Tag Archives: Oscar

Menu takes the Oscar for Effin Artist

As the Oscar night parties wind down in L.A. and the sun comes up, I bask in my own Oscar, awarded by the Bride for best original menu for an Oscar Party. I pout in the knowledge that The Bride won the ballot 7-5. She only missed on the director. I leaned too heavily on David O.Russell, who frankly keeps getting screwed. If you put four actors in the top four categories two years in a row, you at least deserve a writing award or directing award or something… sigh… Sour grapes, I know.

Let’s revisit my award- winning (in my own mind) food:

Course 1:

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The roasted mushrooms are stuffed with avocado and pesto. The bread is my old school Italian bread with fresh pomegranate seeds in it, I topped it with roasted tomatoes, drizzled with Webbromance Nudo olive oil. Soooo good.

Course two:

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This course was toasted raviolis, Nonie’s sauce, and eggplant pizzas. Leave it to me to ruin a wonderful vegetarian pizza (topped with sauce, mozzarella and ricotta) by tossing on some sausage. I loved it though. Love that sausage hit on the top of it all.

Course 3:

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Steak skewers, roasted peppers, topped with a roasted garlic on the end. These flavors just merged and popped. Really, really worked… simple and beautiful. I grilled the steak with Italian rub. The sweet potato fries got the closest yet in my many, many attempts to crispy fries, but they sort of stuck to the pan too, so the effort continues.

Course 4:

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These sort of speak for themselves. All homemade. I even broke out the green coloring (cancer fear pushed aside for festive color) to make the mint ice-cream look the part. Soooooo goooood. I haven’t had much sugar in while so this was a blast… a bender… a … Effin delight.

Great night. Great acting, celebrating their art. Great writers getting their due. Great music. Ellen was four-part harmony for hosts.

Oh yeah, and my date was pretty awesome. She didn’t even gloat her victory, but secretly, I know her, she’s pretty damn proud of her Oscar win.

As Ellen said, we’re all winners tonight.

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Oscar menu set for four small plate courses

The bride does not like to cook. She used to pretend to like to cook because when she’d get home from work and I’d be cooking. I’d have an open bottle of wine. So she’d come sit across the bar and drink wine and snack on my latest appetizers and even chop a few things at times to put up a good appearance. But then we got sober and the wine went away. So did the Bride at dinner time.

To be fair, the bride cleans up. She doesn’t mind this at all and virtually never blasts me for all the pans I may have used. She cranks the ’80s hair bands and spends about three times as long as I would cleaning. Doddering, I call it. Only I don’t have to clean, so I don’t call it that out loud. I only say, “Wonderful! Thanks baby.”

But, despite her lack of interest in cooking, the Bride does very much like to eat what I cook — and can be a little finicky at times as well — so she does take a big interest in planning what we will eat, especially on big events.

When it comes to big events, Oscar Night is right up there. So while I was thinking of making my grandmother’s famous Big-4 Inn ravioli and apple rings, five emails with various food ideas magically appeared in my email inbox.

The ravioli will wait.

I began preparation last night, baking bread and cookies, making homemade pesto, biking to the store for produce… all the usual stuff. Because not only do I have to prepare the four-course, small-plate menu the Bride dreamed up, but I have to be her guest, as our party is being attended by two. If I’m busy in the kitchen, well, I think two is necessary for a party (to be honest, I’m not sure the Bride agrees. She will be enraptured with the Oscars. I’m ancillary. I can accept that one night a year…. still I’d rather watch too).  So I need to get everything prepped early.

Anyway, if you need some last-minute ideas for your party, here’s my menu. Photos to come later.

Course one: 3 p.m. when the Bride gets serious about “who are you wearing” and I can be out of the room all I want.

  • Baked Baby Portobellos with pesto and avocado stuffing.
  • Toasted and roasted: Toasted Pomegranate Italian Bread (an Effin Artist original, see photo above) topped with roasted tomatoes.

