Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Doomsday Clock advances 30 seconds to two minutes before midnight

I made a prediction of sorts in CDC switches from nuclear war to flu as epidemic declared just before false alarm in Hawaii.
Between this scare and the Trumps' "nuclear button" tweet, I can hardly wait to see how much closer to Midnight the doomsday clock gets moved later this month.  Anyone else think it will be at least 30 seconds?
Last week, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced the clock 30 seconds to two minutes to midnight, just as I expected.  NBC News reports The Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight.

The Doomsday Clock has been moved to 2 minutes to midnight in response to growing nuclear threats and climate change. The last time it was this close to midnight was in 1953 - a time when the U.S and the Soviet Union tested their first nuclear weapons.
FiveThirtyEight also explained the rationale, writing "The group explained its latest move mainly by citing President Trump’s handling of nuclear risks in North Korea and Iran. It also throws in worries about climate change for good measure."  It also traced the time of the Doomsday Clock in the graph below, showing that it is at the same time as it was in 1953 and also the closest it's ever been to midnight.

That graph shows that the Doomsday Clock actually was at 11:58 P.M. all the way from 1953 to 1960, so I was born when the possibility of nuclear war was just as high as the risk of the end of civilization from nuclear war and climate change is now.  That's not reassuring.  What I do find reassuring is that things got better.  This Crazy Eddie hopes that's the case this time, too, and that the biggest worry from the Doomsday Clock is fictional.

While I'm done with January, I'm not done with DOOM!  Stay tuned for a post about 2017 in climate change to start February at midnight.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

NASA on the 'Super Blue Blood Moon'

Tomorrow night and morning, three astronomical phenomena involving the Earth's Moon will happen simultaneously, a super moon, a blue moon, and a blood moon.  NASA describes all three in Jan. 31, 2018 Super Blue Blood Moon and Lunar Eclipse.

January 31 brings a lunar trifecta: the super blue blood Moon! Starting at 5:30 a.m. Eastern, NASA TV will offer a livestream of the Moon. This full moon is the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit -- known as perigee -- and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”
This will be the last of a series of three supermoons as NASA explains in ScienceCasts: A Supermoon Trilogy.

A series of three supermoons will appear on the celestial stage on December 3, 2017, January 1, 2018, and January 31, 2018.
Happy viewing to those of my readers who can see the eclipse!

Monday, January 29, 2018

'How Far I'll Go' from 'Moana,' 'The Princess Diarist' and 'The Voyager Golden Record' win at the Grammy Awards

Tonight is the Grammy Awards and I'll report tomorrow on the fate of the speculative fiction and science nominees.  Stay tuned.
That's what I promised my readers to end Speculative fiction sweeps movie categories at the Art Directors Guild Awards and that's what I'm delivering today.

I begin with Gold Derby on the winners of music for visual media.
“La La Land” wins Best Visual Media Compilation and Best Visual Media Score. Both awards go Justin Hurwitz, who also won two Oscars for his musical compositions. But Hurwitz, Pasek, and Paul were upset in the race for Best Visual Media Song: Lin-Manuel Miranda won for “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”; it’s the third Grammy of his career, and he just needs an Oscar to EGOT.
I thought Hurwitz and "La La Land" would sweep, so I'm glad to be wrong about “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana.”  I shouldn't be surprised, as I observed a result like this was possible last December.
I would say "La La Land" is the favorite, but the Emmy [Grammy] electorate is not the Oscar electorate and can vote differently.  For example, John Williams lost at the Oscars but won the Grammy for "The Force Awakens."
I didn't think the Grammy voters would go against the Oscar voters, but, once again, they did.  Congratulations to Lin-Manuel Miranda and Auli'i Cravalho for their victory, the biggest one of the night for speculative fiction.

Gold Derby also reported the other win for speculative fiction.
Carrie Fisher wins a posthumous Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for “The Princess Diarist.”
Her IMDB awards page hasn't been updated yet, but when it is, this will be the most prestigious award she's ever won.  It may not be the last award she'll win, however.  I I fully expect Fisher to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Film at the Saturn Awards, where I think she'll be favored to win.

Speaking of Star Wars, John Williams received a Trustees Award and won Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for "Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can."

One of Fisher's fellow nominees for Best Spoken Word Album, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, was one of the presenters, as USA Today noted.
"It's a tie!" Tyson announces for best recording package. He's not joking. A Grammy tie between El Orisha De La Rosa and Pure Comedy (Deuxe Edition).

Only Grammy-nominated astrophysicist presenter Neil deGrasse Tyson could point out that not only are the Grammys turning 60, but so is NASA. He gives the Grammy for best instrumental composition to Arturo O'Farrill for Three Revolutions.
Speaking of NASA, the next winner is one of theirs.

Yes, "The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition" won Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package.  Score one for science!

Finally, USA Today reported "HBO's The Defiant Ones, about the friendship between music legends Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, wins best music film."  That's the one I expected to win, even though I was rooting for "Long Strange Trip."  By the way, I expect to blog about it again, as it will be eligible for this year's Emmy Awards.

I close with “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” which I included in Midweek Cafe and Lounge, Vol. 44 at Booman Tribune.
"Moana" was one of two feature films nominated by the Environmental Media Association as having an environmental theme worth recognizing, so I'm considering the Grammy nominated song How Far I'll Go to be from an environmental movie.  Who am I to argue with the EMA?  If nothing else, the CGI scenery is pretty.
Music video by Auli'i Cravalho performing How Far I'll Go. (C) 2016 Walt Disney Records
That's it for fantasy.  Stay tuned for at least three days of reality.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Speculative fiction sweeps movie categories at the Art Directors Guild Awards

It was an outstanding night for speculative fiction at the Art Directors Guild Awards last night.  Speculative fiction films swept all four movie categories and half of the six television catgories as well as capturing the short format category.  That means science fiction, fantasy, and superhero movies, shows, and commercials won eight of the eleven awards.  The most that genre films and shows could have won was nine.

Deadline Hollywood has the names of the winners.
The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049, Logan and Coco took top film honors tonight at the 22nd annual ADG Awards. Blade Runner 2049 and The Shape of Water will face off for the Production Design Oscar March 3. Logan was not nominated.

For the first time, the Art Directors Guild included animated feature in its film categories. Coco added to its early awards season wins, taking home the inaugural trophy.
On the TV side, Game Of Thrones won for One-Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Julie Berghoff took the trophy for One-Hour Single Camera Series, beating itself. The praised Hulu drama series was nominated twice in the category. Other TV winners were Will & Grace, GLOW, Black Mirror and Portlandia.

ADG Award career honorees tonight included Kathleen Kennedy (Cinematic Imagery Award), Ron Clements and John Musker (William Cameron Menzies Award), guild president Matthew D. Loeb (Leadership Award) and Michael Baugh (Outstanding Creative Achievement Award). Four men will receive Lifetime Achievement Awards –Norm Newberry, James Murikami, John Moffitt and Martin Kline — and Sir Ken Adam and Tyrus Wong were inducted into the ADG Hall of Fame.
In addition, Star Wars Battlefront II: “Rivalry / PS4” won for Short Format: Web Series, Music Video or Commercial.  Even though "The Last Jedi" did not win, the Star Wars franchise still took home a trophy, two when one counts Kathleen Kennedy's Cinematic Imagery Award.

