because I was tired when watching it or maybe because it just didn’t connect with me. However, I do think one of the best things about it was its script. With that being said, I’d be okay with a win for it here. I don’t think it’s going to take Best Director or Best Director and Best Screenplay is usually a consolation prize when there’s a lot of buzz that doesn’t translate into a win for those categories. However, I think Lincoln or Argo could potentially take this with Affleck not getting a directing nod and with Lincoln being Lincoln.

BEST WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):

Who should win: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom

Are there ever any points for creativity where screenplays are concerned? Probably not with this Academy. Nonetheless, being someone who isn’t completely enamored with Wes Anderson movies, I really found this script and story refreshing and different. Wes Anderson is too cool for the Academy, so his nomination is the award, but maybe recognizing achievements such as Anderson’s would bring the Oscars the younger audience that they have desperately been craving.

Who could win: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Tarantino is a controversial figure because of the violent nature of all of his films but he still earns the respect of voters everywhere. Being that I’m not a Tarantino fan (more so because of the violence than of the quality of his work) I haven’t looked up much about this movie. Despite not being the status quo, Tarantino managed to grab this prize for Pulp Fiction in 1994, and he could potentially do it again here.

BEST DIRECTING:

Who should win: Ben Affleck, Argo

Yeah, yeah. I know he’s not even nominated in this category, but prior to the nominations, Ben Affleck was getting so much buzz for his work on Argo. His failure to get a nomination here is probably the biggest snub this year and likely one of the biggest in recent history. Almost everyone agrees that he is three for three in directing. His win at the Golden Globes is a consolation prize, but that doesn’t take away from the sting from not getting a nomination here. A win for Best Picture might though.

Okay, should I pick an actual person from this category? I’ll go with Benth Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Great performances by a cast not accustomed to acting. That’s top notch directing in my book.

Who could win: Ang Lee, Life of Pi

This is a tough one to call when you have powerhouse Steven Spielberg in the mix and David O. Russel, whose Silver Linings Playbook is getting so much buzz. But everyone is talking about the beautiful way Life of Pi was filmed. Ang Lee has a knack for making beautiful movies (please see Brokeback Mountain–no, seriously, if you havent seen it, please do, it’s beautiful) and I think that could carry him to the big prize this year. With that being said, Steven Spielberg could definitely still take this one.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

Who should win: Robert DeNiro, Silver Linings Playbook

He’s here because I don’t normally like Robert DeNiro, yet he made me enjoy a movie that I wasn’t enjoying as much as I thought I would. Does that make any sense? Probably not. His character and performance worked, and for me he kind of became the heart of the film. I still have hope he’s going to take this, but he just might be edged out.

Who could: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

I’m not a fan of Tommy Lee Jones. I can’t explain why, but there it is. I think of everyone in the category, Jones has been getting the most buzz in a movie that has been getting buzz since before it was released. Still, with every actor in this category being a previous Oscar winner, this one could be a pretty tight race.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:

Who should win: Amy Adams, The Master

I love Amy Adams and I want her to win an Oscar. I know nothing about The Master, but I stand by my ‘should win’ for Amy. She will be my ‘should win’ until she actually wins Oscar gold. She’s my new Kate Winslet. That is all.

Who could win: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Anne Hathaway is a lock here. Again, I haven’t seen this one, but I can’t look up Oscar news without reading about her one take performance. I like Anne, but I have recently been hearing that she has her haters. In any event, I’d be happy to see her win and if she doesn’t it would be one of the biggest Oscar upsets in history. I think the only more sure fire win than one for Hathaway is a win for my pick below.

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:

Who should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Look, There Will Be Blood is a long, drawn out, sometimes boring movie. But, I’d watch it again just for Day-Lewis’ performance. He was amazing, and I’d guess that when/if I do see Lincoln, I will not love the movie but I will love the performance by its star. He embodies his roles like no other, and he deserves respect for that.

Who could win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Nothing much to say here. If he doesn’t win, it will not be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, it will be the biggest upset in Oscar history.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:

Who should win: Naomi Watts, The Impossible

I think a lot of people are saying that Jessica Chastain probably should win this but won’t because of Zero Dark Thirty’s controversial nature. But people who have seen The Impossible are coming out of the woodwork to praise Naomie Watts’ gut-wrenching performance. So I have to say, of all the buzz movies I haven’t seen, The Impossible has moved to the top of my list. But it’s an indie and, like I said before, it’s hard to break through that. I’d be shocked if she snatched this from Lawrence, but it’d be kinda nice if she did.

Who could win: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

I think this has become Lawrence’s to lose. If Jessica Chastain wasn’t in such a controversial film, she might have a shot but word on the street is that the nature of the film kept Kathryn Bigelow from getting a Best Directing nod. With that being said, Chastain or even Emmanuelle Riva could pull an upset, but I’d be surprised if they did.

BEST PICTURE:

Who should win: Lincoln

Look just because it has that Oscar movie feel doesn’t mean it shouldn’t win. It’s a typical choice for Oscar, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice. I’ll admit that when I first saw the preview for Lincoln on TV, I thought it was a joke. With that being said, I’ve heard a lot of praise from pretty much everyone who has seen it. It’s deserving and it was on the Oscar win course, but…

Who could win: Argo

The lack of a directing nod for Ben Affleck has led to a buildup of support for Argo getting the Best Picture win. I think it’s still close between Argo and Lincoln (the epitome of Oscar bait) but Ben Affleck’s loss in the directing category may prove to be his gain in winning the coveted big prize in the movie industry. If Argo pulls this off, Affleck will likely be more than happy to have made the sacrifice.

Well, that’s all folks! Enjoy Oscar night! Did your picks win??

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