Course two: 4 p.m.

  • Eggplant Pizzas
  • Toasted Ravioli

Course three: 5:30 p.m. as Ellen dances on the stage.

  • Steak and Pepper Skewers
  • Sweet Potato Fries

Course four: 7:30 p.m. as the big winners hit the stage

  • Homemade Mint Ice-Cream Sandwiches. (both ice cream and cookies made from scratch… bring the A game).

Enjoy the big night. Check back for pictures of the menu and updates on the ballot contest.

Artists celebrated in gold for painting across the big screen

Oscar Night is here, tomorrow night, and I’m really excited. I explained our weird, vicarious night of glamour before, along with the first reviews of movies my husband and I had seen. Now we’ve finished viewing the final movie during our extended Oscar nominated viewing party. Philomena brought  an end to our viewing parties.

Alas, all good things must come to an end; the ultimate party signifies the finality of it all. We’ve got a great menu planned. I’ll be locked in by the time the stars hit the red carpet on the E channel, and I’m thrilled Ellen is hosting. (Effin Artist: I like Ellen too. What’s not to like. I’ve seen her show like 20 times and she makes me smile all 20 times. That’s an art in this cynical day and age, believe me).

All in all, a good year for Oscar nominated features. (EA: Good but not great. Better than ‘The Artist’ year, but pales to Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, Bennie Button, Frost/Nixon, et. al THAT was a great year). Our Oscar ballots are in. Here are my winners. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION (Effin Artist: Let’s not kid ourselves, when it comes to skin care, ’80s trivia, music and Oscar movies, the Bride is anything but humble. Mine are duly noted as well so their will be no doubt come Monday who won… just saying…):

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Best Picture: 

  • The Bride: will win: 12 years a slave; should win: 12 years a slave
  • EA: will win: Gravity; should win: American Hustle

Best Director

  • The Bride: will win: Steve McQueen; should win: David O Russell
  • EA: will win: Alfonso Cuaron; should win: David O Russell (if twice in two years you get all four of your top actors nominated, you’re the best director… hands down).

Best Actor

  • The Bride: will win: Matthew McConaughey; should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor
  • EA: will win: Matthew McConaughey;  should win: Leonardo DiCaprio, (but really Jimmy Dugan for Captain Phillips. He got robbed. Did you see him in this movie? Academy??? Hello???)

Best Actress

  • The Bride: will win: Cate Blanchett; should win: Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep (I know..I know, I should pick one or the other, but I can’t here. They were both amazing in their roles…IMHO!)
  • EA: will win: Amy Adams;  should win: Meryl Streep (this woman is a legend… just amazing)

Best Supporting Actor

  • The Bride: will win: Jared Leto; should win: Jared Leto
  • EA: no contest, Leto (though Jonah Hill deserves a surprising honorable mention).

Best Supporting Actress

  • The Bride: will win:  Lupita N’yong’o; should win: Jennifer Lawrence
  • EA: Lawrence both

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Bride: will win: Her; should win: Her
  • EA: will win:  American Hustle; should win: American Hustle (See above about all four top actors. It’s great, truly artistic writing to have such compelling characters). 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Bride: will win: 12 Years a slave; should win: The Wolf of Wall Street
  • EA: will win: 12 years a slave; should win: Philomena

Best Animated

  • The Bride: will win: Frozen; should win: Frozen
  • EA: Yeah, is there anyone else nominated?

Normally I don’t subscribe to the elitism that exists in Hollywood. I prefer less complicated, non-fussy ways to live my life, But one night a year, I allow myself the indulgence, and I admit I go overboard. I watch the red carpet arrivals and strain to view every last detail of the star (hoof to head as the hubby says … EA: I don’t think it really applies in this context dear…). I want to see the mani-cam, and I want the full 360 turn to view every angle of the gown. I want to know which stars Rachel Zoe styled this year.