Follow over the jump to see how my wishes and predictions fared.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Driving update for January 2018: Pearl plus hybrid and electric cars at NAIAS

I noted that "Pearl turned over 37,000 miles on Wednesday, November 15" in November 2017 driving update for Pearl plus Tesla Truck and Chevy Bolt news.  She just turned over 38,000 miles on Thursday, January 25, so it's time for a driving update.

From November 15, 2017 to January 25, 2018 is 71 days, which translates into 14.08 miles per day and 429.58 miles per standard month.  That's much less than the exactly 20 miles per day and 610 miles per month.  It's also less than the 16.95 miles per day and 516.95 miles per standard month I drove Pearl between November 2016 and January 2017, the comparable period last year.  In terms of reducing my driving both month over month and year over year, one of the actions in the sustainability dozen, that's good, but I need to examine the reasons for both.

The month-over-month reason is simple; I didn't drive to work for nearly a month.  The year-over-year comparison is more complex.  First, I did not drive to the airport and back as part of a trip to see my mom, sisters, niece, and nephew.  In addition to being diagnosed as a Type I diabetic, I found out I had a deep-vein thrombosis in my calf, which I probably got from flying and precluded my flying until it cleared up.  Second, I drove Snow Bear for a week while my car was snowed in.   Third, I dropped the biweekly meeting I had been attending for the past two years.  Only the last reason is a lasting one; I'd prefer not to repeat the first two as I would rather have been able to see my family and driving the other car only transfers mile to it, so the overall impact is the same or worse, as Snow Bear is less fuel-efficient than Pearl.

The other year-over-year comparison involves how long it took for Pearl to drive 7,000 miles this year versus last year at this time.  It took 384 days from the January 2017 update to today's update to drive 7,000 miles.  This translates to 18.23 miles per day or 6653.65 miles per normal year or 6671.88 miles per leap year (which last year was).  That's closer to the goal of driving 6,500 miles per year that I set for myself in September than the usual almost exactly 7,000 miles per year that I noted first in June and then July 2017.  I failed to reach that in November 2017, but at least I can say that I got close enough now.  Let's see if that trend continues at the next update, which I expect to happen in March.

Since June 2017, I've concluded Pearl's updates with news about Elon Musk and Tesla.  In addition, I usually post about the North American International Auto Show, although I skipped last year.  Follow over the jump as I combine the two with reports from Roadshow on YouTube.

Friday, January 26, 2018

'The Shape of Water' and 'Blade Runner 2049' lead speculative fiction nominees at the Oscars

I did promise a post about the Oscar nominees today.  Tomorrow.  Stay tuned.
That was my footnote to Happy Irish Coffee Day and Happy Birthday to Coffee Party USA!, which was the third time I promised.  May the third time be a charm as I finally follow through.  Here's Oscars 2018: Nominations Announcement.

Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis announce this year's nominees.
That was fun.  I enjoyed both Haddish and Serkis announcing the nominees and the short segments introducing the technical categories.  In particular, I appreciated the diverse selection of actresses featured.

As for the nominees themselves, I think this is a very good showing for speculative fiction films.  "The Shape of Water" earned thirteen nominations, "Blade Runner 2049" earned five, "Get Out" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" each earned four, "Beauty and the Beast" and "Coco" both earned two, and seven other feature films earned one each, eight if one counts "Loving Vincent" as speculative fiction simply because it's animated, for a total of 38 or 39 nominations.  Add in the Animated Short Subjects and the total increases to 41 or 44 nominations for 20 to 23 films (I'm not sure about "Basketball Dreams" or "Negative Space" being speculative fiction simply because they're animated, just as I'm not convinced about "Loving Vincent.").  That's about as many films as last year but half again as many nominations, as the 2017 ceremony had 20 films and 32 nominations for speculative fiction.  It's even better than the 2016 Oscars, which had 15 speculative fiction films nominated with 36 nominations -- and I thought that was a good year for speculative fiction, especially science fiction!  Finally, there are speculative fiction films nominated in every category for scripted feature length movies (including Foreign Language Films, as "Body and Soul" qualifies) except Makeup and Hairstyling and that only because this category has only three nominees.  That's a lot of breadth in the excellence of speculative fiction films this year.

I have more to say over the jump about the nominations and my opinions of the chances of the speculative fiction films in each category.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Happy Irish Coffee Day and Happy Birthday to Coffee Party USA!

Happy Irish Coffee Day!*
Made with strong coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar and topped with a rich layer of cream, Irish coffee is recognized on January 25.

On a cold, wet day in 1942 weary travelers to the small Shannon Airport in southwest Ireland found their way to a restaurant and chef Joe Sheridan. To warm his guests, he served them hot coffee, spiked with whiskey and topped with whipped cream. The passengers asked if the beverage was Brazilian coffee. Sheridan responded that it was Irish coffee.

A travel writer, Stanton Delaplane, brought Irish coffee to the United States after having it at Shannon Airport.

Delaplane brought the idea to the Buena Vista Cafe on November 10, 1952. After much trial and error, sampling and a trip back to Ireland for a taste of the original, Delaplane along with Buena Vista owners Jack Koeppler and George Freeberg were able to replicate the delicious coffee and the method for floating the cream on top of the coffee.
Of course, with any alcoholic beverage, I will post an instruction video from Tipsy Bartender.

Here's the recipe:
1 1/2 oz. (45ml) Parts Irish Whiskey
3 oz. (90ml) Parts Hot Coffee
1 oz. (30ml) Heavy Cream (Slightly Whipped)
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1. Pour hot water into serving glass to heat.
2. Toss hot water, pour in coffee and stir in sugar until dissolved.
3. Add whiskey, stir to combine and float cream on top.
Enjoy responsibly!
Not only is today Irish Coffee Day, tomorrow is the eighth birthday of Coffee Party USA -- two coffee days in a row!

I begin the celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the nonprofit for which I'm a director with Broken Peach singing Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday!

I'll finish the celebration by repeating my appeal for donations in For Giving Tuesday 2017, I recommend some of my favorite nonprofits.
The first nonprofit I recommend is Coffee Party USA.  This should come as no surprise to my longtime readers, as I've blogged a lot about the Coffee Party over the years.  I'm also one of its directors and officers (I'm currently the Interim Secretary as well as Director of Partnerships).  I am also a founding member.  I believe in its mission of "Building, nurturing and connecting communities to reclaim our government for the people."  It fits with my being a Crazy Eddie in other ways.  To become a member, click here.  To donate without becoming a member, click here.  The other directors and I will thank you, even if you won't get a tax deduction (Coffee Party USA is a 501c4 organization under the tax code).
I recommend a donation of $8.00 for the movement's eighth birthday.  The other directors and I will thank you now and democracy in the U.S. will thank you later.

