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Sunday, February 24, 2013


I'll start with NASCAR, but scroll down to the Academy Awards if you're not into car racing.

The National Association for Stock Car Racing, or NASCAR, began their season today with the Daytona 500 start above.   Last night there was a second-tier race in Daytona where the crowd suffered with 33 casualties, although no one died.  Today, a couple of non-lethal accidents (first one to the left).

It is said that these stock cars had an early beginning during the Prohibition to run bootleg whiskey.  Repeal in 1933 led to Daytona Beach speed records.  There is a historic link to the Deep South, country and western movies, guns and deadly crashes, which no doubt helps to draw an audience.   Today, NASCAR is international.

You've seen the movies:  Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise and Talladega Nights with Will Farrell.  The cars used today are souped up Toyota Camrys, Chevy Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers.  Indianapolis 500 formula racers once sped at nearly 240 MPH, with NASCAR entries up to 230 MPH.  For safety reasons, earlier records are not now being challenged.  NASCAR vehicles generally cruise just under 200 MPH.

The Daytona 500 today has become a prime attraction mostly because Danica Patrick left the formula racers of Indianapolis for NASCAR.  She won the pole position and was the first female to finish in the top ten, won by Jimmy Johnson.  That relationship between Danica and rookie Ricky Stenhouse adds to the interest.  Note that NASCAR puts the PGA to shame, as ads are everywhere.

The Academy Awards are just starting as I post this article.  But first, the Razzies, the worst of 2012.  To my delight, The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn--Part 2, dominated, with seven awards.  I avoid vampire films.  Adam Sandler made it two years in a row as worst actor.  Last year his Jack and Jill won all 10 Razzies.

For those considering watching the Oscars:

  -  There will be a 50th Anniversary tribute to James Bond, with Adele singing her nominated song, "Skyfall," and Shirley Bassey doing "Goldfinger."

  -  Barbra Streisand will perform for the first time since 1977 when she sang "Evergreen."

  -  Music from Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Miserables will be highlighted.

I think Argo will be selected Best Picture, Daniel-Day Lewis is a lock for Best Actor, Anne Hathaway will win Best Supporting Actress and Skyfall will be Best Original Song.  Why did not I Dreamed a Dream get nominated?  It was not original.  The Best Actress list is bookended by 9 year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (left) and 85 year-old Emmanuelle Riva (right).  Philip Seymour Hoffman will not be selected as Best Supporting Actor, but deserves it.

WELL, IT'S OVER.  Incredibly, I scored 100% above.  The host was Seth MacFarlane, who's only movie was foulmouthed Ted (here is a restricted trailer).

He was okay, in fact, has a good voice and can dance some.  The show lasted half an hour longer than planned, but who cares.

Michelle Obama assisted Jack Nicholson in announcing Best Picture, Argo:

Another presenting team:

You ask, why show them?  They were the stars of Chicago a little more than a decade ago:  Richard Gere, Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  How Gere has aged and is that really Zellweger:

Best Actor was, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis:

Surprisingly, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress:

Yes, this is an original I took.  Jennifer looks supreme.  Adele sang Skyfall, which won Best Original Song:

Shirley Bassey, all of 75, did Goldfinger:

Barbra Streisand sang Way We Were, perhaps not totally on key, but looked good at the age of 70:

Also not totally expected, Ang Lee got the Best Director award for Life of Pi:

Christof Waltz is making a habit of being Best Supporting Actor, this time for Django:

He was marvelous.  Best Supporting Actress went to Anne Hathaway.  She was responsible for the most memorable performance of the year:


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