Okay, you got me…this is my dirty little secret (really not much of a secret… we all know this about you. Come to the light!). Am I ashamed? You think I would be but I’m not. I allow this in my life for one day because I know after all of the awards have been given out, the red carpets rolled up and taken away I will wake up just a little more thankful for where I’m at in my life. Maybe I don’t walk the red carpet in Hollywood, but my husband rolls out the red carpet for me in many ways through out the day.

Be thankful for what you have in your life, embrace it all and if you indulge now and again in whatever you deem extraordinary don’t be ashamed of it. More than likely you deserve it.

If you wish to indulge a guilty pleasure, submit your favorite picks in the reply screen below! (Yeah, call your shot now. Monday, any “I knew it!” will be thoroughly mocked if not).

And if you missed this year’s nominated movies, well, plan ahead next time. We’ll be back again next year, that’s for sure!

Respect must be paid: The best of Jimmy Dugan

We are deep into our Oscar viewing leading up to the Big Gold Statue Night, which is right up there with the Super Bowl (especially with my 49ers, again, a play short… they were never short under Sourdough Joe… sigh) Columbus Day and The Fourth of July as the most underrated holiday celebrations (I sense a new list coming).

As The Bride explained, The Big Gold Statue Night is a must on the calendar. It has as much lead up, preparation and planning (I mean you have to watch the movies!) as the lead up to  Christmas.

This year I’d like to see a Effin Artist lifetime achievement award to the greatest actor of our generation, Jimmy Dugan. What other great baseball player and championship women’s league manager, could also win back-to-back Oscars for best actor?!

Now Sean Penn has to be in the conversation of true Effin Artistry, with a range from Harvey Milk to Sam to Jeff Spiccoli. He’s number two. And as for the Daniel Day-Lewis sycophants, he is on the list, but he doesn’t make the final cut. He acts in rolls tailor-made for Oscars. But where’s the humor? Where’s the surprises? No, he may lead the Oscar awards, but he doesn’t match Jimmy Dugan.

Jimmy Dugan is our generation’s sage. Who else could come up with such dynamic wisdom as both:

AND

Brilliant. Just brilliant. I’m rendered speechless by Jimmy Dugan. I assume he spoke a bit weird (as shown in this clip) later in life because of all the alcohol.

If that wasn’t enough Jimmy Dugan was also a war hero:

And the work on this movie was so far ahead of its time it still seems current. At the very least it shows how far we’ve come as a society in just twenty years.

And if you’re still not convinced, just allow two packed minutes of simple comedic artistry wash over you:

Amazing stuff! I can’t chronicle all the wisdom here… but where else would you get,

“Perhaps you chastised her too vehemently…”

“Did anyone tell you you look like a penis with a little hat on it.”

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Genuis. Jimmy Dugan, a man for the ages and first winner of the Effin Artist Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ramping up for Oscar’s Effin Artist moments

I adore the Academy Awards. That beautiful gold god named Oscar signifies something we’re after here — a genuine Ah-Ha Effin Artist moment.

In the past, my husband and I considered it a tradition of having date nights leading up to the Academy Awards. We’d enjoy a few cocktails prior to viewing that year’s Oscar-nominated movies. It served as a connection for us. At the time we were living the fast paced urban lifestyle in San Francisco. I took the train to and from my nine-to-five soul-sucking corporate job, leaving little time for my husband. This gave us a night to look forward to, a break in the routine.

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Our escape into Hollywood’s idea of “normal” was fun, and the opportunity that my husband and I had to see a movie and have intelligent dialogue about the movie was a boost to our relationship. It created another way for us to bond. Turns out that we shared opinions on most of the movies we viewed, which was surprising.