*I did promise a post about the Oscar nominees today.  Tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

R.I.P. Ursula K. LeGuin

I was planning on posting about the Oscar nominees today, but as I did in September with the death of Jerry Pournelle, it is my sad duty to report the death of another great science fiction writer, Ursula K. LeGuin.*  I'll let Wochit News and Wochit Entertainment tell the story for me.

First, Author Ursula K. Le Guin Has Died from Wochit News.

Best-selling Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Ursula K. LeGuin has died at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 88. Le Guin's books have sold millions of copies worldwide, inspired other authors, and been translated into dozens of languages. Her work often explored themes not seen in other science fiction. Le Guin won awards like the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2003, she became the first woman to be named a Grandmaster of Science Fiction. She is survived by her husband, son, two daughters, two brothers, and four grandchildren.
Next, Fans Mourn Author Ursula K. Le Guin from Wochit Entertainment.

Science Fiction and Fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday at the age of 88. First published in the 1960s, LeGuin's alternative worlds challenged readers' ideas on politics, gender roles, religion and sexuality. In 2016, The New York Times described her as "America's greatest living science fiction writer." LeGuin won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award, each more than once Her work has been adapted to the screen numerous times, including several versions of "The Lathe of Heaven" and and animated Studio Ghibli rendition of "Tales from Earthsea." Fans everywhere have taken to the world wide web, commemorating Le Guin and her profound impact on the world of fiction.
I'm one of those fans.  R.I.P.

*I'll post about the Oscar nominees beginning tomorrow, beginning with the speculative fiction nominees.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

'Transformers: The Last Knight' leads speculative fiction nominees at the 2018 Razzies

Tomorrow I'm taking a break from the best Hollywood has to offer to the worst, as the Razzie Awards will be announced later today.  Here's to the worst major studio projects of 2017!
That's how I ended 'Wonder Woman' and 'Game of Thrones' win for Outstanding Stunt Ensemble at the 2018 SAG Awards yesterday, so it's time to write about the best of the worst Hollywood offered in theaters last year.  Take it away Razzie Channel with 38th Razzie® Award Nominations Video!

Welcome to the 38th Toxic Razzie Nominees. Simply defined, Razzie hazardous waste is material with properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment - scroll down for full list!
As a scientist who has spent enough time in the lab as well as someone concerned about the environment, I approve of this announcement.  Unfortunately, it isn't complete.  For that, watch The 38th Razzie Awards OFFICIAL Nominations - Movies of 2017 by Brian Sanchez, which also has images from the nominated movies.

See who was nominated as the Worst, that Hollywood had to offer...
Brian commented on the nominees and snubs.
My Opinion: I believe they should of stayed with 6 nominees for each category, like they did last year, several films where snubbed. "Transformers: The Last Knight" leads the Razzies, with 9 Nominations. Biggest Surprise: is "Mother!" nomination for Worst Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) & Worst Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem) Films that where Snubbed: Geostorm, The Book of Henry, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, The Bye Bye Man, The Snowman, 9/11, Flatliners, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.
I quite agree about "Geostorm" deserving nominations and not getting them.  As for the rest, merely mediocre horror movies that are still profitable don't really rate in these awards.  Movies with pretentions of greatness or blockbuster status that lack support from the achievement of the work itself fit better here.  I'll have more later, but first, Wochit Entertainment lists the three most nominated movies in Transformers, Fifty Shades Darker Big 'Winners' At Razzie Award Noms.

Not only did Paramount’s “Transformers: The Last Knight” disappoint at the box office, it disappointed enough to draw the attention of the Razzies. The umpteenth installment in the CG action franchise landed nine nominations for the 38th annual Golden Raspberry Awards on Monday, followed closely by eight for Universal’s “Fifty Shades Darker.” The studio’s Tom Cruise-Russell Crowe “Mummy” reboot nabbed a nearly-as-embarassing seven. “Winners” of this year’s tacky Tinsel Town trophy will be revealed on Saturday, March 3 — one day before another L.A.-based Academy bestows its own statuettes for more positive achievement in the cinematic arts.
Other speculative fiction movies include "The Emoji Movie" with four nominations, "Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "mother!" with three nominations each including a shared one for Javier Bardem, "BOO! 2: A Medea Halloween" with two nominations (it's a parody of a thriller/horror movie, so it barely counts), and "The Circle," a sci-fi thriller with one nomination.

Finally, I had this to say about "Fifty Shades Darker" in Science, science fiction, and fantasy among the 2017 Grammy nominees.
As for the nominees from this year's films, I expected "Fifty Shades Darker" to be recognized.
Just like the first installment in the trilogy, it looks like the songs will be the best part of the movie.  Here's to seeing them nominated for Grammys and Oscars along with the movie itself nominated for a Razzie!
One prediction down, two to go.
That's two down, one to go.  I'll find out later today if "I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)" earns an Oscar nod.  After seeing the nominees for Original Song at other awards shows besides the Grammy Awards, I'm not as optimistic as I was last month, let alone last February.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 22, 2018

'Wonder Woman' and 'Game of Thrones' win for Outstanding Stunt Ensemble at the 2018 SAG Awards

I was very optimistic about the prospects of the speculative fiction nominees at the 2018 SAG Awards and got more so as awards season progressed.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I thought "Stranger Things" might repeat last years win for Ensemble in a Drama Series.  Nope.  Instead, speculative fiction only won two trophies for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble for Motion Pictures and Television Series.  Still, that's worth celebrating.

Here is the announcement of the winners from the red carpet, beginning with Wonder Woman Wins Best Stunts: Red Carpet Interview from TNT.

The presenters certainly showed their enthusiasm for "Wonder Woman" winning this award.  I'm happy, too, although I can't claim calling it, as I merely wrote "Oh, look, two superhero films, a science fiction movie, and two action flicks, making this the strongest category for speculative fiction in movies."  No prediction here.

Next, TNT reported Game of Thrones Wins Stunt Ensemble: Red Carpet Interview.

I did call this one.
This category lists the fourth nomination for "Stranger Things 2," the third nomination for "Game of Thrones," and the only nomination for "The Walking Dead."  I'm rooting for "The Walking Dead," but I think the award will go to "Game of Thrones" for the seventh consecutive time.  Insert joke about White Walkers beating Walkers here.
Congratulations and #GOT!

Follow over the jump to see how the rest of my predictions fared.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards include 'The Shape of Water,' 'Coco,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' and 'Black Mirror'

At the end of 'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards, I wrote that I would blog about the speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards today, so it's time for me to follow through.  The good news is that every category with at least one speculative fiction nominee had a speculative fiction winner.  Wochit Entertainment reports on the most prestigious category's winner in ‘The Shape of Water’ Wins Producers Guild Award.

Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water" has been named the best-produced film of 2017 by the Producers Guild of America, an honor that has typically been one of the most reliable indicators that a film is on track to win the Oscar for Best Picture. In the television categories, "The Handmaid's Tale" won for drama, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" for comedy and "Black Mirror" for longform TV. Pixar's "Coco," to the surprise of no one, won the award for animated feature, while "Jane" won the documentary award.
That description managed to summarize nearly all the categories I covered in 'Wonder Woman' joins 'The Shape of Water' and 'Get Out' among PGA film and TV nominees and then some.

Follow over the jump to read how my wishes and predictions for these categories fared.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

'The Last Jedi' picks up a nomination from the Costume Designers Guild plus other speculative fiction nominees

After writing about 'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards, I suggested today's topic.
I'm thinking about posting an entry listed the speculative fiction nominees at the Costume Designers Guild Awards tomorrow followed by the speculative fiction winners at the PGA Awards.  Stay tuned.
If "The Last Jedi" can earn a nomination at the Art Directors Guild Awards along with lots of other speculative fiction movies and TV shows, then maybe the Costume Designers Guild would reward speculative fiction as well.  After looking at the nominees, I was not disappointed.  Every category has at least one speculative fiction nominee to say nothing of two categories just for science fiction and fantasy.

Before I share all the nominees and my opinion of their chances of winning their categories, I'm sharing Wochit Entertainment asking Which Flix Score Costume Designers Guild Nominations?

Costume design is one of the most important components of big budget blockbusters. Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were all recognized for their costumed contributions. The awards are broken down to categories for film and television. The categories include: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Period, as well as one for music videos. The winners of the Costume Designers Guild Awards are set to be announced February 20.
Yes, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" earned another nomination to join the one for Production Design from the Art Directors Guild and Sound and Visual Effects from BAFTA.  At least my readers and I know what categories the professionals think it excels at.  Also, here are all the nominees "The Last Jedi," "Wonder Woman," and "Thor: Ragnarok" are competing against.
Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Film

Beauty and the Beast - Jacqueline Durran
Blade Runner 2049 - Renée April
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Michael Kaplan
Thor: Ragnarok - Mayes C. Rubeo
Wonder Woman - Lindy Hemming
While I'm rooting for "The Last Jedi" and "Wonder Woman," I suspect "Beauty and the Beast" is the favorite.  It's the only one of the group nominated at the BAFTA Awards.
Excellence in Contemporary Film

Get Out – Nadine Haders
I, Tonya – Jennifer Johnson
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Arianne Phillips
Lady Bird – April Napier
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Melissa Toth
One speculative fiction film earned a nomination in this category, "Get Out," two if one counts "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" as a comic book movie.  I think the latter has more fun outfits to look at.  That written, my pick is "I, Tonya," which was the only nominee in this category also nominated at the BAFTA Awards.
Excellence in Period Film

Dunkirk – Jeffrey Kurland
Greatest Showman, The – Ellen Mirojnick
Murder on the Orient Express – Alexandra Byrne
Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges
Shape of Water, The – Luis Sequeira
This is the one category where I think the speculative film nominee, "The Shape of Water," has a chance, as it was also nominated at the BAFTA Awards and Critics' Choice Awards.  However, it's competing against "Phantom Thread," which is not only nominated at the BAFTA Awards, but won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Costume Design.  Wochit Entertainment featured it in another clip about the nominations, Costume Designers Guild Recognizes ‘The Phantom Thread,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’.

As much as I'm rooting for the monster romance, I think "Phantom Thread" is the favorite.  Still, speculative fiction did well with seven or eight of the fifteen nominees.

Follow over the jump for the television and short form nominees.

Friday, January 19, 2018

'The Shape of Water' and speculative fiction nominees galore at the BAFTA Awards

Last year, the dominant speculative fiction film at the BAFTA Awards was "Arrival," which was one of six winning speculative fiction movies and actors.  This year, it's "The Shape of Water," the most honored speculative fiction film of 2017.  Watch BAFTA Film Awards nominations 2018 announced by Letitia Wright and Natalie Dormer.

Watch Natalie Dormer and Letitia Wright reveal the nominations for this year's EE British Academy Film Awards.
Notice that every one of the nine categories announced (ten if one counts Rising Star) has at least one speculative fiction film or actor/actress in a speculative fiction film.  The same is true of nearly every category.  Those that don't have thrillers or documentaries about science nominated, so all are still on topic for this blog.

Follow over the jump for BBC's list of nominees along with my opinions about their chances.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

WXYZ on meteor explosion over Michigan

I told my readers to "stay tuned for more fantasy tomorrow as I write about the BAFTA nominees" at the end of yesterday's post about the Art Directors Guild Awards, but that's not happening today.*  Instead, I'm sharing a day's worth of coverage from WXYZ on the meteor that exploded over southeast Michigan during the evening of the 16th.

The coverage began with National Weather Service: Bright light, loud sound over SE Michigan was 'a likely meteor', which was from the 11 P.M. newscast on the 16th.

The National Weather Service says the bright flash and loud noise that has been heard throughout southwest Michigan was "likely" a meteor, but they will continue to monitor feeds.
That video went viral with 36,655 views and counting in 24 hours.

By the next morning, the meteor was confirmed as WXYZ reported Meteor lights up metro Detroit.

People across the area are still talking about the meteor that lit up the night sky over Michigan.
I'm with Sima Chowdhry; I missed it entirely, while friends of mine at work and on Facebook caught it.  I didn't even find out until the next morning when I was asked if my students could use articles about the meteor for extra credit (of course the answer was yes).  Darn.

Chowdhry mentioned people hunting for meteorites.  That was the main topic of Hunting for meteorites on Michigan soil.

The day after a meteor lit up the sky over Michigan, people were out looking for chunks of it as scientists explain exactly what happened.
It's amazing what the possibility of striking it rich will inspire people to do.

The hunt continued in Head of astronomy at Cranbrook says meteor debris may have landed near Mount Clemens.

Metro Detroit is waking up this morning after last night's meteor madness, wondering what exactly happened.
I hope the people actually found a meteorite.  As for the story, it's one I can tell for years whenever the subjects of meteors, meteorites, and asteroid stikes come up.

*I still plan on posting that entry tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'The Last Jedi' gets its first nomination plus speculative fiction in nearly every category of the Art Directors Guild Awards

I've twice promised to write about the Art Directors Guild Awards.  Today is the day to follow through.  Here are the nominations from Variety: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Lady Bird’ Nab Art Directors Guild Nominations.  Note that there are speculative fiction or science nominees in just about every category.  Also, "The Last Jedi" finally received a nomination from one of the Hollywood guilds after being passed over by the Writers Guild and Producers Guild, making this its first nomination.

Production Designer: SARAH GREENWOOD
Production Designer: NATHAN CROWLEY
Production Designer: JIM CLAY
Production Designer: RICK CARTER
While "The Shape of Water" is a fantasy film, it's also a period one, so it earned a nomination here.  While it won Best Production Designt at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, those are the critics, not the Hollywood professionals, so it might lose to "Murder on the Orient Express."  I hope it doesn't; I'm rooting for the monster.