Fast forward a few years. Our fast-paced, urban lifestyle has been replaced by a slower paced, DIY-infused, sobriety-enhanced existence, in a very small mountain town.  Life’s dramas and dilemmas pressed pause on our Oscar love affair. Until now. We dusted off the old tradition and kicked it into high gear again. We have lost time to make up, so let’s do it fast. Our happy hour study hall has been replaced with the quiet, calm of our local coffee shop. We’re making our way through the movies, but with the big night coming up in a month (A month!!) we need to get fully up to speed.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

American Hustle – Does David O. Russell know how to put an Oscar-worthy cast together? For two years in a row now his top four are ALL nominated. And then there is Jeremy Renner’s role, which is also great. Deep, deep characters in this film. My husband says it’s the mark of a great writer to have such depth in the characters. Though, I don’t really think the movie will win best picture. I DO, for the most part think all of the actors up for Oscars are worthy of their nominations.

Wolf of Wall Street – Great movie. Leo definitely was worthy of his Oscar nomination, but did you check out Jonah Hill’s performance? He’s a contender for the award in my mind. Who would have thought the guy from Super Bad would have two academy award nomination’s?

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12 Years a Slave – How does one call this a “good” movie? At the end of this movie I was emotionally drained. It took every ounce of energy to get through it for me. It’s a very important movie to be made. The story needed to be told. But ugh… not a joyride, that’s for sure. In many ways, I feel that Chiwetel Ejiofor should win the award, but I doubt that Matthew McConaughey will let him take it away. Speaking of Matthew McConaughey…

Dallas Buyers Club was strong, very strong. I was unaware of the story. Matthew was great. Jared Leto was amazing! He seems like a lock in the supporting actor category.

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Blue Jasmine. I liked it. Cate Blanchett was utterly amazing. What a way to end a picture, though. My husband called it a cop out. (“I hate this whole ‘I don’t need to write an ending pretentious crap,” he said as the credits rolled. “I blame the Sopranos!” He’s still mad about that ending. “Art my ass. End the story. That’s your job!” and on and on… he makes me smile.) Anyway, I’m not so sure…

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Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks continues to amaze. Do you know from 1994 to 2004 he had more award nominations and was only one of two actors to win back-to-back best actor awards? Can you name the two movies? Reply in the comments below! I love me my trivia. Don’t cheat and Google it. The movie was very suspenseful, and my husband, who thinks Tom Hanks is the best actor of our generation, topping both Sean Penn and Daniel Day-Lewis, says he got robbed not getting a nomination (“Jimmy Dugan got robbed!” he said when the credits rolled. Actually I think my husband believes Tom Hanks really is Jimmy Dugan, so maybe he thinks Jimmy Dugan is the best actor of our generation. I get confused). See it for yourself to decide.

Due up – Gravity, August: Osage County, Philomena, Her, Nebraska

Getting lost in the Hollywood fantasy world is sometimes fun. It makes me feel like the problems in my small world are just that. Small. Yes, it sucks that I can’t find a job, and my federal unemployment benefits were cut off, BUT, still..it could be worse…I could be told that I have 30 days to live, or my husband could be gone from suicide, and I could still be drinking my problems away, and talking to voices (out loud) that pop into my head…..Wait…I do the latter. Scratch this one! See how the Oscars make me so… dra-ma-tic!?

If there’s a point to any of this, it’s that I can find pleasure in something as meaningless as a Hollywood story. Sometimes I think just getting lost for those two hours does my mind a world of good. Turning off the problems for a bit is healthy. It might even help to give a new perspective on things.

At the end of the Oscar nominated viewing we have a celebration. We make a wonderful meal, get dressed up a bit, watch the awards (it’s a party even if its just the two of us, or even better if others come) and celebrate with the winners. We fill out our ballots (will win, should win) and see who does better. This year we’re offering a special DIY award for family members who submit the winning ballot. It’s all a way to connect and celebrate one form of art in our culture.

Besides, someday when my husband is nominated for best screenplay, I’ll be practiced up and ready for the red carpet! Besides, those that play along now will earn a place in the limo that night for sure!

Stay tuned for more Oscar updates as it gets closer including the menu and our ballots. 

Try it yourself, create your own Oscar worthy party, complete your ballots of the year’s best, and just get lost for awhile.