Production Designer: SARAH GREENWOOD
Production Designer: DENNIS GASSNER
Production Designer: RICK HEINRICHS
Production Designer: JAMES CHINLUND
Production Designer: ALINE BONETTO
Here it is, the first nomination for "The Last Jedi."  It's also up against a slew of speculative fiction films here.  I'm not sure who to root for, although I really enjoyed "Wonder Woman."

Production Designer: STEFANIA CELLA
Production Designer: RUSTY SMITH
Production Designer: CHRIS JONES
Production Designer: FRANÇOIS AUDOUY
Production Designer: INBAL WEINBERG
Two speculative fiction films were nominated as Contemporary Films, "Downsizing" and "Logan."  The first works for me, while I found the latter a bit suspect.  Doesn't this film happen in 2029?  Still, I'm glad to see nominations for both, making a total of eight speculative fiction live-action films nominated out of possible fifteen.

Production Designers: WILLIAM CONE, JAY SHUSTER
Production Designer: HARLEY JESSUP
Art Director: OLIVIER ADAM
Production Designer: GRANT FRECKELTON
Production Designer: MATTHEW BUTTON
I'm glad to see "Cars 3" get some recognition.  It's been generally ignored by the awards shows I've covers so far, although it has received some recognition from the Annie Awards and the Sound Editors Guild.  It might get into the Academy Awards because of all the Disney/Pixar voters.  If so, a worthy film will not make the cut.  Speaking of which, "Loving Vincent" is the one nominee that I don't consider to be speculative fiction.

That's it for films.  Follow over the jump for television and other nominees.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

CDC switches from nuclear war to flu as epidemic declared just before false alarm in Hawaii

When I wrote "I'll return to reality tomorrow with some real-life DOOM," I had in mind the CDC special session about nuclear detonation that had been scheduled for today.  Over the weekend, that changed, as Wochit News reported in CDC Shifts From Nuclear Strike To Influenza

The Center for Disease Control’s January 16th special session advising Americans on what to do in the event of a nuclear war has shifted topic. It will now be about what to do in the event of flu season. As reported by the New York Times, the CDC announced the shift because the flu was particularly bad this year. The announcement read, "To date, this influenza season is notable for the sheer volume of flu that most of the United States is seeing at the same time, which can stress health systems."
To get an idea how severe this year's outbreak is, ABC News reported Flu epidemic strikes US: CDC on Friday the 12th.

With 13 weeks of flu season left, some hospitals face an IV fluid shortage as they treat the sick.
I'll get back to the IV shortage after I share How to protect yourself when someone in your family has the flu from ABC News, posted yesterday.  It probably won't be much different from what the CDC says along with the admonition to get vaccinated (I got my shot in October during my first doctor visit after being diagnosed as a Type I diabetic; there are advantages to being under close medical supervision).

Dr. Jennifer Ashton shares tips on how to keep the rest of the household healthy when one family member at home comes down with the flu.
All of that looks like good advice to follow in the worst flu epidemic since 2014, when I wrote Flu claiming lives in Michigan and California.

I did mention I'd get back to the IV shortage.  That's because of the impact of Hurricane Maria.  As WXYZ reported last week, Hurricane damage in Puerto Rico is impacting hospitals in metro Detroit.

It was September when Hurricane Maria, the tenth most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, slammed into Puerto Rico.  It claimed lives, destroyed buildings and knocked out power to the entire island.   Now the U.S. territory, which happens to be home to dozens of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, is still struggling to recover. More than 600,000 customers remain without power.  It is impacting hospitals across the country and right here in metro-Detroit.
Welcome to an example of "everything is connected to everything else."  Who'd have thought a hurricane in Puerto Rico would affect flu treatment in the rest of the U.S. months later?  Well, it is.  Maybe power should be restored more quickly in Puerto Rico in order to improve health care on the mainland.

One of the ironies in changing the subject of the CDC briefing and the map associated with the declaration of the the flu epidemic is that the state least affected by flu right now is Hawaii and the 50th state was the one most affected by the threat of nuclear war.  Follow over the jump for that news.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Celebrating diversity in awards shows nominees and winners for MLK Day 2018

A happy and contemplative Martin Luther King Day to my readers!  To celebrate, I'm continuing the tradition I began with 'Glory' from 'Selma' for MLK Day and continued with Hollywood's diversity issues for MLK Day and 'Hidden Figures' tops the box office for MLK Day plus diversity among Golden Globes winners, examining diversity and representation in entertainment, which I wrote I would do yesterday.  I already looked at diversity among winners at the Golden Globes winners, so I today I'll feature diversity among music nominees at the Golden Globe Awards and winners of the Critics' Choice Awards.

Two nominees for Best Song, one at both the Grammy Awards and Critics' Choice Awards and another at the Golden Globes, begin today's celebration.  The one in the preview image is "Stand Up For Something" by Andra Day feat. Common. Written by Diane Warren and Lonnie Lynn, from the original soundtrack to the motion picture "Marshall", in theaters Oct. 13, 2017.

While I'm still confident this song will be nominated for an Oscar and is still my favorite to win the Grammy, I am less confident it will win an Academy Award.  I expect "Remember Me" from "Coco" will instead.

The next song for today is Mary J Blige - "Mighty River" (Mudbound OST).

Blige not only wrote and performed the song, but also starred in the film.  I would be pleasantly surprised if it were nominated for an Oscar, although doing so would likely push out either or both of "Truth to Power" from "An Inconvenient Sequel" and "Tell Me How Long" from "Chasing Coral."  Well, I can't have everything.  On the other hand, this song is eligible for a Creative Arts Emmy Award and should be nominated this summer.

Follow over the jump for diverse winners from the Critics' Choice Awards.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'The Handmaid's Tale' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Television Awards

To conclude 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, I told my readers "I'm not done with the Critics' Choice Awards.  Stay tuned for the television winners as the Sunday Entertainment feature."  Read along as I follow through by checking the predictions I made in Speculative fiction and science at the 2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards, just as I did yesterday with the movie nominees, comparing them to the winners.

I begin with the three categories in which "The Handmaid's Tale" earned nominations.
Best Drama Series

American Gods (Starz)
The Crown (Netflix)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Stranger Things (Netflix)
This Is Us (NBC)
This field looks like the one for the comparable award from this year's Emmys with "Westworld" replaced by "Game of Thrones" and "American Gods" filling in for both "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards."  I'm particularly glad to see "American Gods" recognized for headline awards instead of just technical ones like Main Title Design and Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role.  That written, I don't think it will win this category.  Nor will the show I'm rooting for, "Stranger Things 2."  Instead, I suspect that a lot of the voters overlap with those for the Television Critics Association Awards, where "The Handmaid's Tale" won the equivalent category plus Program of the Year.  Added to the five awards "The Handmaid's Tale" won on the last night of the Emmys, where it won the equivalent award as well, and I'd say that the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic is the favorite to win this category.
I was absolutely right, it did.  Watch The Handmaid's Tale Wins Best Drama Critics Choice Awards 2018.

I called the next one as well.
Best Actress in a Drama Series

Caitriona Balfe – Outlander (Starz)
Christine Baranski – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Claire Foy – The Crown (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Robin Wright – House of Cards (Netflix)
Half of nominees represent speculative fiction series, Caitriona Balfe for "Outlander," Tatiana Maslany in "Orphan Black," and Elisabeth Moss in "The Handmaid's Tale."  If this were up to a vote of the viewers, Balfe would win.  It's not.  I think it's between the past two Emmy winners for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, Maslany, who won last year and Moss, who won this year.  I might have more to say about Christine Baranski, Claire Foy, and Robin Wright, who are all starring in political dramas, in a future entry about political shows nominated for awards.
If pushed, I'd have said Moss would have been favored over Maslany and I'd have been right.  Here's Norman Reedus (Woo, hoo!  Daryl Dixon!) announcing as  Elisabeth Moss Wins Critics Choice Awards 2018.

I'm glad to see and hear her thanking everyone in the collaborative enterprise that is shooting a television program.  Everyone is needed and they are all important.

I have one last category for "The Handmaid's Tale."
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson – American Gods (Starz)
Emilia Clarke – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Ann Dowd – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Cush Jumbo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Margo Martindale – Sneaky Pete (Amazon)
Chrissy Metz – This Is Us (NBC)
Gillian Anderson is the actress playing one of the "new gods" I mentioned earlier.  She plays Media in "American Gods."  Joining her in representing speculative fiction shows is Emilia Clarke and Ann Dowd.  Dowd won the Emmy, so I would say she is the favorite, although Margo Martindale is a perennial winner of the guest actress Emmy Award, so she might be able to pull off an upset in a supporting role.
As I expected, Dowd won again.  Apparently, she didn't expect it, given the excellence of the actresses against whom she was competing.  Watch her reaction in Ann Dowd Wins Supporting Actress Critics Choice Awards 2018.

With that, "The Handmaid's Tale" swept all of the categories in which it was nominated, reminiscent of the last night of the Emmys.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the winners.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction winners at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards

I wrote "Back to fantasy for the three-day weekend" at the end of Ambassador Pete Hoekstra denies Islamophobic comments, calling them 'fake news', and I meant it.  In fact, I have quite the entertainment agenda for today through Monday, beginning with revisiting my predictions in 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction at the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards and comparing them to the winners.  I begin with what I wrote above the jump for "The Shape of Water."
Nominations for the 2018 Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics’ Choice Awards have been announced. Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi romance The Shape of Water stole the show with a dominating 14 nominations [including] Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography.
Deadline lists all of them, which I've re-ordered to suit my priorities: Best Picture, Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie, Best Actress for Sally Hawkins, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Jenkins, Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer, Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, Best Original Screenplay for Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, Best Cinematography for Dan Laustsen, Best Production Design for Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, and Jeff Melvin, Best Editing for Sidney Wolinsky, Best Costume Design for Luis Sequeira, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Visual Effects, and Best Score for Alexandre Desplat.  Wow!  Not only do these 14 nominations lead speculative fiction films, they lead all films nominated.
As my readers could surmise from the preview image, it won four awards, including two in the categories it won at the Golden Globes: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Score.  That made it not only the most nominated film, but the most winning film, beating out "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" with its three trophies.  Congratulations!*

At least one of my predictions didn't come true and another has yet to be tested.
I had thought either "Beauty and the Beast" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" to be the best fantasy film of 2017.  No longer.  I now think "The Shape of Water" will be the favorite in that category at the Saturn Awards and in Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie here in the Critics' Choice Awards.
"The Shape of Water" may have won Best Picture, but it didn't win Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie.  I'll examine that paradox over the jump.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Ambassador Pete Hoekstra denies Islamophobic comments, calling them 'fake news'

Pete Hoekstra, who I first wrote about when he ran a Super Bowl ad using racist stereotypes, made news last month in his capacity as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands.  CNN reported it in US ambassador's 'fake news' claim backfires.

In an interview with a Dutch reporter, US Ambassador to the Netherlands Peter Hoekstra denied a comment he made in 2015 about the "Islamic movement," calling it fake news. Then he denied his denial.
I had the following to say about this news my comment on A Novel Excuse for Lying.
LOL and ick, Pete Hoekstra.  I'm embarrassed to admit that he's from Michigan.  Worse yet, he served in Congress for 18 years including a stint as Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2007, making him about as Establishment Republican as one gets around here.  He came in second to Rick Snyder in the Republican Primary for Governor, as a lot of independents and Democrats crossed over to keep someone they saw as too conservative from winning the nomination.  He then ran for U.S. Senate in 2012, losing to Debbie Stabenow.  He showed his ass then, as his campaign hired the same ad firm that made the Christine O'Donnell "I am not a witch" spot.  They made a commercial that used Chinese ethnic stereotypes and aired during the Super Bowl.  It pissed off a lot of people, including a Chinese-American Republican County Commissioner who promptly donated to his primary rival.  After that loss, I thought I'd never hear about him again.  Ha!  He's back!

The worst part is that Hoekstra's not a bad pick for Ambassador to Holland on paper.  He was born in Holland, he has governmental experience, he has foreign policy experience, he has Establishment credentials, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, and all kinds of people who look good on paper are disasters in person, Hoekstra included.
At least six users on Booman Tribune agreed with me, rating this comment as excellent (4 of 4), making it my highest rated comment on the site last month.  As for Hoekstra, I doubt his Islamophobic remarks, his denial, and his denial of his denial are that well regarded.

Enough reality.  Back to fantasy for the three-day weekend.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Vox explains the 'nuclear button' and KFC trolls McDonalds in response to Trump

Last week, President Trump engaged North Korean leader Kim Jun Un in a war of words on Twitter.  Kim gave a speech in which he warned a "nuclear button is always on my desk."  Trump returned fire by tweeting "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"  That prompted a variety of responses, both serious and silly.

Vox had one of the serious reactions, explaining Here's how Trump's nuclear "button" actually works...

There's no physical button, but there is a "football" and "biscuit".
Just a week into 2018, Donald Trump tweeted a provocative message directed at the North Korean regime's leader, Kim Jong Un. His message cited a "nuclear button", and claimed that his was much larger than Kim's. But how does the U.S. protocol for launching nuclear warheads actually work? It's a process that's designed to be fast - there are only a few steps. But it's still more complicated than a simple button.
The article accompanying the video concluded with the same chilling quote that the video did.
It could take as little as five minutes for intercontinental ballistic missiles to launch from the time the president officially orders a strike. Missiles launched from submarines take about 15 minutes.

“The president can order a nuclear strike in about the time it takes to write a tweet,” [Joe] Cirincione said.
Eep!  That makes it sound easy enough that Trump could actually do it.

At the other extreme, KFC UK and Ireland had one of the better silly responses.
McDonald’s leader Ronald just stated he has a “burger on his desk at all times. Will someone from his big-shoed, red-nosed regime inform him that I too have a burger on my desk, but mine is a box meal which is bigger and more powerful than his, and mine has gravy! #nuclearbutton
That went viral, earning 498,424 likes, 189,332 retweets, and 4,190 replies.  One of those replies was mine, in which I told KFC to pick on someone their own size, at least on Twitter: "Too bad @Wendys doesn't have UK locations. I'd dare you to get into a Twitter fight with them."  That tweet earned 427 likes, 10 retweets, and ten replies.  It was the most popular tweet I've ever posted and got more engagement than any of the tweets The Independent or Atlanta Constitution quoted.  As for McDonald's, the company never responded on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Seth Meyers and John Oliver on coal and hawks for Cut Your Energy Costs Day and Save the Eagles Day

Happy National Cut Your Energy Costs Day and Save the Eagles Day!  These are the two national days I promised to celebrate at the end of both 'Wonder Woman' joins 'The Shape of Water' and 'Get Out' among PGA film and TV nominees and 'The Shape of Water' and 'Coco' -- fantasy and diversity both winners at the Golden Globes.  Instead of celebrating energy conservation, I'm celebrating something that will reduce the cost of energy.  Newsy reports Commission Shuts Down Rick Perry's Proposal To Prop Up Coal, Nuclear.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission rejected Perry's proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants.
Yes, that was a dumb idea that was going to add carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, and radiation to the atmosphere and cost Americans more money, too.  It was such a dumb idea that Seth Meyers made fun of it and Perry in The Check In: Rick Perry and the Department of Energy.

Seth checks in on Rick Perry, the man President Trump chose to lead the Department of Energy, an agency that Perry once wanted to abolish.
The last time I posted Seth Meyers making fun of Perry, I told my readers to expect Aggie jokes whenever I blogged about him again.  I think the clips Meyers used satisfy that promise.

Meyers mentioned Bob Murray and Murray Energy, which reminded me that I mused about "following up on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's 'Coal,'" which won Television Episodic Comedy at the 2017 Environmental Media Association Awards for film and television.  Murray and his company play a major role in that segment, so I think now is the opportune time to post it.  Follow over the jump.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

'The Shape of Water' and 'Coco' -- fantasy and diversity both winners at the Golden Globes

I wrote "I'll have more on the speculative fiction winners in movies tomorrow.  Stay tuned" to conclude Oprah, 'Big Little Lies,' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' win and say #TimesUp at the Golden Globes.  It's time to follow up on that promise about the Golden Globes movie nominees.

While "The Shape of Water" was the most nominated film with seven nominations, it won only two awards, Best Director and Best Original Score, falling behind "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," which earned four statuettes and tying "Lady Bird."  That written, it was the most recognized speculative fiction film as well as a victory for diversity.  Watch Guillermo del Toro Wins Best Director at the 2018 Golden Globes.

Guillermo del Toro accepts the award for Best Director at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
I called Del Toro one of the big name directors along with Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg.  I also wrote "'I'm rooting for Nolan,' but I'm not optimistic."  I was right to not be optimistic.  I should also root for Del Toro.

As for the next category, I wrote "I still think Zimmer will pull this one off for 'Dunkirk,' but I'm beginning to worry about Alexandre Desplat and especially John Williams winning instead."  Again, I was right to worry.  Watch The Shape of Water Wins Best Original Score at the 2018 Golden Globes.

Composer Alexandre Desplat accepts the award for Best Original Score at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Now I'm going to have to listen to the soundtrack.

The one category that was almost guaranteed to produce a speculative fiction winner was Best Motion Picture — Animated, which I thought would go to either "Coco" or "The Breadwinner" with "Coco" having the edge based on what I wrote in 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction at the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards.  I was not disappointed, as Coco Wins Best Animated Motion Picture at the 2018 Golden Globes.

Writer and director Lee Unkrich accepts the award for Best Motion Picture - Animated at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
I've written about my visit to Oaxaca and its observation of the Day of the Dead, so I would enjoy this movie.  I would also enjoy its songs, including the one I expect to be nominated for an Oscar, "Remember Me."  I'll be listening to them right after I finish the soundtrack to "The Shape of Water."

Follow over the jump for other winners for diversity and speculative fiction at the Golden Globes.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Oprah, 'Big Little Lies,' and 'The Handmaid's Tale' win and say #TimesUp at the Golden Globes

The Golden Globe Awards took place last night and, like last year, Hollywood got political.  Unlike last year, it wasn't about bashing Trump, although Seth Meyers did some of that.  Instead, it was about fighting against sexism and for women's equality.  CBS This Morning summarized the theme of the evening in Oprah and Time's Up put women at center of Golden Globes.

The Golden Globes made history with a message of female empowerment that put women at the center of the glitzy awards show. Women and men attending the ceremony wore black to call attention to gender inequality and sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond. Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier reports.
For all her cultural heft, I've only mentioned Oprah once before when John Oliver made a running joke out of her at this year's Emmys even though she makes an appearance in "Food, Inc."  It's about time I mentioned her again.  The idea of her running for President in 2020 would make for interesting blogging, but I'm not convinced that the Democratic Party is as ready for a celebrity takeover the way the Republican Party was for Trump in 2016.  Keep reading to see if I'm right.

The story extended well beyond Oprah.  Follow over the jump for other clips about the social justice theme of last night's awards.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Facts and fancy about feisty lemmings for the first Norther of 2017!

Happy Norther!  What is Norther?  It's a fake holiday created by John Michael Greer the Archdruid in response to my telling him about Wester and its animal mascot, the Wester Squirrel.
Druids would likely demand a Souther and a Norther, too, with a Souther Wombat and a Norther Lemming as animal mascots; I'll leave you to decide what if anything they do with goodies.
Ah, but which solstice gets which holiday?  At first, I was not amused by your suggestion, as I thought one parody holiday was enough.  Then I slept on it and not only was I OK with it, I decided that Norther would come after the Winter Solstice and Souther would come after the Summer Solstice.  Why would a lemming visit in the middle of summer?
As a result of that conversation, Norther takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Winter Solstice, which is today.

Enough of the salutations -- time for the celebration.  In lieu of the Norther Lemming dropping off presents into the ocean, I'm taking a cue from Silly Squirrels for Happy Wester 2017!  Here are three videos showing lemmings being entertaining, although 3 Facts About Lemmings from SciShow does more telling than showing.

Lemmings are small, thickset vole-like animals that live in the Arctic tundra. They live in a harsh environment, are super-cute, kinda mean, and totally misunderstood. But here at SciShow we're going to set the record straight with 3 Actual Facts About Lemmings.
SciShow didn't explain how lemmings are "kinda mean," but Fearless attack lemming - World's Weirdest Events: Episode 2 - BBC Two does.

The humble lemming isn't exactly known for its ferocity. Yet this particular rodent will try to fend off all predators. Chris Packham takes a closer look at this very unusual creature.
Wow!  That's one fierce little animal!  Perhaps that's why lemmings took on the roles of warriors in Norm of the North.

This is still Sunday, so count this clip as the entertainment feature for today.  Yes, Entertainment Sunday still exists, even though I'm doing much more searching for a good fantasy than dealing with reality these days.

Also, I called today "the first Norther of 2017."  Why?
The next Norther will be January 7, as the full moon falls on New Year's Day, so there will be a Blue Moon on January 31.  Speaking of blue lunar holidays, the first full moon after the 2018 winter solstice will fall on Saturday December 22nd, so there will be a second Norther on December 23.  Blue Norther on Festivus!
That's why.  I get to do this all over again in 11 months.  Maybe I can find a video about a lemming feat of strength or airing of grievances by then.

Once again, Happy Norther!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

'Wonder Woman' joins 'The Shape of Water' and 'Get Out' among PGA film and TV nominees

As I wrote in yesterday's entry about the WGA film nominees, ""The Shape of Water" and "Get Out" have been nominated in every major awards show so far, the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards, AFI Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and SAG Awards."  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that both were nominated in the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards for The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, the PGA equivalent of Best Film.

The surprise comes from which speculative fiction movie earns the third spot that all awards shows so far have given to either science fiction or superheroes.  At the Critics Choice Awards, that distinction went to "Blade Runner 2049."  The AFI Awards bestowed the honor to "Wonder Woman."  Both the Golden Globes and SAG Awards recognized "Downsizing" for Hong Chau's performance, as did the Critics Choice Awards.  The WGA Awards made "Logan" the third nominee for Adapted Screenplay.  The PGA Awards followed suit, giving "Wonder Woman" one of the eleven nominations (there was a tie for tenth), making it the third speculative fiction film to be recognized in the most prestigious motion picture category at these awards.

Here is the entire field from Deadline Hollywood.
The Big Sick
Producers: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel

Call Me By Your Name
Producers: Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Marco Morabito

Producers: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan

Get Out
Producers: Sean McKittrick & Edward H. Hamm, Jr., Jason Blum, Jordan Peele

I, Tonya
Producers: Bryan Unkeless, Steven Rogers, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley

Lady Bird
Producers: Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill

Molly’s Game
Producers: Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal, Matt Jackson

The Post
Producers: Amy Pascal, Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger

The Shape Of Water
Producers: Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Producers: Graham Broadbent & Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh

Wonder Woman
Producers: Charles Roven & Richard Suckle, Zack Snyder & Deborah Snyder
Toss out one of the nominees and that could be the Oscar field for Best Picture.  As for which one that might be, I'd pick either "I, Tonya" or "Molly's Game" if "Wonder Woman" is to make the cut.

By the way, "Get Out" is already a winner, as Deadline reported ‘Get Out’ To Receive Producers Guild’s Stanley Kramer Award.
The PGA will bestow its 2018 Stanley Kramer Award on Get Out, Jordan Peele’s social horror thriller that has been one of the most buzzed-about, and lucrative, movies of 2017. The honor will be given out during the 29th annual PGA Awards set for January 20 at the Beverly Hilton.

The Kramer award honors a production, producer or other individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.” Last year, Jeff Nichols’ Loving won the award.
Congratulations!  I can't think of a better film for this honor.

Any show that has an award for animated features automatically recognizes speculative fiction.  Here are the nominees from the PGA.
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures:

The Boss Baby
Producer: Ramsey Naito

Producer: Darla K. Anderson

Despicable Me 3
Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy

Producers: Lori Forte, Bruce Anderson

The Lego Batman Movie
Producers: Dan Lin, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
The four highest grossing animated movies of last year, which I listed in Celebrate National Science Fiction Day with 'The Last Jedi' atop the 2017 box office, are all nominated, "Despicable Me 3," "Coco," "The LEGO Batman Movie," and "The Boss Baby."  Based on box office, "Ferdinand" might come as a bit of a surprise, as it just passed "The Lego Ninjago Movie" but is still behind "Cars 3," "The Emoji Movie," and "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie."  I wouldn't have expected any of them to be nominated.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if "The Emoji Movie" earns a Razzie or two.  Instead, I thought one of "Loving Vincent" or "The Breadwinner" might earn the fifth spot.  Nope, the story of the gentle bull gets it.

Enough with movies.  Follow over the jump for the three television categories with speculative fiction nominees.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Celebrate National Screenwriters Day with science and speculative fiction among WGA film nominees

Happy National Screenwriters Day!  Just like National Science Fiction Day, this is a real national day, which I'll explain over the jump.  First, I'll celebrate screenwriting by highlighting the science and speculative fiction films among the WGA Awards Film & Documentary Nominees reported by Deadline Hollywood.

The Big Sick, Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani; Amazon Studios
Get Out, Written by Jordan Peele; Universal Pictures
I, Tonya, Written by Steven Rogers; Neon
Lady Bird, Written by Greta Gerwig; A24
The Shape of Water, Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro; Fox Searchlight
"The Shape of Water" and "Get Out" have been nominated in every major awards show so far, the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards, AFI Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and SAG Awards.  I should not be surprised that their excellence began with a great original script.

Call Me by Your Name, Screenplay by James Ivory; Based on the Novel by André Aciman; Sony Pictures Classics
The Disaster Artist, Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Based on the Book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell; A24
Logan, Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold; Based on Characters from the X-Men Comic Books and Theatrical Motion Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox Film
Molly’s Game, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin; Based on the Book by Molly Bloom; STX Entertainment
Mudbound, Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees; Based on the Novel by Hillary Jordan; Netflix
"Logan" is the sole speculative fiction nominee among the adapted screenplay nominees.  I'm pleased but surprised.  If I thought any superhero movie would have earned this honor, it would have been "Wonder Woman."  As The Hollywood Reporter noted, it was eligible.  Still, it can now stand beside "Deadpool" as a superhero film worthy of a WGA nomination.

I'm going to leave fantasy behind to briefly visit reality in the form of science, crime, and politics.

Betting on Zero, Written by Theodore Braun; Gunpowder & Sky
Jane, Written by Brett Morgen; National Geographic
No Stone Unturned, Written by Alex Gibney; Abramorama
Oklahoma City, Written by Barak Goodman; American Experience Films
I've mentioned "Jane" twice before, first in 'Chasing Coral': awards and nominations and looking forward to next year's Emmys 4 and again in The most honored political documentaries of 2017 examine crime, injustice, and the Syrian Civil War.  With this nomination, it now has 11 points in nominations and awards, which ties it with "City of Ghosts."  When I wrote that this biography of Jane Goodall was as good as any of the films in my top five political documentaries of 2017, I wasn't kidding.  I'm quite sure it will be nominated.  Since it is the only shortlisted feature length documentary nominated, I'm moving its chances of winning up to even with "Ex Libris" should both be nominated.

I'd mentioned "Oklahoma City" before in "13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards but didn't say a thing about it.  Now that it's earned a WGA nomination, I can see that was a glaring error of omission.  Adding the point for the WGA nomination to its Emmy nomination, it now has two points, which would have qualified it for my top political documentary list.

Follow over the jump for the description of National Screenwriters Day from National Day Calendar, including a cameo by "Deadpool" in the form of the lead actor praising the writers.